National programming note: Hugh Hewitt will be throwing softballs at my head on his national radio show at 5:20 PM Central Time.

Friday was one of those sweet perfect days - all major key, nary a bum note. Got up the nerve to hit the FARK site, where intrepid photoshoppers had defaced my column illustration as requested, and lo: genius. Then I called up my office mail I had 100 entries. ONE HUNDRED. Great relief; I had the fear that when I put out the request for pictures, I’d get a dozen, and the verdict would be clear. This just in: no one cares. The paper is going to spend an entire Sunday Variety front on these illustrations. Sweet sweet vindication. Then I checked the mailroom, and there was a big package from a Bleat reader who worked for Fox - he’d read that I couldn’t find Aliens on DVD anywhere. So he sent it to me, along with some other DVDs that I wanted. Wow. There’s my Friday night movie, right there. Dropped from the sky. Went over to talk to my editor about the photos - she’d just gotten a delivery of bread from a local bakery angling for some PR; did I want a loaf? I did. Back to the desk - another coworker says “they’re giving away office supplies in conference room two, but they close in five minutes!” Free office supplies? Did you say free office supplies?

A few minutes later I have a fistful of Bics, including the new nevr-dri-out highlighting pens with a clear reservoir tank. You can see the lovely yellow ink sloshing around. No more wondering how much highlighting you can do - just check your tank. Highlight with confidence, friend. Across the room, a Sharpie salesman who, true to the name of his product, had the manner of Chris Finch from “The Office”, was handing out the new bleedless acid-free silver-ink Sharpie. Got two. At the Uniball table, the new magic pen with invisible ink that turns purple when it hits the page! And it has - drumroll - a clear reservoir tank. All your old pens with their inscrutable interiors are old and busted, and I sneer at you from my position on the clear-tank paradigm verandah, where I have a lounge chair and an umbrella and a drink. It’s clear but it tastes purple.

Back to the desk. Browsed around; was rather surprised to find myself quoted in Howie Kurtz’s column. Cherry on the frosting for the day. Finished the column, drove to the grocery store, bought steaks, and came home with that great glee you only get when you have ten free pens, a pound of gratis bread, a satchel full of complimentary DVDs and a pound of sirloin that’s just aching to kiss the grill. And it’s Friday.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

And it didn’t. But it was a good weekend nevertheless. There was a sunny day for relaxing outdoors, and a cloudy day fit for staying inside and doing various bits of dork-work - put in a new hard drive, captured all the video for the June family movie. Which reminds me:

It’s a shame there’s no market for one’s intestines. Kidneys, eyes, livers - all fetch a nice prize. But intestines? Can’t give them away. Probably just as well; if you could sell them, people would sell small lengths to meet certain financial obligations. Mortgage is due, doc - take out a couple feet. Casinos would have discreet little clinics off the gaming room, with a slot machine right by the operating table if you wanted to gamble while the operation took place. Give me a local - I’m on a hot streak! And people like me, who regard operations with the dread normally associated with, well, operations, would make an appointment for degutting three weeks in advance of every Apple keynote address.

Today they announce the new machines. From all I hear the new computers go up to 11, so to speak. Dual 2 ghz processors. Of course, this means the company, which is DOOMED, will now go out of business twice as fast as before.

I was at CompUSA Saturday. All the monitors showed that same old 3D pipe-laying screen saver. The Mac department had the giganto widescreen display showing a Matrix trailer, and it was without question the coolest looking thing in the shed. I know, I know . . . aesthetics don’t count. It’s performance and apps. I’m not here to rehash that argument. I’d gone to CompUSA to look CD label printers. A clerk asked what I wanted; I told him. “We don’t have any,” he said. Keep in mind, this is a computer store that carries 20 different DVD players. “Why not?” I asked, stupidly.

“No demand,” he said. There you have it! They’ve looked at the earnings reports, and 0% come from printers that can print directly on CDs. The stupidity of this company is bottomless. They should take the basic combo printer, put it on a pedestal by the front door and shine a high-intensity spotlight on the thing and, you know, create some demand by letting customers know the thing exists. Because when people walk in the door it’s a good bet they want something that plugs into their computer, unless they were shooting for the World Market store next door and got lost, and are under the impression that this place sells wicker hampers and pickled mango relish.

Somewhere someone decided not to carry them. You can imagine the logic: Why would someone want to print on the CD, when they can already print the labels on their old printer? But people in the computer business ought to know that the stupidest question you can ask is “why would anyone want to do X on their computer?” Whatever X is, if you can do it on your computer, people will want to do it.

And that is good news for Apple, if you want to ask this delusional partisan. Once they’ve got a Windows version of the Apple Tunes store up and running, and once enough people see them not as a company that makes pretty boxes that don’t run Windows, but a digital-media company, then they have a new purpose. They sell the camera, the TiVo box, the wireless device that hooks up to your stereo, and the computer that stores and broadcasts your files. But why would people buy from them instead of, say, Microsoft or some other trusted, well-respected, rock-solid EZ-to-use entity?

Because they’ll all be white. Because they’ll all have an Apple logo, which already has that high-tech cool aura. Because they will look like they were designed to work together. In other words, aesthetics count. Buy this box, and you can record TV anytime. Buy this box to go with it, and you can watch anything on your TV on your computer, even if the TV’s in the basement and the computer’s upstairs. Buy this box, and all the music on your computer can be played on any stereo. Buy this box, and the music goes in your car. Buy all these boxes, turn them on; they find each other and they know what to do. Here, let me take your photo with this nice new white camera. Click: it’s in your computer. Okay, take this remote, point it at the TV, press “photo,” arrow-key down to the album we just made. They’re your photos on the big TV downstairs for the family reunion. Beats the old slide-projector, eh?

I know, I know. Why would anyone want to put photos on their computer. Why would anyone want to watch TV at their desk. Why would anyone want to access their MP3s anywhere in the house. And most of all, why would anyone want to switch to Apple just for this? Why, you commit your entire music / photo / movie standard to Apple, and the next thing you know Microsoft discontinues support for Office. Then you’re really screwed.

Did you know you can’t get Office for the Playstation either? One more doomed platform.

Tomorrow, or today, go here for a complete refutation of everything I just said.

Today, incidentally, is a two-matchbook day. It’s the start of the Raymond Disney collection, a look at the matchbooks of California in the 50s and 60s. Enjoy ~

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