Better Homes & Gardens, Oct. 1959

It's the annual appearance of the 1959 Better Homes & Garden cover. I’ve posted this cover in various forms since, oh, ‘97; it’s a favorite for many reasons. My mother saved this magazine for reasons I can only imagine; perhaps its depiction of an ideal suburban autumn struck her as a perfect suburbun Valhalla – Capri pants and barbeques and ramblers, neighbors on the patio, kids on the lawn, God in His heaven and Eisenhower in His office. Details run all week.

It’s days like this that remind me how many more days like this there used to be. And if that sentence made your head hurt, then you know how I feel. Wife and child have a minor cold – nothing severe, just enough to let you know it’s there. Like a small dog urinating on your leg, and his stream at the exact temperature as your skin. That kind of cold. I started the Zicam swabs right away, but of course they only lessen the severity, not cure the cold. Plus there’s some slight monsterism. So now I have a headache and the general feeling that I would rather be in bed. Anyway: I remember the early years of fatherhood, when it seemed like a cold was coming along every other week. Now we just have minor easy-to-endure medical problems like, oh, THE ONE HOUR BLOODY NOSE.

That was Friday afternoon. Picked her up from school; we’re heading home listening to the Yamaha CD, singing the song she has to practice for piano. It’s the Grandfather Clock, perhaps the only children’s song that actively encourages them to visualize the death of a grandparent. In the middle of verse two Gnat added a new lyric: “Ahh! Bloody nose!” Because the Galileo is stocked with items to meet every emergency I was able to hand her a Kleenex in three seconds. By the time we got home she’d soaked more than a few Kleenexes, and it looked like a vampire threw up in the car. And we could not get it to stop for good. It would clot, then she’d itch her nose, and out it came again. Took forever. Eventually I just sat nearby with a moistened Bounty towel, daubing. That was our afternoon. No piano lesson, no Target, just trying to keep a small and somewhat scared little girl from rubbing her nose and starting the old krovva flowing. I did call the triage nurse just to see when I should be worried; the treatment for these things is a cauterizing needle up the nose, which is high on most people’s list of Things to Complete Avoid Thank You And Goodbye Now.

While I daubed and she watched Spongebob – an episode in which he had a fire going in his fireplace; how exactly does that work underwater? Really, is too much to ask that they think these things through? - the Water Feature crew came back to tell me that everything was done, except that the pump wasn’t hooked up and they had to replace another part, so it wouldn’t be working until Sunday, earliest. And here’s your bill!


Friday morning I filed six pieces. Figured that did it for a while. But no! Due to a miscommunication, I was unaware that my online introduction to the new redesign was needed Saturday morning. I found this out Friday at eight. Sigh. So I wrote it and sent it in around 9:30. By now the usual mood of Friday night - watch an old movie on the monitor while doing rote tasks – was gone. I ended watching nine hours of krep, starting with “Dillinger,” the 1973 version. It’s not that bad – obviously done to capitalize on the Bonnie & Clyde / Depression nostalgia mood of the early 70s. (Tells you all you need to know about the 70s: we were nostalgic for the thirties.) It has a certain charm; anything with Harry Dean Stanton is worth watching, in a way. But it’s so ridiculously inaccurate you feel like an old man in the nursing home watching a TV movie about how George Bush and Dick Cheney parachuted into Baghdad and personally shot Saddam. And to think J. Edgar protested this movie! Good Lord, this thing portrayed Melvis Purvis as a nine-foot-tall straight shooter with a member like a fireplug and stones like medicine balls, crossing the nation in seven-league boots to Get His Man. Ridiculous. I had also TiVod “Party Monster,” under the misapprehension it was a Gritty and Revealing look at New York City club life in the 80s; that whole era seems like Atlantis now, and I also like movies about bygone club scenes. (Well, one: “24 hour Party People” is okay.) To my amusement the movie consisted of Macaulay Culkin (!) acting as badly as is humanly possible, abetted by Seth Green, whose character had two settings: Mince and Swish. Dylan McDermott showed up and was overshadowed in every scene by his eyepatch. Unbearably bad. Makes “Wizard of Oz” look like “Band of Brothers.” I turned it off and watched “Crime Story” DVDs until . . .

Until I got an idea, and sat down and wrote a Joe Ohio chapter. That’ll be up tomorrow.

This is all feels so lame today; maybe I’m written out. If this doesn’t satisfy, I have a couple pieces up on the Strib website – the last Sunday column and a web-only piece on the redesign.

Saturday was errands, as usual. I stopped in the Apple store for a few things, and asked the clerk for one of those AirPort Express Streaming Video devices, along with the cool new remote controls.

“I’ll go in the back. Just one?” he said.

I know the guy, so it’s a joke. Hah hah! But the more I think about it, the more I think this might be It, the new product that’s got everyone hopping in place and waving their hands in anxiety. Can’t be a video iPod. Look, I’d buy one eventually, but what would I do with it? It pains me to say it, but I have no need, and I’m the kind of guy who can usually invent needs like Edison turned out patents. Oh, I’d want one if I rode a train to work every day, but even then the appeal would fade; after a while I’d feel like a junkie shooting up in public. But I don’t ride a train. So what am I supposed to do? Buttonhole people in the elevator and show them my homemade movies?

But buying content online and streaming it to the TV: yes sir. Yes indeed. Especially if they provided a nifty remote that scratched if you so much as looked at it.

Tried the Brasso on the Nano: it works, incidentally. Now I’m going to rub some in my nostrils and see if that works. More tomorrow.

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