Blathering Lockdown: Day Eight
Posted on January 31, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 112 Comments
Is the book done? NO
Blather limiter: ON
Your question for the day:
1. A pristine “first state” copy of The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today, featuring the infamous “Butcher Cover.”
2. Your adorable, preciously fluffy kitten.
A fire, in your house, spreading so quickly you can save only one of the above.
Have fun. See you tomorrow.
Life is more precious than objects.
Then I get to live another day with (a) myself and (b) my wife.
You are a wicked, wicked man. ;)
(Sorry, kitty – I’m saving the Beatles.)
Easy. Kitten. I’ve just never understood why so many people are so obsessed with the Beatles. There musics okay, but nothing to get that excited about (what was that sound? thousands of Beatle maniacs heads imploding, my work is done.)
Kitten(s)! I LOVE MY KITTENS. Yes, plural. Two, in fact. Though they’d probably have the sense to be at the door before I could even get to it. Now the DOG on the other hand…
I would never have spent $40K on an LP, so it was a gift from somebody else, which means I can let it go easily in a fire.
Plus kittens are cute.
I sav u kitteh! Soon’z I grab my signed ARC of Coraline and my limited edition Black Wine signed by Charles L. Grant and J.K. Potter. Then I sav U!!1!
Rigel: You’re right. Pleasant as it was (and I love me some “Penny Lane”), it wasn’t the music — it was the zeitgeist.
My cute cuddly kitten has grown into a certifiably insane 15-year-old cat, but I would still save her before any record album.
Mary Ann, totally. Wait, am I in the right thread?
Due to my intense dislike of most of the Beatles’ music-the kitten.
I think the answer is obvious: Tape the album to the kitten, now, before any fire occurs. I’m sure it’ll get used to it.
As for Rigel, my head is not imploding over view of the Beatles, but rather your misuse of the word ‘there.’ Gah!!!
i’m allergic to cats, but i could sell the record on ebay. it would help to pay to replace my stuff. also Not Even Doom Music justifies burning cats (a ytmnd meme.)
Self-edit: over view
Irony, thy name is Irony.
I’m sorry… is this some kind of crippled kitten? Because otherwise, it seems obvious that you save the one that does not have legs and a genetically inbred survival instinct.
And if it is a legless kitten… well, the poor thing wouldn’t have had much of a life, anyhow…
It’s worth 40K?
Sheeeeeeeit. I had one. I got rid of it along with the rest of my useless vinyl when I transitioned to CDs.
Vinyl SUCKS ASS when you have a cat. The spinny thing is too attractive and kitty wants to jump up on it.
One’s first response would obviously be: “SAVE THE CUTESY-WUTESY KITTY!!!”
One’s second response would come a few minutes later, standing outside your flame-engulfed house, the cutesy-wutesy kitten in your arms, and only then noticing the smug, self-satisfied expression on its face, and the faint smell of gasoline on its paws.
Save the cat, because the Album got bacon grease all over it from an infamous experiment involving the cat, some tape, well you know the rest….
Kitten. Pets are family.
I would save the puppy, but that is not an option.
I second the “surely the kitten would save itself” thought, but realistically I can’t imagine having the presence of mind to calculate. If the kitten, or the album, was close at hand I might grab it, but even that assumes my brain is functioning beyond “Fire! Danger! Very bad! Get out get out get out!”
But if I had an album worth $40 K, and I can’t imagine such a thing, I would most certainly have it insured. So, handwaving past the other issues: kitten.
The kitten, of course.
Start over and come up with a DIFFICULT choice.
The kitten. Insurance would cover the rest.
Kitten. And I would name it “I Gave Up a Pristine Beatles LP for That Cat.”
Beatles, for short.
The fluffy kitty. I deserve to lose the album because I should have already sold it and put a down payment on the house. Which just burned down. Sigh.
i say the LP, kittens come and go but paul, george, john and ringo are forever… ok I’m lying, i would totally save the fluff ball.
I would ignore the panicky over reaction of the Scalzi character down the hall, gather up the cat, and take the stairs down to the lobby. When the firemen declared the all clear I would go back upstairs to my apartment and get back to blogging. The album would remain untouched in the closet.
False choice. Obviously one saves the kitten — even if it is little more than an ugly Harbor of Vermin. But what then? Do you cravenly dash for the door and allow the vinyl to liquify?
HELL NO!!! See, the choice implicitly allows *two* things to be saved: one of the “possessions”, plus yourself … with the assumption that of course you will opt to be among the saved. BZZZZZT!
(0) Grab a useless weight other than yourself, and the cat, and the album.
(1) Fling the weight to open a hole to the outside.
(2) Apologize to the kitten and then fling it after the weight.
(3) Count three, then frisbee the album through the same hole.
(4) [Optional] Make your peace with your alleged Creator.
So, the link suggests that the album has immense resale value. However, I’m more curious to know this: how does the music sound?
You know I’m not much of a fan of cats. I’m going with the album.
Kaf@11 Sorry about using there when I should’ve used their. It’s been a long day. I just got off work. I have car troubles. My dog ate it (please let me know when I come to lame half assed excuse you’ll actually buy), I haven’t been feeling well, etc.
In other words, oops.
Tricky. The whinings of a bunch of self-obsessed scousers, lauded beyond all reason by some bizarre concensus regarding their ‘unique’ and ‘special’ musical legacy – those I can live without. But you can pay for quite a lot of your kids’ educations with that kind of money.
Kittens have virtually no commercial value (you’d need a great many pelts to furnish sufficient for even a short blouson) and provide scant eating. However, they do offer a kind of cynically manipulative companionship (the mail-order bride of the pet world – and yes, I am a cat ‘owner’ of some 17 years experience, still feed the endocrinologically-challenged article, still pick up her doo-doo from the lawn, still scoff at the isn’t-she-gorgeous delusions of guests and neighbours).
If I spend much more time thinking about this I’m going to suffer smoke-inhalation, so maybe I just heave both items through the nearest window, grab my Stingray bass instead and exit with that (the family’s already outside, right?).
Kitteh! How can there be any doubt?
Duh. The cute cuddly kitty. I’ve got Beatles on CDs and mp3, both of which are also probably gone as the CD collection and computer melt with the rest of my possessions. Ah, insurance. Such a lovely thing.
SCREW THAT!!! I’m saving my laptop so I can get my novel in on time and not have to shoot myself!!!!
Is the Novel done? No
Flaming kitty: On
The kitten has one shot.
If it decides that now is a wonderful time to play hard-to-get it’s a crispy critter.
I’m not even sure you can get a cat cloned for that amount of money, nor can you eat an album when all your food has burned down. Probably better to save the kitten. If you’re slow, it’s already cooked, which saves prep time.
Kitten. I already have the fire plan in place. All the animals first, then if I can come back for the most precious inanimate objects, I will.
Cat, no question.
It’s all so ridiculous, but we’ve had similar discussions on the LibraryThing forums about what books you’d save first. The only ones I care that much about (about the specific copies, that is) are my signed copies, some of which can’t be replaced. Well…and a few others – my favorite book, which I hope to get signed someday, and a couple of books that my parents gave me (or maybe I took, but either way, they remind me of them), and some older editions that can’t be found anymore, but they’re not worth anything except sentimentally.
Of course, all told that makes up more books than I could comfortably rush out the door with, even if I could find them fast enough…and my laptop (and cat) would come before books anyway.
Save the album, sell it, buy a few thousand kittens.
Kitty. Then claim on the insurance for the cost of the record. What do you mean you didn’t insure your immensely valuable collectors’ item?
Well, no offence to the Beatles, but I really don’t know how much something like that would be worth. If I new that I could buy myself a new home with that, then yeah, the Beatles. But a Beatles album can’t keep you warm at night, so yeah, the kitten.
Pristine copy of “The Butcher Album” or Blackie, the hairball hacking new cat who will never replace Toonces, my little buddy for 17 years who died last year, in my heart?
Sorry, Blacks, but I’ll be waiting across the street with the fire engine and my copy of the Beatles. You, er, know how to catch mice in case we’re separated. Right?
1. I save the kids.
2. If I can, I scoop up the kitty while I yell at my husband to get the @#$%^&* out while I jump out the window. If the kitty’s not visible, sorry, I jump out without (but still yell at my husband to get the @#$%^&* out).
No album–no object–is worth it. And the kitty ranks well behind my family.
The kitten is so self-absorbed it would be sleeping on the album, so I could rescue them both.
Save the album.
I might actually shovel the neighbors’ cats into the fire. Don’t care much for cats.
I’m with the insurance gang. If I owned something worth that much, it damned well better be appraised and insured. Save the kitty and have the insurance company replace the album (which is now even more valuable since that @#$@#% fire).
Hugh57 @ 22,
I didn’t see the period when I read your comment. It’s better that way I think:
Yes, Hugh, The kitten insurance would cover the rest.
Allergic to cats, love the Fab Four… Easy choice!
My “awful-options” hierarchy:
Save the kitten before the object (any object).
Save the puppy before the kitten.
Save the spouse before the puppy (duh).
Save the kids before the spouse.
As to which kid–you have to go with “grab the closest.”
the kitten, obviously. even if i liked the beatles i would choose the kitten
If the kitten didn’t wake me by attaching himself to my scalp with all 20 claws and crying piteously, I just assume he went cat on me and saved himself. Save the album.
When I was a toddler, our house burned down, killing 3 cats that were too stupid to come out from underneath the house, even though nothing was stopping them. So the kitten really is in trouble, survival instinct or no.
That said, if it was my cat, Kora, or an album that I could sell to provide $40K worth of charitable donations to animal shelters and homeless shelters, I think Kora might be in trouble.
I own the butcher cover and the kitten’s easier to cuddle.
The album. I’m seriously allergic to cats, and could sell the album on ebay and get a dog. Presuming I lived in a place that I could have pets.
Not that I don’t like cats, they’re cute and demanding and all, but I’d rather not itch and sneeze and go blind.
spouse, then (hypothetical) cat, then (hypothetical) album.
I agree with laptop-saver up there! That and my flash drive.
(I’m saving the kitten and collecting the insurance on the LP to buy another damn LP. Granted, I wouldn’t actually have a kitty due to raging allergies, but LP’s don’t have nerve endings, and if I were responsible I’d’ve been keeping the record in something fireproof anyway. Oh my god I don’t DESERVE the LP.)
When I went through firefighting school, one of the lessons that got pounded into me repeatedly was “Save life. Property ain’t worth shit.”
That and try not to stand in front of the hose.
So I guess I go with the kitty.
I would take the laptop. Only while standing outside my burning house would I remember the album and the kitty (and possibly, possibly, my spouse and child).
There would be no fire. I’m not allowed to have anything flammable in my household.
However, in case of flooding…
The cat would already be living outside so it’s definitely the album.
I have to be honest, I would just run. I might feel bad for the kitten later.
The kitten, because the album is locked in a giant fire/water/explosion proof safe
U haz 2 save kittee!
A real in-flight announcement on Ryanair: “In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically fall from the bulkhead above you. Place the mask over your mouth and nose and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a small child, please secure your own mask before attending to the child. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite.”
With my luck, the kitten would run away from me as I tried to rescue it, and all three of us would burn (that would be including the album). I vote for the xbox. Wait… that wasn’t an option?
I’d save the kitten. The record’s insured.
For those wondering about the music, the album itself is available in various formats for as little as $20 from Amazon; more importantly, the actual songs are all originally from the albums Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver, two of which are consistently ranked among the best rock and roll albums of all time (Revolver frequently makes #1 on critics’ lists). At the time Yesterday And Today was originally released, it was customary for American and UK releases of the “same” album to differ in track listing, and the Capitol Records releases of Revolver and Rubber Soul are notably different from the originals; Yesterday And Today was an American compilation album that included songs Capitol had dropped from their issues of those records.
(I once had an argument with a friend over whether or not “I’ve Just Seen A Face” was from Rubber Soul; it turned out we were both right.)
Anyway, the reason the original vinyl release can be so valuable, is that the original cover was deemed “gross,” the album recalled, and the original cover pasted over with an inoffensive band photo for the first printing. “First state” means the copy in question was never recalled and pasted. Per Wikipedia, the $40k value that John mentions probably means the copy in question not only has never been pasted, but is probably a sealed copy from the personal collection of a former Capitol Records president.
So it’s not $40k for the music, it’s $40k for the packaging. Which you should have put in a safe deposit box and insured, so if you lose it in a home fire you’re an asstard. And since you probably didn’t keep the kitten in the same safe deposit box, I’m guessing you grabbed the kitten on your way out of the house.
I like the Beatles and all, but:
I can has non-krispeh kitteh?
I would choose to save the fire in a nice forcefield box… then again, I’ve never liked cats much. OTOH, my wife would kill me if I didn’t save the cat…
So, save the furball!
I don’t like the Beatles. Ergo if I’d come across an album, it would either be already sold, or pending sale, because all it is is a 40K cheque. And thus if I still had it, physically, it’d be insured, simplifying my task to a) finding my cats, who have never been outside and are terrified of outside, and b) prying the one of them out from under the arm-chair he likes to hide in.
. . . .yeah.
These “ethics tests” without right or wrong answers, are a twisted relic from the nineteen seventies.
Truthfully, if you have time enough to only “save” one or the other, you don’t have time to ponder it. Think about it and kitten, the album, and yourself are all going to perish in the fire.
I’d run to an exit calling, “here kitty,” and hope the kitten has the presence of mind to follow me out. The album can burn in Hell.
Easy choice. I have seen variations on this news story three times: “The man re-entered the house to save his cat, was overcome by smoke and died. The cat was found alive the next day.”
Clearly, the album. After all, when I get hungry again, I can always find another kitten.
Well..Here is the sequence of events.
This is easy…
1. Put cat and album in guitar case
2. Gather all guitars (5) and carry them in a calm fasion outside.
3. Go back inside and grab rare Marshall JCM 800 series amp head.
4. Oh ya…rare stamp collection. Damn! Need that…
5. OH NOES! Grandpa’s WW2 collectibles!!! MuSt GO BAcK!!!
BUT MY STUFF IS SAFE!
After all, She is the model for my Capital One Visa Card!
I would leave them both
So you have to choose either the cat or the album? What, are they the only things in arm’s reach? Put the little fluffy kitty in your pocket and grab the album.
Although, if you did have a $40K album, I’d have to assume it’d be in a locked case. If you had enough time to find the key, unlock the case, surely you’d have time to save something else…like the kids or your purse. Replacing all those credits cards would be a big pain in the butt. A lot harder than filing a claim with the insurance copy to recoop the album.
Wouldn’t have either in my house, so I’ll save a gun or two.
You people all disgust me. The obvious answer here is ‘I’d save my collection of signed Scalzi 1st editions.’
But if I must choose, the album. Then I’ll have a down payment for a new house to fill with cute fluffy kittens.
I’d tape the album to the kitty and save them both. Or the kitty to the album.
In my case I have some of the world’s stupidest dogs – they would lie down in front of the advancing flames (“Oooh, a fire!”) and take a nap. They have no survival instinct and would have to be hand carried from the building. And they would be. :)
I can always get another cat, people give away boxes of them in front of super markets.
Plus – I like cat extra crispy, with ketchup. On a bun.
I dunno — somehow this conundrum reminds me of the Jack Bauer scenarios so beloved by torture proponents.
In other words: I think I should torture the kitten until it tells me where it hid the Beatles album. Yeah, that’s it. And afterwards it would no doubt admit to the arson as well. I mean, fires don’t just start by themselves, now, do they?
After that, leaving the damned fuzzball to burn would only be poetic justice.
This one’s easy. The Beatles album. I can’t stand cats. I’d probably grab supplies to make smores in the fire before the cat… ;-)
Album, if it is just a Kitten you have not had very long to get all attached right? Now my cat with the weird personality from living with me for 17 years would be another matter.
then I would throw the SOB back in.
Save the kitten, of course.
Vinyl SUCKS ASS when you have a cat.
Yeah but a turntable is great fun for a Cockatiel. At 16 RPM he’ll
walk in place like a hamster in a wheel.
But who would ever, EVER save the vinyl? Like someone said,
life trumps objects, unless maybe the object could be used to save
more lives, or the life to be saved is far enough away from us on the
evolution scale, meaning icky, like say a jellyfish or a slug. Those guys would be on their own.
$40,000 will buy a lot of fluffy kittens. Now, if it was a wife or child instead of a feline that would be more of a dilemma…
By all means, shave the kitten. Smooth!
Kitten – I’m too young to care much about the Beetles.
“God is inordinately fond of the Beatles,” said J.B.S. Haldane,* long before a single Beatle had ever set foot on boyhood’s shore.
Sorry, kitty. You lose again. Take it up with Scalzi; this was all his idea.
* Well, not exactly. But close enough.
Jim Wright: Do you like bacon on that extra crispy cat?
I’d go for the beatles, kittens are a renewable resource…
Petter @90 — What is it with guys and pussys?
I’d save my babies–the cats. The kids can fend for themselves.
The Beatles, no question, because the cat would probably have run out of the house at the first sign of trouble. Not that I would have a cat, but I would run through fire, crocodiles, and Republicans to save my yorkie from doom. Now I have to go put everything I’ve ever written on a flash drive and keep the flash drive in my pocket AT ALL TIMES.
Gee, there must be a lot of well-off people here, considering how many want to save the cat.
Some of us writers live hand to mouth and selling that album could keep me going for a year.
Besides, the kitten has four legs and survival instincts. Under the best circumstances the fastest the album could go is 33 1/3 RPM — and only in a circle!
Leave the cat, take the cannoli…er, I mean, the album!
Is it a pristine never been touched cover?
Or is it the — If I am really careful I can steam off the non-offensive overlay cover and only leave a couple of bald peeling white spots on the original, american banned, recalled before the teens turn into cannibals – cover?
Honestly either way – the cat is toast!
Maybe I don’t really care all that much about the Beatles, but I’d save the cat, rat, reptiles and amphibians first.
We had a small housefire a few years ago, so I don’t even have to guess at an answer.
Having to race out of the house in a hurry, I grabbed my purse (which had keys, ID and credit cards), and the cat.
That cat has legs. He’s on his own.
It seems to me that valuing the Beatles has little to do with it–I like the Beatles’ music but I can listen to that music whether or not I save the stupid LP. Its value is that of a rare collectible, and I’ve never gone for that sort of arbitrary object-fetishization, so I don’t know why it’s in my house anyway. If I accidentally happened to own one and knew how much it was worth I’d have sold it already, so if I’ve got it, I evidently don’t know how much it’s worth.
Or, maybe this fire just happens to be happening during the narrow window between my discovery of the fabulous worth of the album and my managing to close the sale, and I have a feeling that if my house is burning down, what happens next with that is the last thing on my mind. (If the house is burning, the album is probably in less-than-pristine condition already just from the smoke.)
Whereas, while cats are not people, they’re my friends. So the kitten lives.
The other thing I meant to mention was that an actual housefire situation is relatively easy. You barely have time to grab one item, so it comes down to purely gut-level hind-brain decisions.
Had we time for one or two more things: my laptop, my husband’s guitar. And, discussing it later that night, we realized if that was all we’d been able to save, dayenu — it would’ve been enough.
What seems daunting is something like Katrina or wildfire, where you have some time to plan what to pack. And that’s where these kinds of decisions have to be made. Photo albums and scrapbooks? The painting you feel iffy about which could resell for several-thousand dollars? Out-of-print books autographed by long-gone authors? And remember, you can only take what you can fit into your car around the people you’ll be travelling with…
Answered at length here:
Too easy for me to answer…Material possessions can be replaced. ( No matter how rare, you will find something else just as meaningful to replace it…) A life however can never be replaced. Even the mere life of a small tiny kitten…(Hugs) Indigo
I’m not a cat person, but the answer is still kitten. When you have a pet, you’ve taken on responsibilities far beyond the value of the record.
I’d really bitch about it afterward, though.
I don’t actually like the Beatles that much, and besides, it’s just a thing.
Same answer if the beatles item were the master tapes for that album.
I find that when a scenario lacks plausibility for the person you’re presenting it to, it makes it hard for that person to take the scenario seriously.
Besides, the album would’ve been long gone (via Ebay) and the money used to buy a maxed out Macintosh with extras, furniture, a bicycle, clothes, and books, and other stuff. Oh, and two cats.
Mom has a “second state” version, the vinyl’s nearly pristine…
… so the cat lives.
(We’ve already ripped it to FLACs for ourselves.)