Things are good, but things are also hosed.

1. The cold has redoubled its efforts, and is trying new approaches; its attempts to conquer the nose thwarted, it’s retreated to the throat to gather strength, and phlegm. Wonderful word, phlegm. I only wish the G wasn’t silent. If ever there’s a G deserving of vocalization, it’s the G in Phlegm.

Speaking of silent letters: here's an Electric Company song from a Harvard professor.

That “twin-twine” inflection is pure Lehrer. And I wonder how much of the E-standing-on-the-cliff image came from buried memories, or perhaps outright theft homage, of Mickey in “Fantasia.” 2.

The TiVo is losing its mind. I’ve been nursing it along for a while, since it’s the only TiVo I’m going to get out of DirecTV, and I do not want to relinquish my TiVo remote. My hand is programmed to fit those buttons. My hand has known those buttons since the last century. The signs of decreptitude are plain – it turns itself on and off, looks for the satellites and cannot find them. I can hear its frustration – dammit, someone moved the satellites! They were right there and someone moved them!   

I resent it and helped it find the birds again and now it’s happy, but this won’t last.

3. The new alarm clock is the most horrible alarm clock I’ve ever had. This weekend I will get an iPod-capable alarm clock, and hang the cost; I can’t live with this. For a year I have been awakened with gradual grace by the song BONG and gentle voice of the Andromeda Strain wakeup call; this unit uses a hellish klaxon that sounds like a robot ostrich shot repeatedly in the hindquarters with a rail gun. This morning I was dreaming – really – that a supermodel in a bustier brought me a stack of waffles; the alarm went off and the last thing I remember was the waffles hitting the floor. It’s no way to start a day.

4. I can’t find the Dreamweaver original disk and the trial ran out. As a last-ditch effort (I’ll have to research the origins of that phrase; sounds as if it comes from trench warfare. Probably didn’t come from a 17th century culvert-construction supervisor noted for exhorting his men to redouble their efforts for the final ditch.) (If I do find the disk tomorrow, that will mean today’s labors were a penultimate-ditch effort. That’s a phrase I’d like to use in daily conversation, but no one would understand. “Last Ditch” they get. “Second to the final ditch” would get blank looks. You can’t untangle and remake idioms that have shed their connection to a specific act or historical event) I looked through a big bin of Cds I’d ripped and put in the garage. Oh, I didn’t just rip them, I swapped out the thick jewel boxes for thin ones so I could fit more in a crate. Damned impressive work; bless the manic cycle.

I found a system disk for various Mac operating systems – 7.0, 7.5, 8 – but no Dreamweaver. Found “Gadget,” a strange Japanese game that followed in the wake of MYST; found “Myst,” for that matter, and two sequels, which I never finished. At some point I found myself rearranging marbles for some reason, and thought: oh, to hell with this. Other game disks from previous computers: "Full Throttle," whose hero could have beat up Duke Nukem any day; "Dark Forces," the Lucas Arts response to “Doom” which I played six, seven times. This useless woolgathering produced no disk, though, so now I’m on another trial offer on the laptop. Thirty more days. It’s like a death-row reprieve. I know I won't find the disk.

It's really amusing; you should see my overall backup strategies. I have all the program disks nestled in sleeves in a leather-bound case in a slip cover with the serial numbers on the disks. I have everything. Except this. At some point I was cleaning things out, had the disk in my hand, and tossed it. I'm sure my TiVo understands.


Here's the Obama campaign response to the Che flags mentioned yesterday. It’s odd that it turned out this way, but really: distaste for Che shouldn’t be reserved for one side of the political spectrum. It's a pity that the limp word "Inappropriate" was used; a good follow-up question would ask when it's appropriate to display the flag in the context of an American political campaign.

Update on that loser with the Buggles sunglasses who was sternly commanded to take off the shades and apologize. He's got character! And fame! (via Blair, who finds the matter resonates widely.)

After 9/11 the people entrusted with establishing nomenclature for new programs fashioned custom-fitted sleeves of tin for their ears, and thus we had the Patriot Act and the “Department of Homeland Security.” The first was needlessly jingotastic, and the second had no cultural resonance; we’ve never referred to America as the Homeland. It’s a bad term for a nation founded not on soil and race but on a concept. Well, the idiocy has spread. Now we have the Patriot Corporation Act, which will officially designate certain companies as Patriotic if they follow certain rules, and accord special privileges.

If dissent is the highest form of patriotism, then companies that don’t conform to the bill’s stndards will be so damn patriotic they will bleed red white and blue and tootle “Yankee Doodle” on a fife that pops out of their butt every time the CEO passes wind.

Finally: here's that Mickey reference, explained. See what I mean about the Silent E on the cliff? (It's about 3:45 in.)


Those guys could do water better than anyone. You could regard the entire sequence as a study in animating fluids. And speaking of animated fluids: time to blow my nose. New Ad in the archive; see you at buzz.mn.