I know you have camera recommendations and I don’t care. Let me put that a different way. If you know cameras, and are willing to help an amateur find the best camera for his needs, please don’t. I know what I want because I like the color and the style of the body.

There. That should cause great wails. Or shrugs. I can’t tell if the Camera Community is always on the verge of a Battle Royale slugfest, or just enjoys the endless nitpicking. I gather there are brand fights that rival the Chevy vs Ford, although I’ve never see a window decal of Calvin peeing on a Nikon logo. You read a review; someone hate hate hates a camera and it’s junk worthless junk, and then you read a bit more and learn he wants to get crisp stills of six children running around in a candlelit room, and then you think “why are they running around in a candlelit room? They could knock something over and start a fire."

Someone else complains about something else you’ll never do, and someone else notes that the CMOS appears to have the same deficiencies as the X94584-H22 model, which was supposedly 10.2 MP but really only gave 10.18, and by now you’re ready to buy the thing because it’s small and pretty.

Here’s the thing. The iPhone takes good pictures for everyday stuff, but it’s not as good as it could be, and zoom is krep. Video’s okay. (Note: I am not unaware of the amusing nature of saying "the high-definition video captured by this flat small slab that also connects to an global information network is okay." It's like saying "The new matter transporters are okay, but am I the only one who feels itchy for a few seconds after it's beamed me to another continent?")

Because it’s the camera I have all the time, most of my pictures are now iPhone pictures. This is insane. You can do interesting things with them, but the video isn’t close to the quality of my tiny tiny Sony, which I don’t carry around anymore because A) It’s huge, compared to the wafer-thin phone, and B) I never did carry it around, really. More of an Event, Holiday, and Travel video camera. But when I go on trips I have to bring it, and then I’m switching between the point-and-shite camera and the camcorder and MAYBE even firing off some iPhone shots. Gah.

For my next big trip I will be using something else, the Fujonasonic KF01 with anti-mirror lens. You know, the one that has Britney Kutchor in the ads. I’ll report back with detailed pictures that zoom in 100X to show artifacting in the spume of a wave two miles away.

Honestly, the reviews of cameras make the comments of political websites look like the ecumenical prayer books.


You spend half the year inside, shuttling from one Inside Place to another inside your car, and then comes the warmth and it’s all different, completely different. You’re going from Inside Place to the other with the windows down.

It wasn’t just a warm day; it had a warm evening, which made all the difference in one’s spirits. I had to go to the mall to exchange my phone for one that can carry a wifi signal for more than a minute in its butter-coated hands without dropping it, and went to the huge new Apple store. Rows and rows of shiny merchandise . . . and no replacement phone. It’ll be in tomorrow. Fine. Another excuse to hit the highway, perhaps. Went to Target for a rare midweek visit - I like going in the evening, because the cooler lighting is set on automatic. You walk down the aisle and the lights come on, like dogs in a shelter waiting for someone to give them attention, only to turn themselves off with faint disappointment if you don’t open a door. Then to Trader Joe’s to get some tabouli. They had none.

“It’s TOS,” said the clerk.

“What does that mean?”

“Oh, sorry. Temporarily Out of Stock.”

I wanted to say “That would be Toos,” but for once thought better of it, and simply said “If it’s TOS I’m SOL.” Which would really be Sool, if we’re being honest.

Home down the highway to “Holiday Road,” doing my best not to try to sing along.

Sunset in the suburbs:


Earlier today at the grocery store Daughter did the time-honored trick of slipping something in the basket then feigning ignorance about how it got there. Trusting man that I am, I believed her. She did not inform me of the deception until we were out of the store, whereupon I said that she had caused work for the clerk, who had to restock the thing. I would have to go back and apologize. Whereupon I turned around.

She protested mildly, but this seemed like the sort of thing I would do, so she was resigned. I stopped and said no, just kidding, but really: the underlying facts are true. Don’t make more work for anyone just so you can have a lark.

The can in question: most preposterous and unintelligible brand extensions I've ever seen.



Note that C: it's the Campbell's Soup script. It avoids trademark infrigement by setitng the rest in something else - the type used for the books, I presume. But what a train wreck. First of all: it's not chicken soup. It's a moist divot of cat food. Second, most chicken soup doesn't have salmon. Third, it's not for a Cat Lover's Soul, but the oral cavity and digestive system of a domesticated feline. Fourth, the entire package suggests that you can sooth a sickness in your own soul by giving this to a cat, which really suggests that it's all about you, no?





Interesting discovery this week. But we must begin with the weekly Elsie:



Wej-Cut! The proprietary misspelling is your guarantee of quality. Looks like it should be pronounced "Wezsh," though. No one who had his underwear yanked up ever thought he'd been given a Wejy.

Are there any less oniony onions than chives? They’re like celery in a bad mood.



First, the bad news: “Malathion is an organophosphate parasympathomimetic which binds irreversibly to cholinesterase.” I suspected that, but wasn’t sure.


On the other hand, it’s not very toxic for humans, so it has that going for it. If I was in charge of naming domestic poisons, I’d avoid “Mal,” though; it has bad vibes. Especially if your corporate name suggests you make CYANIDE. They made many things, including . . . Old Spice. So that was the secret ingredient.

I remember panics in the 80s when they were spraying the stuff in California to kill the fruit flies, but I didn’t know they mixed it with corn syrup to attract the flies. Which is why we have the obesity epidemic among musca domestica these days.



Another of these:




Mary Blair, of course, was the famous children’s artist who also worked on Disney concept art and designed the “Small World” art.

It's unclear what you're getting here/



Now things get . . . historical. Behold, a train car with a waiter, who is not African-American. Tycoons of business are relaxing.



They are relaxing because they have consumed whiskey from the new modern Tiny Bottles.



It appears to be a a round-up of every passenger-rail logo in the country:




MONON was so named for the Indiana town where the trains converged. This is amusing:

The Monon's main line ran down the middle of streets in several cities, notably Lafayette, New Albany and Bedford. It also installed an unusual "home grown" warning signal at many grade crossings; these used a green signal light (similar to and adapted from a standard highway traffic signal) that stayed lit at all times, except when a train was approaching. A sign below or to the side of the signal read, "STOP When Signal Is Out." This design was fail-safe, in that when the signal bulb was burned out, an approaching vehicle driver would assume a train was coming — until he eventually realized there was no train and just a burned-out signal.

At which point, cartoon-style, a train zoomed in from nowhere and flattened the car.


Hiawatha was a name for several trains.

  The Wabash was a venerable name, going back to the middle of the 19th century. Follow the flag!

The Seaboard’s wikipedia page, like many railroad history pages, is a dense recitation of mergers. Better to focus on the “Streamliner” mentioned on the label: incredible machines. I’ve been on some Streamliner cars; wikipedia notes that “in 1971 Amtrak received 1200 streamliner cars as heritage-fleet from the US railroads. After refurbishment the cars were used until the 1990s, with some cars, chiefly baggage and dining cars, still used today.”

Here’s the lounge: it’s like a living room that travels fast, and everyone has their back to the scenery.





Comic sins today, and the usual stuff elsewhere in the world. Have a fine day!




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