This article is part of the The Great Authors Series series.
I learned from a Russian sailor I met at a sockhop in Cairo that the difference between Russian submarines and American submarines is a matter of redundancy, which is to say that while American submarines bundle up for winter with all sorts of thermal underwear, jackets, and overcoats, a Russian submarine is more like a plain piece of toast and you only have honey to put on it. Not everyone likes honey. But if you have a rich, buttery brioche toast, with fresh, sweet cream and peaches you can see why Hobbes would want you to take America to war in Syria.
I was watching the Preakness from Vikram Pandit's marble-floored RV when I got a Skype from Peter Orszag. He wanted to know what I thought about Bentleys. My opinion: overpriced for what you're getting. I'll take a good Mercedes any day of the week. Just as comfortable, just as slick, but you're not paying the premium for something custom. It's all about knowing where to find a suitable replacement. I wouldn't suggest a Toyota Camry to Peter Orszag, that's ridiculous, but you'll realize that it also depends on your perspective. For a gender-oppressed child working as a ship breaker in Alang you can bet a Toyota Camry might as well be the Space Shuttle, but that's changing as more and more AIDS children with rickets and no arms also learn to download apps to their jailbreaked iPhone castoffs. America's garbage is India's gold. So if a Bentley is too expensive, then you don't have to go to Philly to have a great cheese steak. Try the Philly Cheese Steak Stacker, with cheese and grilled steak and onions. It's adequate.
Sometimes I dream that I'm sitting in the back of the defunct Weinermobile as it careens driverless down the highway. At first I thought this was symbolic of the powerlessness I feel in life, but then I realized it's actually the Weinermobile's dream of being able to drive again.
Three years ago, when we were burying my uncle, Cleaver and some gross lady dog (Solstice???) showed up at the cemetery and starting going at it really loudly. It ruined everything and we had to have a "re-do" the next day and it cost a fortune. I've hated him ever since for that.
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