One: I stand corrected! The French are stepping up to le plate, which is good, welcome, noted, and filed away in the Encouraging Signs folder. Of course I wrote what I wrote without doing any research, since I was in a black mood and disinclined to back anything up. I’m much better now, meaning I’m in a good mood and incline to believe the best of everyone. Without checking to back it up. I don’t know why I should let my standards slip now.

Two: in response to some of the slagging I took on Fark the other day – which was fine with me; the only thing worse than being savaged on Fark is not being savaged on Fark, as Oscar would say – I give them a Photoshop challenge from today’s Fair pictures: the Honeybear Army. Chances are someone who called me a grade-A chickenhawk arsehat will come up with something brilliant that makes me laugh, and all will be forgiven with awkward hugs and strained yet heartfelt smiles. Or not. I just thought it was an interesting picture.

Three: Sorry being such a grump yesterday. General low-level botherations compounded by brooding and excess exposure to annoyances. Today was different, because today lots of people said nice things to me, and shallow, insecure approval-sponge that I am, it made all the difference. Did the State Fair Appearance, and thanks to everyone who came by – with books to sign, no less! Afterwards I spent a couple hours taking pictures and shooing video; really rather pointless, since NOTHING CHANGES and I’m sure I have all these shots already, but I’ve upgraded the cameras, so might as well. Ate two Tom Thumb donuts; went into diabetic shock, sat on the curb with a cup of coffee – damn good coffee, to quote Agent Cooper – and watched the world stream past. Usually I leave the Fair with a sense of regret and conclusion; it seems like Summer’s end, but not this year. Perhaps my overactive Bittersweet Gland is drying up; wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome.

But let me expand, slightly, on the grumpy part: what yanked my chain were those who see only perfidy on the other side and shining glory on their own, the people who believe that the other side is characterized in every instance by the twin traits of incompetence and malice. I.e., the administration cancelled the Hurricane Defusing Magnets – which were 99% completed – in order to spend the money on Operation Let Osama Escape from Tora Bora. Blogger EURota has a lengthy post consisting of Lexus / Nexus / Schmexus excerpts of the Clinton administration’s position on levee funding; it’s rather illuminating, but having read it all I don’t blame Clinton for failing to turn aside the Cat 5 murder-whirl. I have no doubt that if a seer had elbowed her way into the Oval Office, rolled a crystal ball across the carpet, extended a bony wart-studded digit and said “I predict DOOM, if act ye not!” things might have been different, but government is about priorities and horse-trading and thick wads of pork buried deep in the moist folds of the body politic. ‘Kay? What counts today is this from former President Clinton (via Captain Ed), in which he tried to interject some perspective into the thick oak of the media’s forearm, and make them realize that stuff happens. Bully for him. And yes, it’s just words, and yes words are cheap, but this is the sort of thing sitting Presidents can’t say, and populist ex-Presidents beloved of the opposition can. He did, and good on him.

Four: This is very short because A) this is a column night, B) there are 11 pictures with captions instead of a Bleat, and C) Michael Medved came over to Jasperwood tonight to sit out in the Target Gazebo for a couple of hours and chat over beers. Brilliant fellow. I mean, if there’s a lacuna in his intellectual database, it’s probably something like the Latin names of flora in pre-Cambrian reptile digestive systems. Conversation was a brisk gallop over 1,829 topics, and if you’re starved for Real Adult Conversation as I am, it’s like ending up at the Old Country Buffet after six years in Ethiopian desert. What a joy. (Thanks to Long Suffering Jay, promotions director of 1280, for driving him over.)

Now to write the captions and start the column. It’s already 10:30, so don’t expect much. But thanks for your patronage this week, and bearing with my prickly grousing. More of it next week, I’m sure.

Photos are here.

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