David Bouchier

In The Plague, a 1947 novel by Albert Camus, the citizens of Oran in Algeria are decimated by a dreadful infectious disease, which (having no choice), they bear with heroic stoicism and endurance. Literary critics say that the plague described in the novel is a subtle metaphor of the German occupation, or of evil in general. But I read it as a much more transparent metaphor of the common cold.

I have been waiting to write about the Bitcoin phenomenon until the whole fantastical pyramid collapsed, revealing the conjurer behind the curtain. But, although the illusion has been wavering and fading a bit recently, I suspect that it may be days or weeks before the final dénouement. So I’ll just throw in my electronic two cent’s worth now: 

My parents taught me to be polite, and it has always been a handicap. It didn’t take long for me to discover that politeness is a losing strategy, and that the loudest and most boorish voice in the room always wins. A polite person wears an invisible strait jacket, and is inhibited from doing all sorts of effective, self-promoting things, like yelling, bullying, insulting, and boasting. Unfortunately, these are the essential tools of success in the modern world. 

Liz West / Flickr

How many Valentines did you get so far? Statistically, by first delivery on Wednesday morning, you should receive at least three, because over a billion Valentine cards are mailed every year, which means three or four for every man, woman, and child in the nation. But, of course, it doesn’t work out like that. The young and the beautiful get far more than their fair share, and others get none at all. When it comes to Valentines we are definitely not all created equal.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Some people are incapable of being on time. They start by being born late, then go on to being late for school, late for work, late for dinner dates, late for their own wedding, and are only at the very last obliged to be on time for their final rendezvous.

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