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JOE returns Ap. 6
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The good news: the next book may be pushed back, giving me a little more time to polish it up. The bad news: that would mean this site gets short shrift for another month or two, and the big stone block hanging over my head will stay there into the summer. Well, que sera, etc. I am truly tempted to take the entire site down and rebuild it from scratch, anyway. Go dark, then come roarin’ back! To an audience of six! Then again, the idea that some long leisurely interlude awaits anytime soon is an illusions, anyway; I expect the days will clatter along in the same fashion for as long as I’m given the daily allotment of new hours to spindle and mutilate. But I cannot continue to spend my days drinking Seed Corn Smoothies forever. I need two days to myself and two days after that. Looks like I’ll get them, too – my wife and child will be taking a trip with her Mom and sister in the summer, and I’ll have nine days alone.

I know exactly what I’ll do. I’m going to drive home along the old highway 10, the road that tied Fargo and Minneapolis together before the interstate was built. Small towns every 20 miles. I’ll stop whenever I want, take pictures, maybe even hole up in a small motel, drop into town, find a bar, open the laptop, and get my ass kicked for being from the city. No, that wouldn’t happen – Highway 10 is the road all the big city folk take to their cabins and resorts; they’re used to the cosmopolitans showing up Friday with their creels and creased pants.

That’s my dream, anyway. Dog in the back and the road ahead. We’ll see.

Today: the second week of spring break, continued. For variety’s sake we played Crazy Eights, which is UNO without the drama. Off to the Play Place to kill some time; much fun, and an excellent opportunity to observe other parents. A few Dads – some have the stolid big-belly look of a grandpa spending time with the squirts, or an older guy who married a younger woman and finally said, okay, what the hell, we’ll have kids. One young Goth dad watching his wife and child with no expression whatsoever, but you could hear the wheels whirring: let me out let me out let me out. Then we went to Target to get the chairs for the gazebo. I paged a Sales Associate, or whatever they’re called, and up wheeled Dale. He’s there every time I visit the store. I don’t know what his disability is. He’s the go-to guy at Target. Minor speech impairment; some muscular inabilities. But he has a walkie-talkie and a datapad tied into the Target mainframe and a gun that reads SKUs with a laser, so he can tell you whether the item’s in stock, order it up, and send a team of guys to drag it to your car. All with his one good hand. We are the Borg. Or will be, eventually; I can imagine a device that would fit on his head and let him do all these things with brainwaves and blinking. Thirty years ago he would have been in a Home making wallets, wheeled out into the sun once a day, kept from sight. Now he rules this store.

Anyway, the boxes didn’t fit in the Galileo, so I had to drive back after supper. Why? Because I want the gazebo with the chairs and sofa in the backyard. Because I want to spend at least one summer day reading a book in the shade, or at night by lamplight listening to crickets itch themselves, drinking a cool Effen, working on a harsh cigar, pausing only to get up and dance with Gnat in the twilight to “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte and the PSB “Ab Fab” mix. (Sorry, they came up on the shuffle while I was writing.) And I’ll have it. I will.

Link fun:

He appealed to local butchery traditions to name his parking lot a “porking lot.” Silly man! No history for you! Here’s your Anti-Social Behaviour Order; now go in the corner and bang your head against a lager tap until two plus two equals zero! Which they invented!

Your tiny hand-held Playstation Portable needs this! It’s the world’s first Arcade Style Gaming Enclosure that isn’t enclosed! Dual upgrade available!

In related peripheral news, this might be something you’d see in the boudoir of a 30s movie moll who lounged around in a white satin dress all day, if they had iPods in those days. This, however, looks like it’s getting ready to leave alien scat on your rug, or perhaps skitter around Hoth looking for the rebel base. This looks like something you’d see in a CD-ROM Myst-knockoff game c. 1995. If nothing else it seems like a lot of work to cradle an iPod.

Then there’s the world’s most advanced in-out tray.

The Patent Pending idea to wrap state-of-the-art technology in what the unknowing eye will assume is a very cool office accessory, wasn't enough for us. We fused style into every line and every arc, and built the unit from solid aluminum to give you a peripheral you will want to show off- not hide behind your desk amidst a tangle of cables like an evil technology-spider waiting to bite your leg.

Well, having had my fill of evil leg-biting technology spiders, I can see where they’re coming from.

Odd how I keep writing tonight, even though my quotient of things-to-say is obviously more dribblicious than usual; I blame the Shuffle. A few nights ago I stopped writing because the Shuffle came up with the first movement of Mahler’s Tenth, a piece so suffused with regret and farewell it makes the Ninth sound like the opening number in a vaudeville revue. You realize that the Ninth was not the big goodbye; that was just Mahler picking up his hat and coat and walking to the door. The Tenth is hard to take. It’s easy to say “he knew he was going to die” – well, yes, but the thought does occur to the rest of us from time to time, and even though he had a bad ticker, it’s possible he intended to, you know, live to finish it. A suicide note it’s not. If anything, it’s a love letter to everything about to be lost, and as personal as the sentiments are it has none of the solipsism you associate with the self-obsessed. (He said, sibilantly, by the sea-shore.) It’s the sound of someone feeling their life unravel in the sunshine of an autumn afternoon. Best learned when you’re young, I think. You can marinate in the pathos, which is like SO TRUE because everything is GRIM in that noble tragic romantic way the herberts and phonies never understand. When you’re middle-aged, it’s unnerving: previews of coming attractions. Hard to listen to in your own dying days, I’d think. Me, I’ll want the news and Benny Goodman, an assurance I’m leaving the world as messy and ingenious as the day I came in.

Anyway; back to work. Or not. “America,” from West Side Story, just came on iTunes. Sondheim, the lyricist for the tune, had his 75th birthday a few days ago. I still think “I like the island Manhattan / smoke on your pipe and put that in” is the greatest lyric ever written. And now I dance!

I’ll save you the details.