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Best weekend ever. Hot and green as an Orion Slave Girl

Okay, let’s start over.

Best weekend ever. Warmer than usual; summer temps without the punishing weight. High July sun likes to punch the world in the kisser; late September sun is different. If it were coffee, you could drink it by the gulp. Saturday there was a neighborhood festival, this time in the parking lot of a local school. BBQ and corn bread, games for the kids, a petting zoo. A rather sad petting zoo, really – little wire fences packed with hay. Ducks in one, bunnies in another. A potent barnyard stink arose from each. You’d get two feet away: no smell. Lean in: whoa. (That’s one of the things that was missing from “Jurassic Park” – when they first encountered the herds of giant dinos, someone should have fainted from the stink.)

Sunday was even warmer; I spent the afternoon scooting around the burbs with the Giant Swede, doing our part to express Consumer Confidence. We were not alone. You looked at the checkout lines at Best Buy, and you saw Americans of all varieties – Hispanic, Asian, Anglo, Somali – queued up with TVs the size of 3rd world dwellings. It's a good thing.
Home for burgers on the grill with milkshakes. Now I’m at the kitchen table. It’s warm. The wind is stern. “It’ll snow in a week,” said the Swede, and he might be right. After this weekend, no one would particularly care.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the “retro-stylish” upscale Cuisinart coffee maker, which has accomplished something no other coffee maker I’ve owned has ever done: it peeled the paint off the wall.

For some reason it decided to stop making coffee Friday – six months after it joined our family of appliances, it went senile on me. It would make a cup, then forget what it was supposed to do with the rest of the water. . . oh, perhaps I should convert it all to steam? Jolly good. Which it did. It vaporized 11 cups of water through the back, and the steam flowed under the cabinets and took off a strip of paint six inches long and one inch wide.

Well, we were going to repaint the kitchen anyway.

But still.

It’s busted. I ran the Cuisinart through six cycles, and half the time the “Self Clean” light came on, as though it’s feeling dirty and cannot scrub away the shame. I hate to part with it. Yes, it has a three-year warranty; should I mail it away at substantial cost or just admit defeat?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the matching Cuisinart coffee grinder, which has a nice feature: the beans are pulverized in a cup you can remove for transport to the coffee maker. Best of all, it matches. Only problem: now and again the blades whirr up when the cover’s off. This is akin to a pistol that fires with the safety on.

Behold, my Cuisinart toaster. Don’t think I’m not watching this SOB, and expecting the worst.

So how will I make coffee until the Cuisinart returns from the sanitarium? I got one of these.

It’s a Mr. Coffee. See that green circle? It’s a clock, a timer AND a sonar readout. I love it. Half the price of the Cuisinart, too. It also has a very unique feature: when you pour the water into the unit, less than seven cups spill out on the counter. I know, I know: impossible! You say. But it’s true. The Cuisinart demanded that you angle the carafe carefully and control the flow, lest you win the Onan award for spillage. The Mr. Coffee has a grill on the back. Dump it in, turn it on. I’m happy.

From the WaPo story about Danron, a recapitulation of the emerging meme:

As they continue their investigation into whether they were hoaxed, CBS officials have begun shifting their public focus from the memos themselves to their underlying allegations about the president. Rather said that if the memos were indeed faked, "I'd like to break that story." But whatever the verdict on the memos, he said, critics "can't deny the story."

As the days begin to blur for Josh Howard, he embraces the same logic: "So much of this debate has focused on the documents, and no one has really challenged the story. It's been frustrating to us to see all this reduced to a debate over little 'th's."

He’s not alone; many others have wondered why so much time is being spent on the “forgeries,” instead of the hypotheses they would prove, if they were true. So let me take another run at this. Imagine a CBS producer saying this in the Washington Post:

"We understand that there has been some controversy over the newly discovered Michelangelo painting featured in “60 Minutes” expose of curatorial malfeasance at the Metropolitan Museum. Some outside experts note that close analysis of the wood frame reveals the presense of modern staples, and while we agree this is curious – as are the words ‘Abiline Frame Shop’ engraved into the wood – it is hardly conclusive. Others have questioned the use of acrylic instead of oil paints, and the presence of nylon fibers embedded in the brushstrokes have led some to question whether the painting is indeed 500 years old. These are issues worth pursuing, and we will redouble our efforts. But it’s a little bit frustrating to see all this reduced to a debate over slivers and threads, instead of the real question, namely, how did Michelangelo’s “Madonna of of the Dealership” include a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air rendered with such astonishing detail, half a millennium before the car was designed? That’s the issue we think should be the focus of our attention.”

And if it was later proved that someone did send a 1973 LTD back in time, and it showed up in a Titian painting? No one would buy it. Fruit of the poisoned FOREST, at this point.

Note: I finished watching “Equilibrium,” which truly is “1984” meets the “Matrix” meets “Brave New World” meets any number of movies where the budget for lighting made up for the deficiencies in the budget for sets. I heartily recommend this film, for those who love this sort of moody dystopian nonsense.
Our hero, who speaks in that husky clipped monotone of a man so focused he knows that any use of adjectives will cause his testicles to evaporate, is able to mow down hundreds of guards through something called gun-kata. This means he hunches over, avoids eye contact with his targets, fires at random angles that have nothing to do with the position of his targets, and hits them all. You think: that’s absolutely ridiculous. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. That’s like invading Normandy by bombing Rome and Havana. Then you realize you’ve rewound the scene six times, because it’s just so stupid cool. By the end I was willing to give the movie a pass on all its inconsistencies:

By shooting the government’s computer monitors we can destroy their mainframes

In this society, any show of emotion is suspect, yet the government’s most lethal agent makes Orlando Jones look like Truman Capote after six brandies

No one will know how our hero killed 14 government agents, because they weren’t on the set when it happened, and anyway the second unit director handled that one

Didn’t care. Didn’t even care that the scene in a big lobby was almost identical to the skyscraper-lobby scene in “The Matrix.” It was more ridiculous, and hence more convincing. Why? It had Christian Bale, who should have been Neo. I’m not saying it’s a great movie, but it had none of the Matrix’s windy dorm-room stoner philosophy or pagan hoo-haw or creepy cross-gender dominatrix worship (given that one of the Matrix makers ended up lopping off his john thomas, the Trinity character in retrospect just looks like a demo for a game he couldn’t wait to play.) The last scene is particular good, as our hero comes face to face with Father Big Brother The Architect Emperor Vader, and they slap each other to death. But it’s coherent. It’s tidy. It presents a world fully formed, and suggests a million details that extend far beyond the world you see. It’s not stupid, which counts for a lot. I bought it, so I can give it to my friends and say “here. It’s not bad. Cuisinart styling with Mr. Coffee dependability!”

And I wonder why I never get quoted in movie ads.

Note: there is a website devoted to learning gun kata. I quote:
Where did Gunkata originate? From the mind of Kurt Wimmer, director of the film EQUILIBIRUM. So essentialy, this is a fictional martial art. But the forms are real.

If you hear that Rather is coming out “guns blazing” in his own defense this week, you’ll know where he learned to shoot.