Felt like the day after Christmas on Monday. The excitement was gone and everything was back to normal, and you felt the festive mood dissipate like . . . like . . . like a piney dog fart. I’m sorry, I’m not in the descriptive mood right now, partly because the dog just unfurled a fragrant ghost. The canine capacity for silent-but-deadly makes our quietest submarines sound like a brass band falling down an up escalator. See? I’m really not in the descriptive mood.

Instead of ghost I was going to say “shade” as a nod to Dante, or “lemur” to make a reference to Roman terms.

Lemures may represent the wandering and vengeful spirits of those not afforded proper burial, funeral rites or affectionate cult by the living: they are not attested by tomb or votive inscriptions. Ovid interprets them as vagrant, unsatiated and potentially vengeful di manes or di parentes, ancestral gods or spirits of the underworld. To him, the rites of their cult suggest an incomprehensibly archaic, quasi-magical and probably very ancient rural tradition.

It’s a reminder that that ancient world had their own ancient world.

I imagine today will be another pucker-time interval for the stock market. This doesn’t unnerve me, and won’t until someone comes out and says “The fundamentals are sound,” which always a signal that 15% more drop-off is ahead. For weeks I have been unnerved by the stock market’s performance; it’s like a kid running with scissors. Stop that! Stop gaining 250 points a day! You’re going to put everyone’s eyes out! What I hate is the freaking out, because it sets up sympathetic vibrations with my own hidden out-freaking, which I’ve smothered below a quilt of rational, historical reactions.

Anyway. I have to write an architecture piece now, or rather gather the loose sheep that have been wandering over the hills and corral them into one pen. All these mission-critical things to do today, and how did I spend the post-dinner time? Well, I tried to walk Birch, but he said “it’s cold” and refused. No idiot, that one. So I did a Diner, and it turned into one of my favorites. Improv is fun. Still wish I had the Dark Chef chiming in and throwing wrenches in my plans; if this year’s shows were on the radio with callers, it would be wild. If anyone played along. Station management would probably be unnerved - where is this going, exactly?

I don’t know. That’s the fun.







I never thought I would ever say this again, but I am loving the X-Files. The first 2 eps had more pop and verve than the previous reboot season, the MOTH ep after that was true to form, and the fourth, the Sweaty Forehead ep, had to be good: Darin Morgan wrote it. So it had to be funny and crazy and kick all the usual portentous X-Files tropes in the nards. Also, since this is 2018, it had to be tiresomely political, but even that could be waved away in the general excess of the nonsense.

Here’s the thing: I have a dim recollection of the previous season ending with alien spacecraft over DC.

Did I misremember that? Do I have to get out my VCR tapes and look for the ep, because I know I saw that. Or is that the Mengele Effect?

The X-Files was all about the mythology, the great Deep State plan, the horrible clammy dread of Things to Come, the mysteries of the collaborators, the retro-vintage cool of the 60s eggheads dealing with alien plans while wearing skinny black ties, and so on. It become embroiled in a snowballing accumulation of plot points, and if there’s anything that hurts a show, it’s broiled snowballs.

The black oil in the eyes creates the super soldiers who have smallpox innoculations that protect them from the bees!

Did I get that right? I mean, in the movie Scully is rescued from an ACTUAL GOT-DANGED ALIEN CRAFT, and that sorta kinda blows her whole Mulder-you-have-to-be-joking routine out the baffles, but I guess that didn’t really happen, because no one mentions it. They have a son, yes, and weren’t they living together in the second movie? But now there’s no mention of an ended long-term relationship. As I tweeted: it’s remarkable how much they just kicked the accumulated details down the memory hole; it’s like Star Trek going 10 seasons and turning into a show about six guys on a sailboat.

Gillian Anderson was horrible in the first season of the reboot; she didn’t seem to want to be there, she sounded like she’d been smoking three packs a day while studying art in London, and kept the chilly remove of her character from “The Fall.” This season she is delightful, and Duchovny - a mediocre actor who is also the only person in the world who could play Mulder - is equally loosey-goosey, and also written in such a way that you can imagine the tormented dark brooding strange FBI agent saying “loosey goosey.” With a grin.

Everyone got older, and there’s a certain rue in some scenes that connects to something the show nailed early on: the absolutely perfect pairing of the actors to the characters, and the characters to each other.

Let me put it this way: I didn’t regret investing as much as I did in the show at the time until the end, when it got stupid and confused. The previous season, I regretted ever caring at all about it. This time around, it’s like the difference between Star Trek 2 and Star Trek the Motion Picture.

I’ve no desire to rewatch the second X-Files movie, although I think of it from time to time. There’s a character played by Billy Connoly - a dying priest accused of molesting children. From his wiki page:

In the book Billy, and in a December 2008 online interview, Connolly states that he was sexually abused by his father between the ages of 10 and 15. He believes this was a result of the Catholic Church not allowing his father to divorce after his mother left the family. Because of this, Connolly has a "deep distrust and dislike of the Catholic church and any other organization that brainwashes people”.

So, a natural for the role. Here’s the thing: Connolly is a stand-up comic. His work comes on the satellite comedy channel from time to time, and I’ve heard many routines. They’re not good. You get that strange feeling some comics produce: do you not know this isn’t that funny? How can you be in the business you’re in, and not realize that this isn’t very funny?

Having watched some YouTube clips, he has some moments, but - well. The first bit in this compilation has a great visual joke, which he ruins by laughing at it.

Try this.

I think it works better if you are predisposed to believe he is a comic legend.




It’s 1952.

My parents both had electric shavers - smelly things that hummed loudly and seemed eager to eat flesh.

As it happens, Schick’s first business was the electric razor, even though they were known for their injector blades. Let's learn some stuff!

Schick retired in 1910 after deciding to do some gold exploration in both Alaska and British Columbia. On one of these trips, he sprained his ankle and had to remain close to camp while he recuperated. He killed a moose for food to eat during his forced imprisonment. In the -40° Fahrenheit weather, Schick found it quite difficult and unpleasant to shave and with time on his hands he resolved to come up with an improved method. He drew up crude plans which would feature a shaver with a shaving head driven by a flexible cable and powered by an external motor. The plans were sent off to manufacturers and promptly rejected.

He still had a dream, but needed money. So he went into blades, and invented the injector. Eventually he brought an electric razor to the market, but died in 1937 before it really caught on.

It’s the corded sander endorsed by Dave Garroway! Or at least demonstrated in proximity to him. Steve Allen also approves!

Buy it! Buy it! Polishes chairs and cars! Sands! Removes paint from cars if you don’t swap out the sanding disk!

The introduction of wall-to-wall carpeting made couple learn to discharge their built-up current by touching a doorknob:

The fabric of the universe is rending! Hold me!


What greater gift to give? What greater disappointment to receive? Aw dad I wanted a Daisy

Brittanica bought them in ’61. As for Compton, that would be Frank Compton. He was an associate of a fellow named Chandler Beach, who brought out a line of encyclopedias. He was a Brittanica salesman, where he realized there might be keen interest in a lightweight, smaller dictionary. He made one; he prospered; he perished. Compton took over and bumped up the product until it was as big as the thing Beach had decided he didn’t want to sell.



Urchinoids by William Steig:

The boys fore and aft have the cliched expression of indolent consumer happiness: eyes shut with satisfaction. You know Steig, of course. Wikipedia:

Steig became the first sole-creator of an animated movie franchise that went on to generate over $1 billion from theatrical and ancillary markets after only one sequel.

Something called “Shrek.” Never heard of it, myself.



Thanks! Looks great. But what are you having?

That’s one damned fine pile of meat and eggs.

The American Meat Institute - where Meat is an American Institution - advises that you add ceremonial parsley to admit, however grudgingly, the existence of vegetables.



Looks scratchy and thin.

What sort of peculiar tableau is this, though? The window goes all the way down to the floor. Out house had a picture window like that, but not a thin one. And the kid’s posture - yes, that’s natural. Of course he would brace his contorted leg against a wheeled object.

I've blown up the Sunday funnies, and can't tell what they are. Looked for that tell-tale Henry light-bulb head; no. Thought I saw Wimpy, but the rest of the characters looked wrong.

1956, probably a New York paper. It's possible to find out what they were looking at - but it's one of those pieces of information we can do without.

Except now I've made you curious, haven't I.

That'll do; see you tomorrow for the usual Wednesday underwhelmingness. Scoop awaits. For him, the war is over.


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