End of the week, and I’m tapped; have to write another column tonight. No: I get to write another column this week. It is not an obligation, but a privilege. The day it becomes grim duty is the day I’ve lost all perspective.

I sketched out the column this afternoon, culling the email while Gnat had a playdate with a friend. They ran around and giggled and played Polly Pockets and Care Bears and all the other innumerable joys that life affords four-year olds. At one point they wanted me to read a book: Which Witch is Which. It featured a variety of animals, all steeped in the Black Arts, performing various actions, and you had to conclude from the text which witch was which. (Their witchiness was indicated exclusively through pointed hats; no pentagrams or cauldrons, no potions made up of newt rectums or mummy philtrums.) They got into a fight right away over who would point out which witch, so I developed a scheme for alternating witch identification. It still got a little testy, so let's just say I skipped a few pages; luckily, Gnat hadn't memorized book ten times so she couldn't call me on my editorial ommissions. Then they watched “Barbie Swan Lake,” a computer-animated movie that’s all the rage in the tot set. Kelsey Grammer is the bad guy, and his motivation is simple and utterly Blofeldian - he wants to take over the world. Why? Like that's ever worked. And if you could take over the world, what the hell would you do with it? I know, I know: if you’ve secured control of one hemisphere through necromancy, you’re always going to wonder whether the other hemisphere will challenge your rule, so might as well go for the gold. But it would be easier to just rule a small part and guard your power so you could repel any attempts to puncture your domain.

See also, North Korea.

Barbie is the hero. She’s looking pretty good, although in this computer-generated version she appears to be made out of pale cheese. She plays “Odette,” who as far as I can tell is some sort of fairy with a cross-eyed unicorn for a friend. Never figured out why it’s a unicorn and not a unihorn. You never hear about anyone running with the bulls at Pamplona who gets a corn in the buttock. The horn, that's the business end. Anyway, in the end they’re all saved when the magic crystal turns on Frasier. At which point I thought: we’ve spent our afternoon entertainment studying witches and crystals. Might as well go paint ourselves blue and pray to trees.

Took a brief trip to the movie store, where all the new releases are lame – the wretched dreck of the late-winter season has finally washed up on the shores of Blockbuster. Went to the grocery store out of habit, couldn’t really think of anything that we needed – so I ended up buying a box of Frosty Paws, six pieces of string cheese, and some white vinegar for floor cleaning. The clerk looked at me as if I was getting my recipes from – well, a witchcraft cookbook. Soon my potion will be complete, and I shall take over the county! And not even Barbie can stop me! Back home, order pizza. Wait for it outside; Gnat blows bubbles while I listen to Hewitt on the radio. Pizza comes; it’s from a different place than our usual pizzeria, since my wife has decreed that we must move on and see other pizzerias, variety being the spice of life. Unfortunately clove is the spice of the new place’s sauce. Six more weeks of this; we’ll try all the others and end up back with my old favorite.

Side note: Skyy makes a Melon flavored vodka. I am here to report that they were right to do so. It’s not a stunning addition to the vodkasphere, but it fills that absent Melon niche quite nicely. I mention this only to see if Stephen or Will pick up on the word “vodkasphere.”

You know what I hate? Like most I have the occasionally problem with aches and/or pains that can be mollified by the over-the-counter remedies. They always say to discontinue use after day seven. What I hate is day five, and you’re still not solved. Clock’s ticking. Do your work, magic potion, or it’s invasive surgery! Or, more likely, the really effective stuff the doctors keep to themselves. Frankly, I think there should just be a morphine fountain at the drug store. Bring your own jug. Weigh it at the counter. Receipt with you, or in the bag? Bag. Thanks.

Sometimes all you want out of life is a dull ache.

A little clarification about yesterday’s screed – re Moore’s assertion that there was no Saddam / 9.11 connection, I posted this:

Mainly because I was tired and had no desire to go into a link-fest about the connections between the Ba’athist regime and terrorism. To me the picture speaks volumes: yea, and he was well pleased. I am somewhat disheartened that many people believe our entire foreign policy post-9.11 can be explained with murky conspiracy scenarios about oil and Saudis and oil and Saudi oil and Texans and oil and Saudis, but refuse to accept that the actual avowed enemies of the United States might have made common cause over the years.

Related note: I wonder what’s keeping Israel from taking out Iran’s nuclear bomb-making plants. Either they know it’s too late, or they know the facilities can’t be destroyed by the conventional means, or they have good enough intel to know there’s still some time and they can wait until after the election. And then they’ll go no matter who wins. If they attack now, and Bush gives them the thumbs-up, it could cut either way domestically. Kerry would have to approve or disapprove, for example. I would guess the latter, lest he want to make the UN and the IAEA look like the dithering fools they are. If Kerry approves, then he’s thrown his lot in with the cowboy-unilateralist axis, and if people want that they’ll vote for the genuine article. The far-left fringe will howl that this is all a Zionist plot to influence the election. The far-right fringe will howl that this is all a Zionist plot to influence the election. Most Americans would look at satellite photos of demolished nuke-bomb factories and think: good thing.

We’ll see. When it comes to Iran, I fear that either the bombs get bombed or the bombs get used. The latter is what I always thought would be the end result of the forces set in motion by 9/11, and I still hope I am wrong. I’ve been wrong enough to be hopeful.

Hey! There’s an epitath. Now I post and sit down to watch an old Star Trek, “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” Bonus points: good time travel, really cool old Enterprise designs, battle sequences, the chilling moment where Picard confesses that “the war is going very badly for the Federation.” Because that never happened before. The Federation got pasted on occasion, but they could always muster 284834 ships to clump together and fly towards the enemy. Not in this time line. Minus points: an excess of Whoopi Goldberg wearing a hat that looks like those cones they put on dogs to keep them from chewing off the stitches on their sadly vacant scrotums.

Have a fine weekend! Thanks to everyone who wrote with carps or kudos, too; I appreciate the patronage – just about as much as I hate the word “kudos.” I don’t know what came over me. But it tasted like melons.

Oh, that mower on the Bleat graphic? Voila.


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