• Girl walking down the street near campus, talking to her friend: "So I told the professor, 'This is supposed to be an A—'"

    Me, thinking to myself: "Criminy, are you serious right now? The semester just started a few days ago and you're already grubbing for a better grade? What is this world coming to?"

    Girl, continuing: "—and he said, 'No, see, it's in treble clef.'"

  • So I was driving from my morning tutoring appointment in Pleasanton to my afternoon one in Milpitas when my kidney tightened up and soon had me squirming in pain.  (This happens every two or three years.)  I had budgeted enough time for lunch that I pulled into a parking lot and waited half an hour for the pain to settle down, but instead it got steadily worse, so I looked up where the nearest urgent care center that was open on Sundays might be.  Answer: Fremont.  So I swung by the afternoon student's house to cancel the appointment, drove to Fremont, and hobbled into the urgent care center, where the doctor on duty said he couldn't do anything for me and directed me to the nearest hospital.  I was a little panicked as I motored up Stevenson — what if the hospital wasn't "in-network"?? — but the idea of taking the time to find another wifi connection and look up an in-network hospital was a non-starter.  Not only did I want to escape from the world of pain ASAP, but I didn't know how much worse it could get and still leave me okay to drive.  The emergency room was pretty efficient as these things go, but it still felt like a lifetime before the crew hooked me up to an IV (my first one! life milestone achieved!) and unleashed the Toradol.  Toradol is a non-opioid anti-inflammatory, and I got the sense that they were waiting to see whether I would be satisfied or whether I was a faker who would soon be complaining about wanting some Percocets, but I was not a faker and I thought the Toradol was awesome.  It completely knocked out the pain within minutes and left me feeling 100% back to normal — not the slightest bit loopy or stupefied.  I felt like I could have hopped in my car and taught the rest of my lessons that day, but they kept me there for an extra five hours.  And now you know why I was able to write Calendar articles about two books this month.

    As for the cost: under my Obamacare plan, I have to pay $725.  Which is a hefty sum that wipes out the gains I would have made from tutoring these kids in the first place, and is much worse than the $0 I would have had to pay in a lot of countries.  But it's much better than the $13,950.51 that was the actual amount of my bill!  Which is why, as much as I understand the impulse to hold out for a third option that other societies have already achieved, these days rhetoric about not wanting to vote for "the lesser of two evils" is lost on me.  Because "the lesser evil" is in fact a lot lesser.  94.8% lesser, apparently.

  • Incidentally, the student I had to bail out on has a little sister who likes to draw.  Their house is full of alternating pictures of Hindu gods and Disney princesses.

  • Someone on the radio was going on and on about how customers were turning to this amazin' prime service — that if you signed up you would have access to all this amazin' prime content.  Only after a long moment did I realize he meant Amazon Prime.

  • The Washington Post, September 13: "U.S. middle class incomes grew faster in 2015 than any year in modern history, new Census data show."  Coincidentally, the day after that report, I was sitting in a restaurant in one of the Bay Area's few Republican enclaves and heard three one-percenters at the next table grumbling about how much harder it is to find employees these days than it was a few years ago — that you couldn't just post a listing and get five hundred qualified, desperate applicants anymore.  Now you just get a handful of college students.  And when you do hire someone, one of them lamented, a few months go by and that person leaves for a better job, and you're back at square one!

    (I suspect that this anecdote may be re-run when my presidents series reaches Barack Obama in 2028 or thereabouts.)

  • Speaking of presidents, I was teaching at Berkeley High and saw a flyer advertising a "Berkeley High for Hillary" club.  What struck me about it is that it was set in the custom "Unity" font the Hillary Clinton campaign has been using in virtually all its materials since it launched.  Savvy!

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