I had to change a password at work today. This is mandatory; you have to change your passwords every so often because of Security. If the hackers had your last one, why, they’ll never be able to get the next one. Curses! The password was horsebrickmagnet12, and now it doesn’t work. No chance it could be horsebrickmagnet13; won’t even waste time trying.

The password I entered to change my password did not work. I don’t know why. It just didn’t. I couldn’t see what I had entered, because ********* went in the field, to foil the invisible hacker standing behind me in the gazebo at home. I tried again and again, and finally something worked. I changed my password to something else. Went back to the main screen. Tried the new password. Didn’t work.

At least I thought it was the new password. Of course when I had entered the new one it came up as ***********.

So I called help desk. I hate calling help desk. Usually I am help desk, but this system - I don’t know what it is. Aside from the spiky hate-waves it seems to give off towards the user, like most corporate systems. The user is presumed guilty unless otherwise proven. In this system you have to log in before you can log in, if that makes any sense. So every time I have a problem with my main login, the one that has to be changed every 37 hours or HACKERS WILL BRING DOWN THE SYSTEM, I have to explain which password I want changed, and every - bleeding - time the wrong one gets changed.

I think it took longer to get the piece into the system than it took to write it.

But I got it in, then sat back to await the return of Daughter. “Be enthusiastic,” I told the dog. “She’ll want to know you remember her.” And he did, with great tail-thumping and face-licking and paws raised in that cute hallo he has. He did not bark. He barks very little. Jasper always barked when you came back, and it had an edge to it, as if he was irritated you’d vanished. As if he’d made his peace with your absence, and now here you come waltzing in, expecting to be master of the pack again. Well there’s been some changes around here, pal.

Scout is much more relaxed, although still a puppy. Today he ate a flip-flop; I scolded him as I took it out of his mouth, but thought “might as well let him chew on the other one.” But that sends a bad message. He dug out dried moss from a pot, which made him look like he had a mouthful of some giantess’ pubic hair. (There’s a curse: By Juno’s Public Hair!) Turned around the backyard to see him trotting around with a huge ornamental flower in his mouth; don’t tell the wife. And he continues to drag a stuffed animal around and practice the kill-bite on the neck, hoping perhaps for the rich gush of hot blood.

DAD. DON’T SAY THAT, I can imagine her saying.

Well, it’s true.


#notalldogs could be a hashtag, I suppose, but yes, all dogs. Anyway, she dind't say that.

Speaking of daughter: actual conversation.

Daughter (singing) Jolene, Jolene, Jolene Jolene

Me: Google “Jolene Dolly Parton slowed down.”

Good to have her back. Felt like a tooth had been extracted.

Other notes of the day: consumed by insects. Skeeters are numerous. Got two of those inexplicable bites you call Spider Bites, the ones that get very red and do not subside. Also was bit on both legs by something that caused two enormous welts, one of which resembled post-Soviet Russia in shape AND size, and the other that formed the shape of a Coke bottle. It was as if I’d been possessed and was manifesting 20th century iconography.

Looked around for some salve, because that’s what you put on these things. Salve. Dad’s term: put some salve on that. I found some anti-itch cream, and the good news is we’re obviously not an itchy family. The bad news is that it expired in May of 2009. So I must remember, next time I go to Target. SALVE.

If I go to Target.

There’s a bit of a controversial statement, no? Where else would I go?

But. An article in the WSJ yesterday about the in-fighting that got the CEO booted made an interesting point I’d long felt, but not quite realized: the fun is gone. The new products, the emphasis on good design, the nimble merchandising, the innovation - it’s not there anymore. I’ve been a faithful Target shopper for years, because it’s the hometown store, and it had a different vibe. But I just realized that’s gone.

I mean, here’s the summer sign. Yawn.

Of course I will still go, because Saturday shopping means joshing with Dale and Linda the Samples Lady and the other folk who know me by name; you can’t underestimate how little things like that make you feel part of a community. They’re invaluable. They’re necessary. but man, there’s an opportunity here for Wal-Mart. A new line of stores that doesn’t have the unfortunate connotation of internet photos of morbidly obese men in fishnet stockings pushing a cart full of Vienna Sausages, and isn’t a Sam’s Club (“Where you have to pay to save!”) As I suggested long ago, make it look like a classic 50s grocery store, play Muzak, go heavy on updated mid-century modern style, and find a merchandising mix that has the proprietary appeal of Trader Joe’s with more items, and you’d hit that upscale sweet-spot that wants an integrated experience. My countertop spray is aesthetically connected to my toothpaste tube.

Roll your eyes, but everyone’s house is a clamorous din of brands and design ideas. If I could edit everything down to six types of labels, I’d be happy.

Until then I am miserable!



The weekly round-up of tiny pieces of music used in-between scenes in old radio shows. Why? Because it's a bit of musical ephemera no one else seems to highlight. Maybe for good reason.

Now, this week's batch of "Couple Next Door" cues. They’re back from Europe, and The Wife is dealing with an infant who’s been staying with Grandma for 2 1/2 months. There’s no arc yet, and this must have been a challenging time for Peg; the Grand Tour story, months in the making, was spent, and surely she thought she had to come up with something else. Her genius was accumulating the greater story within small self-contained stories. I’m getting close to the end of the run, and as I understand it the Axe fell when CBS killed all its comedies - a move I suspect was not telegraphed too far in advance.

Anyway: they're starting to introduce new cues! Huzzah.

CND Cue #433 It’s not the most brilliant cue, but I’m certain it’s never been used before. Same goes for . . .

CND Cue #434 This leads me to believe they might be filling up the next 100 shows with a new batch of music. I imagine the producer must have wanted to keep it fresh, and you don't keep it fresh with the same old cues.

Then again, why not? Worked for every TV show in the 60s and 70s.

More X-Minus 1.

X-Minus 1 Cue #53 Not science-fiction at all; commonplace interchangeable walking-down-the-street music. Except there's a robot later.

X-Minus 1 Cue #54 Excitement! Drama! A Gong! And then . . . well, red alert, I guess. Or clowns.

X-Minus 1 Cue #55 I continue to be amazed at how this particular set of library music does so much and accomplishes so little. You rarely hear a snippet of a piece that leaves you hungry for the whole thing.

X-Minus 1 Cue #56 Like this. Pomp & Circumstance for a circus graduation, maybe.

X-Minus 1 Cue #57 George was a mouse. Which explains the meow. I do like this one, even though it's second-rate Looney Tunes music.

X-Minus 1 Cue #58 Presenting the 2147 Cavalier, now with interstellar fluid-space drive!

X-Minus 1 Cue #59 Oh, don’t think we didn’t notice the mercurial Holst lifts here, pal.

X-Minus 1 Cue #60 This is begging to remade, I think. With a better beat, you’ve got something there.


Talk about painful irregularity. Or rather let us not.

Scratchin' it out.

That brings our week to a close again, as is the custom with Fridays. He said, sounding like an imbecile. Go to Startribune.com and scroll down to COLUMNISTS for my latest; you may enjoy it. Hint: Regrettable Food.



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