Afternoon notes:

From benevolent fifties a few days ago to an utterly mean Monday - pallid sun and strange, empty lawns. Not many leaves: everyone raked them up because the city won’t haul them away after Friday. The trees are bare, of course; as I noted elsewhere, we went from a world of ochre and umber to nothing in a day. No snow: concrete and asphalt. It’s the worst part of November; you want it all to start. If it’s going to be cold, then snow. If it’s going to snow, then snow a lot; no one wants to see those crusty little patches here and there.

At least the dishwasher will be installed today, and a fortnight of hand-washing - O the indignity - will end. It’s a Bosch, a machine that sounds like gushing water. I’m not crazy about the front-panel aesthetics, but at least the controls aren’t mounted on the inside, where, as Yoda might say, dampness leads to shorting, and shorting leads to suffering. I expect there will be problems with the install. It will be the wrong size. Too high. Too wide. I measured, but I’m just saying that nothing these days seems to sail smoothly; contrusions pile up like sheets of ice after the Ship of Fate has plowed its prow through at 20 knots. (“Ship of Fate” capitalized to acknowledge bad writing.)

The computer? The hard drive isn’t bad, they said. They ran tests! Lots of test. Long, long, tests. Supposedly I’ll get the machine back tonight, which means another trip to Southdale, and another slog from the store through the mall through Penney’s, where at least there aren’t throngs of people to navigate. It does mean a stroll past the enormous smiling holiday face in the Sephora store, reminding you of the imminence of MERRY and SEASON and HAPPY, something only hinted at by the sparse decorations in the mall and the occasional song you catch from the speakers, and immediately let go. The other night I heard, in succession, two of my least favorite songs:

“We Need a Little Christmas.” I associate it with 2001, when the sentiment was true, but not one of the versions ever hit me where I lived - and besides, if it’s a little Christmas we need, why do we always get so much, so soon?

“The Man with the Bag.” It got a revival during the swing / lounge period of the middle-late 90s, and has a finger-popping cool-daddy-o hipster vibe, what with Santa now being the “man with the bag.” It annoys me. At this point they all annoy me, except perhaps “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which has a homely humble decent air suitable for wintry recollection. Except it’s not even winter, let alone the middle of it.

Well, off to let the dishwasher installers in. Let us hope.


5:00 PM The dishwasher was supposed to be replaced between four and six. It is five. The computer was supposed to be ready by tonight; still hopeful.


5:40, or twenty minutes until the delivery window closes. This means he’ll be grunting down there through the dinner hour. I expected that the four-to-six window meant it would be done by six.

I’m predicting the doorbell will ring at 5:59.


Phone tang at 5:51. Turns out the window is 4 to 6:30! To which I bray CODSWADDLE.. CODSWADDLE OF THE GREATEST MAGNITUDE.


Installation underway. Mood of team: 50% glowering hated of life, 50% cheery enough.


Must readjust opinion of one of the guys, who’s just brusque but quick to warm to slightly less brusqueness with a broad undertone of we’re-all-in-this-together if you pass certain tests, which apparently I did.



“Sir? Did you order a dishwasher in white?”

Hmm. No. “Aluminum.”

“Well the one we have is white.”

“That’s unfortunate.”

They ordered the wrong one, and so now we have a big hole in the counter with no dishwasher.

Off they go to correct the issue - tomorrow, Wednesday, whenever o’clock - and I head back upstairs to my office. The computer screen is grey.

The computer is unresponsive.

Reboot. Nothing. Flames of fury and wails of despair; I’d just finished two hours of work and hadn’t backed it all up. Try to reinstall an old OS: Disk is locked and damaged. This is an exact repeat of what happened before to the other machine. The Exact. Same. Thing.

But! Now I have a bootable drive for the latest OS, and I slap it in the shoe and coax the machine back to consciousness. I get everything I’d done that afternoon. So there’s that.

Drive to store and buy a fargin’ loaf of bread because it’s fargin’ pasta night

After dinner the Apple store calls, and they have my computer all ready to go. I drive to the store and get it. Turn it on using an old keyboard and an ancient mouse. Halfway through the set-up process the mouse stops working. I try it on two other computers. Dead. As a dormouse. Get the mouse I bought for my wife to use at home with her laptop, complete the setup, and start transferring stuff. There is light ahead; we’re going to be back in the groove before the day’s over and tomorrow will start anew hurrah.

I should note that later I learned my wife has a flat tire, but you wouldn’t believe me. Monday.



This was written last week and there’s not much in the way of Product and I’ll be switched if I can muster the appropriate botheration about that at the moment.


The cows who stand erect are having a discussion about family nomenclature:

Of course, Elmer blows a gasket, but not because he fears his son will be yclept Fauntleroy or something equally effete, but because Borden’s paying for the name, and he doesn’t want Elsie to uproot the money tree.

You get a sense of his shame here. Why do you suppose I - I mean you. To everyone else he’s the Big Bull who has Borden’s right where he wants ‘em; tells everyone he made Borden come up with some nice long green for the contest, but in truth it was Elsie’s idea, and he has to admit it.

At least he catches himself. Not that she’d care. She doesn’t care what he thinks about anything, because he’s on a Hemo high, as usual, and he’ll crash in front of the fire after dinner and fall asleep.

I wonder if she set him up with the glue division, or whether that was his own idea. I’d like to think it was Elmer’s.



Behold the peas that the butter defies!

Banquet - the very name has become associated with horrible frozen slabs of gut-mush. It began in 1953, and was sold in 1970 to . . . RCA. Again, the Age of the Conglomerates. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the Radio Corporation of America to buy frozen dinners, unless they wanted a tie-in with the TV division, but that seems tenuous. They also bought Hertz, a carpet company, and a greeting card company, among others, and according to Wikipedia the wags called RCA “Rugs, Chicken and Automobiles.”

Yes, the wiki entry called them “wags.” An archaic term, but a useful one.




A bygone mouthwash:

See, the problem is caused by too many fonts.

It was introduced n 1961, and soon became the #2 oral antiseptic behind Listerine. So Proctor and Gamble brought out Scope, which also tasted better than Listerine, and b y 1978 Micrin had 1 percent of the market, and limped away to the Brand Boneyard.

One of the guys who did market research for the brand ended up starting the Manhattan Transfer.



Herman was one of your wider Americans:

The Tennessee Terror! The Poet Laureate of the Little Smokies! Football player, professional wrestler, after-dinner speaker. Head coach at Yale. Had it all going for him, and keeled over at the age of 45 in 1958.

Robt. Burns cigars are made by General Cigar, one of the few companies with an old-style name that sounds like a trust. (They’re owned now by . . . Swedish Match.)



The phrase “Nomis Seaburgers” yields no google results. Until now.s

Something new to eat! That's the sort of thing you say if the modern palate is used to about six o seven dishes. Ten, tops.

Please excuse the weak offering. Things have been . . . strained around here, but all will be fine soon.

I appreciate your patience.








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