The big test came tonight.

Thursday has been repositioned as Pizza Night. Yes, yes, I know. A decades-long tradition sundered, but this is how we stay young. Can’t plow the same furrow forever. I’ve even gone so far as to change pizza vendors. As much as I love Lake Harriet Pizza, variety keeps us young, and when the Giant Swede noted that he loved Paradise Pizza for their inflammatory sausage, I thought I should give it a try.

Backstory: in 1995 when I was on my low-fat / walk everywhere / smoke constantly diet I used to walk from our house on Girard to 50th & France every day in the winter. (A grueling trip when the harsh winds fell, I’ll tell you that. I’ve no sympathy for East Coasters dealing with “record colds” and “wind chills” – please. Up here in the steppes that’s the standard seasonal ration.) I would pass Paradise Pizza every day, and wonder if it was any good. I’d never know. I had my pizza preference locked tight. Pizza was too precious to gamble with. What if I ordered it, and it was bad? Pizza night would be ruined. You just can’t take that chance.

Finally tried it a few weeks ago. The fellow who answered the phone said “hey, are you on the radio?”

Uh, well, now and then -

“Hugh Hewitt’s show! Right?”

Yep. Indeed. Wow. We had a lively conversation about the station’s programming. $21.80 for two pizzas, 30 minutes, nice talking to you.

That was then. Tonight I ordered the pizzas without an interview. The delivery guy handed them over - and said “I hope they’re worth a cinnamon toothpick.”

I was stunned. This was a reference to the prizes I gave away at the Diner, my radio show that ran in 1997-2000. Different guy, I should note – the previous order-taker knew me only from Hugh’s show.

“Loved the Diner,” he added. “And I love your column!” His name was Dirk, and I shook his hand. Thanks! For all this stuff. For the patronage. For the pizza. For all this stuff How can I not feel like the luckiest SOB on the planet? Swear to God. So many kind people. I am blessed.

And cursed! Because it was pizza night.

And I’m on Atkins.

Or rather my own version of Atkins. No sugar, no juice, no raisins, no milk, no bread, no chips, no bananas, no cereal, no pasta, no desserts of any sort. I’m on day seven. This would be the first time I faced pizza.

Hah! I am strong. I am on the path. I scraped off the toppings and scoffed at the crust. Oh, some day I’ll have pizza again; some day I’ll have milk and juice and the other forbidden delights. All I know is that I’ve lost weight. Swear to God: I am 7 days away from Discernible Abdominal Muscles, which I last had in 1997. And I have a preposterous amount of energy. It’s frightening. It’s not jittery ping-pong energy, either; it’s Superman energy. There’s a downside: I am so FARGIN’ SICK OF MEAT I could weep, but that’s another story. Specifically, it’s Sunday’s Backfence.

If this week’s Bleat offerings have seemed thin, I thank you for sticking with – I had 13 pieces due this week, which just makes me laugh. Last minute work on the Interior Desecrators book, the proposal for the next book, four Fences (one of which just BLEW), one Newhouse, the monthly Mpls / St. Paul historical feature, raggedy-arsed Bleats – it’s been the week of frantic typing, and alas it’s not done yet. So let’s end not with some gruesome spleen-vent rant, but with an update to one of those long-dormant sites you might never have visited. I was trolling the microfiche today and found some things that demanded a new life on the web. It’s an addition to the Comics page, devoted not to an artist, or a strip, or a subject, but just to a year: the newspaper cartoons of 1907. (Many more additions to this site to come – this is just the first installment. Enjoy; see you Monday.
LINK of the WEEK
Once it was a Pizza Hut. Now it's not.