Ah, serendipity.
David Eddings, RIP.

Holy shit, Thomas Friedman, you are a pig.

Many thanks to alert reader Katharine,* who threw caution to the wind and evidently wagered that I don't have a blood pressure problem or heart condition when she decided to comment on an earlier post to let me know that Thomas Friedman, he of the porn stache, charges $70,000 for his speaking engagements. As quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal:

"Journalist Thomas Friedman’s hefty speaking fee cost him a chance at being chosen for UW-Madison’s common book read program, Go Big Read.

His book “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” was one of five finalists for the program’s first book, but his fee of $70,000 — which has been the subject of some controversy of late — was too pricey for UW-Madison’s budget, said Sara Guyer, interim director of the UW-Madison Center for Humanities and a member of the book selection committee.

Instead, Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” was chosen by Chancellor Biddy Martin. Pollan was already scheduled to visit to campus this fall at a rate of $15,000, sponsored by a number of sources including the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Pollan will now likely be paid more than that because his visit will be extended for activities surrounding Go Big Read, but his contract hasn’t been finalized, Guyer said."

I can't say I'm crazy about the choice of the Pollan book either, but it does beat the Friedman book. Wow. I would like to see an Ultimate Cage Match between Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Zaslow, but I can't say I'd be cheering for either one to emerge victorious out of the cage.

*Incidentally? You are the best, Katharine.