For some reason I am unable to resist the Consumer Surveys I get once a year – detailed questions about my buying habits, what I brand of indistinguishable sugar-water I prefer, whether we have cable, satellite or magic lantern pictures illuminated by burning ambergris, whether I am incontinent or plan to become incontinent in the next 12 months, etc. I was looking through “hobbies” – the usual middle-aged stuff. Gardening. Sewing. Scrapbooking. And, to my surprise, “Sitting at the kitchen table with no radio or music playing, quietly photoshopping scans of old soft-drink ads.” Now that’s a carefully calibrated survey.

But it’s true. It makes me calm. I enjoy it because it doesn’t matter. The bane of any life is a lack of things that matter, but the other bane of modern life is an excess of things that matter too much. Or seem to. That’s why Monday was such a joy, and I wish I could share the tedious details with you. But we had a party tonight at the Giant Swedes’ – Labor Day, farewell to Summer, kids running in the twilight, etc., cue the Joplin rag – and it’s a two column night. So you’ll have to be content with the first installment of Fair photos. More tomorrow.