Confession: the picture above makes me somewhat sad.

I know, I know. Everything does. Boo-hoo the lost golden era of manly certainties, and so on. But yes, boo-hoo the lost golden era of manly certainties, and so on. Not that these things were necessarily true, but that they were held out as an ideal. There’s a seriousness to that image - which I think sells motor oil, or combs; I can’t recall. Look at it: the trees are bare, because the fripperies have been pared away from life, the summertime seductions put away with other childish things. Lessons are being taught. Not shared. No one is exchanging feelings about math or rockets. If the kids bring anything to the discussion, it’s a question: sorry if I didn’t understand you, sir, but I’m not sure how the transistors trigger the attitude thrusters automatically without input from the astronaut or the computer.

That’s an excellent question. Mr. Johnson. Would anyone here care to speculate on how changes in atmospheric pressure might affect a relay?

The teacher is also serious, because he is a man teacher who is teaching young men, and they need seriousness. Otherwise they stay boys. It’s no skin off his nose if they do; if they fail to meet life’s challenges, it’s their choice. If they find themselves in a war, they will grow up fast or not at all. But if they want to make something of themselves, then they need to know the importance of getting these things into space ahead of the Russians, and maintaining dominance here and aloft.

These are life-and-death issues.

Alas, it would all end as these things do: with disco and its opposite force, gravity.


Next week we begin the seasonal stuff. I have so much.





Confession: I like Jingle Pixie.

He’s the standard-issue 50s sprite we’ve had around the house for years, and at first his alarmingly wide-eyed cheerful expression suggested the sort of mania that results in spree-killing, or soul-sucking mischief in league with dark lords. I always forget about Jingle Pixie until I find him in the Christmas decorations, and then I start posing him around the house to surprise my daughter. Or at least I did. This year she got the drop on me, and send me this:


Because he likes to play with knives. Note that the finish has come off the handle on the knife. It’s a Kitchenaid. Had it for less than a year. I wonder what sort of corporate decision was made there: “gentlemen, the studies are complete. The money we save using a lousy, substandard paint on the knives, plus the number of customers we gain with the attractive price point, coupled with our venerable name, will offset the customers we lose forever. All in favor of downgrading our quality to the level of something that really belongs at the Dollar Store, say Aye.”

Anyway. I put Jingle Pixie on the stairs to surprise her - or rather, provoke a reaction of feigned surprise, with a conflicting internal dynamic that balanced “I’m not a kid anymore” with quiet happiness at an old silly tradition - but he seemed to belong there. At ease. Happy to be hanging around. Now I put him someplace different every day. He’s part of the family tradition, like Jasper’s reindeer ears, and my ratty old Santa hat.

Busy day. Blogged a bit, did a test run in the new studio for my upcoming talk show - with a genuine real serious studio, you’ll love it - finished a column, did a half an hour on the Hewitt show about Christmas music, napped, woke, went to the store, and WAS IRRITATED BY THIS BRAND NAME.


Really? YOU DO NOT SAY. I REEL BACK IN AWE AT THE AUDACITY OF YOUR ASSERTION. I’m tired of buying chips from “Food Should Taste Like Recycled Car Tires,” and am so desperately relieved to discover a company that believes food should not trigger a gag reflex the moment it touches the tongue.

Between these guys and Pirate’s Booty - every time I see that speech balloon that says “Thar Be Good” I want to find the people who designed the bag and tell them how I bought a bag of that crap in 2002 at the deli on the ground floor of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, because I was looking for a low-cal snack, and I couldn’t believe how bad it was, basically thar be liquified balsa wood, whipped and flash-dried - the trip to the snack aisle is something of a trial. Steel yourself, lad. You will find marketing ploys aimed at persons other than yourself. Breathe in. Breathe out. Master the fury. Channel it.

Okay, that'll do. I think it's been a good week at the Bleat; a good week all around. Forward! As they say. See you around.

PS New 20s ads! Enjoy.













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