At Cub, parking lot, walking to the front door. Caddy cruises up, bass music thumping. Window is down so we all can hear. (It's 25 above.) The lyrics apear to be a series of boasts about the speaker's ability to assert dominance over other gentlemen, referred to in salubrious terms banned from public discourse. (The driver, if you're making assumptions, was white.) He pulled up into the handicapped spot. Huh. I saw him lean over and get something from the glove compartment; he hung it on the rear view mirror. Got out of the car without difficulty and loped to the store without a halt in his gait. Looked about 25.

Was I wrong to think he was using Grandma's car?

A few minutes later I saw him at the counter where they sell the lottery tickets; he was rifling through some tickets, beeping them under the barcode reader to see if he won. The speed with which he went through the cards indicated they were not tickets to instant wealth.

Being you is your own punishment, I thought.

Did lots of errands. On a Tuesday. Usually it's Wednesday. You have to shake things up, no? I'm pretty much set for dinner through next week, and have all the meals planned. Stopped at the Package Store, as no one calls it, and bought a 12-pack of fine beer. The clerk, to my surprise, was the fellow who used to show up in the parking lot directing traffic, dressed as some fanciful version of an 19th century Musketeer. Or Captain Morgan. It varied. What I remember from those old parking lot interactions was replayed in this conversation: he can't do banter. He sets you up for banter, does some banter of his own, but doesn't banter back. He did advise me to carry the 12-pack with both hands, as the box was weak.

"I have avoided a catastrophic mishap thus far," I said, "but I will take your advice." And I did. Walked out holding it with both hands.

Switched to one hand when I got outside.

Back home, I went into the newly cleaned storage room to put the 12-pack on the shelf. This meant removing the old one, which had but three bottles. I picked it up - and as I lifted the box the bottom opened up and dumped the three bottles on the shelf, bouncing off my legs, on to the floor. I remembered: the last time I put a box on the shelf, it was upside down, something I discovered after I opened it. I'd turned it right side up and thought, well, I'll remember this. I won't pick it up when it still has bottles inside.

Being me is my own punishment.


Went to St. Paul today for a story; can't say what it was. Top secret! I know, that's a larf. No, I wouldn't tell the competition what I'm doing, but I still think it's amusing that the StarTribune prints the competition. Imagine that arrangement in the old days of six-paper towns. What's the other guy got? Kidnapping of the beer baron's kids! Do we have it? No! Okay, mess up their front page and put some dull stuff up there.

Anyway. You have to take a picture of Mickey's. I always expect it will just vanish some day.

Good place for greasy diner food and downtown grit. It's not one of those kitschy places that's pretending to be an old diner, but is new and bright and false. It's been open continuously for seventy years.

I know it's not like Venice, where 500-year-old churches loom around every corner, but this has been unmolested for over a hundred years:

On University, the old grim Coffin Factory. There's always been something wrong about it - the tower's not quite proportional, and the clock's too small, but who cares? Can you imagine Batman standing on the top, looking for the signal? You can.

You'll know the light rail's impact on University is near complete when this is condos.

Speaking of which: while driving around downtown I found myself not driving at all, because the lights prohibited forward motion when the light rail was in the neighborhood. One train was going west; the other, a few minutes later, was going east. The tracks pierce the intersection at an odd angle. No car moved for about five minutes. Six light-rail cars, three per direction, trundled past. I counted 14 occupants.


More tiny pictures from an album sleeve, blown way WAY up. These compilations were always popular.


Interesting how much pull Neal Hefti's name had. Question, which I can't answer: was that mostly or entirely because of his post-Woody Herman band work? He had an early career as a trumpet player and arranger, but I've no idea if band members had the same celebrity as, say, a guitarist in a popular 80s band. He had one hell of a run, and anyone who can give the world the swank-yet-melancholy "Odd Couple" theme AND the hard-driving "Batman" theme AND "The Good Earth" for Woody's band - quite the range.

As for the album: I can whistle seven out of 12. How about you?

Note thatt the Flintstones theme was titled "Rise and Shine." It's not the song you're thinking of. It's the other theme.




You know, at this point it's just about cleaning up the previous cliffhanger and getting the next one out of the way.

Let's get everyone up to speed, in case you were wondering:


So let's see how they get out of this one, shall we? He was on an intercept course with a missile, and got blown up. We saw it! We all saw it! Yeah, sure:


Mars Man is disappointed that the one guy on earth who is standing in their way didn't die in the fire, but Dr. Quisling says nevermind; let's extort a chemical company for a quarter million so we can buy more bombs. Again: Mars is invading Earth with ONE GUY who has no money or munitiions, but has to organize his own atomic bombs.

Argosy Metals, that's the company being blackmailed. Since they don't want to pay, they go Kent's Security Company. Remember: there are only about 10 or 12 people in the world of a serial. There's no one else Argosy could go to. There's only one security company in the world, and there's certainly no government.

Kent decides to put a locational device in the rocket. What rocket? Why, the rocket Argosy Metals puts the quarter-mil in, naturally. It will be taken away by remote control, thanks to Mister Mars' technical skill. Here's the rocket:

Aww! It's so cute!

And here it comes:

They find the location tracker right away, because Kent's an idiot, and then get some explosives from where? THE CAVE, of course, because there's always a cave. They go to the cave with guns, which will probably not be used since we haven't had a fistfight yet. Kent finds the boobytrap right away, and they blow it up. The bad guys return to the cave, and to my surprise there's a gunfight, after which the bad guys run away, so it turns into a hats-on running gun battle on the road. Steve asks the Helpful Secretary - who, by the way, has never been in peril, an utterly squandered opportunity - to hand him another locator device, which they put in the truck by driving very close and not getting shot at.

Back at the lair, the bland minions are taking the equiptment off the truck, when our boys arrive. They got the drop on them! Naturally:

This week's fightgif:

As it turns out, the Gal Sidekick does enter the fray, and is promptly knocked out. And so, this happens:



They don't build them like they used to.


Ten pages of Ballyhoo await! TEN! One of the pages made me blink a few times - I did it months ago, and somehow it dovetailed with yesterday's Bleat.

Also, I had no control over the podcast posting, and it turns out they were swamped. So as I said yesterday

The podcast lives at Ricochet, but also on Stitcher. May take some time to get up; I'll post the link tomorrow as well. This is a new series, called The Ramble - I start with a subject and just see where it goes, and hope I have the music and sounders and audio clips to back up whatever half-arsed idea comes out.

Should be up noonish, I hope.


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