THE BLOG

Chaos, Brian Williams, Vests and Other Fripperies

03/24/2015 02:53 pm ET | Updated May 24, 2015

Suggested title for Gen. David Petraeus
biography: "The Sword and the Penis."
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In an attempt to fill NBC's Brian Williams void, CBS news anchor Scott Pelley is quoted in the LA Times saying, "I don't think it's appropriate for journalists to appear on entertainment programming.... that's a big red line for me." And yet he has been on The Late Show with David Letterman, who might be surprised to learn he's not entertaining.
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How many remotes do you have for your TV? If you're like many homes, there could be as many as five different ones for just one screen.
There's the one that turns it on.
The one for volume only.
The one for changing channels.
And one that controls the Roku.
The fifth does something -- not quite sure what -- but when you touch it, it undoes one of the other four.
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The need for chaos. That discordant, cluttered, messy and unsettling condition we call chaos is actually an important benefit for all of us. It doesn't matter how organized you are, how anal-retentive you may be, like millions of us, we have a place in our lives where chaos is not only accepted, it's welcomed. It's generally in our homes. How about that kitchen drawer where you throw all the singular items that defy categorization -- which is why we call it a
'catch-all drawer.' Or there's the garage or attic, if there is one. Where else are you going to stash the Christmas tree stand, the unused typewriter, the large exercise bouncy-ball you bought three years ago, or the troll-gnome statue you got for your birthday. And you can forget about that closet you don't dare open too quickly.

The nub is this: the messy places make the rest of order work. When Navajos weave one of their well-ordered, geometrically closed-pattern rugs, a flaw, a thin line leading OUT of the pattern is always built in. It's a display and acceptance that we are not perfect. Embrace the chaos.
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If James Bond spy stories are up your alley, then you might get particular satisfaction from an actual, real life spy thriller that, ironically, includes Bond's real-life creator, Ian Fleming. It's Ben Macintyre's A Spy Among Friends, the riveting real-life narrative about the 20th century's most successful spy - and he worked for the bad guys. Listening to the audio edition, well told by veteran audiobook narrator, John Lee, you might find yourself actually admiring Fillby's Pierce Brosnan-like charm, daring and ability.
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Q: Whatever happened to the exer-cycle you bought a while ago because of some aspirational resolution?
A: It's in the bedroom as a hanger for discarded clothing.
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It used to be a standard part of the male wardrobe, the mark of the well-dressed, desk-bound, white-collar man in the grey flannel suit. It's the VEST. If you're caught wearing one nowadays, especially while shopping at any large store, you won't generate any compliments but you will be asked where the school supplies are located. So sad.
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Too many city drivers believe their car's turn-signal lever is a vestigial device best ignored.
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Q: What's the most frequently heard phrase
on AT&T's mobile service?
A: "C A N Y O U H E A R M E!"