Today at lunch Mel asked me, “Who is that columnist in the NY Times that you like?” “Paul Krugman?” I replied. “Yeah, him. He is giving a talk at Alverno today, there is a little blurb in the paper about it.” Sure enough, there was an article in the Journal Sentinel about Krugman’s new book, “The Conscience of a Liberal.”
I enjoy reading Paul Krugman. A while back, Half Price Bookstore had the hardcover of his “The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century” on sale for $5, so I grabbed a copy. I read his op-ed pieces in the NY Times every Monday and Friday. Now that he started a blog, too, I check it every day. One can say that he is a breath of fresh liberal air at my mostly very conservative workplace 😉
I sent BelovedSpouse a “wish I could go to this…” email, expecting a commiserating reply along the lines of “wish we had known about this earlier, we would have tried arranging for babysitters and going to the talk.” Instead, BelovedSpouse replied, “Go buy a ticket and go. I expect a full report, AND for you to read the book to me, in the car (we can work it into our schedule). Do you need me to pick up the kids?” Best husband ever.
So BelovedSpouse picked up the kids, fed them dinner, gave Squeeker the meds (easy in the case of antibiotic, well-nigh-impossible to do alone in case of eye drops), played with the kids (including taking photos and video), bathed them, and put them to bed. If the situation was reversed, I would have been calling reinforcements (Mel) and dropping hints about being abandoned and outnumbered. A total failure as a single parent, that’s me.
In the meantime, I stayed at work late, then (surprisingly) managed to make it to Alverno without getting lost, found out that due to lower than expected sales the talk was moved to a different location on campus, located the new location, picked up my ticket and book, and managed to read the first chapter and a half while waiting for the talk to start.
The talk was good. Poor Prof. Krugman had a bad cold (“wish I could blame it on the Bush administration,” he joked), so he looked a little tired, but spoke very well about his book and what his finding were. He is an engaging speaker (his students in Princeton are lucky bastards), and the time went by very quickly. His presentation basically covered the first two chapters of the book. Then he took questions from the audience. We only had one conspiracy theorist (“will the administration start a war with Iran to suspend elections in 2008?” kind of guy, and Krugman handled him very well (“not likely, filibuster once Democrats take control of the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives is more of a danger”). Humor and economics don’t often go hand in hand, but Paul Krugman was amusing – “war on liquids,” “saving America from gay married terrorists,” “I have been so optimistic lately that my friends are asking if I am feeling OK.” Good stuff.
After the Q&A, Krugman stayed and added personal “to [name here]” inscriptions to the books, for those who wanted them. As usual, I was too shy to say anything not-lame (not even, “hope your cold gets better soon”), but I did thank him for blogging (“I got a hang of it now”), and asked for my book’s inscription to say To BelovedSpouse.