Instapundit in a nutshell: the tenth post of the day admits that he probably has walking pneumonia, and blogging will be light.

And then an update to that post a few minutes later. Get better! Go away for a week. Blog not. You’re not a public utility! We won't call our city councilman if the tap's dry for a while.

The parade of contractors continues; this morning it was the plumber, this afternoon the Rooferman. The number of people employed by the great Spent the Tax Cut effort has swelled to 12, since the Plumber brought along a young padawan to observe and assist. The plumber listens to the same radio station I do – in fact he noted that he heard me on the Hugh Hewitt show. When he came upstairs to ask me a question and saw me typing away, he said “hey, are you blogging?” What a strange and wonderful life.

Odd: I’ve never hired anyone who listened to NPR on the job.

The water was shut off for several hours. The adage is true: you never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry. This morning Gnat wanted to paint, so I got out the brushes and the paint and the cup for the water . . . which was off. Turn on the taps and they spat like a critic attending the premier of The Rite of Spring. So . . . toilet tank water? No. Dog dish water? No. Think! What would your crafty ancestors have done? Of course! They would have gathered twigs, sharpened a stick, and rubbed the stick between their palms on a small flat rock until there was a spark, and the twigs caught fire, so they could melt some ice.

I put ice in the microwave, zapped it for two minutes, and voila. Art lessons resumed. When the water pressure booster was finally installed we turned on all the taps, and holy crow: from Estes model-rocket strength to Saturn V power. When I turn the shower on “pulse” it’s going to leave a mark.

Then the Rooferman, who completed his job in an afternoon, paving the way for the fellow who will rehabilitate the garage. You know why I trust the Garageman? I mentioned some pie-in-the-sky future plan for the basement that involved ripping out this and repositioning that and rejiggering this and that, so I could install a large TV. He got out his tape measurer and showed me how I could fit a 52 inch flatscreen right here if I just brought the mantle out nine inches. Hundred bucks, maybe two?

Smart man. That’s the sort of thing that gets you a dozen additional jobs and two dozen referrals.

It’s been a hard day for Jasper Dog: all these people. He accepted the plumbers in short order. The Rooferman was another issue; Jasper could see him move through the fence, and this kept my hound on High Alert throughout the day. Then he saw me with the checkbook and the phone, which meant PIZZA, and he spent the next half hour staring out the front window. Then my wife came home: barkbarkbark. Then a young canvasser came by to take a political survey, and I had to restrain Jasp again. (Short poll: your top issue, your party, your choice for president. That seems to be one question too many.) Then the Rooferman knocked with some final comments. Tomorrow will be just as bad; the Sprinklermen return, the DirecTV guy comes back, and the Rooferman reappears for a top coat on the sealant. But at the end of the day it’ll all work – sprinklers, garage roof, HDTV, all done in the course of a week to my exact specifications.

Here’s the great thing about living in America: I didn’t have to bribe anybody. It would have been unthinkable for the matter to even be discussed.

Here’s another thing about America: four-year olds opening the fridge door, noting the new purchases, and squealing “Oh! Shrek-flavor go-gurt!” You take the good with the bad.

Speaking of Rite Of Spring - Teachout linked to a bit about the ten dirty secrets of Classical Music. One of which asserted that no one cares about the first three movements of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique. Ahem: excuse me: "March to the Scaffold"? Sometimes I think I'd take it over the fourth movement. Compact, dramatic, thrilling, horrifying - AND you hear the head bounce into the basket at the end, and God knows you can't say that about many classical tunes. Bruckner couldn't write a good allegro? Sirrah, my seconds will call. Pistols at dawn. Good day to you.

All Mozart sounds the same? Well, he does have a point.

(Want to stump a classical music poseur? Ask them how many symphonies Bruckner wrote.)

I liked the New Yorker during Tina Brown’s era, even if she couldn’t get rid of the umlauts. I think the ghost of Mr. Shawn appears in the composing room and puts them back in.

Got the latest New Yorker today. The cover has an oil derrick gushing blood.

Yes, I can count on them for the latest developments in the Oil-for-Food scandal, eh?

The back page cartoon, by aged Lee Lorenz – he has an ancient and almost comforting style; looks like it should be in Playboy circa 1967. (Or, for that matter, the New Yorker, circa 2004. I swear: if you open that magazine up in 50 years you will still find a white man sitting at a desk.) The cartoon shows some helicopters, tanks and paratroopers converging on a suburban house; a typical schlump who looks like the sort of New York exurbanite not quite witty or lustful enough to get into a Cheever tale, stands in the door. The caption: “The Last Secular Humanist Is Flushed From His Spider Hole.”

There you go! All you need to know about what to think. But tell me which word might describe those two visual polemics:


See you Monday, with ten tons of curious stuff. Time to make Gnat’s lunch for school tomorrow, finish the video project, watch the Sopranos, and sit on the back stoop with a cigar and watch the bats. Thanks for coming! More next week.

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