Hello, record traffic. Got a link from PC World and MSN the last few days, so that may explain any slowness you experienced. That car in front of you doing 21 on a 35 MPH street? Blame the link. Your sudden, frightening inability to add 302 and 598 in half a second? Blame the link. The long slow grind of the day, its inexorable march towards 5 PM feeling more like the retreat of Napoleon’s Army than the usual  Thursday afternoon canter: blame me. My slowness was global. I am still hearing reports of sluggish second-hands in clocks in Rangoon. The effect should dissipate by noon.

Why I love my job: I was writing about this new city proposal to change the rules for getting ornamental lighting, and was struck by how little I had to say about it. This should never stop one from forging ahead, of course, but still. Really. Nothing. Then I thought I’d see how many different styles of municipal light fixtures I could find in a ten-block radius. Got in the Element, drove around, shot the pictures with my iPhone, drove back, uploaded, resized, wrote the captions, put them up. I still had nothing to say, but I had five pictures, and given the value expressed in the old maxim, that put the day’s word count over 7000. I mention this only because I ahv less to say about today than I had to say about lights. Also to note that the iPhone is becoming my default camera.

I love the thing, but I’m mad at Apple. Mad in the way you’re mad at a distant authority figure who finally passed a law that affects you with annoying specificity. It’s the ringtones. I don’t care about using any songs for a ringtone.  I don’t like phones that erupt with some burbly-beep MIDI version of a lousy pop song; I’ve never wanted my phone to contain even a nanodram of Fergie’s My Humps. I don’t even want my contact list to contain people who bought that record. So I’m indifferent to the ringtone feature now available on the iPhone, and I’m also indifferent to the WiFi iTunes feature. It’s nifty, but I have no need for it. The very idea of sitting around a Starbucks with a nice mug of coffee, no laptop before me, idling browsing online music – it’s absurd. Maybe in 20 years, and then I will have a home holodeck that allows me to create my own coffeeshop and fill it with people I want, and I assume I’ll be able to use the home network to get music. If there’s still such a thing as music. Could be a plague that wipes it all out. Imagine that: imagine a disease that ruined our ability to understand music and comprehend melody. Aural dyslexia. How shabby the world would seem.

Of course, sometimes at stoplights when the guy in the next car has cranked up the crunk to 12, it seems as if the plague has already taken root.

Anyway. I don’t need those features, although I’d like to have them handy if the opportunity arose. But I can’t, because that means I’d have to upgrade, and if I upgrade I lose my custom ringtones.  I know Apple’s devil-deal with the labels means they have to block out non-standard ringtones, because I could have taken a snippet of Beatles music and used it for an alert, which would cost the Beatles legitimate earnings. Too many people make ringtones from the Beatles albums they’ve purchased, you’ll see Ringo on a streetcorner with a cardboard sign, bent over with rickets.

Minor digression: I’ve always loved Dorsey’s “Boogie Woogie,” one of those songs that’s just right in so many ways. Jazz ignoramus that I am, I had no idea that they lifted it bodily from a fellow called Pinetop Smith, whose version reached #244 on the charts in 1929. I quote from Wikipedia:

Pinetop was the first ever to direct "the girl with the red dress on" to "not move a peg" until told to "shake that thing" and "mess around".

He was 24 when he cut this; he was shot dead the next year.

Does this sound familiar?

Do I prefer the original? No. The Dorsey version is a bit denatured, but it’s much more sophisticated. Dorsey had a big hit with the tune – but when it came time to record it for the cameras, there seems to have been a bit of a rights issue. Even then, those things mattered. And so they came up with Woogie Boogie, which is the same piece  fractured and reassembled, with none of the charm or perfection of the original. Fascinating, he said, cocking a Spock Brow:

Anyway. Apple’s updates wipe out the custom ringtones I’ve installed with iToner. There’s not much of a rights issue, since I created them. I would rather have a small piece of personal customization on my phone than access to the great Music Library in the Cloud. And so I don’t update until iToner fixes what Apple broke. Or breaks what Apple fixes.

I have no sympathy for the people who hacked the heck out of their phone and got it bricked with an update; so it goes. And I suppose I have little sympathy for myself, inasmuch as the essence of what I’m trying to do contravenes the business model for iTunes, and the software that lets me upload my own ringtones could be used – gasp – to upload ringtones people culled from songs they bought without paying the specified fee. They can still go to hell.

Some site notes: I can’t respond to Bleat-related posts on buzz.mn, since an Iron Wall must be maintained, but I read them. Thanks for the Firefox trick on mass-selecting spam for delete; I’m trying to get it to work. As for the photo of the druggist on yesterday’s Noir Bleat – the answer’s in the sound file at the bottom of the page.

Additional notes: as a proud XM radio member, I am tickled to the pith to be appearing on PajamasMedia’s XM Radio POTUS channel show. I’ll be contributing three minutes a week. I wondered what to use for a theme song, and decided on “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” The version used charted at number 6 in 1918; it’s by Irving Kaufman and the Columbia Quartet.

Here’s a Diner! It didn’t take long to do, because alas I’m really banging these things out as quickly as possible these days. As much as I love to do them, the time allotted is small. I should get back to stories and a new arc next week. I have no idea where this one came from. Actually, I do; I was walking around singing “Say Sorry Again” by Neil Innes all day because it rolled up on iTunes, and worked backwards from the title. I still had no idea where it would end, though. Twenty-eight minutes. iTunes site here - - subscribe and you'll get it automatically; MP3 here.

On the phone the other day my dad told me to slow down a bit and work less. This from a guy who actually works. Who gets up at 3 AM to feed fuel to trains. In the winter. I think he overestimates my busyness; I’ve always been good at seeming busy. But it has been a jam-packed week. It’s taken me four nights to watch 52 minutes of “The Satan Bug,” a 60s thriller I watched as a kid and recall as a true bejeezus-remover. It’s pretty good so far – an early version of “The Andromeda Strain,” in a way. Less than ten years separated the two, but the differences in technology are remarkable. There are computers in one. There aren’t any in the other. Ten years.

AH CRAP. Forgot I have a piece due tomorrow for MPLS / ST. PAUL magazine. Be right back.

LATER There. Done. And now I apologize for a big heaping plate of FAIL, as they say on Fark. It’s not the lack of screedable topics; it’s the lack of time, as well as the sense that I’m sounding like a ditto machine. Add to all the site work and the buzz.mn job the duties of parenting – I’m still the one who gets her from the bus or picks her up from school, hovers over the homework and the reading assignment, helps her with piano, plays UNO, goofs around. Here’s the thing: I’m doing two things at once from 8:20 AM to 11:30 PM. Mininum. Sometimes in a burst of hope I’ll promise something and I won’t deliver. I apologize, and hope the aggregate effect of the weekly contributions makes up for it.

Hey, postcard show this weekend. And a buzz.mn video about it on Monday.

Promise! See you at buzz.mn.