Wife caught a cold in Boston, and I thought it would be advisable not to go to work, shedding virus parts everywhere. How’s that for an excuse wrapped up in altruism? As the day went on it became obvious I didn’t catch the cold, and it was also obvious that seeing NEXT EVENT SPRINKLER BLOWOUT on my notifications list every day for the last week had made no impression, because I’d forgotten he was coming today.

It’s the true end of the clement season. The sprinklers make one last hiss, gasp to a stop; mist hangs in the chill air and dissipates. Now we hunker. Now we huddle. Now we wait it out.

Bright day, but a tree-stripping wind blew constantly. About a quarter of the trees are completely bare. The colors are brilliant. It’s the hardest part of October - lovely but unfriendly. You feel the days making way for the new boss, trying to get on his good side. See? See? We chilled everything up for you, just the way you like it.

Snow on Friday, they say. It won’t last, until it does.

My commute has become intolerable, and I don’t even drive at rush hour. Here’s what my phone looked like the other day when leaving the office at my usual, pampered-life hour:



Nothing was open. There was no way home. You’d better take a room downtown.

There’s one big reason: the reconstruction of a bridge and intersection on the highway, requiring the narrowing of lanes - but it coincided with an inexplicable shutdown of a southbound “surface street,” funneling three lanes traffic on Portland into a one-lane side street that emptied into a one-lane / two-way street without a controlled intersection.

So: someone wants to cross against both directions of traffic; this being impossible until there isn’t any traffic, cars back up for 20 blocks. Meanwhile, the detour street flows into intersections that allow four cars through the light on a good day. Add buses. Add 10X traffic, and it’s unbelievable.

My conclusion: I won’t take that route again.

So I take the highway, which looks good on the phone’s traffic map. The phone’s traffic map apparently grabbed an update from 1973. For some reason, the exit on 35th street is backed up for a mile. Why? Because surface street traffic has been redirected here from the aforementioned bridge shutdown AND the Portland detour, so no one ever makes it through the intersection ever. Add buses.

There’s an onramp that joins the freeway at the 35th street exit, so you have fools with hope in their heart getting on the highway and attempting to push through the line of vehicles getting off, and that backs everything up. The lane next to the backed-up lane slows, until it affects the traffic that’s coming around a curve, and since people slow down a bit when a curve happens and they see red lights ahead, that backs it up on the big broad road from downtown that empties into the southbound freeway. Everything moves, but it’s 5 MPH.

When you’re past the 35th street exit, everything loosens up and people can drive the limit again, and it’s like “man, what was that all about?” But some days it’s inert and motionless at 3 PM, or even 2:45, and that never happens.

My conclusion: I won’t take that route again.

The other morning I took 35W north into work, and they had closed off a lane. Nothing was being done in that lane. There were just barrels up because the ongoing Barrel Relocation Project, mandated by the legislature in 1985, requires that all barrels be used over the course of a three-year period to ensure the wear and tear is uniformly distributed. I guess. I don’t know. But usually the right-hand lanes are stop-and-go, with big rigs trying to make the 90 degree turn the freeway designers stuck in the road to ensure thatthe slightest amount of congestion slams the whole thing to a halt. Not today! The right-hand lanes flowed as freely as Morton Fargin’ Salt, and even though I was trying to get downtown, I knew that I drove away from downtown I would get there quicker.

This was not evident to the damned souls in the left hand lane, who inched forward at a tortuous pace.

My conclusion: I won’t take that route again.

Now. All these things may be solved soon, but for now they’re off the table. I simply don’t trust any of the roads I usually take. They turn into nightmares, and it’ll be months before I venture back. Which is fine! Because I have alternates that work, and get me where I need to go with relative ease.

This is why I live in the city. I complain when my 15 minute commute is 20 minutes. I cannot imagine spending an hour in my car, turtling along in a shambling queue of impact-resistant plastic.


Are you one of them free-trade globallists? Well are you?



Again, a limited edition. Put some aside! They'll be more valuable in years to come.

Bats, full moon, orange - just about covers it. Festive enough, but man, these things are like eating tennis balls.



We're currently enjoying . . .


When we left our friends, the Green Hornet had been knocked out in a car that was headed for the Gas Station Explosion cliffhanger trope, and we saw a figure sitting up straight:



I mean, there he is. Usually he jumps out and rolls to safety. But there he is.

Here’s why I like this serial: it has integrity. The bad guy jumped out. The Hornet rode the car into the station. The bad guy is watching the results of his handiwork:



So the Hornet survived without a scratch, which is a bit ridiculous, but at least it wasn’t the same old jump-out-roll-away story.

Big news: the publisher’s car is stolen. STOP THE PRESSES. Back at the garage, where the stolen car’s being painted for resale, the Crime Lords realize they stole the Crusading Publisher’s car. This means only one thing: LOTS OF TRANSITIONS.



Moike the Oirsh Cliche comes over with a hot lead, so Moike and Britt The Crusading Publisher head off to a junk yard.

Take a look at those phone poles:



The yeggs at the junk yard are on to our men, so they try to kill them with the most sure-shot method they can think:



Ah, the old “Motorcycles Just Falling from the Sky” routine.

The criminals are now concerned that Reed is on to them, and since he knows about the junkyard, they can’t dump his car there. I love this: it’s not a matter of Moon Men invading the planet, or Axis Murder Fiends trying to sabotage shipyards - it’s a bunch of guys running an auto-parts racket who screwed up by stealing the wrong car, and now they can’t get rid of it. Why, the cops will be looking for that black car that looks like a thousand other cars.

These guys always go for the simplest idea:



Annnnnd I think you know how that goes.

Anyway, it proceeds in the usual fashion, with the theme playing constantly while the Black Beauty speeds around through backlots, and comes down to finding someone who can help Solve The Case in a parking lot that happens to be rigged to blow up at 11. And so:



So he's DEAD! Or maybe not.

That'll do; see you around. Six pages of the SS California await; cast off.


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