8:50 AM It’s a lovely morning. After a weekend of gloom and damp the sun shouldered the front to one side and gave us back our summer. There’s even a choir of tweeting birds in the backyard now - for all I know they’ve been yammering on all afternoon, but when the sun’s out you somehow hear them better. Unless they’re crows. Crows sound loudest on a cloudy day.

12:34 PM My wife, before leaving to attend a graduation party yesterday, told me to do something about the water on the garage roof. It’s flat, you see. It has a drain, but the water has to be six inches high to drain; below that level, it just evaporates. But since standing water breeds mosquitos - really! They arise out of the water itself - she thought I might want to get a pump.

“A pump.”

“Yes. Maybe one with batteries so you don’t have to plug it in.”

“You realize that the pump would have to be 100% effective in draining the area, since mosquitos can breed in the smallest of areas,” I said, although it came out “yes dear.”

Off to the hardware store. “I need a pump,” I said.

“This way,” said the clerk. It’s that kind of store. One of those neighborhood urban hardware store that bends time and space in such a way that it contains all possible goods made by human hands: “I need chimp feed and some teflon grommets.”

“This way.”

After six hours the pump had done its job, and there was a slushy sodden mass of tree-seeds and brackish water, and the pump was making a sound like a Jarvik heart filled with oatmeal.

That was yesterday. Today the mosquitos tried to carry Jasper away. They’re not happy about this at all.

8:37 PM It’s been quite the day. I forgot to mention that I was on Hugh Hewitt’s show; my mistake. Mark your calendars, if you care about these things - 5:20 Central Time for the foreseeable future, until I am not invited back due to a prolonged streak of lousiness. Today was fun - as with last week, I was fixing supper when the call came. As with last week, I was chopping lettuce for the Mexican Feast. This is now the New Superstition; just as athletes have their rituals, I now must be chopping lettuce while waiting to go on the air, because I’ve chopped lettuce twice before the bits and I haven’t stunk up the joint entirely.

Today’s show had an unexpected twist - in the middle of the bit my wife came home, 45 minutes ahead of schedule, and that set Jasper Dog to barking. He was outside at the time, but could still be heard nationwide. So I headed to the living room, moved into the entryway - a different room-tone entirely - then went outside to complete the bit, only to hear a plane overhead. I usually pace slowly when I do these things, making a complete circuit of the downstairs, but this was ridiculous - trying to come up with spontaneous remarks while avoiding the dog AND the wails of Gnat downstairs who wanted me to choose a different Mickey DVD made it all a challenge.

Blah, blah, etc; anyway. It’s a column night and I am going to pull an old trick here: tender an apology for a short lame Bleat and hope to make it up with a new site addition. It’s the inauguration of the Salute to Signage site. Old photos of pre-mall downtowns, taken at the kismet hour of sunset. Enjoy; much more tomorrow.