It’s a sad comment on me, and I am loathe to admit it, but I’ve never been able to keep the Powerpuff Girls straight. Not even when (G)Nat was a small gassy baby and I laid on the sofa at 3 AM, watching the cartoon, burping her when required and otherwise remaining immobile, wondering if she would grow up and watch the show some day. Turns out she did. Not recently, though. But they’re a perennial favorite: girl power, and all that. She brought home a Powerpuff Book from school, and I was delighted to read it aloud. (I do a good Professor. As well as a good Mojo Jojo, but that one’s easy.) This led to a debate of the sort any parent will recognize:

Buttercup is the strongest.

"No, hon, I think Bubbles has the most powers, but Buttercup is the toughest fighter."

Go get the song on iTunes Dad, and see.

So I did. We listened to the lyrics. This is like me asking my Dad for Flipper lyrics, and having him turn around to the Home Univac Interface on the wall, spool some tapes, then tell me to come back in six hours. Of course that didn't happen. I do recall that my Dad accidentally stepped on my 45 of the Flipper song, and I was heartbroken. That's probably the only thing I remember from being seven. Hardly seems to fair to my parents, does it? I suppose it was my fault, since I left the record on the floor behind the chair, which was right by the ancient RCA console record player. It had all my Dad's 45s as well, and while I didn't realize it at the time, they charted an interesting journey from early rock and roll to hard country. I don't know what happened, but I suspect it was the Beatles.

When I reject my daughter's tastes, I don't want there to be any mystery.

Oh, just kidding. Sort of. If I can convince her I'm not immune to the new, that'll help. So. We're listening now to the Powerpuff soundtrack from 2001, which was so very long ago. I listened closely to the lyrics.

"Okay, Blossom in the leader, Bubbles is the joy in the water. No, that’s not right."

Ask Google, Dad.


Just ask Google who Blossom is.

"Okay . . . Ah: The joy and the laughter. That’s it.

I still can’t keep them straight.  And it matters, too. It’s not like Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Well, amend that; they have their own personalities, too; they fall into the Alvin-Theodore-Simon paradigm as well.

If the dominant model had been four characters instead of three, the fourth guy would probably be . . .what? George Harrison? The model is  extroverted leader  / smart one / middle child, who’s either comic relief or shy quiet decency. So John Lennon was Simon, Paul was Alvin, Ringo was Bubbles? Don’t know.

Spent the morning shooting a video: looking for rice in the Costco. They didn’t have any rice. At least not the big 25 pound bags. Only the managers and check-out clerks knew this fact, though. I was steered wrong every time by the  people who stood at the end of the aisles passing out samples of mueslix and Powerade and Breakfast Burritos (“they’re just the thing to grab when you run out the door,” said the nice lady, even though I prefer “car keys,” because you can jam that thing all you like into the steering column and it’s not turning over the engine.)

Anyway, they thought they had rice galore somewhere. They didn’t.
They had lots of everything else, but scant amounts of rice. They were also low on soy sauce, which seemed apt; if ever there’s runs on those frozen logs of hamburger meat – which would be backwards, since the runs usually follow the logs of hamburger meat – I expect that the 32-gallon barrels of ketchup (extra fancy) would be gone as well. Even in a time of scarcity a man needs to consider his condiment situation.

 Forty-eight thousand pounds of dog food, though. They had tons of everything, including giant sacks of Bread Flour, so we won’t be grinding chaff and newspapers to bake our bread any time soon. Once again I had the usual Costco vapors; I spent the first half of the trip buying things and the second half of the trip putting them back. I didn’t need 480 boxes of Orville Reddenbacher’s Healthy-Pop’t Styro-Korn (Calories per serving: 100. Serving size: three cups, or two tsp unpopped, or two cups half-popped with molar-cracking old maids. Servings per bag: see above) I could have purchased some of the fine frozen meals, but A) I don’t need Kirkland Organic Flour Taquitos for a family of 12, and B) experience has taught me that anything left in the freezer more than three weeks will be thrown out in six months when the power goes out and everything grows a coat of fur over night.  

This is why I don’t stockpile. I have fresh water, flashlights and batteries and all sorts of tools to get us through 72 hours without the boon of civilization; I have water purification tablets and masks and gloves in case of bird flu, and enough stored dry food to get us through a hard patch, but I’m not putting up 25-pound sacks of flour and rice in the spare room. If everything goes to hell, we’ll just drive to Fargo, squat on my farmland, and grow carrots.

Speaking of the post-apoc world: this pitch must have been easy. “It’s 24 Years Later meets Mad Max.” With Malcolm McDowell as Tina Turner, apparently.


Buckets of new stuff today, although most of the additions are supplemental pages to existing sites.

New Times Square additions: here, here, and here.

Old construction photo of the third First National Bank here.

New site devoted to the first and second First National Bank building here.

Fargo additions: a letter from the old Gardner hotel here, and a postcard for the Oak Manor here.

New main page and Institute index page.


New video up at! See you there.