- 22 January 2006
- No. 4,876 (cartoon)
- Why are you laughing while Im crying?
Youre so pathetic that its funny.
- 23 January 2006
- Feeling Better Without Waltzing
- When I met Walter this afternoon at the pub, he said he was dispirited and demoralized, and that his inability to waltz was exacerbating his depression.
I cant waltz, and its never been a problem for me, I said.
It didnt bother me either, Walter replied, until I heard about this new study when I was listening to the radio this morning.
What report was that? I asked.
Some scientists figured out that a half hour of waltzing cheers up a depressed person as much as snacks or beer or wine, Walter explained.
Since our glasses were empty, I took that as a cue to get another round as well as some chips. When I returned, I corrected Walters misunderstanding.
Ive got some good news, pal, I announced, you neednt be concerned about dancing. I heard the same story you did; the researchers were talking about the benefits of walking, not waltzing.
Really? Walter responded. I feel better already.
After two pints you shoul
d, I confirmed.
- 24 January 2006
- Satans Spawn
- Would you like to listen to a song my cousins band recorded? Colleen asked.
I replied that I did, since there was no other socially acceptable answer. Halfway through the trite bombast, I asked whether the purported musicians were teenage boys.
How did you know? Colleen asked with apparent surprise.
You dont have to be an academic or even a cultural theorist to know that no one but boys within spitting distance of puberty include lines like Satans spawn in their lyrics, I replied.
Colleen thought about my the proposition for a moment, then nodded in agreement.
May the gods bless and keep Satans spawn, she toasted with a raised glass, far away from us.
- 25 January 2006
- Fingers and Half-a-Haggis
- Hey Fingers! Colin yelled when I spotted him at the saloon.
Whats with the fingers? I asked.
Thats your new nickname, Colin replied, Ive decided we should call each other underworld names.
So Colin, does that mean were gangsters now? I said.
My names not Colin, Colin corrected, its Two Sausages.
Thats the stupidest thing Ive heard this year, I responded. If you insist on using dumb nicknames, Im going to call you Half-a-Haggis. I think youll agree thats a great name to have on Burns Night.
Half-a-Haggis most emphatically did not agree, and that was thankfully the end of mobster names. I never admitted that I secretly liked the name, Fingers.
- 26 January 2006
- Arguably Saucy
- Jerrys daughter Megan, an aspiring photographer, asked me for professional advice at a party tonight. We ended up talking for quite some time over several drinks on the patio; she seemed appreciative of my dubious suggestions.
When we walked back into the living room, Megan told her father that I was most helpful in spite of being a bit saucy.
As soon as I heard that, I blushed, and insisted that I had not been in any way saucy.
Jerry laughed and told me that I was an old man and shouldnt worry. He explained that the slang saucy no longer meant sexually active or suggestive, but drunk.
Im relieved, I said. I dont mind being accused of being reasonably inebriated, but Im not lecherous.
But you are, corrected Jerry.
Of course, who isnt? I replied, then added, but only with women my age.
Im glad to see youre still taking the moral high ground, Jerry laughed saucily.
- 27 January 2006
- Trillions of Birthday Possibilities
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born a quarter of a millennium ago today. And thats a perfect excuseas if one was neededto recount my two favorite anecdotes about the composer.
The first falls under the heading old clichés coming to life. Mozart calculated the odds of winning the lottery in the margins of one of his scores. I find it perversely encouraging to know that even an hombre like Mozart was having innumerate fantasies about financial solutions, just as artists still do.
But again, thats a cliché, and a hoary one at that.
My favorite story involves Musikalisches Würfelspiel, or Musical Dice Game. In that piece, Mozart directed musicians to roll dice to choose from a variety of possibilities for certain parts of the composition. I didnt bother to calculate the possibilities, but a mathematician who did concluded there were hundreds of trillions of possibilities.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the father of conceptual music? Regardless, whos the mother? And who cares?
And the brings up the usual chorus: so many questions, so few brains. What kind of birthday party is this, anyway?
- 28 January 2006
- Suzettes Ambitious Plans
- Suzettes coming to visit this weekend, so I sent her a note asking her what she wanted to do on our Sunday rendezvous. She replied with an outline of her ambitious plans.
I see myself sitting at a diner with a cup of coffee and a great omelette in front of me. Id be reading a book, and Id have the rest of the day free to walk around in the sunshine. Babies would smile at me. Dogs would follow me. Lots of people would be throwing flowers at me and then Id save someones kid from drowning and Id get written up in the newspaper. Some admired leader of a powerfulyet peaceful and humble countrywould spot the article and ask me to speak at a gathering of like-minded folks. Id make up my speech on the spot and it would be really, really great. Id be offered some huge prize and Id give all the money away to a great cause and still, the prize-giver types would insist that I accept, um ... that I accept a new car, and to please them I would accept, but only in the name of peace, and then everyone would applaud loudly. Modest blushing. Flattering pictures. That sort of thing.
- Looks like Suzette and I have some talking to do; I was thinking of having burritos and Rainier Ale at my place.
- 29 January 2006
- Cheap Fish Hotel
- I met Joyce at her hotel room tonight. Its a downmarket, dingy hotel, my favorite kind. Joyce didnt seem particularly appreciative of her temporary home until I marveled at the unusual decor.
Most hotels are filled with awful, mass-reproduced art. Joyces hotel is filled with awful art, but its all hand-painted bad art. Joyces room is populated with tropical sea life, except for a curiously incongruous scene of a man fishing in alpine lake. The crude fish appear to have been painted by an artist who was getting paid by the fish, not by the hour.
I opened a bottle of cheap, red wine, and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation. As always, red wine really does go well with fish.