Hot Air: Tuesday Torrents

Telling Tales

Yesterday I heard two stories. I won’t reveal the names of the people involved. Their identities don’t matter.

A business person in town had a lunch meeting — a business lunch meeting — set up with an Indiana University faculty member. The faculty member sent the business  person an email several days before the meeting saying a student who knows of the business person would love to attend the lunch meeting. The business person emailed back something on the order of Yeah, let’s make it a threesome.

The teller of the tale assures me the threesome reference not only was innocent, the business person was utterly oblivious at the moment of its potential to be taken differently.

The faculty member emailed back, Sure, the student would be thrilled, so the date was on. It was clear, after all was said and done, that the faculty member had conveyed the invitation by mouth to the student.

The day before the meeting, the business person sent a reminder email to the faculty member. Only the reminder email was sent with the previous emails still attached. The faculty member forwarded the reminder — with the attachments — to the student.

Next thing anybody knew, the student fired off an email to the business person saying, I find your language inappropriate. Therefore I will not be attending the meeting.

Who’s The Villain

Now let’s consider another tale. Again, I have to play coy with identities. Two people were meeting at a Bloomington restaurant, a real local institution. One of the people is a regular patron of the place. This regular patron is treated like a member of the family, the waitstaff going so far as to hug him every time he comes in. So, the regular patron’s friend arrived and marveled that he was being treated so royally. Yeah, the regular patron said, they love me here. The waitresses hug me every time I come in!

A few moments later, the shift manager appeared at the table. A nearby customer, the manager said, has complained that the man used inappropriate language. Would the man, the manager requested, please refrain from using such inappropriate language?

Both these stories are textbook triggers. Taken at face value, they’re evidence that the language police are everywhere. Not everything can be taken at face value, though. What details, what inflections, what winks and nudges were omitted?

I’m not going to reveal my reactions because, honestly, they’ve varied even as I’ve typed this entry.

The truest thing I can say is they’ve made me think. I hope they’ve made you think as well.

Riding The Bus

Addison (L) & Lewis Rogers

The boys from Busman’s Holiday are going on tour. The Rogers boys, Addison and Lewis, are set to wow ’em beginning in Chicago at Subterranean in Wicker Park on November 3rd and then on through the Midwest, the mountain states, and into the far west, hitting Seattle, San Francisco, and LA before swinging back east through the South and winding up at HiFi in Indianapolis on the 21st.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Addison Rogers just might be the nicest guy you’ll ever meet in your life. Every time I run into him, I feel as though I should up my civility game. I ask myself, Is it necessary for me to be such a curmudgeon, such a contrarian, every day of the year?

‘Course, if I really took that Q. to heart, I’d have ditch my identity as the Big Talker and reinvent myself as the Polite Talker.

No way, babies!

Drugs For Sale

The word pharmaceutical these days often is as weighted with contempt and disdain as, say, Boilermaker. The Big Pharma outfits, to be sure, are, at heart, corporations. And the raison d’etre of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. In fact, the law demands corporate decisions be made, to a large extent, with an eye solely towards increasing shareholder value.

Some people go so far as to suggest the major pharmaceutical firms are actively working against the public good, holding back drugs that can cure cancer or foisting unnecessary painkillers and antidepressants on unsuspecting patients no matter what the unintended consequences might be.

That said, the newest and most efficacious drugs are being stirred up in Big Pharma labs as well as those of university researchers — who, anyway, are largely financed by said Big Pharma outfits.

So is America’s pharmaceutical-industrial complex an angel or a devil?

Bloomington’s Science Cafe people talk about one aspect of medicine manufacture in this holy land tomorrow night, 6:30pm, at Bear’s Place, 1316 E. Third St. The topic: Why Is It So Hard to Develop Safe and Effective Drugs?

I don’t recommend you dash over to Bear’s so you’ll immediately sympathize with the likes of the Eli Lilly or AmGen or Novartis. They don’t need your sympathy. But as a beneficiary of certain elixirs created by big corporate drug makers — the proof: hey, I’m alive, aren’t I? — I’d hope at least some strident anti-Big Pharma people would come to understand the dual nature of the people who make — and profit, handsomely — from modern medicines.

My answer to the angel/devil conundrum? Both.

Eight Miles High

Back in 1966, when this Byrds song first hit the charts, Top 40 radio DJs and acid freaks had a field day with it. At about the same time, The Association’s “Along Comes Mary,” a paean to pot, charted. After years of denying 8MH was a double-entendre, songwriters Gene Clark and David Crosby admitted that, yes, they were warbling about turning on. And ACM’s penner, Tandyn Almer, turned out to be bipolar and very likely loved his weed because it evened him out, at least for the nonce.

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