Warning: Don’t Read ‘Athwart’ While Eating!

 

I usually read while I eat.  At breakfast, it’s the morning newspaper from the day before.  At lunch, it’s any magazine on the kitchen table.  A few minutes ago, I was getting caught up on the National Review.  I was reading @jameslileks’ “Death of Venice” from his column “Athwart.”  I was chuckling as I read along, until I came to his father’s description of the Navy shower.

My hand clamped over my mouth just in time, because I simulatenously screamed in laughter while trying to spray out a partially-masticated bite of hot dog.  I dare you to see if you can hold food in while reading it (here’s the link).

There are 24 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Yep, dat Lileks feller is heap big funny.

    • #1
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Lileks is hilarious.

    • #2
  3. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    Now I know the proper way to describe a really cold shower.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Lileks is hilarious.

    You should have dinner with him.  We did on an NR cruise.  The man has an amazing amount of knowledge . . .

    • #4
  5. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Stad (View Comment):
    The man has an amazing amount of knowledge . . .

    It isn’t the knowledge, it’s the outlook.

    • #5
  6. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Can’t read it without a NR subscription. Interestingly, I have a Kindle NR subscription and will go read it there, but have never been able to read paywall articles on the NR website because I’m not an official “member.”

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Can’t read it without a NR subscription. Interestingly, I have a Kindle NR subscription and will go read it there, but have never been able to read paywall articles on the NR website because I’m not an official “member.”

    Odd, I’m a member, but I’ve never logged onto the web site.  How does it know I’m a member?

    Magic . . .

    • #7
  8. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    Can’t read it without a NR subscription.

    Must be just you.  I followed the link with no trouble.

    • #8
  9. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Yes, I would have been airborne.

    • #9
  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Stad,

    Extremely funny. You don’t think that somebody might accidentally bump Greta right into the canal? Why does this thought please me so?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I had no trouble reading it either.

    • #11
  12. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    Can’t read it without a NR subscription.

    Must be just you. I followed the link with no trouble.

    Probably because they give you several “free” articles and I’ve used mine. Read it on the Kindle this afternoon and it’s funny.

    • #12
  13. Kim K. Member
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    I was recalling this bit to my husband and son and made quite a fool of myself trying to tell it and laughing hysterically at the same time. When I was finally able to get it out they had the same reaction.

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I will add one tidbit of info.  I was an officer on a nuclear submarine, and we did have hot water.  In fact, our type (688 class, 700 subclass) produced more potable water than the crew could use, so at times we had to secure potable water production.

    One anecdote:

    Whenever the boat rigged for reduced electricity (usually as part of a drill), all the breakers for the hot water heaters were opened by the crew.  When we secured from the drill, all the water heater breakers were supposed to be shut.  In the spirit of practical jokes, the crew would “forget” to shut the breakers for the officers’ head, as well as the one for the CO and XO’s head.  The first time the CO took a cold water shower after a drill, he managed to get the reduced electricity bill changed to leave their water heater on, but not ours.  We still had to check the breaker shut ourselves . . .

    • #14
  15. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Thanks for the recommendation. I laughed at that paragraph until I cried.

    • #15
  16. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    One reason for Vennices troubles of late is that the city has litterally sunk down several inches over the course of the 20th century. The cause for this was the pumping of water from the aquifer underneath the city in the early half of the century to supply extra water to people and industry on the main land. I think by the 70s they realized what was happening but the damage was done. As to climate change, the issue of course isnt that flooding will be higher but more frequent. Still the best solution would be to build up a sea wall to keep the water out of the lagoon. However the tide is what clears out the water from the lagoon everyday. If you restrict it you will build up pollutants and Venice’s lagood risks becoming late 19th century Thames…

    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out… 

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out… 

    Good point.  They have turned anti-tourist, so they should take their art and other tourist attractions out of the city and put them somewhere safe for people to view.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out… 

    For that matter, do we need federal flood insurance that just provides incentives for people to rebuild in flood-prone areas?   

    • #18
  19. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    The man has an amazing amount of knowledge . . .

    It isn’t the knowledge, it’s the outlook.

    The knowledge, the outlook and the way with words

    • #19
  20. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out…

    For that matter, do we need federal flood insurance that just provides incentives for people to rebuild in flood-prone areas?

    A process of natural selection seems like the best course of action in all things, and ultimately the underlying driver of all human behavior. Why struggle against the natural course of things except out of pride and hubris. 

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out…

    For that matter, do we need federal flood insurance that just provides incentives for people to rebuild in flood-prone areas?

    A process of natural selection seems like the best course of action in all things, and ultimately the underlying driver of all human behavior. Why struggle against the natural course of things except out of pride and hubris.

    They don’t call them the Darwin Awards for nothing.

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out…

    For that matter, do we need federal flood insurance that just provides incentives for people to rebuild in flood-prone areas?

    A process of natural selection seems like the best course of action in all things, and ultimately the underlying driver of all human behavior. Why struggle against the natural course of things except out of pride and hubris.

    That’s OK for dealing with the little people, but when it comes to the ruling class we must take action to preserve their assets.   

    • #22
  23. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Thanks! I appreciate the link & kind words. And I love Venice. If only I could go there when there aren’t any tourists. The quantity of artwork in the churches is astonishing. 

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But honestly let’s ask ourselves does it really matter if Venice sinks into the sea? I mean it wont be the first city to do so…what’s one more after all these years. We have photos, and we can always move the art out…

    For that matter, do we need federal flood insurance that just provides incentives for people to rebuild in flood-prone areas?

    Or areas prone to mudslides, wildfires, Democrat politicians . . .

    Hey, I could go for that last one!

    • #24

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