Yes, it’s still cold. It will be cold for a while and then it will be less cold, after which it will warm past freezing. Such is the way of the world, I have discerned in my many passes around the sun. I’m not tired of the cold. I’m tired of coverage of it. But let me give you a detail that shows you how cold it is.

Today I heard the jingle of Jasper’s collar, indicating that he was trying to get up - he had chosen the Very Comfortable Bed, and when he slips off it’s hard to stand. So I went in to help him up, and noticed a wet spot on the carpet. We had joined the program, already in progress. The sensible thing to do would be to grab a towel and let him go, but that’s retrospective wisdom talking. I picked him up and ran to the back door. Opened it up, shouldered the outside door open, and got him outside, whereupon three or four drops tainted the clean new snow. Went back inside to see if there was any additional mess, and found a trail from the dining room through the kitchen. I wiped it up and damp-ragged the floor and went out to get him, when I discovered a spray of frozen pee on the glass door. The only way to get out? Boiling water. But I’d have to be outside with the door open, and we all know that boiling water just turns to ice, and i suspect that if I dash the glass with hot water it’ll shatter.

My immediate concerns were getting out of my garments, which had also soaked up a goodly amount of the errant fluid.

It’ll be 34 on Friday.

So that’s how cold it is: resigned to frozen dog urine on the inside of the outside door for the next four days.


Worked at home, which turned out poorly since the blog software kept gagging every time I posted. Took down the tree while daughter had some friends over - they were in the basement with the fireplace on, lights down for the Teen Cave routine. The job of holiday dismantlement falls to me each year, and it’s usually a bittersweet thing. Okay okay I get it time’s winged chariot but if you could keep from knocking your hooves into my shoulder blades that’d be great. Not this time; the corpse was interred with dignity and respect, without any of the usual minor thrumming panic over how fast it went. It didn’t. Moved slow, scoured the house, gathered up the

(pause while daughter came downstairs at 11:14 to have a chat. Subjects: size and age of the sun; age of the universe; difference between the usage of “ghetto” as it applied to the Jewish quarter of Warsaw and American culture; Jasper’s breath; what Jasper would sound like if he could talk like an old man; the best cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches; her idea for a “Criminal Minds” serial killer who wears a mask and uses the victim’s social media accounts to market his crimes; how mom gets around in these shoes - which led to watching a “Models Falling on Catwalk” compilation, followed by a video of a man in a motorized wheelchair who battered a door in a South Korean mall elevator until he drove through the busted door and plunged down the shaft)

small tokens of the season, missing NOTHING. Sighed: dog’s stocking and the reindeer ears he hates, but endured this year, because, well, whatever. Folded them and put them away. Put it all away. lugged the boxes down to the storage room, disassembled the tree and put it the garage. Everything felt horribly bare, but later when I passed the corner where things had been restored it looked comfortingly familiar. It looked like home.

Did a radio interview about the cold weather, standing out on the porch in the -15 temp. Seven minutes. Eh. Tolerable. Wife came home, noted that everything was away, but pointed out I’d forgotten a mug. No: that mug had been declared Non Grata by daughter, who found the handle cramped and the lip thick. I’m not going to pack it away and take it out and pack it away in perpetuity. It GOES.

So it went. But as I started to write this, thinking about finding all the Christmas elements around the house, I remembered a door-hanger with Santa’s mug, hanging on daughter’s door. I remember when I bought it, thinking: this will be the first sign of Christmas! When this goes up on her door she’ll know it’s Christmastime. But that’s Hallmark-commercial stuff, right? The item appears, the child’s eyes Glow With Wonder, and the Magic of the Season begins. I’m not sure she ever noticed it, but year after year I hang it -

- and year after year I forget to take it down, and it’s the last thing I remove after everything else is packed away. So it goes on the top of the box, and it’s the first thing I take out when we decorate the house. No one notices it and no one would miss it and I know I’ll hang it on the door to her room when she’s three years into college. Waiting for her to not notice, but knowing it’s tradition.

“I suppose you didn’t see the SANTA HEAD.”

“Dad, what?”

“Thish. Been here fourteen years not like you e’r notished.”

“Dad, you need to add more ice. Really.”

“I wrote about how I wasn’t going to put it up but I don’t suppose you read my blog.

“No one blogs, Dad. It’s embarrassing when friends google me and your BLOG comes up.”

“I wash a PIONEER!”

“I know I know yahoo site of the day or whatever, MOM?”

“You used to come downstairsh an’ talk about the SUN with me.”


Kidding. Just have to undercut the naked, raw expression of sentimental emotion before I descend into predictable bathos.

Sorry about comments shutting down early - I have them set to close after 3 days, and I think I’d uploaded the page over the weekend to test how it looked. Thanks also for bad link reports; nice to see folks are revisiting some old sites.



A nice seasonal tableau; let's see how Elmer ruins it.

It starts off well enough; both parents are proud, although Elmer takes the opportunity to praise himself as usual. Ths is because he has been figuretively emasculated by his wife's success, and feels the need to promote his prowess whenever possible. Also this is because he has been literally emasculated.

It goes downhill quickly; Elsie, ever the pitchcow, brings up Hemo as if there's a squad of the press at hand with pencils ready. Elmer is tired her her hemomania and it goes poorly from there, although Elmer recovers enough to "twit" her, and she responds "happily," not noting the passive-aggressive insult he's made.



I've mentioned Rath before - one of those meatpackers well-known in the heyday of national meats. It's been gone for two decades, but people still remember the logo.


Chop-ettes! Because if there's an attribute a lot of people demand in their food, it's "Chopped" and "Shaped."

The Administrative Building today.


Oh, sure, I’d take his word for it. Guy pushes an old lady down the steps while giggling, I’m going to wonder what he drinks for energy.

In England I believe that's the gesture for "Up Yours." Apt. I found the stuff revolting, because it was like drinking cold tomato soup. Now you can get it in palatable flavors I find easy to keep down. The stuff could have been called Peacock Fluid, you know - it was made by W.G. Peacock, magnate of the New England Products Company, which made products, in New England. In ‘33e developed a line of juices under the Vege-min brand, but no one bought them. Perhaps in a fit of pique, after much wastebasket kicking and desk-drawer slamming, he poured all eight varieties all together. A veggie suicide, as we would have called it in grade school. Finding the blend to be not unbearable, he marketed it as Vege-min 8, and later to V8. It’s been made by Campbell since ’48, which had the ad and distribution muscle to make it a national favorite. Note: it was never a national favorite. Not until they started the non-tomato line, anyway.

Very little on Mr. Peacock available on the internet; people may have V8 against him for a long time.

It had great brand awareness when I was growing up, thanks to the constant barrage of ads featuring people who had, for some reason, forgotten to avail themselves of a V8, and remonstrated themselves by slamming their palms into their foreheads.

Not even this made me want some.


Flash! Scoop Gibson is on the scene:

Yes, it's America's fastest-growing placebo.

There was a Knox, as you may have surmised. Charles Knox. By 1908 his company was the world’s largest manufacturer of unflavored gelatine; he also made Spm Soap and owned a power company. No doubt he was proud of his accomplishments, but that doesn’t keep the Reaper from knocking. After he died his wife Rose took over the firm, and she was quite a piece of work. She didn’t just sit around and have teas and live off the proceeds - she made PR campaigns (with a blimp!), built two new factories, instituted a five-day work week, and never laid off an employee during the Depression.

(Summary taken from this summary, which has this great line you can't say about many people: "In 1936 she built a second plant in Camden, NJ. There the shinbones of Argentine beef cattle were processed into gelatine and then sent to Johnstown for packaging and distribution."

Argentinian shinbone jello! The question is why people thought it pepped you up.


Updates on the right - we start the year-long examination of the hidden messages of the Richie Rich comic book. Work Blog between noon and one (I hope; blog software was hosed yesterday) and Tumblr now and then! See you around.




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