Someone gave me a fist-bump the other day. Instant flashback to the seventies, when you didn’t know if you would get a real handshake or an over-the-top que-pasa counterculture handshake. I hated those; they felt false and clumsy – but at least there was hand-clasping involved; now when you go in for a handshake, you don’t know if you’re getting a hand or a fist. It’s turned handshaking into rock-papers-scissors.

Plus, I couldn't tell if it was given ironically. Man, I hate to think we're entering another era of sarcastic handshakes.

I think it was at the Apple Store, too. I spent a lot of time at the Apple Store on Friday. Shot a video, which will be up at today at noon; it was a hoot, and the general experience was cheerful and fun. But I wasn’t standing in line for three hours, like most people; I had a Media Badge, so I could walk right in. No wonder people hate the media. Of course they hate the media. Oh, a camera crew? Doing a story on the iPhone? Good thing – got to get the word out on that one. I had no trouble activating my phone, which made my experience completely anomalous. The best part of the day? Aside from the fun of goofing around with a camera crew and scaring the bejeezers out of a young kid who was talking pictures of the big display iPhone with his Sidekick (“You can’t do that! It’s Apple’s intellectual property, and you can’t take pictures with a competing device! Run, kid!” We went back after the cameras were off and told him it was a joke and might be on the web, and he was tickled) was discovering that the iPhone came in white.

Recall last week, when I noted my white iPod had died, and they didn’t make white ones anymore. Well. This thing is not only white, it’s like a cross-media-species promotion: when I showed it to (G)Nat, she had the same reaction: it looks like EVE.

Puuuuure coincidence, that.

Loaded it up with some free aps – the radio ones are the most fun, since not only do you get radio stations from around the country, the screen shows the album art. It’s come to this: first we were excited to have album art, then we were thrilled to have album art on our iPods, and now we have album art beamed down from the cosmos somehow when we’re listening to the radio. Every little improvement makes you forget the previous miracle.

Saturday night we had a wind storm. After watching a pretty grim prison movie – more on that tomorrow – I wandered downstairs to refresh my beverage, and lo, the gazebo was upended. Again. That makes four times. This was the scene the next morning:


It’s fixed now. Fixed for good. It’ll never blow over again:

Learn from Wile E. Coyote: cut your losses Last night when I surveyed the damage I noted that four of the eight connecting struts, or “gusset plates,” had sheared off. Those of you who have experience with structural engineering will recognize the official term for the cause, which is “Cheap crap metal from China.”

I’m sitting outside typing now, and it’s like typing naked in the middle of the field.

If you’re saying to yourself “goshers, I wonder if he went to the grocery store, and has six tedious tales to tell, illustrated with blurry cellphone pics,” you’re in luck. I went twice. The first time was for a Friday night dinner party; I had a list in my wife's handwriting, and I'd made her explain every item according to exact quantities and sizes and weights and volumes. Because "two containers" of raspberries doesn't work if there are two sizes of containers.

Sunday I made a trip for household provisions. First I went to Lund’s, thinking I’d pick up some sandwiches, Lemonade and fresh-ground Italian sausage. They didn’t have any freshly-ground Italian sausage. They had stone-hard cylinders of store-branded sausage, which could be thawed out over the course of a fortnight. But nothing fresh-ground. This is Lunds, the upscale grocery store; they should have a guy named Mario eager to push a piglet through a grinder on demand, if you wish, but no. They also didn’t have the Minute Maid Light Lemonade. So I put back my cart and left. Went to Rainbow. They had fresh-ground Italian Sausage. They also had an employee who wandered up to the deli counter and said the words you really don’t want to hear anywhere in a grocery store:

“Well I got all the sh*t up from the floor then.”

The gals behind the deil counter laughed, and gave him grief, since obviously he was the one responsible for getting all the sh*it up from the floor then. He went on:

“(Expletive) toilet all backed up.”

Charming. The lady behind the deli counter noted my expression, and said “Oh he’s just talking about the back room.”

Well, that’s a relief. I continued shopping, looking for frozen things sheathed in plastic that had not been in the backroom today.

It's like a bad Spirit femme-fatale name:

Here's the problem: garlic's fine with me. Love garlic. Bring on the garlic. But what the hell makes this Irish? This could be Scottish McGarlic, or French L'Garlique, or Xhosa (click) Garlic, or anything else.

This may be the most flat-out obvious piece of, er, Label Homage I've seen yet;


Mad Men: since I’m watching the DVDs now, I assume everyone is, and since I’ve watched the second show, I can speak of it without spoiling anything. Yes, Don Draper is a Cylon. Here’s something interesting in the second episode: The Wife has numb hands, and no one quite knows why.

I may be jumping the gun here, but I know why: she has a panic disorder. She got them while having dinner and drinks with the boss; she got them while driving past the Divorcee who’d moved on the block – horrors, a sexually available woman who’d obviously done it already. My panic attacks announced themselves with numb hands. Dead but tingly. Not to many people watching this show knew exactly what she was feeling, but I suspect the writer did – or knew someone who had the same problem. People think that “panic attacks” are episodes of spastic OMG nervousness, but that’s not the case. My respect for the show jumped up a notch. Also, because they showed a kid playing with a plastic dry-cleaning bag over her head, and kids jumping around a car without seatbelts. Yet everyone lived.

This show is like the anti Happy-Days – it inhabits its era instead of giving you an airbrushed anachronistic version. I’m still waiting for the moment when it lets us know it disapproves of all this. So far, so good.

On the subject of the bygone days: one of Shorpy’s contributors is a fellow who took many Kodachromes in the 50s and 60s, and this one just made me sigh. Scroll down to the comments: someone embeds a google street-view window of the picture today. What makes it cooler? Now you can turn around and see the spot from which the photo was taken. You almost expect the ghost of the photographer to show up in the picture. That’ll be in the next version, which has ectoplasmic overlays and allows you to tag locations for the presence of the incorporeal dead.

New Matchbook. See you right now!