it rings!


Oy. Long day. Gnat’s off school, since it’s Parent-Teacher conference week – they happen twice a month, it seems – and this means I’ve had no “down time,” as the irritating expression has it. She had a friend over to play today, and this meant three giggly hours of squealing downstairs and muffled squealing upstairs, punctuated with the occasional thump. I don’t mind – better than the inevitable closed-door-with-loud-thuggish-music phase which will surely follow. I made them both pasta punctuated with green noodles, followed with pudding; big hit. Somehow while the capered in the far corners of Jasperwood I wrote a column, and sent it. That felt like no small triumph, given the chaos; if next Monday’s column seems inordinately jangled, you’ll know why.

We went to the grocery store for our One Big Outing, and once again I confronted the idiocy of buying taco supplies. Shells: $1.09. Salsa, even though I know have some, $1.70. Meat, $3.70. (The highest amount of fat allowed by law, thank you; otherwise it cooks up like shredded pencil-eraser nubbins.) Precut lettuce, $1.40. (I never buy the pre-cut stuff, but the iceberg noggins were pygmy sized and overpriced – a distant echo of a bad patch of weather week in whatever farm served the Dole Collective that week, and when the price difference is four bits, I go with pre-shredded.) bag of “Mexican Blend” Cheese, $2.60. I cannot bear the standard $1.07 store-brand bag of cheddar anymore; tastes horrible. It’s not cheddar, whatever it is. Cheddarelle, perhaps. Chederesque. Anyway: for the total cost I could have bought 14 tacos at Taco Bell, plus free sauce, and clean-up would have consisted of wadding up the lard-sodden paper and putting it in the trash. But there’s the virtue of “homemade” to consider, and Gnat likes to assemble her own tacos. So. At least the leftover cheese went into a nice clean drawer, because yea, I didst clean the fridge today.

Yes, stand ye back in awe. After I finished the column I attacked the fridge. My wife bought a pear a year or so ago, and it had devolved into grotesque mush. So I had to clean the drawer and clean everything in the drawer. But! All the items in the drawer were pre-bagged in Ziplocs, so it was a matter of dumping them in the sink, hosing them down, and scoffing at the pear’s presumptions. You’ll have to get up early in the morning to defeat my food-sealant paradigm, Mr. Pear. But you can’t do one drawer; you have to do them all, plus the shelves. And you have to toss expired items, even though you know you could add a month to the expiration dates and be safe. A year, in the case of bologna. When it was done I had a sparkling fridge . . . which led to working on the freezer, the shelves, the drawers, and finally the floors, which needed mopping.

All because of a pear. See also, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

(To take a break I attacked the email stack from time to time; I’m still trying to get to all the mail for first name at last name dot com. Patience, and thanks.) After supper I tossed the dog a stick, did the Hugh Hewitt show, then went back downstairs to watch Spongebob with Gnat until Mommy came home. But Mommy was very late. So we went upstairs and played, God help me, with Amazing Amanda. I think she’ll be in the next podcast; her dialogue gets better and better. I was finally relieved around 8:30, which gave me very little time to do anything of note. So I finished the podcast, and now I’m doing this before I write the next column.

Ah, Friday.

A note on the podcast: I think I have the level issue licked. Part of the problem was the multiple settings – mike level, general computer sound level, podcast software level, the exterior speaker level. I bought a mixing board last week, the M-Audio Garageband whatever, and my enthusiasm for the device was instantly chilled when three, count them three, buttons snapped off within a minute of unpacking the device. Snapped off and broke. I took it back to the Apple store; they opened another to see if it would be a suitable exchange, and one knob came right off. Damn. Bad plastic. Speaking of which:

Gene Weingarten is a WaPo writer, and one of the funniest writers alive. Unsung outside the Beltway, it seems, but there are worse things than being celebrated and beloved in Washington alone. But he’s much more than just a Quip Master, as Lou Grant might say to Ted Baxter; he’s just a fine, fine writer. This piece should be taught in J-schools. This is Pulitizerian. Stick with it, and you’ll see what I mean.

(The speaking-of-which line refered to the fact that “Bad Plastic” would not be a bad band name, and that’s one of Dave Barry’s bits, and he pointed the larger world to this piece on his blog.)

Anyway: I have a sudden fear I used a key piece of music in a Diner before, but ah: who remembers these things. I didn’t intend for it to work like this, but I had only one objective this week: similarities in the scores of a certain film composer. I could have just played a certain piece of music everyone would have recognized, or I could have come up with a contrived reason to present it dramatically. Still working out the kinks, conceptually, but it’s feeling, and sounding, better and better for me all the time. Work in progress, etc.

New Today!
The link is here. I’m doing this in iWeb now – but don’t click the “subscribe” button yet, because I want to make sure I’m doing this right, and the subscribe button goes to the general iTunes podcast feed instead the specific file. It’s too late to worry about such details – and I have a movie to finish. Tivo, bless its heart, recorded “After Dark, My Sweet” – a tidy low-budget noir based on a novel by the matchless Jim Thompson. Watched half last night; Rachel Ward, the obligatory femme fatale, is alarmingly thin; she doesn’t do thin well. But it has Bruce Dern, about whom a Kim Carnes song should be written: He’s got Larry David Teeth.

He’s got a scrawny bod
He ain’t no Ledger, Heath
He’d never kneel to Zod
He’s got Larry David teeth
He’ll turn his wide eyes on you
When he leaves, such relief
He’s got indie cred
He’s got Larry David teeth

And his daughter
Is much hotter
For that we thank the Mater

Et cetera. Too late to think of more rhymes for “teeth,” sorry. Thanks for your patience and patronage; see you Monday.

on Monday
on Tuesday


c. 2005 j. lileks