The modern world: standing in a suburban burger joint waiting for my order; phone buzzes. I’ve got mail.

Equivalent when I was growing up: sitting in the car at the A&W, and the phone, which is sitting on the dashboard, with 56 blocks of wire connecting it to the wall at home, rings, and spits out a letter.

It still amazes me how quickly we adapted to these things, integrated them into our daily lives, took them for granted, and found reasons to complain. (Except I never complain about my phone). I love the fact that there are OS flame wars about phones. Anyway, it’s a note from my daughter, forwarding an OMG email about folding the $20 bill to show the WTC on fire.

Equivalent when I was growing up: the letter is a copy of a letter I got that says if you fold a 1935 Silver Certificate a certain way, you can see the Pearl Harbor attack

I send her back a note that it’s a whole lotta derp, but an amusing coincidence. And then my supper is ready. I ordered a small hamburger and a small fries, almost a plea: please, don’t give me 27 lbs of food. Small this, small that. See a pattern emerging? The hamburger was at the bottom of the bag beneath a cup of fries, and another two cups dumped on top of that. I had to dig through a full bag of french fries to get to the burger. The fries were good; I had about half the amount provided, since I hadn’t had lunch and had only had 2 ebelskeever for breakfast. But good Lord.

It was 5 Guys, for which I get a yen twice a year. Mostly because of the fries. Because if you can throw half of them away, then you really haven’t had any. The very act of self-denial cancels out the indulgence.

A lonely weekend; wife and child out of town. Just me and the dog, and too hot to walk him anywhere. Walking takes effort for him these days, and when it’s 91 degrees, and you have fur, no. He enjoyed just laying in the cool grass. Friday night I gave him the little pain pill the doc provided for those days when he’s having a bit of trouble, and of course he wouldn’t eat it, so I had to poke it in some peanut butter. I licked the rest off my fingers, immediately tasted something bitter, and realized I’D EATEN THE DOG’S MEDICATION. Took ten minutes to get the taste out of my mouth; I don’t know what the manufacturer was thinking. A little beef boullion, for heaven’s sake.

Sunday I filled up the Oak Island Water Feature. I’d drained it and gotten out the dead leaves, a reminder of the rot and stench that nature provides with the same ease it conjures up a blossom. It’s not a stench to the dog, of course; they make no such judgments. (Unless it’s medicine.) I’m sure there’s a perfectly good evolutionary explanation for human revulsion to these aromas; they’re warnings. The hominids that ate the muck got dengue fever (it’s bad) and died and thus did not pass on their genes. Wonder how long that took. I smell rot, and make a face, and it’s all thanks to 20,000,000 dead monkeys. Appreciate it, guys!

By the time I got around to filling it, the tank was full of more leaves, which was a reminder that there are large trees overhead, so to hell with it. I replaced the pump and the bulbs in the underwater lamps, and filled it up. What I would really like to do is fill it up with dirt and start again with someone who knew what he was doing. I still cannot believe the level of incompetence that went into the construction of that thing.

This was before Yelp! and all the other online places that let you vent. Question is: would I have gone online and castigated the fellow? It might have killed his business faster than he managed to do on his own, which could have been an act of mercy, but there’s something queasy-making about shivving someone that hard in public.

It’s like the lawn service I have. I saw the guy run over a sprinkler hose. I saw him ride the thing to the bottom of the hill and go over the area I’d seeded the day before. The part that doesn’t have any grass and hence is not in particular need of mowing. A cloud of dirt and seeds sprayed everywhere. I talked to them about it, and I got nods.


One small triumph, one unusual victory: the sod I put down - a phrase that makes me feel like an Englishman who’s killed someone - sprang to life this spring, and is now the most vibrant patch of grass in the entirety of Jasperwood. It’s embarassingly green. It is also four feet by three feet. But it’s a start.

Allright, time to tackle the front yard again. Wife expects grass by the time she gets back. Better start painting.

Watched an interesting movie: "Hotel Berlin." Late WW2 Hollywood story with Bad Germans and Good Germans and morally compromised Germans who have to make serious choices. Ordinary soldiers, professional soldiers, creepy SS men, and Peter Lorre. It needs a buffoonish Nazi, and look who they have:


It's the Skipper as Sergeant Schultz! Always somewhat unnerving to see Alan Hale Sr. in anything, because it's like Alan Hale Jr. was capable of time travel.

The movie ends with a declaration of principles, and I think this is the first and only time these three did a picture together:





Oh: recall last week, when I posted this:



Here's the explanation, which I found in an old Life.



Hope this clears everything up.

Okay, all right. The Remington was powerful enough to chew bristles, but gentle and careful enough to shave the fuzz off a peach. How it could tell the difference was the Remington Difference, I guess.


New Matchbooks! Here.

Have a grand day, and I'll see you around.







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