A Quixotic sally against cynicism, a discreet nod to teleology, an oblique broadside against the twin spiritual assassins of consumerism and materialism, and above all a poignard-like thrust (now stabbing left, now right) at the absurd modern presupposition that "efficiency" somehow produces "happiness," which, last I checked, it most certainly did not.


November 2021

Another Interview with Greatness

Welcome to Interview with Greatness, in which I, Charlene Gunter Hault, hold parley with the movers and shakers of the 21st century. This is the place where we find out what makes greatness tick -- as well as what ticks it off.

Speaking of which, last week, I stood up to Jeff Bezos himself, asking him why he keeps shackling the purchasers of audiobooks to his own eavesdropping playback software when he's been promising for over a decade now to release Audible titles as MP3's, thanks to which users would be able to listen to books without skinflint Bezos monitoring their reading habits in order to learn how to market to them more successfully.

Of course, you all know how that ended: Bezos stormed off so precipitously that his toupee fell off on live television. You haven't seen it? It was all over social media, dawg! Bezos was all up in my face talking about, "One of my 5,000 lawyers will see you in court, where you'll be tried by one of the 5,000 judges that I've got in my pocket!" And I was like: "Talk to the hand, baldie."

Okay, I could have handled that incident more diplomatically, but frankly I've never cared for Amazon ever since they started trying to shove a Prime membership down my throat almost two decades ago now. I actually signed up for it for a month or two, thinking that it would save me money, but it turned out that almost everything I bought was somehow ineligible for the Prime discounts, leading me to realize that I had paid Bezos 60 flipping dollars for precisely nothing whatsoever.

To this very day, Amazon is all about "prime this" and "prime that." Earth to Bezos: "I'm never going to join Prime, so leave me the heck alone!" Am I right, people?

It's a prime pain in the ass is what it is.

[timid, as it were exploratory, clapping yields to universal thunderous applause as Charlene's auditors grok the implicit insult in the arrogant Amazon policy under consideration here]

Okay, so I gave Bezos the heave-ho, but not to worry, because...

This week we have an even bigger mover and shaker in our midst. I kid you not .So stand by to welcome the very incarnation of human genius...

[anticipatory hush falls upon crowd]


Some people have light bulbs go off over their heads when they have a bright idea, this guy's forehead is illuminated by the Vegas Strip whenever he cogitates...

Brian in fretful whisper: The Vegas Strip at night, I trust!

Drum guy, give me a soft anticipatory tattoo if you please, sir?

[drummer tattooing precisely as directed, God bless him]

Born into a world of abject poverty deep in the Appalachian hinterland of southwestern Virginia roundabouts Mount Rogers, just outside of Grayson State Park in the quaint town of Volney, our next guest knew nothing but abject poverty until his 21st year, when he and his brother Jebediah came up with a new economic way to extract rare earth elements from coal.

Let's give it up, please, gang, for Mr. You-Know-Whom!!!!!!!!!!

BRIAN: Oh, thank you so much. You're too kind.

CHARLOTTE: Look at you, there you are.

BRIAN: Here I am. Thou sayst but sooth.

CHARLOTTE: Your invention made you rich, didn't it?

BRIAN: Jingle-jingle, baby, and those aren't sleigh bells you're hearin' either, ya feel me?

CHARLOTTE: Quite. Um... What exactly do you do with these rare earth elements, Brian? I mean, in layman's terms, what's the gist of your patented invention?

BRIAN: Well, you've heard of pyrene-based ligands, right?

CHARLOTTE: Um... No, I can't say that I have.

BRIAN: Hmm. How about metal organic frameworks, as in MOFs?

CHARLOTTE: Hmm... not exactly.

BRIAN: Okay, let's see, how can I put this? In layman's terms, we functionalize nanorods using volatile organic compounds.

CHARLOTTE: Oh, well, why didn't you SAY so?


BRIAN: Yeah, you know: bridging ligands for use in benzene rings and whatnot, creating polynuclear catalysts and the like.

CHARLOTTE: Of course!

BRIAN: High-school physics, my dear friend, high-school physics.

CHARLOTTE: All the same, you must be one smart cookie.

BRIAN: Oh, nonsense. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to functionalize nanorods.


BRIAN: No, it takes an MSc in Materials Science and Engineering.


BRIAN: But seriously, I am so honored to be honored by you guys.

CHARLOTTE: Well, you deserve it.

BRIAN: By the way, who exactly are you guys? I get so many honors these days that I sometimes lose track of the identity of my benefactors.

CHARLOTTE: We are the Friends of Unrecognized Genius, better known as FUG.

BRIAN: Hmm. Is that your final answer? I mean, FUG?

CHARLOTTE: How do you do it? I mean, not only are you a scientific genius, but you write such wonderful articles into the bargain that it nearly breaks my heart to read them. How precisely do you do it?

BRIAN: Oh, buck up, friend. That's what genius does. It gives, it gives, it gives. It gives like a mother--

CHARLOTTE: And I hear you're trouncing the drug war in good set terms too on yet another website, not quass.com but abolishthedea.com as well.

BRIAN: Oh, don't get me started, Charlene. Yes, I am laying down the law on abolishthedea.com, pointing out how the drug war represents a bogus way of looking at the world.

Mind you, it's not easy changing minds, considering that most Americans have been raised from grade school to think that mother nature's plant medicines are evil. I'll tell you one thing, you wouldn't have a "drug free zone" if a school was smack-dab in the middle of the rainforest and the kids were brought up to think of plant medicines as potential godsends and not as Christian Science moral traps.

CHARLOTTE: Do you love this man, folks? Let's give it up some more for Brian "the man" Quass! Whoo-hoo! (No, not the Brian Quass in California or India or God knows where else: the real McCoy, the one whose phone number ends in 4887. Ask for him by name, folks: and by phone number too!)

BRIAN: Wait, is that the end of the interview?

CHARLOTTE: Yes, I'm afraid we're out of time.

BRIAN: Fiddlesticks. I thought you were going to make much more of me than THIS!

CHARLOTTE: No worries, herr genius. We'll have you back next week to talk about your nanorods.

BRIAN: What ABOUT my nanorods?

CHARLOTTE: You know, how you functionalize them using volatile organic compounds.

BRIAN: Oh, THOSE nanorods!

CHARLOTTE: So stay tuned for the next Interview with Greatness! Until then, this is Charlene Gunter Hault saying it will be a cold day in Costco that I ever sign up for Amazon flippin' Prime!!!

Akhenaten -- Another Interview with Greatness -- Bombshell: Webmaster Insists that Everybody Must Get Stoned -- Buoyancy: Review by the Moviegoer of the United States of America -- Dear Lance Morrow -- Denzel as Terrorist in John Q -- Don't Read This -- First Lab-Grown Hamburger Financed by Brian Quass -- How the DEA Determines if Your Relgious Beliefs are Real -- Materialists to Earthlings: You Ain't Nothin' Special -- Merry Christmas 2021 -- Minnie and Me -- More things that Dr. Fauci will and will not be doing now that he's been vaccinated -- Pipe Dream or the Next Big Thing: You be the judge -- Portrait of the artist as a young witch -- Psst! This post is for artists only! -- The Drug Problem is a Social Creation -- The Man of Mode by George Etherege -- The State v. Homo sapiens -- The Theory of Aesthetic Relativity -- The Turing Test Bias -- The Visit -- Thoughts about Cultural Geography, dawg -- Three Arguments Against Political Correctness in Academia -- Why Zero Tolerance is Bullshit -- Willie Who? --


Copyright 2017, Brian Quass quass@quass.com (follow on Twitter)