Cast-off Bleatban artwork continues. I like this – it’s from an old Popular Science ad – but it just seemed too small to carry an entire week. And I realized that it was a lie. I will not train you at home. Sorry. You’re on your own.

A lovely storm broods overhead, snapping off flashes of irritation and rumbles of indignation. What’s bothering it, I’ve no idea, but it’s fun to watch, and proof that scale is everything: compacted to human size, a thunderstorm would be nothing more than a pro-wrestler with a flashlight. Spread it over six counties, and it’s Nature in All Its Majestic Force.

Make that a wrestler with a taser.

See? I make corrections.

Tuesdays are interminable, bless them. Usually a day filled with this and that tends to trot past at a brisk pace, but not today. I finished two columns this morning while Gnat made Play-Doh food. I was quite impressed with her spaghetti: white Play-Doh pushed through the extruder to make long thin strands; a layer of red for sauce, and three black spheres for meatballs. Do they make brown Play-Doh? Possibly not, and for good reason; malicious brothers would form piles to be left behind the younger sibling’s My Little Pony collection. After finishing the columns – and ah, the joy you feel when the second one’s sent – I did the ritual cleansing of the house. Piano practice downstairs. Off to church for choir practice. A car outside the church had two bumperstickers, one of which expressed a particular political preference; the other said:


You just don’t know where you’d start with that one, do you.
After choir practice everyone piled into the church basement for pizza; Gnat had two slices from a pie with the circumference of a manhole cover, which may explain why she just threw up. Excuse me.

(One hour later)

Well, she doesn’t seem sick, but she’s rather stoic about illnesses. Hard to tell. Still, she’s running around and laughing, and making jokes about Boff Breath. It may be nerves as well – the thunder is a little unsettling. I called up some pictures on the internet of lightning flashes, and explained it was just clouds bumping into each other. And it was far away! You could tell just by counting. Let’s wait for the next lightning flash, okay? FLASH.

“One thousand one, one –“


Okay, well, it’s not that far away, but we’re fine. It’s just a cloud named Harry yelling at a cloud named Bob: hey, Bob, stop bumping into me. (Said in a disgruntled cloud voice.) She requested that I perform the roles of several irritated clouds, and I obliged. Anyway, the post-choir pizzafest was held in one of the church’s many basement assembly rooms; this one was for high school kids, and had all the tools of the devil: a TV, a soda fountain, a foosball table. The TV was tuned to that craptacular waste of ink, “Ed, Edd and Eddy,” a squiggly cartoon with three unlikable characters and no discernible reason for being. Watching the expression of the children, you realize that they're enduring it so they can see the commercials, which are the real entertainment. As one mother memorably put it: “It’s a church basement, for chrissakes! They should have ‘Veggie Tales.’” God bless the church moms.

But I’ll take a seven-day triple-Ed marathon over one episode of something we saw this morning. I’ve seen the teaser ads, and they seemed Euro-creepy in that strange Continental fashion – too bright, too false, too hi-ho cheery. Even though Olie is animated by the French, it’s an American product in its conception. Pooh may be animated by Koreans, but it retains its British attributes. The Teletubbies are European, not British. Ditto Boombah, which is for those whose intellects and narrative skills cannot follow the complex story lines of the Teletubbies.

Which brings us to Lazy Town. The ads on Nick Jr were wrong, wrong, wrong. A friend of mine had a phrase for such things: it goes through me. I knew instantly what she meant; the sensation of being pierced by something that was nauseatingly unnatural in a way you couldn’t articulate, but only feel. It goes through me. Some things were so bad they went through you, orbited, and went through you again.

Lazy Town goes through me. The ads set it up: you have Lazy Town, which is . . . a town, I guess, and it has one pink-haired girl citizen, and one buff grinny gym teacher in blue shorts and a spiked moustache. He’s “Sportacus,” and he doesn’t walk when he can jump and twirl around in the air. He’s the Pete Best of the Village People. His rival is Robbie Rotten, a cad with a prosthetic chin who plots ways to defeat Sportacus and make the children eat sugar. There is a Mayor and several children, who don’t look like the girl or Sportacus or Robbie, but instead have inert plastic heads whose limited labial mobility helps sell the product in foreign language markets. I can’t tell you how creepy it is. I figured it was British.

Just go here. You will see the very definition of something that goes through you.

Are you back? Good. Altogether: WTF?

It’s Icelandic. It’s Iceland’s contribution to children’s programming. And it’s been on the air for nine years. The amount of merchandising it’s generated is stunning, too. But best of all: it’s the brainchild of an Icelandic aerobics champion who has the best Male Athlete name, ever.

Magnus Scheving.

The main website’s here. Please, look at every page. This is the country that gave us Bjork, too. I say we bottle their water and ship it to all the hotspots of the world. One year later everyone would be devoting themselves to trippy videos about lesbian robots and foam-headed mayors. Iceland: Recess Nation. If this is what they come up with when they’re integrated into the world, imagine what they’d spawn if they were cut off from everyone else for a century. Almost worth a try. Send the fleet!


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