I am a reasonable man. A gentle man. I seek no strife, yet strife finds me. I speak no ill against the Instapundit, and he links to a page that photoshopped my face onto a corpulent body that looked like Orson Welles after drinking sixteen quarts of Karo syrup. I say naught but nice things about radio host Hugh Hewitt, and how am I repaid? Read on.

I mentioned in passing yesterday that I have a few BeeGees songs in my collection. How can I not? I have 4700+ songs; the odds that I wouldn’t have any Gibb-related material is rather low. There’s probably a Devo cover of Lawrence Welk in there somewhere; I’ve no idea. I have Johnny Cash, Pet Shop Boys, Powerpuff Girls soundtracks, Led Zep, Patsy Cline, Elvis (Costello and Presley), every note Mahler, Beethoven, Brahms, and Sibelius wrote, most everything by Brian Eno and almost every sibilant note thumbed by Charlie Christian, blown by Benny Goodman or programmed by the Kraftwerk boys. Plus “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring. My tastes are eclectic. As Peter Schickele said when he quoted Duke Ellington: if it sounds good, it is good.

Are the BeeGees good, then? Sure. Some of their stuff, anyway. I can do without most of the songs t on the greatest hits disk. I usually don’t like the hyperventilating castrati sound - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, for example. Guys, listen - if you’re going to sing a song called “Walk Like A Man,” don’t sound as though you’ve had your testes kicked so hard they bounced off your diaphragm. “Stayin’ Alive,” however, is a great song. It may come from a genre that pumped out more dreck than the CB-radio story-song craze; it may bring back painful memories of John Travolta using his walk in such a way as to inform spectators that he is a woman’s man, and hence has no time to talk. But that hook holds up.

And I mention this why? Because yesterday’s innocuous pro-BeeGees comment bought me more nationally syndicated grief from Hugh Hewitt again. He did three hours of BeeGee bumper music today, and dedicated it all to Mr. Number One BeeGee fan, Lileks.

I could have called. I could have protested. But around 7:10 I was walking Jasper through the neighborhood; they came back with “Stayin’ Alive.” I felt 21% funkier. I realized that a dozen hundred thousand Americans might also feel incrementally funkier at that moment, and they’d have me to thank. Protest? Seethe? Complain? No. I found my inner Gibb and I gave it a handshake.

One of those ornate, complex over-the-top que-pasa / soul brother shake you got in the later 70s when you were introduced to jazz musicians who played the local Holiday Inn.

The older I get, the more music I like. (Except for 70s reefer-granola folk dreck, like John Denver and his hellspawn.) What I don’t like is melody-free cacophonous gangsta rap, and by some coincidence that’s Hewitt’s favorite genre. You wouldn’t know this from the show, because he never plays it, but I can’t tell you the number of times he’s called me at 2 AM, sounding like someone who’s been hitting the Folger’s freeze-dried for a week, demanding that I listen to “Fight the Power.” Hugh, I’d say, you’re a middle-aged white Republican. You are the power. Then there was his fascination with the Geto Boys (he pronounced it “jeeto”) and that fellow he called “Two-pack Shaker.” (Hugh thought Tupac was a member of the United Society of Believers.)

Did I mention what he was wearing when he made that last appearance here in Minneapolis? Plaid pants, track suit, a Li’l Kim T-shirt, big white afro and a gold chain so thick the USS Lincoln could have used it to winch up the anchor. It was just mortifying.

As for the end of the evening, I’ll just say this: 16 Pepsis + Hugh + karaoke = a lawyer’s version of Eminem. He did “(My Name Is) Slim Shady”- only he couldn’t help himself. He went all lawyer-like upside the audience, and started rapping: “My legal name is Marshall Mathers but for purposes of entertainment I have appeared under the stage names of Eminem and Slim Shady in the jurisdictions of New York, California, Texas and Illinois, and have filed the necessary permits declaring that my alternative musical personas are part of an ongoing entertainment venture, and not an attempt to deceive by setting up multiple incorporated entities. Word.”

Maybe you had to be there.

(You want to keep this up, Hewitt? Bring it on. Bring - it - ON.)

Gnat’s big swingset arrived today. Last night as I put her to bed for the 16th time I told her that tomorrow would be Big Swingset day, and that she should dream about it. Okay, daddee. This morning I asked her what would happen today.

Go to Target!

Yes, but what else?


Probably not. Remember the swingset?

Oh yes. (Classic toddler giggle, with hands to the mouth and shoulders scrunched up.)

For the rest of the morning she issued conjectures about the change in her social status this swingset would bring about. All of her friends would say oh she has an eggcellent swingset. She would have a birthday party at her swingset. It was going to be neato. And so forth. We went to Target, it being Thursday, then went home for curried chicken and a nap. “After your nap,” I said, “the swingset men will come.”

Lord knows what sort of dream-fodder that provided - grim industrious trolls with pipes and planks and ladders, perhaps. Unfortunately the swingset men did not arrive on time. Hours passed. We went outside to work on the garden.

I have no idea what is a flower and what isn’t. I mean, I can tell what’s obviously a flower, but the plants that produce a flower later always confuse me. They all look like weeds. Some of the weeds have caught on to this, and present a small blossom right away - don’t kill me, I’m pretty! Here! Pluck me! It’s on the house! So I stuck to uprooting filthy dandelions. Their leaves are ugly. Their purply stems offend. Their deep rubbery roots reveal their true characters. I roamed the yard, implement in hand, stabbing the earth and ripping out the interlopers. I heaped the dead like vanquished Orcs, and if I’d had the time I would have impaled the dandelion heads on sticks to warn off their kin.

Then the swingset assemblers came. Gnat sat on the floor by the back door, and watched them put the set together; she was almost vibrating with anticipation. When it was done she ran out, clambered up the gangplank to the covered room at the top of the playset, and did a little dance. This was the best day ever.

And in Jasper Dog’s opinion, it was the worst. Having Gnat so high in the air, climbing up the ladder, sliding down the slide - it made him very nervous. It was not right. It was not right. This was just wrong wrong wrong, and that required much barking: what is with you people? Why was this necessary? Why?

So I got a treat, put it way up in the treehouse level, and put him on the gangplank. Up he went. He stood there, higher than he’d ever been: he could see dogs coming from blocks away. This was fantastic. He could see the pizza guy coming before he hit the stairs. I climbed up the plank as well, and we all stood in the treehouse looking at the splendor of spring spreading down the hill, down to the creek, up to the great blue sky.

It's the sort of day that seems so blessedly wonderful that when you wander outside to take out the garbvage at 11:52, and you look up and see a rare lunar eclipse in progress, you think: icing on the cake.