Tuesday, 8:29 AM. Everyone got sick after I took Gnat to the doctor. It was just an annual checkup, and as a lovely parting gift someone gave her the common cold. Wife got it Friday. It hit me Monday morning. Congestion I don’t mind - there’s something cathartic and satisfying about disposing of the glot, preferably as noisy as possible. No, it’s the fuzziness I hate. The inability to get your brain out of neutral. The desire for a nap at 8:33 AM.

This is going to be a very long day.

But, by way of comparison, at least I have it to enjoy. Bob Hope, on the other hand, is dead. America liked him, so the tabloid headlines will say “Bob Hope’s Brave Last Days.” If we didn’t like him, they would have been “sad” last days.

I’ll leave the eulogies to those who can do them right; I’m not the man for the job. In my Voluminous Collection of Stuff there’s very little Hope; perhaps he shows up in two or three ads in Life magazine as a spokesman for greeting cards or wrapping-paper tape. I’m sure he did a Chesterfield ad at some point; who didn’t? Hello, I’m Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, and I rely on my voice to spread the good word. That’s why I drag the thick, brackish smoke of an unfiltered Chesterfield down my windpipe 200 times a day.

Speaking of which, why was I surprised to find out that Shatner smoked? That video clip I linked to last week had Kirk working that cig big time.

9:43 So Madonna will be the Gap spokeshag this fall. She’s part of a campaign to make everyone wear corduroy. Apparently the new management of Gap has bet the farm on corduroy, a fabric noted for making a skirr skirr skirr sound when you walk - if your legs are too big, which they won’t be, because Madonna will not let fat people wear clothes she’s promoting. She will show up at your house and say “toike ‘em awf, naw” in that Long-Island / English accent she has these days.

Did it occur to anyone that people do indeed think of Madonna when they think “Gap,” but only in the sense that they also think of David Letterman?

At the mall Saturday afternoon we passed a big sign in the Express window; it advertised “Recklessly Sexy Jeans.” Sounds to me like “jeans that make you sleep with anyone after a couple of shots of Captain Morgan.” Might as well infuse the pants with clamydia; saves time.

10:04 AM Cough drops. They do soothe the throat, yet the effect is somehow underwhelming. No one ever says “oh, thank God for that cough drop. Now I’m ready to take on the world!”

10:12 AM Note that you should be a more attentive parent: when you look up from the keyboard, you note that your daughter has removed her diaper and pants and is standing on a chair with her face 1/4” from the TV screen.

You know what I miss? Smoking when you have a cold. For some reason they just tasted better.

12:39 PM Diet Vanilla Coke. Just tried my first. One eleven to go. Why will I drink every one? Because I’d feel silly pouring them down the drain.

1:17 PM Wow: double Instapundit mention, back to back. He takes Target to task for not having enough clerks at the check-out area; I too have wished they could have more, but that’s because I hate to wait, period. The Target I visit weekly never has more two people in line at any time; they open and close down lines to meet demand. Perhaps it’s the corporate effect - the closer you are to Target HQ, the better the service. I’m sure it sucks in Peru.

3:21 PM Sitting in a Starbucks in the distant suburbs, that arid repressive wasteland where the tender shoots of art and culture find naught but sandy soil. I’m waiting for Gnat’s gym class to conclude. Rolled over to the nearby mall to get some stuff at Target (no more than two people waiting per line) and was accosted, in a kindly fashion, by a guy manning a kiosk. Would I like to take part in a movie survey? Why yes, I would. The sign said “Get Paid for Your Opinion,” and I was curious what my opinion was worth on the open market.

I was asked my views on various actors; I knew all but one. Jack Black? Love 'em. Viggo? An airhead and a lousy painter, but just the man for the Lord of the Rings movies. Two thumbs up! Then I was polled on some upcoming movies - I was 2 for four, which was unnerving; I usually know this stuff. I know a great deal about movies - what’s tanking, what’s opened wide, what’s in turnaround, what the buzz is. I don’t see any of them, but I am well-versed. It’s my version of fantasy baseball.

The survey concerned Jack Black’s new movie, The School of Rock. I was shown a 30 second trailer, then quizzed on the details. The trailer begins with Black in scruffy loser mode, getting fired by his band. Then - by the oddest twist of fate - he finds himself as a teacher in a stuffy English boarding school, teaching preternaturally clever children! At this point I turned on the movie completely, but I enjoyed the last scene - a long-shot of Mr. B doing an Angus impersonation on stage to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

Now, the questions. How likely was I to see the movie? Not very. What did I think of Jack Black, scale of one to five? One! He's America's premier funnyman! What did I think of Joan Cusack? Didn’t even recognize her; she's in the movie? She doesn't make out with Jack, does she? Ew. Five. How would I describe the film?

This part didn't involve checking off a box; the guy had several lines to fill out, and he wanted a specific response. So I said exactly what the marketing people wanted to hear:

“Lovable, Belushi-like loser Jack Black finds himself kicked out of his band and down on his luck - but then things start looking up when he ends up as a fish out of water in a world he never made: a stuffy boarding school where he teaches students and teachers how to loosen up and party down.” Pause; wait for the kid to stop scribbling. He's done. Drive in the knife: “Hilarity ensues.”

"This is the best survey I have done all day," the kid said.

“Don’t I get paid?” I asked.

“Uh, actually, no.”

“So you get paid for my opinion.”

“Well, yeah,” he grinned, sheepish.

Back to the car; chugged six aspirin to get the fever down. Don’t worry; they were children’s aspirin. You can’t just buy ten aspirin - you have to pop for 300, and I don’t plan to need 298 aspirin between now and them time I get home.

A naked woman just walked into Starbucks. Sort of. She’s wearing a black swimsuit, and some diaphanous pants, which are soaking wet. And might I add: she’s a brick. House. This would not be unusual if there was, oh, I don’t know, an ocean a few blocks away instead of a grocery store.

The speakers above just kicked into Squeeze’s “Pulling Mussels from the Shell” - haven’t heard that tune in years. Yes, the suburbs: dull, artless expanse of repression and conformity. Did I mention that the kid who poured my coffee noted my Stephen King book and went off on a little disquisition on Stanley Kubrick’s vision of The Shining vs. the book vs. the remake? All dullards out here. Sitcoms & pimple-popping, that’s all they do.

Don’t look forward to the drive home - it’s all “surface streets,” as they’re called - the highways are complete screwed due to a major reconstruction. This metro area has a two-lane beltway in some areas, and I think this year they’re . . . repairing the shoulders, or perhaps widening the median. God forbid they should build more lanes; people would just drive on them instead of taking the train. Not that there are any trains. But there should be.

Now, just to be a true suburbanite, I am going to get in my car, which is parked outside of Starbucks, and drive it to the other end of the strip mall to pick up Gnat. Hah! Die, ANWAR caribou! Die!

Oh, crikey, I have radio to do today. Urg. I’m going to blow, I just know it. More slack quasi-blogging tomorrow; stay tuned.

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