So we had guests coming from Chicago, due late. Wife's charming niece and her long-time swain, a capital fellow. They were due on Friday night - a change in the precious routine, a disruption of my hallowed Friday arrangements, the procession of rewards. But hey! A little change-up is good. But after they arrived wife's sister arrived, with daughter and spouse and dog, and then her Uncle and Aunt showed up - Uncle giving me the standard punch in the arm as a greeting - and then her mother came through the door, and her sister, and her sister's husband, and then her brother and his ex-wife, who saw that I was stressed and said she had a technique for relaxation that involved massaging your gums with your thumbs - but right then the dog started throwing up, and I thought what did Scout eat?
My dad entered the room, looked around, waved, and left, and I was glad because as much as I was glad to see him there was the dog-barf problem. It wasn't Scout. Sister-in-law's dog had eaten an entire cake, but thrown it up in chunks, and because the frosting was a hard fondant, you could actually reconstruct the pieces of the cake on the floor. But I was distracted by my wife moving the sofa to another position in the living room, and wanting to know if I approved; I did not; this made no sense. It disrupted the flow of the room entirely. Well, she had something else to show me - upstairs in my room she had put all the old printers and disused computers that had been accumulating her sunporch office, because COMPANY WAS COMING OVER AND THEY MIGHT SEE THEM AND JUDGE US - the dust was so thick on these old pieces of plastic that my room was choked with a miasma of particles, and she expelled clouds of dust as she spoke. She was telling me that I had to pick her up from the event everyone was going to - it was an hour south of Northfield, and I should be there around 11, which meant I had to leave at ten.
That means I can't have a Friday bourbon, I said. And when will we have pizza? At that point a third dog leaped into my arms and hung on my ear, and I called out for someone to please do something about this dog -
- and I woke. From the nap. I was so overjoyed to learn that this was not happening that the next two hours were just chipper and merry beyond measure
A few hours later the guests actually showed upand nothing in the dream happened. I was the happiest of hosts. We sat around the kitchen for three hours talking. Scout did not throw up a cake.
He took half a pizza off the counter earlier, though, so part of the dream might have come true. But it didn't.
Speaking of Scout: on guard.
Anyway. The guests loved Minneapolis - they'd been here before - and even made noises about how nice it would be to live here. This is always nice. Sometimes you meet out-of-towners who are convinced their city is the most awesome place in the world. They spend six grand for an apartment the size of a tool shed, but it's okay because in Big Town you can get great Tahitian-Tunisian Fusion take-out at 3 AM. Not that you would, because you'd be robbed, but theoretically you could. Have you had Tahitian-Tunisian Fusion? It's incredible. It's like someone was carrying a bag with Tahitian food, and the bag also had Tunisian food, and he fell down and it all got mixed up? It's totally worth a flesh wound.
They don't need a car, because the train goes everywhere. Really? Right out to the suburban Home Depot? It backs up into the parking lot so you can load up sacks of mulch for the garden, and then takes you home?
Well - no, but you can Uber for that, and in a few years they'll probably deliver it by drone. Really? Fleets of overloaded smoking drones barely able to get six feet off the ground, hauling mulch, knocking over old people out walking their dogs? That's our future?
Yes, I love it when the Strawmen come to visit. As I said, our guests weren't like that at all. I just say all this to reinforce my own choices in life without subjecting them to challenges; I've found it makes for a contented existence untroubled by what-ifs. I might have been just as happy in a bigger city. This rah-rah-Minnesota thing could just be provincial ignorance untested by other options, except I did live in a big East Coast city for a while and had the Dominos' guy say "we can't deliver to your neighborhood as long as the riots are going on," so it's not like I haven't seen the other side of things.
But people who come here from Big Town tend to be surprised.
It's so . . . clean! And quiet. You have tall buildings and lakes. And everyone is so nice.
You betcha! It's those good ol' communal ethics inherited from a disappearing rural culture, combined with a quality of life that doesn't make daily existence feel like you're walking around with broken glass in your pants waiting for someone to kick you in the groinal department. It's not like your big city, is it?
Nah. Where I come from it's dirty, it smells, everything costs too much, and people are mean. It's what makes us great!
It makes us tough! Resilient! And we're proud, you know? It's the greatest city on earth.
The filthy rude one, that smells?
Hey, you can't say that. Rube. What do you know about city living? Bet you've never strangled a rat. I have. That's our fantasy football team name. The Rat Stranglers.
Oh! Do you meet at some charming local bar that's been on the corner since 1934, with the history of the neighborhood up on the walls in photos and signed menus from beloved baseball players?
We used to, but it closed. It's a Starbucks now.
I don't know why I went on this subject, because it had no resemblance to any conversation I've recently had, but like I said, it makes me feel better about sticking close to my Midwestern roots. And now I think Strawmen and the Rat-strangers will be my next band.
The K/A Block, as I'm going to call it from now on, has girders above ground for the first time.
In a few months the view of the buildings acros the street will be gone from this angle. Gone forever! Unless the K/A burns.
Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s, and I'm surprised at how few there were. I think I'm already repeating what I previously played. In fact I know I'm already repeating the fact that I think I'm repeating myself, but on we go: this is the sound of narrative radio in its strange last gasp.
The chirpy careful birdwalk. But note how they didn't have the broadest selection from which to choose, because I don't think that music goes with . . . .
. . . a cry for help.
And now, a rarity:
the entire ending of a classic orchestred cue.
If you're going to do an ad for a product, you should get to the thing in the first ten seconds, no?
Especially if you're selling this.
Have we done Mr. Science yet? No? Gee, wait until you tell the gang you heard this:
Jimmy. Poor Jimmy.
This was already close to being over by the time this came out, because its market was old. Rock and roll this wasn't.
A popular show since 1940. If you're just thinking this is nice grandpa music, well, you're in for a surprise.
Didn't expect that, did you.
The liner notes cites the "pervasive intimacy" and "peculilarly personal atmosphere." Oh, it's that.
That'll do; short week but interesting. At least I hope so. See you around!