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Cat - Fat!

She’s learning rhymes. She tries to find a rhyme for everything. We’re playing that annoying Memory game, where you try to remember where the Cat card was amongst its 71 brethen.

Pail – Fail!

Right, hon. Fail means you don’t win.

Cane – Fane!

Uh – well, feign is a word. It means you pretend in an evil way.

Cake – Fake! It’s hard to describe the gusto she employs to shout out the rhyme. Pride and triumph. FAKE!

Absolutely right. That’s a rhyme.

Then she turned over a picture of a duck.

We had a little talk about bad words.

It’s all a minefield. After we played Candyland I told her she beat the pants off me, and she later reported this to Mommy thus: I took off his pants to his underwear. So we had a little talk about similes and metaphors.

Two columns in the merry morn, a service call from the TV guy in the early afternoon, Target, choir practice, church basement for lousy pizza (the crust was like a thick damp dishrag) while the kids watch some sort of scary cartoon show that featured – really – a little devil kid, complete with horns. Next week I expect The Adventures of Aliester Crowley Jr., complete with hypnotic soul-sucking test-patterns between commercials for home chicken-sacrificing kits. I get in the car. Turn on the radio. Hughett is talking to a guy named Vasily. Russian fellow. Hughett mentions that I was dissing a Roosian in yesterday’s Bleet. “Ah, that’s okay,” said Vasily, breezily. “We feex him.”

So I think, oh, duck. I get home, call the show, plead for my life and the forgiveness of Vasily. It’s now seven o’clock. Play with the dog, half an hour of Sim City 4, a disastrous piano lesson, then this. And the Sunday column still ahead.

I hate Tuesdays. But! The TV is fixed, and it wasn’t my imagination. The picture was 5 percent bigger than it should have been. The tech accessed a secret “tech menu” inside the machine mere mortals, i.e., the people who own the thing, cannot access. It’s better now. Then Target, which Gnat slept through entirely, meaning no begging to examine the herd of My Little Ponys, just a brisk expedition gathering up necessities. I dropped her off at choir practice and outside the church reading the Klemperer diaries by the setting sun – cold weather arrives tomorrow, and I wanted to be outside as long as possible.

Have to finish the column; it’s now 9:35 PM. I give myself 45 minutes. Or else.

It’s now 10:35. The column is a mess. This Bleat clocks in at 434 words so far, which is hardly sufficient. I've written a big chunk of Bleat blather about a 1940s LP cover artist, but that should wait for tomorrow. I could talk about the problems I’m having with maintaining a consistent house aroma, how the Pier One clerk’s assertions about the scented votive candles proved as much of a lie as the promises of the Casbury-Maxwell clerk’s reassurances about the staying power of the “woodfire” scented potpourri. I mean, it lasted two days. Maybe three. And in the end it smelled like Brut. There’s really a fine line between “woodfire” and “brut” and you don’t realize this until you’re smelling “woodfire” and someone, specifically your wife, notes that the aroma is the second cousin to drugstore cologne. And you think: yep. Well, that’s ruined. What once was a gentle reminder of autumnal campfires is now the reek of a prom-night in the Ford administration. I could talk about the horrible movie I am forcing myself to watch – “Born to Win,” with George Segal as a heroin addict, and Karen Black as his girlfriend; think “Panic in Needle Park” played “Annie Hall” style – but it’s too depressing. Ugly New York, ugly ideas, hey-man-que-pasa-whatever values, faux counter-culture street cred, scrawny sickly hairy stick-limbed white guys pawing groovy chicks under fringed quilts to wacka-chicka music: I hate the 70s. I could talk about John Edwards’ comments on stem-cell research, but really it’s very simple. Stem cells will be injected into the bloodstream, where they will act like Star Wars Midichloridans, and help the quadrapalegic to use the Force and stand erect.

Much more tomorrow. Providing Vasily doesn’t slit my throat in the night to avenge the honor of Slavic cheese-wheel tenders.