It's going to be another light week. Hope you don't mind. Nothing much going on in this strange interregnum, this odd period of deflation and renewed secular celebration. You might still be in festive mode, like the felow above - but we'll discuss him, and his appliances, tomorrow.

I hope you had a fine Christmas. You probably do not want to hear of Christmas. I wouldn’t, if I were you. Usually on Monday I recount details of the weekend, but there’s something perishable about Christmas, something that evaporates so quickly - we all agree to move on after a rote exchange about how good it was.

There’s almost an embarrassed morning-after feeling to it all.

I have to admit something, though - December 23rd is one of my favorite days. All the Christmas Spirit and Mood and not a jot of pressure to be something special. I went to the office, and Daughter came with, intending to have coffee at Dunn Bros in the 333 building. BUT IT WAS CLOSED! Because it was Friday and Christmas Eve was imminent. We went to my building, but Peace Coffee in the lobby was CLOSED! Because this enormous 50+ story skyscraper was mostly empty. So she got coffee at Au Bon Pain and sat in the deserted seating area on the skyway and wrote. Later when we walked back to the car I took advantage of the empty atrium and the echoey acoustics to whistle Christmas tunes.

“Please stop.”

No. Anyway, it was all great and grand, except that the lights - the fabulous internet lights - decided to fail. The other night I was driving around looking at other people’s lights, and judging them, and when I got home to admire my own I saw that the lights were blue and white. Eh? I hadn’t chosen that setting. When I tried to reset the lights they refused to conform - one strand would only show blue, and the other was half blue.

These things weren’t cheap. I got them on sale, but they’re not cheap. And they were Philips, which wants you to buy their Hue lights for indoor illumination. I’m sure they’re completely different operations. I’m sure someone in Hue is annoyed at the junk that goes out under the Illuminate brand, and it’s one of those things that makes for some tension at the home office now and then. But there’s a task group devoted to upgrading the Illuminate brand; there’s a team working on the app upgrade. There are a few people who have made trips to the Chinese factory and had meetings and drinking sessions and assurances of satisfaction.

But the end result is a guy in Minnesota looking at an app that says PHILIPS and it DOESN’T WORK and it’s all about their LIGHTS and it’s UTTER RUBBISH.

Christmas Eve had an interesting twist - usually it’s church, the traditional dinner, opening one or two presents, then perhaps preparing for the next day’s dinner. Wife was surprised to find she had no half-and-half. It was 9:20 PM. Could I run to the gas station?

I could. Listened to the BBC, which was playing a church service full of wonderful carols and plummy voices. Holiday store was closed. Hmm. There was a BP a few blocks away, and the C-store was open. But they had no half-and-half. They never had any half-and-half. Next door was a Walgreens, which was surprisingly populated; a group of people from the public-housing motel down the street, buying Christmas gifts from the toy department. There was a spot for the half-and-half in the cooler but there wasn’t any.

Took to the highway and drove to the CVS. I was on a mission now. CVS was open, and the clerk asked if she could help me. Half and half?

“Good luck,” she said.

Okay. Next: Walgreen’s by Southdale. But there was a SuperAmerica in between, and I went straight to the dairy cooler and HUZZAH, there was one left.

When I got home my wife was at the top of the steps and said “I realized I didn’t need it, so don’t worry -“

I held it out, as if it was the most besets Christmas gift ever, just what you always wanted, and it’s a miracle!



Emptying out the Odds & Ends bin at the end of the year. Here's a pulp mag that probably had some subject drift over the years. By 1930 it was . . .



A super-tale of a Bat Man World! Why not? 1930, after all, was an age of supermen, defined as "men who are cataloguing the universe through photographic telescopes" and "projecting sound and images through the ether." Morgo, while fictional, is part this world.

Inasmuch as it conforms to the spirit of scientific inquiry.

About Bat Men.

Later this week? Anecdotes - and a surprising prediction.






No Black and White World. This is a day off, right? Right! It's Christmas "observed."

Except no one is.

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