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small yellow square In Berlin they say "Tschüss!" (Spelled "tschüß" if you're really cool.) (Rhyme it with juice, like "chuice".) The meaning is somewhere between "Good-Bye", "Thank You" or "You're Welcome", and "Dismissed!" Somehow I didn't catch this during my 1978 visit, or perhaps its use has become more common and widespread since then; in 1994 I heard it everywhere, and started saying it myself. The expression's rather like "Be Seeing You" in the Village of Number 6. I use it in America but only in the rare German food store; elsewhere, when it slips out, people look at me funny.

small blue square For many days that goofy song "Watching Scotty Grow" has been on extended rotation in my head. I think I'm more vulnerable to this annoying little ditty because I somehow avoided the original, by Bobby Goldsboro, when it was new. I noticed another version over the weekend, on one of the Muzak records I got at Big Al's and it just won't go away. According to Dave Barry this is one of the "bad songs". A few of its notes are similar to this recent Elton John song I'm trying to identify. In related arcane musical trivia, I learned this week that "I Will Follow Him" was actually done by Little Peggy March, not Dusty Springfield as I had erroneously believed.

small purple square In today's Washington Post, Michael Kelly begins an editorial called "Weenie World" this way:

Here where I live, in weenie nation, the bad news is that life is still terribly, terribly -- really, almost unbearably -- dangerous. The good news is that, at last, we have gotten pretty much everything properly labeled to reflect this.
After several paragraphs of mock fright with details of warning signs and labels encountered, he ends with this dose of reality:
But not everything upsets us so. In the parts of the cities where we try very hard not to ever go, the schools are holding pens for illiterate children, and two-thirds of the babies are being raised without fathers, and half the young men will end up in jail sometime, and the poverty rate among children is only equaled by the unemployment rate among adults. But those dangers we can live with, in weenie nation.

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