Took Daughter to Panera for supper, but we had to rush home because I wanted to hear the debate.

“But dad, can’t we have some frozen yogurt? We always have frozen yogurt afterwards. Remember how I always ask, and you say no, and then we drive off and end up there anyway and I’m always surprised, or at least act like I am even though I knew when you turned left there was no other possible destination? It will be a nice shared memory.”

“Sorry; have to see the debate. There will be fireworks! Not literally, although it would be great if they had a Roman Candle duel halfway through. No, there will be tension galore as a nation waits to see if Trump can project a sense of determination that marries passion with a steady temperament, and if he can smile with that sort of confident self-possession and enjoyment of life that people like in their president.”

“What if he rambles and misses golden opportunities to score key points?

“Nothing will happen. His numbers won’t budge.”

“So then why can’t we have frozen yogurt - oh, look, here we are.”

A few thoughts: some people said Trump obviously hadn’t prepped enough, but that wasn’t it. His problem is that he’s a bad debater - at least in the sense of answering points and making your own in a coherent fashion. It’s like watching a tortoise in a jacuzzi getting tossed between various jets.

If you are accused of not paying taxes, saying “the money would have been wasted anyway” is not the most decisive rejoinder.

Hillary Clinton is Charlie Brown’s teacher, if they swapped the muted trumpet for a tenor sax with a wet reed. When she starts talking I just stop listening. I know what she will say and I am not interested in hearing her say it again.

When Trump was accused of saying “climate change” was something invented by the Chinese, he said he didn’t say that. google google . . . ah.


LOL! Doesn’t matter. Anyway: banana flavor frozen yogurt: would anyone complain if it had more banana flavor? I don’t think anyone would complain.

(I wrote this the other day and saved it for a busy night, and that would be this one.)

Daughter said I broke the dog, and that’s how it seemed at the moment. He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t hurt; he just wasn’t doing anything. Scout stood on the bed on stiff legs and looked at me with an expression of confusion: I do not know what just happened.

We had been playing - fighting, really, because that’s what he requires after dinner or after the walk. He want to tussle. He comes to my studio, says things, puts a paw on my leg, barks: come on come ON, and when I get up he runs to the bedroom and jumps on the bed and AH HAH it is on. He feints and growls and play-bites, careful not to exert an ounce of pressure. No nips. I push him, he lunges; I toss him a few feet, he bolts forward. Great dog fun, and a signal that the evening’s pack activity is underway after a day of slumbering in the den. Tonight I put him in a hold - right arm around his neck, loosely, left arm under his belly. He froze.

I waited for him to shake it off and give me the business, but he was completely still. Mind you, I wasn’t squeezing him; I’m not stupid. I love my dog and I want his life to be happy. I let go. He did not move. At all. He stood on the bed, looking at me, stunned: what. the hell. was that.

Called Daughter to come in and engage him; when she entered the room he did not move. She tried to get him to react to some play-feints; nothing. He was like a statue.

YOU BROKE THE DOG, she said. I left the room, thinking he would follow.


After a minute he shook it off and came back to my studio to start it all over again. I have no idea why that hold was so effective - there doesn’t seem to be any maternal analogue, because a mama dog can’t do what I did to quell a pup in need of instruction. It was as if I’d come up with some king-hell Alpha move previously thought to be the Stuff of Legend - or I had violated some understanding, some ancient compact. It was agreed your people would not do that. It brings great shame upon my kind.

Oh, dog emotions. How we transfer and ascribe and assume and misread. They don’t feel guilt, it’s all a reaction to our body language and tone of voice. But again: he stole a brat from a plate. It was on the counter, saved for Wife to have after tennis. When I saw the empty plate I simply held it out, with no scowl or hunched shoulders or any words. Just showed him the plate. He slunk, like the cur he is, behind the table. Came out after a minute and I was still holding the horrible, damning plate. Came over and sat down . . . and put up a paw. Please. Okay? Please?

We took a walk that night, past the field where the high school was playing soccer. Warm night for late September. Everything, still green. One of those early fall - no, no, late summer nights where 7:30 is doing a reasonable imitation of June at 9:30, and the streetlights are hidden behind the thick leaves of the trees. Groups of teens in the parking lot, on the lawn - girls talking in counterpoint, guys bellowing taunts. We walk towards the playground, and you can see into people’s houses. A duplex - one side has a room with too much light, a table piled with STUFF. The mirror-image living room on the other side has muted light and a clean uncluttered decor. The next house has an elaborate wooden built-in around the fireplace; wine bottles on the mantle. An odd choice. Why would they -

- but the leash pulls, because the dog is on the scent, and you head down the street. At a small commercial node some employees are closing up the store. We pass one of those Little Free Libraries; it has a string of holiday lights around its base, and I wonder where the cord goes.

I can’t remember walking this route with Jasper Dog. It’s possible I never did. We went South, to the creek. With Scout, I go north. This was not a conscious decision.

Jasper used to jump up on the bed to play as well, although he was not the fighter Scout is. His joy was jumping up, then off, then up, then off. When he was capable of that, I mean. At some point he couldn’t, and we’d help him up on the bed, and then after a while we would lift him up. And then he didn’t come upstairs anymore. Half the world was closed to him. He was always a worried dog; I wonder if he ever noticed how things no longer bothered him as much as they had. The passersby, the brazen squirrels. His hearing left him, but his nose? Surely it still told tales.

Well, now I’m outside and Scout is running around the yard smelling something that has him on DefCon 5, and it’s a wonder he can move at all after what he did. Eating a brat is one thing. But he ate half a large pizza that was sitting on the counter. Eating 2/3rds of one half had made me feel like Mr. Creosote; I cannot imagine how he got all that pizza into him, but he did. Wife came home from work to get her share of the weekend pie, and called from downstairs: where is the pizza? And I knew: it was in the dog.

He went to the door and stared out the door and would not respond to anything we said. There was no begging for forgiveness, no outward signs of guilt. He just stared out the door. I let him out. He went to the grass and laid there in the cool grass, unable to follow the taunting strands of rabbit-aroma on the light night breeze. His reward had been his punishment. He broke himself.

It's The Richard Boone Show, from 1963. Class all the way:


Richard Boone hosted the series and starred in about half of the episodes, garnering an Emmy nomination for himself and a Golden Globe award for the show. His repertory company of 15 actors included up-and-comers such as Guy Stockwell and Robert Blake as well as such established performers as Bethel Leslie (who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance in the series), Warren Stevens and Harry Morgan. They rotated parts freely; each appeared in most episodes, and each starred in at least one. The regular writers included Clifford Odets.

Impressive. So what happened?

It was up against Petticoat Junction, that's what.






The last of the domestic vignettes:


I'm sure he did, but what happened?

The eye goes to her words first, since they're higher, and the hat indicates they're important. So it's as if she's spoiling his news before he has the chance to tell her.

Righto! No more drudgery. Well, easier drudgery. Maybe tonight you'll wear the really red lipstick? The shade you said only whores wore? C'mon I got a raise


SO SHE GOT HER WASHER, but the imbecile doesn't know why it can't emwhiten the clothes. Perhaps her husband will figure out the problem. You know, the guy who never does laundry.

Silly girl:

Now I remember! I forget things. But that's all right, isn't it, John? The doctor said it will pass.

(Tom fights back tears, not wanting to correct her)


Next week: Tom thinks it's funny because of the laundry situation to say that whole no-tickee no-shirtee thing:


Recommended by 34 washer-makers. There were that many? Which ones would be iconoclastic enough not to endorse it?

From the same mid-30s magazine, this peculiar name:

The tiresome phrase "face for radio" occurs to you, perhaps. It doesn't mean that. It means this stuff is really, really modern and scientific - and it has the glamor of radio, too! It's like "Radio Flyer" wagons, or "Radio Cleaners" for laundromats. It was the Cyber of its day.

Although they never made Cyber Girl Face Powder. For good reasons.

That'll do; enjoy your Tuesday. I have every intention of doing so myself.



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