Okay, it could be his son, back from the war

The peculiar thing about a bird hitting your window is that it sounds exactly like a bird hitting a window. It’s just the right muffled thump  you get when something soft and light-weight is hurled at great speed at a thin wall. The bird promptly picked himself up and flew away again, which I had to admire; I walked into the door myself when we first moved in, since I wasn’t used to all-glass doors, and I was gobbleheaded for a ten seconds. (I wonder if the bird saw little people circling his head.) As I watched him hop away, I noticed another bird on the bricks  . . . and another, and another: nine birds on the bricks, feasting on something. Ah: bugs. It’s slow-moving bug season, and the world is their buffet. Then I noted a squirrel outside the door, clinging to the stucco, perpendicular to the ground. When I went outside he climbed up the side of the house, cut left, and leaped to the outcropping  that holds the chimney flue. I’d never seen a squirrel walk right up a wall before. Apparently if you got bitten by a radioactive squirrel, you’d get powers, too. And you’d always outrun your arch foe, Dog-Man.

Today a chipmunk walked past Jasper. The chipmunk’s cheeks were full to bursting. Jasper sniffed, watched with interest, but did not pursue. Interesting. Squirrels he’ll chase; squirrels somehow represent a threat and a personal affront. He treed a cat the other day, too: old boy’s still got it. Chipmunks, however, aren’t worth the candle. Maybe there’s some instinct that keeps him from pursuing something that has its mouth full. Could be poison! Could be carrots. Same thing.

Do do doo, lookin’ out my back door . . . my dad liked that song. It was done by hippies, yes, but they mentioned Buck Owens.

Ordinary day. No, scratch that; inordinately warm for the season. We’re getting September in October, and no one’s complaining. I finished the morning work, realized I had some time, and did a Diner. Last week’s episode fell at the end of the fortnightly bandwidth throttling, so I might as well put up something this week. It’ll be up Friday. I did not play with the Xbox, because it hasn’t arrived yet. What? Yes, I bought an Xbox. I need to play more. Games are just getting too cool. Take a look at this, for example. They’ve perfected crowds.  While I’m not crazy about playing a guy who stabs Crusaders, the game design looks impressive, and I like the idea that you can go anywhere and climb anything. Not like the old days of Doom, in which you were a huge and powerful Marine who nevertheless could not jump up on a ledge two feet above the ground. Of course, in “Call of Duty 2” I learned that grenades cannot disturb a pile of wooden boxes if they are not intended to be disturbed.


I know you get sick of hearing it, but I don’t get sick of saying it: I’m in the gazebo. It’s ten PM, and I’m in shirt sleeves. Light rain, too.

Picked up Gnat from the bus; she wanted her friend to come over, so over she came. Brief nap after she left – I saw a horse’s head before I fell asleep, and the moment I saw it I knew I was asleep. Odd. But not really. Woke; off to church choir. I read the (okay, now the wind’s picking up; better go inside) Klemperer diary, as usual. I have come to associate the Tuesday pizza party in the church basement with the trials of a Jewish man in Nazi Germany

Spent the evening working on the Fargo site – a mere seven pages, but it’s interesting stuff with a cool link at the end. It’s one of those homebrew historical pages for a tiny plains city, the sort of place you’d scream to leave if you were a teen. (I imagine they had a pretty good enlistment record in WW2.) Some of the photos astonish me, not because they show great thrusting buildings leaping into the sky, but because they show a mere two-story schoolhouse in 1914. The town hugs the Canadian border; you really had to work to get up there, but once it was settled people imported all the signs of civilization, and the schoolhouse looks like an embassy for the World Beyond, a lighthouse for the prairie. Granted, they probably taught phrenology and eugenics in the early days, but still.

Wrote two pieces today, in addition to this – which isn’t a piece, just automatic typing – and the Fargo site and the Diner show, which isn’t written at all. You can’t write stuff like that! It has to flow, naturally, like honey from . . . a honey container that tipped over, or a large bladder filled with honey inadvertently pierced en route to shipment to the king. Anyway, I got a lot done. I love waking early now. Love it. My wife had a late meeting today and gave me the option of grabbing an extra ration of Sknxxs (those are “z’s” in Dagwood lingo) but I declined; daylight’s burnin’, woman. The Newhouse column was easy, but I had to compress into 700 words my opinions on the Foley case. Or rather expand; it boils down to “what a creep,” which leaves 697 words.

Of course, there’s more to add beyond the creepiness. I don’t know about you, but I have an instant aversion to anyone trying to make a general political point about this. I know they’re there, but it’s just an instant turn-off, as the Playmates say. The point I tried to make in the column was the general uselessness of extracting evidence that undermines your opponent’s ideology from situations such as this. The charge of “hypocrisy” is usually leveled, but that sin, for all its juiciness, is overrated. I expect groups of people will uphold a principle in general but fail to uphold it in specific examples; the latter does not argue against the former, and certainly doesn’t call the truth of the general principle into question. If one pervy goat talks up Family Values one day and regards the page-pool as diddle-fodder the next, it doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as “Family Values.”  (Whatever that means.)

Anyway. I’m tired of the subject, and it gives me an unnerving recollection of the Gary Condit story. That was the lead story on the cable news on September 10, 2001, if I remember.

Now to the nightly ration of TV – thanks for the visit, as ever, and I’ll see you tomorrow. New Quirk and Fargo, as noted. Oh: tonight Gnat was playing a board game with Mommy; it concerned the states. She noted that Daddy was from North Dakota, which was different than the state where she was born and Mommy came from too, but "at least he speaks the same language."

Tomorrow, I think, I'll speak nothing but Italian.

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c. 2006 j. lileks. Email, if you wish, may be sent to "first name at last name dot com."