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I love Tuesday evenings. Walk a little dog; play a little Doom; get down tonight. Edited some Joe for the book proposal, finished the next Diner, completed the Screedblog graphics, and solved my vexation re: the back stairs arbor. I need an arbor that’s 51 inches wide. Industry standard seems to be 48 inches. What to do? I typed arbor into Google, and the result tells you everything you need to know about niche marketing.

Unfortunately, they’re all 48 inches wide, except for one which seems modeled on the Brandenburg Gates.

I have no bumperstickers, for the same reason I do not paste editorials with which I agree on the seat of my pants. I’m always fascinated by people who load up the bumper with so many stickers the tailpipe scrapes on the pavement, and – correct me if I’m wrong – the more stickers you see, the more to the left the sentiment. The other day I saw a car whose owner had, shall we say, Issues. Sticker #1: “If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.” This seems rather presumptuous, no? Taken by itself, it’s innocuous, but then you note its brethren: “Born OK the First Time.” So the owner doesn’t like Born-Agains, obviously – but the sentiment is still rather naïve. No one’s born OK the first time, inasmuch as we come howling out of the womb as selfish ethically blank bundles of appetite whose nascent sociopathic character has to be shaped to deal with the human community. Then there’s the third sticker: “It’s your hell. YOU burn in it.”

Gee. And you’d put this on your car . . . why? Because you think that someone behind you might note the absence of a chrome fish emblem and assume you’re some godless swine destined to tumble down to hideous ruin and perdition, of course. How angry do you have to be to flip off people in a way that not only presumes the worst about their opinions, but assigns them to the very fate you think they want for you? GO TO HELL YOU IGNORANT BORN AGAINER!

The car was in the parking lot where Gnat goes to school. I haven’t matched it with a parent yet, but if I do I’m tempted to say “God bless!” Just to piss her off. I’m no Churchy LaFemme, as Homer (and Walt) might say, and I have no problem with the unchurched who pursue the Divine outside the buttressed confines. But nothing makes me choose a side like people who believe that the entirety of the theistic perspective can be adequately refuted by self-congratulatory slogans on adhesive-backed plastic.

Update on the Huffblog: Larry Gelbart weighs in with a column based on the old three dotters – disconnected observations strung together. He’s a 70s comedy writer held in great esteem. This works better if you imagine Hawkeye Pierce saying it while staggering around a tent in a bathroom holding a martini; otherwise, it sounds like the work of a guy who calls his agent every day to be reminded that the reason he doesn’t get work anymore is because he’s too smart for the business nowadays. You’re a dying breed, Lar. I mean that as a friend. The House of Misrepesentatives! I tell you, Jon Stewart wishes he could come up with stuff like that.

Reminds me of “What’s My Line,” an ancient game show I watch once or twice a week on the Game Show Network. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before – it’s a glimpse of a long-gone world, one that feels far more erudite and civil. Perhaps because it was. Its charms are many; there’s the host, John Daly, whose ability to spontaneously compose sentences with so many nested parenthetical clauses never fails to amaze; he’s incredibly articulate and smooth and urbane – and then he smiles, and turns into a 12 year old girl. There’s Dorothy Kilgallen, who had a head like a piece of popcorn; I first encountered her in a paperback reprint of early Mad comics, which parodied her as Dorothy Kilfifth. Not entirely inaccurate, given her rep as a boozehound and pillhead (the websites with bios all come up as JFK conspiracy sites; have fun. She also worked on the case of the guy whose trial formed the basis for “The Fugitive.”) There’s Bennett Cerf, crinkly happy middlebrow brainiac. And of course the guest panelists – the first show, in an ominous preview of things to come, had Gene Rayburn. A few weeks ago I saw Johnny Carson, who wasn’t very good; he was all ticks and grins, somewhat nervous and conscious that he was in the big leagues now. Last night the guest panelist was Jack E. Leonard, a veteran “insult” comic who looked the part of the 50s nasty-funny jester – Mel Cooley head, Mel Cooley glasses, black suit, bow tie, pursed lips held as long as the laughter lasted.

Utter ephemera, but smart and simple. Nowadays they'd all be sitting around trading bumpersticker slogans with Bill Maher. Which is why I enjoy the old 50s gameshows, and spare myself cable talk. All of it. I'll take Borsch Belt mugging over sonorous celebrity opinion any time. Just as I'd rather look at a rusted 57 BelAir bumper than a sleek Audi plastered with insults. Sometimes a car is just a car. Sometimes a celebrity is just a celebrity. To turn Lou Grant's advice to Ted Baxter on its head: You know how you are? Be that way.

But, it's late, and i'm making no sense; best ot talk about something I know intimately. Thoughts on the Hell level in Doom:

Hell is hard. Hell sucks.

Where do the bad guys go after I kill them? Extra Hell? Or maybe some slightly cushier version of Hell for vets?

On one hand, I’m glad there are health packs in Hell. On the other hand, maybe not. There’s something to be said for getting it over with.

The Hell level could possibly be the best recruitment device for religion I’ve ever seen. If you subscribe to a literal land o’brimstone – which I don’t, for the usual self-serving reasons, I suppose; I don’t think Ghandi is bobbing in a lake of sulfur. If pressed on the issue, I’d define hell as a different sort of torment: the absolute certain knowledge of God’s existence and grace, followed by utter banishment from its manifestations. Eternity with your nose pressed up against the glass. But if there is a Hell, it looks like this. I do not know how the designers slept at night when they were writing this level.

It makes me nostalgic for the happy, carefree days back on the Mars station, when all I had to worry about was imps leaping from the walls and desecrated corpses swinging from the rafters. Speaking of which: ammo is in short supply in hell, as you might well expect. Which means the carefree days of firing a round at a skeleton to see if jumps are over, friend. Over and done.

Those legless winged baby-things bite something fierce. Oh great: they have horseflies in hell, with tortured infant faces. Of course. Figures.

I love my new mission objective: "Find the Soul Cube and Escape From Hell."

Well, I’m sure I’m not the first person in hell to put that at the top of my to-do list.

And now to the couch.