Apple Store window, Mall of America

Every night before bed I check the doors and windows, set the alarms, illuminate the perimeter, bring coffee to the sentries, etc. The last step involves a trip downstairs, through the tunnel, to make sure the garage doors are closed. Then I turn off the lights, sprint up the stairs, turn around the corner and crack my face right into the edge of a door. Not every night. Just last night. So far.We'll see what happens tonight. It was a shock; it always is, to find a thing where a thing was not anticipated. A hard thing that has struck you with unexpected velocity. It drove the edge of my glasses into my eyebrow and knocked loose several eyelashes, all of which went directly into my eye – the sensation immediately convinced me I had dislodged a retina, and I felt my way upstairs expecting to see it hanging out of my eye by some invisible filament. Upside: eye patch. Eye patches rule. I checked the mirror: not a lot of blood. This is where you need a cut man; this is when you wish you could flop on a stool and have someone work on you with crude efficiency, swabbing your face with Vaseline, pouring water on your head, and telling you to stop headhunting, he’s tired, work the body. But I have no corner, so I just held a compress to the wound until it clotted. Then I went to bed, expecting to wake with a shiner.

Woke with a child instead; she crawled into bed around seven, and snored. I had odd old-home-week dreams, with characters from college climbing out of the subconscious and populating a rather lackluster drama about a restaurant. One old girlfriend had a Frida haircut from the Charlie Brown Christmas special; not entirely unflattering. I saw the show again last night, and was struck by the crudeness of the animation, the lumpy aimless pacing; it’s these things, I think, that endear it to adults, because it’s so very different from the manic chaff blown in the faces of kids nowadays, and they want kids to be lulled and engaged, not sedated with noise and motion.

This morning over breakfast, Gnat made this pronouncement:

Movies where people talk aren’t real.

What do you mean?

I mean movies where you hear someone talk but you don’t see him, those are real.

Oh. You’re right. That’s called narration, and you have narration in movies called documentaries, and they’re about real things. Mostly. Depending on the director, the editor, and the producer. What made you think of that?

She shrugged. Just thinking.

They always are, aren’t they.

Well, off to get Gnat; I promised her supper at the mall, because my wife would be late at work. As it turns out my wife is coming home on time after all, but a promise to have rainbow sherbet from TCBY, once made, cannot be withdrawn. Besides, it’s fun for me too. More later.


We learned about Honnaka today, she said in the car.

What did you learn?

It’s a holiday.

For who?

I don’t know.

It’s a Jewish holiday.

Oh right.

What do you do for Hannukah?

Light candles. On a – a – me-muh, a me-muh

A menorah?

Yeah, a mamura. And sing songs. How do you know? Are you Jewish?

No, hon. But lots of people are Jewish.

Who’s Jewish?

Well, Ariel Sharon.

ARIEL is Jewish? Daddy she’s a mermaid.

Mermaids can be Jewish. Well, maybe not; she does hang around with shellfish. Let's change the subject.

But of course:
New today!
We drove off to Southdale, and that’s the subject of today’s podcast. It contains no whistling. It does have a bizarre beatnik holiday song, an ever-so-brief appearance by Gnat, and a certain circular perfection that was absolutely accidental. Dineresque, if I’m not using a forbidden word. (The podcast will assume the Diner mantle in 06; I wanted to see if I could keep up the weekly schedule, and apparently I can; the shorter form works well.) This one clocks in at 15 minutes or so, but only part of it is talking; it contains the usual audio curiosities.

I know, I’m letting other things slide; no Screedblogs, for example. Today at the office I actually wrote 1000 words on a Funky Winkerbean and Oliphant cartoon, before an overwhelming sense of pointlessness swamped the effort, and I fired up the iPod and watched a cartoon that defies description; potheads around the world FREAK upon seeing things like this, because it makes them thing their entire timeline, and become convinced that animators as far back as 1930 were totally baked. Restored my sense of balance, it did. Especially on a day when you see something like this. Here you have the cream of the globe’s diplomatic corps, tricked out in rainments bespoke, standing reflexively to honor paws who walked on a bus and killed Jews and Muslims, children and old men, workmen and professors. And what was on these diplomats’ minds as they bowed their head?

Lunch, I’m guessing. Perhaps the observation that there is a fingerprint on their waterglass.

They will have to speak to someone about that.