：The Careful Reader
Simon, a college grad, always pointed out the errors in his brother Brevyn's emails. "When are you going to stop confusing 'its' with 'it's'?" he often asked. Brevyn, a high school grad, said that nobody ever noticed anyway.
Brevyn knew that Simon was “book smart,” but he didn't think Simon was very “street smart.” Years ago, Simon had bought stereo speakers from a street vendor. When he arrived home, he called Brevyn over to help him set up the speakers. Simon was excited because he had gotten the speakers at half price. The brand new speaker boxes said Panasonic, Model No. A-682ST, Made in Japan, etc.
But Simon was disappointed and angry when he discovered that the boxes contained only old magazines. Brevyn was amused. “Did you get a receipt?” Brevyn asked. “Did you ask the guy about his return policy? Did he tell you where his 'store' is going to be tomorrow?”
Brevyn visited Simon to show him the new tires he had just put on his Honda Accord. While they were talking in Simon's living room, Simon showed Brevyn an air pump he had recently purchased. “If your new tires ever go low, you can pump them up super-fast with this. It pumps air into the tire on the downstroke and the upstroke.”
Brevyn said, “You must be kidding. I’ve never heard of a pump that pumps air on the upstroke.” Brevyn tried out the pump. “There’s no air coming out of here on the upstroke,” he told Simon.
“Of course there is. Read the label on the pump.”
Brevyn read the label. “Ha! Listen to this: ‘High volume air flow on both up and down strokes.’ The air ‘flows,’ all right, but it flows in on the upstroke, not out. The label writer tricked you, Mr. English Major. What have you got to say for yourself?”
"Let’s go outside," Simon said. "Maybe I can find a small nail in one of your new tires."
：Food as Punishment
A food called “nutraloaf” has been used for many years in US prisons. But prisoners claim that it tastes so bad that the food is actually punishment. They say that prison officials must charge the prisoner with some type of violation before they can punish him by making him eat nutraloaf. At least one prisoner has filed a lawsuit against the use of nutraloaf. Prison officials say the prisoners are overreacting. They say that nutraloaf is a nutritious food. “It’s just like fruitcake,” said one warden. Nutraloaf is a mixture of bread, cheese, raw and cooked vegetables, beans, and other ingredients which may vary from season to season and prison to prison.
Prison officials say that using nutraloaf, a “hand” food, increases prison safety, because prisoners don’t have utensils or plates to throw at or use against guards or other prisoners. Officials routinely distribute nutraloaf for days at a time when one or more prisoners act unruly.
“What are they complaining about? I wish I could have had nutraloaf when I was growing up,” said Bob Hope, a prison warden in Arkansas. “It tastes a lot better than the grits and corn bread I ate every day. These guys have a lot of nerve to complain. I’ve eaten it myself many times—I just pop it into the microwave for a minute, spread a little butter on it, and enjoy. What’s their beef? Prisoners are a bunch of whiners. If they want five-star prison food, they should commit their crimes in France.”
：The Fire in the Hills
The next morning, Adam turned on the radio. The fire had spread to 350 acres, and 550 homes had been evacuated. More than 400 fire fighters were busy in the foothills. The winds had really picked up overnight. Fire officials declared that the fire was only five percent contained. They said it might take four to seven days to fully contain the fire.
Adam walked outside with his binoculars. Helicopters and four-engine tankers were flying over the burn area, dropping water and fire retardant. He could see lots of thick smoke just a couple of miles north of his apartment building. He could hear the sirens of fire engines. All the cars on the street were dusted with soot.
Adam's brother called from a nearby city. “Are you going to have to evacuate?” he asked Adam. Adam said if they told everyone to evacuate, he would just put his laptop in his car and drive over to stay with his brother. Adam was amazed at how huge and menacing the fire had gotten in less than 24 hours. He hoped that the winds would die down soon; this situation was a little scary. Just a couple of embers flying southward could result in hundreds of homes, including his own, burning down. He did not want his home to be on the five o’clock news.