Category Archives: overheard

There is hope for our country

On the USAir shuttle today, a girl of about 15 was seated across the aisle from her mom.  The girl had a Danielle Steel novel.

At the end of the flight:

MOM:  How did you like the book I lent you?

DAUGHTER:  I didn’t really read it.

MOM:  Oh, why not?

DAUGHTER:  Because the writing was really bad, mom!  She’s a bad writer!  Good writing makes a story better!


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Three comments on Halloween

  • Yesterday a ten-year-old girl and her mom walked by me, and the girl was saying “One Indiana Jones and two football players.” I couldn’t parse this at all until I figured out she was talking about the costumes her classmates wore to school that day.
  • A lot of little kids are wearing Spiderman costumes with sewn-in muscle chests. This is wrong. The whole point of Spiderman is that he has skinny arms and legs, like a spider, yet is super-strong. If you are a little kid and you want to wear a muscle chest, please consider being the Hulk.
  • CJ was a clown. At the last moment he decided he wanted to be an alligator instead. I suggested that he could wear the clown suit and make alligator jaw-snapping motions with his arms, thereby being an “alligator clown.” CJ argued, with some merit, that “alligator clown” was an incoherent costume concept and he wanted to be just an alligator. Finally we got him in the suit, but he wouldn’t wear the rainbow wig. So I wore that. We knocked on a few doors, but mostly he was excited to be outside past his bedtime, and just wanted to run around in the dark in his clown suit.
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Two good lines

  • Today in a bookstore, a couple brushes by me. Her to him: “I’m judging you so much right now.”
  • My friend Lauren had the singular honor of judging the M.I.T. Nerdy Pickup Line Contest. The winner:

“Hey, baby, I don’t have a nerdy pickup line, but I can prove that one exists.”

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I can help you

Working this morning at the new Pascual’s in Hilldale Mall. Yet another pleasant Near West spot to enjoy free wi-fi, free parking, and good coffee. The manager just answered the phone: “Thank you for calling Pascual’s at Hilldale, this is M___; I can help you.”

I like this new can-do spirit. Much better than the old, tentative, “Can I help you?” Though I will be sorry if the wonderfully compressed “Can I help who’s next?” gets retired.

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See, for me this would have been a tough call

I got caught in a rare traffic jam today on University Avenue. Similarly trapped, over on my right, was a Subaru Legacy with a couple of anti-war bumper stickers and one that said “I’D RATHER BE READING BUKOWSKI.”

Update: Aha — a little research reveals that the bumper sticker comes from the excellent Avol’s Books.

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Recipe for fun revealed!

Overheard in Espresso Royale.  One young woman is showing a map of Paris to another:

OK, this is the Jewish district and this is the gay district… Here they sort of merge.  So that’s fun.


Double Sosa T-shirt mystery

About an hour ago in Caffe 608, I saw a couple in matching Orioles T-shirts with Sammy Sosa’s name and number on the back. Since Sosa only played for the Orioles for a year, and he was terrible, and we’re very far from Baltimore, I was very curious as to what this meant. So I asked one of them. He said they’d been to a game at Camden Yards and bought the T-shirts because “we were hoping Sosa would jack one out.”


  • What good would it have done them to be wearing the T-shirts if Sosa had hit a home run?
  • Why, two years later, do they wear the T-shirts on the same day?

And their aura called me a mean name!

Overheard at the farmer’s market on Capitol Square: a woman calling the police to report a group of evangelists preaching hellfire on the lawn. She was silent while, I assume, the officer asked her why the situation required attention from law enforcement. She thought it over a bit.

“Well,” she said, “their body language is really violent.”

I’m implicitly projecting onto the affine plane of course

Overheard at Borders on the West Side today, two high school girls reading fashion magazines and complaining about the unacceptable shapes of their noses. Girl one to girl two: “See how yours kind of slopes out a little bit?   But mine is just flat, like y = mx + b.”

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