Maybe it’s ultrasonic. Have a good night!

How did I get to the point of saying that? Like this.

Menard’s Enormo-Box Hardware store. I am there because I need cupboard hardware, and can’t get it at the Neighborhood Hardware Store With Dogs. I’ve already been to Home Depot, where I waited for Mike to finish making a key for a customer. (I was told Mike was the guy who could help me.) Mike explained to the customer that he couldn’t make the key; it was special. It had uneven shoulders. And right there I smiled: a piece of jargon! Keys have shoulders.

“Can I help you?” I said.

“I like your column!” he said.

Well, we’re off a fine start. Turns out he read me back in college and ever since, which is gratifying. But he couldn’t match the cupboard hardware they had to the one I brought, so we reminisced about Dinkytown for a while and then I went to Menard’s.

There are five people heading to the big sloping escalator that takes you up to the second level. A Courtesy Employee, as his vest said, pushes through all off us with a big wheeled pallet and goes first. This means no one can go past him. Usually you walk up the slope, but now we all stand there behind the pallet and Mr. Courtesy, and everyone is . . . resigned.

They didn’t have the hardware so I bought peanuts and coffee. Do I need peanuts and coffee K-cups? No. I have enough for two weeks on the legume front, and enough for a month on the K-cup matter. Wife and daughter use the K-cup machine.

Now and then I use it when I'm waiting for the big coffeemaker to brew a drinkable cup.

But this month is all about culling and restocking, and I want the stocks to be deep, so I bought them and made a note to go to the drug store to get DayQuil and NyQuil. Daughter had been ill, and I’d broken the seal on the DayQuil only to notice that had expired a few months ago. POISON! IT'S TURNED TO POISON!

No one had gotten sufficiently ill, which is good, but now I had to restock because there’s always that moment when someone goes to the drawer for OTC medications, and there isn’t the one they want, which means I have failed. I should lay in whatever might be needed because no one wants to go to the store and get it when you’re ill.

Indeed: later, at CVS, I would be standing in line in front of a guy who smelled like cigarettes and looked like a California-type aged hipster or cool dude, someone who had an awesome time in the 70s but was now hungover as hell and needed to buy these Red Bulls fast. The line moved slowly and I could feel waves of antsyness rolling off him. Later when I left the parking lot I saw him outside the store drinking the Red Bull right there, taking the can in one draught.

But back to Menard’s. I paid, went to my car, and tried to back out. Another car was backing out. Let him go. People walked past. I let them go, because I am a generous god. I eased out sloooooww, because it’s a busy lot, and I hit something. Looked: a line of carts being pushed into the store. There was no way he didn’t see me slooooowly backing out. I pulled in and let him pass:

Mr. Courtesy Employee. Same guy. I think he spends his whole day in a state of blissful unconcern, unaware how many people he annoys.

In one way or another that’s probably all of us.

Later I went to Traders Joe and used my phone to pay. The clerk said:

I had someone today, he used one of those new cards, it had a wave on it, and it was faster than the iPhone.

The what?

It had a picture of a wave on it. I guess it’s new. I read about this morning on Yahoo.You just hold it over the card reader there and it connects.

Your first question is, of course, you read news on Yahoo? But I was intrigued, because I hate to be eclipsed by any sort of new tech. Although if a card is faster, it’s still a card, and cards are the new checks.

So I asked about the wave logo. What did it mean?

It was like a horn with wifi signals.

So not a wave in the aquatic event sense.

No, a wave. Like sound.

Oh, dot wav. Like mp3.


Like AIFF. Like FLAC.


Why? Is it transmitting the signal by sound?

Maybe! It was incredibly fast.

But it sounds tremendously insecure. Couldn’t someone stand around with a recording device and pick up the signal?

By now he had to empty someone else’s cart, and he shrugged.

Maybe it’s ultrasonic, I said. Have a good night!

Because it’s not unexpected at all to conclude a conversation with a stranger with that sequence of words.


A 40s crime pulp mag ran a WANTED section, so you could keep an eye peeled for these hardcase yeggs. This guy escaped from a 1920s silent German movie:


He legged it from the Tomato Farm.





We are at present studying the criminal strategies of the man known only as . . .

Death gotta death:

He has absolutely no backstory. He's not all that successful. He's still pretty satany, as you'll see.

He's knocked off a ramp and falls - to his death!

That . . . is not what happened. Let’s go back to last week’s entry.

Ah well, people would have just thought “didn’t see the rope!” Because they didn’t.

So once Copperhead gets back in the fight, he punches his way towards the tungite Dr. Satan’s henchmen have been smelting, but they get away.

In case the city was still convulsed with grief over the possible death of Dr. Scott, the Inventor:

We learned that from a guy Copperhead beat up. His name is Fallon, and the stupid newspaper prints the address of the sanitarium where he recovering. This means that Dr. Satan will have to have him silenced, the “trip to the hospital to extract someone” being a staple of the genre.

Remember, though, this is a serial that’s making some rules for others to follow - and that means we might get the ol’ gurney-out-of-the-back-of-the-ambulance cliffhanger. (I write these recaps as I watch the show, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.) (Much.)

Oh look who’s back:

They sent a Ribert to get the guy, but nothing says “secret plan” like a slow-moving automaton that could be followed by some guy who uses a walker.

As it turns out, Bob Wayne (in reality, the Copperhead! Or vice versa) does follow them, and finds out the Lair. He tells Lois - spunky Science Daughter - to get Speed, the journalist, and the DA’s men. Then puts on the magic Copperhead mask that confounds everyone, and goes to skulk.

I do love this:

Well! He does have panache, I’ll give him that. Takes about 5 seconds to put the Copperhead into the dreaded CRUSHING ROOM OF CRUSHING

What a jam! That's what they'll say next week when they open the door. (sorry)

That'll do! See you around. I think I have the number for the Twenties Ads correct; you may see one from last week. It's the end of the 20s, too - next week it's something completely different.



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