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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, dead at 84

Posted by: Hammer / 8:17 AM

One might as well look for diamond tiaras in the gutter as rewards and punishments in life that are fair.

I don't know why that passage has hung with me so long. Staring at it, the sentence is not particularly insightful. I think I enjoy it because it captures a part of Vonnegut's spark -- that life can really suck. But don't stop laughing at it.

This traditional bit covers appropriate ground. BBC version.

Spot and Atrios share their thoughts. The best tribute I've read so far is here.

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This truly saddens me. I am a big Vonnegut fan and spent many hours during the college years tracking down early editions of his works and pouring through them. It was a culumination of many things; college, working in a library, being at the U and all the politicall things that being a student at the U entails, working along side doctorates, etc. To this day I will always be able to pick up a Vonnegut book and laugh my ass off.

My personal favorite is Bluebeard. I recommend it highly. While Bluebeard never received the attention of Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, or Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut's characters and situations in that book are an all too true realism of what happens in life.

If you haven't read Vonnegut before, please, pick up something, anything. All of his work is an easy read, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

By Anonymous Ba Ha Ha, at 9:39 AM  

I recall Vonnegut telling the story of how he was one of the first Saab dealers in the US. He had a number of problems making a profit:

1) The phone company wouldn't let him list the business as "Saab Cape Cod" as they had a rule against using a product name as the first word of a listing. He had to use the more pedestrian "Cape Cod Saab." It just didn't sound right.

2) Saab included in their sales literature copious information about how they built airplane engines for the Nazis during WWII, which in post-war America wasn't an ideal sales pitch.

3) Unlike American auto makers, they set a fairly low retail price, and expected consumers to pay that. Americans were used to haggling down from an artificially high sticker price.

So, how did he make a profit? "We screwed them on the radios."

By Blogger Foureyes McFloodpants, at 10:02 AM  

As teh former owner of several Saabs it makes me happy somehow that he sold them ratehr than say Hondas. What did Rabbit Angstrum sell, does anyone remember?

so it goes.

By Blogger Jambo, at 1:47 AM  

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