I come to this point once a week: I have said my piece. Between the Bleats and the matchbook / comics / ad / ooky cheesecake and buzz.mn and the Diner and the XM radio commentary I cannot imagine what more I can say, or why anyone would care. Shut up already! Give it a rest! I tend to agree. But. It was a good day with a treat at the end, and I’ve captured it for you to enjoy, or endure, or listen with a small, pained wince, or however you choose. I’ll just build it up thus: Mark Steyn at the Diner.
Not really. But in a way, yes. I was privileged to do a half-hour on the Double-Aitch show today; Mark was guest-hosting, to use the curious locution, and we discussed Christmas music. I folded the chat into the Diner. (Complete with commercials, although I cut in during the first break.) As my Mother said: never miss an opportunity to associate yourself with superior talents, particular in a forum that seems to treat you as equals.
Well, I don’t know what I was, because there was an hour between that and this. In the meantime I was outside in the neighborhood calling for a lost dog. It seemed ridiculous: after all these years, now he runs away? I’d gone outside for a small evil cigar; my wife came out to chat, and yes, we Minnesotans stand outside when it’s 14 above and chat, and Jasper came out to stand with us. He went down to drill a yellow hole by the steps, and I thought nothing of it until I realized five minutes had passed. I went around the corner and gave the whistle, the sound I’ve used for so many years, the sound that usually brings the tinkle of a collar and a dog with pricked ears and wide eyes: will there be food? But nothing. I looked in the new snow; no tracks. I checked the side stairs: dog tracks. They went to the street. Ahhh, damn.
Went back inside, put on boots, and tromped around the neighborhood tweeting like a bird. Nothing. Dead silence. Up the block, down, down the hill, wondering if I’d have to head back to the creek; he loves it there. He could have picked up the trace of a squirrel, followed it down to the Falls, tumbled over the icy precipice.
JASPER I shouted. Nothing. I whistled: too-tweet.
I went back to the house to get in the car and drive around. As I came around the corner he came trotting up the steps. He looked at me: what? I looked at him: you dog. His ears went down and he looked away, then looked at me out of the corner of his eyes.
The most important conversations you have with your dog are silent movies.
Well, I don’t know what then was, because (G)Nat came over to announce she was really excited because tomorrow was Pearl Harbor Day, and there would be a special class project. She seemed a little too giddy. I called up a YouTube video and she sat in my lap and watched grainy archival footage. (Kids today: she reached over and clicked the full-screen button. I didn’t teach her that.) She grew silent.
It makes me worry that the Japanese will attack Minnesota, she said.
I said they were our friends now.
Because after we won the war we gave them a government where they could elect their own leaders, and now they’re a democracy and we get along just fine. They won’t attack us.
What about China? she said. No wait, they won’t attack us. Then they couldn’t sell us toys and stuff.
(Wow.) Yes, that’s so.
Your dad was alive in Pearl Harbor time, right?
Yes. He was 15. He joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
Was he in wars?
Good thing he wasn’t killed in the wars.
Good thing. Because then there wouldn’t have been me, and there wouldn’t have been you.
She nodded, snuggled into my chest, and said: Thank you, Grandpa.
Then she snapped out of it, reached over, typed TITANIC into the search box. I chose a video that looked safe – a slide show of Titanic pictures. It had some stills from the movie with Leo and Kate looking romantic.
Yuk! she said. Inappropriate!
I didn’t teach her that word. Couldn’t help but laugh. Honey, given the circumstances, that was about as appropriate as it gets. But all in good time.
Time for some Christmas music:
My nylons are swingin’ by the chimney with much care / but what I’m wiggin’ for can’t fit . . . there. It's a crazy mixed-up Beatnik Christmas, daddy-o!
And now the Diner, with the complete national (!) radio half-hour broadcast of your host and Mr. Mark Steyn. The iTunes version is here, and I mention that with the usual pointless request to subscribe. The MP3 version is right here below in new Box.net format. It’s downloadable. It's also 60MB, because this is a 45 minute Diner.
Ahhhh, Friday. See you at buzz.mn.
And if you don't mind: buy the book. Please? Thanks!