back from la, eel skin, dmn layoffs

Sorry for the temporary outage. I should have mentioned something ahead of time, at least judging by the four “are you dead?” emails I’ve gotten in the last 48 hours. (For the record: I am not dead. Although my belief system is such that, when I do shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll still be able to check email.)
I was in Louisiana for a long weekend. Among the highlights: seeing a store in Eunice, La., named “Eel Skin & More & Kids.” I can imagine the thought process there:
1996: “Hey, hon, you know how much I love eel skin. Maybe others will share my interest. We should open a store and call it ‘Eel Skin.'”
1999: “Dear, the eel-skin market appears to be struggling through tough times. Those Chinese imports of imitation eel-pleather are killing us. Maybe it’s time to diversify. Maybe it’s time to add other options for Eunice’s skin needs. Maybe we should change the name to ‘Eel Skin & More.'”
2003: “Honey, I know things have been tough since the divorce. I appreciate you letting me see little Jordan and Brittany two weekends a month. But perhaps I could see them more often if I integrated children more firmly into my life? Maybe they could drop by the store some afternoons and help with the eel-skinning and lye-dousing. I could add a swing out front. Maybe a trampoline out back. I could change the name, too. Maybe ‘Eel Skin & More & Kids.'”
In other news: The Pernice Brothers, one of this web site’s favorite bands, has a strange new song available for download. It’s an ode to Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez called “Moonshot Manny.”
Speaking of “Are you dead?”: Belo announces 150 layoffs at The Dallas Morning News.