Sorry about this, but the weekly slump takes place on Wednesday this week.

Here's the podcast! It's about the Titanic.


This was the art I did.

Can you figure out the source? What it means?


Really, there's nothing here. It's a column night and I was busy. Nothing to report from a trip to the grocery store, except that a young woman came up to Daughter & me in the coffee aisle and said "excuse me, can I ask you a question?"

I was certain it had nothing to do with the location of a foodstuff, since people just ask. Sorry, do you know where the bread is? I'm new here. In my experience, the request to ask me a question leads to a request for money 100% of the time, unless I have the dog along, and even then people just say what kind of dog is that?

So she asked: "Are you paying cash for your groceries today?"

This not being any of her business, I just gave her a questioning look: really?

"Because I'm trying to get some money for a place to stay."

"I am paying with a credit card."

"Okay" and she walked away. We ran into her a while later with a man; they were laughing, and pushing a cart full of food. It seems they divvied up the responsibilities: he went to load up the cart, and she wandered around panhandling. Hey, it could work.

Or you could take this author's heed: "everyone should be guaranteed a small income, free from conditions."

How to pay? Wouldn't that be . . . expensive?

That argument dissolved this week with the release of the Panama Papers, which reveal the elaborate methods used by the wealthy to avoid paying back the societies that helped them to gain their wealth in the first place.

The author runs the numbers:

A larger income, to ensure that no American fell into absolute abject poverty – say, $12,000 a year – would cost around $3.6tn. That is a big number, but one that once again seems far more reasonable when considered through the lens of the Panama Papers and the scandal of global tax evasion.

BBC, which notes there are few Americans in the Panama Papers:

. . . estimates of the annual costs of illegal tax evasion for the US ranged from $20bn to $70bn.

So yeah, totally, that'll pay for a guaranteed income.

Sorry if I seem a bit salty, but I finished the taxes. My wife works for the family; more or less everything I make goes to the government. Walking funny for the next few days.


Sir? Hanna-Barbera's lawyers, line one:

1963. The Pinball Database says: "This is the first pinball machine to feature 3-ball multiball, although the term 'multibal'" was not in use when this game was made. The flyer referred to it as the 'sensational new Blast-Off extra balls feature.'"


Everyone's listening to Jet Screamer on their transistors:



Art by George Molentin. Active from the late 40s to the early 80s. His penultimate machine was "Sharpshooter," which I remmeber: it was made by Game Plan, and it was the only machine by that company that ever appeared in the Valli. (That's where we played. A lot.) I remember it was a stiff table, and underplayed. Some tables are like that; they give off a strange vibe. Maybe it's because the regulars didn't play them. The regulars were at the good machines. If you could play Sharpshooter, you weren't one of the cool guys.





This week in the adventure of the Scientist with an Undefined Speciality vs. the Guy in an Ugly Mask:



A car, heading for a bridge with a bomb? However can she escape?

Okay, that's rather rote. Looks like she really took a smack in the head - really, that ought to have been fatal - but she shakes it off like a pro. And it's not over! Our hero, Duncan, is in the neighborhood, so it's fisty time. But Ashe escapes with the Cyclotrode - and let me just say I'm impressed they're still dragging that thing along after six episodes. I don't know why they haven't used it for world domination, since it obviously works, but I guess they need to build another one.

Anyway, Diana runs to the road to hitch a ride, her car having been destroyed, and she flags down the first truck that comes along. D'oh.


C*RAP IT'S ASHE He chases her into the hills, this being a Countryside Ep, and she climbs a cliff. For a moment you think: will she hang by it? We've never actually seen anyone hang from a cliff in these things. But no, Ashe captures her, and they take her back to the lair.

Oh no - she's going to get a slave collar! This is where you realize how cool this would all be if you were 12 or so; it's a terrifying idea. If you try to take it off, it blows your head off!! If you don't obey, it blows your head off! And before you get it put on YOU HAVE TO GET A SHOT.

Meanwhile, back at Department of Science and the College of Science, Duncan addresses the eggheads, one of whom may be the Crimson Ghost. When he gets back to his Laboratory, he finds Diana wearing A SUSPICIOUS SCARF. He doesn't notice. Duncan talks about his new method of counteracting the Cyclotrode, but it will take some precision grinding, which he has to go pick up now Of course, ol' Crim hears it all. And so:


That's some quality henching, right there. The sneer, the gat, the lingo - 10/10. But Duncan drives into the hills and veers back and forth until the henchman is battered and falls out the door. Not so good a hench after all. He seems to want out:

Sorry boss! I thought I was gonna puke. Meanwhile, back at the lab, Duncan perfects the anti-Cyclotrode device, unaware that Diane is under the Crimson Ghost's command.

This is for you. What is it? Open it. Thanks! Ugh:

Henchmen show up to take the prism from the machine, but Duncan wakes up in time for a fistfight. And it is a doozy.


A fella has to feel pretty stupid, dying like that.

Ta-da! The end. Except there's some lovely World's Fair images I bought and scanned and put up on the internet for some reason. See you around.


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