So what's this Bleat-art all about? Two potent pictures full of the life of the times, from the Minneapolis House Furnishings ("Widows and Orphas Protected!") on the left, by Curly's show bar, to the streetcars and the snarled traffic, to the door in the sidewalk on the right.

Just as good a time as ever to announce that I overhauled the Mpls Downtown and Long Gone sections, if you're interested. Nearly every page redone, resized, with apt fonts and breadcrumb navigation. A few gaps here and there, which is why I'm not linking here. The Lakes and the U of M will follow when the weather gets less hideous.

Daughter’s Confirmation required attendance at a Lenten session, and the parents were invited. Fine and dandy. Packed house, and it’s a big church.. Didn’t see Pastor Kurt, who always gives me a Lutheran Hug, which is to say the tips of your pinky fingers touching for half a second, that being the maximum amount of emotion and physical contact with which the culture is comfortable. Ran into the widow of Pastor Bud, the man who baptized me in Fargo, and baptized my daughter forty-two years later in Minneapolis. Great lady. Big hug, despite the strictures of the tribe.

Sermon: Parable of the Prodigal Son. I have to tell you: I get it. But I do not. Yes yes happiness at the return of the one who was thought DEAD, rejoicing at the return to the fold. But the other brother has a point. The pastor explained that the Other Brother did not understand that his father loved him entirely and gave to him everything without condition, at which point I wanted to raise my hand:

Excuse me, rewind that to the point where the son says he never even got a goat to cook when his friends came over, and now you’re giving him the fatted calf?

Because that seems to be a salient point, and suggests a backstory wherein the favored son was indulged, and the dutiful son was held to a higher standard because Dad off-loaded his manliness lessons on the one who wasn’t going anywhere, and needed to toughen up. Golden Boy gets his talents and heads off to the big city to dip his wick and play knuckle-bone gambling games, but the dull son has to stay behind and run the barn. Dull son has his father’s managerial instincts, but his father does not value them as much as he prizes Golden Boy, who represents high-cultural attributes. As the favored son succeeds, so is the father enobled.

So Golden Boy goes off, and time passes, and Dad hears nothing. Assumes the worst. Then one day the son returns, and says in his abject humiliation that he blew all his money on hookers and drink. Dad doesn’t care because he’s glad to see his son again. I get that. I do not get why the dutiful son is the bad guy in this story. He’s making a good point: forgiveness is a noble act, but absolution without consequences is an insult to ME, THE GUY WHO’S BEEN RUNNING THE BARNS. i know, I know, judge not lest ye be judged, but what the hey, judge me, pop. Did I vanish one day with a bag of talents and never write and squander it all? No? Let’s start with that, then. My brother goes to Babylon and gets hammered every night on your dime and we’re having calf for dinner, but I bust my butt every day to make sure the flax gets in the granary and off to market and I don’t get a goat when my friends drop in once a year.

It’s the day after the celebratory banquet I’d like to visit.

Golden Boy to Dutiful Son: I imagine you’re a bit . . . put out.

Dutiful son: Don’t. Even. Start.

Golden Boy: honest, I was fully prepared to work as a slave. I was positively famished.

Dutiful Son: hand me the scythe. No, not that, that. By the grinding stone.

Golden Boy: Father said we should talk.

DS: I think he said it all last night. I suppose you’ll be calling on Sarah once word gets around you’re back.

GB: Oh dear Sarah, I hadn’t thought. How is she? You were sweet on her. I’d have thought you’d have -

DS: She was taken with the fits when you left and would see no one. Her family had her married to Mordechai the money-changer.

GB: That old sot? Sink me. Well, she doesn’t lack for anything, I’m sure.

DS: Nay, nothing but the love of a good man, but what’s that when you’ve pails of myrrh? I’d advise you stay clear.

GB: Is she still comely?

DS: (gritting teeth) Aye.

GB: Perhaps I shall enjoy being home again. You know I do recommend a stint as a slave, it really does give one a new perspective. One gets positively morose.

DS: (whirls around, face aflame) And I imagine that all the rest of the men felt a great pity for you, being the son of a rich man like them, each of you wondering when you’d finally swallow your pride and go home, am I right? Or did they not have the possibility? I can’t imagine you hid your story under a basket. I imagine you left because you heard them discussing which one would have the honor of slitting your throat while you slept.

GB: (sniffs) I got along quite well. They wanted for amusement and I would like to think I provided it.

DS: Oh I am certain that you did, brother, I am certain that you did. So why have you come to the barn?

GB: Father says I am to count the cows. He says that is my duty from now on. Every morn.

DB: There are thirty-two cows. Would you like to know their names?

GB: You name our cows? That’s precious.

DB: Our cows, he says.

GB: I didn’t catch that, brother.

DB: I said they’re our cows, are they.

GB: Well, yes. Ten for you, ten for father, ten for me. Tell me, what do they fetch in the market?

DB: You won’t be -

GB: If they’re all our cows, brother, then some of them are my cows. Oh, don’t look like that. You’ll still have yours. (looks at the ground) (looks up grinning) Sarah had a sister, didn’t she? Young thing when I left but time doth ripen the fruit in its wondrous ways.

DB: Amaranth.

GB: Oh, yes. That was her name.

DB: No.

GB: I’m sorry?

DB: Amaranth is the cow in the far stall there. You might want to visit her and give thanks.

GB: A cow. And why would I wish to do that?

DB: Because you ate her child last night. For your feast. Because all were happy that you had returned. Save one.

GB: Dear brother. Don’t tell me you hold a grudge,

DB: I don’t. It’s not a thing that does a man well. (glares) But if you have an apology in you, tell it to the beast. They listen. They hear much. You’d be glad to know they tell naught.


Just saying the story would be cleaner without the brother.


I know you're crushed to find there's no Lum & Abner Organ Challenge, or whatever I'm calling it. Perhaps next week. And perhaps I'll embed an entire episode, which is the most sustained example of two performers coming close to losing thier on-air composure entirely. It had to be live. If not, they must have trusted themselves not to completely dissolve. I have to study it a bit more to see what set them off.

Anyway, Couple Next Door: music cues from this week. All pretense of not playing repeats has been abandoned.

CND Cue #341This always reminds me of the “Rite of Spring” rhythm, if it was performed by women in housecoats.

CND Cue #342 Just the usual happy ending.

CND Cue #343 I wonder if this fades out before the melody starts because there really isn’t any melody we’re supposed to hear. Just the implication of melody.

CND Cue #344 The last few seconds when you’re holding your breath and can’t take it anymore.

CND Cue #345 I think this is spliced, but possibly not. The Worried-Scurry music.

CND Cue #346 Elegant living!

CND Cue #347 Happy arm-swinging music, with just a little bit of ridicule.


CND Cue #348 Now go back and play 342; I think they’re related. Cousins, at least.

CND Cue #349 And we end the week with my favorite comic theme, this time in Conclusion form.



September 1945 PSA about returning vets.

Don't practice "psychology."


Updates on the right - Patriotica ads, and a NEW COLUMN at the newspaper. Here. (Scroll down to the Columnists pane; when I did this it hadn't posted yet.) Have a grand weekend!




blog comments powered by Disqus