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October 2000


Sunday, 1 October 2000, 5:25 pm

It appears that, on weekends anyway, I'm going to get an afternoon nap whether I want one or not. I can't remember being this tired in years, and it's not like I've exactly overexerted myself today — scrubbing a couple of toilet bowls, while it's not much fun, is not the sort of thing that leaves you exhausted. Unless, of course, you're scrubbing toilet bowls in a frat house.

Or maybe I was just tired after a prolonged squawk.

Monday, 2 October 2000, 6:15 pm

Once again, a blast of hot air from the Southwest. (No, this isn't a slam at George W. Bush.) Temperatures crept up into the middle 90s again, and the danger of wildfires has gone from high to preposterous to "Don't even wear corduroy pants". Remember when friction was our friend?

The Sex test at advises that, contrary to my ongoing beliefs, I will snag at least — and, for that matter, at most — one more partner in this lifetime. What's more, they say, this relationship will be liberally (so to speak) marbled with all that gooey emotional stuff I never seem to grasp. Then again, this same site predicted my demise by unspecified causes next August.

Tuesday, 3 October 2000, 5:30 pm

It would be hilarious if it weren't so disgraceful. Before the Supreme Court today, the city of Indianapolis, backed by the usual baying hounds from the Clinton administration, argued with a perfectly straight face that it was utterly reasonable to set up roadblocks around town so that their drug-sniffing dogs could stick their cold, wet noses into the business of random drivers.

Exactly one of the presidential candidates could be counted on to throw a cold, wet blanket on this kind of Constitutional abuse. Needless to say, he's not invited to the debate tonight.

And on an unrelated note, Modern Humorist suggests this spiffier brand name for Mifeprex, the drug formerly known as RU-486: "I Can't Believe It's Not Surgical". Don't look for ads during Ally McBeal any time soon.

Wednesday, 4 October 2000, 5:30 pm

"It's getting to the point," admitted Mr Stills, "where I'm no fun anymore." Of course, I don't have a Judy Blue Eyes of my own to nod knowingly at this sort of observation, but somewhere during the day's drudgery it occurred to me that the standard "get a life" advice is mostly meaningless to me; even when I had a life, I really needed to get a life. Then again, at my age, perhaps it's just as well. When lustful and loaded, I come off mostly as ludicrous.

One more day of sizzle, and then the Canadians will be happy to share some of their less-than-warm air. I'll be digging out the ice scraper by the weekend.

Thursday, 5 October 2000, 6:25 pm

Add to the list of Questions Unanswered the following: If a transcript is furnished, how can a quotation therefrom be "out of context"?

I am starting to get myself into a suitable frame of mind for giving up this flat and finding a free-standing shack of my own. The process will be long and torturous and expensive — as what process isn't? To those who were asking "So why now, after all these years?" I have no real answer — except that maybe it's time someone put a burr under my behind.

If you're visitor #40000, thanks for coming. And even if you're not.

Friday, 6 October 2000, 7:10 pm

How much would it cost to bribe 538 people? After the Vice-Presidential debate, I am more convinced than ever that both the Democratic and Republican tickets are bass-ackwards; Lieberman and Cheney ought to be the standard-bearers, rather than Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. Of course, the GOP has had a tendency for some time to favor easily-manipulable lightweights, and the Democrats — aw, hell, who knows what goes through their minds? Only the Electoral College can save us now. Or a sudden epidemic of common sense among the electorate, in which case all four of the (ahem) Major Party Candidates will be sent home.

Okay, maybe the Electoral College is not for sale, but the Boston Red Sox can be bought. I do hope that whoever acquires the club has (1) a sense of humor and (2) the burning desire to avoid moving the franchise to some place like San Jose or Charlotte.

Saturday, 7 October 2000, 6:45 pm

There's a short story by Carol Shields (The Stone Diaries) called "Weather", in which there isn't any, because the meteorologists' union has gone on strike. So each day is pretty much like the last — "a bland width of grayness with day after day of neither heat nor cold." Were it not for the ubiquitous Oklahoma wind, she could have been describing this weekend. There will be a touch of cold tonight, though — we're expecting the first freeze of the season, and if we get it, it will be the second-earliest on record. (The earliest fall freeze, before you ask, was on the 7th of October, 1952; the average is the 4th of November.)

To my great delight, my standard fall jacket fits me slightly better this year than last, so apparently my small weight loss has been in an area that could stand to lose it.

Sunday, 8 October 2000, 3:40 pm

Well, the threatened freeze has been postponed 24 hours, and we wound up with a textbook-perfect late-November day, a mere six weeks early. The sky is some shade of blue that exists only up above, and the occasional clouds look like they were pulled out of God's own aspirin bottle. (No doubt we land-dwellers cause quite a bit of celestial headache.) There's a bit too much wind, but there's always a bit too much wind.

Finally, a new No comment today, in which Salon columnist Cintra Wilson explains the real function of pop music. My own contribution this week, alas, while it may be real, is not all that functional.

Monday, 9 October 2000, 6:35 pm

The journey to 42nd and Treadmill starts with scraping the ice off the windshield, a process that, at least for its relatively short duration, has few rivals for sheer drudgery. It is easier than carrying hod, but that's scarcely a recommendation.

Last week's Oklahoma Gazette, one of those "alternative" rags, had a nice feature on Normal Bikers, as distinguished from the usual stereotype. I'd give you a link to it, but the Gazette's "literally virtual" Web site reproduces only a few paragraphs of the story; for the rest of it, you'd have to get your own copy, which costs...well, zip, if you live around here. I guess it's of dire importance that we see all those ads for Painfully Average Restaurants and Semi-Artistic Plastic Surgeons in their natural habitat.

Tuesday, 10 October 2000, 6:30 pm

Frosty Troy of the Oklahoma Observer scores with this shot at an Oklahoma legislator:

"Republican Sen. Mike Fair of OKC is bidding for another term, but Democrat Herb Giles would be the better senator. Come to think of it, so would my dog."

Now you and I both know that there are some splendid public servants in the ranks of the GOP. Why the hell can't we get any of them in Oklahoma? Apart from Bob Anthony, lone voice of sanity on the Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities and whatnot, the most distinguishing characteristics of a Republican officeholder in Oklahoma are a level of sanctimony worthy of, say, a TV preacher, and a level of crassness worthy of, say, a TV preacher. The Democrats, petty, venal and insipid, look almost acceptable by comparison. I don't know about the rest of Soonerland, but here in Dustbury, I've had it up to here [gestures skyward] with the lesser of two evils.

Today's bank statement, along with the usual bad news, contained a complaint about customers whose checks don't contain the correct routing numbers (that first batch of MICR characters along the bottom). Apparently merged banks (and this one has gone through more changes than David Bowie) don't feel compelled to inform check printers of any new information — other than the one with whom they have their sweetheart deal, of course.

Wednesday, 11 October 2000, 5:55 pm

JCPenney, trying to position themselves as Too Fashionable For Words, have at least staked a claim to Too Fashionable For Numbers. The new Penney's credit card, which arrived here just in time for me to make a run to Eckerd's — now that's fashion — has a front that is almost solid red (no, not a maroon), which contains a small JCP logo and a huge initial H, and nothing else. No cardholder name, no account number, no nothing. All that tedious identification stuff is on the back with the fine print. I suppose if you're going to swipe the card yourself through the terminal at the cash register, it doesn't matter a whole lot, but this definitely runs counter to the trend of putting the cardholder's actual photograph on the front. Maybe they suspect me of being a closet contrarian; I can say only, "What closet?"

Virginia Campbell, editor-in-chief of Movieline, reflecting on one article in her November issue:

"Doing an article about 'The Ten Most Intelligent Actors' not unlike doing a piece on 'The Ten Most Beautiful Physicists.'"

If Al Gore persists in acting like a common scold, he's done for. However dumb you may think George W. Bush is — and while he's not exactly seething with clues, he's not Alfred E. Neuman either — the public will not take kindly to seeing the kid dumped on for no reason.

Wednesday, 11 October 2000, 9:25 pm

Not that I needed a facelift on this page, but what the hell.

Thursday, 12 October 2000, 5:00 pm

Full moon and Friday the 13th coming up. Now that's ominous. Then again, the usual troublemakers in the Levant didn't bother to wait for it.

Apparently some prankster decided to put the IRC network EFnet up for bids on eBay; it was pulled quickly, but I have to wonder what the alleged "seller" was thinking.

Our congratulations to Governor Bush, for having studied foreign affairs, and to Vice-President Gore, for having studied etiquette. Let's see how much of this cramming actually sticks.

Thursday, 12 October 2000, 9:25 pm

"Anyway," he said, apparently still trying to conjure the shade of Ned Ludd, "there's nothing on the Web worth reading. And I don't mean just your shabby little site, either. I mean, it's all artifice and no art. I see the kind of stuff you read. You can't tell me that this is anything other than eye candy, with an occasional jalapeño. Show me one page — just one lousy page — that actually deals, first and foremost, with human feelings."

Exhibit A, bucko.

Friday, 13 October 2000, 5:40 pm

And the rain arrives, just in time for the weekend, but no matter; we're hard up for moisture in these parts, so to speak. It should let up some time Monday night, or Tuesday if I manage (as usual) to lose my umbrella.

If we've learned one thing in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, it's that while high-tech threats get all the headlines, low-tech attacks do most of the damage.

The first comment on the redesigned front page was "What did you change?" I guess I must be doing something right.

Saturday, 14 October 2000, 5:10 pm

Received Wisdom at the supermarket today: "Do not, I repeat, do not, let a woman do your hair, girlfriend. They always have something in the back of their mind and they take it out on your head." This wasn't addressed to me; then again, while a woman does do my hair, it's not like she has a great deal to work with, regardless of what her agenda may be.

More useful, at least from my point of view, was the return of the "10 percent off all the frozen food you can stuff into this bag" promotion. If you can't get $60 worth in there for $54, you're not trying. (I didn't try that hard, and wound up with a mere $21.60 — um, $19.44.)

Rolling Stone has weighed in with its official editorial endorsement of Al Gore, complete with the unbearable lightness of a Jann Wenner interview. I'm starting to think Wenner should turn the whole shebang over to Rob Sheffield — Pop Eye is one of the few consistently readable items in RS these days — and concentrate on Us. Fawning over celebrities, at least, has a precedent.