5th October 10
S. 12th’s late summer hiatus is over. I will soon issue a full report to shareholders on how my hiatus was spent.
On an unrelated note: while there are lots of movies about Harvard making the rounds this fall, there is only one movie about Harvard that S. 12th cares about. That said, would you send me some money to help fund a remake of Love Story starring the Winklevoss Brothers in the Ryan O’Neal role? Not the real ones; the CGI versions.
“I’m 6’5”, 220 pounds, and there are three of me.”
9th February 10
A few years ago, I had a combination TV/VCR that the previous tenant of my apartment had left behind when she moved out. I already had an old TV, and didn’t need a second, so I decided to get rid of it. The TV part still picked up broadcast television just fine, and the VCR part still played VHS tapes with no trouble, so it seemed reasonable that I could get about fifteen bucks for it on Craigslist. I posted an ad, with a photo, and it sat there for a few days with no responses. I considered putting it in the free section.
But then I thought about VCRs a little more carefully. Why would someone want a VCR when they could have a DVD player? I wished I could repost the ad in 1993, when people still needed VCRs.
Then I realized that I could. I rewrote the ad, and instead of a photo of the TV, I used a photograph of the Cheers title screen.
Then, instead of text describing what the TV/VCR looked like and how it worked, I wrote a little essay about how you could always record Cheers on a VCR, and watch the tape later. And that was how you interacted with Sam and Rebecca and Woody and Frasier, because maybe in the late ’80s and early ’90s you had to work late on Thursdays. You could come home at night and the gang at Cheers would be waiting for you. I suggested you could relive these times with the TV/VCR I had.
Almost immediately after reposting it, I got an email from a guy in one of the far-flung western suburbs, probably almost an hour out, who said he’d loved Cheers and that I should call him in the next thirty minutes. I did, and he made an appointment to stop by that afternoon to take a look. He asked me if I’d seen the recent special that Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman hosted.
Two hours later, he dropped by, and we spent fifteen minutes talking about our favorite episodes of Cheers. He was a fan of the episode where Lillith made Fraiser move into a cabin in the woods. I didn’t remember that one, but we both remembered the episode where the gang went sky-diving. He bought the TV/VCR for fifteen dollars.
I felt a little guilty initially, like maybe I’d fleeced this person by making him drive an hour into the city and preyed upon some treasured memories of a television program he’d loved for my own profit. But I don’t think this was the case, because the thing was, I really enjoyed talking about Cheers with the guy.
22nd January 10
“You can always count on a Democrat to get the job done.”
Democrat: 1 part cherry brandy, 1 part peach schnapps, 2 parts bourbon. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass. Top off with club soda and add two brandy-infused cherries.
21st January 10
It’s been a tough couple of days for Boston. First, this Scott Brown fiasco.1 Then, Erich Segal dies! Who is left now to tell the stories of Harvard and Radcliffe students in love? On top of all this, the Boston Globe reports that dwindling enrollment in Catholic schools in the Quincy area have left the Boston archdiocese no choice but to merge three previously independent schools. Faith and begorrah!
It’s no wonder that I received an email last night from an anonymous reader, based in the greater Boston area, who asked me to kindly stop picking on “Massachusettsholes.”
This reader is correct; tempers have flared. Wasn’t it a beloved Bostonian who once said, “Word to your moms / I came to drop bombs / I got more rhymes than the bible’s got psalms”? It was. But I am a conciliatory type of person.
The people of Boston are, in their essence, a good people. Read, for example, these incredibly kind words spoken by Langer, a soon-to-be-departing resident of the American Athens.
So to that end, I present to you here the Barbarians’ 1966 hit “Moulty.” It features the greatest use of a Bostard accent in American pop music history, and its lessons of perseverence and overcoming incredible odds are just the thing that Boston needs to keep in mind in these troubling times. It is a testament to the resilience and tunefulness of the people of the state that is sometimes called Taxachusetts. Play it loud!
1. What the hell kind of a name for a Massachusetts senator is “Scott Brown,” anyway? “Scott Brown”? Massachusetts senators have names like Winthrop Murray Cane and Leverett Saltonstall. “Scott Brown” is a name for a chronic nosepicker that sat behind you in 3rd grade in 1989, grew up to become a real estate agent in Terre Haute, Indiana and now continuously floods your Facebook live feed with information about his most recent accomplishments on Farmville.
20th January 10
Part two of me reading Erich Segal’s Love Story to you on the phone. Nate calls halfway through, but I let it go to voice mail, because Nate is the only person in the world who still leaves voice mails. Also, please pardon that gratuitous editorializing at the end. I was overcome with emotion.
Also, to my readers in Boston: please take photos of the piles of flowers that are bound to start showing up all over Harvard’s campus and submit them here.
20th January 10
Deborah passed along the awful news that Erich Segal, author of Love Story, died today. I am, as you know, an extremely sentimental person, so I will read you, over the phone, excerpts from the first chapter of this important classic.
20th January 10
Let's make one thing perfectly clear: "Federal and State government pay[s] those costs beyond the means of the individual who is insured..."
So guess who once cobbled together a better health care plan than the joke that is currently about to die an ignoble death in the Senate because a couple hundred thousand Massholes hopped up on Kurt Schilling and the collected works of House of Pain decided to send some waterboarding enthusiast to warm his buns in Ted Kennedy’s seat in the World’s Greatest Debating Society, instead of the usual faceless weenie limousine liberal who we needed to use as a cardboard-cutout doorstop to prevent a procedural “filibuster” that is not actually a “filibuster” in the strictest sense but is some kind of bureaucratic megatrickery derived from the fact that the Senate was specially constructed by Freemasons to ensure that only a mystical “supermajority” of 60 Senators and not 51 as logic would dictate can ensure the passage of any given piece of legislation?
Wait, what was the question again? I got a little lost in there.
Oh, right — who had a better healthcare proposal than Pelosi or Reid? The answer: Richard Nixon! Read all about it above! It’s superior in almost every way!
Richard Nixon! Richard Nixon is a better liberal than Harry Reid! Choke on that, 21st Century! Yes we can!
14th January 10
Anonymous asked: Do you have a girlfriend/"significant other"?
Funny you should ask. I’ll have to start at the beginning.
In the fall of my senior year, I got in the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library. Not just to eye the cheese, though I admit I liked to look. The place was quiet, nobody knew me, and the reserve books were less in demand. The day before one of my history hour exams, I still hadn’t gotten around to reading the first book on the list, an endemic Harvard disease. I ambled over to the reserve desk to get one of the tomes that would bail me out on the morrow. There were two girls working there. One a tall tennis-anyone type, the other a bespectacled mouse type. I opted for Minnie Four-Eyes.
“Do you have The Waning of the Middle Ages?”
She shot a glance up at me.
“Do you have you have your own library?” she asked.
“Listen, Harvard is allowed to use the Radcliffe library.”
“I’m not talking legality, Preppie, I’m talking about ethics. You guys have five million books. We have a few lousy thousand.”
“What makes you so sure I went to prep school?”
“You look rich and stupid,” she said, removing her glasses.
“What the hell makes you so smart?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t go for coffee with you,” she answered.
“Listen — I wouldn’t ask you.”
“That,” she replied, “is what makes you stupid.”
We went to a nearby sandwich joint.
“My name is Andy,” I said.
“First or last?” she asked.
“First,” I answered, then confessed my entire name was Andy Sturdevant.
In the pause that ensued, I gave inward thanks that she hadn’t come up with the usual distressing question: “Sturdevant, like the hall?” For it is my special albatross to be related to the guy that built Sturdevant Hall, the largest and ugliest structure in Harvard Yard, a colossal monument to my family’s money, vanity and flagrant Harvardism.
After that, she — actually, wait a second here.
You know, I’m thinking of something else.
This didn’t happen to me. I didn’t go to Harvard, now that I think about it. I am clearly confusing my own memories with the first chapter of Erich Segal’s 1970 New York Times bestseller Love Story. How embarrassing. Sorry about that.