Now is the season of muddy paws.

It’s not easy to see where Scout is dirty, what with his coloration.

I could have said color, no? But Coloration sounds like a term Dog People would use. The words mean the same, I think, just like Value and Valuation. Right? They’re both an estimate of worth, but somehow Value sounds intrinsic, and Valuation sounds subjective. But all values are subjective. Not the sense of a personal code, or morals, of course; there has to be standards that surpass the individual and express the will and character of a society.

Anyway, paw prints everywhere. Small price to pay for sixty-degree temps. WE DESERVE IT and everyone has slipped into instant spring mode. I was thinking about the lawn today, where to seed. How this year I'll get it all green and perfect. How I'll fix the lighting right this time. How it'll all be marvelous by May.

I expect to pay for the notions above at least two storms that dump a foot of snow. This is the part of the year that resembles the last few rounds of a John L. Sullivan fistfight.

The new season of House of Cards is stupid, and that’s not a word I use loosely. It’s just stupid. Things happen which are DRAMATIC and BOLD and bear little resemblance to how things would actually work, but that’s not why I bring this up.

There was a scene in which one of the Dark and Troubled characters gets out the hooch:

I laughed in a non-laughing way because I’d seen that at Infinite Intoxicants on the shelf of bourbons and whiskeys that are A) single barrel and B) hand-crafted and C) all come from a six-foot-wide pipe of a commercial distillery. The typeface had caught my eye, because the kerning and the descender were clumsy. I wondered if it was a house brand. Infinite Intoxicants, I suspect, has several levels of house brands - AMERICA’S BEST at the bottom, something in the middle with a label that suggests the designer bought one of those font-and-logo bundles, and maybe a high-dollar item for people who don’t know what they want but hell it’s sixty bucks so whatever.

The other day at I.I. a young man asked the fellow who was stocking the shelves for some brown-liquor advice. The stocker was wearing a jumpsuit and wore a knit cap. Back-of-the-store garb. Not the guy who reads the customer, gauges his price point, steers him to the item that’s five dollars more, and flatters his taste. We’re talking basic shelf-stocker.

Well, the basic shelf-stocker had opinions. He moved the young man away from the standard blended whiskeys and walked him down to Big Dollar City. And he began his spiel. Once he learned that the kid knew absolutely nothing about spirits, he told him how the world of single malts would change everything. And he meant everything. You’re sitting around with your friends and you’re having a drink and then you bring out this, and everyone’s educated. No, you’re not going to water it down. No, you’re not going to use an ice cube made with tap water. These expensive ones here, you can work up to them, but first you got to learn the basics.

I saw him pick up a bottle I knew. I was a few feet away, so I said: “For the price, that’s a good buy.”

The Stocker looked at me and smiled and nodded. The Kid seemed reassured. He bought it.

It was the first time he’d bought a bottle of liquor that came in a circular box of its own.

You might be smiling, if you’re thinking: Grangestone, right? Right. Reddit thread:

This was sort of "pushed" on me pretty heavily by the staff at my local Total Wine. As other people on here--and the internet at large--have suggested, Total Wine is the exclusive carrier for the Grangestone line, so they sell it hard and aggressively. Notecards adorned the shelves: "Best Seller!" "Best buy!" "Must have!" "Customer favorite!" etc., etc.

A self-proclaimed scotch enthusiast working the aisles constantly pointed me in the direction of the Grangestone 12, even as I was looking at other bottles not even remotely related to this one. He kept saying it was their best-selling scotch, even above the Johnnie Walker Black.

All in all, it's a little unsettling that Total Wine seems to steer their customers in the direction of Grangestone no matter what. Since they are its single carrier, I'm sure they make a good chunk of money pushing that one on customers in bulk.

The Stockers are told what to push. I’m tempted to go there and claim ignorance and see what happens.

Anyway. This tweet:

Er no. So I went back to Infinite Intoxicants to snap a picture of the bottle itself, only to find it’s been redesigned. Poorly.

“Authentic” ryes and bourbons and whiskeys seem to think that Algiers is a font that lends old-style artisanal authority. Look at that spacing between RYE and WHISKEY. Augh.

The reddit thread tries to get to the bottom of where the stuff comes from. It’s quite intriguing, if you’re intrigued by this sort of thing.


And now . . . saving the Hinde & Dauch ads for history's sake.

They had to put his name on the box in case the story of a giant invisible rabbit didn't strike a chord with some people. But what's disturbing is the presence of two giant rabbits, quite visible - it would not be out of the question for everyone in the vicinity to suspect they were having alcoholic hallucinations.




In the interests of mercy I'm lumping three in one entry. And they still barely add up to anything.

If you recall last week's exciting conclusion, you remember that one of the Criminals finally realized he was a Criminal, and hence should murder people. So he shot Brick and our hero fell off a building. How will he survive?

We’re just going to pretend he wasn’t shot, that’s how.

There’s some untying of the rest of the gang - you know, all the pals Brick brought along on his secret protection mission - and in the meantime the Criminals steal all the super-secret atomic-ray stuff from the Science Cabin and take it back to the Crime Cabin. Because who would think of looking there.

Brick trails them and there’s a fistfight and then there’s about 13 minutes of people going back and forth between the Science Cabin and the Crime Cabin and they end up in a cave and then the titular gas is released and Brick’s just too pooped to punch:

So that’s episode 11. I assume from the start that we’ve completely tossed anything close to a strong narrative drive with believable actions and consequences; keep in mind this is a serial about a brilliant scientist who has invented an anti-missile ray; we’ve gone to the Moon several times, then gone back in time to get some important documents, and this has led up to a couple of guys rolling around in a cave. I mean.

Episode 12:


Oh my. Could it be the Crystal Door that let our heroes go to the Moon by having fireworks superimposed over their faces? Let’s just cut to the end.

No, let’s FF through and see if it’s running around and fistfights and supporting characters in temporary peril . . . .

Yeah. Sandy really looks as if he wishes he was in another picture.

So here’s the cliffhanger. Are you ready for . . . THE DOOR OF DISASTER?

That is officially the worst cliffhanger in the entire series of Serials ever posted on the Bleat. I’m not even going to bother with finding out how they survived because they obviously did. Compare this to some of the great Captain America cliffhangers we saw last year, such as box-cutter decapitation, falling off a 20 story ledge, trapped in a skyscraper shook apart by a sonic vibrator, and so on. Even the bad Batman cliffhangers had more fun. This is just a smoke-pot going off.

Episode 13’s cliffhanger is worth it, though. Brick and a Crime Guy are having a fistfight on top of a moving car. Remember the rule of serial fights: hats must be firmly attached to the head at all times.

I’ll assume he’s up and shaking it off instead of violently vomiting and having a seizure.

That would be it, except there's sci-fi covers. Go romp among the stars, and I'll see you around.


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