Yesterday I was standing in the kitchen eating my lunch while listening to Dave Barry on Topical Currents and thinking this is no way to consume a meal. But then it occurred to me that the latest thing in the workplace is the stand-up desk, or, in some offices, the treadmill desk. Sitting, someone has said, is the new smoking. So I started to feel better about eating my beef and broccoli while on my two feet. So much better, in fact, that I thought of opening a restaurant with high-top tables and not a single chair. It would allow diners to communicate with wait staff eye-to-eye, and minimize, if not eliminate, under the table dealings. And, when the check arrived, people would be in prime position to fight for it.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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reading widely

02/26/15 08:32

The best present I received this Christmas was a year's subscription to The Spectator. Magazines make great gifts because they're repeated throughout the year (52 times in the case of the Speccie.) And the Speccie is that rare magazine that can improve my mood. Following the High Life columnist in the back is the Low Life columnist - which tells you all you need to know about its editorial spirit.

I also learn things in every issue, and not just about British politics. A recent article in the Arts pages about the classic Coca-Cola bottle informed me that the name of my country's most famous export came from the coca leaf (which I knew) and the kola nut (which I didn't). And that the bottle was designed to mimic the shape of said nut. "What knows he of America," to paraphrase Kipling, "who only American publications reads?"

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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nose damage

02/25/15 09:03

I pointed out to my dermatologist some flakiness at the tip of my nose and before you could say Michael Jackson he was sticking three needles in my proboscis, each sharp prick bringing an involuntary tear to my eye. It was a bit like having all your nose hairs plucked in three goes.

I expected the usual excision of the offending material, though the excess of needles should have been a warning. As soon as the desensitization took effect, the doctor got to work on an area that extended far beyond the original flakiness. I couldn't feel, but I could hear his vigorous labor, and it sounded like someone scraping ice off a windshield, except the windshield was my nose and the ice was my skin. It went on much longer than I had hoped, though I was happy to hear that the cancer had been caught early, before it had gone deeply into the skin, and I wouldn't lose part of my nose to the scalpel. Last night, when I removed the bandage, I looked as if I had just competed in a hands-tied-behind-your-back blueberry pie eating contest.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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single-minded

02/24/15 08:56

People who complain about traffic spend too much time in their cars.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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oscar night

02/23/15 09:36

I agreed with the friend who posted "worst Oscars ever" even though I wasn't sure if he was referring to the hosting or the voting. The show is always long, but this year it was as tedious as, well, Birdman. Take out Harris' lame bit about his pre-show predictions and they would have saved a good 10 minutes. As for the movies, the only category I can speak of with any authority is "Live Action Shorts," having seen every one of them at Cinema Paradiso on Saturday, and the weakest of the five, The Phone Call, about an emergency help line, took the Oscar. This was the year for socially relevant films. OK, every year is the year for socially relevant films. My only pleasure of the night was seeing Ida win best foreign film and listening to the acceptance speech by its director, Pawel Pawlikowski, who showed that you can go overtime and still be charming. It should be required viewing for next year's host.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Uncategorized
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clueless

02/20/15 10:39

I recently met a self-published travel book author who had never heard of Paul Theroux. Are there novelists, even self-published, who've never heard of Hemingway?

By Thomas Swick • Category: writers