They’ve done it again!


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Somewhere, a copy editor is wringing his hands in utter delight.

Our Story: The deal is this. On a junket to Galveston, Texas, Stephen Crain covered the dedication of Galveston’s jetties to a glorious future as the Queen of Texas deep water Gulf ports, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project.

The city was still on its seeming perpetual quest to outstrip Houston in its bid to dig a ditch 50 miles to the jaws of Galveston Bay and thus become an alternate to a great natural harbor.

A the termination point of a rambling account of his visit, the author of The Red Badge of Courage reported his dialogue with a merchant seaman, who asked “Do you know why so few of our young men are seeking professions in the seafaring trades?”

When Crain said, no, he didn’t, the man replied, “Because saddles are so expensive.”


End of story.

And then I found this impassioned account of Istanbul’s quest to become a smokeless town, reported earlier in this century in “The Atlantic.”

Get a load of this:

Faruk Tas, the manager of Ali Papa Nargile, dragged on a steady supply of Marllboro Reds. “Where are these people going to smoke?” he said. “I can understand banning cigarettes, but this is a water-pipe garden. This is in our culture.”

He motioned to a friend who’d entered his shop. “Ask him what he thinks about it.”

Do you think the smoking ban will work in Turkey?”

Of course,” replied the visitor, rather dismissively. Then he sat down and lit a cigarette.


End of story.

I put it to you. It’s loose in the land, once again. Must be something in the air, maybe the water.

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