New York in the Forties


Can’t someone ELSE top off the Internet today? Does it always have to be me?

Just kidding. But. It is late on Thursday night, and I just finished the Diner; now comes fighting with iWeb and uploading and all that fun happy joy. This took longer than usual because Gnat was involved at the end. That was take three, in case you’re curious. Obviously she had no lyric sheet.

If that isn’t a fair warning, I don’t know what is.

Lovely day; warm. After a desultory trip to the office I went off on an expedition to gather ideas for next week’s columns. Certainly can’t find them at the newspaper building. Off I went, listening to the Ricky Gervais podcasts; seems I was wrong, in that it focused on the peculiar mind of Karl Pilkingham from the start. Very little makes me laugh out loud; this makes me laugh out loud, a lot. I must look like a fool, driving around, howling, pounding the steering wheel. Either the happiest man in the world, or the saddest; hard to tell when you pass a lunatic at 35 MPH.

I went to Walgreen’s in search of Nivea shave cream, which I prefer. Contains gossypium! (So says the label. I did a search for the substance, and came up with this site that shows creepy organic hands poking through a bolt of fabric to paw an unsuspecting model; note her shirt, which seems to be the logo for the Attention Deficit Disorder Cat’s Cradle Assemblers League.) No fragrance. Well, camomile, which doesn’t count. No one ever says ooh, you smell like soothing tea. I don’t want my shaving cream to smell like anything; who gave it the right to enter the fragrance chain, anyway? If I want to put on a dab of cologne (I do it rarely, but when I do, it’s light and “clean,” as opposed to all those weighty, filthy scents out there.) I do not want it arguing with the shaving cream aroma, which is invariably “sport” or “spice” or “cool splash” or “laundered jock” or some such locker-room scent. The other day I bought a can of Nivea, having run out, and was alarmed to find it was New Improved variety. Damn. That’s never good. I tried it, and sure enough, it had been invested with the same sort of Manly Stink you find in all other pit-sticks and beard creams. I threw it away, cursing everyone involved. But: perhaps the old stuff still remained on the shelves somewhere. So: off to Walgreen’s.

Three of them, actually. I now have 12 cans. They should last me a year, after which I’m on my own. The small comforts of civilization, stockpiled. Jasperwood is like the townhouse in “The Omega Man,” except without the moaning albino plague zombies outside throwing fireballs through the window. Well, last time I checked, anyway. Better go look.

Nope. There were some kids, but that does not qualify. I grant that “moaning albino plague zombies” is a rather specific set of attributes, and three out of four would be alarming enough, but they were 0 for 4, so I’m good.

And done. Really, I’m tapped; nothing to add. You’d think I’d learn to space these things out after nine years of daily updates – six miles of copy one day, six inches the next – but no. I could report on last night’s Firefly (the episode where they go to a fancy ball on Persephone, and the captain gets into a duel. Watching the episode, I had the feeling that the people who were already COMPLETE DIE-HARD FANS by this time were making small mental readjustments to excuse this one, because it wasn’t quite as taut and cool as the predecessors. That’s the big downside of liking something: it has its valleys as well as its peaks, and you hate to levy a C grade when you know the haters will be screaming for a D, so you call it a B- and focus on a few cool moments. I used to be like that. But now that I know the show’s done, I don’t have to worry that a less-than-enthusiastic appreciation of Every. Single. Frame will result in cancellation, lest I somehow contribute to the psychic cloud that rises from the viewers and communicates the verdict to the network execs via invisible lightning. I just enjoy it. And I enjoyed that one as much as the others. Partly for the glimpses of the culture five centuries hence – stratified, consciously aping 19th century European aristocratic values, but with hovering chandeliers.  Partly for the pulchritude. Partly for the deft fashion the Captain is bad-good and good-bad, right down to cheating in a duel and stabbing the opponent just a little bit, twice, to make a point. And of course for the ending, which was a punch line to a joke they hadn’t told. I really do love this show) but that’s of limited interest.

Other highlights of the day: did the Hewitt show; Jeb Babbin was the fill-in host, and said nice things about this site. I seemed to have a fishbone in my throat when I started talking, but other than that, it was a pleasure. My agent called; things are on track, so that’s one for the plus column, which is already occupied by the lack of moaning albino plague zombies. Really a smashing day, then.

This Diner is only 24 minutes long; sorry for that. I had to scuttle a bit that would have put it way over the 30 minute mark. The iTunes link is below; if you’ve subscribed, you’ll get it automatically, complete with embedded art. The plain MP3 version is here. Now to upload and do my evening exercises  (like my father did many years ago, I end the day with 150 pushups) (why the hell do I have to tell you fargin’ EVERYTHING? What’s wrong with me?) and watch a sliver of TV. Blessed Friday awaits. Have a great weekend; see you Monday. 


c. 2005 j. lileks. Email, if you wish, may be sent to "first name at last name dot com."