. Spent the night at the Patriot Forum, sponsored by The Patriot radio station, AM 1280. Who was there? Patriots! What did we discuss? Patriotism! We all faced a giant picture of Arnold (black and white, strategically lit from below) and toasted Our Secret Fuhrer with wine served in the hollowed-out skulls of our enemies. Then we sing!

Rove Rove Rove your vote
Harshly ‘till they scream
Hatefully hatefully hatefully hatefully
Life is just an unending opportunity to maximize global inequities and convert the resources of the third world into profits for a thin stratum of our plutocracy and meaningless diversionary consumer products for a bloated spoonfed sheeple whose obsequience and inability to apprehend our true agenda ensures the perpetuation of injustice

It’s fun when we do it as a round, because people really have to get that last line out fast. But we practice at home for just such moments.

Well, no. But that’s what some people might think when they see the word “Patriot” attached without irony to an event. It’s curious how the words “Patriot” and “Liberty” have these connotations; when I was in my 20s, the words made me shrink or roll my eyes – not because I didn’t consider myself patriotic, or because I didn’t believe in Liberty, but because the words were adopted without footnotes or apologies by people who saw the world in terms I thought were simplistic, jingoistic and (hold me mommy) somewhat scary. The guys who showed up a Patriot Rally would be the grizzled Birchers you saw in the magazine photos watching a Vet’s parade – thin, lined faces, narrow eyes, a red-white-and-blue vest festooned with buttons, and a straw boater. Always the straw boater. And to some people these guys are still out there, ageless and eternal, still sporting “Goldwater is a Commie” buttons, ready to press a tract into your hand linking fluoridation with the UN plan to control our teeth.

Honestly, there are people who think that a PATRIOT event would consist of Zellots gripping the podium and shrieking warnings that “the homersegjals are comin’ to teach childruns we come from apes when we all know Eve done sprung fully formed from God’s forehead! And in a modest skirt what didn’t show nothing! Why, leave it up to librals and we’ll all be speakin’ Chinee talk – what’s that, Mr. Secretary General? Ping pong king fong wong kong? Yes sir, I’ll git right to it! Well, my daddy was a patriot, and that waren’t near close to Daddy’s Murca, and it surely won’t be my sons'. In fact my sons are in the audience tonight. They’re all Marines. Ronnie? Vernon? Cletus? Festus? Y’all stand up and show the people the string o’ ear you got when you burned that heathen village for God and Enron.”

If some people think that, they’d be deeply disappointed.

I think my favorite part of the night was the gentle sparring between the two hosts – little under-the-breath asides about natural law and federalism. You know, RED MEAT.

There. I think I’ve stuffed and dressed the straw man sufficiently, eh? I think the preceding hyperbolic description of some people’s preconceptions requires a Perry Stare to bring us back to earth.

I feel chastened just writing the code to add the picture, I tell you. Anyway, it was a fine evening - a discussion of the debates with Jason Lewis, who used to work at KSTP when I worked there, and some fellow named – let me check the program again . . . Hugit? Is that how you pronounce it? Hugh Hug-hitt? Whatever. The event took place at the downtown Hilton, and they completely filled a ballroom the size of the Vehicular Assembly Building. I shouldered my way into the event at the last moment, and because all the seats were taken I sat on the head table on stage. (A million thanks to David Strom of the Taxpayer’s League for the opportunity.) I even got a nod from Hugh, which lead to a nice round of applause; made my night, it did.

It was a pleasure to meet people who bother with this site on a regular basis; I thank you for your patronage and patience.

Good weekend. Sunday was warm. Saturday less so. Freed from dad duties I did the sort of errands I can’t do easily with Gnat in tow. One such duty, Bog help me, was finding the right imitation flowers for two vases I bought the other day at Target. For three years we’ve had nothing in a spot that cried, nay, shrieked out for vases. At Target I saw the Right Vase; $9.99 each. End of story. But they needed contents, so I went to a store I’d otherwise avoid. One of those “Crafts” stores that sells fabric and fake flowers and knick-knacks and general krep brought to America over the heaving seas from China by endless convoys of Liberian-registered ships staffed by dour Swedes. I found the right items and fled. They look good. Pictures tomorrow, perhaps.

Friday and Saturday night we had fine solid family time, as wonderful to experience as it would be boring to relate. A perfect weekend is one in which I do very little, and have a few meaningless hours in front of the screen playing with photoshop, working on future sites, pushing pixels while I listen to music, knowing I don’t have to get up early. Saturday afternoon I had two hours to edit family video: heaven. Finding the right music is always a challenge – I used, of all things, a Jackie Gleason schmaltzy cover of “Smile,” which is already pre-schmaltzified for your convenience. For the latter scenes I ripped the soundtrack from “Modern Times,” and just dumped it over the footage I took at the Rose Garden with Gnat at summer’s end. We go there at the end of the season every year. She poses against a sundial whose plinth is inscribed with the phrase “Count Only the Sunny Days.” When I ran the footage to see how it worked, I was gratified to hear what I said on tape just as the theme kicked in: “Smile, hon.” And she did. Up with the theme. Iris out. Roll credits.

Of course I’m editing our lives to make them seem as sweet and delightful as possible. Why wouldn’t I?

Gnat just came into my studio.

(Is there a better name for this room? Studio sounds so pretentious, as though I am standing in a smock and beret before a canvas. But “home office” isn’t quite right, either. I think I’ll call it: The Conservatory. Yes, that’s pretentious enough.)

“Let’s do a joke. Boo,” she said.

“Boo who?”

“Why are you crying boo hoo ghost who cries all the time even when he doesn’t have an owie, and he’s 24, or maybe and he’s 25 and he falls out of trees when he’s 86, and he jumps off high places and breaks his underwear and he puts his butt into the garbage and puts his sunglasses on and spits on them and sits on them with the wall stuck to his body and his head was made out of playdoh and his legs and foots were made out books and his tummy as made out of icecream and his eyes were made out of -"

“Sorry, I’m writing this down; what were his eyes made out of?”

“Um – um - His ears were made out of flowers and his hair was made out of spaghetti and meatballs and sauce. Isn’t that a good joke?”

“Needs editing.”

“What’s edading?”

It’s when someone takes a few words away to make what you’re saying sound better.”

“But I don’t want my words taken away.”

“I understand, honey. But sometimes it works better if you use fewer words.”


“In the Princess and the Pauper Barbie movie Princess Anelise’s cat said ‘I got dirt on my bum.’”

As good a response to bad editors as I can imagine.

That's it for now; have to watch "The Wire." Oh, and I just made a decision about something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. Has to do with the long boomerang-patterned formica counter.

Yes. Yes, I will, if they'll have me. Am I being oblique? Stay tuned.

(new matchbook! of course.)


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