Our long-awaited new furniture arrived today. I hate it.

Not it, really; the pieces are beautiful. I just hate them here. They are simply too big. Yes, I measured. But the pieces have a heft that wasn't apparent in the showroom, since the space is open and full of other pieces. In our living room it's as if someone delivered the Rock of Gibraltar into a small Minnesota lake, and that's just the chair. The loveseat is like a battleship. My wife has the misfortune of being married to someone who knows how to lay out a room, and I had to break the news: this grouping cannot be a grouping. What was an airy open space now looks like Charles Foster Kane's warehouse.

So it has to go back, if it can; we had some custom coverings done. No one is happy about it. Even Daughter said from the start it was all wrong; she saw it the minute she walked in the house. She actually shrieked.

UPDATE The fine print says there's a 40% stocking fee so we moved things around and now it's okay.

Okay, let's see what the Brotastic Spike commercials for Cops are this week.

Shoot, it's not a new ep. The days of expecting new shows for a few months, followed by summer vacation reruns, are long gone; now we have hiatii, with mid-season cliff-hangers. In the case of COPS, you get a dribble of new eps then ten shows from the series' 423-year run, and maybe you saw that one before and maybe you didn't. Hard to tell at first, because it's a shot of a skyline at night - KC? Louisville? Some Florida Place? - and a cop car zooms by as the officer speaks.

"My dad was a police officer, and his father was a police officer, and my uncles were police officer, and my mother raised six kids who went into law enforcement and then she, she took the test and she's in the Highway Patrol for the county now, and my son is a police officer, and my wife - she's a police officer - we're in the process of adopting a fully-grown 30-year-old male from Estonia who's a police officer. It's in our blood, as well as a hereditary predilection for brown eyes. Now this is the point where you switch to an outside shot? Right. Then back to me? Right? We're following a car that came out of a neighborhood known for delinquent payment on magazine subscriptions, and he's driving a little erratic - see, he just came to a complete stop at that stop sign, because he's seen me in the rear view mirror, but before that he was traveling below the speed limit, which says to me he's trying not to attract attention. I'm going to light him up and see if we can't engage in a parody of a respectful conversation that results in him lying to me about a glass pipe between the seat cushions."

Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?

No sir I don't I'm just heading home I dropped off a friend

I pulled you over because you failed to fail to come to a complete stop. License and registration, please.

I don't - I gave my license to my friend.

You gave your license to a friend. (to shoulder-mounted walkie-talkie: 264 roger roll the 42s, copy) What's your friend's name.

It's John.

John. Does he have a last name.

Yes sir. John Von Trapp Lucius Velochek.

I see. Could you step out of the vehicle for me.

Sure, yes, of course. Mind if I smoke a cigarette to reassure myself that this is a normal human interaction?

Not at this time sir. Anything in your pockets that's going to stick me. Knives, guns, needles, scimitars.

No sir.

(Pat pat pat)

What's this? (clanging sound on hood of car) Is this a scimitar?

This isn't my car sir it's John's the scimitar must have gone up my pants leg when I got in the car

Okay, come over here and have a seat for me.

Sir I swear it is not my long curved elegant if archaic blade with an ornate jeweled handle based on a 14th century design

Well, that's not how this episode worked out. There were some people in a car and they had drugs and that's how it went.

The Hero debuted on September 8 and was fed to the dogs on January 5 of the next year. Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard Mulligan!

Not even Marianne Hartley could save it. Maybe the idea just looked stupid. It's not a bad idea; it could be funny, but the premise seems as if it would wear out its welcome with the speed of a fast fuse.

There's only so many ways you can show that the guy who plays a Western Sheriff is not really Sheriff material.





Government Agents vs. the Phantom Legion: it's all about shipping schedules.

The summary:

How did that go?


See, I was completely fooled because I didn't see him get out!

Back to the boardroom, where the other trucking magnates tell Crandall it's basically his fault for trying to hog all the traffic. Now Hal comes up with a new idea: everyone gets secret orders no one else can see! If someone gets knocked over, you know who's got a leak.

Because up to know they've all been sharing their shipment schedules, I guess.

Well, after the boardroom sequence, where do you think we go next?

Right: the Metz Building, where our criminal gang - all two of them - gets their orders from Mr. Hat. It goes like this, more or less:

We have to come up with some variation on the basic hijacking idea to keep this going. We've almost run out of ideas.

"How about if we . . . " fade out. So the suspense kills us.

So they get a turncoat driver carrying a load of uranium to fake his hijacking to lure Hal to the scene so they can get him out of the way. Mind you, the Phantom is one of the trucking executives, and hence knows exactly where and when Hal will be, because he shows up to give a report after every cliffhanger. Why not have one of the men lay in wait and shoot him? No, tail him to the Warehouse in a busy industrial district, where he'll already be suspicious and on his guard because he thinks the truck's been hijacked. Because it's a serial.

First, it's a demonstration of those new Kevlar Crates the industry's just crazy about:



The crooks run away, their plan to stop Hal forgotten, and Hal goes after them. The crook's car has a leaky gas tank, so it leaves a trail.

Then the most unbelievable thing happens.


So there'll no fistfight. The hats are pugilisitic talismans.

The boys hijack another truck to escape, and Hal follows. Lots of following in this one. Brilliant plan:



That's two automotive flaming cliffhangers in a row.

Guys. Space 'em out.

It's cold out. Too soon. Tomorrow? Cold - by which I mean a temperature we'll be praying to get in two months. Hell, one. See you around.


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