I know a guy who knows a guy

I found myself reading this piece by Jack Nicas in the Style section… because words, I guess. Anyway, I’m glad that I did, because I found this candidate for pull quote of the year:

There appear to be three main men behind Astoria Enterprises, and two of them are ex-convicts.

Mr. [Ralph] Frengel, the salesman, was convicted in 1992 for stealing a $100,000 pearl necklace from a jewelry store. “It’s not as bad as it sounds,” he said.

Father forgive all of us

Coventry Cathedral keeps its doors open.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, straight, gay, confused, well-heeled or down-at-heel. We especially welcome wailing babies and excited toddlers…. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throats as kids or got lost on the Ring Road and wound up here by mistake. We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters and you.


What a great idea: there’s a growing movement (partly imported from Japan) of sport fishing to maximize the number of species caught, rather than the size of the individuals. Anglers go after shiners and darters rather than bass and trout.

Micro-fishing, you’re using the smallest-size hook you can find at your local tackle stores, so your fly fishing hooks and things like that,” [Michael] Moore says. “And instead of casting, like you would with regular fishing, it feels really weird, but you’re usually just dangling the bait in front of fish that you can see.”

Some successful fishers have a species list that numbers in the 400s. There aren’t a lot of birders that have a list that long.

I like it

Already widely linked, and even parodied, Jonathan Franzen’s op ed piece, adapted from a commencement address, is still highly linkable. Franzen’s like/love distinction reminds me of another excellent piece from the Times, Russell Baker’s “Why Being Serious Is Hard.” (My clipping of Baker’s column has, alas, gone missing.) Baker made a similar distinction between passionate commitment to something, even to the point of looking silly (“being serious”), and merely going along with the flow (“being solemn”).

I get confused: 2

(With some help from Leta.)

  • William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies and several other books less well-remembered. No matter, he received a Booker and Nobel for his work.
  • William Goldman writes screenplays, including the magically popular The Princess Bride and the Penelope Ann Miller vehicle Year of the Comet. He is the source of the catchphrase “Nobody knows anything.”
  • James Goldman made the stage play The Lion in Winter and collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Follies and Evening Primrose.

Still confused about the Goldmans? It’s not surprising: they’re brothers.

Some links: 42

A few weeks ago, Bas Bleu retraced the track of a bicycle trip she took across France 30 years ago, this time en voiture. I’m reading her reports completely out of order, chronologically and geographically, but I don’t think it matters. You could pick up the thread with her in Bordeaux, perhaps.