When was the best Christmas music recorded? I’d sat the early-to-mid sixties. There was a sweet intersection of pre-rock production techniques and styles and middle-brow tastes, and they actually attempted Art, as opposed to rote tossed-off ditties with jingly bells and raucous shout-outs to Claus. The height of the genre is probably the 1965 Goodyear album, which was played during my early childhood and hence MUST be the best.   If all goes well, I’ll do a Diner about this tomorrow. It’s been a while, and I miss it.

Listened to some songs tonight, which I haven’t done all month. Except for the night when we put up the tree. This has been one of those Christmases where it seems to be happening by default.

Another day as Anchor Boy, staring at elected officials discussing poorly-executed ballots, punctuated by hectic oh-crap moments when they decided to break, just like that, and my co-host had to haul arse across the newsroom to get in the bucket before the screen went to black, and half the audience disappeared. We had good numbers today – bested the competition, but of course they’re scrappy independents and we’re THE PAPER, so make of it what you wish. 

This is great fun, though – loose and conversational. I’m probably enjoying it because I don’t know all the things I’m doing that I shouldn’t be doing. But that’s the necessary element for all the old-line media orgs now – unlearning the old stuff, if it doesn’t work, and doing whatever works at the moment, regardless of whether it fits the institutional template. I love the fact that the paper is doing broadcast news. There will be things we can’t do yet, just as we have strengths the TV stations can’t touch.  Plus, no one expects us to be good-looking. There aren’t any hard breaks. We are to TV news what the bloggers were to newspapers in 2001.

This concludes our rash, optimistic, emotional overstatement of the situation.

Anyway. There was one moment that made me sit up: a judge, noting that someone had written a phone number on the ballot, mused “perhaps it was that man who wanted to change his name to a number.” Whoa: chronological whiplash. I remembered sitting in my dorm room thirty years ago, watching the fellow on Tom Snyder, trying to explain why he wanted to change his name to 1069. He had a baffling chart, which made no sense to anyone else, and his nervousness didn’t help the matter. Mr. Snyder gently bade him to put the chart away, and he did, and said “I feel better now.” Or words to that effect. I remember the guy’s name, too: Michael Dengler. Michael Herbert Dengler.

The case is online. And now I know what he meant.

“The first character, 1, stands for my concept of nature which manifests itself as one individual among the various forms of life. I stand as a single entity amongst millions of other entities, animate and inanimate. But yet even though I am an entity unto myself, I am part of the whole of life which is one. I am one; life is one; and together we are one.”

And so on, including this:

"The fourth and final character, 9, stands for the relationship I have to essence in the difference in the meaning when actualizing the spatially ever present nature of life.”

Surprisingly, the court did not agree with his special actualizing, and denied the name change. All this was of interest to me back then, because 1069 was my high school social studies teacher. Now here he was, a murmured footnote in the Senate recount.

Naturally, I had to bring that up. Chewed up a minute.

So it was that kind of a day. Afterwards I picked up Natalie, drove her to Subway; we had delicious crunchy hot sandwiches and I told her stories about all the buildings on the wallpaper. Then home to drink coffee and work on scans of Lance Lawson for tomorrow; now a column. Short week, yes, but I’ve been busy all day.

But! There’s this, the final Restaurant Exterior update. It’s just a small part of the site – seventy pages – but a nice review of some American glories. Why not, you ask, put it up on Flickr? Because then I’d have to deal with comments that said “Hi, I’m the moderator of a group about east Nebraska restaurants with K in the title that also served B-B-Q, and would love to have your picture in the group.” And it would be one more thing to deal with.

On a less cheerful note, the dog is having issues with getting off the bed. The other day he slipped – his legs went right out from underneath him, and he sat there unwilling to move for a while. He didn’t forget that, and now he whines when he wants to get down – a phrase that suddenly struck me as descriptive of a chess-club nerd at an Ohio Players concert – but he doesn’t want help. He’s not sure how help is going to work, exactly. I have to get him some stairs. 

Throw a sausage into the backyard, though, and he’s Mr. Mile-a-Minute.

Enjoy the restaurants. No Anchor Boy today; working on a column. But it's a Lance Lawson Thursday at buzz.mn, with 3 mysteries lined up and ready to go. And of course deathless blatting on Twitter. Have a grand day!

Oh, right:

Oh, do I remember this guy.

I can hear the Goodyear album just by looking at his face. Yes, Mom saved the box. Of course Mom saved the box.