Hah! I’m sick, but yet I post. To paraphrase Pushkin: To not Bleat is what I cannot do. (Actually, I’m not sure if that’s Pushkin or Lermontov – I remember underlining the line “to not love is what I cannot do” in my Progress Publishers edition of someone’s collected works, but those books are AWOL.) This is the much dreaded Day of Four Columns, and this being the fourth, it will get the customary short shift. So let the shrifting begin.

Vegas conclusion: we slept, we woke, we left. Longish version: thanks to my imbedded sense of impeccable timing, we made our flight. It was slated to leave at 9:20, which meant we were up at seven and out by 7:30. Security at the airport was unbelievable. If Bush wins a second term, it will be partly due to the number of people who have to remove their shoes to get on a plane, because they’re thinking: screw YOU al-Qaeda; just – screw – you. As I noted before, traveling makes me nuts, but it doesn’t make me crazy. I know how to prioritize. Food? Coffee? No. You check out, get the cab, drive to the airport, do the e-ticket thing, find the terminal, ride the tram, stagger down the concourse, join the hot compacted mass of humanity assembled for molecular interrogation. Only after you’ve reached the concourse can you relax, and only then if you can see your gate. If you’ve planned it well you have 17 minutes to waste. You could eat; you could have a mocha latte; you could prowl the periodical outlet and sneer at the plebian journals. You could have a pretzel. You could, at this early hour, have a drink; no one would cock an eyebrow. What'll it be, sir? A minor intoxicant designed to blunt my fears that I will die this morning in a fireball of metal and flesh. But of course. You want a double?

No, I have to drive home when we land.

My days of drinking and flying are over, but I understand those who need a boost to ride the aluminum arrow. Believe me. I understand.

Got a cold on the trip, it seems. Wife has it. Child has it. Everyone’s snuffling, everyone’s hot, everyone wants nothing more than to repose on the sofa and have prepackaged entertainment piped down our eyeballs. Fine by me. I got “The Office” DVD today, and was pleased to see it was shot in 16:9 - nice. But why would I get this collection when I’ve seen all six episodes several times? For historical purposes, I suppose. And for the extras! This collection has English subtitles! And also the obligatory making-of documentary. And the discs double as personal-grooming mirrors in a pinch! And . . . well, if nothing else it will part of Gnat’s education. Some day we’re going to chew our way through Daddy’s entire DVD collection. Including “Battleship Potemkin.” Pay attention to the baby carriage going down the steps, honey. Why? Because other movies will have baby carriages going down the steps, and it’ll be a reference to this. So? You’ll feel a special thrill knowing what the filmmaker is referring to. You might even point it out to your boyfriend. If he curtly says “I know” you’ll feel a little stupid, which will – and should – make you feel annoyed that he’s dismissive of something that really isn't common knowledge. If he says “Battleship Galactica?” you know you have a loser on your hands, unless of course he’s referring to the Ronald D. Moore version, which was a rather interesting reinterpretation of a banal, pop-cult pre-post-Lucas creation myth. But! If he gets a shine in his eyes and says “I didn’t know you were a fan of Soviet cinema! Have you seen Vertov’s 'Man with the Movie Camera'?" you'll be able to say yes!

But I haven’t seen it, Dad.

Oh but you will, my child. You will.

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