The chances that the lady at the spectacles shop should note that her peers are considering accountancy as a career: even money, I’d say. The chances I would think of “The Accountancy Shanty” from an Eric Idle album I bought in 1977: given the extent to which Monty Python has penetrated my brain, probably even as well. But the odds it’s the first tune the iPod shuffle extracts from a library of 10,000 songs? Please.

Thurl finally died. The voice of Tony and the Grinch and the mean air conditioner in “The Brave Little Toaster” and so much more.

That's Thurl singing with some guy - Jet Screamer, I think. Here's Thurl singing "Wingding," which doesn't seem to have been a hit.


As noted, I got new glasses, which look exactly like the old ones. I’d planned to buy another pair – little black rims that make me look like an insufferable European architect – but the price was ruinous for three pairs. (Had to get sunglasses, too.) I understand why glasses are so expensive, since they’re made out of those rarest of substances, wire and glass. But I balked at the anti-reflective coating, which makes glasses impossible to clean unless you use special fluid and special clothes. The days of cleaning your glasses with spit and a trouser leg are done, they’d have you believe. Hah!

The exam was comforting. Most are not. Changing your prescription is so damnably subjective. Better? Worse? I don’t know! You’re the doctor, what do you think? But this guy was brisk and efficient and supremely confident; like most optometrists, he dumped on my prescription as the work of a hack. (Every time I get new glasses the optometrist criticizes the work of his predecessor. Fools! The profession is choked with charlatans!) He had some books in his office – a DC military thriller, and a nonfiction book about how the design of the universe proves there’s no design and hence no designer. He gave the impression of being a man who would take comfort in that. Grim comfort, the sort of comfort that satisfied the brain but left the heart untouched.

After the exam I was handed off to the saleslady; we found frames identical to my present set. One of the reasons I needed new glasses – aside from the incorrect prescription – was the lack of plastic on the bows, right where they sit on the ear. (Or, in my case, ears.) You know what happens when the plastic flakes away? I’ll tell you, friends: three weeks of learning that your head-skin don’t like metal. I cannot tell you how much itchery I have endured this last month. Skin is peculiar about these things, too – ignore the reaction in one spot, and it throws up scattered hives thither / yon; either that, or the maddening skull-itch coincided with some sort of reaction to laundry detergent. (We just switched to Tide Extra Pointless Fragrance with Mountain-Spring Fresh Bleach with Linen-scent Softeners or something like that; the very name would make a bar of titanium break out with contact dermatitis.) I’m not one of those people who has to clap a wet cloth over his face when artificial scents waft his way, but I wish they’d stop making everything smell like something. Most shave creams and deodorants have that “sport” smell for which I have no affinity; always smells like the locker room in a gym after the master-blasters have shot half a can of stink-no-mor into their pits. Between the detergents, the softening cloths, the shave creams and soaps and everything else, you don’t have a choice: either you smell like someone who eats Dial soap and pees Brut, or you find the “Unscented” stuff and pile on your own signature whiffs.

Anyway. Gnat and I went to Burger King for cheeseburgers. (No French fries. She doesn’t like French Fries. Whoa.) Her Happy Meal toy was a small furry Star Wars character.

“That’s Wicket,” I said.

“No, Dad, it’s Chewbacca.”

“Is it?”

“I think it’s Chewbacca,” said the clerk.

“See?” Dad. You’re embarrassing me. What do you know.

(It’s amazing what she picks up. The other day I looked at her drawings, and noted a quartet of people in a row. One was large and rocky and orange, the other was elongated; one was on fire, and the other surrounded by soft squishy shapes.

“It’s the Fantastic Four,” she said.

I think she’s seen a commercial for that twice.
“Mr. Fantastic is like Elastagirl in the Incredibles. He can stretch. And this one is on fire like Jack-Jack the Incredibles, and I don’t know her name but she’s like Violet, she can make circles to protect everyone.”

“Who’s this guy?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s Ben Grimm. He’s the Thing. Very strong. Smokes cigars, has a girlfriend named Alicia. Jewish, but I’m not sure he’s observant. Heck of an American, in any case.”

“He’s a hero.”

That he is. Then we had a discussion about Johnny Storm, Jack-Jack, and why they were make believe, and how she should never set herself on fire.)

Lizzz Winstead, late of Air America, has a blog, complete with Sarah-Jessica-Parker-as-the-Joker illustration. She is a fan of George Galloway, and believes the accusations against the Battlin’ Ba’athist Buddy are a “crackpot theory.” His style! His passion! His scathingly fluid remarks! His use of sick children to set up slush funds to pay for a Portugese villa, allegedly! I’m somewhat mystified by the love lavished on Galloway by Lizz and her compatriots. Hitchens seems to have the fellow’s number. It would be insulting to suggest that she hasn’t studied the matter in detail, so we can only assume she knows the issues Hitch brings up, and finds them all either spurious or less grievous than the manifest sins of Norm Coleman. Well, everyone has their priorities. But she strikes me as someone who would get a little thrill upon hearing that Tariq Aziz in the lobby. Really? Here? Great! I hope he notices my new shoes! They’re sexy but not in a do-me way, don’t you think? Smart sexy. Tariq Aziz! Wow!

As a commentor put it:

George Galloway is definitely my star of the week. Ah, the way the truth was just flowing from his mouth (more like a raging river I guess).

In their perfect world, Saddam’s in power, the sanctions are lifted, and the kites are flying over Baghdad. She wants to be George Galloway. Which means she wants to be the person who defeated Oona King. As Hitch put it:

The defeated incumbent, Oona King, is of mixed African and Jewish heritage, and had to endure an appalling whispering campaign, based on her sex and her combined ethnicities. Who knows who started this torrent of abuse? Galloway certainly has, once again, remained adequately uninformed about it. His chief appeal was to the militant Islamist element among Asian immigrants who live in large numbers in his district, and his main organizational muscle was provided by a depraved sub-Leninist sect called the Socialist Workers party. The servants of the one god finally meet the votaries of the one-party state. Perfect.

Good thing she’s already on her knees before this sort of fellow, since that’s the posture his constituents probably prefer for women. From Wikipedia:

The campaign was beset by tensions and scuffles; during the campaign, she was allegedly targeted by Islamic fundamentalists who slashed the tyres on her car, pelted her with eggs and vegetables and made threats to kill, forcing her to require police protection. Together with George Galloway, she made a plea for calm and restraint amongst local people during the campaign, though she said "I have to say it has not been helped by some of the language used by (Galloway’s Respect Coaltion.) Extremism breeds extremism."

Galloway famously said that King was responsible for "the deaths of many people in Iraq with blacker faces than hers", when referring to her Jewish-Black background.

Lovely people. But nice hair!

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