Book Log – The Man Upstairs and Other Stories

The Man Upstairs and Other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse

A fine collection of a-musing short stories.

My favorite quote, from the short story Ahead of Schedule:

“Even as a boy, hardly capable of connected thought, he had been convinced that his specialty, the one thing he could do really well, was to inherit money. All he wanted was a chance.”

Yard Sales for Dummies

Last weekend was a good weekend.

Friday, We celebrated RocketBoy’s graduation from Pre-K with some ice cream at Bruester’s.

Saturday was kind of a blur… we prepared for the Yard Sale, Rocketboy had a birthday party and a playdate, and went to see Kids in the Hall with goudabonbon, curt_holman, my friend Sarah and her friend Bill the Canadian. I say “with” goudabonbon and curt_holman loosely, as their seats were so far in front of ours that they were even out of head crushing range. Though we did have a fine comfort-food dinner beforehand at O.K. Cafe.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early1 hauling furniture, toys, clothes and books out on the lawn in the hopes that I would not have to haul them back in again. We did fairly well, though we were counting way too much on the Jewish and/or infidel crowd to make up for the absence of the Sunday-morning-church-going public. There was none of the people banging on the door an hour before the sale was to start, demanding first crack at the goods that I hear so much about.

We dumped some large space-consuming furniture on some folks with presumably larger houses than ours. I even negotiated successfully in Spanish with one couple.

The highlight was conversations with folks perusing the book pile. I exchanged recommendations with folks based on the wares I had available… “Did you like this book? You should look into…” Though I’ll admit there is a certain amount of pain involved in selling books I enjoyed. There was the first pain of putting the books in the To Be Sold box to begin with, and then when they were being bought… a couple times I had the urge to pull one out of the buyers hands and tell them I’d changed my mind, even though intellectually I knew I had no plans of ever reading it again. We’ll call it a cathartic growth experience.

I learned that RocketBoy is a natural salesman, at least in his enthusiasm if not his actual performance. His weakness is being able to read the customer and accurately divine what item might most be of interest. He did a hard sell on a Care Bears DVD to an older couple perusing some of the weightier literary works. Ditto, an Isaac Asimov short story collection to a couple that didn’t speak English. To his credit, he wouldn’t take no for an answer, trailing them to their car as they left, extolling the virtues of the Care Bear story, or the great enormity of words in the Asimov tome (“You can learn English!”).

It kept me entertained the whole morning long. To own the truth, we had a lot more joggers stop by through his sidewalk barker marketing efforts than we otherwise would have.

After the sale, I cleaned up, went over to neighbor’s house to change out their car battery for them, and then the whole gang went to the pool for a well-earned break.

Monday, steakums had to work, and I took RocketBoy, Scout and RocketBoy’s friend J__ to the Imagine It! Children’s Museum for 3 hours. They all did well and wore themselves out. As we were loading into the car, Scout ripped my glasses off my face and flung them into some bushes. I made a mental note to fetch them after strapping all the kids in the car, then completely forgot until we were home. So, I need new glasses, which is actually fine as the old ones had been a little too Scoutified for their own good.

Later on, J__’s mom stayed with the kids at our house while steakums and I went to see that mildly enjoyable though mostly frustrating Indiana Jones flick. See previous rant.

Actually, see this rant.

Wanna know how to fix Crystal Skull in four steps? Cut for spoilers

Two Rants


Just now, while Rocketboy is in the bath splashing water all over creation, Scout is running around screaming about whatever’s on her mind and steakums is coordinating some schedules on the phone, the doorbell rings. It is two college age girls. One standing back a ways, the other with her backpack settled nice as you please on our porch bench.

The backpack girl explains in annoying-oh-I’m-a-helpless-little-girl-just-getting-by-any-way-I-canspeak that she is here to talk to the families about the educational materials.

What educational materials? I ask.

Oh, you may not have heard, we’re here sitting down and talking to the families about the educational materials, I’ve got 20 more families to go tonight. Meanwhile the dog is struggling in my arms and Scout is trying to ride her fire engine out the door and getting angry I’m blocking her.

We go back and forth on what? who? why? how? for a while, and in the end, she’s basically selling these cheesy little set of picture books for $48. But trying to pass it off as some request that the local families got together and arranged for her to stop by and tell us all about. Ridiculous.

I just hate door-to-door salespeople. Hate them.

Second, the secret of the Crystal Skull…

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to the People Who Are Missing This Puppy That Is In Our House,

Please, for the love of Dog, come get your puppy.

He is very cute and possibly housebroken, but he is trying to eat my daughter.

Also, he sits on her toddler couch, which is completely unacceptable to her.

Kind Regards,

Book Log – Warren Buffett: An Illustrated Biography of the World’s Most Successful Investor

Warren Buffett: An Illustrated Biography of the World’s Most Successful Investor by Ayano Morio (translated from original Japanese version)

I picked this up at Berkstock, intrigued by how a Japanese graphic novelist would view Buffett’s story. Would he have Warren performing Matrix-like kicks to the face of competitors? Would he have an energy pulse exploding from his hands into the ticker machine, causing prices to rise or fall at will? Who knew?

Turns out, it’s a fairly simplified version of Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, with pictures, which have little to add to a story with few (or rather, no) action sequences.

Which anyone could have guessed; On the back of the book are a bunch of raving quotes… about Buffett himself, rather than the graphic novel.

What’s Round On The Side and Mah in the Middle?

In Ohio, there was a song we sang in school that had the line “What’s round on the sides and high in the middle? O-HI-O!” In fact, that may be the whole song. Not sure. It’s all fuzzy.

But what’s not fuzzy is that by 8pm Nebraska time tonight, I will be in Omaha, NE, prepared to geek the hell out.

It’s only just dawning on me that I will be without a computer for more than 48 hours! Unless you count a Palm! Which I don’t! Because it doesn’t have internet access!1

I will have a trusty Moleskine Ruled Notebook and Mini G2 Gel Pen, which means that all the notes I take will be Hemmingway quality, except more gel’d.

I will be sure to give Warren and Charlie a big hug from all of you.

And pick their pocket while I’m at it.

1 Yes, I’m spazzing out.