Things Men Don’t Get Immediately, But Understand After Contemplating The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: in the Larry Storch-centric episode discussed yesterday, I noticed that his horrible wife, Doxie O’Slattern, dialed the phone with her knuckles. Is this one of those things women don’t even wonder about because it’s so obvious, and guys have to contemplate for a while before the reason’s obvious? Probably one of those details that slipped out of fashion, like the skrrr-skirr-skirr of nylon-sheathed legs.

As the snow recedes, we learn many things. We learn that the Fritos bag entombed in the boulevard glacier has company in the form of a bottle of soda; apparently someone discarded an entire American between-meals snack while passing by. I suspect Youth. There are always Youth about in the afternoon, driving in their “jalopies” at ridiculous speeds through the twisty streets, six to a car, raccoon tails tied to the aerial, shouting slogans they picked up from Negro Jazz Music, shouting “Show Us Your Ankles” to decent women pushing prams. I should have a word with the authorities. We also learn that the ornamental low-voltage lights have been on since the snow fell. Apparently I never turned off the timer. Today’s high temps reduced the snow pack by half, and out of the drifts popped the lights like glass mushrooms, glowing at dark. It’s an interesting philosophical quandary: if a light shines under dark material, does anyone see it?

Well, no. There: that was easy. Much more so than that tree-in-the-forest thing. Although I do like that one; makes you wonder: does sound exists only when perceived?

Again, no; Beethoven imagined the Ninth in the prison of his deafness. If you wanted to take this its logical conclusion, someone in the International Space Station who was observing the deep forest with a high-powered telescope could note a tree falling in an unpopulated area, call up a friend, and tell him about it. The friend, having imagined a sound tied to a specific action, would indeed be hearing the tree fall. Perhaps not the tree, but a tree. Nevertheless, the act of tying a tree to a specific action would define the concept of a falling arboreal structure to an actual event. Even if your friend was deaf. Because you could imagine what he might think, if he knew the sound of a falling tree.

Also, the sound of one hand clapping is an almost inaudible “whoosh.”

Well, that’s tomorrow’s inaugural Metro column in a nutshell; hope folks like it! Newsy, hard-hitting, and provocative.

I was pleased, in that Sugar-Frosted Ego Puffs sense, to see that the return of the column was noted on Romanesko, the print media’s wailing wall, but I was immediately dismayed to see that the matter was refracted through the prism of local media watchdogs who speculated whether it would be a conservative column. On one hand, I can see their point; having written 1600+ column for the paper that weren’t political, it’s surely time I rip off the mask and let the writhing snakes hiss and spit.

Well, no, that’s not entirely fair. It seems the suspicions arose because it’s a Metro column, and some people expect these to be inherently political. Or rather opinionated. And if I’m going to have opinions, they’re going to be conservative. Whatever that means.  There are different terms and different continuums for different issues. I’m right of center on some, mostly because I believe that’s where the logic and evidence leads me, and I’m left of center on others, mostly because that’s just what I think or I find the arguments opposite to mine to be substantial and compelling, even if I can’t go whole hog and accept the idea as the final word. Is this so odd? If you can say “I know exactly where I stand, and why, and nothing I learn or experience in the next 20 years will change my mind,” well, you might want to give yourself some room to wiggle. I’m not talking about big-ticket items here, but small things that scuttle around the margins that managed to affect daily life as much as, if not more than, the big ideological themes. Anyway, as I said a long time ago, I’ll disappoint everyone eventually.

In any case, I’m so very fargin’ sick of having my particular beliefs trotted out every time I change a job. There was some speculation about whether my craaaazy beliefs (he wants a 35% top tax rate instead of a 39% rate! Unclean! Uncleeean!) would pollute when I started blogging there, but the fact that I haven’t turned it into a soapbox full of Freeper links counts less than I thought it would. You could probably extract a conservative tinge to some of my posts on New Urbanism and light rail – but honestly, if skepticism over government-funded high-density suburban boutique retail and a preference for flexible low-cost bus systems over showcase fixed-rail systems is ipso facto CONSERVATIVE, then the term means nothing.  (It may indeed indicate a contrapositive view from the orthodoxy, but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently conservative – sometimes the opposing argument to a conservative idea isn’t liberal at all, but gets defined as such because the person who holds the idea is identified as liberal. And vice versa. That’s why so much of our debate has little to do with competing ideas of how to organize society, and ends up being a debate between statists who have differing priorities about the application of state power. He said, tendentiously.)

I don’t think anyone who’s spent a substantial amount of time on this site confuses my love of the best of the past with a desire to reincarnate the bygone days. Put on the Glenn Miller, Mommy, and make the modern world stop! But if you’re tagged with the right-wing brush, people see your work in a different light. Believe me: write about the glories of tail-finned automobiles, and you’ll get letters pointing out that they coexisted with separate drinking fountains.

Not to walk away from some of my CONSERVATIVE beliefs: I’m a low-tax hands-off small-l libertarian on domestic matters, and my opinion on foreign affairs will periodically irritate the people I regard as overly enamored of the Pollyanna-kumbaya approach. I support Israel. I want more ships in the Navy. I don’t think you should be able to drop the F-bomb on AM radio.  I am suspicious that man has wrecked the climate and can repair it in 20 years by returning to mud yurts. And so on.

Argh, how dull is this? And I’d want to do this in the paper twice a week?

Let’s have an old ad. I used this illustration from the 1927 Minneapolis Auto Show. Many brands, few of which remain. A flapper to make it sexy:

Now I’m off. Have to write another column and the update for the morning. But! There should be a new Smartflix up today, so enjoy that. Also a column in the newspaper. It’s good to be back. Really: in print and on the paper’s website, AND doing videos? I couldn’t ask for more. Thanks again for your patronage and patience; have a grand weekend. See you at!

Oh: she dialed the phone with her knuckles because of her nails.