I set out yesterday on my police rounds via bicycle, which would be my favorite workout of the week if not for all the sweating: I cover 15 miles or so with five cop-shop breaks for rest and entertainment. There’s nothing like finding a report on a neighbor complaining that his neighbor’s garden fountain is too loud to brighten a girl’s Monday, or seeing a grimmer one to fuel the grind to the next station.
But alas, it was not to be. The skies opened en route to the Farms, and I had to cut the whole thing short. I knew it was trouble when I stopped at a corner, and just that gentle braking was enough to make me skid. There’s enough skidding to be done around here in winter, no need to pile it on. As I stood under the sheltering eaves, screwing it up for a drenching, one of those Lance Armstrong types blew past — dressed European-style, head down, lean as…well, as Lance. A rolling Nike commercial. Just do it, it said. So I did.
Got pretty wet. But as my dad used to say, “You’re not sugar. You won’t melt.” (Other dads tell their daughters they’re pretty pretty princesses. My father preferred a different model.)
Ladies and gentlemen, a moment of silence: An F.O.M. has died. Which is? Why, a friend of Mitch (Albom), of course. I first discovered the F.O.M. obit when Warren Zevon left us; I thought the top of my skull would fly off, as Mitch told us all how much the deceased had loved… Mitch. Today’s F.O.M. is typical:
We first got to know each other when our books came out a year apart. We shared the joys and pressures of fast success, asking each other, “So what do we do now?” Frank wasn’t much into sports, but he would quiz me about “DEE-troit,” the accent on the wrong syllable, the “tr” rolling through his Irish brogue and making our industrial town sound like something out of “Finian’s Rainbow.”
“You’re a good fellah,” he would tell me, after we did speeches or book fairs together. To sit next to him was to sit at the knee of a better storyteller than your grandfather. And when I played “Danny Boy” on the piano, he would rise as if singing a national anthem.
That’s Frank McCourt, of course. I strived to see anything that would indicate Mitch had even read the man’s books, but other than the obvious Irish clichés — the word “impish” appears, as does “twinkle” — alas there was nothing. But you don’t have to have read a famous author (McCourt) when you’ve appeared onstage with him, do you?
The last song he did with our band was the cowboy tune “Don’t Fence Me In,” an odd choice for an Irishman. But it seems sadly fitting now, because you couldn’t fence him in…
I love things that are “sadly fitting” in retrospect, and especially when they are sadly fitting in a trite, obvious way, don’t you? It’s so satisfying.
Oh, it’s been a great morning for all the bookmarks in my Idiots folder. Lileks:
As I’ve said before, nothing sums up the seventies, and the awful guttering of the national spirit, than a pop song about Skylab falling on people’s heads. “Skylab’s Falling,” a novelty hit in the summer of ’79.
Wha-? Huh? Once again: What the hell is he talking about? A little Googling, and it seems it’s most likely this, and to call it a “hit” seems to be stretching it, but well, when you’re a soldier in the War on Straw, what’s a stretch, anyway. “Skylab” seems to be by none other than Steve Dahl, whose wife reads this blog from time to time; I hope she gets a kick out of this. I remember Skylab fondly, m’self, as I won an office pool on the splashdown site. My guess: Krakatoa, east of Java.
Lileks is dusting off this week’s meme, popular among conservative libertarians: Damn the torpedoes, on to Mars! Depending on where they fall on the spectrum, libertarians will advocate removing the government from everything from zoning to infrastructure maintenance to education, but if you talk to them long enough, you inevitably find the place where they advocate Uncle Sam just write a blank check, and why? Because they like this thing, that’s why, and so you find yourself talking to a person who doesn’t think the government should build an interstate highway, but should sink billions or trillions into a mission to Mars. Perhaps they all imagine that in another time, they would be the men standing on the prows of ships sailing off to the unknown, in profile to a setting sun. Because they are Libertarians, and they are Free.
I need to stop reading these people, although they certainly don’t disappoint in the blogfodder department, do they?
Bloggage elsewhere: I also need to start following Sarah Palin on Twitter, but maybe that’s what Gawker is for.
Speaking of Sarah: Funny.
Back to Gawker: Rachel Maddow, national treasure.
Off to the gym for death squats. Why do I bother? I’m still fat.