We had the Best Christmas pre-Christmas Party Ever! And I can say that without fear of contradiction because it had no precedent. Since local relatives are going to AZ for Xmas, which means we won’t all be together for a dinner, I suggested that they come over for some smoked salmon and nibbly things.

Wife didn’t get the reference, even though we had watched the show a few decades past. To be honest, I would wince if anyone in my presence proposed champers and some nibbly things.

It’s the damned grouping. We have had the new living room furniture for a year, and it has the obligatory modern element that ties it all together and makes it a grouping, but we haven’t taken advantage of it. I walked past it every day a few times and saw people sitting in the chairs around the table, IN THE GROUPING, having a civilized time, and so I proposed this event.

To my wife’s surprise. But this is how I’d like to spend every night between seven and 10. People come over, talk about things, drink, then leave.

To enhance the fun, since fun can always stand enhancing, we played a game. Now. I am not one for games, since they seem a poor substitute for conversation - which itself is a game, right? There are rules, there are turns, and at the end there’s a winner, even though no one agrees on who it was. It’s like Monopoly where you think you were the winner even though you went bankrupt, because for a while you owned Park Place.

But Wife decided to do a White Elephant gift game, whereby one gets a sack of items of little value, then becomes quite attached to them when someone else wants to take them. Does it involve force? I asked. No, someone asks, and you have to give it to them. Just like that? Just like that. Them’s the rules.

The moment you know someone can take your worthless bag of dental floss, that’s the moment you want to guard it again someone who demands you trade it for their worthless cheap plastic mechanical pencils.

The questions came from a circular bin of “dinner-time conversation starters,” which was given to us by someone who presumed we sat around staring at our spaghetti, I guess. They work with parents and kids; with grown adults and two teens, almost as well. I was asked which historical figure I’d like to meet, and you have to narrow it down - for drinks? For dinner? At a party? Houseguest for two weeks? I wanted to go with Augustus Caesar, because obviously Julius is the guy you’d like to meet, but we know what he was like - at least we think we do, based on what he wrote and others noted. So it would either be confirmation or disappointment.

No one really knows what Augustus Caesar was like, though. I like the Rome portrayal of the bloodless intellectual young fellow who threw up at Actium, but what if he had a particular charisma that explained much about his long reign? Like the jolly paterfamilias in “I, Claudius.”

Which TV family is like your own? Oh, the Sopranos. What’s the greatest invention? For me personally, or humanity in general? Computer / electricity. What do I win? Ah, dollar-store earbuds.

Great fun, and then I wrote a column. And now I have to write another.


Haven’t gotten to the column yet due to some Christmas Card hell, which I will describe tomorrow. I had been intending to say more but AAAAAAHAHAHAHHIEIESJSEFJISD

Making cards + printing at store + screw-ups in the order + 142 “master lists” of addresss + wrong label size = something less than Christmas cheer. Wait until tomorrow; I’ll show you what Walgreens did to the card. You won’t believe it.



Let's Christmas shop with the Campbell Kids!

One question: what kid would ever want to play with the Campbell Kids? Who decided that a popular, well-established line of soup needed to branch out into toys?


Things like this are good for building brand awareness from an early age, though. Mirro was a popular name, and a Manitowoc mainstay for over a century.





I'm sure all these things were fun, but if you really want to get good at roller-skaing, imagine yourself being chased by one of the Campbell Kids, its lidless eyes wide and starting. And needing.






We're currently enjoying . . .


The worst thing about the last serial? No cliffhanger. But there’s always the resolution - either the revelation of the bad guy’s secret identity, or the final defeat of the mastermind. It’s never completely satisfying, since there’s never anything gruesome or explicit in these things. The best was watching the inventor of the bad robots get thrown out of a window by a bad robot.

The only revelation possible here would be the identity of the Big Boss running the syndicate, but there aren’t a lot of candidates. The story’s moved around too much, bouncing from one shakedown to the other. The penultimate episode had a spectacular conclusion: a fire at the circus, with stampedes and wild animals. Let’s let the crawl get you up to speed - and enjoy the aerial view of Times Square. Where they got a Steadicam in those days I’ve no idea.



Even though we saw the building in flames fall down on the Hornet, it turns out they’re okay! As in, the building has no fire damage, and there’s minor damage. I mean, the coat rack is still standing.


Well, Bates says that “Ogden” is the head of the racket, which means nothing; he also says that a bomb will go off in the Sentinel office tonight at 11 PM. The Hornet ties himup and runs off to Kato, and says something you wouldn’t hear today: take me to some place where I can make a phone call.

Not even Batman has a Batphone in 1942 serials.

He does call in the bomb threat but no one at the paper believes him, probably because he says he’s the Green Hornet. In retrospect, it might be better to call in as the ACTUAL OWNER OF THE PLACE and order everyone out.

The mob guy shows up with the bomb, and instructs the Hornet’s secretary to put it in the safe. Makes sense. The Hornet shows up with moments to spare, and it’s pretty tense.


Sorry, New York! Send me the bill. He escapes with a little derring-do, swinging from a rope Kato’s deployed. This is all so standard, right? But I just love it.




Wuxtry! Well, the Hornet trailed the bomb-leavers, and found a Lair in the Warehouse District. All the crooks we may have met before but forgotten over the weeks have assembled. When they’ve all left, the Hornet goes to the underboss’ desk and turns on the Robot-head Radio through which all the commands have been issued.


Annnnd there’s your reveal. Thing is, Monroe doesn’t seem all that interesting or malevolent, so we’re not invested in seeing him electrocuted, or thrown out a window.

In fact, they have it wrapped up, and there’s nothing particularly satisfying about it. (As usual, I am writing while watching,) How to end on a note of triumph and resolution?

Ah: The Hornet, you see, discovered the recording studio where the fake “Chief” recordings were made, and let’s just say he issues a series of contradictory instructions to various henches. You don’t need to know the details.


For an ending, Britt puts a letter and a Green Hornet coin on slumbering Moike the bodyguard, just to screw with him:



Then the Mayor gives the newspaper a proclamation of thanks for busting up the rackets, and . . .



Solid, Grade-A serial. There’s another, but Gordon Jones didn’t play the Hornet. How that one unspooled, we’ll find out . . . some day.


That'll do; see you around.


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