Every day has mysteries great and small. Why are we here? Are we alone in the cosmos? Does anyone understand the calorie counts of microwave popcorn? What did the dog just eat?

In the third question, I’d say no. The instructions always give the calorie content for unpopped, as if people are ripping open the bags and shoving hard kernels in their maize-hole. Sometimes they tell you how many cups the kernels will make, but no one thinks of popcorn in terms of a cup, because that’s about 12 pieces of popcorn. And then there’s servings per bag. It’s deliberatively obfuscating.

As for what the dog ate, I found him with a plastic bag this morning, and had no idea what it was until 14 hours later, when the sequence of daughter’s morning was revealed. I overslept and missed seeing her off. Wife had taken the plastic bag of salami out of the fridge and put it on the counter for daughter to take. Daughter declined to take it. Dog was happy to help out with that. When I found him with the bag he was surrounded by the shredded remains of a cereal box I had put on the counter. Later, a pencil. But that’s not bad. Yesterday he was working on a small can of wet dog food. Tomorrow it will probably be a AAA battery.

Speaking of whom, pupdate. He is addressing the convocation of winter ghosts, apparently.

As usual on Thursday, I’m spent. The day has lots of yakking and duties and another column to write, although I suppose I could do it in the afternoon tomorrow like a normal working person. I am technically on vacation, which meant I was home all day again. Just me and the dog. He decided we would spend a lot of time together, and wanted to play. He only wants to play with me, because I play rough. He jumps up on the bed and pounces and I push him away and he pounces again and I push him with enough force to loft him, and it’s gahhhhh rowrr happy times, except he can’t bite. With other dogs, of course, there’s play biting, but you can’t do that with Alpha or say NO and walk away. So if he does bite he stops and looks away and then immediately licks my hand. Then it’s come-at-me-dude again.

It’s good to have company around the house, though. Someone to talk to, someone to worry about. Like an interesting friend you have in your 20s, the occasional destruction does not detract from the pleasure of his company.

Put up more lights. Can you believe it? This late? But this is the Ruined Christmas until a few days ago. Now it looks as if Father-in-law is not only going to make it but have some faculties; he was able to speak and count today, which no one expected. Long road ahead but now we see it disappearing over the hills, not stopping at a cliff.

So all the lights are up. Daughter made cookies and the house has that warm sugar smell. Shopping this weekend, wrapping on Saturday. Time, I think, to load the Xmas playlist onto the iPod.

Why, Christmas might be saved after all.

Finished Serial. Don’t read on if you haven’t caught up. As expected, there was no resolution. How about that! Twelve eps, a nationwide craze, and it ends like the first season of “The Killing” except the main characters shrug and say “guess we’ll never know.” True to the rest of the eps, there’s whipsawing between condemnatory and exculpatory anecdotes, with a late-in-the-game character stepping in add some details that seemed to seal what I always thought: the guy did it. A bushy-haired stranger makes an appearance towards the end, and he might as well have been named Rhett Hahring.

As a piece of storytelling, it succeeded, inasmuch as it had a commanding central character - the narrator, the journalist - and enough threads to make you wonder where it was going, but when you stop and think “this was based almost entirely on the recollection of people who were teenagers in the late 90s” you realize that much of the “doubt” was simply due to people having the memories of, well, teenagers, and how much of the questionable evidence was simply the sort of thing that happens when outsiders wander into an old battlefield and try to piece together the shards of a bombshell.

What next? There’s going to be another season, and they can’t repeat the inconclusive ending. Unless the theme for the show is now “old murders where questions are raised,” in which case there will be no third season. They might be interesting hour-long prime-time network documentaries, but it’ll be hard to make people want to commit to 12 weeks of drawn-out investigation when they know the end result is shrugged shoulders and the narrator’s “gut feeling” described over gradually swelling theme music.

Yulification: Tiny letters assure you that your eye are not fooling you. Why that is the Captain.

Or the Cap'n.



Just so you know, there aren 't 500 cues in total. There have been repeats. I don't think there's any more than, oh, 460.

CND Cue #502 Such a busy day. But an efficient one, you suspect.

CND Cue #503 The dread of Noctural Time, passing with slow but deliberate speed.

CND Cue #504 It never ceases to astonish me: now and then I know I'm hearing one of these for the first time. And, I suppose, so are you.

Now, the inexhaustible Gunsmoke Variations.

Gunsmoke Cue #43 Music for the Marshall to leave a bottle by.

Gunsmoke Cue #44 Gunsmoke, or Marlboro. Your call.

Gunsmoke Cue #45 More of that strange broad shiny music; not very western.

Gunsmoke Cue #46 This cue gets up out of the chair and sits right down again.

Gunsmoke Cue #47 Sometimes you think the cues are compensating for the fact that the TV show was much more popular.

Gunsmoke Cue #48 Another cue I swear was written by one of the Star Trek incidental music composers.

Who'd be a great national group to push this product?

The French. Of course!

That's it for the week - hope you enjoyed it. Oh - why don't you go read my newspaper column here? Thanks.



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