It is not a sign of ignorance not to know the answers. But there is great merit in facing the questions. — Another, from Mamet, in True and False
It’s not that they are nostalgic; they are stunned. It went so quickly. — a great line from a favorite book, True & False by Mamet
The good is always going to be rare. It just is. The good is rare. The valuable stones are rare stones. The valuable elements are rare. Really good comedy is always going to be in very short supply. It’s the way of it. And, when people get all upset that there’s 900 channels but there’s not much good on, I always think, what the fuck did you expect? Why, just because we, in the last 40 years, invented technology that enables everyone to constantly be entertained on 600 different platforms, did you think humanity was suddenly going to get 600 times funnier and more talented? No. This is what we have. Truly great movies are always going to be in short supply and look how now you have all of these movies available to you all the time, but I’m still going back and wanting to watch The Godfather and Godfather II. I’m still wanting to watch the few movies that really mean something or speak or me or the novels that you’ve read. How many really funny American books have there been? There’s so few…. That’s the nature of it. — Conan on the scarcity of good, on one of my favorite podcasts, By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin
Reading the morning paper
Tea and a telephone call
Can Tho, Vietnam
Are we there yet?
Family ride to the market in Can Tho
Since moving to Shanghai and watching moments like this, I always wonder how the shift from bike to car affects family closeness. A bike forces it, at least in space and for the sake of safety. A car allows each member to retreat into his or her own seat. But with a bike, even when bored or annoyed or frustrated with family, we’re forced to hold on tight.
Clothes Dryer //
Every morning, my neighbor carefully washes her family’s clothes and places them on this tree. Every day the same, and always freshly washed shoes as well.
I was riding in a van with a television crew who was doing a piece on HONY. The cameraman, Duane, was behind the wheel. At one point he casually remarked on how bad the traffic was in Ethiopia.
"Ethiopia?" I asked. "What story were you working on there?"
"It wasn’t a story," he replied. "We were picking up our daughter.
He then told me the most amazing story. He told me that he and his wife were not able to conceive. “But I’d always resisted the idea of adoption,” he said. “My wife wanted to adopt right away, but I was just never sure if I’d be able to fully love a child that wasn’t my blood.” So time went on, and they remained childless.
Then one evening Duane was watching a television show with his wife. The show was about aid work in Ethiopia. “They were showing before-and-after photos,” he explained. “I remember this one girl. She was skin and bones. But she still had this amazing smile and spirit in her eyes. The aid workers rehabilitated her, and six months later, she looked like a normal little girl. Right then, I turned to my wife, and said: ‘I’m ready to adopt.’”
But it wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped. “At first I thought we needed an infant,” Duane explained. “I just couldn’t imagine missing out on all those early moments of our child’s life.” But for healthy infants, the waiting list was years. “So then we went we moved up to three or four year olds.” But still, the waiting list was one to two years. “The only children you could get immediately were seven and up, and who had physical handicaps of some sort. I just didn’t think I was ready for it.”
But then Duane and his wife went on vacation. And toward the end of the trip, “after a few drinks,” Duane’s wife brought out a brochure from the adoption agency. One of the pictures showed an unsmiling seven year old girl, standing against the pink wall of an orphanage. She had been blinded in one eye. “That’s our daughter,” Duane said.
Three years later after the Watkins adopted her, Chaltu has blossomed. She has grown over one foot, is fluent in English, and although blind in one eye, plays soccer, gymnastics, and basketball. She’s doing great at school, and has tons of friends. “She is the greatest daughter in the world,” Duane said.
“That’s an unbelievable story,” I told Duane. “Can I share it on HONY?”
“That’s fine with me,” he answered. Then he sort of stared at the ground for a second, shuffled his feet, and asked: “Would there be any possibility that you could help us raise the adoption fees to get her a brother? We’ve already found him, but aren’t financially ready yet.”
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