Short stuff tonight, since I’m hard at work. So mostly odds and ends.

No school on Monday; MLK day. Gnat did not ask why the day was a holiday, and I didn’t bring it up; I will at some point, but she doesn’t get “race” yet. Well, that’s not entirely true; she has a friend who’s “Chinese” and this led her to speculate she might like sushi. But you know how kids are. It’s not a big deal. Bringing slavery and the sins of the past into her mind at this point would be like telling her how some people beat a fake Santa into a coma in 1957.

Santa’s not real?

No. But you need to understand that there were people who did very bad things to people, and we must oppose them.

Santa’s not real?

That’s irrelevant. Listen to what I am saying: you must always confront oppress-


She’s at the age where she’d hear a mayor of a town insist that it should be a chocolate town, and she’d think it was sweet. You want to keep them innocent of idiocies of all stripes as long as possible.

Remember Grand Forks? It was a town that had the unusual distinction of flooding, then catching on fire. I’m imagining the mayor, were he gripped with the same sort of impolitic idiocy that seized Mayor Nagin, insisting that Grand Forks was “a lefse city, and it would be a lefse city against, because that’s how God wants it.” I’m trying to imagine it, but I can’t. Ah well. Failure of imagination; happens. I also cannot imagine how a desire for monoculturalism will be explained away as an expression of multiculturalism, but I expect that will follow quickly. I need to spend more time in Room 101, perhaps.

Gnat had a playdate today; afterwards we went to Target for basics. I picked up a cartridge for the Clorox Foamy Wand, or whatever it’s called – it’s a toilet brush that spews bowl cleaner at the touch of a button. I bought the item under the impression that the brush revolved. It did not. My disappointment was keen. Sharper than a daughter’s tooth, it was. But a few months ago I made my peace with the device and restocked the foamy tubes. Today I saw the unit on “CLEARANCE,” which is distinct from “SALE.” If it’s on CLEARANCE it’s on the way out. Do I stock up on foamy tubes and hold out, or just buy one and deal with the product’s end when the day comes?

Wouldn’t want to ruin the suspense, so I won’t give the answer. At the checkout Gnat saw a Seasonal My Little Pony named Wish I Might – it had red wings and a red box of chocolates on its haunch. Special to Target. She was enthralled. When she wasn’t looking I tossed it in the basket, and took it out when we were in the car.

She was ecstatic. Daddy, why did you get this for me?

Because it’s special for Valentine’s day. Because I knew it would surprise you, and you didn’t beg, and because I thought it would make this day even better. Because I like to make you happy.

I can never say the other reason: because some day you won’t want a My Little Pony.

She carried it around all day. We went to the Apple Store in Southdale; she propped it next to an iMac while she played a game. She took it to Crate & Barrel while I restocked the busted drinkware. She let it ride the escalator. When we got home she took it up to meet the other Ponys; when I peeked in her room I saw the Pony standing alone like a Supreme Court nominee, looking at Ponys arrayed in tiers like Roman Senators. I hope it doe a good job of adequately explaining its Gaul policy.

According to the package, the Pony has a magnet in its foot.

Excuse me? A Pony does not have a foot. A Pony has a hoof.

Still chewing through all the emails – apologies if I haven’t been prompt. I exceeded my quota, and the box was full – either that or I hadn’t gotten an email since Friday. Which is doubtful. So I dumped out 100 billion MB of spam, and whoa: the letters poured in. Fludgetz. (Sorry; obscure reference. I played an Infocom game in 87 called “Border Zone” – you were a spy in enemy territory, and if your bowels had a reaction to the local water you had a condition the translation guide described as “fludgetz.” Or something that sounded like “floodgates.” Always amused me, that did, but I’m that simple.)

Finished “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which came on the HiDef channel. Hadn’t seen it since its original run. You take different things from the movie depending on where you are in life, perhaps; at the time I saw the hero as a Brave Jester poking holes in the hidebound, oppressive world for which the nuthouse was a potent metaphor. Now McMurphy just seems like a selfish jackass. A charming one, yes; a welcome breath of anarchy, perhaps, but we are talking about a mental ward. I do need to read the book, because I suspect – I hope – the particulars of McMurphy’s commitment were fleshed out. As the movie had it, he was sent to the mental ward for Being Jack Nicholson. But I still think it’s an exceptional film, partly because it did say something differently to me last night than it did 30 years ago. Nurse Ratched is less evil; Louise Fletcher’s performance absolutely walks the edge of the knife-blade, and that’s not something you see when you’re in your question-authority worldview. Yes, she’s a controlling ice-cold biatch, but keep in mind she’s trying to deal with some rather challenging individuals; perhaps you’d dial back your reactions too.

McMurphy’s actions - apart from his unlocking of the Chief - are almost entirely irresponsible, and you can argue that Billy Bi-bi-bibbit’s fate is equally tied to Ratched’s deployment of the guilt-bomb AND McMurphy’s hapless inability to understand Billy’s emotional fragility. It was all cut and dried when I first saw it. Not any more. A fine movie.

I'm scouring the hard drive, making space, and discovering odd screen grabs I kept for one reason or another. World's oddest Google paid ad, which popped up when I googled the Nazi movie "Triumph of the Will":

Available only in Brazil and Argentina, perhaps. Here, a moment when the Weekly Standard autobots slipped into gibberish - or maybe that was what Hugh's column was about! He was much the silent stover, when you think abouut it.

Finally, a movie credit that reminds you why you should stay and look at all the names. Increase wept at what his son had become:

Oh. I've many more of these. But that's for later. Back to work. New Quirk, of course, and hit the matchbook logo below for ten California additions. Screedblog at noon. Really!

on Monday
on Tuesday


c. 2005 j. lileks .