Off to shoot a video in the morn: the “CSI” exhibit at the Science Museum. Much fun; I was flat-tongued for most of it, since I hadn’t had enough sleep or coffee, and my Bogart impersonation kept turning into Sean Connery, but we came up with some improv at the end that was just a hoot. It’s Hitchcock meets David Lynch. It’s Hitchlyncian. I like the videos in which something bad happens to me, preferably painful or humiliating. What a job! What a joy.

Drove home and admired the perfect early November tableau – one side of the sky had a wall of clouds floor to ceiling, and sun came blaring in from the other side of the room.

It’s the sort of sight that seems grimly eternal and the True State of the World when you see the trees all scratchy and nagoy in the winter, but it’s new for now. Most of the leaves are gone. The big trees on the boulevard are dumping their stock as fast as possible. Two weeks of chilly rain, then snow.

It was flu shot day, much to my daughter’s chagrin. I’d tried to prepare her with the usual useless reassurances – it won’t hurt, the dread is worse than the thing, you can pick out a small toy afterwards, I’m having one too, you might grow a third arm but it would fall off eventually, and so on. I mad a mistake by telling her of the Dreaded Event in advance, I suppose – but my Mom always sprung doctor’s visits on me, and this kept me in a state of perpetual anticipation for months.

On the way to Target – that’s where we got the shots, if only to see if we were offered ten percent off if we signed up for a credit card. I kept the mood light with stories of Shots of My Youth, which were much pokier. I swear they used steel-dipped drinking straws. I told her about the day my Grandma slammed my hand in a car door – I remember staring in shock at a mangled bloody claw, which can’t be right – and how I was given a toy to ease the pain: a toy car, with doors that opened and shut. Kept her laughing, but I could tell that the dread was gathering. First, however, we had a little piano lesson at the Apple Store. Really: her teacher wanted us to come by and transcribe Natalie’s composition in Finale, so we could get a printout. While she played I wandered about, looking at the software; gosh, same software as two days ago.

“How did the flu shot go?”

I turned around, knowing exactly what the person meant, but not knowing who said it, or how he knew. It was an Apple tech (hey, Scott) I’ve spoken with a few times, and it turns out he follows me on Twitter, and had read the news of impending pokery. That is the modern world, like or not, and obviously I must like it because I’m splashing around in it with heedless abandon. The choice of the term “twitter” and “tweet” is quite apt, since after a while you feel jaybird-naked.

Then Target. Dum Dum DUMMMMMM. While filling out the forms I noticed that they had the nasal spray option available for Natalie. (Not me: I’m four months too old.) So I told her she wouldn’t get the shot, and she studied my face for the cruelest of jokes.

“You’ll just have a nose spray,” I said.

“Do I still get a toy?”


“Yesss!” Doubt: “What if it stings?”

“It won’t.”

“But what if it does?”

“Then you’re earn the toy.”

“No seriously, what if it does?”

“Then it does, hon, but it’s just a spray. It’s not molten lava.”

She was still nervous; this was new territory. We were called into the small room; the nice lady had an ID attached to a lanyard that said CROAKERS. So maybe this was the euthanasia room, then?

“Hello,” she smiled; she checked our charts. “I read your column,” she said.

“Then I’d better not cry like a baby,” I said.

It was the easiest shot I’d ever gotten. I’ve had mosquito bites that hurt more. Natalie laid back to get the spray, and was startled when the lady pulled out what appeared to be a HYPODERMIC NEEDLE. Without the needle part. Once she saw the absence of the sharp part, she relaxed a bit. PSSSST. PSSST.

And we were done! Into the wilds of Target to claim our bounty. She spent a lot of time in the toy aisle looking at stuff she’s so over, like Barbies and My Little Ponys and the like. This year’s Barbie / DVD / Purple plastic krep-set is based on “Barbie and the Diamond Castle,” which suggests they’re running out of ideas. Behold, Logan’s Run Barbie:

The little crystal in her palm tells you when it’s time for Carousel!

This absolutely knocked me back on my heels – although to be honest, I was using both of them at the time:


Fin Fang Fargin’ Foom? A one-shot dragon from the early Marvel Kirby monster books? Apparently he had a resurgence in some recent format kids get, but it’s still a blast to see; that was actually a Great Experiment Question on the old Diner. Fin Fang Blank. Fill in the Blank. (Got a caller right away who knew the answer.) (The Great Experiment was a humility exercise; I attempted to prove that there was nothing I knew that someone in the audience didn’t know. And I was never wrong. Or rather I was always right. So much for humility, I guess.)

Finally, this just seems like a good, if long, emo band name:


New column up at Nothing else here. Nothing! I know, I know – I should find a fifth thing to update weekly. I have a fifth thing, and it’ll be starting next week, but it’s too close to previous projects to be special. Nothing like the 1929 site coming in 2009, which will be a real multi-media extravaganza. See you at, and of course twitter-blather all day long. Have a grand weekend.