And now what?

Drop by Monday. There will be a Diner, nothing more, I’m afraid – but if you only have dial-up, let this be a compelling lesson to upgrade to high-speed service so you can tune in the amateur hour whenever you please. Actually, I’ve only heard a few podcasts, but have been unimpressed with most of them. Radio sometimes benefits from commercials. The hard break is a cruel mistress, yes; those are the breaks that must be taken even if Leo Tolstoi has come back to life and called your show to announce, in confused and stammering Russian, that there is not only a Bog but He’s HUGE and has ONE EYE. Sorry; you have to take the break. I usually had only one hard break, and that was the top of the hour. It was a point of pride to get out right before the little cricket chirp that preceded the network news feed. The rest of the breaks were soft, which meant you could put them off for a minute or two if you were on a roll, or didn’t have the heart to cut off a caller.

Speaking of which: if you ever tell a caller that he or she has 30 seconds, they are guaranteed to downshift, hem and um and haw and drawl out their remarks. I heard it happen today on some show – the host said time is short, the music is coming up, and the person said the talk-radio equivalent of “to understand the way Terri Schiavo appears under fluorescent light, we have to go back to the first few moments of the Big Bang.” Sorry.

Speaking of which: if nothing else, this entire affair has made me heartily sick of the very act of reading the Internet. Pardon my language, but I am simply goddamn sick of opinions, period. Right or wrong, well-reasoned or poorly expressed, snarky or solemn, I am tired of the lot of them, my own included. I’m tired of reading blogs and bulletin boards and noting that it’s OK to joke about one dead person, perfectly fine to kick the Pope when he’s about to give up the ghost, but a breach of human decency to be less than reverential about the passing of a comic who specialized in dope humor. That sort of thing is expected on the internet, but what makes me weary is the blogligation to have an opinion about it and bang it out so the whole world knows I stand four-square against bashing near-dead Popes. I’ve come to the point where I just don’t care if there are people who hyper-inflate their scrotums in support of Ward Churchill. This isn’t meant as a slam at those who write about these things; it’s my problem. It began right after the election and it’s just gotten worse.

I was at Barnes and Noble today, and there was Lewis Black’s new book: “Nothing’s Sacred.” Lewis is cradled in the arms of Michelangelo’s Pieta:

Oh, you brave fellow, you. Okay, Lewis; nothing’s sacred. I expect you to dress up as Mohammed on your next book, grabbing your crotch with one hand and making heavy-metal horns with the other. Nothing’s sacred? If you say so. Because America turns its eyes to our comedians to find out whether there might be a jot of a tittle of a scrap of something meaningful in the world aside from the mechanistic process of consumption and excretion. Nothing’s sacred? Granted. Enjoy.

I walked outside; it was nice. Not perfect, but it’ll get better. I drove to the mall and got my hair cut, then drove Gnat to Target so she could buy a My Little Pony with the money Grandpa gave her on Easter. She had a fiver; the toy cost $5.10. The clerk was a young Somali guy who cooed over her, asked if I was the dad, said she was a sweetheart and I was a lucky guy, he had one himself, wasn’t it a great age? I said that it was. And later as I put Gnat in her carseat and she giggled over her toy, I realized I was still pissed at Lewis Black; if he was there, right there in the parking lot, I would drag him over by his nipples and show him a little kid delighting in the simple fact of a new pink toy on a spring day, and then I’d go all Lewis on him: if nothing’s sacred then this is no more important than a bug burrowing into dung. Get out of Mary’s lap, you foolish man.

And I’m not even Catholic. Not even close.

You know what this all says to me? It’s time I take a big long break. For a while. I’m arguing with book covers and internet comment sections. Come back Monday for the Diner, if you have the connection speed; if not, come back Tuesday and meet Hedy the Headless Hula Dancer, who will guide you through the trough until the Bleat returns in late April. Thank you for your patience and patronage.

Update: I'm watching the HBO show on AirAmerica. The founder of the network is defining the other side as "the Satanic forces of the night." Twice. He's serious. Cut to Franken, who's READING his copy on the air.

I'll be back in two weeks.

Perm link.

JOE returns in April
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