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small gray square G offers compliments, declaring that this month's graphic <1> " most appealing and tasteful." I must confess, however, that the design is not my own - I saw it on a set of four coffee cups (I now wish I'd purchased) at a flea market in West Berlin in 1978. These cups were off-white and of a conic shape, the parallel lines were black and the solid squares were an orange-red. The "Floë Markt" was in a bunch of old railway cars on the upper level of the Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station; those tracks are in use once more so the market's history - the eastern U2 line has been returned to service.

small yellow square Spent a lot of today in a "Borders & Noble" bookstore, reading travel books and taking notes (mostly hotel specifics in the Fatherland). It's become a problem, the comfortable chairs and the study hall atmosphere. Two of the chairs were occupied by people dozing, others were "saved" by personal effects (a small knapsack or a baseball cap) - even, I once observed, by a book opened and placed face down in the spine-cracking position which gives certain booklovers (and also, one assumes, bookstore managers) fits. For a while I was forced to sit on the floor until a vacancy opened up. The temptation was strong to simply displace (or even hide) the "saving" knapsack and, when its owner reappeared, if challanged merely cursing the challenger: "Fuck with me buddy, c'mon!" And when its youthful Asian owner did appear, deploying a blue beeper and a Calculus textbook onto the adjacent low table, I realized he would've been a meek pushover, so next time... The sleepers are another matter - I'm thinking a squirt gun would be the appropriate weapon to clear the chair - one could fire unobserved from behind a nearby bookshelf. Of course all of us were equally guilty of freeloading - I eventually left without buying anything.

small green square A letter from brother J arrives, with pictures of his twins, now 18 months old. I appear in several of these images; my feeling (a common one) is that I don't photograph well.

small cyan square Absurdity I heard on the evening NPR news - foolishness from Deseret. A video store in Utah is offering the following service: for $5, patrons can have their newly purchased Titanic videotape "cleaned up" - those inches of tape containing the steamy back-seat of the automobile, as well as the sketching scene in the parlor, are physically removed. Mormon parents concerned about their teen-aged sons viewing the obscenity of Kate Winslet's bare bosom can now sleep peacefully. (Why is it so difficult for these censors to understand the forbidden fruit concept?) Due to the doctrine of "first use" the store only mutilates tapes purchased elsewhere.

NPR - National Public Radio
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<1> that vertical design on the left of this page