At a trade gathering, we were privy to all kinds of comments on
overrides, prompted, of course, by the recent proposal calling for
retailers to disclose to clients the nature of their override
"I don't always know what my overrides are going to be," one
agent said. "They depend on lift. One time, to reach the next
override level, I flew my entire family to Philadelphia."
We heard another agent tell how she offered a chance at a free
cruise with air to the first 50 people who dropped by to enter a
drawing. "It paid for me to give away a cruise at my expense to
make the override," she said. Could this be called "supplyin'
We were strolling
through the old seaport district of St. Augustine, Fla., when we
heard a rather unusual putdown. Walking past Colonial-era buildings
manufactured out of coquina (an oyster-shell matrix once in vogue
for construction here), we spotted several street artists
entertaining the crowds.
One performer, a mime painted entirely in silver, was notably
intriguing to the kids in the crowd. One child was so wide-eyed he
asked his older brother for an explanation. Came the reply, "I
guess people who live in seashell houses can get kinda weird."
Tee time in Glasgow
On a sunny afternoon in Glasgow, we were trying to find a good
site for a round of golf, a not unreasonable thing to do in the
land where the game was invented.
With many courses already booked, this was turning into a major
project until a friendly cabdriver recommended a place he knew
well. The cabbie was a bit shy in making his recommendation,
obviously afraid we would think him too forward, or maybe we would
think he was out to grab a big cab fare.
Nevertheless, we trusted his judgment and found, on arrival at
the club, that our host -- the friendly driver -- was a former
national amateur golf champion in Scotland and a club champion for
As his guests, we paid about $7 each in greens fees; typical
fees can be as much as $200 for a round at top Scottish courses. We
had already observed that cabdrivers in Glasgow were more cordial
than most, but now we are convinced they are the friendliest on the
The sun and the moon
hearing a lot in the weeks and months to come about the Big Event
approaching England's West Country this summer: the two-minute-long
disappearance of light during a solar eclipse on the morning of
The eclipse will make landfall along the coast of the
already-legendary Cornwall, demesne of such mysterious figures as
druids and warlocks, Arthur and Merlin, and the princes of
A fascinating report in the New York Times yielded a catalog of
mayhem anticipated by regional authorities in light (so to speak)
of the event. Up to 1.25 million visitors will descend on Cornwall
and Devonshire, four times the usual number of summertime arrivals
in the region and more than twice the year-round population of
Bats will be fooled out of their aeries by the dying light, and
conservationists and archaeologists are worried about the effects
of the crush on flora and on the region's historical artifacts,
especially its dolmens and crom-lechs (stone circles and such).
The report quoted one Steve Hartgroves, of the Cornwall County
Council, as saying, "We are liaising with the pagan groups to try
to assure that, as far as possible, the right kind of things will
be going on." Now, who but a government official would be capable
of "We are liaising with the pagan groups"?