It snowed all day. ALLL DAY. And it’s cold - miserable wind dropping the temps to January levels. Everyone is snarly. I parked my car poorly today downtown, unable to get lined up, far from the curb, and thought: SO DRIVE AROUND IT. Oh, it’s pretty; if this was early December everyone would be merry as all get-out, decking the halls and putting up tiny models of Victorian streets and lighting pine-scented candles, but for God’s sake the Oreo filling in the stores has been pastel for a fortnight. There’s Pillsbury pre-made pre-cut cookies in the store with rabbit shapes in the middle and they’re discounted already.

Wife and Daughter return on Wednesday, which is great for me and sad for them, since they’ve been lounging about in the arid expanse of Arizona. It’ll be great to see them and reconnect; these five days on my oddy-knocky have been dull and wan.

The picture above, by the way, bears no relation to anything, except that it's a Highway Ten imag - Staples, to be exact - and this is Old Home Week. Bonus Bleat Points if you can identify what the sign used to say.

Anyway, let’s go back to last week.

War stories. My dad has ‘em. He never talked about it before, but he will now - and the ease with which he describes some harrowing situations makes me wonder if he never talked because no one asked.

The Block Island - CVE-106 - was his second vessel. He was happy to get it, since his experience on the small sub chaser left him with a deep dislike for rough seas. You felt everything. His first night out on the subchaser they hit a squall, and he was way up in the mast, going back and forth like a metronome, deathly sick. After he hit the bunk for four he had duty on the bridge, and this utterly green kid from the plains was put in charge of the wheel. He didn’t know how to keep it on the beam, and ended up putting the vessel in a long slow circle until someone came and nudged his exhausted, nauseated body to the side and put them on course.

This was the Caribbean portion of his service. Then they went through the Panama Canal and headed to the Pacific Theater. While in port at New Caledonia, he almost swapped out with another machinist on the Juneau, and I got details about how that worked. If you were the same rank and the captain gave his approval, you could go to another ship. The swap was arranged by the signalman, who would chat with other ships in the harbor. Imagine that: two guys at night, killing time sending messages by Morse Lamp. Tropical night. All is hot and still. Shooting the breeze.

The Juneau steamed out the next morning, and was sunk at Guadalcanal.

After the sub chaser he went to San Francisco to await another assignment. I think he was at Ft. McDowell, but he mentions staying on an island. He was thrilled to get posted to the Block Island: a big, new ship.

What he didn’t know, until I looked it up on Wikipedia, was that the Block Island had another name. The Sunset Bay. It was renamed in honor of the first Block Island, which had been sunk 12 days before.

A nice omen.




The torpedo story.






We're currently having a small amout of fun with Batman.

Penultiumate ep - and it's action, action, action. But most of all, unearned plot-points and presumptions based on the audience's indifference with the details. This one's complicated. Pay attention.

When last we saw Batman, he was locked in a safe, and the safe blew up.

Whew! Relax, everyone! He had his oxygen inhaler.

The Wizard blew up the safe to get something inside, which he needed for world domination. Or national domination. Or maybe state domination. Okay, the south side of town.

The Wizard, by the way, is invisible, but it wears off. Good thing he’s not looking conspicuous or anything:


He gets away from some security guards and hides between some boxes. Batman and Robin don’t find him, but it turns out one guard says he winged the Wiz in his right hand. The Wizard, thus bloodied, leaves behind the right-hand glove, because part of his secret plan for general domination evidently includes leaving fiber evidence behind.

Well, back at the HQ for the Science Research Group for Scientific Research, Batman spitballs a theory for the Wizard’s invisibility, then says he’ll turn the glove inside out to get fingerprints.

Then Barry Brown, the news reporter who always seems to know everything, drops in on commissioner Gordon. He has a cut on his right hand. Could he be . . . the Wizard?

But wait. We already know that Dr. Wheelchair is the Wizard.

Or do we?

Yeah, pretty sure we do. So Commissioner Gordon gets a call while the sneaky radio reporter is in his office, and once again this happens:

That’s some crack security there, Commish.

Meanwhile, down in the Batcave:

Hey now. Why did Robin immediately think it was Dr. Wheelchair?

Anyway, they’re off to arrest Carter, Dr. Wheelchair's Assistant, and this happens:

Hey now. How the hell did he know that? And why did Batman turn off the radio? Didn’t it seem likely that there might be some more information to come?

We go to the home of Dr. Wheelchair:

Batman tells Dr. Wheelchair that Carter, his servant, was the Wiz, and Dr. Wheelchair doesn’t believe it.

Yes, Batman, there IS something wrong here. DR. WHEELCHAIR IS STANDING.

Then Barry Brown comes on the air and says the Wizard is still alive, can be invisible, will attempt to kill Commissioner Gordon in his office, and oh one more thing:

Jeez, this one’s a corker. His producer gets on the air and says “Barry Brown has had a mysterious accident,” which seems about right, and then the Commish flashes the Batsignal. Batman goes to Barry Brown’s studio - his living room, to be honest - and finds that Barry Brown has been mildly strangled but is still alive. Batman and the Commish go back to Police HQ to await the assassination attempt. We see the Wizard show up outside of police HQ and get hit with the invisiblizer, because there surely won’t be any police outside looking for something unusual like a guy in a black costume fiddling with dials on his chest.

Mind you, the Wizard is trying to be a successful criminal, but spends most of his time trying to kill law enforcement officers instead of staying under their radar. Well:

Batman's simulated alertness is a joy to behold.

And with that, we end - except of course, there's more. There's always more! And that's great. Except when it's snow. See you around.


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