I’m in the gazebo, listening to the water flow over the stones. I’ll have to drain it soon; I don’t remember if I had the Oak Island Water Feature running into November last year, but it’s a sad day when I turn it off and shut down the backyard lights. You cast your mind ahead to the day when the water runs again, and wonder what will happen between now and then.

More of the same, probably.

And that’s fine. Life is good, the daily pangs and botherations notwithstanding. Or, more accurately, included; they're required to make sense of everything and grant us perspective. He said, creating a flimsy philosophical scaffolding that lets us stucco over the random cracks decreed by Dame Chaos. Today was good; if it wasn’t, I was too busy to notice. I remembered that I had not actually finished the Halloween Diner, so I spent two hours tonight completing the thing. That’s far more time than I usually spend, but this one, as you’ll hear, involved a great deal of sound effects and carefully-timed noises. Took a huge chunk of the day, but it was a welcome respite from everything else. Now it’s late and I have to write buzz.mn, and figure out what my Halloween movie will be about. Besides Halloween.

Did I mention I have a book coming out? I do. Several other sites graciously linked to the pre-order, so I might as well get out in front and get a little Amazon gelt for myself. It’s the sequel to the Gallery of Regrettable Food, more or less, but better. I usually don’t like anything I do, and regard the publication of a book with mild silent horror, but I do like this one. Order now for Christmas!



That was an interesting experiment. That Bleatchat thing, I mean. I thought it would thread; I thought everyone’s comments would roll along in a nice ongoing commentary. I was unaware that each comment spawned its own message box in a browser window. At one point today I had 37 open windows with blinking menu bars. But I read them all, and I thank everyone for the kind words; it was a pleasure. To answer some common questions:

Will the Screeds ever come back? Yes and no. As I may have noted elsewhere, I am Deeply Conflicted, because as much as I enjoy a good spleen-venting, it’s all been said. Over and over. As much as I would have hoped otherwise, some of the more egregiously reasoned windmills have been reinforced with titanium in the last few years, and riding at them on a spindly nag, jousting away, doesn’t always seem to be the best application of my time. If something cheeses me off, the cheese will be addressed here.

This, for example, makes my head combust: corn is the new villain. Corn. Maize! It's the new tobacco. Squanto's Revenge! Demon Corn will be the new food meme, and work its way into the cautious sensbilities of the Interminably Concerned, all because of one lauded doc that detassels the myths and exposes the way Big Corn has persuaded everyone who glug nine gallons of sweetened soda per day. Gah. GAAAH. I can't take it anymore. I try to get (G)Nat to eat corn; it's one of the vegetables I was told was good for you, even though experience with diapers years ago taught me that it has a strange incorruptable carnuba-wax shell that allows it safe passage through the corrosive halls of the digestive system. But I love corn. I love corn with butter. I love corn with salt. I loved popped corn. I love Corn Puffs. I love corn-fed beef. I loved corned beef. Friends, Romans, Countrymen: lend me an ear.

I'll gladly give up ethanol, if they're concerned about corn subsidies.

No? Huh. Imagine.

I don't consume a lot of high-fructose corn syrup; no one in this house does. Why? Because I don't buy it. I don't buy many products that have it. Delta Corn Force doesn't break into the house in the middle of the night and force everyone to consume corn syrup at gunpoint. Look: I'm opposed to farm subsidies. It's pork. Corn-fed pork. But there's something else at work here, and it's the same old tut-tut gullet-nannies who can't bear the fact that you can get a meal at McDonald's for two bucks, and you like it. STOP LIKING WHAT YOU LIKE. People are choosing the wrong food, for some strange peculiar reason. We have to make them stop doing that.

The article notes that the farm bill will now be used to "improve what people eat," presumably more fruits and vegetables. Because those are so very hard to come by in this country. I go to the grocery store and head for the fruits and vegetable departments, and angry butchers block my way every time. From the article:

The health reformers say they have only just begun.

"We are exactly where we were with tobacco in the 1970s," said Barnard.

These people will be happy when everyone is squatting in a peat hut in hemp loincloths gnawing on raw broccoli. You'll be allowed to have an ear of corn, but only if a malarial mosquito gets in the hut. Then you beat with the corn. The organic way.

Sorry to rant, but jeez. CORN. It never ends. It never, ever will end.

Anyway. I also agreed today to add my ditherings to one of my favorite websites; as much as I’d love to contribute to their multi-braniac group blog, I have a day job. So I’ll be writing a weekly column on pop culture, and chiming in on the blog in my off hours. Full details when I start it up, because I suppose it’s (coff) Not Really Official. If you know what I mean there.

Will Joe Ohio ever return? Someday, yes.

What’s this Bunco thing your wife does? It’s a hen party. They meet at different houses, roll the bones, eat, enjoy cold libations. It is the absolute antithesis of poker. In poker men sit in silence, studying their cards and the other players; in Bunco everyone is talking, and no one is paying attention to the game. You could film six men playing poker, and sixteen women playing Bunco, and you would learn everything you need to know about the difference between the sexes and the nature of each. By our games do we know ourselves.

Did you know that the “Wicker Man” was based on an earlier movie/  book? Yes. I should mention these things, I know. I never saw the original, simply because of the name; I always associated Wicker with furniture that poked you in the shins. It’s like a chair made out of wood and hypodermic needles. I hear the original is good; the remake is wretched, even though I like Nicolas Cage. The only saving grace will be a moment of obscure satisfaction for old fans of “Absolutely Fabulous” – you recall the loud California bliss-broad who married Eddy’s wee ex-husband? Not the one with the gammy leg, the other one. Marshall. She’s in “Wicker Man,” and she’s just as irritating. But in “Wicker Man” she gets cold-cocked, and it’s very gratifying.

To anticipate a question: AbFab? Sure. The first few seasons were amusing, in an early mid-90s way. Put that show next to the X-Files, and you have 90s culture summed up quite nicely.

Did you get the “X” I sent you? Yes! Thanks! The only reason I haven’t thanked you yet is because I am a graceless toad with the social skills of a . . . graceless toad, and I fully intend to send everyone a vintage promotional postcard from my 1997 radio talk-show incarnation. It’s a collectible, I’m sure. It’s coming. I have boxes of stuff in my studio, and I’m working my way through everything. It’s all part of the general behind-the-scenes consolidation of half the site into the Institute of Official Cheer. The new version of that site debuts this week; you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s a link to (my page) (a YouTube video) (something I found). Rest assured I hit every one of ‘em today.   

It's a busy night, so I'll have to let you go. Some nights it's a rush to get everything done by 12:30 AM, and this is one of them. Enjoy a vintage silly comic, chat away into the box below, and I'll see you tomorrow. Warning: I usually can't answer questions right away, often because it takes some time to figure out which font I used or what music I employed. I'm just making this thing up, you know: it's a furnace, and every day I throw in some wood. Birch or larch or elm or fir, I often can't say. As long as there's smoke.