There’s typing to say something, and there’s typing to make noise because there’s someone in the next cubicle and you want to sound busy, and there’s typing just to type and prime the pump, which is what this last sentence was. The only cure to looking at the page and not knowing what to say is to start saying something. The curse of the world, of course, is people talking for the sake of hearing themselves talk, but talk long enough, and you’ll say something. It’s the million-monkey theory.

You know which monkey would be really irritated? The one who writes all of Shakespeare but says “to be or not to be, that’s the question,” instead of “that is.” SO. CLOSE. He’d appeal to the judge, but he’d lose. Sorry: you have to write all of Shakespeare. And then the other monkey gets it, and he’s the one everyone remembers. No one remembers Unfortunate Contraction Monkey.

Saturday, still beclogged and sneezy, I went to the postcard show to handle lots of things. Usually I bring sanitizer in case I catch something, but hey, I’m already sick! So sneeze away. (Kidding. Although I do wonder what happens if you catch a cold on top of a cold. Would you notice?) When I walked in a guy handed me a bag of matchbooks: such is my good life. Sat down at his table in front of a box marked MOTELS and discovered to my astonishment a huge assortment, fifty cents each. There’s a guy who sells them for three bucks a pop. While I flipped through the stack a man on a mission sat down, quite intent on finding le carte juste, and attacked the stacks with vigor and precision. A hobby for some. An obsession for others, I guess. Didn’t seem like he was having much fun. Really, what do you do with these if you’re not scanning them and sharing them? I can’t imagine putting them in a book in perfect order, then putting the book on the shelf, and looking at the book, and thinking anything other than “now I will arrange my pencils by hardness and length.”

I realize that sounds like a euphimism; probably apt. Anyway. There was a fellow who sold old magazines, and I took a few off his hands last show. Bought two. Also - of course - some vintage French can labels; why not, for heaven’s sake? Twenty-five cents, and timeless. Malines is a city in Belgium:




The magazines yielded a great number of illustrations for the Permament Collection, which returns this Friday. And some other little details that make me happy. This is coming up as a coffee mug / T-shirt in the upcoming store:


You used coffee! It’s super-effective. Of course, if you have too much coffee, this is what happens:



Seriously: it’s a Sanka ad. But if you use just the right amount of coffee, you’re Debbie Dreft:



Love the glasses. Green glasses: next time you see a 40s movie and an actress puts on glasses, imagine them green.

Bathing beauties are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the new Camay beauty bar:


I don’t know why she has a magnifying glass; that Camay logo should be visible from space. I mean, who sees an enormous bar of soap and reaches for a magnifying glass? Who has one in the bathroom?

“What’s she looking for?” asks the client.

“Imperfections,” says Don Draper. “That’s the fear. No matter how good the soap says it is, a woman is still convinced there’s a flaw it can’t fix. But she can’t find one. Not even with a magnifying glass.”

“I don’t understand,” says the client.

“You’re not supposed to,” says Don Draper.

Then I drove home and put the cards away, unfiled, and started scanning the rest of the stuff - which includes some pretty cool maps I’ll be trotting out in a MAPS section of the Miscellany in a few weeks. Also got some cards for the refurbished Main Street Postcards section, which pops up next week.

And then there’s paying work; have a column to do now. After that: I might finish something big. The “things to do” list for the day says “finish novel.” So, then. The denouement big reveal seemed somewhat underwhelming when I wrote it, but the last chapter will be chilling. That’s the word I have to remember. I have an image in mind. It’s unnerving. There’s a phrase I wrote down months ago, something the killer would say, and it’s stuck with me, because it’s so banal, but speaks of the sort of deep insanity you want in a bad guy who’s finally cracked under the years-long strain of holding it together. As for a recent tweet about putting the same characters in all the books, and rewriting accordingly: Tryg and Grue, the servants from “Falling Up the Stairs,” will appear in all the books. They’re my C3P0 and R2D2. Grue is the cook / housekeeper at the boarding house where the narrator of “Autumn Solitaire” lives, and I didn’t realize he lived in one until the last chapter. At which point I introduced a breakfast table full of interesting characters. Well, that’s what rewrites are for.

Damned rewrites.

Follow-up on the new thing:

People HATE change, I know. Sorry! But let me explain a few things.

I assume a width of 1024 pixels; it’s been standard for a long time. But I hear you; I’ll move the copy over to the right, or the center, in the next version. I also use Java for some features, like comments - and if you don’t use Java for whatever reason, I understand, but there are tradeoffs.

The font you’re supposed to be seeing is Gill Sans, but that will change when I add a webfont next week. They’re chosen for quick loading.

As for signing in with Facebook, it’s not necessary. There are other login choices you can use. And you get control over your own little icon. What’s not to like?

The RSS thing is at the bottom of the page, but I’ll make it more prominent next week.

Facebook et al “like” buttons will also appear soon. I’m not a great Facebook user myself, but it would be foolish to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Improvements to follow. In the meantime, enjoy this mild update to the soon-to-be-uprooted Comic Sins site.(I think there are two.) See you around.


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