Oh, wonderful. Now I have to be Mark Twain every night.

I’ll explain in a while. Meanwhile, the usual parade of banalities, half-baked fresh daily:

Impressive speech by Blair today. I wonder how much press it will get. It sounded not at all like a Bush peroration, but when you pare away the accent you realize that both men are best suited by words that are tart, blunt, stark, and resolute. Not to say there aren’t differences - Blair’s speeches sound like the work of a keen and fierce intellect that has come to a certain conclusion by logical deduction. His heart has been informed by his head. In the case of Bush I think it’s the other way around. I suppose that’s the difference between being the leader of a nation that was attacked, and the leader of a nation whose ally was assaulted. What I found most invigorating about the speech was the tenor - the tune, not the notes. It was a speech sung in the key of War, and reminded us that we are just midway through the end of the beginning. If that.

Blair is, at heart, a socialist; I’ve no time for half the stuff he wants and most of the stuff he’d agree to. But he’d get my vote. We can argue about the shape and direction of Western Civ after we’ve made sure that such a thing will endure. I haven’t heard every single speech Tony Blair has made since he popped on to the political scene; I don’t know if he argues for increased license fees for domestic gerbils with the same passion and force. But today he sounded like a man who knew things, who knows that the threat is still grave, and cannot understand why others seek transient political advantage in exploiting those sixteen words. The people are worried, your majesty! "Oh, let them eat yellowcake."

When I hear a speech like Blair’s, I have to check the calendar. And the calendar is usually wrong. It may say 2/23, or 7/16, or 4/30. But I know what the date is, and the date is 9/12. It’s going to be 9/12 for a long time to come.

Toddler logic, con’t:

As part of my Kill the Earth strategy, I had the lawn fertilized with something that smelled evil, made squirrels drop from the trees, and dissolved dog-paws on contact. We were advised not to go on the lawn fro 48 hours unless we were wearing HazMat suits, but after that period had passed I was supposed to water the lawn - this would make the chemicals run off into the drains, where they would go to the river and slaughter fish by the million. If we couldn't walk across the Mississippi by stepping on the thick, scaly carpet of dead Piscene-Americans, we should call the company, and they would spray again.

I was setting up the sprinkler, and Gnat stuck her head out the back door.

They gone eachu in life! she said.

Translating . . . translating . . . ah. Mosquitos. They would eat me alive.

"Yes they will, hon, and you’d better shut the door or they will get in the house. They’ll bite your butt." (A mosquito had indeed stuck her in the can the previous day, and that had been the occasion for much unseemly public scratching.)


I set up the sprinkler, adjusted the water, moved it around.

Door opens. They gone eachu in life!

"Yes, but as I said, close the door or they’ll get in the house and bite your butt."

Pause. My butt is in the house.

Technically accurate, since she was leaning out of the doorway. It sounded like some sort of preschool hip-hop assertion: my butt is in the house, y'all. It made me wonder once again how the word “butt” got lodged in her vocab. I should have tried for something a bit more elegant, and made her use the word “Fundament" or "bottom" or "tushie" or "bifurcated arse-wad." But butt is is, and we're stuck with it. That will be the worst word she ever hears, though - my years of radio stuck an FCC filter on my tongue, and I regard my daughter the way I'd regard an open mike. This house is my station, and the call letters are WDAD.

My wife had a networking meeting tonight. That’s what they call “cocktail parties” these days. So Gnat and I went to Southdale for entertainment, and since it was a dim and gray day I didn’t feel as though we were squandering a summer evening to waste away in the tomb of consumerism. Four objectives: the Stuart Little car ride in the Kiddieland Arcade, hamburgers, the Apple Store, and ice cream. Not much to say about the ride; fifty cents, 90 seconds. She also rode the “Teddy Bear Picnic” carousel; it doesn’t go around, but goes from side to side in seven-inch increments. I had my camcorder with me, so I was able to capture perhaps the finest “this is lame” expression she’s ever made. Off to the food court - or what’s left of it. Southdale remade its top floor into a Youth Fashion Center, complete with blinking neon! and moving light patterns on the very floor itself! All the stores - Buckle, PacSun, Gadzooks - sell indistinguishable crap for modern youth, and it makes you yearn for something with a touch of class. For God’s sake, even a Zoot Suit craze would be welcome at this point.

Spoken like an old dork, I suppose; spoken like someone who wore a skinny tie and thrift-store jacket through his twenties. Why? Simple: Made me feel sharp. Not slack, not def, not fresh, not bad, not unHerbert, not whatever word has come along in the last few decades to describe slavish devotion to the mode du jour, but sharp. That suggests a certain amount of crispness, and of course a certain amount amphetamines as well. (Coffee, in my case. And lots of it. I'm still a dawn-to-dusk man with the stuff; just as Churchill could knock back a rejuvinating gin for breakfast, I can drink a quart of hot stern joe at midnight and sleep the sleep of the just.) Sharp was borrowed from the early 60s, or a recycled notion of the era. Sharp came through the New Wave musicians who had narrow-cuffed pants, narrow lapels, inch-wide ties. It was the look of people who were alert, present and accounted for, and well aware that we had best enjoy ourselves before Reagan set off a nuclear war, man. Sharp was a direct reaction to all the blowsy billowy gunny-sack that made up the tail-end of hippiedom; sharp was an unironic thrift-store aesthetic. Sharp was cool and cool was sharp.

Ah, these kids today! Whadda they know! They know they should be having sex with everyone all the time, that’s what they know - at least if they’re Abercrombie & Fitch customers. The Southdale Ab & Fitch store has changed its big in-store pornboards; no more the buff guy with the corrugated stomach on one sign, and the tawny lass with her tousled hair barely covering her abundant bazungas on another. Now there’s a big scene of a threesome - two naked guys flanking a dreamy-faced young woman. She’s kissing one, and caressing the face of another. Yeah, that’s going to work in the long run. It’s quite amusing: all the new ads in the store feature people who are not wearing any clothes. And it’s a clothing store.

This sort of marketing only works with clothes, oddly enough.

We had our hamburgers, then went to the Apple Store. Gnat picked up a Finding Nemo game, and wanted to play it; I did a search on the kid’s computers and found a trailer for the movie. I called it up and hit PLAY and wandered off to look at the iSight cameras. After a few minutes Gnat came over, game box in hand. “That wasn’t a game,” she said. “It was only a commercial.”

To hear the word “commercial” come out of the mouth of a 35-month old creature is one thing, but to hear it spoken with such Olympian dismissal - ah. I’m raising one fine American woman.

If you’ve gotten to the bottom of this interminable thing, well, you’re a true fan of this site, and might enjoy Hugh Hewitt’s Weekly Standard article about the Bleat. All I can say is: (blush). And thank you all again for your indulgence and patronage -

Although it’s not like this ain’t taking a chunk out of MY LIFE, you know! I mean, right now, it’s 12:25 AM. I don’t have to do this. I could be watching TV. I could be finishing the movie I started last night, “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.” It’s a Woody Allen movie, and it’s frighteningly awful. Oh, it has that Woodman sheen; the sets are great, the costumes perfect, the lighting superb, the camerawork exquisite, but at the center of the thing is this bleached prune in a trenchcoat doing schtick, this tiny withered sixty-something pickle pretending he’s a sex-magnet for Helen
“A moment of silence, please, for those windswept T-Shirt shots in ‘Twister’” Hunt. I mean, gaaah. And the dialogue! If it weren’t for Woody Allen movies, the tin industry would collapse.

It’s horrible. And I have to finish it tonight, so you’ll excuse me if I stop now and get to the whole uploading-cursing-editing-reuploading part of my evening. There’s at least an hour of the film left to watch. Like so many of Woody’s recent works, it’s dreadful.

And such large portions!

(Note: words added to the laptop’s spellchecker, thanks to this bleat:



Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More