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Taught to the tune of a hickory stick

May 22, 2002

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Burrow into The Gay Blade’s enclave. The Spork Boards

Ah, sweet bird of youth – hand-throttled, then lovingly skinned, stuffed and mounted!

A special niche in the mole rat’s burrow features treasured keepsakes of The Gay Blade’s stormy adolescence. Sharing pride of place on the Formica shelves: a water pipe the Blade fashioned from a purloined thurible during his stint as an altar boy and a juvenile rap sheet, bronzed and presented to him on his 18th birthday by a grateful Long Beach Police Department.

Perhaps most precious of all: this utensil’s first paycheck, hand-bounced to a teenage Blade by ’Round the Corner Fudge (a confectioner’s outfit that blazed a brief trail in the annals of Southern California commerce before the Board of Health and Garden Grove D.A. got wind of its Abstract Expressionist approach to sanitation and bookkeeping alike).

While the dextromethorphan has scoured many edges off his long-term memory, the Blade still recalls languid hours carefully bleeding propellants from each of the establishment’s shiny aluminum whipped-cream containers, dutifully assisting a succession of strapping cream-puff deliverymen out of their weight belts, and strategically reorganizing a generous portion of the till into the deep front pocket of his bellbottoms.

In that sentimental spirit, the Blade is tickled even pinker than usual by a report from the front lines of Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail efforts. His peach-fuzzed team of mall urchins report that a number of the outlets are hosting impromptu pajama parties of bunny-slippered store managers and Geniuses paid to spend the night within their neo-Bauhaus confines.

Why all the nocturnal commissions, G? Apparently, the night watch is neither an obscure hazing ritual nor an effort to push more product to peripatetic pill poppers.

Instead, the Apple insiders have been assigned the task of keeping a close eyes on construction crews who have been rushed in to fix pricy but improperly installed maple flooring in a number of the stores. While the company seeks to conserve precious retail hours by scheduling the makeover from dusk to dawn, it wants to ensure that hordes of sweaty contractors don’t manhandle its tender Macs under cover of darkness.

Shazbat! This implement is getting a mite overheated himself!

Mystery meat

And while the Blade recommends that readers consume this next rumor heavily salted, some members of Apple’s retail fraternity are apparently confident that the enhancements to the stores are in preparation for a Really Big Thing coming out of Cupertino’s hardware operation in the next few weeks.

Repeating himself for emphasis, the Blade is feeling wholly skeptical that Apple will fire off a dramatic new product salvo in early June. But if there is new hardware waiting in the wings, whatever could it be?

Considering that the iMac, iBook, TiBook and iPod have all been subject to recent upgrades recently; that supercharged Power Mac towers will presumably await the arrival of the Jaguar generation of Mac OS X at July’s Macworld Expo/New York; and that upscale malls are hardly prime territory for blowing out the newly hatched Xserve, the Blade is inclined to speculate that a product introduction during that period would represent a new member of Apple’s consumer electronics family – perhaps something that takes advantage of a rumored upgrade to the company’s iDVD software.

Now if you’ll excuse him: The new dictionaries have arrived, and this tool wants to see if his likeness has been appended to “gullible.”

The Blade has fallen for it, and he can’t get up! Extend a helping hand to The NMR Report, and a commemorative mole rat could soon be scurrying your way.

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