Amazon Honor System


Glenn Reynolds - the Instapundit, whose natural generousity has thrown boatloads of traffic to this week, bless his soul - was blogging from stuck traffic the other day, and I had a sudden, horrible glimpse of my own future. I’ll be getting a wireless dingleheimer for the buzzbook soon, and this means I won’t have any excuses for not posting while en route to the office, even at 67 MPH. No one will have any excuses for anything anymore. I expect someone will invent a device that translates email into scents, which are then released by a mechanism in your pillow so you can absorb the information into your dream. Of course, this means people would wake up, turn on the Blackberry, and instruct the office to stick the domino tile down the demon’s throat. The middle throat. The head on the left, we can deal with.

What day is it? Checking . . . ah. Of course, I did the radio tonight (with Hugh’s co-blogger and stand-in, Dean Barnett; to my delight he wanted to talk Sopranos, which at this point is still something I care about more than the McCain campaign) then went to the annual Ice Cream Social. The details will be on tomorrow. Why not here? Because it’s a community event that says something about who were are and where we live, and it’s one of those things that will help build the brand and that is what I am all about.

Also the boss suggested it would be a good topic.

It was goodbye day at the paper today. Cake and cookies and recollections. It’s damned odd to walk past the empty desks, see the boxes stacked where someone once worked, then pass the pictures of the summer interns. I think they were called FNGs in Vietnam. But I don’t think there’s no future for anyone; I’d still get into the business if I were young. I’d just bring a broader skill set. As I said to a couple guys today, it’s an odd world in which they’re leaving journalism and they’re staying.

This morning I turned on the sprinkler. My wife had asked me not to but she is not the boss of me. In some alternate reality, I mean. Here, yes. But she had complained that the sprinkler was watering the street, and I figured that meant the nozzles had to be readjusted. I had an underground system put in a few years ago because the hill is impossible to water; as I may have mentioned before, I have a peculiar lot. Most of it is unsuitable for building, since it’s hilly. Any house you erected outside of the footprint of Jasperwood would just roll right down into the street and block traffic. It’s quite a hill, and the chances I would have the initiative to move around a sprinkler are nil, so in went the pipes. Sure enough, some were fountaining water right into the street, and another was broken. None of them should have been installed in the first place; I asked the crew not to put them in the boulevard, because they wanted a hellish sum. They did it anyway. I declined to pay the sum. I could program them out, but the control box for the system has wretched feature bloat, and like all needlessly complicated consumer devices, you end up learning how to turn it ON and OFF and you leave it at that. I don’t regret the investment – aside from the way it automates the watering, I just love watching the heads pop up from the grass and shoot out the water, gracefully moving back and forth in the early morning light. It may be as close to having a personal robot as I’ll ever get.

As I was fixing one of the sprinkler heads, a neighbor wandered over. He asked who put in the system, because he was thinking of getting one. I told him who, and said they did a fine job. Except for putting in too much. And except for ripping up the ground cover and planting grass, which has proved impossible to remove. I even offered the undocumented grass transplantation to a sunny patch with the rest of the legal grass. Come out of the shadows, o ye blades, and be free. Nothing worked. Grass gets to like a place, grass sticks around. But other than that, sure, give them a call.

Later another neighbor wandered over to consult about the trees, and I thought: doesn’t anyone here have a job? But this is the modern world; jobs are done at different times, in different places. My neighbor is telecommuting to a job in North Carolina, I believe, and the other is either retired or controls a drill press in Shanghai with a cerebral implant. Anyway, the trees were interfering with the growth of our shrubs; one big stupid tree had decided it would just be a nine-mile-tall trunk with ugly leaves on top, and one gorgeous lush tree was blocking out the light over some evergreens. I was surprised to learn that evergreens needed light. Or anything, for that matter. They’re like Nature’s version of an artificial tree.

Anyway, between all the consulting I blogged, and blogged again. A good day for the site. Which reminds me: there’s a Flag Day post I want to promote to the front page and put on top . . . there.

Yes: flag day. I missed it. Well, tomorrow.

Right now it’s twilight time again; the days are still stretching out. Every good June day ends like a long grateful exhalation. No planes. (I suddenly had the desire to hear “Twilight Time,” and so I clicked over to Rhapsody, found it, signed up, installed the player, all over the wireless network from the gazebo, and I thought: what a wonderful world, with such benevolent generous gods in the cloud.) (Then the player crashed Firefox, and by the time I got it back up a very, very large cargo plane began a  loud slow descent. But now

it’s quiet again, and the song plays. The Les Brown version, if you care.

If you wanted the bouncy happy 1929 take on Twilight, here’s Paul Whiteman, complete with those distinctive harmonies particular to the era. Odd how you can identify an era sometimes by the harmonies, not the melody.

There’s something profound in that, but I’m not going to ruin it by going any deeper.



All in all things are as good as they get, I think. And I still say that with survivor’s guilt, having shaken hands goodbye today with people who put far more into the paper than I ever did.


I noted a buzz comment today that asked whether I might have any opinion about the situation in Gaza, something along the lines of a Nelson Ha ha. I understand the point, but it’s hard to be flippant about what this all means, either this summer or next. We’ve just seen the logical expression of Arafat’s legacy, defeated by people who took his tools and turned them to cause whose potency was trebled by its immersion in religious fundamentalism. In the YouTube clips below, the Beeb reporter says:
“Gaza’s secular foundations, undone in a hail of bullets.”

Actually, no. They were undone long ago, undone in a hail of rhetoric that praised the bullet, worshipped the bullet, fetishized the finger on the trigger. Meet the old boss, worse than the old boss: I’m sure we’ll be asked to supply foreign aid to these gentlemen, eventually:

But for now: Friday, and the delights of the weekend. Thanks for the patronage here and there this week, folks: much appreciated. See you at the buzz, as of now. Seriously, friends, I'm blogging there all day long.

And at the Diner! (Deep, deep apologies to those who don't get the Sopranos references. I could not resist.) (MP3 version up around noon; iTunes subscribers already have it. If you want to be one f those, go here.)


NOW TO GO THE BUZZ. Thank you. See that link below? Click! Voila!