I plan to turn today’s events into a column, so I cannot tell you the exciting tale of washer/drier delivery. I can tell you about purchasing the unit, which was quite exciting. No - wait, I did that last week. And it wasn’t exciting at all! Shoot.

Well, we did learn a new term: telescoping downdraft vent. That’s the vent that rises up from the back of the oven with the push of a button. It was so cool when we moved in. Over the last few years it’s gotten a bit sclerotic, no doubt from unspeakable quantities of gunk that’s gotten into its gears. Gear gunk. We all have it.

Since that’s the vent for the oven, it either stays or is replaced. Various suggestions for changing the venting have included such merry ideas as “rip open the wall and install new ductwork.” Ha ha yes of course. Well, today a chipper and highly knowledgeable pair of BestBuy Appliances Specialists came to look at the situation. They had a warning about the teledowning draftscope vent: it is old, and they are expensive these days.

How much?

“You could spend $1200 to $2000 on one.”

Ah, I see, but the thing is, while I could, I won’t. So let’s find another idea.

They’re coming up with suggestions. It’s driving me crazy and we haven’t even begun to do anything. In most situations, one oven slides out and a new one slides in. But this space is custom. Custom is nice but also custom makes everything complicated. Just like people, which are complicated, and unique, and have gear gunk.










Listening to Elvis Costello’s “Unwanted Number,” which is now bound to an address. This place, here, the house I love, for its customosity. The song is now bound to a time: post Christmas, making cookies for the dog, alone in the house because wife and child were in AZ, and I was stomping around in restraining boot because I was . . .


I have mentioned this cartoon character before. I cannot find any reference to him. He was a typical 40s / 50s cartoony Mexican stereotype - sombrero, slight facial hair, glistening skin, corpulent, and mostly concerned with his big throbbing toe. It was so consistently enflamed it became his name.

I do not know if he existed. I don’t know if I dreamed him. I can see him in my mind, on a burro, reclining, moaning. Every cartoon contrived to find a way to hit that throbbing red toe, hard. It was his version of the hatpin up Tom’s butt.

So I was El Soretoe, as I may have mentioned. It lasted almost four weeks. Antibiotics, telemedicine visit, googling new developments and barking a humorless laugh when I saw what I got and what was going to happen.

Well, a nail. But I sang that song for a few days. Asked the telemedicine doc if I should go to a podiatrist to have it removed, and he said no, no point, it’s dead, just take it off.

The high point to the whole experience, I think, was shoveling the walk while wearing a plastic bag around the open-toed restraining boot. Or maybe stomping around the block in the dark while walking Birch, wanting to burst into song:

Note: I stole that reference from Jeremy the Dark Chef, who was hobbled after a medically-induced coma following an attack of pancreatitis, and lurched around with a cane for some time. He came to the house for a party and did that Peter Boyle yowl as he hobbled in through the back gate, and it was one of the funniest moments I’ve ever experienced. When I do it now I want to credit him, but that doesn’t mean anything to anyone who doesn’t know him.

The last time I saw him was a banquet where P. J. O’Rourke was speaking. I really didn’t expect to see him there. I talked about inviting him back to join the Diner. He always seemed up for it. It never happened.

I wonder how he’s doing.

The last radio show we did together, Elvis Costello was the theme music.

So, technically a TV Tuesday, but also radio.



It’s 1958.

What a beaut, some would say. What a brute, say others.

I think everything about everything in that shot is fantastic.


“Magic Touch.”

As we all knew, these things seized up easily, and if you eventually got the lever to move it busted up half the cubes, and left you with E-Z-Melt Shards. Still better than nothing.

How many trayfuls in a load?



Still around, but apparently scant, and they’re not the same.

The stylistic influence of cars on outboard motors was one of the coolest things about the 50s and 60s.

The rest of the ad below. Scott-Atwater was a Minneapolis company, something I didn’t know until researching these ads.

Quick! Take the shot while it's perfectly balanced!

  These were the coolest lighters, and I don’t know why they don’t still make them. Scripto lapped Zippo on this one. They had loose dice or fishing lures in the tank. Too cool. And obviously used by big-city urban sophisticates.


Also, Daughter Indian has some substantial firepower.

Ah, Kar-Rugs. I remember the one that went over the hump.

That dates me, I suppose, inasmuch as I remember the hump in the first place. I also remember that we had some drink coasters in the shape and color of Kar-Mats.

They were never used, because they were special, and apparently no guest rose to the level where they'd earn the privilege.

That should suffice; see you around.



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