Ten years ago I didn't expect this, but there's lots in the last decade I haven't expected.

I would not have expected, for example, that I would dream about following Donald Trump around with a tripod at the State Fair and trying to get him to stop for one farging second and answer a question. Eventually I said “how are you going to convince undecided people you’re the right man,” or something like that - it was a dream, so I may have said “which lobster in the sewer sings the coupon aria?” He turned and said I WILL FIGHT and started beating me. Had me on the ground, and I was thwacking his shins with the tripod.

So right now I’m sitting at the kitchen table with Daughter, who is doing homework. I am sitting where I always sat, where I probably sat 14 years ago with a thick clunky white Macbook plugged into the Internet by a phone cord that went into the wall. That was how we did things back then. Fourteen years ago I was hopeful that the publication date of “Gallery of Regrettable Foods” was the eleventh, and that might mean a phone call! Or a review! Or maybe even a sale.

We remember the day, but not the day before. We barely remember the day after; it’s just the dull reverberation with a peculiar sluice of fear under a wet wool blanket of clammy exhaustion. I remember how beautiful it was the day after, though - fog, mist, the elms down the street rising into the grey mist. They’re all gone. The city painted an orange X on the trunk of one of the neighborhood elms a week ago, and it will come down next Tuesday. Another hole in the roof.

Thursday was a beautiful day, but one of those early fall days where the minute a cloud passes over the sun the temperature drops a dozen degrees. The sun is strong but easily bested. Everything’s still green, but the late afternoon light falls on the autumnal mums, and they glow. It’s pretty, but ruins always are, right up until the moment when they fall. Or are dynamited.

Anyway. I did not expect that we would have taken up the advice of the WHOPR computer in “WarGames” - namely, the only way to win the game is not to play. That’s like saying that when you walk away from the poker table no one ever deals another hand. Or ups the ante.

Well, it’s the end of the week, and that means everything that didn’t get posted before gets posted now.


Today's Tiny Lies update: the basics of life, really. It all comes down to this. Food, song, and defense.

Guns by mail! From New York City, no less. As for the Song Poems, that was a venerable racket: you sent them lyrics, and they set them to music. You paid for the recording. The song-poem work of the 60s is magnificent in its badness; I can only guess what the output of 1938 was like.

Construction Update: well, see above. Something else I noticed:

Below, forty seconds of video.


We end the Bleat's weekly updates with our Pupdate. He's wondering if I'm going to do anything.

I get the same look in the mirror some days.



As usual for Friday, the Music Cues. Of course we begin with the Couple Next Door, with its cheerful soundtrack of the mid-century domestic scene. Actual bits of script are left in for surreal effect.

CND Cue #580 Really downshifts at the end, doesn't it.

CND Cue #581 Everyone in the orchestra gets a shot at the melody.

Here's the latest in a series of Public Service Announcements that ran on the Armed Forces Radio service. They served no purpose whatsoever, except to make GIs homesick.

Chicago: it's still there!


Finally, our ad of the week: words I have never used to describe a hot cup of joe.

Puuuure coffee nectar!

Headshot with a mustard gun:

The famous duelling pianos of Ferrante & Teicher, guaranteed to class up any melody.



The Chopstick Cha-Cha.


That'll do it - see you in the usual places! Column up at Startribune.com, if you like. And please do.


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