Column night. Only disjointed drivel now, instead of the usual long-form tapestry o tripe:
* We have discovered the charms of the Hokey Pokey. Gnat likes to stand on her bed, sing along, and thrust out the various appendages as the song commands. I am still unclear as to which portion of this dance constitutes the Hokey Pokey.
Put your right foot in. This is done by putting your right foot out. Its in only inasmuch as you are imagining some space before you, the occupation of which comprises a necessarily element of this ritual.
You put your right foot out. This is done by withdrawing your foot - e.g., pulling it in.
You put your right foot in and you shake it all about. Noted.
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. Now, hold on, mister. Is the turning ones self around the Hokey Pokey? No. The turning around is clearly separate, otherwise wed sing You do the Hokey Pokey by turning yourself around or You do the Hokey Pokey which, to be specific, consists of rotating your body either clockwise or counterclockwise or something like that. But no. The actual mechanics of the Hokey Pokey (or, as we call it here, the Unconvincingly Amateurish Lancing) are never described. Worse yet, thats what its all about.
Every parent has wondered these things. Every damn one. Thats what makes us different from children. We agonize over the meanings of this doggerel. Kids just do the frickin Hokey Pokey.
* Let it be known, from here on out, that I want a New Theme Song for my weekly appearances on the fine Hugh Hewitt show. Theyve been using Lindsay Buckinghams Trouble, which is all well and good, and I thank Generalissimo for that. But last weekend at a used record store I picked up a few cheap 80s compilation disks. One had My Futures So Bright by Timbuk 3, which had 2 members and 1 hit. Its one smokin tune, and all the more enjoyable because it was probably meant as an indictment of the very group of people who adopted it as their theme song. Its just dripping with contempt: Im studying nuclear science, I love my classes / I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses / things are going great, and theyre only getting better / Im doin all right, gettin good grades / The futures so bright I gotta wear shades. With its sneering allusions to good salaries and beer consumption, you knew where the artists stood. But the tunes enthusiasm swamps the message. And damn, that guitar: peels the paint off the wall.
I want this as my new theme, as long as we all understand that it is an ironic commentary on the ironic nature of the songs original message being utterly lost on those it was attempting to belittle. ARE - WE - CLEAR?
* Obligatory Carnivale remarks: interesting how that network show based on Joan of Arc gets all the press. From what I read its just happy gassy God-as-guidance-counselor stuff, with the Almighty manifesting himself as various service-industry personnel to instruct our heroine in her duties for the day. Most of what I read slams the show not for its religiosity, such as it is, but for the banality of the content. Carnivale: different beast. As Ive noted before - a phrase I use to mean and now I am repeating myself - it is the most explicitly religious show on TV, but not in a hallelujah-clap-hands sort of way. The God of this show is Old Testament plus Revelations, without the hands-on charm. Omnipresent, remote, dispassionate, just. I suppose if you watch this show in the brightly-lit family room at 8 PM with the kids hollering in the background, pausing it to take out the trash or help find a lost puzzle piece, it seems like a leaden, plotless, pretentious mess. But I am the shows ideal viewer: I watch it in the dark at midnight without distraction.
* Installed Mac OS Panther. Verdict: I now have the best OS on the best computer ever. End of story. Its all so pure and simple and intuitive it almost makes me weep. Did I buy the prerelease hype? Of course; the Apple page was counting down the hours until the OS was released on Friday, and I thought: well, I should go buy one, then. En route to a party Friday night I dropped by the Apple store, thinking Id hang around for a few minutes, tap my fingers impatiently, roll my eyes, then give a sarcastic hoorah when 8 PM came, and we could buy the thing.
Down the escalator to the store. (I used to park near the department store at Southdale, but now I always park by the entrance closer to the Apple Store. It only makes sense.) The store was closed. The gate was down. A guard stood in front of the darkened shop. Wha? Then I saw the rope. Then I saw the line. People were queued up down the hall around the corner. Waiting. For an operating system.
How many people did you have last night? I asked the clerk the next day as he rang up my purchase.
Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is marketing 101. Create the buzz. Create the desire. Create the scarcity. Keep anyone from getting it. Make the early devotees feel part of the elect. Count down the minutes. Then open the door and watch the money come in.
My wife could not understand what I was talking about. Eight hundred people, lined up at 8 PM on Friday in a shopping mall, for what did you say, a game?
No. An operating system.
These people need lives, she said.
They have them, I explained. They just revolve around operating systems.
They need real lives. They need children.
They have them, I explained, and theyre - but I stopped there. Leave it be.
* The other day at the grocery store I noticed an interesting contrast: delicious pancake mix for the happy proles: 89 cents. Atkins special lo/no carb pancake mix: $5.49. Oy. Then I noticed the Atkins logo:
Id seen it before, and it always reminded me of something. Then I realized what I was thinking of. Just stand it on its head! Fat is health! Bread is death! Freedom is - well, you know the rest.
* Watched 28 Days Later and Im here to tell you: if you see but one blood-vomiting zombie movie this year, let it be this one. Its The Omega Man again, more or less, but better. I wondered why our heroes were defending themselves against the zombies with baseball bats - guys, why dont you just shoot them? Oh - right. England. Well, thisll learn you. Never give up your guns. There might be zombies about. In any case, why is it whenever you find yourself the last man on earth, you have to worry about zombies? It would be nice if once - just once! - the plague / bomb / solar flare / secondhand smoke that wiped out 99.4% of humanity left, oh, only supermodels and portrait painters alive. Or engineers and chefs. Then the survivors could look around, say, well then! and enjoy the rest of their lives without worrying about the living dead.
What is it with Danny Boyle and Brian Enos Apollo (Atmospheres and Soundtracks album? He uses An Ending (Ascent) to lovely effect, perhaps to make up for what he did to Deep Blue Day in Trainspotting. Thats one of the most gorgeous pieces of music Ive ever heard, and he used it for a scene in which our hero is swimming down the toilet to retrieve some drugs. If anyone is taking up a collection to buy him some new records, count me in for quid.
Back to work. Less tomorrow!