Well, I’m sorry about this, but today’s one of those days. Works like this: because my column now runs on the front of the Sunday section, it is due six years in advance. And because the art will change from week to week, the page has to be laid out approximately nine years before the paper goes to print. What once was a Wednesday deadline is now a Tuesday at the crack o’dawn deadline. This means I have to write it Monday. Along with my other column. So the jobs shoulders aside the Bleat this Tuesday, I’m afraid.

So why didn’t I go to work and write the dang thing, instead of lollydawdling around the house eating bonbons? My wife can watch the tot, after all. Well, she had a lunch appointment. Somewhere in Tanzania, given the time it took to get there and back. I watched Gnat, and was back in the old routine of a Monday before the axe fell on my spouse’s lovely neck: We made mac and cheese (although now she makes it herself; she has learned to run the microwave [no, I didn’t teach her; that strikes me as the technical definition of “asking for it, it being ‘coming down stairs and finding a plastic toy in the microwave with the cooking timer set to 7 hours.’”]) and she even pointed out that I’d pushed the buttons in the wrong order. Smart kid. They're now wired to understand modern interfaces; how did that happen? Then I read her a book (although now she can read parts of her self. I pointed to a sign that said “hot dog” and asked her what it said. She peered, though, and said “hot dog.” Yesterday outside Pottery Barn Kids I asked her what the last word was. She made a “k” sound, then said “kids.” She’s reading all right.) And then we got ready to go, which meant swapping the Big Girl Underwear (thick as the Sunday Times, it is) for the super-absorbant Out-And-About leak sopper.

Her mom came home, and I flew out the door to go to work. Chose the picture to use for the next column - an extremely disturbing picture of me as Mickey Mouse - and then tried to figure out what the devil I would write about it. Nothing came. Grabbed the laptop and went home, where I am now, typing this.

The fellow on the radio has called the host to complain about “Corporate Fascist Radio.” His tone of voice is just amazing. Lord, what a do you prick me do I not bleed sort. Just called left-of-center Alan Colmes host as an “asshole.” Got beeped. “Give me one hour of your show and someone would hire me in a second, sonny boy” he said. The voice is the same as Michael Savage: hate hate hate hate. I mean, hate hate hate.

I wonder if there’s a market for that. There’s an audience, I’m sure, but a market? When I got into talk radio, most of the hosts were center-left. I was center-left, for that matter. We had a national show from LA, with Michael Jackson (no, not him. Not the beer expert) and he always skewed left. We had Tom Snyder at night. The ratings were pretty much in the terlet, as Archie Bunker would say. Then came Limbaugh, and then came ratings, and the entire radio landscape changed. What happened at KSTP happened at struggling talk stations all over the country: they went right, saw their ratings rise, and made money. Competing stations in town - if there were other talkers - did the same. Anyone of them could have gone in the opposite direction to establish a different niche in the market, I suppose, but that would be a gamble. That would be like inventing a format, and Program Directors don’t necessarily keep their jobs because decided to reposition the station as your home for Klezmer Rap Music, which no one has ever heard of before. Add to that the mellifluousness off NPR and its adjuncts, who bleed off the soft middle, and you have a smaller set of people.

Sorry - got off topic.

What was the topic?

Right: no bleat today. Sorry! More tomorrow.

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