As I mentioned yesterday, the International Man of Mystery, or “Double-M” as we call him, had a request. A small favor. Having accepted the gift of shaving cream, I couldn’t say no, and to be honest I am happy to oblige. Full disclosure:

Double-M has been working on a uber-cool internet project, and  I’ve been privileged to see from its near inception. He approached me during the Time of Troubles in the Spring of 07, when my bucket was in danger of being taken away for good, and offered me the chance to participate in the project. It’s  a concept that will come as a welcome idea to anyone who enjoys standing open-mouthed before the gushing hydrant of the internet, but occasionally wishes for a tall cool drink, or several, prepared by expert mixologists, and delivered to your table. Or desk. Or office. Or easy chair. Or laptop.

If all goes well, I hope to write for this project, and write a lot. Videos and Diner broadcasts as well – daily Diners, for that matter.  Think "Diner Radio" running all day with music and old radio shows, with your host chipping in from time to time, live. The return of Joe Ohio. Serialization of the next novel, “Panic 13.” And that's just one channel - I’d just be one voice among many -  Double-M has lined up some fine talent, including one of the most brilliant essayists on the web.

It’s called the Qor.  No, it’s not Salon for Klingons.  Qor as in Core principles, or core audience, or core sample, or however you want to imagine it.

The QOR logo


You can look at a beta version here (or click on the logo)– trust me, the site will look different in the final version; part of my job will be GUI consultant. For now, we’re looking to gauge interest, to demonstrate to the investors that you’d be willing to toss a quarter or three to get premium content.


Which brings us to the survey. A few simple questions. Note: don’t worry that the Bleat will disappear if this project takes off. The Bleat isn’t going anywhere. Well, that’s not entirely true – frankly, everything is about six inches from being blown up and reassembled in new & interesting forms, distributed across this site,, and, I hope, the Qor. I will always give you lots of free stuff every morning, every day. But as with the books, some of the stuff will cost a little. I wouldn’t ask you to chip in if I didn’t think it was worth it – and again, I’m just one guy in a big stable.

Here’s the survey. Take it. Five simple questions. And thanks!

I am on the edge of my seat. Because the gazebo no longer exists, the chair cushions get soaked when it rains. Hours they look dry, and they feel dry, but deep within the foam there is water, and it soaks your pants. By “yours” I mean “mine,” of course. So I am on the edge of my seat.

And you’re not. I understand; I’m more than bored with myself at the moment, and having spent the day blogging, twittering and writing a column – another of which must be penned tonight – I am hard-pressed to find anything to say. I have spent the day typing and am loathe to write anymore. So let’s have fun quoting from Amity Shlaes’ book on the Great Depression, “The Forgotten Man.”


“One morning, FDR told his group he was thinking of raising the gold price by twenty-one cents. Why that figure? His entourage asked. ‘It’s a lucky number,’ Roosevelt said, ‘because it’s three times seven.’ As Morgenthau later wrote, ‘If anyone knew how we really set the gold price through a combination of lucky numbers, etc., I think they would be frightened.”

Yes, bold, persistent experimentation, indeed. Same thing applies today - it’s not the problems I fear some times, it’s the solutions. It’s a fascinating book, and a reminder that the Great Depression was not caused by speculators doing the Charleston on a flagpole, and it was not cured by the steely-eyed resolve of brilliant government economists who beat back Old Man Contraction with a series of acronyms.


Say there, is that eight billion barrels of oil in your pocket, or are you just glad to see the resultant effect on prices? Two-point-six million acres in Alaska opened up for oil exploration, and it could be producing by 2010. As in “less than two years from now.” Granted, that’s because we have the infrastructure in place up there, but this goes counter to everything I heard from the clipboard people outside the grocery store – we have no more oil, it’ll take too long to get it, and it won’t make a difference. We do have oil. We can get to it soon. It will make a difference.

Over the years I’ve said a few unkind things about the UN and the general feck-deficient quality of its soldiers, and the suspicion that many elements in that august and worthy body may not have the interests of democracy and the West at heart, but when they show respect for the fallen, I think it deserves a mention. (via LGF.) (Note the title on the page: wha?)

Well, let’s scan a bunch of stuff and put that up, eh? Bully! Let’s see what’s in the stack – the tottering stack of shame. Oh, I’m working through it all; it’s slow-going, and some thank-yous are stacked and ready to mail, but at least the Karma Restoration Process is underway. From a Carnation recipe book, a look at how Vampires might deal with canned blood:

Why use the lid? She could use her fingernails. The bottom of the page has an ad for a radio show from another era:

Several eras, in fact. The show ran from 1939 to 1955, which is akin to three different cultural iterations. Carnation sponsored the last year, which puts this book around ’54.

I'm listening to the new Batman soundtrack. It’s a long way from the campy tripe of the TV show, but the latest Batman is not the sort of fellow inclined to do the Batusi.

For gentlemen of my generation, it did come as a shock to learn that the Batman TV show was actually a joke. We took it seriously. It is impossible to be a nine year old boy and not moved to your core by this:


I mean, he was one of us, in a way:


I wasn’t very good at models – could never get the glue right. It always leaked out and it got on my fingers, which meant you had to stop what you were doing until you got it off – or you’d have smooth fingertips, which felt odd, the tactile equivalent of looking in a mirror and seeing nothing. I could never get the decals right, either. But I knew enough to know that these snap-together kits were not models. They were for people like me who wanted to think they could put together models, and I had my pride.

How I managed to make model rockets that didn’t tip over and shoot directly into my eyesockets, I’ll never know.



Oh, the soundtrack? Well, it’s rather dark and intense, you might be surprised to learn. Seems a bit more complex and interesting than the previous one, which I liked a great deal. Mahler or Beethoven it wasn’t, but between the drums and the crushing BAAAAT-MAAAAAN chords, it did the job.


You know, these chords. This is straight Zimmer, sounds like a dozen other Zimmer soundtracks, but it works; could be “Gladiator,” for that matter – until the chords. BAAAAT MAAAAN.  (These are all very short clips, and I apologize for making you click the X when it's done, so it doesn't repeat. I'm saving bandwidth by hosting the clips at


Here’s the same sequence in the new soundtrack. The ante, she be upped a few chips; the difference is subtle, which is to say subjective depending on whether you want to think the composers went back and carefully tweaked the original idea to reflect the extra-dark tone of the second movie.

It does sound like great Batman music, no? Well, how about this?

That’s from “The DaVinci Code.” Same composer. The fellow has a style, shall we say. 

Compare to Elfman: this was perfect for the time, but after the gloomy brooding majesty of those chords comes the usual Elfman hoohaw, and it’s hard not to think of Bats marching around in a majorette’s costume spinning a baton:

Make that a Bat-on. Hah!

Well, that's it for today. Except for, the twittering - join up! It's fun. All the kids are doing it. AND there's the newspaper column, which is here. This has been one of those weeks where I feel like I earned my keep. The Bleats, the buzz, two videos, columns, a matchbook, a comic cover, the Mpls section, the motels, three Lance Lawsons - I'd actually intended to do a Diner tonight, since (G)Nat is on a sleepover and my wife was at Bunco. But I sat outside and read for an hour instead. If I'd written the Sunday column and laid out a bunch of buzz posts I could have caught a noon showing of the Batman movie, which I really want to see - but I did this, and it was fun.

Worth two bits?

THE SURVEY. TAKE THE SURVEY. I'm going to bug you about this for a week until you do it now. And you know how tiresome I can be. Have a great weekend - see you at the assorted other places.