The box of Holiday Jo-Jos was opened yesterday at approximately 8:17 AM, when I prepared my daughter’s lunch. The elements of the lunch were basic, as per request: one slice of cervelat, which is a circle of compressed, minced meat components cinched with a border of intestinal casing. (I do not describe it as such to child.) (My dad liked cervelat, and I remember saying, as a very young lad, “hey, you can serve a lot of cervelat.” This was funny. Once. But I never forgot.) Next component: a ration of Cheez-Its, a dusty cracker named after 1940s slang for “quickly vacate the premises.” Next: a bag of fruit - in this case, blackberries. Finally, a Holiday Jo-Jo. This was the “treat” portion, replacing last week’s special treats: tiny medallions of chocolate embossed with the picture of the Eurodam, a vessel in the Holland America Line. I always save my pillow chocolates for her. I also brought home some tea from the buffet, because A) sometimes she likes tea, and B) THERE’S JUST SO MUCH FREE TEA, and I always think I wonder if I would take extra tea for home if I had $40 million. I can’t resist. Those tiny metal containers of jam you get with room service? In the luggage. One morning I must have taken a container of honey and put it in my beach shorts, because when the laundry was done after I came home the shorts were stiff with leaked honey. From a bee to a California packer to a ship off the Virgin Islands to Minnesota, ending up dissolved under running water. There’s no point apologizing to bees, but if I could, I would. It’s because I don’t have $40 million. That’s why I took it. You understand.

As I said, last component: Jo-Jos. These are the Trader Joe versions of Oreos; they are superior, as far as I can tell. Yesterday the box was new. This morning there were seven gone.


I had two after school! That’s a serving portion!

There are seven gone.

I had one after supper.

That leaves three unaccounted for. I called to my wife: did you eat three Jo-Jos? I’m just trying to run down what happened.

You know I don’t eat cookies, she said, correctly.

Generally for the most part, yes, but in this case?


Daughter swears SWEARS she was not responsible for the disappearance of the three Holiday Jo-Jos.

We will never know.

The manifestation of Holiday Jo-Jos means that Christmas - sorry, The Season - is starting to creep into the house. I’m putting Christmas music on the iPod. Figuring out the best place to reintroduce Jingle Pixie into the annual games. Smells like pine in here, thanks to a candle - it’s the time for pine, since we’re past pumpkin-aroma season. Soon: gingerbread, the other holiday aroma. After that, nothing. January smells like nothing. No reason it can’t smell like pine in January, is there? But all the piney connotations are gone. The images of stomping through the snow carrying a tree on a sleigh, the red berries, the mistletoe, the church in the distance with the steeple as high as the moon, all those cliches. It’s all so marvelously potent and comforting in December, and then BANG it’s over, and we’re yanked back to a month with no bittersweet or nostalgic antecedents. You get a glimpse of that great vault of childhood; you get to put your hand inside and draw something out, something soft and warm. But the vault door swings shut hard and fast.


The Final Walk-Through for the window replacement project: they said they’d be there at 11:30 AM. Mind you, this is a big quasi-sorta-government project with many contractors and bureaucrats and forms and endless layers of process. But mind you, this is Minnesota. 11:30 AM: ding dong.

“You’re here for the walkthrough,” I said, and I really, really wished I’d known if the inspector was a gamer. Because then: “Go forward until you reach the piano bench. Go right, then turn left, go forward until you reach the staircase. Look up. Click on the window on the landing. You will see a status check on your HUD that says ‘storms not in contract.’ Right-click on the TENANT character. He will tell you that the box was rehabbed, but they opted not to put in the storms because the screens would alter the aesthetic. Proceed to Kitchen. Place your cursor over every window to indicate status. All should read DONE.” And so on.

The walkthrough took just a few minutes; I got a warranty and a survey to fill out. The last step will be a city inspector who walks through, says “yep,” and leaves. The least important part of the process, but of course without it I AM IN SIN.

Finally: clean windows. The new versions pop out for cleaning on the inside, which the old ones never did. I don’t know how people cleaned such windows in olden times. Between candle smoke and coal dust they probably had dim, semi-opaque rectangles on the wall that admitted a feeble light at noon. Put the original occupants of Jasperwood in the kitchen now, and they’d react like Vampires on Eastern Morn. The bright! It burns!

Ninety-six years old, and this joint is strong as ever. It’s a rock. Next step: wire it for ethernet. Yeah, we’re getting a cat. CAT-6, baby.


Two interesting updates today. If this entry seems small, well, it would be enormous if I'd included the updates.The first is the most disturbing cartoon ever produced by the Disney studio. I showed it to my daughter, and she was mortified. “This can’t be Disney,” she said. “It’s so wrong.” It is, and it was. It’s HERE, in Disney shorts.

The second must also be seen to be believed, and it hasn’t been seen often: apparently the studio declined to rerelease the movie, and if it wasn’t for cable’s rapacious need for more content, More, MORE it wouldn’t be shown. It’s a 1935 comedy / mystery called “Remember Last Night?” - I’ve posted on YouTube a highlight from the epic drinking party that kicks off the movie, and trust me: you can’t imagine. You just can’t. It’s here.

Just trust me on this one.




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