Yesterday's date graphic said Friday. Somehow I did not note this. If for some reason you saw that and thought there was nothing new, well, blame me; there was indeed a new Bleat yesterday, and one of those interminable nostalgic ones, too. Check the calendar below for the link.

Got a call from my bank today, wondering about some credit card purchases. Had I charged some items in the Netherlands Friday? Because that would be odd. Uh – no. fine! We’ll cancel your card and send you a new one, then. Fine, thank you. It left me a little unnerved and annoyed, but grateful for the kind & caring machines that threw up a red flag.

And just the other day I was blithely dismissing worries about shopping on the web. Then again, for all I know someone made an impression of the card at a restaurant; that’s still the easiest way to get someone’s credit card number. Anyway, it’s all a mystery. It can’t be connected to those troubles PayPal is having with their database – I answered that email right away and entered my information into their new supersecret computers. I didn’t know they were co-located in Bulgaria, but you learn something every day.

(Just. Kidding.)

It was sixty today, a boon you cannot imagine. The last few floes left around the house will be gone tomorrow. This morning Gnat put on shorts and a T-shirt and sandals and ran around in the backyard, ecstatic. When I dropped her off at school I saw shoots in the earth around the building. It’s here and we’re not going back.

After school, Jasper’s vet visit. Gnat held the leash on the way in, counseling him not to worry about shots. Inside was a ratty old dog with a dirty collar whining about nothing and everything; Jasper picked up on the dog’s worries, the general odor of the place, and started trembling. I calmed him down with pats and hugs; it worked, for once. The exam was quick. His weight is good – up a pound from last year, but down nine from his “weight of shame,” as one vet described it last year. Hips good, eyes good, choppers good; looks half his age. A couple needle sticks, taken without complaint, then back outside to get his heartworm pills. In came an enormous mastiff with all the marks of the breed in its later years – ropy spittle, gummy eyes, black warty growths on the joints. It’s a breed whose face really says “I’ve had enough of this, thank you” towards the end. Gnat was stunned to see a dog that big; Jasper sensed weakness and stared at him, tail up. Then off to the adjacent liquor store, Gnat holding Jasper’s leash again; the idea that the dog should go in the bottle store seemed a great violation of the Order of Things. Jasper hadn’t been in there for at least a year, maybe two, but he remembered that they had treats; he trotted up to the counter, put his paws on the edge and waited for his treat. Gnat got a roll of Smarties. I got beer.

Worked out for everyone, I think.

Note: I am not going to be talking about a TV show you don’t watch, and I am not giving away spoilers. Just so you know.

I re-upped my Entertainment Weekly subscription, because it turned out I missed it; the magazine filled some need for silly little pop culture nuggets that not only told me what I was missing, but gave me sufficient reason not to care. The last issue was typical – an article on HBO’s coming drought of big-ticket series mentioned Carnivale, only to note it was “boring.” I would expect this from a magazine that put out five different covers for the “Desperate Housewives” series. “Carnivale” is the sort of television critics say they want, but in the end it’s too hard, so they content themselves writing pissy little missives about how everything else is banal. No, I don’t have anyone in mind. Yes, I’m making that up based on my own assumptions and prejudices. Suez moi.

I don’t watch “Desperate Housewives” and never will, because I can’t possibly see any reason to do so. And I don’t care if you do, either. I just wish that I lived in a world where I could come to work and everyone would be standing around the watercooler talking about Carnivale – not because it would mean we were all highbrows who appreciated quality drama, but just so I could say “High Holy Judas on a fargin’ VESPA” and people would know exactly what I meant.

The very idea of the season finale still seems like a cool gift to me; in my younger days, shows just ended. The headline acts – MASH, MTM, etc – had a big send-off when they quit, but stories were rarely carried over from episode to the next, let alone across seasons. The hardest season finale is the one that might also double as the series finale; Twin Peaks comes to mind. At press time, I believe Agent Cooper is still in hell, with his doppelganger in this world doing all sorts of dastardly things like starring in “Showgirls.” Star Trek – the original series, that is – just wandered off with no conclusion, which was probably just as well. I dread the series ending of “Enterprise,” because it seems a stupid waste to end it now. I’ll grant that it was often overlooked among the myriad gems the UPN lineup presents, but still.

Anyway. What I loved about Carnivale – aside from little things like the characters, the period details, the music, and the plot – was how it was about the struggle between John Conner of Terminator 3 to seek out his evil nemesis, the Drill Instructor from “Starship Troopers.” One was a carny who carried the power of Good; the other was a radio preacher who worked for the other side. So it’s explicitly about religion, or the matters with which religion concerns itself. But it was also a metaphor for spirituality, inasmuch as the Carnival itself was a stand-in for the world, following the cryptic requests of “Management,” a never-seen figure who lived in a trailer. (His emissary in the world was Samson, wonderfully played by the Twin Peaks backward-talking dwarf, Michael J. Anderson.) When the bearded lady finally opens the door and enters the trailer to prove that Management does not exist, well, it takes a hard and bored heart not to be grateful for the show.

If you did watch the show, highlight the text below for remarks on the last show. Right? Absolutely! Anyway, see you tomorrow. Warning: I am in the final round of bookwork, and hence no Backfences this week, and probably nothing but links and pictures the rest of this week here. Then darkness until the second week of April. After that? Oh, many wonders. It’ll be a pleasure to get back to this site and start upgrading all over the place.

High Holy Judas on a fargin’ VESPA. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that was the only TV show broadcast on Easter where the protagonist climbs down off the cross to stab the devil’s own in his black heart, no? As much as I hated to see Rev. Tom Bosley get carved up (sorry, that’s who he always reminded me of) it was nothing compared to Sophie putting a lead pill in Jonesy. (He's one of the great characters of the HBO world, I think – but why? What’s unusual about Jonesy in the least? What’s different? Nothing except he seems authentically decent. He hasn’t come by his good heart by nature alone, but by a combination of nature and will. As for the bit with Sophie and the dead corn – I’ve read all sorts of bulletin board chatter about what it means, about what the show’s creator intends to do with the idea of inherited abilities, avatars, generational switching, etc., and I’m really not that interested. I think I get it, and if I don’t, then it’s not necessary. I think the show is better when it implies things and lets you glean the meaning – for example, I understood the business of the masks without quite understanding it, or caring whether I understood it.

Anyway, see you tomorrow. Warning: I am in the final round of bookwork, and hence no Backfences this week, and probably nothing but links and pictures the rest of this week here. Then darkness until the second week of April. After that? Oh, many wonders. It’ll be a pleasure to get back to this site and start upgrading all over the place.

JOE returns in April
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