Why yes, the pictures up top are changing color. Everything is changing color. Green has drained out of the world, and a few trees are almost totally bare. Yesterday I was outside in the gazebo, and looked up to see if could spot the woodpecker. A few leaves on the tree were trembling, as if working up the nerve to jump.

Soon the clocks jump ahead, which is always the rude boot to the bottom. The day ends early; the furtive sun goes fast, making excuses. Every year we go through this. Every year it’s hard to imagine. Especially on a day like Tuesday: warm enough to sit outside in bare feet.

Sorry: with bare feet. “In bare feet” sounds like you are entombed in gigantic, disembodied pedal extremities. Although “with bare feet” sounds like they’re in the next chair over. “With bared feet” sounds vaguely aggressive: when threatened, the male of the species will bare his feet. Let’s go with “Not wearing any shoes,” then.

So your socks are getting all dirty? SHUT UP.

The dog spent the entire day sitting on the lawn. In chameleon mode.



I only do “buy it now” on ebay, because I can’t be bothered with auctions. Saw this picture:


I think it’s fair to say I bought it then. Amazingly low price; don’t know if the fellow understood all of the connotations this potent little symbol contains. Two sets of magic words for mid-century enthusiasts: REMINGTON RAND, and UNIVAC. For heaven’s sake, a Univac Zippo.





Got a flu shot. I never used to get them because I didn’t like needles, but then I wanted to set a Good Example, so I took my daughter to Target to get poked. Turned out she got the nasal spray. I was surprised at the time how relatively painless shots had become over the years; what felt like a skewering with a rusty drill bit when I was a kid really, a spike hammered in until it scraped bone - had become almost nothing, and it made me wonder if this wasn’t the reason for that rise in heroin addiction cases you hear from time to time. I always thought that “sticking a needle in yourself, on purpose” was one of those things that would keep people away from heroin. “To really enjoy it, you have to shear off a fingertip with a bandsaw and dip the tip in a hot solution of the drug, then cauterize with salt.” Now it’s nothing.

And then there was a year when it was not nothing at all, no sir; the jab stung and the juice burned. I guess that was the formulation that year. Today was painless as well, and let me tell you: if they’ve gotten to the point where “poking your flesh with a sharp metal pin” is painless, they’re making strides. As usual I was tempted to leave the clinic holding my arm, stifling a sob, but there might be kids in the waiting room.

Had a piano lesson today, which is apt; usually they’re Friday, but there’s no school tomorrow, so it’s sort-of Friday. Afterwards we went to a Chinese buffet place and had a political discussion. Daughter wants to confirm suspicions about the two parties, but wants specifics, so I laid them out as factually as I could. It’s never enough to believe something; you have to know why. Broad strokes at first, then fill in the details. It was a pleasure, although we differ on the death penalty. I support it in a few examples; people who kill children should be hastened off the globe, for example, and not with a lethal form of dental anesthesia, either. But in general, no: why let them off the hook? Forty years in a room with no chance of parole seems a worse punishment. No TV, either.

She hadn’t thought about that.

A tweet alerted me to a Slate piece by an author who had a bad experience with his second book after getting nice notes on his first. Possibly because he wasn't that good:

I wondered—as I sat on the benches in Union Square, my lunch spread out in my lap on white deli paper, the park’s jumpy squirrels foraging for leftovers at my feet, and homeless men wheeling past with mountains of empties lashed down to their shopping carts, what kind of mysterious rite I had to pass through or conversion I would have to undergo before I could get up from the bench and leave the park and cross through traffic to 19 Union Square West and sign in with the bored security guard at his desk, letting it slip without looking up from his black binder, “FSG. I’m an author.”

Would it be anything like the Latvian solstice festival I had been to once in high school with my best friend, Michael, when I had stood in a clearing in the woods in New Hampshire and watched seventeen-year-olds vault over a ten-foot bonfire with their skin glowing and cigarettes still dangling on their lower lips as they flipped untouched through rising sparks and landed on the other side?


As lawyers know: never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.

Latvian solstice festival. Jeebus.

I was reading some comments on a news story on a local CBS page when I realized something horrible: I was reading some comments on a news story on a local CBS page. There’s your problem, right there. If you want to find a great ripe of yawp of racist flatulence, why, CBS is your best destination. Imagine if these things were published in the newspaper: impossible, right? So why do brands that hold themselves up as legitimate, sober sources allow this stuff on their site?

Because they’re lazy; because it takes too much time and staffing horsepower to weed through and delete. But most of all because they don’t care about comments. They’re not there to “foster a conversation.” They’re not there to “listen to the community.” If they had a choice between doubling traffic with no comments, or halving traffic with a “robust” “community” of commenters, it wouldn’t be a choice at all. It makes me want to create an entirely separate internet for news, political, and YouTube comments. It pops up in a separate browser. It looks like the internet in 1997 with a grey background and blue links. It has these:



Finished the rewrite of the first half of “Autumn Solitaire” last night; still too talky with two unexplained things I have to fix. But I love it. Started on the second half today, and read for two chapters without changing more than ten words. The tone, the pace, the plot-points - it’s just what I want it to be. I almost hate to read more, but of course, I must. I want to know who did it. The other thing, I mean. I know who did the one thing.

And now to go write more.





New WNAX, if you care: enjoy!










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