Monday, November 06, 2006

Some things you should note. A new issue of The New Criterion is available online. Read whatever you can, but take special note of Victor Davis Hanson's review of Mark Steyn's new book and Paul Johnson's article, "The human race: success or failure?"

The November issue of Commentary is available online. Read the whole thing--they are getting serious about Iran. (Unfortunately, we seem to live in a profoundly unserious country anymore, at least when it comes to defending ourselves from a clear and present danger.)

A new issue of the City Journal is partially online. Be sure to read Victor Davis Hanson's "My Bizarre Libyan Holiday."

More articles from the fall issue of the Claremont Review of Books are now available online. Peter Schramm's wonderful, "Born American, but in the Wrong Place," was included for all to read.

Finally, the latest issue of Doublethink is now available online. I immodestly recommend Tom Bruscino's "George W. Bush, the T.R. of Today." The blabbering author goes on and on, but if any of you have the fortitude to make it through, I would love to hear any comments.

It's not Athens, but it's certainly something. My friend J.D.--the spinach dip guy--found a Sports Illustrated profile of Halloween in Athens, Ohio that pretty much captures the experience. Although I seem to remember a little more nudity and quite a few more profane costumes than SI mentions.

Alas, my Halloweening in Athens days are long gone--I can't believe it's already been two years--so now I'm one of those dad-types who takes his wee ones around to gather candy from neighbors and strangers. My wife, aka "The Talented One," has always been a superstar when it comes to designing and making costumes for Halloween. In the past we've been William Wallace and Murron, a rodeo clown and a red devil, Maximus and Lucilla, Bam Bam and Peebles, a caterpillar and butterfly, and a shotgun wedding (when she was pregnant with the Dominator).

With Dominic outside of his womby prison, the focus turned to the kiddos. We weren't very original at first, even if the boy was cute. Year one saw Dominic as a mini-Braveheart to my full-sized (over-sized) (okay...fat) one. Year two saw Dominic as a mini-caterpillar to my full-sized (okay...fat) one.

But now the boy has developed some personality, even some preferences, and since he's bigger and slightly more vocal than little brother Anthony--who, I might add, we call Mad Dog because he foams at the mouth and has absolutely no sense of self-preservation--the Dominator gets to dictate which way the costumes are going. Since he is enamored of, nay, obsessed with, trains in all forms, what better to be than a train engineer? And take the little brother along for the ride?

Of course, any engineer worth his salt is going to need a train, and given my well-established record as a fat William Wallace and fat caterpillar, the lovely wife thought I would make a good engine. She was right, of course.

It was pretty nippy that night, so the boys were well-bundled.

We shuffled around in full costume to ten or twelve houses, until Mad Dog passed out in the passenger car. We took him home so he could help his mother and a then-homeless former Marine pass out candy, I deboarded the engine (which downgraded my costume to "Fat Burglar"), and Dominic and me joined some other kids and dads to hit up a few more houses for free goodies.

The other dads were all students at the Command and General Staff School, and, as always, friendly, thoughtful, and well-spoken. They are all a few years older than me, but as we were making Beavis and Butthead jokes, it occured to me that I have about a ten-year window here in Leavenworth when the students will be from my quarter-generation, when we will be able to talk in late 1980s to early 2000s lingo without missing a beat. I am glad for that--it's always good to be able to tell someone that you used to grab bearclaws two at a time and get them lodged, and have the listener understand.

Anyway, the Dominator played up the whole I'm-just-two-year-old-and-I-need-help thing to the fullest, and, as he was getting free candy, also got an older lady to hold his hand along the way. He's a genius.

It's not Athens, but it's something. Something better.

And I can't wait till next year, when my wife crams my tubby butt into a scale model of the Titanic.

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