Little Things

Ok, so there's this:

Several years ago, Sheryl Crow apparently (satirically) advocated for 1-square of toilet paper per trip per person.  This little tidbit of information came up in a debriefing meeting for work last week (why?  WHY?), and the ones spreading the news were sharing it as though it were a serious assertion on Crow's part.  But it got me thinking:  one square?  That's serious economy.  And it implies a certain type of toilet paper has been purchased, which just underscores the class divide in environmental issues.  I don't care how "green" you are, there are some toilet papers that would not hold up in a one-square wipe.  I'm just sayin'.

Also this:

Ernest Hemingway, of the big gun fame, apparently had a a big heart as well.  In this month's Harper's, there is a letter (made available by the JFK Presidential Library's Hemingway Collection) written soon after Hemingway had to put his cat down after a bad injury.  The cat, Uncle Willie, had been hit by a car or some other heavy object and had walked home on two broken legs.  In the letter, Hemingway conveys that amazing feeling of animal loyalty: "But he purred and seemed sure that I could fix it."  Hemingway knew he could not, so he made the cat comfortable and shot him.
Monstruo wished to shoot him for me, but I could not delegate the responsibility or leave a chance of Will knowing anybody was killing him.
And then, at the end, he writes
Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and have loved for eleven years.  Nor anyone that purred with two broken legs.
Aaagh.  Beautiful.

And finally this:

This week's Time cover article is on The American Dream.  I teach this issue in a class on American Values, and though I'm not teaching that class this fall, I'm entirely interested in what Jon Meacham has to say on the issue.   What do you think?  Is the American Dream still alive?  Was it ever really?

That is all. 


  1. I got a little choked up at that Hemingway story. I never would have expected that!

    1. Agreed, Teresa. It is unexpected, yet somehow not considering the now-famous cats at his Key West place. Either way, it speaks to the animal lover in me as well as the realist.

  2. I've long loved Hemingway, even with his bad boy-ness. Thanks for sharing the letter. It's lovely.

    As for the article, I'm off to read it, as when I teach American Lit, I frame it around the idea of the American Dream.

    1. I'd be interested to hear what you think once you've read it. I was fascinated to read the original quote that inspired the phrase: "that American dream of a better, richer, and happier life for all our citizens of every rank which is the greatest contribution we have as yet made to the thought and welfare of the world." It doesn't mention hard work or conditional clauses at all - just that every person (of every rank) would have hope of a better future. Sounds almost socialist to this dreamer. :)