Yes, we had some serious server hosage yesterday. The Two Guys in the Living Room Web Hosts decided to upgrade the servers to OSX, and I got caught in the crossfire, but ah well. As always, I’m grateful for the excellent service they provide, occasional daylong outages and all. As far as I know, they’re the only web hosts I know where the tech support line rings into the actual Two Guys’ living room(s), and what’s not to like about that?

Nevertheless, if you sent me mail yesterday, thanks. I’m trying to reply, but I can’t send mail from the NN.C account yet. If you received a note from a stranger named Alan, that was me. Always have two e-mail accounts; you never know when you’ll need a spare.

It was probably right that the week started out kind of jangly, schedule- and service-wise. The time change threw off my Sunday-night routine — gotta watch "Six Feet Under" and "The Wire" before I do anything, and it all starts an hour earlier here in the land of eternal Standard Time. Then Kate got sick — fever, listlessness. Then I got to work for my Monday-night shift and discovered I’m pulling two more late ones this week, on Wednesday and Friday. Yes, I work nights M, W, F, and days T and Th. The KGB used to punish political prisoners like this, I hear. On Thursday, I’m supposed to host two or three grade-school job-shadowers. I don’t know why teachers advocate this; is there any job less exciting to watch than that of a writer, especially a sleep-deprived one with a sick kid? Watch me stare vacantly at the computer screen for three hours, kids! Job-shadowing for elementary-school children is a waste of time, anyway. They should be playing kickball and learning where Estonia is, not doing early career assessments.

Nevertheless, they asked for me. I will be their Virgil. Kids, think seriously about dentistry.

I won’t be writing much tonight. You can see yesterday’s entry, if you’re so inclined. But I was pleased to pick up on a few things on the web today. Julia Keller, my old buddy in Chicago with the enviable title of Tribune Cultural Critic, e-mailed last week and mentioned in passing that she was working on a column about sandstorms vis-a-vis the Iraqi invasion (working title: "When metaphors attack!"). I mentioned I had a blogger neighbor who’d mentioned that very topic on his web page, and the next thing I know it’s today, and look what’s in the Trib:

No matter what one’s political or religious perspective, however, a sandstorm must evoke awe at the wind’s magnificent sculpting power, its relentless sweep and scoop and spin and push, turning day into night and night into chaos.

"It obliterates everything, creating darkness," says Michael Dubruiel, a Christian writer based in Ft. Wayne, Ind. "Sandstorms certainly make one think of a simpler faith where nothing happens without God willing it or allowing it. The `whirlwind’ idea is standard not only in the Islamic faith, but in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well."

One of the most tiresome and easily corrected problems of institutional journalism is its reliance on usual-suspects sources. Always glad to hook people up with some different sorts of folks willing to be quoted. I just noticed how Michael’s latest book, "The How-To Book of the Mass," has a cover that suggests one of those Dummies books. Michael, Amy, an idea: "Praying for Catholic Dummies."

You’re welcome.

Also, the Pulitzer Prizes were announced today. Another friend, David Heath, was a part of projects that were finalists in two categories, but didn’t win, the second year in a row he was a bridesmaid (last year he got screwed, plain and simple). I don’t think this exactly qualifies him as the Susan Lucci of the Pulitzer Prizes, because just getting to be a nominated finalist is such a titanic achievement. It’ll happen for him one of these days.

And finally, Adrianne wrote with another one for the Bad Clown file:

Perri David Rlickman, 51, an itinerant street performer who delighted people with his whistling and balloon-making but also drew complaints about some of his other antics, was found dead in his Boston apartment on March 24.

Known as Perri the Clown, he was the talk of Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, during recent summers. At first, he was a big hit in the progressive resort town, especially with children.

In 2001, the town’s police chief tried to revoke Rlickman’s street performer’s license after complaints that he made offensive remarks and was frequently drunk. The American Civil Liberties Union stepped in and negotiated another chance on the grounds that bad taste was no reason to deny him a livelihood.

Boston police said foul play was not suspected in his death.

Rlickman, a native of Bluefield, W.Va., apparently migrated around Massachusetts, Florida and other spots.

Drunken clowns — is there a more tiresomely predicable cliche? I didn’t think so.

See you tomorrow. Whenever.

Posted at 1:29 pm in Uncategorized |

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