Wife and Child were off at a Mother-Daughter retreat on Saturday, so I was on my oddy-knocky. Went to the office – pell-mel thrill-seeker that I am – and did this and that. (Made an incredible discovery in the archives, which I’ll reveal on buzz.mn next Thursday. If you know what Thursday means on buzz.mn, you’ll know what it’s about.) Ran the usual weekend errands, got stuck in the car wash for a while; no change in pulse rate, which would seem to suggest my previously crippling claustrophobia has abated. (As I have noted before, my panic attacks in the mid-80s gave me both claustrophobia and agoraphobia, which is a biatch of a combo; you want to spend your entire life in the open doorway of your apartment.) Off to the grocery store for staples.

I went to Rainbow, which is careworn and bruised, but it has two items I can’t get elsewhere, and I was out of those items. So were they, as it turned out. In the bacon department I saw a package of grey bacon. Perhaps this was a new product: Greycon. Or perhaps it was just old and sick. I handed it to a fellow stocking the adjacent cooler, and said “I don’t think this bacon is feeling well.”

“Woooh, no,” he said, and he whisked it from my hand and turned it upside down. The Shame of the Bacon would be seen by no one else. He never made eye contact and his posture said I’ve already forgotten you did that. In fact I never saw you.

I bought a different brand of bacon.

The frozen foods aisle has an entire row devoted to pizza in all its myriad forms, and as usual I spent a few minutes pretending I would end up with something other than a Geno’s. The store’s music was set on a late-60s / late-70s playlist, and once again it made me wish they’d bring back that happy anodyne perky bland Muzak filmmakers always use when they want to remind us that consumerism is shiny and empty. There was an old man looking at the choices, and he stood stock-still through two verses of Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is.” We all got time enough to die. Deep, man. I suppose the song was considered deep by some, if you subscribe to the whole “question authority at every possible step of your life despite the fact that this particular authority represents centuries of accumulated wisdom.” I mean, yes, we really do know what time it is. The lyrics would work in a society that had only sundials and had not invented eyeglasses; in that case, it would be difficult to fix the exact time, but given the state of modern chronometers, the precise time is easily obtained. But the singer isn’t interested in this; he wants to make a grand philosophical point, which concludes with we all have time enough to cry, or die, or dye, or time enough to Bligh if you’re a ship’s captain dealing with a mutiny, or whatever.

The scenarios in each verse are always the same: someone who has a job or an appointment discovers that their watch is broken, and makes the mistake of asking the head of the Anti-Timex League if he could possibly lend a hand, only to be given a lecture on the unobtainable nature of time and the folly of seeking to fix it exactly.

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? If so, I can’t imagine why.

Oh, get a job, hippie.


I heard the damndest thing on the internet radio the other day. It was cheerful happy-happy techno, designed no doubt to make everyone put their hands in the air in a fashion that indicated they just did not care, and perhaps wave them around as the foam surged onto the dance floor. Took me a few seconds to name the tune: doo dah, doo dah. Camptown Ladies. But the voice. The voice was odd. I checked the trackname: Bugs Bunny Und Seine Techno Freunde / Doo Wah Day feat. Foghorn Leghorn.

I’m guessing this is some German techno outfit using snippets of the cartoons of their childhood. Except they were in German, of course. How does one translate Foghorn into German? Not the words, but the character. You can do the boisterous rooster bit, but you can’t rely on a rural accent to get the character across; Foghorn, after all, was based on Sen. Claghorn, a radio-show lampoon of the blustery ah-say ah-say Dixie blowhard gone Washington. The Doo-Dah (which they said was "Doo Wah") sounds like early Daffy, and the rest of it is just wrong.

Some excerpts below. It's just plain wrong.

Favorite Foghorn line: Nice boy, but as noisy as a skeleton pitchin’ a fit on a tin roof. He was always one of my favorite characters – indolent but clever when roused to action, lascivious but courtly, and secure in his place in the world. Daffy was always at odds with the world; Bugs was its master; Foghorn took it as it came, and if it came in the form of a sunny morning, well, doo-dah, doo-dah. Good day to figure out a new way to beat that dog’s arse with a plank I say a plank of wood, it is.

I hated when they paired him with that chick kid, though.

Friday (G)Nat had no school. The stated reason was the end of the semester – somehow it fell on a Thursday; no way around it. Oh, we’d love to have school, but what can one do?   I took the afternoon off and we went to Southdale to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Seems a rather odd title, now that I think of it, given that Alvin is a chipmunk himself. Should be “Alvin, Who is a Chipmunk, and Other Chipmunks,” or “A Grouping of Chipmunks Which Includes Alvin.” I steeled myself for the usual kid-movie atrocity, one of those movies that feels like someone’s throwing hammers at your head for 85 minutes – cheap CGI, loud brainless oversugared action, slapstick with heads in toilets and sledgehammers hurled into groins, ever-so-hip perishable pop culture references. Plus, I lost my enthusiasm for their Christmas song about 40 years ago. Yes, you want a hooooola hoop. I know.

Well, there’s the experience you expect, and the experience you get; having your daughter snuggled up against your arm, laughing and beaming and enjoying every single second of seeing a movie with Dad puts you in a different mood. Thus softened, I was able to shed the careworn mood of the day – and believe me, I was in the grimmest of humors before we left for the theater, for reasons that had nothing to do with Alvin. Took about ten minutes, but I began to enjoy the movie; took about 20 until I was charmed. I’m serious. It was not stupid. I read some reviews later, and most of the critics poured cold sneer over it – one even noted that the denouement raised troubling questions about breach of contract, and suggested that the hero would face legal difficulties. Good Lord. I think back to the kids’ movies of my day; if I’d seen something like this, my eyes would have melted out of my skull.

(G)Nat was beaming when we left, and she wanted to talk about it all the way home. I told her there would probably be a sequel.

Really? Another one? They’ll make another one?

Sure. That one made 200 million dollars.

That’s more money than the President has, I bet.

I love how The President is still the standard for the uppermost of the toppermost. When I got home I bought the “Witch Doctor” song from the soundtrack – it’s a hip-hoppy version that would be unbearable if you hadn’t heard it in context – and slipped it on the iPod. Played it on the way to piano.

How did you get this? She asked, eyes wide. The powers of Dad. They still have the power to surprise.

New match; see you at buzz.mn.