Obligatory post-Armstrong Williams disclaimer: I have never received money from the government for writing nice things about anything they did. No, I’m the sort of harlot who always says “on the house” when I’m done. Thanks a lot, Mr. Williams – what were you thinking? Oh, right: that’s a quarter of a million dollars! is what you were thinking. As for the bright bulb who came up with this idea, I want to see him march himself out of his office by holding up his own nape-hairs, wincing, and guide himself out of the building, down the sidewalk, and into traffic. Now, the obligatory but:

But other administrations have used money to pay for friendly stories, and (gunshot)

Sorry; we don’t cotton to equivocation ‘bout these things ‘round these parts. There is no but. Thanks, guys! Thanks a lot!

Can’t beat days like this: lots of time to work, a great interview for the new book, and 8,392 new Apple products. In order, then:

Gnat had a friend over to play, and they just ran around and did pink pony things for three hours while I worked at the kitchen table. At one point Gnat came downstairs and said: Can I have my scissors?

Sure. Uh – for what?

Nothing. Nevermind.

No, really, what?

Uh – coupons?

You’re cutting coupons?

No. (small voice.) Candy. Princess and Pauper candy necklaces. Busted. I went up to see what she meant; she was trying to get the candy out of the packages, which had been sealed with some sort of glue pre-tested to withstand the power of gorillas. I got them open, and they wore necklaces made of malodextrin and citric acid, just like in olden times. Back to work.

The interview turned out differently than I thought. Phoners are usually fast and simple – how’d you get the idea? How do you get other ideas? Have any ideas you’d like to share? Do you have any ideas about your ideas? But this one went long, and seemed quite personal. Well. Turns out it’s not just a story on the book; it’s also about, uh, me. And here’s what happens when you write a book on interior design: editors are naturally curious to see what you consider to be good taste. So they’re going to send a photographer to Jasperwood to take shots of us – me, wife, child, dog – looking like the sort of people you see in Sunday Homes section stories. The sort of people you hate, half the time. I’ll keep you posted. It’s not the New York Times. It’s better.

Wrote some more while the kids watched “Snow White.” Note about today’s Joe Ohio: it begins with a reference to yesterday’s Matchbook. It’ll all make sense when it’s in book form, I hope. And yes, that’s the new plan, the new delirious why-not idea. If I do sell it as a book, I won’t post all 200+ matches here, alas. But I’ll do at least 100, and probably use every other matchbook in the collection to flesh out the story. I have no idea where it’s going, but – and this sounds pretentious, I know – as soon as I wrote that first one, with the guy sitting in a service station, I knew who he was. At least I knew who he wasn’t, which is a good start. We’ll see. I’m not trying for litrachur here, just salted peanuts. Which makes it easier.

Apple stuff: whoa. It was amusing to read the comments on Engadget; the usual geek complaints. It doesn’t have a pop-up 30” HDTV monitor! It’ll be useless for playing Doom 4! It doesn’t make toast with the Apple logo burned right in! Jeezum crow, it’s a $500 dollar computer that performs an amazing trick: it works for Grandmas scared they’re going to catch scabies from the internet, and gadget lovers who will scurry away to the cave and stroke it and sing songs to it, ohh yessss, because it is so beautiful. And it is.

The iPod Shuffle. It’s not a replacement for the iPod you have; it’s an adjunct. First of all, you don’t have to shuffle, so that cavil is irrelevant. Secondly, I want it to shuffle. I currently have an iPod Mini for the car, and it has several playlists: current stuff, old stuff, radio dramas, and peculiar krep I’ve hovered off the web and enjoy for its fascinating badness. Driving around I prefer to keep the order random. At home I do the same; keeps things interesting. So the iPod shuffle for me is the walk-the-dog iPod, the one that has all the recent songs I want to play into the ground. It’s light; you don’t have to worry about scratching the screen. And I’m sure I’ll have a breathless defense of the inevitable iPod-the-size-of-an-ant-thorax, which will let me play highlights of the chorus of my favorite song. Fifteen seconds in your pocket!

Bartender! More Kool-aid!

As for that radio TiVo I mentioned the other day, it’s this. I’ve had the RadioSHARK for a few days now, and it’s changed the way I listen to radio. I pipe it through my Mac, which means it comes through the main speakers in my studio. No big deal, that, although it now means I have the volume knob right at my fingertips. No more leaning over slightly in my chair! And so my inevitable conversion into a boneless sack fed through tube continues apace. But I’ve become accustomed – in just three days - to hitting pause whenever I want, and picking up the show later when I’m not busy. This has never been the way you listen to radio. Ever. Period. Radio is a stream; you hop in and out, but it flows on regardless. Now you can rewind it, turn back the very waters themselves. I’d wanted this for some time, but hadn’t expected to have it integrated so nicely; you record a show, and the Shark hands it off to iTunes automatically.

Consume, store, rearrange, edit, mix, create. Wonderful. Just one question: what the hell did we used to do computers before this stuff came along, anyway?


New Joe here.

Perm link: here.

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