Stunning news! I’m out of microwave popcorn! Actually, I have more downstairs in the supply closet: a stunning revelation!

Sick of the word “stunning,” obviously. It’s in the same bag as “blazing” for computer speed, which I recall well from 1994: blazing 33ghz chip launches Photoshop in under an hour! Stunning graphics! There’s so much stunnery about we should be walking around with the expression of a cow the second after it’s been nailgunned into Bossie Valhalla.

No snow. No snow likely, either. This might explain the conclusion of the Diner 3-part Christmas story, which I finished this afternoon. As noted, it’s all a pretext for playing bad Christmas music, and that’s a genre without limits. I prefer the honest, heartfelt bad music; the parody stuff grates on my nerves. As with many things in today’s meta-mashup culture, the parodies and remixes have become the dominant voice. The originals are viewed as amusingly insincere, something recorded last summer to make a few bucks. Note the appearance of sleigh bells, which semioticists believe denote not the actual horse-harness accoutrements but the sound Western culture is accustomed to hear around the Solstice – a sound utterly divorced from its original meaning. Whatever, Umberto. So now the songs that are genuinely insincere are the new standards. That’s my gross overgeneralization, and I’m sticking to it.

That was Billy Idol in the first episode, incidentally. Which reminds me: At 4:45 I laid down for a nap, and just before I drifted off I thought I have to send those Billy Idol Holiday mp3 bumpers to Generalissmo. (He’s the producer for the Hewitt show.) I got up from my nap 15 minutes later, and wandered downstairs to make supper. I’m chopping sausage, so to speak, and listening to the Hewitt show. The bumper music: Billy Idol’s Christmas. Mr. Hewitt comes on, blames me for the music, and says they’re playing nothing but Billy Idol on the show, just for me.

I’ll say it again: it’s an odd life sometimes.

After a few more such jibes I said OKAY, OKAY, and called the show, just to let him abuse me for a segment. Gnat was in the next room, listening on the radio. She still doesn’t quite get the delay; when I enter the room and I’m still talking on the radio it makes her do a double-take.

“It’s an echo,” I explained.

“Oh! Okay.” And then we had supper. Worst spaghetti dinner ever. I’d run out of good sauce, and had to use the emergency reserve. The grocery stores run specials on my usual brands, but apparently I hadn’t been paying attention: all I had was a can of Hunt’s. Horrible. I had to empty about six containers of Mrs. Dash Italian Whatever into the pot, and even then it took much pepper to kill that flat brackish can-taste. When my wife came home I apologized before saying anything else: “Hi, hon. I’m sorry.”

And such is the good state of our marriage that she looked confused, and said “for what?”

That’s how you want to live.

Gnat’s Spanish class concluded today with the usual production: the parents are invited to see how our kids have internalized disparate arrangements of phonemes. Thirty or so adults in tiny chairs, knees around their ears, a few amused granddads and grandmas, the latter often drawn from the “when I grow old I shall wear purple” spunky-crone demographic. At one point the adults had to join a circle with the kids, and we did a Spanish version of the Hokey Pokey. (Not to belabor the point, but which part of the dance comprises the Hokey Pokey? Every action is described specifically. “You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around” – fine, but that draws a distinction between the H-P and the auto-rotation, doesn’t it?) The kids were asked to choose which body part they wanted to put in, take out and shake all around; Gnat was first, and I learned that she knows the Spanish word for Butt. The idea of making all the grown-ups shake their butts was too delicious to avoid. All I could do was embarrass her by really putting it in and out and shaking it all around. DAD! What? You made the call, kid. DAD!

Her performance was otherwise desultory, as is usual for most group events. I don’t mind. When we got outside she looked up at the sky and said “Wow: those are some interesting clouds. It’s like they’re painted on the sky.” She was right; they were interesting clouds. So we looked at them for a while before we got in the Element. Then we drove past our old house (the community center, the school, the church, the old house,  Jasperwood, the grocery store, the video store – it’s all one nice dense world) and drove up the alley to look at the room where she was a baby.

“Tell me what I was like when I was a baby.”

“You screamed and ate and slept and pooped.”

She found this very amusing, and I had to point out she didn’t do it all at once.

Tonight after supper – the horrid spaghetti failure – I did the Money section. Cambodia. Baffling lucre, as you’ll see. Then Gnat wanted to do a treasure hunt, so I drew an architectural rendering of the upper floor and taught her how to read the symbols for doors, windows, stairs, toilets (hee hee hee!) and the like. I drew an X in one room, hid something in the spot, and gave her the map to find the treasure. I spoke entirely in Pirate until she asked me not to.

“It’s a little annoying,” she said.





Then this. Oh, but there’s so much more; lots of interesting news. The local police forces have decided to stop enforcing Federal civil rights laws – specifically, antidiscrimination statutes. It’s quite remarkable. The Chief of Police noted that the laws violate private property rights, and since someone should have the right to serve whoever he likes, efforts by the Federal government to ensure racial equality represent a “broken system” that must be reformed. As if that isn’t bad enough, they also declined to assist in any attempts to arrest suspects whose “crime” might be punished with the Federally-mandated death penalty, citing again  the “broken system” of capital punishment.

Just kidding. Note how “Undocumented Immigrant” is now the preferred official term for illegal aliens.


(Note: I’m pro-immigrant. But pro-legal immigrant. High wall, wide gate, or whatever the cliché says. Yes, some of them join gangs. And if they’d come 100 years ago and joined gangs and wore smart black suits, we would all be buying boxed sets of El Padrino trilogy. This is not to discount what California is going through, but that’s a consequence of illegal uncontrolled immigration. “Undocumented immigrant” makes it sound as if American citizenship is quaint technicality, like not having your State Farm Car Insurance card when you're pulled over. And yes, my analogy is imperfect, so dissenters are free to disregard it.)

Check the Lucre icon below for Cambodia; Part Three of the Diner Christmas special is here. See you tomorrow! Oh, one last Diner note: sometimes you can tell how stupid & complex things get by looking at the tracks. Well, here's the track list leading up to the climax. The top line is the vocal track; everything else is music and f/x.

It sounds as good as it looks, too!


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