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Sitting a school hallway on the floor, listening to Bruckner’s Symphony # 0, “The Beta.” He did spring full-blown, it seemed; it was all there from the beginning. It just got better. Beethoven may be the music of the spheres, but Bruckner is the music of the galaxies. (Actually, I’d say he’s the music of those spectacular multi-colored gigantic gas clouds, but that suggests he’s the patron symphonist of interstellar flatulence. Which he might be, if you don’t have a taste for his style of music.) I expect to spend a lot of time on this hallway floor, waiting for Gnat. At least the Kindergarten Kamp thing is done: oy. About 9000 children attend this event, and they’re all piled up in one gigantic howling crowd in the hallway, waiting for parents to maneuver their gigantic vehicles along the tiny clotted street, find a parking spot, find the kid in the crowd, and haul them back to the car. One at a time. The first time I went to pick up Gnat and her friend I simply could not find them, and nothing makes fear claw up the back of your throat like the sight of 9000 children overseen by 14 teenagers. Eventually I found them, and felt that flood of relief that you get when you know they’re okay. Parenthood sucks.

This school was built after WW2, during the era of suburban expansion; the additions follow the styles of each subsequent decade. An architectural museum of institutional design

(Later) And at that dramatic juncture the teacher opened the doors. We collected the artwork, which will sit in the car for a few days before moving to a shelf in the garage, and then to the trash (except for selected works of excellence, of course), and then hit the pool. The usual mix of moms, with one strange Buff Dashrock standing on the edge of the pool like some sort of rooster. Worship me! Uh, pass. Now we’re relaxing at home in AC splendor – it’s 80 out there – before heading off to Chuck E’s for our monthly private skeeball tourney. My wife’s out all night and I have a column to write so this will be it for today. Unless I get enthused about something or other.

(Later) Back from Chuck E. Cheese’s (“Giving Married Dads a Chance to Sample What Visitation Must Feel Like.”) Am I the only dad who’ll play a few easy games just to get the kid’s ticket count up? I know the trick to the Beat The Ducks in the Head game, for example. (Not the real name, but that’s what it boils down to; the ducks parade along a conveyor belt, and you knock them over by mashing a button that drives a boxing glove into the airspace occupied by their craniums. The trick is to hit every other duck. But isn’t it always.) And am I the only dad who, after a year of playing air hockey, decides it’s time to play for keeps? She’s gotten better at it, so I decided to up the game and actually aim for the goal. We played skeeball, and I got high score – unfortunately, the payoff was a miserable 20 tickets. Then we played some driving games – an Xtreme skateboard, an ATV, a jetski.

Between getting little sleep last night, running around all day and baking at the pool in the heat AND dealing with the joy that is Chuck E’s, I am wiped. But I have a column to do. More later.

(Later) She came out of the shower, went into my Closet of Mysteries and picked an item from the shelf. “What’s this?”

“It’s a key fob from the original Waldorf-Astoria, which was demolished to make room for the Empire State Building.”


Well, what was I supposed to say? I don’t believe in lying to kids. There was a Waldorf-Astoria before the present one, and I think it’s foolish to shield these things from them. Then we read her Monsters Inc alphabet book, fixed a Polly Pocket pony, went downstairs for yogurt, and now she’s watching a little TV while I finish this and take the garbage out. The garbage, alas, included the old dead Weber grill, and getting that thing down the stairs was no pleasure. Everytime it clonked down another step it dumped a pound of carbonized animal flesh on the stones. Jasper followed behind, sampling the ancient charcoal treats. Now I’m going to put her to bed, finish the Strib column and bang out a Screedblog entry on the Durban flap (got the marching orders from the HQ via carrier pigeon today, the special DOD-enhanced versions that have the little Borg-like visors and cybernetic upgrades so they can actually squawk out the marching orders. It’s just precious! I’ll probably post it around noon) and then go to bed, secure in the knowledge that Friday looks to be perfect. Only piano lessons – then the beach or the pool.

I leave you with this: The 35 members of Exile! I don’t know why this amuses me, but it does. Big ole country hair.

See you Monday.


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