Comment of the Night

From Beeswax on a post about the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign being vandalized:

So a sign get’s vandalized and you throw your arms up and cry bloody murder, while thousands of children, women and men are being systematically killed in Sudan because they’re non-Arabs, and no one says a single thing? Maybe you should re-think your god-less life, if you hold a notion that a stupid sign has more importance than human life.

Although the slaughter of the Sudanese is horrific, there are plenty of Sudanese left. But there’s only one Las Vegas sign.

And besides, what are you doing commenting on a blog post that is several weeks old when thousands of children, women and men are being systematically killed in Sudan because they’re non-Arabs? Your apathy to the plight of children in Darfur is alarming and quite frankly, a little douchie.

Surviving Without Money


DANIEL SUELO LIVES IN A CAVE. UNLIKE THE average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn’t worried about the economic crisis. That’s because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.

His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He’s either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo’s blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he’s both. “When I lived with money, I was always lacking,” he writes. “Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.”

On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo’s been here for three years, and it smells like it.

Hmmm, Yeah, I think I’ll keep my MasterCard and sleep in a bed.

You can find his blog here (It’s ok. It’s on blogspot so it’s Google’s money. And of course he uses a library to update it which is only taxpayer’s money). Here is a post where he talks about an experience hitchhiking (other people’s car, other people’s fuel):

Here’s a harsh truth: You see who a person truly is when that person is anonymous. And people are anonymous in their cars. I’ve always said cars have dehumanized people. But, really, cars have shown us truth: who people really are. Only 1 in thousands upon thousands is willing to actually stop and help a neighbor. James & I finally gave up hitching last night and went to a rest stop, exhausted, where James got horribly ill. He didn’t think he could handle another hot day, so we got up before sunrise to try to get him to town.

I guess it’s ok to use other people’s money and means of transportation.

Nicholson Baker on The Kindle

From The New Yorker:

The problem was not that the screen was in black-and-white; if it had really been black-and-white, that would have been fine. The problem was that the screen was gray. And it wasn’t just gray; it was a greenish, sickly gray. A postmortem gray. The resizable typeface, Monotype Caecilia, appeared as a darker gray. Dark gray on paler greenish gray was the palette of the Amazon Kindle.

This was what they were calling e-paper? This four-by-five window onto an overcast afternoon? Where was paper white, or paper cream? Forget RGB or CMYK. Where were sharp black letters laid out like lacquered chopsticks on a clean tablecloth?

I showed it to my wife. “Too bad it doesn’t have a little kickstand,” she said. “You could prop it up like a dresser mirror and read while you eat.” My son clicked around in the Kindle edition of a Bernard Cornwell novel about ancient Britain. “It’s not that bad,” he said. “The map looks pretty good. Some of the littler names aren’t readable. I’d rather be reading that”—pointing to his Cornwell paperback, which was lying face down nearby—“but I can definitely read this.”

Yes, you can definitely read things on the Kindle. And I did. Bits of things at first. I read some of De Quincey’s “Confessions,” some of Robert Benchley’s “Love Conquers All,” and some of several versions of Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” I squeezed no new joy from these great books, though. The Gluyas Williams drawings were gone from the Benchley, and even the wasp passage in “Do Insects Think?” just wasn’t the same in Kindle gray. I did an experiment. I found the Common Reader reprint edition of “Love Conquers All” and read the very same wasp passage. I laughed: ha-ha. Then I went back to the Kindle 2 and read the wasp passage again. No laugh. Of course, by then I’d read the passage three times, and it wasn’t that funny anymore. But the point is that it wasn’t funny the first time I came to it, when it was enscreened on the Kindle. Monotype Caecilia was grim and Calvinist; it had a way of reducing everything to arbitrary heaps of words.