What can I possibly say about today? I woke, ate, showered, went to work, wrote, came home, did radio, made supper, walked dog, wrote some more. If I could pick one favorite moment from the entire day, it would be this: Gnat and Mom were watching “Finding Nemo” on the big TV; the end credits were rolling, and the singer – Robbie Williams, I think – was doing a cover of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea.” I know that song on a molecular level, since it was the B-side of “Mack the Knife” in the jukebox at the Valli. He says “hah!” right where Darin said “hah!” and so I shouted “HAH” from upstairs at the exact right moment. And I heard Gnat laugh from downstairs: DADDY SAID HAH. Thus was grim rote mid-20s barroom duty tied to a happy mid-40s family moment. Of course, kids being kids, I had to say “HAH!” sixteen times before she’d go to bed. “Dewt agan. Dewt the hah agan.” I’m setting myself up for a 7 AM wakeup call: “say hah like the Emo movie, Daddy. Say Hah.” This morning I was awakened by the news that she had not dreamed about Scooby Doo.

That’s nice, I said, and believe me, I meant it.

She only thinks about Scooby Doo because she knows how much you don’t like it, my wife said. Cruel fate. I loved it as a kid and came to hate it later for wasting the precious hours of youth – the wretched animation, the hackneyed stories, the pathetic cameos, the miserly amount of sound cues, the overall cheapness of a Hanna-Barbera product. (“We’re incrementally less horrid than Filmation!”) Who would have thought I’d have to fight this battle? But she also likes Strawberry Shortcake, another excrescence from the past. I couldn’t stand that stuff when my little sister liked it, and now I’m sitting on the floor doing Strawberry Shortcake coloring books. Clifford the Grotesquely Oversized Incarnadine Dog isn’t new, but at least the animation is fairly recent and improves on the original artist’s crappy draftsmanship.

But, I’m rambling. It’s a column night, and I should be banging out the weekly screed. I had intended to write a long piece about “Fiddler on the Roof” but frankly, I’m tired and it would take an hour to massage the mess into something coherent. I can promise both more and less tomorrow – Wednesday kicks off an Institute site which I suspect will rival the Gallery of Regrettable Food and Interior Desecrators for sheer scope and depth. It contains incremental nudity, which means Fark links and bandwidth overage charges. Ah well. My gift to you.

One thing I’ve noticed this last month, since I went on Atkins: less sugar means Happy Me. I always regarded those anti-sugar zealots as, well, anti-sugar zealots. But I’m so much more content with things since I stopped eating Lucky Charms for breakfast. Could that be the explanation for 20th century discontent? Refined sugar? Highly ironic, since Jasperwood was first occupied by a candy maker who gave the world Walnettos. The dead palsied hand of sugar stalks my halls!

Eh. Nutritional science is half sensible wisdom and half alimentary feng-shui, if you ask me. I know too many guys in their late 70s who ate pancakes and steaks all their lives to believe that sugar is Nature’s Plutonium. We have sugar receptors on our tongue for a reason: so we can enjoy sugar.

Or, in my case, Splenda, the sugar substitute that does not always cause inopportune bowel cramping. And I should also note that the zinc treatment for the cold I mentioned before appears to cause nasal blindness in some. Sigh. Well, it’s all a crapshoot, but genes do count. My father has been breathing petroleum fumes for a half century. He could probably beat George Clooney in an arm-wrestling contest. So to the youth of America, I say: starting huffing unleaded gas! It’ll do you good. And lay off the Scooby Doo. That is all.

More, and less, tomorrow.
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