Johnny Rockets, Mall of America

Just replaced the downstairs family room fragrance infusers with Evergreen scent.

Thought you should know.

Wouldn’t want you to be out of the loop.

(Well, it’s important; the little details count. Especially when the tree was DOA, and yields as much Genuine Tree Smell as a varnished hockey stick. I rotate aromas through the year – apple in the fall, which yields to pumpkin, which yields to pine. Then the great question of what winter should smell like, since it smells of nothing except weariness and claustrophobia. Then something faintly floral for spring. Just writing this makes my testosterone levels drop. But there’s no reason your house can’t smell good, and there’s no reason the smell shouldn’t be apt. I’m not talking some BIG HUGE SMELL that sticks its fingers up your nose; I mean something indistinct and vague, as if Kate Moss was off stage crushing apple wedges between her knees. Not that she’d have the strength. You’d have to mash them up. And they’d smell like cigarettes. Nevermind.)

I also have a can of Tree, in case of emergency. And a can of Cranberry for the vestibule, because something died in that space in 1956, and its spirit rests uneasily. The best of the lot is “Winterberry,” made by Bath & Body Works (warning! Do not spray on body or use in bath) and of course they don’t make it this year; they have “Spice,” which I instantly avoided, and “Caramel,” which, as I noted in a Quirk, smells like Willie Wonka threw up in the hallway. I’ll go with Tree. Can’t go wrong with Tree.

I wish they would come out with Club, which had the aroma of cigars and polished leather and roast-beef belches and newspapers that had been baking by the radiator all day. Something comfortingly imperial. One whiff and you’ll feel the need to harrumph about the Suez! New Club. It’ll put class in your house and hair in your ears. But no, we banish cigar aromas here; I use Ozium, a handy tool from dorm days. Ozium is the absolute amnesia inducer for smoke; it simply ceases to remember what it smells like.

I had a busy, eventful day; can’t you tell?

Actually, no. After I got Gnat on the bus – which now comes seven minutes later, hurrah; no more pouring soup down her throat and tossing a vitamin in her mouth as we run out the door – I finished a column, and realized I had written for the wrong day again. Ah. Well. Do another, then. So I wrote that one, filed both; by then there was no point going to the office, so I wrote another just to be on the safe side. One of those days where you just stay home and write columns. We’ve all been there. Listened to Prager, who had a two-hour interview with a physicist who believes in sorta-kinda-modified Intelligent Design, which is to say God pulled the trigger, laid down the laws, allowed for chance to spice up the dish, and here we are. One of those views that incorporates, rather than denies, evolution. Which is where I am, as noted. I realize this does not have the hip snarky cachet of believing in Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and my own beliefs are risible because they do not lend themselves to snarky Photoshop contest entries. It also means I am a theocrat who wants to bash scientists over the head with Salvation Army kettles. Whatever.

Picked up Gnat from school; she fell asleep in the car, so I drove around for a while. Listened to a Suspense on the iPod; it featured a Scientist who was conduction an Experiment, a premise that demands someone with a plummy smart devilish voice filled with arrogance and confidence. The sort of voice that always ends up poorly. Cause of death: Unforeseen Ironic Twist. At home we practiced piano, then I made supper while she poked around She found an American Idol page in which Barbie sang “I’m Not That Innocent,” and I put the gentle kibosh on that. “It’s just Barbie singing a song,” Gnat said. “It doesn’t meant Barbie isn’t not that innocent. It’s just the words.” Uh huh. Find another. And she did: Barbie singing “What I Like About You.”

This was an affront to red-leather clad skinny-tie bands everywhere. We went upstairs. I called up the real thing.

“Wow, Dad,” said my five-year old. “That rocks.”

That it does. Now it’s time for Beethoven.

“Yay! Beethoven!”

Dinner, dog-walk, family photo for the Christmas card. I designed it, and it looks so good no one will believe I designed it. Ah well. Uploaded it to the printer, hoped this wasn’t some Bulgarian phishing operation designed to snare my card number, then bade good night to all and came downstairs. To replace the fragrance infusers.

As previously noted.

There was a Rudolph sequel on tonight - I had no idea, or had forgotten, that such a thing had been done. It’s CGI c. 2002, and the animation is crude. The voices are spot on, at least for Rudolph and the Dental Elf and the Jack-in-the-box. At the end, Yukon is in a Peppermint Mine, and strikes Silver and Gold – a nice callback to the scene cut from the original, where Yukon is prospecting for peppermint. (As discussed in last week’s podcast.) He detects the presence of valuable metals by tasting his axe, too. The sequel is full of such details, and it’s really not as bad as it could have been – but I think there was enough resistance to a sequel that it was dismissed by traditionalists. It’s not canon, as they say. I’d love to see Pixar do a sequel. But not Aardman. Pixar is eyes; Aardman is mouths. (Specifically, teeth.) Rudolph is more of an eyes story.

But of course:
Well, in retrospect my big essay turned out to be 94% typing and 6% thinking, so nevermind. It had to do with the fact that EW put “Brokeback Mountain” on the cover this week instead of that Nornio or Neeneria movie or whatever it’s called. For all I know next week's issue will eschew all things Kong for a big happy Narnia-o-rama, and my whole point will be moot, so there's no need to make a fool of myself. Again. The second feature in EW was a movie about a transsexual who discovers the existence of a son; for all I know it’s a fine movie too - but I do not think these are two subjects that necessarily grip the public mind. BUT THEY SHOULD! And that’s the sense that I got from the EW issue – not that you MUST see “Brokeback” to prove you’re not homophobic, but that you should, because it’s helpful. In some vague sense. Seeing Narnia is not necessarily unhelpful, but it gives off those Bible-y Christy vibes somehow, and while that’s fine, we must encourage movies about cowboys in love, because somewhere in some small town a gay youth looks at the box office grosses, and decides to stay in the closet out of fear he will be eaten by a computer generated lion who manifests the stigmata. Or something like that. As if the two movies are somehow in a meta-competition for the Soul of America; as if disinterest in a gay cowboy love story means that 99.98 percent of America HATE GAYS.

But disinterest does not mean intolerance.

I have no problem with EW putting it on the cover; I have no problem with the movie whatsoever. I do wonder why the editors chose that movie instead of Narnia, though, and I suspect that it was a matter of which provided the proper dose of societal spinach. Narnia appeals to them; Narnia isn’t helpful.

There. You’ve been spared two thousand words. New Quirk, as ever; see you tomorrow.