I don’t have weekends in the usual sense of “hammocks, golfing, honey-do lists.” There’s often a weekend that requires no writing, but I have Monday deadlines, and that means Sunday and often Saturday work. Which is why I must reach deep, deep into last week for a Monday Bleat. Back to a moment of significance and importance. The moment of sausage despair.

When last we met I was in a foul mood - which, as I noted, is not an admirable things. People who advertise their bad moods as proof of the world’s failures are tiresome, and often the sort of people whose horizons are not exactly expansive. Everyone’s an idiot! The stupid clerk at Burger King didn’t give me two sugars for my coffee! They’re all morons there! Where’s my lighter WHO TOOK MY LIGHTER

I had no reason, aside from sparky cumulative angst, and a flat tire. Yes, again. When I was driving to errands the vehicle felt wrong. It’s one of those things you ought to know, like Scotty feeling the vibrations in the deck plate and knowing the anti-matter intermix is off a shade. Ach. When I parked the car I saw the back right tire was as soft as support for “The Last Jedi” from people who had rewatched it on DVD, and cursed: I would have to get air at the nearby gas station, and they charged. That was wrong. THIS IS AMERICA

But they didn’t charge anymore. That was right! THIS! IS AMERICA. But I knew the tire was bad, and this would be an annoyance. You get irritated at your vehicle and realize you are pulling away from it, emotionally; it’s not to blame, and you feel bad that you’re blaming it, but things are just getting clunky and old. I’ve been in this car for what, 13, 14 years? It’s served me well. It’s doing the best it can. But I’m exasperated, like it’s an old man who wet himself at Denny’s. Really? Okay, let’s get you cleaned up.

Difference being you don’t sell your old parent for a new one, of course. Anyway, I made it home, put away 10 bags of groceries without any help - didn’t ask for help, would impinge on the suddenly satisfying martyr complex - then realized I had forgot something.

Weekend sausage.

There’s a certain brand of sausage I reserve for the weekend. It’s good. Wife likes it. 50 seconds in the microwave; savory. Chop it up for omelettes. Usually there’s a bag in the fridge and a bag in the freezer, but I had neglected to stock up, and now there wasn’t any weekend sausage. The previous weekend I’d used Backup Weekend Sausage from a different vendor, Lord knows when I bought it, or why - a sale, no doubt. It was insufficiently different than Weekday Sausage. So I either faced another weekend breakfast with rote sausage, or I had to go back out to the local Cub to get Weekend Sausage.

So I went. Because I had energy to burn. On the way I reminded myself of the time when I bought the maple flavor of Weekend Sausage, and that ruined everything. Ech. Ersatz maple. What, they rubbed the pig up against a tree? Please. I didn’t know why anyone wanted maple sausage. You get your real honest sausage, let it get next to the syrup if you wish, but there’s no reason to infuse the sausage with sap. It’s like Bacon-Flavored Maple Syrup, or Pancake-Flavored Eggs.

What is pancake flavor, anyway? Isn’t it just a medium for the things you do to it? Who gets pancakes and puts out a cautioning palm when offered syrup, butter, or jam? Oh no! Let me enjoy the rich, satisfying flavor of the flapjack unsullied.

And how about that airline food? What's the deal with that?

So I get to the store and go back to the cooler where I know Weekend Sausage lives. This Cub was different than the one I’d been at earlier; there are differences, but the location of the early-morn meat coolers is the same. The Weekend Sausage, however, is on a different shelf a few feet off the ground. I bent down.

There was no Sausage-flavor Weekend Sausage. Two empty lanes.

There were 20 bags of Maple-flavored Weekend Sausage.

It was the most damning indictment of Maple-flavored Weekend Sausage you could imagine. Look upon this, O Manager, and despair! Your customers have spoken, and those who can too late to speak are wailing the lament of one who knows the truth of your maple infusions!

I opened the door and scrabbled behind the bags, thinking there might be an Original Flavor hiding somewhere. But no. NO. I slammed the door with inappropriate gusto and uttered a short soft curse.

When I turned there was a butcher staring at me. I know he was a butcher because he had the apron, and was stocking the meat. He had the hat. He had jowls. He was fat. He was a complete and total butcher cliche. If you met him at a party in civvies and asked what he did, and he said “I’m a butcher,” you would be happy. Of course! You are absolutely the textbook butcher. You can see him cleaving lambs. Dispassionately. With skill. Of course you’re really fat, you’re a butcher! Cool.

Anyway. That was the tipping point. My tire’s flat, I am having a hard time connecting to my times and caring about the events of the day, I worry my daughter will be eaten by pythons in the Amazon, and I really worry I’ll get terminally ill while she’s gone and that will ruin her experience because she’ll have to come back, and GOT-DAMN THE LACK OF NON-MAPLE WEEKEND SAUSAGE

I bought some Jimmy Dean’s. It’s thicker, and not as wide. I’d better stop now, and write a review Sunday night before I post.

Also, it’s fargin’ 4 above with the windchill.

UPDATE Ok my mistake, I had a bag of weekendsausage in the freezer after all. Forgot about that. Everything worked out for the best.



Behold: the most feared criminal mastermind of France.

Yes! It's him!

I wrote a year and a half ago about the Fantomas character, and somehow forgot to mention the movie made about him. The Shadow of the Guillotine, 1913. Why does it matter?

The British film critic and writer Kim Newman has argued that Fantômas inspired the Pink Panther film series starring Peter Sellers In the initial 1963 Pink Panther film, Fantômas was transformed into Sir Charles Lytton (the Phantom), and Inspector Juve became Inspector Clouseau.

The first movie was released a few years after the series started up, and it was a serial. The chapters were an hour and a half long. I have only the first.

The set had a working elevator . . .

. . . and it doubled as the other floors.

We go up to the top stage with a rich Russian lady, who will no doubt be the subject of Fantomas’s attention.

And as soon as she leaves the room:

Dude, you could try to look less evil. He actually steps out from behind his hiding place, introduces himself, and as the music gets more and more ominous he seems to mesmerize her.

Mais que étés vous? she asks. He gives her . . . a blank card! His trademark! Then he steals her jewels, and kisses her hand farewell.

It’s a peculiar robbery, but I think the audience was expecting this - the mesmerism, the brazen quality of the robbery, the violence he commits to escape. He attacks a bellboy, steals his uniform, peels off the false hair, and as he makes his final escape, the words appear on the blank card he gave his victim.


We meet the dogged policeman, Inspector Juve:

None of this matters, because we’re off on another case now; nothing we just saw matters to the plot.

Anyway. It’s not that interesting to me, since most of the sets are studio-bound. There are some exterior shots, and the director likes this composition:

A lot.

It's interesting for being Early and for being French - if not an accurate look at the times, a look at what people saw in the theaters. Here are upper-class theater swells, and check out those muttonchops:

Everyone’s going to the Grand Treteau to laugh at Valgrand, the comedian? No, the actor. It’s a drama, La Tache Sanglante.

The Bloody Stain.

Probably not a comedy. Anyway, the rest of the episode consists of Fantomas getting Valgrand to be executed in his stead. But Juve won’t be fooled.

At the end he goes back to his office to write everything up, and brood about how he might capture Fantomas.

FIN? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, FIN? Remember: first in a series. But you know they never caught him.

He was Fantomas.


That'll do. Off to a snowy Monday. I like Mondays. Snowy Mondays are okay.

Snowy Mondays in the second week of April . . . are not.


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