Mad, daft day. This morning I heard Jasper bark downstairs, and the time of day meant only one thing: FedEx. I was, unfortunately, indisposed. Barkbarkbark. I knew what the truck had brought: the replacement TiVo. (The old one not only lost its ability to record and playback and respond to commands, it was unable to reset itself; at last count, the “Clearing and Deleting the Programs. This Will Take an Hour” screen had been up for 27 hours.) But of course they require a signature for fancy things such as this. If no one answers the door, they go away for the rest of the day. You can call FedEx 30 seconds after they’ve pulled away from your house, and it will still be impossible to get the truck to turn around at the end of the street. I couldn’t get Gnat to answer the door – a rather bad precedent, that. Honey, someone’s at the door and the dog is agitated; will you open it up and let the stranger in? So I made my way to the upstairs window as quickly as possible, and saw the truck pull away.


The truck stopped up the block. Could it be? Could it? Man, it would be cool if his namepatch said "Shane," too. I watched the driver get out and deliver another package.

FED EX! COME BACK! I shouted, cursing myself for not bolting out the front door and running up the block.

Shane drove away.

Damn. I went downstairs to get the little slip of paper they leave to tell me they’d been by, and would try again.

There was the TiVo. Of course my immediate reaction was Are you nuts? Leaving something like this out here on the steps?

Humans. We’re hopeless.

Later in the morning I got a call from the Washington office; turns out that my column had been rendered moot by events. And since I write for a six-day window, that takes some doing. I mean, I try to riff off Big Things in a manner both vague and specific. (That’s why editorial pages often seem so less immediate than blogs – the author is writing Monday for Friday about something that happened last Thursday.) I had written about a march in Belgium – 80,000 showed up to protest the murder of a kid in the train station. Two bad guys stabbed him for his MP3 player, and security cameras suggested they were North African. I did not want to do another column about Europe’s Immigrant Peril, partly because it’s a difficult subject to sum up in 650 words with the necessary nuance, and partly because the real news angle seemed to be the identity of the fellow who convened the march: a Muslim member of Parliament. I used that as a segue into this case, where an immigrant woman had been let off the hook by a British court for baby-shaking because she “didn’t know how to behave in the West.” That seemed a telling phrase, particularly since the West doesn’t exactly seem to know what it means to behave in the West. (I quoted a dodderingold Cardinal who blamed the murder on materialism, and some other illustrative examples.)

Well, they arrested the murderers, and they turned out to be Polish. No way to write around that, and it made my second example look bad: "okay, well, that crime wasn’t committed by immigrants, but I’ve got a bad Muslim over here!” So we scrapped it all.

I got Gnat off to school; she gave me the “I Love You” sign-language gesture, and by the time I walked back to the house I had turned that into the column that was due in 45 minutes. (It’s a half-block walk, too. I work fast.)

Speaking of Old Blighty, this story is the sort of things that just makes me tired.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb is starting a petition in Parliament saying there is no need for the 40% bigger burger.

He criticised McDonalds for using England's football World Cup campaign to promote the burger. The company says it is giving fans a special offer.

Of course there is no need for it, in the most restrictive sense of the word – no one will starve if the Bigger Big Mac is not introduced, but likewise horrid red-afro clowns will not rampage through the city shoving the thing down people’s throats with a mop handle. Here’s my favorite part:

Mr Webb said he was dismayed by the news, especially as he spent the weekend watching Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock's film about spending a month eating only McDonald's meals.

He saw a movie! I have to wonder about the “spent the weekend” part -  most people can finish a movie in two hours or so, but he must have been making a transcription of the dialogue. To be fair, he did say that burgers are not evil, and that adults “can make their own minds up.” Thanks! But if someone does decide not to eat one, it’s doubtful they will be swayed by a Parliamentary petition anymore than people who rip DVDs break into sweat when they learn that Interpol has “expressed its concern” about piracy. It’s the “expressed” part that really does it. Oh, we could assume they were concerned, but if they’ve come out an expressed the fact, well, they mean business.

When I was as a kid there was something cool about “Interpol,” as if was an actual supranational force with its own uniforms and flying cars and inspectors who had small thin moustaches, white belts across their chests, and expressions of perpetual Gallic suspicion. They were never German, though. I should research the matter a bit more, because I have a nagging suspicion that Interpol is where they sent all their real-life Inspector Clouseaus.  Deu yea hev a lah-sanz feu zat myu-vay?

I’m sorry, for what?

Ze myuvay.

The movie?

Ze myuvay, you styupid deaf perhso, ze myuvay.

And so on. Speaking of movies: none this week, for a variety of pedestrian reasons. Instead we have an Institute of Official Cheer update. I hesitate to provide a link, since Dreamweaver has decided that sometimes linked text will work, and sometimes it won’t. Who knows! Luck ‘o the draw, me hearties!

Cross your fingers; here it is. Written in haste and hardly anything special, but it’ll do for a Wednesday. See you tomorrow.





c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.