Week o' Hell Con't; four-column Tuesday is here again and I am feeling foul. A cold is sweeping its way through the house - but I should reflect and be grateful, recalling the days when we all got colds every other week. And too much work is less of a curse than no work at all. But dang, it's Sunday column night and I got squat. My head's all wrapped up in other projects. So, after I filed column #2 this afternoon, I left the office to clear the cerebral palate, run some errands, listen to some music. My goal: brown dress shoelaces. Couldn't find them. Anywhere. Halfway through my search for adequate shoelaces, I thought: if this gets any worse, it’s a column. Right now it’s bleat-worthy. But give this hopeless stagger through the retail world one more surreal twist, and it’s a column.

So I was rooting for my shoelace search to fail, because I had to write a column that evening. And drat the luck, the search got just odd enough to tip the anecdote to column status, but not great column status. Sometimes writing is like sucking on a stick of butter; sometimes it’s like whittling steel. Tonight is the latter.

Not complaining. It’s a good life. Anyway: I was driving around listening to Hewitt interview Virginia Postrel, who has a great book about style and design. And suddenly I had a bright pang of guilt: I owed her money. Nevermind the details; wasn’t much, but I owed her some money. So now I’m feeling bad as I listen, and I am consumed with the idea that I should call her up right now on the air and apologize. I get home; I phone the show on the SuperSecret Private Number (ha! I say to you mortals. I place my arms akimbo and scoff like Galactus! Ha!), talk to Generalissimo the producer; they have the monthly classical music feature coming up, so maybe I should call at the top of the hour.

Fine. The feature is “The Barber of Seville” overture by the incomparable Rossini, which is one my favorite pieces to whistle. (I’m a good whistler. I know, I know - that’s like saying “I’m one hell of a spoons player.” No one ever wants to hear other people whistle; it’s musical onanism.) So I whistle the piece and conduct it, to the consternation of Jasper and Gnat. They’re both standing in the kitchen, looking at me with blank looks.

Whadju doin, daddee?

Conducting! And I’m conducting the realistic way, slightly anticipating the action instead of reacting to it!


Whadju doin, daddee?

Top of the hour news; I think well, maybe this is a little presumptuous, calling the show and expecting to be on. But then the phone rang: they were calling me. Okay - but let’s get in and get out.

That wasn’t exactly how it turned out. Hugh had two other guests - a California legislator and famed SacBee blogger Dan Weintraub, and for the next hour we all discussed the internet and its effects on campaigns. Great fun. And I can say with some confidence that I was the only person on the show who spent most of the time ironing pants. True: I do radio interviews in the bedroom; it’s far enough away from the family room so ambient tot / canine ruckus doesn’t make it on the air, and it gives me plenty of room to pace. (Generalissimo, audio expert that he is, asked where I was when I did the phoners, because he could detect the occasional changes in room tone. He could hear when I left the bedroom in my pacing and entered the tiled bathroom.) But there was a little downtime between questions, so I thought: let’s iron.

I just remembered a phoner I did with Jessica Hahn in the late 80s - she was ironing at the time, too.

Somehow that was alluring in a way that me, ironing, was not.

Okay, that’s it; outta here for the rest of the week. Big extravaganza due on the site next week, and I say that fully prepared to back it up. Hint:

"Interiors." See you Monday.

(Note! There are still Strib columns on Thu and Sun.) (Although so far, the sunday column, which I am working on now at 12:02 AM, stinks. I will reroute power to the auxillary couplings and see if that helps; if now, I might have to reconfigure the deflector array.)


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