How was your weekend? I consumed media, produced some media, ate and metabolized a variety of substances, had two protracted periods of unconsciousness, and manipulated an input device on a computer. Thank you! See you tomorrow.

I suppose it was more fun while it was going on, but it does seem like that now. Woke Sunday morning with the heavy hand of Monday pressing down – felt the Sunday night deadlines approach, and I resented the hell out of it. I like what I do, but there are rotating fortnights in which the amount of Stuff required exceeds the reservoir of enthusiasm. Yes, I know: welcome to adulthood, enjoy your stay.

Friday was interesting. Windy. The back door latches poorly, so the wind kept hurling it open like a bad actor making an exit, and it pulled the screws out of the wood – but not until it had whapped the dog in the butt twice, almost hard enough to knock him off the stairs. It also did something that made me laugh, at first, and then cuss – it’s an apt symbol of this curious cool spring. All I want, really, is to sit in the gazebo with a cool clear beverage at the end of the night and type or read or listen to music. As noted a few months ago, the previous gazebo fell apart, and was replaced with a thinner model from Target. This one I wired up with lights; I taped all the cords down out of sight.

Friday morning:

(Apologies if you’re being asked to get the latest Flash – nothing I can do about that, it seems, since I have the latest Flash encoder.)

I managed to get it upright, which was no small feat – and I moved it back into place, which was equally Herculean, since the sides were bent and twisted and it couldn’t stand on its own. It was like refuting a conspiracy theory.  But I got it back into place, just in time for it to happen again. I left it there looking like a horrible dead insect, legs sticking up. Put it back later, and it’s as good as new. Except for the rips and the bent frame and the shuddery way it reacts when the wind comes up again. It’s wind shy now. Poor thing.


Saturday I went to the mall to get some new shoes, because the old ones are so tight the have given me the soles of a firewalker with Attention Deficit Disorder. I went to the Gap, where I had purchased the previous pair for $45 or so. The clerk aimed the barcode gun at the box, couldn’t get a lock, and entered the numbers manually. $14.97. 

“That can’t be right,” I said.

She shrugged.  “That’s what it says.”

“Maybe you missed a number?”

She gave me a look, and I can understand her point: you’re fighting this, why? Because I knew it had to be wrong, and it’s the principle of the thing. Adhere to a slavish sense of the Right on the small details, and you can give yourself a pass on the larger ones. Don’t you see? I’m banking this act for some future act that runs counter to what my conscience tells me! It’s cheap at twice the price!

A manager was called over; the manager said it was probably on sale.

I wanted to say “for $14.97? Does that sound like a Gap price to you? I’ve been coming here for almost two decades, and can’t remember anything ending in 97.” But I let it go. I’d tried. I’d also noted that the price could come down $35 and they’d still have enough margin for a profit.

Then I went to another store that had the same shoe in a different style – classic black and white – and paid $45. Felt like a fool for that.

Sunday I went phone shopping with the Giant Swede. He needs phones; I need phones. Like all consumer electronics the circuits pass through a small living creature with a lifespan of 23 months, and after it dies the current no longer makes the connection, and the unit is useless. In my case the phone has lost its voice, and no longer announces who’s calling. I miss her. I miss the way she mispronounced almost every Slavic name, and pronounced “Mpls” Em-pee-ellus. Unfortunately, the new phones with Talking Caller ID do not have color screens, customizable screens or customizable ringtones. Why? I don’t know. There’s no explanation. It may be that three people in the United States actually customized the screens and the ringtones, and they dropped the feature because it made people angry: don’t make think I’m missing something because I haven’t entered custom pictures to correspond with certain phone numbers. Just stop with that already.

Proof that the 70s might be returning in all their horrid power:

Seen at Target. Wood-grained plastic.

This week’s grocery store product observations: one of the reasons I appreciate Rainbow, aka Roundy’s, aside from the diverse cultural carnival every trip provides (Lunds / Byerly’s is absolute proof that every happy family is the same, and every unhappy family is unique; never knew what that meant, exactly, until I started shopping at Rainbow) is the package design of the store brands. Sometimes they try to set themselves apart, but if there’s a dominant paradigm by GOD they will climb aboard and hang on tight. So some of the products look like they should be in old TV shows where they couldn’t actual products, but clever fake ones. Here’s the steak sauce:

It’s like something from “They Live” – put on the glasses, and it says EAT MEAT AND REPRODUCE.

This is a new development: Hormel has entered the exciting world of brand extension, and moved their Chili into the shelf-stable entrée genre.

There’s Chili’n Mac, Chili ‘n Penne, and Chili’n Spuds. Those of you who wished to pick up Chili’n Anderson will have to wait for the X-Files movie.


Earlier today I was reading about the US walking out of the UN Human Rights Commission;  as you might expect, there were the usual bitter wailings. If there was a UN Commission on Adding One Plus One to Equal Two, and the United States withdrew because the chairmanship passed to North Korea, which promptly announced that Kim Jong Il had proved that one plus one equals three in Juche economics, and the US withdrew in protest, some people would complain that the US was anti-Math.

Some of the comments expressed the familiar desire to leave America for Canada. O Canada. Land of sweet reason and freedom.

You mean the place where a Human Rights Commission can haul up anyone for a show trial and cast out the rule of law and fine them for saying things that made people sad, then force them to recant their beliefs in public?

This ruling is just astonishing – a pastor has been barred for life from ever speaking his mind on a particular issue in any form – newspapers, radio, TV, the internet, semaphore signals. I doubt any halfway serious gay person would applaud it (update: proof.)  The pastor in the dock said LGBT people “perverse, self-centered and morally deprived,” which seems a rather broad net to cast, no? It’s a self-refuting statement for anyone who knows anyone who’s gay, and if it had been leveled against straights by someone from the ranty fringe of, oh, I don’t know,  Leather Bear Kluxers for Zoroaster, I wouldn’t have felt particularly wounded. You could argue with the fellow if you like, but the idea of bringing him up on charges for talking doubleplus ungood harmthink is absurd.

I know some believe that dissent has been crushed and driven to the margins in this country, but try to imagine a government agency charging Rev. Jeremiah Wright with hate speech for a sermon, and forcing him to disavow key elements of his church’s theology. It’s impossible, isn’t it? It would be different if he said those things on the radio, in which case the government agency responsible for determining Fairness would be required to enforce the airing of alternate opinions. And now, for the response to today's sermon.

It’s a messy world full of messy minds and loose tongues. Words can hurt, and we can’t have that.

It's not the only case before the Canadian HRC system, as noted; Mark Steyn and the magazione that runs his work is facing judgment from this pinhead star-chamber as well. But by all means: pop in your copy of "V For Vendetta" and pretend the dark Christian fascists will surge to power any minute now and use the surveillance infrastructure to justify limits on acceptable headgear. Any minute now. Any minute.

New Matchbook – and new video up at, featuring my twin brother. Really! See you there, and at