Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/19/16: A Malcolm Gladwell Day, Friendliest Cashier Ever, Commemorating David

1.  As I made some breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, put my laundry away, and reorganized drawers in my dresser, Malcolm Gladwell, yes, Mr. Outlier, Mr. Blink, Mr. Tipping Point. He was in my head by way of my ear buds, his voice coming out of my smartphone, as I listened to episodes of his podcast, Revisionist History, here.

In "Food Fight", Gladwell looks at the impact that serving students gourmet food has on whether Bowdoin College can admit intelligent students who are not of the upper middle class or upper class, in contrast to Vassar College, which serves students in its dining hall lousy food, but is committed to helping less affluent students attend its school.

In "My Little Hundred Million", Gladwell wonders why ultra-wealthy donors give their money to schools like Princeton or Stanford who are already very rich (and don't need the money) rather than to poorer schools for whom such gifts would be transformative -- and would be of great help to students of lesser financial means.  I loved listening to Gladwell contrast soccer, a weak link sport, to basketball, a strong link sport, as a way of illustrating the good that might be done if wealthy donors invested in schools who really need their money.

In the last episode I listened to, "Blame Game", Gladwell calls into question whether the unintended acceleration problem that plagued Toyota several years ago was a mechanical problem in the automobile. Gladwell argues it might very well have been a driver problem.

I find Gladwell fascinating -- I have a grain of salt by my side as I listen to him -- but, then again, no matter what I read or listen to, I keep that grain of salt nearby.

2.  I don't know her name, but she is about the same age as the Deke and I and she works the register at the liquor store half of Old Line and she always greets the Deke and me in the friendliest possible way. Today, the Deke and I came to the Old Line separately and the friendly cashier greeted me and wondered where the Deke was.  I told her. Later, she saw the Deke headed back to the Old Line Bistro, but was busy and couldn't say "hi!" from her work station, so, a little while later, she made a special trip to the bistro, came to our booth, and greeted the Deke.  No wonder we love this place.

3. Had he not died in November, 2009, today would have been the Deke's brother David's 58th birthday. To commemorate the occasion, the Deke and I raised shots of Maker's Mark in his honor at the Old Line Bistro.  Our server, Liz, took this picture:

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