There are recycling bins all over the office - Paper, Magazines, Plastic, Batteries, Hemp Clothing, etc. Today I was about to toss some periodicals into the appropriate receptacle, and I noted a great slumping pile of journals at the bottom of the bin. I fished them out, curious what my peers had discarded. and discovered several copies of PARKING magazine.

It’s a magazine about PARKING.

Ramps, lots, metered streets, if it’s a place where cars sit motionless, it’s covered in PARKING. My amusement was compounded when I discovered that the stack also contained several copies of PARKING TODAY, the bitter, hands-to-the-jugular competitor to PARKING. Who knew there were two magazines concerned with the world of commodified space for idled vhicles? Here you have this great battle, this distant reflection of the titanic Gog-Magog / Time - Newsweek / Lazarus - AntiMatterLazarus struggle, and no one knows. It is like the chatter of ants, the battles of beetles, the rustle of desperate combat in the green and placid grass beneath us. We go on our daily lives unaware of the fierce war for the hearts & minds of the Parking Community. Which is the hip, irreverent take on Parking that the employees love, and which is the staid respectable journal the manager has on his desk? Which one has the sarcastic, irreverent columnist whose brash antiestablishment swipes at the parking industry are the first thing everyone reads, and whose ideas are the last thing anyone takes seriously? Who’s the Dvorak of parking journalism? Which one sent reporters to Israel for the obligatory post 9-11 issue on TERRORISM AND PARKING issue?

For every subculture you stumble upon there are a thousand you’ll never see.

I was disappointed to find that neither had a page of jokes. When I was growing up all magazines had jokes page. The Saturday Evening Post had something called “The Man Next Door.” The VFW magazine had “Notes from the Old Sarge.” The Reader’s Digest, of course, overflowed with corn - Uniformed Corn, Campus Corn, Domestic Corn, Marital Corn. Even The Lutheran had something. ("How many Lutherans does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "One.") You’d expect PARKING to have a cartoon featuring Rampy, the long-suffering parking facility manager, or perhaps screen grabs from the security cameras featuring people throwing up on Volvos or copulating in the cramped confines of a Prius. But no.

Lots of ads for ticket-dispensing machines, though. Lots of ads.

Good day, I suppose; no complaints, except for the cold. It’s not a bad one. It’s almost apologetic. Sorry; sorry. I’ll be done soon. It’s one of those colds that makes you sneeze once an hour, and when you do it feels rather good. It reminds you that you have a cold, which justifies your weariness and crankiness, and it provides a nice cathartic Old Faithful blast now and then. I can breathe, which is always a plus. But I’m tired. This morning I had much work to do on the column, and Gnat was not in a mood to let me do it. She also has the bug, which manifests itself in a different fashion: it produces one green pea of snot every fifteen minutes. This substance, if smeared across the cheek, hardens to the consistency of shellac, and good luck getting it off without sandpaper. It goes without saying that she pitches a fit when she sees me coming with sandpaper, too.


Man, that was good. I almost want a cigarette.

I forgot to note something earlier this month: February is the anniversary of the Bleat. We’re now starting Year Seven, which stuns me, really. There was a half-year hiatus in there somewhere, and some missing weeks, but this has been up and running for six years. And what have I accomplished in those years? Well, I gained 36 pounds, which would be depressing except that 31 of them consist of my daughter. Sold some books, moved to Jasperwood - never would have thought that possible in 97. Got a new hobby: home movies. Gave up radio entirely. More and more of my time has gone into this website, and for that I have to thank the Blogosphere, which kindly folded me into their ranks even though this isn’t a blog by any means.

As long as I’m on the subject - there are reasons I don’t have a big list of links here. You may roll your eyes at the design of these pages, but at least they’re fairly clean. Yes, I know: so is a cat’s anus. But I don’t want to put fifty links on these pages; it’s one more element to deal with, and since I redesign this page every week I want to keep things as simple as possible. (As it is I screwed up with this design, and forgot a link to the previous bleat. D’oh. Back to Photoshop.) When you put up links, you have to choose - and that means making judgments I don’t necessarily want to make. There are some good blogs out there I personally don’t like, and the omission of a link would seem, well, French. There are blogs I love, but they’re loved by everyone else as well. At this point linking to Instapundit reminds me of 1996, when everyone linked to Yahoo in 1996. It’s the YogiBerra effect - no one links to him, he’s too popular. There’s no need to link to the brand names anymore.

But I will start linking, soon, and the links will be plentiful and promiscuous. All will be clear in March -

Ah, March. In the latter part of the month wife and child are going down to Arizona for a while, and I am staying behind to do this and that. It will be the annual Massive Arrangement Project, including a complete overhaul of the basement storage area, the last part of the house where disorder rules. I will stay up until three AM. I will perfect this site. I will reorganize all my MP3s into folders that do not begin with “The”. I will make tertiary backups of the movies for off-site storage in Fargo, in case fire consumes both Jasperwood and the Star-Tribune building. I will use that can of vindaloo sauce I have that guarantees 26 grams of fat per serving. I will thin the ranks of my single-serving single-malt collections. I will watch the extended edition of the LOTR, the director’s cut of Star Trek 2, the new restored Metropolis, and several other DVDs I am storing up for the Week of Untetheredness. I will have frozen pizza one night and delivery pizza another, well-aware that these are two completely separate meal concepts.

I will play Jedi Knight 2 on the Mac, widescreen mode, with the speakers on instead of the headphones!

I will shout I’m whizzing with the door open, and I love it!

I will be inconsolable after two days.
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