A beautiful day in the accustomed style: it really came down. As they say. It’s really coming down out there. But it’s not all down; in fact most of it is side to side. Visibility? Nothing beyond a few vague outlines are visible. Year after year we look forward to the big storm that defines us, makes us feel hearty and hardy. Bring it on! Let us spit in the teeth of this thing you call a "storm" -

- and the storm flicks the spit right back in your face.


But it wasn't cold. It was 29, maybe 19 with the wind, and it didn't have that vicious wall-of-needles feeling. Oh, it wasn't like a tropical breeze, what with the incessant snow whipping into my face and coating my hair and melting once I got in the car and fogging my glasses so I couldn't see anything but blurry taillights, but I made it home. Stopped to help three cars get out in my eighborhood.

Then I had to get up on a ladder to sweep the snow off the gazebo roof - it's metal, but it doesn't look like it can take 12 inches without bowing a little. The wind whipped up and blew snow in my face and dumped it down the front of my coat. "You look like the father at the end of 'The Shining,'" Daughter said.

Birch wondered what I was doing out there.

Tuesday: school's cancelled. Daughter is ecstatic, since it means another day to study for finals. She can make hot chocolate and bake something! Wife was surprised at her total and utter glee: she's not in seventh grade. But Daughter had said everyone at school was excited when the snow hit, because everyone felt like they were in seventh grade, and there might be a snow day tomorrow. It's almost like Christmas Eve.






One last note about Mrs. Maisel, a delightful Amazon show that made - alas - a mistake in its otherwise perfect period details.

I mean, as far as I know. And that's hardly authoritative, since I wasn't there. I couldn't tell you about the erroneous details that concerned something about which I knew little. And when it comes to this era - 1958 - "what I don't know" comprises 97% of everything I'm seeing. We have a basic idea how eras looked, but there was no one single look. Unless you look through the old photo albums of everyone who lived on the Upper West Side

Which means it could indicate something quite symbolic, and they hoped people would notice.

It's this.

As cute and fun as Mrs. Maisel is (that's her on the left, Midge, no longer a Mrs. except technically) of course I have to freeze and check out the magazine.

The ep takes place in December / January. That's simply not correct. Unless it's meant to indicate that Mother is so distraught she's reading back numbers! Or perhaps has an issue from the upcoming spring, to indicate she's really quite advanced in her thinking. Ahead of her time.

Or they figured no one would be so nuts as to care.

As I may have mentioned, I watch old Star Trek from time to time. OKAY NIGHTLY but only because I’ve watched something new, and still have a little consciousness left. I hate to go to bed, and I've been watching the new Star Trek: Discovery with absolutely new pleasure. Up to the sixth ep, which might be the best, but that's not saying much. Everyone is so damned unpleasant. It's not a reboot of the old era of Trek; it's a revision, a rewriting, a completely different show with a few names and shapes stuck on top.

There's no reason it couldn't take place 50 years after Voyager. Except it has to have Spock's dad, I guess. And he's boring.

It is impossible to watch the original Trek without foreknowledge; all you can do is imagine how it must have struck the audience at the time. You’re watching yourself watch it sometimes - the remastered versions have better CGI, and this doesn’t detract from the experience. They did a nice job and didn't do too much. It wouldn't work if you're looking at Transformer-level crazy-mad 4K stuff in the viewscreen, and Spock is putting painted pieces of wood they bought at Tandy into a slot on the bridge.

My favorite shows are still my favorite shows. But ST: TNG has so many seasons, so many eps; you want to dip in and find something that stands alone and stands apart. I am not likely to revisit the travails of the Klingon High Council. That worked to revive the Klingons as a plot point. Beyond that, what is there, arc-wise? Some wince-inducing two-parters with busted holodeck protocols. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it, and I still enjoy it.

But it doesn’t feel like a documentary of the future any more.

No, it never was, and no one thought it was. But. Well. Sort of, in a way. You know?

The ep I watched last night was about First Contact. Riker had been on the planet, which was your typical Trek planet - everyone wore tunics and had ugly facial bumps. This species was different: their fingers seemed fused together, but I’m sure this wouldn’t have interfered with their petition to join the Federation. In fact it would have been welcomed. Diversity! The Federation welcomes all Caucasian species with forehead indentations and cheek ridges.

What made this ep work was the planetary politics, and let me just say that “planetary politics” is one of those BS things that plagues the entire genre: planetary government is always a prerequisite, a sign that the civilization has evolved to a higher level. Oh. Really?

Well ,sir, our surveys show they have warp, and fusion energy, and planetary government.

Excellent Number One. Initiate contact.

Excuse me, sir, but their government appears to be imposed by a central authority, not derived by the consent of the governed.

Is that essential to the plot, Number One?

No sir, but I thought you should know -

Then my order stands. Giordi, meet me in my ready room. Hot towels and pudding. Counselor Troi, sit there and look pensive. ENGAGE

Anyway. The planet was a kinda-sorta Earth analogue, which is to be expected. It really was an X-Files Ep: the aliens are us. We're cool! We're French in name with a British accent! What I remember loving about the ep at the time was the hope that this is what we were going to do. We were going to get together and get out there. Not everyone would be on board; Earth would be Earth and people would be people, but we would be sending impossibly cool vessels to distant places to connect.

Why wouldn’t we? Especially since they all spoke English already.

You can say that’s nonsense - we cannot go faster than light speed, and the silence of the universe suggests we are not living in a populated sector of the galaxy, to put it mildly. And I tell you that we will, and we will find friends.

No, that’s too hopeful. We might. We could.

If we do find a way to get out there, that'll be the only thing they teach for that year. Little of what we concern ourselves with today matters in the long record anyway. The 21st century may be known mostyl for inventing the things that made the 22nd different than all others.




It’s 1930. Still the 20s, graphically.

What’s the puzzle, exactly?

Find everything that starts with C. Car, church, cow, cat, chickens. Took me four seconds. Chain, chair, carriage, carrot, clover, cloud. Corn coal canoe, and a few others I’ll leave for you.

The challenge should have been find five things that don’t start with C. It’s odd that the text identifies some objects - girl, tent - that are also C words, as if you’re not supposed to use them. (Child, camp.)


It’ll sell quickly because it not only offers instant protection, it’s harmless!

You’d think it would be just a litlte bit harmful. But it’s not an ad for you to buy one. It’s an ad that wants you to sell them.

It would seem to be a difficult item to demonstrate. You’d have to take the demonstrator’s word for it.


Prohibition’s still going on and no sight it’ll let up. Anyhoo, on a completely unrelated note, take a look at this little beauty here:

Not what people think when they're asked to imagine the 30s, is it? People think zeppelins and skyscrapers. And breadlines, and gangster molls lolling around white apartments in white silk. Nut

1930. Television! Any day now!

I love the usual narrative - TV made its first appearance at the World’s Fair of 1939, but then there was a war. As if they were demonstrating the unit when the news came over the wires: Hitler attacks Poland! The demonstrator turns off the TV. “There’ll be no TV for years now.” Then, after the war, TV somehow appeared. In 1946, not 1945. People were too busy changing to civilian life to watch TV.

That’s the general idea, right?

When did motorcycles enter the popular imagination? The Thirties, I think. And Harley was there:

The company was founded in 1903, but you don’t see many motorcycles in silent movies. The only that comes to mind for me is “Spies” by Fritz Lang, which suggests they’d just made the leap from gawky undependable strange hybrid bike-cars to symbols of modernity. Or, in the case of the ad, domestic bliss.

Why drudge when you can draw?

That has to be the early name of the Art Instruction school; Minneapolis couldn’t have had two . . . yep.

The school was founded as the Federal School of Applied Cartooning in 1914 as a branch of the Bureau of Engraving, Inc., to train illustrators for both the growing printing industry and the Bureau itself. Artists who received this training through these home study courses entered the fields of newspapers, printing and advertising.[1] Joseph Almars (1884–1948), who was born in Minneapolis, was both the vice president of the Bureau of Engraving and the president of Art Instruction, Inc.


In 2016, the school announced it would not be enrolling new students.

Fun fact: the wikipedia article at the end quotes a newspaper article by the guy who sits next to me at work. Small world.

Well, we finally found the bastard.

Does it matter why?

And that's not all! Let's head back a hundred years and see what's up Scoop, the Cub Reporter. And that's not all! Let's head back a hundred years and see what's up Scoop, the Cub Reporter. He's still in Army Training Camp. And he's yet to do any reporting. Let alone scooping.




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