I’d say “you’ll have to forgive me” but you are under no obligation to do so, and even if you were, I wouldn’t presume to spend a jot of the limited quantity of absolution we reserve for strangers on so trivial a matter as a shortened blog post. But you’ll have to forgive me. Why?

1. It’s been one of those days where the words simply don’t come. They’re not entirely rare, and that never stops me from blabbing about something or other, but I’ve had lock-fingers since I got up. Around noon I realized that I had nothing of note to post on buzz.mn, since there was a drought of news off which I could bounce or posture, so I decided to shoot a video. But what? What issues could I tear wide open with the grainy little camera? Ah: the Mystery of the White Drums. I’d seen one appear in the triangle of the bottom of the hill; they’re a sure sign of imminent winter. Once you realize they’re out, you see them everywhere. So I drove around for 45 minutes and shot footage of white drums, slapped on a narration, and put it up. It's still there. (Scroll down a tad.) A two-minute blog video of limited quantity is better than a thick boring 400 word blog post, anyway. I didn’t have one on Wednesday, and I don’t want a week to go by without one.

Can’t wait until the redesign; can’t wait until we get bigger video with better quality. I’ll still be doing them myself, though, which has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s harder to do interviews and public shootings when you’re alone. Two people with a camera and tripod are a film crew; one guy with a camera is a pervert.

2. I spent the early part of the evening on a Diner. It has a lame rambling tepid start, and I almost quit, thinking it’s better to disappoint with nothing than disappoint with something disappointing. But it turned out better once I found a theme: Gastroanomalies-related songs. Duh.

3. (G)Nat has a play at school tomorrow, and it falls right square in the time I’m expected to post a lot. So I have to write tonight until the clock strikes one. She’s very excited about the play – it’s “The Phantom of the Grand Ole Opry,” of all things. She’s too young to hear my story of seeing the real Phantom of the Opera story, which I’m sure I’ve told here before. No? Well, it was years ago, if I told it at all, and I might as well tell it again so people can google and compare and come to the inevitable conclusion that I alter detail and make stuff up when I’m not flat-out repeating myself. When we lived in DC a relative of my wife worked for in the White House for Bush the Elder, and she got us seats to see Phantom in the President’s Box at the National Theater. We went with my wife’s grandmother, who was a fiery old Italian lady who was, at the time, plagued by bunions. (Such an old-school condition, bunions; no one knows quite what they are unless you have them, I suspect. I remembered them only from Parade magazine ads for shoe-inserts designed by the mysterious Dr. Scholl.) The President’s Box was quite impressive – a living room with a bar, every item embossed with the Presidential Seal. Why, you didn’t know what to steal first. (I took a napkin, a paper coaster, and some matches.) The seats were the best in the house, as you can imagine, and people kept looking over to see who was in the Box of Honor. I should have gone in costume. I should have put on a military uniform and a moustache and spend the evening with my hand tucked in my coat like Napoleon. For that matter I should have gone dressed as Napoleon. Why, look who’s in the box! Back from the dead! Just as short as I thought. When the play was done the actors came out for many bows, and the Phantom himself pointed up to our box and bowed low. Since they never knew who might be in the box, this made sense, but it had the effect of making every head in the house turn our way. I should have stood and said “Greetings from Bunionistan.” On the way out I noticed a statue of a Greek spear-thrower, buck naked; he was a gift from the Greeks, and was positioned so his stony glutes faced whoever left the box. The Old World’s way of saluting the art of the New, perhaps.

There, that’s the story, oft told, with no new details. I think I’m safe.

A few Gastro outtakes to pad out the Bleat. First, a 1920s ad for Knox. Nothing says delicious quivery dessert like acidulated gelatine:

Forty years later, all appeals to history had been abandoned. We lived in the ever-present, ever-swingin’, ever-lovin’ now, baby! It’s a great time to be alive, unless you’re FAT, YOU HOG. Metrecal was a weight-loss beverage in the sixties, and as you see here it came in five mostly indistinguishable flavors. One suspects the difference rested entirely in the amount of industrial thickener added to the product.

There you have it: rote, tossed-off drivel. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week anyway; enjoy this Diner with my compliments. The MP3 is here, and the iTunes version is here, for some reason. Oh, right - I   I like it when you subscribe. That’s the ticket.

Also, ahem, there’s a book I wrote. Retro food galore! Thanks for your patronage, and I’ll see you at buzz.mn all weekend, and here the first thing Monday morn.