I just spent a few minutes trying to get the office change machine to convert a fiver into quarters. There was no reasoning with it. Possibly the machine wasn’t recalibrated to the new fivers, with their big honking Lincoln Pic. Whatever. Off to the credit union, then. Cashed part of a check, got some twenties, and was reminded how the recent currency changes have made life slightly more complicated for anal-retentive types (man, I hate that term. A person has an utterly reasonable desire for a certain amount of order, and they’re slapped with a term that makes it sound like they’ve been using yogic powers to keep their bowels blocked for decades) in that we now have three different kinds of 20s. There’s the “legacy,” or “Classic” 20s, which looks like stately old money Mr. Mooney would recognize. Banker-tested, merchant approved. Then you have the big HEEEEERE’S ANDY twenties with Jackson looking stonily into a grim future – he had hoped for better but expected as much. These come in two varieties; the most recent has counterfeit-defeating peachy hues, and I’ve come to like it. But. You can’t just jam them all willy-nilly in your wallet; you have to arrange them in order.

I had this conversation with the Giant Swede, a while ago. I asked him if he arranged his bills by denomination.

“Of course,” he said.

I paused, wondering if I was on the verge of making a humiliating admission here, but then I remembered he’s more of a control freak (and there’s another term I can’t stand, mostly because of the “freak” part. I’d prefer situation administrator or perhaps orderliness enthusiast. “Freak” has sixties / seventies vibe. [As does “vibe,” for that matter. Half the slang used by aging boomers was tired when it was used by some guy in a white jump suit and aviator-framed sunglasses, nodding his head to the Love Unlimited Orchestra as he made his way across the fern bar with a White Russian in one hand, fingering the coke spoon around his next with the other. I do not belong to that era. I do not belong to any era, except perhaps the era when all your friends’ dads looked like Bill Cullen.] It was a term of approval: let your freak flag fly! Shock the man! Make Anita Bryant wet herself in fear and disgust! Why don’t we do it in the road? Oh, I don’t know – maybe because it’s a truck route, and the idea of making some working guy jack-knife his rig because he spots some Abbie-Hoffman type in a “Makin’ Bacon” T-shirt bent over his old lady, looking up at the last minute to flip the driver the bird? Is that a good enough reason? No? Fine.) than I am. I mean, the Giant Swede is an engineer. He was born wearing a belt and suspenders.

“Do you arrange your twenties by style?” I asked .”You know – colors, type of bill?”

He gave me a look that was almost . . . disappointed. Sad that I had to ask. “Of course,” he said.

From today’s Minnesota Daily, the newspaper of the U of M, two glimpses into the mind of Today’s Youth.  The Daily has a romance-advice column; it solicited  “bad dates” stories, and this one was amusing – if only as a showcase for profoundly bad decision-making on the part of the letter writer. You’ll know it when you see it.

Then there’s a letter from a graduate student that makes the familiar case for separating the actions of some Muslims from Islam itself. This is graduate-student level thought:

“Muslims are human beings just like people off any other faith and no one on this earth is perfect.” So far, so good. “It is important not to form opinions about a faith and its followers based on a spiced up headline in a newspaper or a dramatized video on TV.”   Trust me, I don’t. Don’t need to. But which “spiced-up” headlines are we talking about? Which “dramatized video”? “Just to bring home the point, Hitler did not represent Christians or Germans. . . .” Uh – oh, never mind. “…neither did Stalin represent the Communists.”

This is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve read in print today. Stalin was the apotheosis of the Communists, just as Hitler was the potent distillation of certain aspects of German culture. But I’ll even concede the Hitler point, if only to focus the mind on that line again: neither did Stalin represent the Communists. Oh, you can say that good ol’ pure & noble Communism had nothing to do with Stalinism, but that’s different, if specious. As far as Communists go, Stalin was the shiznit. It’s like saying Hitler didn’t represent all National Socialists.

It is interesting that the death of Stalin lead to lesser Stalins, but the death of Khomeini spawned his equal. In greater numbers.


I was interrupted by a colleague who wanted some blog advice. I don’t have much – I mean, my story begins with “start ten years ago,” which isn’t very helpful.

But it’s hard to get new things launched, even when you have the newspaper behind you. People just don’t put down the paper and type in an URL. So: here's Eric Black’s blog. I think he should call it Black Ops, but I didn’t think of that at the time. Just as well; what do I know about journalism?  Loser!


Thunderstorms tonight; great cracking arcs of light above. Lovely. And now back to work – I two additional assignments tonight above and beyond the usual call, so I can’t even get around to the things I intended to get around to. There’s always tomorrow.

Which we will call, for the moment, another day in which G. Burly declined to phone. At least the bubbled on the Water Feature works – the water gushes out of the Rock of Ages, drilled for me, and the lights in the pond play on the new leaves high above. Spring. At last.

New Quirk and new movie; it’s a look at the Imperial 400 motel. For those who can’t get it to work: I am sorry. I do not know what to do. I can’t put it up in Windows Media format, as I lack the tools. Why it doesn’t work for some, I can’t say; it’s not as though I’m using some super-peculiar encoding device that disables the video for all regions except Babylonia. See you tomorrow.





c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.