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Odd Lots


  1. WILLIAM H MEYER says:

    Blood pressure is an interesting data point. Not only because it may differ in your two arms, but also by sitting, standing, crossing your ankles, and even by wearing a belt. My BP has always been low until recently, and now I have become very aware of the numerous factors, as I am called to monitor it a few times a week.

    1. ed says:

      No green stars… I’m pretty sure that Richard Seaton and the Skylark visited a planet orbiting one, so that’s wrong 😉

  2. WILLIAM H MEYER says:

    On nightmares of falling. See Jack London, “Before Adam”. Very interesting book.

  3. Tom Roderick says:

    Books By The Foot my foot. I have books by the yard, kilometer, and maybe even Parsec. Except for my tiny 3 foot long shelf of “Waiting to be Read” the rest of them have been and some multiple times.

    1. Ditto. I will let books go when they become objectively useless, as went all my DOS, Windows 2000, and Windows XP books when we left Colorado.

      Books sometimes come to me in odd ways; the English Dept. prof I worked for in college gave me a lot of textbook publisher samples, some of which were good, and most of which were exquisitely meh. I kept a lot of them because of their sentimental attachment to a woman who treated me well, hired me to drive her around the city to observe student teachers, and encouraged me to pursue my fiction. She died in 1985, and I suspect she won’t be insulted if I dumped all but a few of them.

      Sunk cost is another vestigial impulse in a man who grew up borderline poor: I paid for this; how can I give it away?

      I do wonder if any of the hardcovers I gave away when we left Colorado ever made their way into some rich guy’s house so he’ll look better on Zoom calls.

    2. TRX says:

      Maybe fifteen years ago I ate at a “brewpub” in Raleigh, North Carolina. They had a bookcase that spanned an entire wall, with a sign telling diners to pick up something to read with their meal. I told the waitress I didn’t think I read fast enough to finish an entire book over lunch, and she said to just take it home and be welcome; they had a guy who came in every week and restocked the shelves.

      At that time there were easily a dozen used book stores downtown, many of which left shelves out on the sidewalk with an “honor box” at night. I suspect their supplier picked through those.

      Oddly, what was on the shelves at the pub wasn’t typical “last stop before the recycler” junk; lots of not-too-ancient fiction, classics, engineering texts, lots of history and political science, some textbooks…

      That was just before the smartphone thing took off; I expect most patrons would be sitting there thumbing through Twitter and Facebook now.

  4. Jason Kaczor says:

    “Books as decor”… one of the most maddening trends that I have noticed in the design world over the last several years is either/both…

    … “spines in/backwards books”, because, you see the different colours clash with the overall ambience of the room…


    … grouping by colour/gradient, instead of author, topic or subject, because again, that “looks better”…

    1. The “books as decor” thing has been with us for at least 20 years, since we started preparing our Arizona house for sale when we decided to move to Colorado. That was the era when “staging a house” became a broad thing and not a phenomenon limited to McMansions. Some stagers like books. Many don’t. When we were interviewing stagers for our Colorado house, one dimwit looked at our magnificent 12′ high library wall with rolling ladder and said, “The first thing you have to do is get rid of all these ugly books.”

      That is not something you say to Jeff Duntemann. Thank you, ma’am–and please go haunt somebody else’s house.

  5. TRX says:

    > silphium

    We might need more than just one seed, but we know a *whole lot* more about botany than the ancients did. Specifically, we know about soil pH levels, trace element requirements, light/temperature sensitivity, and so forth. Some plants have some *weird* life cycles, sometimes relying on external factors for reproduction. And we even build complete artificial environments – greenhouses – for local environments some plants can’t tolerate.

  6. Carrington Dixon says:

    Most of the video conference programs allow one to use a picture as a background. When I am in a bookish mood, I use one from the interior of the Bodleian. If you dream, dream big.

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