Friday, September 7, 2018
Crispy Zinnias and E. B. White
Some of the zinnia flowers are looking very autumnal these days, drying out and turning brown. And yet the plants are still putting out new blossoms, smaller but just as colorful as the first ones. They're doing their best to set seeds, but I'm trying to keep them deadheaded so they continue blooming.
We've been getting some weird stuff through the book drop at work. The other day someone gave us a first edition of E. B. White's book "The Second Tree from the Corner," a collection of pieces he wrote for The New Yorker between 1935 and 1954. I don't think it's particularly valuable (based on what I see on eBay) and perhaps surprisingly, I already have my own copy. White is one of my favorite writers of all time, and I don't mean "Charlotte's Web," although that's a great book -- his writing for adults was amazing. We'll probably put it in one of the conference room bookcases, where our few antiquarian books are located.
And then, yesterday, someone returned a book from the East Riding of Yorkshire school library system. Why on earth did it come to us? I suppose the borrower thought as long as it went back to a school they'd done their part. I looked up the address of the East Yorkshire school libraries office, tucked the book in an envelope and mailed it to them. It had been checked out in 2010 and was probably declared lost long ago, but it was in good condition, so maybe they can still use it.
What did you think of the mysterious column in the Times declaring a cabal of resisters within the Trump administration? I found it weirdly comforting, knowing that there are senior people within the administration trying to protect us all from the Orange Menace. But as a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, should we really feel better that there's an internal coup in the White House? And this person clearly values aspects of the Republican agenda (deregulation, more military spending, tax "reform") that I personally question, so we can't lose sight of the fact that we need to clean the whole hornet's nest out of office.
(What would E. B. White, a great internationalist, have thought of Trump? His assessment would be entertaining and eloquent and probably damning.)
I've been walking to and from work to get some exercise and to rack up points using my health insurance app, so I can get some free Starbucks coffees and movie tickets. (Obviously not really free, since I'm paying for the insurance.) I haven't really mastered the system, though. For a long time it wouldn't give me any points until I completed my annual health questionnaire, which I never seemed to have time to do. (I finally did it yesterday.) I've also found that when I do earn a coffee, I seem to have only a few days to redeem it before the reward vanishes entirely. That's the problem with these reward schemes -- I don't want to be ruled by my health insurance app. I'd rather just go buy a coffee when I want one!