Archive for the ‘quotes’ Category

Lush Life

September 18, 2008

I usually don’t read crime novels, but like so many other things in my no-so-lush life, I heard about this book on WNYC.  Here’s something about my job – it looks interesting on paper, but it is mind-blowingly boring 95% of the time.  So I listen to WNYC while I’m working so my brain doesn’t turn into complete mush.  Leonard Lopate usually has authors I’ve never heard of on his show, and Richard Price was one of them.  Price, who was also a writer for The Wire, was talking about the transformation of the Lower East Side.  He finds kind of crazy that young rich white people spend the same amount of money in one night partying in this neighborhood than people who life there earn in a week.  Lush Life centers around this tension between the new residents of LES: the young, rich and privileged – and the older residents of LES: the poor, the immigrants, and the residents of the housing projects that surround the neighborhood.  And in the middle of all these tensions is the main character, Eric Cash, who is not young, rich, privileged, poor, or an immigrant.  And he just witnessed a murder.

One of my favorite things in novels, TV, and movies is when there are no straight up good guys and bad guys.  I like when writers/directors can make you sympathize with their bad guys and when they show the crooked side of their good guys.  In Lush Life (as in real life) the police are flawed.  You see them patrolling the streets, trying to solve a murder, comforting the victim’s family; but you also see them making inside deals, harrassing people on the streets for no reason, and playing favorites.  Price is successful in making you respect and hate the police.

Overall, this novel isn’t really about the gentrification of the LES.  The neighborhood only provides a setting and backdrop for Price to show off his skill for writing gritty police murder mysteries.  When I first started reading the book, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.  But then I got tired because it reads like a episode of Law and Order that just goes on for way too long.  I was glad to finish it.

Yesterday I read this interesting article in the Times about a playwright named Arthur Nersesian, who’s love affair with The Power Broker inspired him to write a series of fictional novels about Robert Moses.  A kid from the old LES, Nersesian says:

You know, there was a war fought here, a strange economic, cultural battle that went on, and I saw so many wonderful people lost among the casualties.

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Work and Other Sins

September 3, 2008

New York is a glamorous city, constituted mostly of nobodies.  They crave the lights, and if they tell you differently, they’re lying.  Only dreamers come to New York.  As a matter of course, few people have control over their lives.  You live at the whim of your boss, your landlord, your grocer, the stranger, the judge, the bus driver, the mayor who won’t let you smoke.  On the other hand, you live at the whim of your whims, and that is most exciting thing there is.

And so begins Charlie LeDuff’s book of character sketches of the nobodies that inhabit the city.  I love reading stuff like this, real stories about ordinary people.  I also love reading blogs of strangers and getting a glimpse of the day to day lives of people.  Everyone has a story worth telling.  LeDuff shows that the nobodies of the city are somebodies.  Profiled in this book are local drunks hanging out in the bar, circus midgets, freaks from the Coney Island side shows, transgendered prostitutes, firefighters, aging fishermen from Sheepshead Bay, Russian showgirls from the Brighton Beach nightclubs, Polish maids from Greenpoint, homeless bums, used car salesmen, and old guys who spend too much time at the Aqueduct race track.  I love it.  These are the people who make New York the special place it is. 

This being a book profiling the lives of working nobodies, race is often a topic of conversation.  There are tensions between hispanic and white, hispanic and black, black and white, American Indian and everyone else.  But more often than not, people try to be understanding to their fellow workingman or woman, in spite of racial differences:

Two Hispanic men come in [to the bar] for a shot and two burgers to go.  They leave without saying hello.  ‘You figure these guys come to this country and can at least learn the language,’ says one road worker to the bar, lined with blacks and whites.  ‘Take it easy, bud,’ Jimmy Williams tells him.  ‘Didn’t you see their hands?  They were working men.  One of us.’

This book was reminiscent of Studs Terkel’s Working, which also celebrated the lives of ordinary working men and women, which I wrote about here and here.  This type of anthropological writing really gives value in what “ordinary” people have to say about issues more typically discussed in general media by professors and researchers.  Race, class, gender, politics; all that good stuff are in these books.  This type of writing lets people speak for themselves and allows their words stand on their own.  There is something so valuable about having the opinions, thoughts and stories of the people written down on paper (or blogged online).

On Why Science Is Fun

July 17, 2008

It’s been slow going over here at the Book Mill.  I’m reading A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is enjoyable, but it is taking a long time to read.  I do almost all of my reading on the train, and let me tell you, reading about the theory of relativity and the history of quantum physics at 8am is a challenge.  Read about superstring theory, or take a nap?  Lately I’ve been choosing napping instead of reading. 

But, this is some great writing.  The idea of the book just came from Bill Bryon’s natural curiosity on how things work and his dissatisfaction with boring old science textbooks and how they suck all of the fun out of science.  Anyway, I love this book.  Everyday I learn something new.  I get to work and I tell Sashana what I’ve learned and we talk about quantum leaps and how electrons can be nowhere and everywhere at the same time.  Here’s something interesting I learned:

It isn’t possible, in any practical terms, to draw the solar system to scale.  Even if you added lots of fold-out pages to your textbooks or used a really long sheet of poster paper, you wouldn’t come close.  On a diagram of the solar system to scale, with Earth reduced to about the diameter of a pea, Jupiter would be over a thousand feet away and Pluto would be a mile and half distant (and about the size of a bacterium, so you woudn’t be able to see it anyway).

Also, when a baseball is thrown at 100mph from the pitchers mound, it gains about 0.000000000002 grams by the time it reaches home plate.  Isn’t science awesome?

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

July 7, 2008

I took a break from reading this past week.  On Monday night, there was a fire in the apartment below Manny and his family.  It was the superintendent’s apartment.  The super and his entire family were badly burned and their apartment is completely destroyed.  On Wednesday, the super’s 14 year old grandson died from his burns.  We are hoping and praying the rest of family pulls through.  So it has been an emotional week, and instead of reading, I’ve been thinking over the fire and how fragile this crazy life really is.  The thing that kept the fire from spreading?  It was because the family wasn’t able to reach the door to get out of their apartment.  They couldn’t open the door.  Because they couldn’t open the door, the fire didn’t spread upwards into the rest of the building.  But because they weren’t able to open the door to escape, some of the kids were trapped in their bedrooms and couldn’t get out until the firefighters broke down the door and rescued them.  I know its cliche to say, but when you think about how quickly everything can change, you realize what is really important in life.  And that is the people you love.  There’s really nothing else.

Which brings me to The Reluctant Mr. Darwin.  Charles Darwin’s favorite daughter, Annie died of a mysterious illness when she was only ten years old.  Darwin referred to the time she died as the time he gave up on Christianity.  The death of his daughter, combined with Darwin’s knowledge that natural selection lead to the evolution of species rather than divine law made the concept of God impossible for him to believe.  This was what made Origin of Species so controversial.  Quammen writes:

It was a bigger issue that whether humans and monkeys share a common ancestry.  It was the issue of whether humans and monkeys, along with lobsters and dandelions and all other living creatures, share an absence of special divine appointment.  In plain language: a soul or no soul?  An afterlife or not?  Are humans spiritually immortal in a way that chickens and cow’s aren’t, or just another form of temporarily animated meat?

Darwin’s theory of natural selection depends on variation among species, and these variations are completely random.  There is no divine intervention, there is no higher purpose of life and death.  And yet despite all of Darwin’s experiences and knowledge of evolution and the origin of humans, it was not enough to make him disbelief in a higher divine power.  He believed in, according to Quammen, “a Supreme Being in the fuzziest sense, given rise to the universe and set it in motion according to the mechanics of fixed laws.” 

Can you imagine what Darwin thought of his daughter as he wrote about natural selection and how it meant that human life was nothing special.  What of the soul of his daughter?  Was there no special purpose in her life?  Was she not any more special than the barnacles he was studying at the time?  Maybe that’s what kept him from being an all out atheist. 

Anyway.  Tomorrow I resume reading.  I really want a light novel or something.  But last week I went the the Strand Annex on Fulton Street (where everything is 20% off because they’re closing that location, all NYC’ers should go) and picked up some more science books.  I don’t really want to read them.  Maybe I’ll go the library tomorrow and get me some light reading.

The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao

June 19, 2008

What do you with your favorite books? And what are your absolute favorites?  Right now, off the top of my head, I can think of East of Eden, The Life of Pi, The Color Purple and now, Oscar Wao.  Do you have a little group of favorite books that go wherever you go?  To college, to camp, to an internship, to a new house, across the country or overseas.  Maybe you read your favorites more than once, like I do.  Maybe you’re like me, and you bookmark your favorite passages and quotes so you can go back and reread them when you’re feeling lonely or you can’t sleep at night.  Maybe you like to think the characters of these books exist in some alternate book-universe, because even though they are fictional characters they become so real when you read about them.  What makes these books so special, what makes them your favorite?  Is it the characters, the writing style, the use of language, the plot, or how everything comes together to form a beautiful story, a piece of art? 

Reading Oscar Wao is like listening to a storyteller weave a tale.  It is like you’re sitting with Yunior (the narrator) on the train, and you have a really long ride, so Yunior decides to tell you a story about his friend from Rutgers, a dorky kid named Oscar Wao who is the exact opposite of the Dominican/Latino male stereotype.  Oscar is overweight and he’s a complete sci-fi fantasy nerd.  Oscar is afraid he will be the only Dominican man in history to die a virgin.  And his family is cursed.  While Yunior is telling you Oscar’s story, he goes into tangents about the history of the Dominican Republic and he tells you terrifying unbelievable horrifiying stories about its former dictator Trujillo and Trujillo’s influence on Oscar’s family.  I randomly came across this review of Oscar Wao in a WordPress blog where the author perfectly describes the writing style that I will quote here instead of trying to write something of my own:

Perhaps this really is today’s new literature – one that is a mix of brands, words that bitch-slap you with their power, and sentences that challenge you with brazen cultural references (not caring if don’t share them).  Its rap brought into novel form – or maybe the other way around – but grounded in enough history and straight-up storytelling to mesmerize instead of confuse.

The first few pages the novel are about fuku, which is like the Dominican version of a family curse.  Fuku follows a family through generations and across oceans into different countries.  A theme through the book is: do bad things happen because a person is cursed or because sometimes bad things just happen?  I found an interview with Diaz on PBS NewsHour.  He says:

If you think about it, a curse is just a story that you may or may not inherit.  I mean, you can believe your famiy is cursed or you can say it’s not . . . I was really fascinated by that idea, that like, you know, this is a book about this idea that you can wake up, you can be born inheriting a story that you had nothing to do with

There was also an interesting quote about the importance of books in Diaz’s life when he was a kid, after his family moved to the US from the DR when he was 6 years old:

I think part of my desire and my love of books wasn’t just this kind of random encounter with them.  It was an attempt for a kid who, in some ways, miraculously teleported out of one world and appeared in another that’s so radically different.  It was an attempt of me to understand where I came from, where I was, how I got there . . . And I needed them, man, because it’s real confusing, though, to jump from the third world to the first world.

I was telling Manny about fuku while walking in Brooklyn a few days ago.  We turned a corner and there it was, the word spray painted in white on a security gate across the street: “Fuku”

Book Updates

June 14, 2008

FIrst off, I’m totally sad about the sudden death of Tim Russert.  The guy was the gold standard of American journalism, in a class of his own.  My dad and I watched Meet the Press every Sunday.  And I loved Tim Russert’s work during the primaries.  Manny and I watched MSNBC coverage for every single primary.  Does anyone remember when he declared Obama as the democratic nominee before anyone else?  Did anyone else get to see that moment live?  How sad that he didn’t live to see the outcome of this election.  I’m sure he’ll be watching everything unfold from a better place.  I will miss him.

On to books, I finished reading The Giver and had my first book club meeting about it.  There’s only three of us in the book club, but we had a really good discussion about the book.  The Giver is sort of a post-apocalyptic book for children.  Jonas, the main character, lives in a world everything is decided for you – your job, your parents, your spouse, your clothes, your food, your house, etc.  Everyone in the community looks the same.  There are no feelings, no free will, no love.  Except Jonas possesses characteristics that makes him different from the rest of his community.  I read The Giver in elementary school, but I didn’t understand it.  I couldn’t grasp the concept that this book takes place in the future.  I still don’t like reading sci-fi books that take place in other worlds or in the future, I am too realistic and pratical to enjoy fantasy books.  But I am glad I read this book again, for a young adult book it has a lot of adult concepts.  Our book club had a really good discussion about dystopian novels and movies.  Manny is a fan of the dystopian genre of film.  What’s the point of making these films and writing these books?  I always viewed them as warnings; they show us that if we don’t stop waging war all over the world and don’t start doing something about global warming, we are going fuck everything up and have a huge nuclear disaster that destroys everything.  And after that, the only way people will able to live is in these communities where every aspect of your life is decided for you and planned out.  Next up for BOSS, Guns Germs and Steel.

After The Giver, I read Michael Pollan’s latest book In Defense of Food. I am a huge Michael Pollan fan.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma completely changed how I eat and how I think about food.  In Defense of Food summarizes the arguments made in Dilemma. The first half of this book just a big essay about how the American way of eating, or the “western diet” is the most unhealthy eating culture in the world.  The western diet is about convenience and instant gratification.  The western diet reduces food into individual nutrients.  Instead of eating a carrot, according to the western diet you’re only eating beta carotene.  According the western diet, a food is only equal to the sum of all its parts.  But Pollan asks, maybe what makes a carrot healthy is not just its nutrients, but the entire carrot as a whole.  For example, nutritionists noticed that people who ate a lot of carrots had a decreased risk of colon cancer.  Researchers isolated the nutrient beta carotene from the carrot and decided this must be what was protecting people from cancer.  Researchers gave people beta carotene supplements to test this theory, but found beta carotene actually increased the risk of cancer in the group that took supplements compared with the group who did not.

This western obsession with nutrients instead of food leads to unhealthy eating fads.  Pollan gives the example of the low fat diet.  In the 1970s it was decided that saturated fat was bad for you.  Instead of encouraging people to eat less high-fat food, the food-industry-controlled USDA encouraged people to eat more low-saturated fat food.  Enter margarine, the perfect healthy substitute to the evil saturated fat butter.  In an effort to reduce saturated fat intake, people ate more margarine and vegetable oil-based substitutes.   But now, years later, turns out that the trans fat in margarine and many vegetable oil based foods is actually worse for you than the saturated fat it was supposed to replace.  Oops.  Pollan’s message is this: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.  The second half the book gives you tips on how to do this.  In summary, don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, and don’t buy low fat food-like substitutes and use this money to buy locally grown whole foods from local farmers markets.  This Sunday am I am hauling ass to the farmer’s market first thing in the morning and buying a freezer full of grass fed beef and poultry.  No more joking around.  Because really, after reading three of Pollan’s books I am disgusted with the entire industrial food chain that values money and profits over public health.  It is really outrageous.  Read his books, but read Omnivore’s Dilemma first.  If you’re in New York state, find your local farmer’s market now.

Last but definitely not least, I read Drown, a collection of short stories by Dominican author Junot Diaz.  His stories are intense and show the realities of immigrant life and of people who life in transnational communities.  His characters live in both the slums of Santo Domingo and the streets of central New Jersey.  Despite the extreme hardships they go through, Diaz never asks for pity from his readers.  He demands respect for his characters and for their experiences because most people cannot imagine what an immigrant goes through in trying to live in this country.  Right now I’m reading his novel, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize, so I’ll definitely be writing more about Diaz.  This quote is on the first page of Drown:

The fact that I

am writing to you

in English

already falsifies what I

wanted to tell you.

My subject:

how to explain to you that I

don’t belong to English

though I belong nowhere else

– Gustavo Perez Firmat

All The Pretty Horses

May 13, 2008

I’m almost done this book.  It was a challenging read.  I’ve never read anything by Cormac McCarthy so I didn’t know what to expect.  McCarthy doesn’t use any punctuation marks except for periods.  He refers to his characters by pronouns (he, she) rather than their names.  There are sentences that go on forever.  Who knows why he does this, but it does make the book difficult to read.  I usually read really fast but that’s impossible with this book.  At one point I think I read an entire page over 4 times before I knew what character was saying what.  I had to slow down and read this book aloud to myself in order to understand what the hell was going on.   And once I did that, I realized that this book is amazing.  I’m tired and I will write more later, but this was one of my favorite passages, maybe just because its about science:

When I was in school I studied biology.  I learned that in making their experiments scientists will take some group – bacteria, mice, people – and subject that group to certain conditions.  They compare the results with a second group which has not been distrubed.  This second group is called the control group.  It is the control group which enables the scientist to gauge the effect of his experiment.  To judge the significance of what has occurred.  In history there are no control groups.  There is no one to tell us what might have been.  We weep over the might have been but there is no might have been.  There never was.  It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it.  I dont believe knowing can save us.  What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood and this is a thing that even God – who knows all that can be known – seems powerless to change.

The Devil’s Highway – A True Story

April 18, 2008

I was going to stop reading The Devil’s Highway after I almost started crying on the train ride home on Monday. This is the story of 26 men who tried crossed the U.S. / Mexico border on foot. They got lost in the desert. Fourteen of them died. The part that almost did me in? When the author, Luis Alberto Urrea, lists the things the Border Patrol agents found the bodies: a rooster belt buckle, a folded letter, green socks with matching boxers, a tattoo of a name: Maria, a pocket mirror, Mexican coins, a wallet, a faded photo ID. But I couldn’t stop reading. I started this book on Monday and now I’m finished.

The writing is so engaging and so poetic and surreal, it is beautiful, but at the same horrific. I couldn’t put it down. It is the all of the details that you read about that make this book so nightmarish. When Urrea goes through the step by step process how hyperthermia and heat stroke affect the human body (“Your muscles, lacking water, feed on themselves. They break down and start to rot. Once rotting in you, they dump rafts of dying cells into your already sludgy bloodstream”). The way the bodies looked like when they were discovered by the border patrol (“Have you ever seen a mummy from ancient Egypt? That gives you an idea. They looked shriveled up”). How the men looked in death (“The dead have open mouths and white teeth. They are stretched in angular poses, caught in the last gasps or shouts, their eyes burned an eerie red by the sun. Many of them are naked. Some have dirt in their mouths . . . They look like roadside attractions, like wax-and-paper torsos in a gas station Dungeon of Terror”). How the women at at the Mexican consulate in Tuscon light candles for each body that is found in the desert. The magical realism of the landscape, the Devil’s Highway becomes the main character of this book. The desert in this book is terrifying (“Desert spirits of a dark and mysterious nature have always traveled these trails. From the beginning, the highway has always lacked grace – those who worship desert gods know them to favor retribution over the tender dove of forgiveness. In Desolation, doves are at the bottom of the food chain. Tohono O’Odham poet Ofelia Zepeda has pointed out that rosaries and Hail Marys don’t work out here. ‘You need a new kind of payers,’ she says ‘to negotiate with this land.’ “)

So, an emotionally difficult read. But also, an important read. Definitely one of the best books written about the border. I found the author’s website and his blog, which he actually seems to update a lot. It’s interesting to go back and read his entries about this book; to read about his frustrations with his book tour, because whenever he tried to give a speech or lecture at a college or bookstore there was always someone in the audience yelling at him about how Mexicans are destroying America, and that he must hate America and accuse him of being unpatriotic. Still, other entries are really funny, especially the entries about his children. I plan to read his other books; his newest one is The Hummingbird’s Daughter, a historical fiction novel based on his family’s history that took him 20 years to research.

Among other things that I am thankful for, including being able to live comfortably in a country where I have citizenship, I am glad I don’t live anywhere near the desert.

Favorites

March 6, 2008

when i read books like i really like, i keep tabs of my favorite parts. here’s some of things from Working that really stood out to me.

Eric Nesterenko, Professional Hockey Player (his section was one of my favorites, he is such an eloquent speaker):

It can’t be just a job. It’s not worth playing just for the money. It’s a way of life. When we were kids there was the release in playing, the sweetness in being able to move and control your body. This is what play is. Beating somebody is secondary. When I was a kid, to really move was my delight. I felt released because I could move around anybody. I was free. That exists on the pro level, but there’s the money aspect. You know they’re making an awful lot of money off you. You know you’re just a piece of property.

I still like the physicality, the sensuality of life. I still like to use my body. But the things I like now are more soft. I don’t want to beat people. I don’t want to prove anything. I have a friend who used to play pro football, but who shares my philosophy. We get into the country that is stark and cold and harsh, but there’s a great aesthetic feedback. It’s soft and comforting and sweet. We come out there with such enormous energy and so fit.

 

Mike Lefevre, Steelworker

 

 

I want my kid to look at me and say, “Dad, you’re a nice guy, but you’re a fucking dummy.” Hell yes, I want my kid to tell me he’s not going to be like me . . . I’d like to run a combination bookstore and tavern. (Laughs.) I would like to have a place where college kids came and a steelworker could sit down and talk. Where a workingman could not be ashamed of Walt Whitman and where a college professor could not be ashamed that he painted his house over the weekend.

If a carpenter built a cabin for poets, I think the least the poets owe the carpenter is just three or four one-liners on the wall. A little plaque: Though we labor with our minds, this place we can relax in was built by someone who can work with his hands. And this work is as noble as ours.

 

 

Roberta Victor, hooker

I was in control with every one of those relationships. You’re vulnerable if you allow yourself to be involved sexually. I wasn’t. They were. I called it. Being able to manipulate somebody sexually, I could determine when I wanted that particular transaction to end. ‘Cause I could make the guy come. I could play all kinds of games. See? It was a tremendous sense of power . . . The overt hustling society is the microcosm of the rest of the society. The power relationships are the same and the games are the same. Only this one I was in control of. The greater one I wasn’t. In the outside society, if I tried to be me, I wasn’t in control of anything. As a bright, assertive woman, I had a no power. As a cold, manipulative hustler, I had lot. I know I was playing a role. Most women are taught to become what they act. All I did was act out the reality of American womanhood.

Dog and Books

March 6, 2008

Meet my puppy, Leo. He’s pretty much the best dog ever and everyone who knows him agrees.
he’s my been my buddy this week while my mom is vacationing in california visiting her friend. leo and i have the house to ourselves for 10 days. so far its been really nice, except that i have to drag my lazy ass out of bed 30 minutes earlier to walk and feed him. but just look at that face! he’s so worth it. so its been nice living by myself again. go work, take care of the dog, pay some bills, buy some groceries, cook some food, do some laundry, wash some dishes – all on my own time. manny was able to spend a few days here which was nice and we cooked up some amazing chicken burgers with salsa. thankfully, its been a pretty uneventful week, with the exception of this minor commuting crisis that i was able to avoid because my awesome supervisor let me leave early and my awesome friend gave me a ride home.

anyway, I’m still getting through Working which is the most fascinating book I’ve ever read. its people taking about their jobs. we hear from policeman, firefighters, various factory workers, miners, maids, janitors, car salesmen, bank tellers, secretaries, professional sports players, housewives, flight attendants, stockbrokers, truck drivers, accountants, and a whole lot more. it was published in 1972 so the jobs have changed a lot since then but the issues are still the same. basically, you should read it. my favorite part was the section on bureaucracy. some employees of a federal government anti-poverty program were interviewed and they really spoke to the frustrations of working in a huge government machine where divisions and agencies are constantly reorganized and restructured but NOTHING is accomplished. one program manager got in trouble after they found out she was getting involved with union organizing. they took away all of her responsibilities but couldn’t fire her because she was a high ranking employee. so they gave her a paper to write about the economics of poverty which was due in 6 months to keep her busy. but she kept organizing for the union during her work hours and every time someone came into her office she had to shove all of her union papers off her desk. and she didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it. she would write the paper a few days before it was due because she knew nothing would ever be done with it. she said:

It’s extremely frustrating. But, ironically, I’ve felt more productive in the last few weeks doing what I’ve wanted to do than I have in the last year doing what I was officially supposed to be doing . . . When you do something you’re really turned on about, you’ll do it off-hours too. I put more of myself into it, acting like I’m a capable person. When you’re doing something you’re turned off on, you don’t use what talents you have. There are a lot of people in our office who are doing very, very little, simply because their jobs are so meaningless.

Some of these jobs will appear meaningful on paper. The idea of the antipoverty program is exciting. But people are stifled by the bureaucratic decisions and non-decisions. When you’re in the field and get into sticky situations with politicians, you can’t count on your office to support you. You’ll be punished. (p 346)

You know when someone says something and expresses how you’ve been feeling so much better than you could, and all you can say is “Yes! Whatever she said, I feel.” Yeah, as a government employee myself, what Ms. Lilith Reynolds said sums it up for me. There’s really nothing else to add.