Dropped daughter off at Starbucks and went to Target to kill some time. This meant at leave five minutes in the deodorant aisle sniffing the aromas of the Old Spice line. Out of curiosity, mind you; isn’t that stuff for high schoolers and bros who’ve realized girls hate Axe? The names are all MANLY AS HELL - Wolfthorn! Bearglove! ! Loingird! Okay, not the last one, but they do have Bearglove and and Swagger and Krakengard. I couldn’t find anything with my preferred scent, which is Nothing.

Looked at some Bluetooth speakers, because a gadget or two with nice design might temporarily dispel the fog of ennui, then remembered the entire trip had begun when I said I was going to get eggs. Daughter wanted me to drop her off at a coffee shop, and that meant a short trip would be a long one, so I took her to the Starbucks.

The phone rang; daughter. She is of the generation that never uses the phone, so I was curious. In a low voice she said I needed to come and get her. There had been an accident. The lid on the coffee wasn’t completely secured when she picked it up -

Brain says: well, you weren’t going to send her to Brazil with that computer anyway. Something sturdier and cheaper, that was the plan.

- and coffee had been spilled.

Now, I did, for the next hour or so, see red in various shades, but you can’t yell. Well, you can, but it doesn’t help, and frankly it just angers up everything. Repress. You used Glacial Reaction! It’s super effective.

She was distraught when I got her, because get this: when she picked up the coffee and the lid popped off and her surprise led to sloshing, her first instinct was to save the novel. I respect this. We went through this last summer, and I had to disassemble a dampened computer, remove the chips that constituted the hard drive, and order a special enclosure to resurrect the data. Since then the lesson of backup, backup, backup has been paramount, and she’s backed up on Dropbox. But when checking the Dropbox folder via a dropdown menu, the liquids corrupted the trackpad and the cursor dropped down to MOVE TO TRASH and then


So her main copy on the hard drive might have been lost and the Dropbox backup trashed. This is the stuff of nightmares.

We drove straight to the Apple Store, where the clerk said: yeah, no. I mean, yeah, maybe, but we don’t have anyone who can open it up.

I wasn’t too worried - as long as she hadn’t emptied the trash, it should be there in the Dropbox deleted folder. But this meant an agonizing drive home as she contemplated two years worth of work and 110,000 words gone.

But we signed into Dropbox and it was there. Now comes the removal, and the backup - which is done with the careful precision of someone trying to defuse a bomb. It was stored on a flash drive and backed up, and if the computer doesn’t recover her next device is an abacus in a plastic bag.

The day had another calamity: an invader from the sewers, using his fearsome powers of climbing, staring, and stinking to annoy the dog.

This was the first raccoon Birch had beheld, I think, but he had the ancestral memory that told him it was something to be . . . barked at. The beast was huge, and since it was out in the day it might not have been well. I didn’t get close enough to feel its forehead for a temperature. What always amazes me is the ability of these creatures to climb on the slenderest of branches; he looked to be a big old sack of guts, likely to bend the bough until he’s brought within range of the snapping jaws.

And that’s what would have happened: Nature being Nature, two creatures biting and clawing for absolutely no reason any of us can deduce, but is wired into their being.








If you have Amazon Prime, and you regard it as a source for entertainment, you know their offerings are a baffling mix. At least mine are. I get the new shows as well as suggestions that may be based on my viewing or purchasing history, or may indicate the paucity of the catalogue; probably the former. Lots of retro commercial compilations, for example. But they were keen to show me “Electric Dreams,” and it’s all they can do not to shout “IT’S LIKE BLACK MIRROR!!!” Based on the work of Phillip Dick, an author whose work I read in its entirety (except for most of VALIS and some stories) in the 90s.

I watched one about a father who goes through some peculiar events, because the description intimated that the setting - suburbia, with its backyards and grilling and otherwise boringly normal stuff - was a straaaaange place for unsettling events. That sounded lazy, and I was interested to see what sort of preconceptions and straw men the show set up. You know what I mean - it's the suburbs, but everything isn't as calm and well-ordered as it looks! Which was a novel idea about 45 years ago; now it would be a trope-twister if suburbia was actually calm and decent, and everyone was preparing to deal with perverse forces from the tony parts of the dense city. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, Via Light Rail!

As it turns out, the setting was irrelevant, and it wasn’t suburbia at all; looked like some 1920s neighborhood in a prosperous western Canadian suburb. But here’s the story: some aliens came to earth, and took the form of people, and only the son knew about it!!! And when he went to the authorities, they were aliens too!

And his friends were all, like, scruffy middle-schoolers with ingenuity and pluck and bravery and they were kinda like outcasts and nerds, too!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers with some Stranger Things slapped on, in other words.

At the end, the kid makes a video about how everyone should be aware of the aliens and puts it on the internet - with a hashtag #RESIST.

Erm. So. Either the writer meant that to mean this is all an allegory for the 2016 election, or he didn’t mean that at all, and ignored a preexisting hashtag that carries a certain amount of weight.

Bonus: the original story was written in 1954, two years before “Body Snatchers” - so the episode suffered because its tropes were old, thanks to those who’d helped themselves to Dick’s ideas.

Anyway, I’ll watch more. I think I got off on the wrong foot. I will use the other foot when choosing another episode.

Or not. There's just so damned much to watch - and then you discover a second season of something you really enjoyed a year ago. It's not only back, it has a new opening credit sequence! Awesome. For context: Norway, nice clean safe peaceable Norway, has been occupied by Russia at the behest of the EU. It's a soft takeover. No tanks in the street - none needed with a country this civilized.

Listen to the lyrics: the basic message for Norway is pretty damning. You used to be brave, you know. And now you've been Occupied.

Having finished the show, I'll say this: I don't want a third season. Watch it, and you'll probably agree. Is the second season as good as the first? Yes.




It’s 1962.

Okay, well, if I can follow Secret Operative #38, how good is he at his job?

His friends called him Chuck, I gather. This was his gallery.


During the 1950s and 60s, the gallery also showed and represented such contemporary painters as Stanczak, Guereschi, Abbot Pattison, Arthur Okamura, Martyl, Rainey Bennett, Elias Friedensohn, and Jerome Kirk. But it was starting in the late-1960s and throughout the 1970s that the gallery would establish its reputation for dealing in master European sculptures of the 19th and 20th Century, eventually becoming the principal American dealer of Rodin sculptures and drawings.

Here’s a staged picture with a Bennett.

Chagall much, dude?

This fellow doesn’t come up at all.

She won a Tony! Had a successful costuming career.

It would seem all the Schencks were Percys.

See, he’s looking at her that way because she’s thin, which makes him want to have sex with her.

What? That’s not what’s going on? He’s happily delighted with her conversation? Sure. Or stifling a grin over something stupid she said? Sure. But it’s a Tab ad, and Tab was for reducing.






The glories of ancient Greece, now bottled for modern virile men:

Yes, of course we know how it smelled. A reviewer for a site about fragrances wrote a fine history of Avon’s move in to men’s stuff:

they sure did want to make a huge impression on the class factor with this stuff, because it's a out-and-out aromatic citrus chypre that draws it's biggest inspirations from Moustache by Rochas (1949), Monsieur Givenchy (1959), and Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955), except a bit more up front with the citrus than most of those save Moustache.

Another note:

Tribute does the civet/lemon juxtaposition equally as well as any of the French stuff that contains civet

I was unaware of the amount of civet in men’s fragrances.


This actress, according to wikipedia, “did the introductory narration for the American rebroadcast of the BBC's 1981 radio production of The Lord of the Rings."

Tammy Grimes, ladies and gentlemen.

That will do; see you thither and thus and such.



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