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04/19/2015

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I laughed at "loosey-goosey Episcopalian," which iirc is in fact the case. Though I read an interview with her which was done not too many years before she died, and quite a few years after AWIT was written, in which she sounded more orthodox than I would have expected.

I read the book as an adult and liked it ok, but not enthusiastically. I remember thinking "gnostic." But more importantly, I didn't find the story as enthralling as many people apparently do.

What is a road out for some is a road in for others

I read Wrinkle in junior high. I recognized the Christianity. Although I was glad about it, it didn't have much effect on me. My appreciation at the time was more philosophical--I was heavy into science fiction and loved dystopia stories. It was one of my favorite books. It was also the first fantasy book I read with appreciation--even before the Hobbit. Unless you count the Mushroom Planet books as fantasy.

When I read it aloud to my kids, I was less impressed. The gnosticism was more apparent and had become unattractive to me. I think I had in the mean time begun the healing of spirit/matter dualism in my thinking. I'm still working on that.

I've read several of the other books. Each one was weirder and less satisfying than the last. The one about Noah is just plain outside the pale. I never recommend the other books to my children, even if they read Wrinkle.

I'm in favor of love, mind you.

As for one person's path in is another's out, I know a guy who was drawn out of Christianity and into paganism through an intense devotion to Tolkien. How that Works, I can't say. It may have had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons.

I think it's notable that those who read the book as children liked it better than those who read it as adults. Sally, who read it at about the same age as Grumpy I think, really loves it. The first I ever heard of Madeleine L'Engle was at a talk that a friend of mine gave at our parish when I was in my early 30s. I like it okay, but I had already Tolkien, Lewis and MacDonald by then, so it just was not in the same class. I know my oldest daughter read her books but I'm not sure about the rest of them. I'm sure my youngest must have read some because she read everything.

I think the Murry books got progressively worse, but it's long time, so I'm not sure how much worse. I really don't care for the Austin Family books.

AMDG

I got the feeling looking at them in that bookshop in Toronto in 2000 that they were progressively worse

It would have meant little to me in my thirties. But at the age of nine I had never heard that love could defeat evil

Loosey-goosey Episcopalianism was definitely a road in for me, and I remain appreciative, though it's hard not to mock it sometimes, especially in its zanier manifestations.

"I had better get into telling you something good about this book, or else you will be thinking that I chose L’Engle as one of LODW’s 52 authors of the year in order to have a go at the Anglicans, with their angelism, disembodied imaginations, borderline Christian Science dysfunction and broad tendency to melodrama."

LOL!

"Many scenes had stayed with me in the forty years between my readings of the book. One of them was Mrs. Murry making a delicious dinner for her children on a bunsen burner, while she works on some scientific experiment."

Love it!

"I read all the good children’s literature of the 1960s. I read many better books, including John Tremaine, Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret. But this book is most certainly the one which lit the flame in my mind which led me to the Trinitarian God of love."

Wonderful. :)

Thank you, Grumpy, that was beautiful.

I'm in the read-it-as-a-child camp, but I didn't love it quite as much. I loved Meg, and I had a crush on Calvin, but Mrs. Murry was too good to be true. Also, I was really annoyed by Meg including Jesus along with Buddha and Einstein as just another light in the darkness. (Or does that happen in the next book?)

I agree that the Murry books get worse and worse, and the Austin ones are mostly unspeakable to begin with.

The scene where Calvin quizzes Meg made me laugh as a kid. She aces all the math and science questions, but when asked the capital of NY state, answers, "New York City, of course!" Now it makes me think, "Needs to be homeschooled!"

On the plus side, I'd had my share of bland "God is love" catechism and I was deeply moved by Meg's love being an action, and a hugely effective one at that. I can't imagine what it must have been like for someone new to the idea that love can conquer evil. I am sure you are right that the power of that scene is what makes all the sequels inferior.

They will later see him being punished for his misdemeanor by IT, the delegate of the Evil One to whose mechanical heart beat every person on Camatzotz is attuned.

Oh, how prophetic that decades before we did our work on computers, she called the enemy IT. How often they have punished me!

Of course, we know that Maclin is not one of those.

AMDG

But at the age of nine I had never heard that love could defeat evil

There is something really beautiful about that phrase, Grumpy. I may have to write something about it.

AMDG

As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes. Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the houses. Like the paths. Like the flowers. Then the doors of all the houses opened simultaneously and out came women like a row of paper dolls.

That reminded me a lot of the 1960s song, "Little Boxes", all about the "ticky tacky" conformism of the middle class:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same. ...

Anne-Marie, I was a bit surprised by that 'Jesus and Buddha and Einstein' phrase when I re-read the book, but when I first read it, a non-Christian person from a non-Christian home, it would have helped me to get into it. Like I said above, there's a road in and a road out, and it can be the same road. If you don't know anything about Jesus, hearing that he's a great light like Buddha and Einstein is a promising start.

It's funny, that Buddha and Einstein and Jesus bit is almost the only specific thing I remember about the book (it was probably the mid-1980s when I read it, late '80s at latest). I can't say it spoiled the book for me, because it comes toward the end and I hadn't been very enthusiastic about it before that point. But it did hit me as a sour note. I had been Catholic for maybe 5 to 7 years at the time, and an increasingly orthodox Episcopalian for a few years before that. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have given it any thought at, say, age 10.

I was slightly startled by "IT", Janet. Pretty funny that it's become the real-world shorthand for soulless technology by a perfectly reasonable and non-ironic route.

Re "Little Boxes"--I was going to say that L'Engle's perfectly regulated world probably owed more to the pervasive complaining about "conformity" in which people such as loosey-goosey Episcopalians would have been big participants than to the shadow of communism.

I was certainly among the complainers, too, and I remember hearing that song in my early teens and thinking "yeah." But looking at it now it strikes me quite differently: somewhat snobbish, another instance of what I've often noted, that the left only likes the little man as long as he's very poor.

I like her "Turn Around" and "What Have They Done to the Rain" much more.

In line with the "conformity" thing, L'Engle's granddaughter just gave the Wall St. Journal "an unknown three-page passage [in Wrinkle] that was cut before publication":

Many readers, then and now, have understood the book’s dark planet Camazotz—a regimented place in which mothers in unison call their children in for dinner—to represent the Soviet Union. But the passage discovered by L’Engle’s granddaughter presents a more nuanced worldview.

In it, Meg has just made a narrow escape from Camazotz. As Meg’s father massages her limbs, which are frozen from a jarring trip through space and time, she asks: “But Father, how did the Black Thing—how did it capture Camazotz?” Her father proceeds to lay out the political philosophy behind the book in much starker terms than are apparent in the final version.

He says that yes, totalitarianism can lead to this kind of evil. (The author calls out examples by name, including Hitler, Mussolini and Khrushchev.) But it can also happen in a democracy that places too much value on security, Mr. Murry says. “Security is a most seductive thing,” he tells his daughter. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.”


I must look at that. I'm glad I didn't get the WSJ at the weekend - I get it about once a month or twice. It would have distracted me from writing. I always thought old Madeleine was on the money!

Mac, I see your point. I find it horrifying when Catholics speak of Jesus as one revelation amongst others. It appals me when they speak like that, relativizing Jesus to one of many saviours.

But to a non-Christian, and I can speak from experience, to learn that the great men of history are not just famous guys, but lights shining in the darkness and fighting evil, well, that came to me as a thrilling revelation.

That's why I began by saying that L'Engle is a loosey goosey Episcopalian. It was not to criticize her so much as to say that, from that position, she was able to perform an evangelical task which no one else is quite qualified to do. If you or I wrote like that we would be being dishonest.

Oh yeah, I understand completely. I'm just describing the experience of encountering it from the other side, so to speak: middle aged, orthodox. I don't mean to sound like I cried "anathema", either. More just an eye roll, or maybe a slight cringe.

It's really kind of funny the things that led me to where I am now that I wouldn't recommend to anyone.

AMDG

This is completely off topic, but I want to say this and I don't have any place else to say it. ;-)

Friday night I was with a group of friends and put forth an opinion that pretty much brought all conversation to a screaming halt. Then that night, I had a dream that my tongue was radioactive. ;-)

AMDG

For me a very decisive book was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig, which is hardly what I would call "orthodox," but it really helped me begin to think philosophically and, more importantly, humanly, which opened me up, then, to Newman and St. Bonaventure. I'll say more about this when I post about Newman this summer.

Yes Pirsig is great

What happened to my other comment?

AMDG

I never read Pirsig, and my reason was 100% pure prejudice.

Your radioactive tongue comment (very funny) was spam-caught, Janet. That still happens from time to time, mostly to me.

Well, maybe the spam catcher saw the word radioactive and thought the comment should be in containment.

AMDG

Mac, afraid he's too hippy-dippy?

Zen is better as a novel than as philosophy.

Yes, that makes sense, Janet.

I wouldn't have put it that way, Robert, especially as I was not much removed from hippy-dippy at that point myself (1972 or so?) It was probably a bit more like literary snobbery. It was the title, and it was also the people who were ga-ga over it. Also I think the big wave of pop-psych/self-help/new-age stuff was under way at the time and it sounded too much like that.

"the people"--not that they were themselves objectionable, they just didn't seem to be the sort who would have especially good judgment about books. I worked in a bookstore at the time so I heard a lot of people talking about it.

The sequel (or 'companion piece', as she called it) A Wind in the Door was more engaging. The science fiction and fantasy in the background was more biological than astrophysical (note the parents were, respectively, a physicist and a biologist).

The nexus of characters was repurposed for a series of novels with discrete story lines, the first of these The Arm of the Starfish. I read four of her novels ca. 1976 (one a passably realistic early effort called Meet the Austins and three from her Murry family set). I was a proto-adolescent, so the theological dimension did not hit me (even though my family belonged to a non-loosey-goosey broad church anglican parish). As others in my household acquired a box set of her later novels, I've looked at them. The character set was running out of steam (as you might imagine after three decades).

Not having much of a talent for appreciating literature, I'd have to say what left disgusted my adolescent self about Meet the Austins was the depiction of a family life so free of the poisons ordinary human beings bring to their domestic life. Later in life, having spent some time around academics (and having some academics and quasi-academics in my family tree), the preposterous qualities of the Murry's research careers hit me. It diminishes your appreciation of the book. With fantasy literature, a deft juxtaposition of the realistic and fantastical is the name of the game. A woman making original discoveries with a home laboratory in an old farmhouse in Maine while having no visible source of income or grant funding extends the fantasy too far...

Hello Art Deco! Its like the scientist in the Danny Dunne books

Didn't Danny's dad work for some kind of computer outfit? Like IBM or something?

I don't think Art is being entirely fair. When I was a child I read children's biographies of Marie Curie, and she seemed to be working out of her back yard, making radium out of lumps of coal. It's possible that that is how scientists did work in the early 20th and late 19th century. If L'Engle grew up on such stories too, her depiction of Mrs Murry would be based on the little she knew from factual books - even if they were out of date. Of course today it takes millions of dollars to set up an experiment. But it was not how experimental science was when L'Engle was growing up.

The guy Danny Dunne lives with (I think his mother is the housekeeper) is a mad experimental scientist working out of a lab in his back room.

One of my colleagues at work, who teaches English and is a Shakespeare scholar, told Ryan and I at lunch last semester that she was moved to become a scholar of English literature after reading 'A Ring of Endless Light'. I see it is one of the 'Austin' ones

http://www.amazon.com/Ring-Endless-Light-Austin-Chronicles/dp/0312379358

I was thinking about George Washington Carver. He used tin cans and glass jars.

AMDG

Yes, that's the only Austin one I read.
My daughter said it made her feel odd.
I knew what she meant, but I don't remember anything else now.

AMDG

Oh. Well, I haven't read the Danny Dunne books since grade school.

Now that Art mentions it, I think the alleged scientific accomplishments of the Murry family, and touches like the Bunsen burner cookery didn't sit well with me either. But again that was my reaction as an adult. I would have liked it at ten or twelve. I certainly never minded that the Hardy or Drew families weren true to life.

Re: Little Boxes vs. Camazotz
What Reynolds, Seeger, and their ilk didn't seem to realize is that the people in the little boxes, unlike the people on Camazotz, do not "all turn out the same." The bourgeois have hopes and challenges and virtues and vices in just as great a variety as enlightened progressives do.

Of course they do. I think there is a serious discussion to be had about the ways in which modern conditions tend to produce uniformity in all sorts of ways, but the criticism of the middle class by middle-class rebels is a fairly superficial part of it.

Robert, a year or so ago I was writing lots and lots of grant proposals with a postdoc guy who needed work and a central european professor who needed a sabbatical. We would invent projects for ourselves to do for these grant proposals. I used to say, 'we must not create a homework machine.' I was referring to my recollection of 'Danny Dunne and the HOmework Machine' in which the mad professor creates a kind of computer, and without the professor's knowledge the three children spend several months using it to do their homework. It's a primitive computer so they have to feed information into it. But the time they are caught out they are exhausted with the effort. They had actually been doing twice as much work as they would have done by just doing their own homework.

What I meant to say with this is that one does not want to create a grant building project which will take the Central European Professor his entire 'sabbatical' to perform, thus eradicating the purpose of having one (to write his own book). I meant to say that we should not invent projects for ourselves that no one actually wants to do. Once you get into the grant writing mode, you can easily just start inventing projects.

Because I kept using the phrase I then put 'homework machine' into google and bought the book from Abe books. The thing that struck me was that 'the homework machine' IS a primitive computer. I had not recognized it as such when I read the book 45 years ago.

On 'IT': In the 19th century, there was a common criticism of Romantic, pantheistic ideas of God, that they turned God into an 'IT' instead of a person. It was said in particular by Jewish Neo-Kantians. Later of course, in 1922 or so you have Martin Buber's comparison of I-Thou relations (where I treat the other as a person) with I-It relations (where I treat the other as a thing). Buber said that back of all I-Thou relations is the Eternal Thou - God.

A lot of people read Buber in the early 1960s. I can remember stacks of his books in the Greenwich Village bookshops. He wrote two volumes of Tales of the Hasids. It wasn't a hippy book, like Pirsig, but a lot of intellectuals and regular people read it. In his Letters to Malcolm, which is about 1963, Lewis' 'narrator' says 'Buber is really good isn't he'.

I would have thought that this is what filtered down and helped to create IT in L'Engle's imagination.

On Pirsig: I can remember when I was a teenager all kinds of stupid people would have a copy of 'Zen and the Art' with them. I thought only morons read it, and I was surprised when my professor assigned it in a class. He was good at chosing readings for secular people which led them in interesting directions. I read the book then, and was amazed that it is full of good ideas.

I used to try to assign it, years later, but it had gone out of date. The students could not identify with the problems Pirsig was raising. The great idea of the first few chapters of the book is that 'the Romantics' love to ride their motorcycles but they don't want to know how they work or how to fix them. But in fact, 'the Buddha' is inside the machinery of the motorcycle. I still think it's a great idea. And 'the Romantics' accurately nails many people of that generation and many people even down to including some a couple of years older than me. But these folks are the grandparents of my students. My students' generation turned out ultra practical, and they simply don't geddit with these people who don't want to know how things work.

Marianne, I looked at that WSJ piece and it's very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing.

http://www.madeleinelengle.com/madeleine-lengle/

But it was not how experimental science was when L'Engle was growing up.

L'Engle's schooling would have taken place during the period running from 1924 to 1940, at which time Marie Curie had largely retired from research. I'm fairly sure by that time that STEM research was conducted in universities, hospitals, industrial laboratories, and government laboratories, not by independent scholars working out of their house. (And Curie had affiliations to universities and industry). Also, L'Engle had papa Murray working intermittently for Brookhaven National Laboratories (founded in 1947), so her frame of reference likely was not Curie's research, which took place during the period running from 1890 to 1922.

If you look at the link above, you'll notice it refers to one of her residences: a Connecticut farm house for which the description is oddly familiar.

There was another aspect of this. Papa Murry was described as 'a PhD several times over' and mama Murry as a 'double PhD'. I once worked for an institution with a solitary double-PhD (and one other fellow working on one). It's not done, and the chap in question was not (apart from that) a notably accomplished scholar in either discipline. It certainly was not done in 1932, when a doctoral degree may have been expected for a position at a research university, but not for employment in higher education in general.

No I think you are missing my point, AD. Non-scientists get their idea of scientists from books. The image of the scientist which would have impressed itself on L'Engle's imagination as a child is exactly the scientist of a slightly previous era -that's why I said, if she grew up reading about Marie Curie - but it could be Thomas Edison or Carver.

Well, my father was an engineer. He worked on Apollo, on the doors for the spaceships (when people laugh at the fact that he worked on the doors, I'm thinking, how do you want the astronauts to get in and out?). He had several PhDs. He found it very funny. He did Mechanical Science Tripos at Cambridge, and later did research in Cambridge. But he didn't get a PhD there. But lots of American Universities awarded him doctorates - I don't remember which, but ones which seemed kind of risible to English people, like Iowa or Kalamazoo.

I have a colleague who has a PhD in theology and a PhD in some kind of science. It's rare but it's not nonexistent. Even in England, where they looked down on graduate degrees down until the 1980s CS Lewis talks in one of his letters to his father about getting another degree to 'add a string to my bow'. He was struggling to find University employment at the time and thought about taking a second advanced degree.

To me this double PhD thing is a made up objection, to rationalize why the book doesn't ring true to you.

My students' generation turned out ultra practical, and they simply don't geddit with these people who don't want to know how things work.

I wonder if that doesn't have to do with the fact that they grew up with computers. They basically had to teach themselves, too, because very few parents or teachers knew anything about them and then, there are no manuals lying around to teach you anything.

AMDG

But they don't know how they work. At all. But well, no, I guess you're right at the level of how to use them--they do, and they know the little features and tricks, where your typical "older person" is baffled. And they figure it out for themselves. I get some amusement out of that "older person, can't deal with computer" line.

The biggest difference I notice between younger (up into the 30s) and older (60+) is the willingness of the former to just punch at the thing until they figure it out. Older people tend to be afraid they'll break something. That's partly a tribute to the robustness of more recent software, especially in hand-held devices.

Yes thats all true

I wouldn't take L'Engle too much to task for the improbable scientific methods and achievements of the Murrys. It's after all a book for children, and not meant to be realistic. Thinking a bit more about my own reaction (again, as an adult), I believe it was the hint of being pleased with themselves that bothered me, not so much the apparatus.

the willingness of the former to just punch at the thing until they figure it out

Yes, that's what my son taught me when he was 12, and it's why I deal with computers better than most 64 year olds.

AMDG

Then there are people like this.

Some days that would be soooooo satisfying. In fact, I think that if I ever take up target shooting, I'll go to Goodwill and buy a bunch of old computers to use as targets.

We now have to clock in with a web-based payroll system. Also, we have been getting knocked offline constantly the last couple of weeks. A co-worker keeps saying it's the payroll program that's doing it. This is putting me in a distinctly uncharitable mood. I try to explain nicely, but to no avail.

AMDG

LEngle is certainly one of the Romantics Pirsig was writing about. But then my father was always amused by the fact that Asimov could not drive a car but had his characters parking space ships all over the galaxies

I think the point about the romnatic vs. classical thinking was for me the most important philosophical take-away from Zen. The whole "quality" and "Socrates was evil" thing, not so much. I think the "romantic" doer precisely rejects (not always intentionally) intelligibility.

Although I will say that, because of Pirsig, I am not as unreflexively critical of the sophists and rhetors as I might be.

To me this double PhD thing is a made up objection, to rationalize why the book doesn't ring true to you.

--

If it pleases you.

--

And, no, my objection is that she was insufficiently deft in juxtaposing the realistic with the fantastical. I liked the stories with some qualification.

I'm not understanding how you attribute her characterization to books you fancy she read ca. 1932 when she's penning a series published between 1962 and 1992, when she makes reference to institutions (Brookhaven) and situations (high-level federal involvement in scientific and technological research) that it's almost anachronistic to refer to in a story set prior to the war. Again, it's also a reasonable wager the house itself is modeled on a property she owned contemporaneously, so she draws something from her immediate environment.

But lots of American Universities awarded him doctorates - I don't remember which,
--
If he's spent 3 or 4 years working on a dissertation somewhere, I think you'd remember where.

but ones which seemed kind of risible to English people, like Iowa or Kalamazoo.

There are two research universities in Iowa and one in Kalamazoo. One established graduate courses in 1957 and one in 1959.

The first time I went to the US was to Kalamazoo. I planned half a day in Chicago on the way there, and half a day in Detroit on the way back, because I couldn't bear the thought that Kalamazoo might be the only place in America I'd ever have visited. (On the last day I ended up sleeping late and missing the half day in Detroit. Chicago was interesting though.)

A few months back I was reading a history of the science of nutrition. Something that amazed me was how much of the research, until about 1950, was actually being done out in the sticks, often by scientists effectively experimenting on themselves (notwithstanding institutional affiliation to a Cambridge college or such), even though by then there were already big commercial, government and university laboratories in operation.

Better to miss Detroit than Chicago, I'd say, although the only time I ever went to either of them was when I 13, and the only place I went was my relatives houses.

AMDG

My father himself did experiments just taking chunks of metal to the sea to see how different kinds of metal reacts to sea water - for instance. A guy at Aberdeen working on Alzheimers had the monks out at Pluscarden Abbey growing plants for him ascsome kind of experiment

Its like the steriotype of an artist as a guy in a smock in front of an easle comes from the 19th century

And really, what does it matter? I think the point was that they were an extraordinary family. They do things other people don't do. They live differently from other people.

I'm sure there are other examples of this in children's literature, but I am so tired at the moment, I can barely keep my eyes open, much less think.

AMDG

Janet, the link to your profile or website seems to be broken or outdated - do you have a better one?

How strange. Did you see I emailed you one a couple of days ago. I thought you might like to see the pool destroying process.

Anyway, try this.

AMDG

I think it clicks through from my name now too.

AMDG

"Well, my father was an engineer. He worked on Apollo, on the doors for the spaceships (when people laugh at the fact that he worked on the doors, I'm thinking, how do you want the astronauts to get in and out?)."

Classic.

"The biggest difference I notice between younger (up into the 30s) and older (60+) is the willingness of the former to just punch at the thing until they figure it out. Older people tend to be afraid they'll break something. That's partly a tribute to the robustness of more recent software, especially in hand-held devices."

At 45, I am something of a mix of these.

"In fact, I think that if I ever take up target shooting, I'll go to Goodwill and buy a bunch of old computers to use as targets."

Hehehe. Great idea.

"The first time I went to the US was to Kalamazoo."

And there was I thinking this was a made up place.

It is made up. Paul has never really been to America. ;-)

AMDG

When I was quite young, maybe as young as 4 or so, we had a children's book about a train that went "from Timbuctoo to Kalamazoo". That may have been the name of the book. It really stuck with me, obviously, and is pretty much my only the only association I have for either word.

Well, ok, so it didn't stick with 100% accuracy.

Seriously, Kalamzoo is a wonderful name for a city. I had heard it all my life and I was so excited when somebody I actually knew went there.

AMDG

Janet, yes, it is working now. So now I can see that you are the same Janet who wrote me about the pool :-)

Aha.

AMDG

No, it wasn't the book I linked to above, which is recent. It has to have been this one. And wouldn't you know, it's by Margaret Wise Brown.

It's too bad that it wasn't the first one and you don't still have it. Did you see it was selling for $999.10?

AMDG

There's also the musical hit during World War II: "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo."

Thats what I think of when I hear the word Kalamazoo

I'd never heard that.

No, I didn't notice that, Janet. I'm surprised it's not the MWB one that's valuable. When I was looking for that I ran across things suggesting that there is a collector's market for the original Little Golden Books.

Most of those ridiculously high prices on Amazon have no basis in reality, and I'm not sure why they're even allowed. I heard somewhere recently that some of them are actually a scam designed to dupe the affluent but elderly or otherwise uninformed shopper into buying something they want at an artificially inflated price.

bookfinder.com, which includes Amazon prices, is a much better gauge re: the value of books.

I've also read that it's due to some sort of algorithm whereby the seller sets his price to be some precentage in relationship to the highest seller of that product and the combination of more than one seller doing that can falsely inflate the price. I saw the math once and it made sense, but I couldn't possibly remember it.

Nobody would pay a thousand dollars for that book. You can probably find it for 50 cents at a used book sale.

AMDG

The very prestigious and wildly popular (In America, anyway) International Congress on Medieval Studies is in Kalamazoo.

Yes, Janet, that's true also, especially for those really high prices that make no sense.

Robert,

That's what Paul was doing in Kalamazoo.

AMDG

I'm always amazed at how much y'all know/remember about each other.

Well, I've known Paul for, I don't know, 12, 13 years-quite a while before I started commenting here. He has been to my house.

AMDG

He has sent me many, many books.

AMDG

Once when I was first learning to drive by myself here, and likewise learning to use the GPS, I went to Portage Michigan when I meant to go to Portage Indiana. I hadn't yet drive by myself to Chicago, and I didn't know enough about what the journey *should* look like to realize that this was all wrong. But even so, it didn't feel right. I'd driven in the general direction of Portage Indiana before, and this new trip did not remind me of anything I'd seen before. What Kept me going on and on toward the wrong Portage, was the constant presence of signs indicating that I was drawing closer to the fabled Kalamazoo.

And that was the first time I ever drove fast on the motorway. Down to then I had been a timorous driver at best. But now, sitting in the wrong Portage with my friend sitting at least an hour away in the right Portage, I turned around and did 80 in the fast lane all the way to the burger joint where he awaited me.

Nothing like the prospect of a burger with a friend to get one speeding on the freeway. :)

I said "speeding" but I'm not assuming you were over the speed limit.

Louise, If you have found someplace in the US where you can legally drive 80 mph, let me know where it is.

AMDG

According to Wikipedia:
Texas statutorily allows 80 mph (129 km/h) speed limits on I-10 and I-20 in certain counties named in the statute, each of which has a low population density.[129]

I knew if there was one it would be in Texas.

AMDG

I was told that in California, or at least in San Diego, there is a speed limit but there is also a 'maximum speed' - which seems to mean that 'you can go over the limit but you are *done* if you go over the maximum speed'. I think my informant said the maximum speed is 80...

I am not sure if I really did 80 on that trip from Portage to Portage in the autumn of 2012. I would have gone from timidly forcing myself to do the minimum of 55 on the motorway to 80 - that sounds implausible, in retrospect. I don't think I ever did over the Indiana/Illinois limits before about a year ago, when I'd been driving for two years.

I think the true story is that I did 70 for the first time and it felt like 80.

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