Rain! Warmth! The embuddening of the trees! WORKMEN IN THE BATHROOM all day making horrid sounds of creative destruction. They have removed the tub, taken out the sink, blasted up all the old tile - and what a relief to confess that we never really liked it, that it seemed like the one part of the house that the designer got wrong - and ripped up the floor where the pipes are. Minor problem: wife rethought the glass block wall. As in, "no." Panic: that's the only way to admit the light from the wall in the shower to the bathroom; put up a wall, and it will be a dark cave. So maybe have the wall only go up so high?



IT HAS TO HAVE A WALL THAT KEEPS WATER FROM GETTING OUT because the water will be bouncing off people's heads. Contractor, informed of the fact, is patient; it is her prerogative. Wife asks what he thinks, and I say "if we told him to put in cement blocks painted orange with dollar-store decals of Spiderman he would do it, because that's what he's here to do." But I found some pictures that changed her mind - they look clean and simple. I like glass blocks. I'm sorry. This may be due to my childhood, when they were in the windows of elementary school, and it might be due to Miami Vice, where it was a constant design note, and yes I am prepared to have someone at some point say "I don't want to buy that house because the nice walk-in shower has glass blocks."

You may ask: why not just . . . I don't know, glass? Because we are tired of squeegeeing the glass. And by we I mean (sentence ends here, because it does) So we may go with a half-wall that has fewer glass blocks, but if I have my way we won't. Frankly I don't care if it says Miami Vice and if some theoretical future buyer doesn't like it then they can't imagine Sheena Easton walking out of it, and I pity them more than you can imagine.

A minor piece of pop culture: Achewood, the most ingeniously written comic strip since Pogo. (I don't know why I said that. I will say more later, and see if it's true.) For a while it was the smart, funny webcomic that you couldn't share with your parents, because they'd be appalled and probably wouldn't get it, especially if they thought of comics in terms of Garfield. (Or Pogo.) It wasn't the art, it was the writing. Every strip managed to put words together in a way both confusing and instantly perfect.


That's Ray, the rich cat who wears a thong. He is a dude from circumstances but who isn't

It was frequently profane, to use an archaic word for something that had a lot of bad words, and it could go off on long spirals that didn't always pay off, and the artist's limitations were never more obvious than when he was trying to transcend them - which he didn't do often, but often succeeded at doing. It had a golden era in the early oughts, then the weight of it all seemed to extinguish its creator's enthusiasms for anything - instead of daily panels, we were offered amateurish sketchbooks that seemed to be cautionary warnings about the effects of weed. But the language was just wonderful, overall. The stories could be . . . heartwarming. Or epic. (Seriously, the Great Outdoor Fight is one of the signature accomplishments of 21st century comics.)

Then it became irregular, and you got the sense that the artist was resenting the strip and the people who liked it. Then it went away. Then it would come back. Then a project would be announced; nothing would come of it. The author was a food critic for a while, then "a short art directing stint, " and the he went into the artisanal soda pop business, which is still going on. Everyone figured Achewood was dead, but after two years of silence, more or less, it came back on Christmas Eve last year, and has made several updates. It is exactly the same in tone, appearance, and quality; it's as if nothing happened, and it's 2005. I have no doubt it will disappear again for reasons we'll never know, except that the enthusiasm of doing something you once loved can curdle quickly the moment it feels like an obligation.

It's an odd thing to watch, if you were part of it. And by "part of it" I mean watching from the bleachers like everyone else. Anyway, it's back, and all the old characters are making an appearance, one by one. I especially enjoyed the return of Showbiz, Roast Beef's loser brother. Your experience may differ. I point people to the strip, and half of them think I've lost all critical abilities whatsoever.

As for Pogo - it only takes few seconds of looking through my collections to remember what a lovely strip it was. The antithesis of Achewood - Kelly was a master artist and a calligrapher. The self-righteous misanthropy of the later years crimped the pleasures, but the strips were so generous - great art and word balloons bursting with dialogue you wanted to read out loud.

Wally Wood's parody here: heh.

Nah, not for me:

And they believed . . . in what?

. . . we suggest that you momentarily set aside any preconceived notions about science, religion and metaphysics. What you are going to find here will probably differ markedly from anything you have seen before. In fact, nowhere on the planet will you find so perfectly integrated such diverse topics as God, practical occultism, astrology, magic, the science of soul, religion, alchemy, "universal welfare", "The Book of Nature".... so hold on to your hat as we introduce you to the most important material of the dawning Aquarian Age.

Aquarian Age? That sounds recent. More:

The Church of Light is a non-profit, religious, altruistic organization founded upon Hermetic Traditions. Our parent organization was The Brotherhood of Light, an order derived from a yet more distant past. The Brotherhood of Light was transformed into the Church of Light in 1932. Both the Church of Light and its predecessor were devoted to re-establishing the Religion of the Stars on the physical plane.

More here . . . at their website.





Your undies will resemble ones that have not been used, but stuffed away in a trousseau in the hopes that one day you'll put them on for an evening and then take them off very quickly.



Interesting room. It's a bedroom, of course, but it appears to have a vast open area with an enormous carpet, suitable for passing out after a night on the town.


1930s ad art was all over the road - literally, in this case. Sorry. Didn't intend to make that pun. Point is, they had some sharp illustrators on the job.

I can't make out the name of the artist. I will say this: nice lettering; I'd like that typeface. Also, Beech-Nut Gum does not steady your nerves. I mean, come on. Gum.

Now, BO-Pimple Theater brings you the adventures of Patty. It's quite the epic.


Well, I hate to speculate.

It all started at the beach, when an impressionable young lady gets it into her head that fame awaits, and can be secured as easy as an ice-cream cone.



So the one in the front will ask Dad to call up his "Photographer Friend." Because kids know the professions of their parents' friends.

Hey, wait - is Bob wearing a bra up there?



She's attired quite modestly for one intent on Hollywood fame. That'll have to change. Maybe Mr. Hess can show here what's what.


  Patty's frozen smile indicates she isn't listening at all. She's not hearing what he's saying. It simply can't be true. Why it just can't. So she will just pretend it isn't.
  Miss Jones must work for Mr. Hess. She's not entirely unsympathetic, but this "we need the money" bit - well, it's the first time we've heard about it, so I assume Patty's just making it up.


Happy ending? Of course.



No acting lessons required, no poise school, no elecution studies. Just toothpaste, that's all it took.


One year? What's she been up to? Nothing but brushing and posing, I guess.

It's a living.

Note the bitter despair of her friends, who have staked their escape from Dullsville on a brand of toothpaste.




That's a short batch, but it'll have to do. See you around!



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