I don’t watch many Westerns, so there’s really no reason for this: at the end of a five-minute nap yesterday, I dreamed I was in a saloon when a fellow stood up, fired a pistol into the ceiling, and announced “Mah name’s ZEBULON ALABAMA!” Whereupon I woke up.

I’ve always thought that was a crackerjack name, Zebulon. Works for a burly bearded wild-eyed leader of a charismatic 19th century religious leader, OR a planet from which these strange metal-skinnned aliens have come, perhaps to help, perhaps to enslave.

Oak Island Water Feature update:

It’s not a heartening sign when the workmen knock on the door and ask to borrow a Phillips screwdriver. You’d think they’d have one. Nothing they do requires one, as far as I can tell, but if I were in the business I’d carry around a tool case filled with many things I might possibly need. If I hadn’t been home, what would they have done? Hello, this screw is different; appears to be modeled on the icing pattern of a hot cross bun. Damndest thing, this. Have to call the boss and see what to do. Take five, everyone.

Later G. Burly called to inform me that the tank, so recently relined with such high hopes and such thick rubber, had sprung a leak, so they’d have to remove all the stone facing and have another go at it. Given that the replacement of the liner was their response to the generally recognized failure of the great Patching Offensive of the Spring of 06, I wonder whether this will, in fact, be the final detail that leads to success.

I can’t quite explain why, but I don’t think so.

At the office. There is an empty spiderweb on the other side of the glass. It’s holding its own against the wind; the engineering is quite remarkable, although of course I don’t credit Mr. Spider himself with his efficient design. The web is absolutely covered with flies. There’s at least one hundred small winged bugs stuck to this thing – but no spider to eat them. Either the spider was eaten or fell or wandered off, and this gigantic meal goes uneaten.

Upon further inspection, there are several large webs across this window, each equally bedecked with the dead, each unattended. If it rains tonight, they’ll all wash away. The amount of useless effort and pointless death in the insect kingdom is really quite extraordinary. But that’s why they have lots of spares, I suppose. Still, insects are pathetic. They’re nothing but job descriptions.

Listening to the  “Da Vinci Code” soundtrack, which has its moments. It’s by Hans Zimmer, your go-to guy for ominous thrumming tortured-hero music. He uses the same rhythmic  modules he used in the “Batman” soundtrack, and that’s a good thing, although if you can’t tell if the music is meant for the Son of God or a guilt-drenched billionaire in a rubber suit, you might want to fine tune your modalities . . . ah, there’s the religious element. Choirs. It sounds absolutely agonized, though; it’s like one long musical apology for the Shocking Truth the heroes are uncovering.  Sorry about this, Jesus. At least it’s not Enigma. You remember Enigma: moody Euro soft-corn porn soundtracks with sampled Gregorian chants, punctuated by a breathy chanteuse asking questions of the Marquis De Sade. In French, naturellement. “Etes vous . . . diabolique?” Prolly so, yeah; if the coprophilia wasn’t a strong enough hint, let me tie you down and prick you with peacock quills dipped in the blood of infants. I think they got sixteen albums out of that idea.

This gives me an idea for the Diner. Hold on. Working . . . working . . . OH YES. This will be fun, and since it’ll be appearing in June, I can use the new allotment of bandwidth until I find the new host.

Okay, I’m done. More later.

LATER We had the springtime piano recital tonight. Everyone did fine. Must have been 35 kids and all the relatives; more video cameras present than a presidential news conference. We had promised Gnat a trip to Dairy Queen afterwards, which made her day complete: earlier she’d had her birthday party at school (as a summertime birthday kid, she got to have a fake party today. But as long as there are cookies, all parties are genuine) so this was shaping up as the Best Day Ever. There’s simply nothing to describe the merriment and all-out hug-the-world joy you feel when you’re done with your recital piece, and ice cream awaits. And it’s spring! And it’s warm! And your friend from piano class is coming with! And you’re going to have a playdate next week! And you’re going to have sprinkles! SPRINKLES! If I die next week, put sprinkles on my coffin; it’ll soften the blow. Sprinkles make anything better. They’re tasteless, waxy, nothing but pointless sugar, but they’re SPRINKLES! I look for sprinkles in my own daily life, actually. That leather gear-shift knob option at the dealership: sprinkles. A new icon set to replace system defaults: sprinkles. 

Her performance was less than I expected, frankly; she practiced this piece daily, had it down cold, and actually invested a certain amount of Feeling into it. She could play it at a brisk tempo with actual dynamics, and did so five times a day on her own initiative. Tonight she chose a Volga-Boatman tempo, and fumbled the last few bars. So what’s my response? Great job, so proud! No. That could have been better. No. I tried this:

How did you think you did? I said, conversationally.

Well okay but I made a mistake at the end. She made a little face to indicate that this wasn’t great, but also was not the end of the world.   That’s about right. I told her I was proud of her and she’d certainly earned her ice cream.

With sprinkles?


We met the Mom and Piano Friend ata Dairy Queen designed by the guy who lives across the street – he’s a DQ architect, what a fine job – and talked. About the kids, of course. That was my day. That, plus filing three columns and putting together the King Features Syndicate update, and standing upstairs at the window watching the workmen, realizing that they had asked for the Phillips screwdriver because they had just discovered the latest leak, and wanted to disarm me of sharp pointy objects before they told me.

Tomorrow I insist they refer to me as Zebulon Dakota, and we’ll see how fast this damn thing gets fixed.


  c. j. lileks 2006. Email may be sent to first name at last name dot com, frantic one!