Transient hotel, St. Paul, University Av

Childish though it is, I laugh to myself everything I see the sign PILATES on the coffee shop bulletin board. Well, yes, unless you have some sort of urinary tract blockage.

See? I told you it was childish.

I’ve been to this place four days in a row at the same time of the day, and the staff has been different every time. Always two people, always different. It’s possible no one ever finished a shift here; the boss shows up, runs them through the grinder and dumps the remains out in the woods between here and the new condos. Then again, there’s no Help Wanted sign in the window. Maybe he’s got a good backlog. Pith ‘em, stack ‘em, jumper-cable some life back in ‘em when the last ones drop; repeat until authorities wonder why you’re at Home Depot every Saturday buying bags of quicklime. Of course, they wouldn’t worry, would they? There is no National Quicklime Registration Database. Terrorists could buy the stuff by the cubic ton and we’d be none the wise.

That “cubic ton” really bothered you, didn’t it? Yes, you. You who winced, then grappled with the need to write to tell me I was mixing two different forms of measurement. You wondered if you could do it kindly, or whether it would just seem petty. Maybe if you used an emoticon at the end. But you hate those things. Yes, YOU. I’ve been you. My advice is to keep scrolling. Life’s too short. Of course, you’re talking to the guy who left his car and went inside the post office to see who was parked in the no-parking area, so on farther reflection, write away.

Today the playlist at the coffee shop appears to be Oldies, which is distinct from Classic Rock; the latter is for people who still think they’re a sold 20 years away from the All-Day Ensure diet, and Oldies is now for people who are, literally, that. You could call it “Music That Has Inexplicably Stood the Test of Time,” since half the songs are old and tired and overdone – and often overpraised by those who have a stake in elevating pop music a little higher than it deserves.

Gah: “Georgie Girl.” I don’t know what instrument they use at the beginning to make that sound, but it’s like they’re squeezing some small bird whacked out on Ecstacy. They follow this with Elvis, as though it restores some sort of balance in the universe. And you know what? It does.

Long week, and I’m bushed; today the early mornings finally got to me, and I took a nap. At 10 AM. Just 15 minutes, but it was sweet. And what was my excuse last night? I watched “The Ring 2,” because I was creeped out by the first one and the box blurbs implied additional creeping-out in the second. But no creeps were contained therein; no shudders, delicious or otherwise, and no shrieks. I was not on the edge of my seat or biting my nails and I did not consider it a roller-coaster ride, either. My knuckles did not whiten. It starred Naomi Watts, the thinking man’s Tea Leoni, and to judge from the credits several hundred people labored on “the Ring 2,” from caterers to grips to best boys to gaffers to foley artists to elk wranglers and PR people and bondsman and the usual raft of creative types needed to help a director bring his vision to life. I would love to get them all together in one large auditorium, thank them for trying, then put the question to the room: since all of you are competent rational individuals who obviously know how to make movies, why did that suck? Really, I’m looking for theories here.

Dead silence

Oh, come on. You’ve all seen good scary movies. Hell, the first “Ring” was good enough, mostly because of that tape. But this sequel sucked so hard David Oreck filed a patent violation. You have to know that. Or does the field of self-delusion never really dissipate? You’re telling me there are guys sitting in bars right now banging the table and say “HELL yeah I did costume design for ‘Battlefield Earth’”?


Okay then. Who wants to blame the writer? Whoa, don’t everyone raise your hands.

Tonight it’s something else. And yes, I am watching a movie every night this week. That’s why I forgot to upload last night – if you thought I skipped a day; yesterday’s version can be found by accessing the calendar below. (Note: thanks to all who wrote in and informed me that the flat-voiced guy was Nat Pendleton. It's true: everyone knows everything, eventually.)

Bought this yesterday. My old Sony AM / FM radio died. Second unit in a year and a half. Goodbye to that, then. It had many irritating design flaws; it had six preset buttons, and if you hit one of them it would BEEP and switch stations. Why, that’s what it’s supposed to do, you say. Whatever is your problem? Because if you put the thing in a coat pocket and the wind came up and applied one nanopound of pressure to the pocket, the thing would beep. Ah, you say, you should have read the manual and used the HOLD key. To which I respond: don’t you have anything better to do? What do you care? In any case, I made liberal employ of the HOLD key. But I would still get a BEEP at the slightest provocation. It also had TV feature, so in case you didn’t have HOLD on, and bumped it, it would go to the glorious static of Channel 3. Then you’d hit it again to cycle through the two FM bands. Like most consumer electronics, it has more features than you need and gets the basic details of the user experience dead wrong.

The Radio Shack model isn’t a great leap forward, but it’s better. It’s not the most pathetic iPod clone ever. It’s too big – could be 2/3rd the size, but then no one would mistake it for an iPod. Of course when they realize it's not an iPod, they look at you with pity: dude, that's an AM radio. That's just sad. O for the day when I can have a radio implanted in a molar and change the station by clenching my jaw, just like Hugh Lockwood.

It’s hot today. Love it: summer returns full-strrength, just in time for everyone to get sweaty and sticky at the fair. Off to get Gnat; then a column tonight. Enjoy yesterday's Bleat, if you missed it today, and have a fine weekend! Fair photos on Monday. O joy.

And yes, I know it's "further."

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