I love the picture above. It’s a happy place. A safe place. No, the wise person says. Look closer. It’s a lie, brought to you by the American Coral Paint and Dye Manufacturers! That expanse of green will soon be chewed up by construction for more houses, and there will be roads and cars and pollution and the wife was unfulfilled in real life and the redhead’s husband was cheating on her when he was late from the office and the kids were spoiled brats who grew up to become hippie poseurs who went to coffeehouses and nodded approvingly when some hairy warbler on a wooden stool with a guitar made a lyrical condemnation of plastic. It all went to hell, and it should have gone to hell, because it’s wrong. You’re looking at a prison.

Yeah, whatever. Why is she touching the shelves? Does she have to stand there all day and hold it up?

It is very important for some people to find everything wrong in this picture, because if if’s not wrong, then there’s an alternative to contemporary opinions on the optimal arrangement for social arrangements, and we can’t have that. Well, we can, as long as they stay in North Dakota or Idaho or other places that don’t matter, but in general, it is necessary to reject the underlying assumptions about this image. It is, however, acceptable but to praise the styles of objects or clothing, because they may be resurrected and blessed by taste-makers adept at bestowing absolution on the instruments of oppression. Providing they’re divorced from their cultural setting, and seen as abstract objects stripped of all the bad juju the era contained.


I wonder if HBO will ever do a late-40s / 50s serial drama, as they’re doing with the 20s in “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s a tremendously impressive show, for its visuals; the art direction is astonishing. I wish I liked the styles of the era more than I do; the only part of the 20s that grabs me is architecture. I wish I liked the show more than I do, too. Everyone is bad. Even the good girl. The only person with a jot of ambiguity is a horribly intense Federal agent who looks like Dick Tracy drawing come to life, but you don’t like him. The kid who becomes a gangster is an interesting character, but I don’t like him. There’s the horribly wounded war vet, and you feel bad for him, but he’s also a soulless killer. Corruption soaks every moment. Nothing elevates; nothing is capable of elevation. I have two more episodes of the first season to go.

May subscribe to HBO to get the second season on demand.

Sorry, it’s like that. You get caught up. You have to know where it goes. I just finished a biography of Arnold Rothstein by David Pietrusza, so it’s interesting to see how they portray A.R. I highly recommend it, by the way. I met the author in New Hampshire, and he’s the sort of fellow you can easily see in a straw boater, walking the Boardwalk, taking the air. I forgot to mention at the time that I’d stayed at the hotel where Rothstein was shot, and stayed on the same floor.


Woke to fog. It’s always nice to look out the window and think well, today’s going to be all greyscale, then. Makes it easier to dress. Grab anything! It’ll match.

This shot -

- always makes me think of the elms on the corner. When we moved in ten years ago there were four enormous ancient elms down the street; this shot would have looked like a deep forest. They all went down the same summer, felled by a miserable beetle. You know, there’s a metaphor there. Nature abounds with them. Hardly any are pleasant.


Hey! Friday. My favorite day of the week, for very simple reasons, repeated ever seven days, ending in satisfaction about 60% of the time, and often ending with the thought “well, that’s done, but at least there’s Saturday.” But Saturday brings errands. I like errands. Errands make me feel useful: the Provisioner, gathering up the goods for the family. It’s what Saturday is for. Then I will put things away. I will look at the shelves, the larder, the paper-supply department, the beverages, and think “I am all set for the zombie apocalypse, which is one of those stupid things people still say, even though the idea is preposterous. The idea of zombies is preposterous. It had a certain currency as a metaphor for society, be it the amusing critique of mindless consumerism in one of those movies, and general societal decay in the recent spate of zombie pictures - the idea that Western Civilization perhaps is in a zombie state, moving, eating, uttering sounds, but unaware that it has perished. But man, I’m sick of zombies. Also, I need to rotate the sodas.”

i do know this: right now the prospect of all the routines, all the things that give the week shape and direction, all the rituals I carve out, the things I expect and enjoy - it’s boring. I am tired. Of everything. With apps. With updates. With blogs. With politics. With iPads. With games. With television. With retro. With vintage. With Instagram. With Twitter. With everything. There are days I’m driving to work, thinking - I’m bored with this highway. I’m tired pf the BBC, even if it is cute how they pronounce “Newt.” I’m tired of the sequence of streetlights that takes me to my parking lot. I’m tired of f the thu-thump something in the back of the vehicle makes when it goes over the speed bump. I’m bored with my parking spot. I’m tired of walking across the lot to beep my ID and walk in the building and see the sign that asks me to stomp my feet to remove the snow. It comes out every year, along with a brush for scraping your boots. It has the company logo. It’s got to be more than half a century old.



Oh, but there’s Oscars to come! Feh. There are Superbowl ads! Please. Do I have to watch? Do I have to have an opinion about them?

Boredom is different from being Tired Of Everything; boredom is your own fault. Being tired of everything is a sign that your great noble spirit has been cruelly disappointed by the rest of the world, so it’s all everyone else’s fault.

Actually, there’s no difference. It’s winter. It’s my fault. It really is a remarkable achievement to be bored these days, with so many diversions and opportunities. It’s a substantial personal failure. The only thing I do that isn’t boring me to tears is the novel. So let me get to that.

Here’s a blast from the past, to use a tired phrase: an addition to the German money site. Ten pieces of lovely, useless hyperinflation Emergency Money, or Notgeld. HERE. Column up at the Strib, too. Have a grand weekend!

I will. It'd be really stupid not to.










blog comments powered by Disqus