Daughter got an acceptance letter to the U today!And that’s great.

If she goes there, which she probably won’t.

But it’s still a big thing, no? The first college acceptance. I applied to one - the U - and they sent me a nice letter saying “yeah, okay.” Just a letter. She got a packet in school colors with lots of pictures that make you want to go to the U, because it’s about as Collegy as College can be - the great broad Mall with its columned buildings draped in ivy. Come here a callow youth, and find your soul drowning in a cold sea of our depthless, implacable enormity!

Yeah, okay.

She also attended the first interview for a Rotary Club exchange program, something I didn’t know about until today. She applied yesterday. It’s ten months abroad. No coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Luv ya bye! So that was like having an ostrich delivered to the house. Now I have to figure out what to do with this.

Wife always says “well, she can come home from college the Christmas after that,” and I’m seeing myself in an urn on the shelf next to two dogs. TWO CHRISTMAS FROM NOW? Gah.

This redoubles my Griswoldesque commitment to making this The Best Christmas Ever, something Daughter noted is a guarantee that it won’t be so. You can’t force it. Yes I can, Rusty. Yes I can.

Herewith a report on my Apple Watch, which I bought as part of a total upgrade to cyborg status.

I needed something new in life to fill the pools of enthusiasm once regularly topped off by purpose and anticipation. I mean, I’m almost 60. This bothers me a little but not a lot. The 50s seem interstitial, inconclusive, and a bit delusional. It’s the new 40s! No, it’s not. It’s the period in which your vitality may ebb, your opinions may calcify, your joints may stiffen, and your sense of yourself becomes oddly detached from your chronological age. How can I be 60? I like the Beatles!

Well, it’s just a number. I feel engaged with my times, apart from them as well; amused, concerned, optimistic, and not scared. : I’ve been on 7 cruises since I bought my last suit and the pants still fit with a 29” waist. My eyes are crap but my eyes have always been crap. I look older but why shouldn’t I? I have the same energy I had when I was 20, except I know more. I’ve done everything I wanted to do and regret nothing. Hoorah!

So YES I should get a new toy, dammit, because otherwise you sink into habit and the years flow like toothpaste from a tube flattened by an extremely patient hydraulic press. I bought the AirPods first. When they were announced I scoffed; baubles, easy to lose, what possible advantage? But I went all in. I signed up for Apple Music so I could get new things piped into my head simply by uttering a request. Now I walk the dog listening to new music, tapping the right earpiece twice to get the Digital Assistant’s attention, uttering a command.

No wires. I hate wires. Wires tangle.

The Watch was the thing I wanted, but couldn’t justify; didn’t see anything it did that I needed. But the AirPods led to the Watch - as did a request from the office that I communicate primarily through my work email, something I haven’t done for . . . a decade? More? Ever?

I never had a boss. I was a columnist, unconnected from the structure of the paper - but now I am not just a columnist but a feature writer, and they might need to get to me pronto. So: the thing on my wrist sings when the office wants something, and I dictate my response to the Dick Tracy device on my wrist. Free! Freed from the phone!

2007: oh frabjous day I no longer need a watch, I can look at my phone

2017: oh gloriosky I no longer need check my phone for the time, I have a watch

I control my music from it. I can call up my security system and see Birch roaming the kitchen. I can text, see where Daughter is, control the lights in the house. Because of course I can; why shouldn’t I?

I’m used to wearing it; don’t think twice . . . except in the morning, when it’s the first thing I put on.

Because I might get an email.

This, to you, may sound like hell: donning the Wrist Collar of Obedience,Thrall! Don’t miss a single rope-yank from the overlords! Pshaw. Really, hhsaw. I work at home in the morning; I have great freedom. It is a relief to know I am connected. That said: when the iPhone was released, I was ecstatic, but if you’d shown me a picture of me in 2017 with earbuds and Watch and Phone all connected, I don’t know if I would have been pleased or alarmed.

Because back then, I went out in the world with nothing. I was unconnected, and it was the natural state of things.

Tonight at Target my power was at 8%, and I thought: I have to hurry up and finish what I’m doing, so I can plug in my phone, otherwise I won’t be able to tell Daughter I’m in the parking lot when I get to her gym.

It’s all about power management. My phone is at 77% now, which is good. Laptop at 100%, plugged in. AirPods at 81%, AirPod charging container at 98%. Watch at 66%.

You know what, though? Even if everything zeroed out, I think she would have found me.

I think this is their way of saying "we know these are lame, but there are certain standards in mass-circ magazines that require creaky, inoffensive jokes that you can tell to your mother, prompting at best a slight smile."

This is typical, alas:


It's actually a better joke than the others, with a smarter retort, but they had to run it through the Rastusizer.

I never thought Punch was funny. Does the first one hinge on the word "notice"?



The last one shows the timelessness of such remarks. You could have told that one in Athens, and they'd have got it.





We're currently enjoying . . .

When last we met our hero, he was being chased by his bodyguard, who was shooting at him. Why? His bodyguard doesn’t know that his boss is the Green Hornet, Outlaw! Or at least he thinks he’s a bad guy. So he empties his gun into the closet while Britt, who is in reality etc., changes out of his costume. Then Mike’s bullet shatters a bottle . . . of ACID!

Oh no it’ll be sure death! Acid fumes! Well:



He whistles for Kato and tosses his mask out the window. Whew. Mike’s horrified - was I shooting at my boss? But Britt, who is etc., says he was struggling with the Hornet in the closet, and the Hornet got out the window.

What his boss, the newspaper publisher, was doing in the closet in the first place was never brought up.

Back at the office, a judge is telling Britt to endorse a particular mayoral candidate, for the sake of law and order. Britt declines. We go to Crook HQ, and it turns out they’re getting out the vote and committing massive fraud to elect Mr. Canby, who will crack down on the Hornet.

So now all of a sudden this is an electoral manipulation plot. You have to admire the way it keep changing the focus; it keeps it from falling into a rut, and gives us chances to show some ballot-box stuffing, old-school style:




Subtle. I should note that Moike, the Oirish bodyguard, has one setting, and it’s going to get him in trouble some day:



The car circles back, shoots some more. Britt sics his newspaper on the matter, dictating the lead story of fraud. Like newspaper publishers do.

Then Britt, Moike, and a shutterbug go to the polls to personally investigate voter fraud. They see the same car going to different locations, but the men who are voting aren’t the same. Huh - how can that be?




I think actual big-city voter fraud was probably a bit less high-tech.

BTW, you’d be forgiven for thinking Moike is the action hero of this serial. He’s certainly shot more guns and punched more people, and he’s an old dude, too. We like Moike.

There’s a car chase, broken up by the cops; the crooks get away. Next order of business: a WUXTRY


Doesn’t matter; John Canby is elected mayor. The gang is happy, because now they control the mayor. Britt suggests impounding the ballots and fingerprints. Which would seem to be a rather time-consuming process. The Gang decides to steal the ballots, take them out in the country, and burn them. Because that’ll quell all the controversy.

The Green Hornet goes to the warehouse, gets the ballots, and Kato gets to gas a couple guards.


That’s just a nice effect.

The bad guys know which road he’s taking, so they send out some goons to rake his car with machine gun fire. Kidding: they plant dynamite by the roadside. And so:


The bad guys know which road he’s taking, so they send out some goons to rake his car with machine gun fire. Kidding: they plant dynamite by the roadside. And so:

The way this serial goes, he’ll be okay, because it’s an armored car. Then again, he could be DEAD! We’ll see next week.

That'll do; see you around.


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