Waiting at the dentists' gives me a lot of time to read, too. It's so nice to be reading a book now I feel almost helpless to read--I've gotten as far into The Idiot in a few days as it took me months to get into The Satanic Verses. Yesterday I read Prince Myshkin telling the story to the Yepanchin women about the children he knew in the village he'd lived in in Switzerland and about Marie, the sad village outcast. Obviously Dostoevsky had a very high regard for children, and reading the story I was reminded of something I've often observed, that children in fiction are often very different than children in real life--children in fiction are often idealised as guileless, always wanting to be helpful, or charmingly curious. Whereas in real life, they tend to be noisy, obnoxious, and desperate for attention. But Dostoevsky's normally so insightful, it struck me that children may simply be very different now, especially since the parents and caretakers I observe often tend to be equally obnoxious, and begrudge any attention they give to their kids.
I was disgusted by P.J. O'Rourke's expressed opinion on Bill Maher several weeks ago that, since there was no possible way of reversing the tide of inevitable environmental destruction on Earth, people might as well not worry about it and just look out for their immediate needs. Which seems to me an honest expression of modern, supremely cynical, conservative philosophy. Maybe destruction is inevitable, but there's just something so repulsive to me about giving up like that. I think the sense of an inevitable doomsday may be more responsible for lazy, selfish behaviour than it might seem at first glance.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love Gilbert Gottfried?