This is the squirrel who tells the tale of winter. A Christmas gift. He sits outside on the gazebo table, holding a silver nut. If you can see him, then it hasn’t snowed lately. Or the other way around. Anyway, that’s the legend of the White Squirrel!

There is no legend. I just put him outside because I didn’t know what to do with it. He’ll sit there through the rest of the winter - and I say “rest of” as if there’s a minor portion left to endure. Hah! Just getting wound up, this one - and another Canadian Mare’s Ass is coming our way tomorrow. High: 24. Low: -11. Today: 40. Variety, that’s what keeps you interested.

It was an odd weekend. Usually I work on the website, but to my surprise it’s done. I have updates laid out for two weeks. I have the Bleat laid out for the rest of the month. I felt like Alexander, who sat down and wept when he learned there were no more lands to conquer. Poor fellow; that story always tugs at the heart, doesn’t it? Probably rule #1 for time travellers: for pete’s sake, don’t go back and tell him there were lots more countries to conquer. Heck, entire continents. He would have raised a navy and sailed to America, and then we’d have a Hellenistic culture that went back two and a half millennia. We would be the Old World. Fargo would be older than some Roman imperial outposts.

That’s probably not how it would have worked, you say, irritated, unable to hear the note of humorless pedantry in your voice. Try speaking into a recorder and playing it back.

Sorry, rambling. Had nothing to do until I remembered I’d bought the fourth season of Route 66 on DVD, strictly for three episodes shot in Minneapolis. The result: a new website with 25 screengrabs, and an updated site about the Sheraton-Ritz hotel, where much of the episode was filmed. It begins with a scene on the 3rd avenue bridge that’s rather nightmarish, and I’ll save that for later. What perplexed me was this:

It’s possible to make out the words, if you assume the gushing geyser at left indicates the Clear, Pure Water used in the Finest Beer. So: Perfect Brewing makes (something) the Perfect Beer.

But I can’t tell what brand it is. Can’t find any ad campaigns for the local favorites that used the slogan, nor can I find any that had two characters of varying height as the product spokescreatures. It’s a mystery.

I'll save the site for later this week, when I plead busyness or exhaustion or some such tepid excuse for not setting out as a long a buffet as you may have expected.


The dog ran away. That’s what you think when the back gate’s open and he’s nowhere to be seen, but he can’t get far. It’s not like he’s going down the stairs. He’d walked around to the front of the house, and was waiting by the gate. Quite the hike at his age. Got him in the back yard; he did the same thing. He wanted a walk, hard as it might be.

It was a beautiful day.

And so he got a walk, although daughter had to carry him the last few steps. She does love that dog. She knows he’s old, and, well, you know.

Oh, what else? Surely something. Can’t have been that vacant a weekend, even though I ended up prowling through Netflix for something, anything to watch, and ended up snacking on the first 15 minutes of lousy 80s sci-fi movies. They bring back memories, even if I haven’t seen them. Everything is “Alien” or “Star Wars.” The music is always blatty buzzy synth-dreck; the hairstyles remarkably apt for 1983, the computer graphics from the FAR-FLUNG FUTURE the cheapest imaginable - and yet at the time it seemed reasonably futuristic, as if we couldn’t imagine what things would look like in the future. Flat panel screens? Huh. Describe what you mean. Kirk had a big clunky CRT on his desk that might as well have had RCA stamped on the back, and they had green-on-black graphics in “Alien,” so it fit what we expected.

But very one of them is fixed in its era. “Alien” and “Star Wars” are timeless.

You’re always surprised to find that the movies are that bad. Not just bad. That bad. As if there weren’t any good starving writers who could have punched up the dialogue or plot. As if there weren’t any actors who’d been waiting tables for two years, still hungry for the break. As if no one realized how bad it was, how poorly it compared to the thing they copied. They’re either characterized by incompetence or evident contempt.

Oh, what else? Much, but nothing that notes recounting. Fun trip to the mall with daughter; on the way back we found a song on the radio neither of us had heard and both liked, and I put down the windows and turned it up LOUD. Target on Saturday; lady pushes her cart passed and said “I liked your Friday column.”

“Thanks! And there’s another tomorrow.”

“I know,” she said. Every author’s dream.

Okay, I give up; I’ve nothing to say. Monday will refill the tank.

There was something else. I just can’t tell. Yet.

Oh: The Winter Squirrel, Squirrel of Winter, this afternoon:

That's after the big melt.



Note: Clicking on the B&W Banner now takes you to an page of links that go directly to last year's entries. Why? Because I had an hour to kill.

Wartime amusement: a secret weapon, a Japanese agent, Dorsey, Skelton, and some fine period opening credits. Let’s just look at the graphic style of 1942, shall we?

We start at a club in the Imaginary City of American Dream:

And we meet its impish id:

How can you not sit back with a smile, ready for 90 minutes of delight, when that mug shows up? He’s in love with the Great Sphinx:

Virginia O’Brien. A tall drink of ice-cold water, famous for her comic deadpan. A note about Virginia from the imdb comments:

In 1952,while she was married to former Superman Kirk Alyn,she appeared in the "Easter Parade of Stars",a 1st ever television car-show.Sponsored by Electric Auto-Lite,it replaced SUSPENSE that week.....Virginia appeared on the show,sitting in a 1902 Rambler and singing Ramona while staring at the camera.Now,whats REALLY weird is that program was produced by William Dozier.Does that name ring a bell? Thats right,he produced the 1966-1968 ABC television show "Batman",another comic book hero come to life on the screen.So Kirk Alyn (Superman) is connected to Virgina OBrien is connected to William Dozier is connected to Batman.

MIND. BLOWN. Not really. I’ll bet she had the strangest fans. They thought they understood her like no one else did because she was peculiar and so were they. Kindred souls!

There's comedy and romance and a few thrills - after all, it's wartime. But they came for the music and the dancing, and brother, they got it and got it good.

There's this guy too.

Well, every movie has one of those guys you google, wondering "what ever happened to him."

Oh: there’s Stump and Stumpy: James Cross and Eddie Hartman (as Stumpy in this case; Harold Cromer also played the role in the duo.)

They made these by the dozen until they figured people didn't want them anymore.

Wonder what made them think that.

Updates on the right. Work Blog between noon and one, and Tumblr now and then! See you around.



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