One of the things I’ll miss about having a Young Person in the house: other Young People. Daughter’s friends are an interesting lot, smart and verbal and diverse in opinions and goals, and I’ve had a few conversations which I never know will mortify Daughter. The other day a friend came over wearing a Betty Boop hoodie, and I asked about it; she knew about BB’s original inspiration, Baby Esther - which I didn’t know, thinking it was Helen Kane. So we got out phones and googled, and learned that Kane probably lifted her bit from Esther, and also that Kane sued the BB animators. I found “I Want to be Bad” on my phone and piped it to the bluetooth speaker, and we all had a smile when she said “boop-oop-a-doop.”

Then there was the time two guys came over, and the conversation somehow went to matters geek, and we stood in the kitchen having a passionate discussion about sci-fi until 3 AM. The other night the senior class had its Prank, which was a camp-out on school grounds, and Daughter brought home three friends at o’dark thirty to use the loo; one of them I’ve known for years, and is the niece (I think) of the Veggie Tales creator, and another friend’s father, I learned, draws a syndicated comic strip. She says he’s really up on comic strip lore, too, and I gave her my number to give to him: lunch we must.

You never know who’ll show up. There’s the clink! Of the gate latch, then voices, then the calamitous apparition of gaggle of girls on the steps, bursting into the back door in mid-conversation. At which point you want to vacate yourself from the premises, lest you hover, or embarrass your child by offering things. I learned long ago not to offer things. Daughter is perfectly capable of finding them on her own thank you. The standing joke is an offer of Swedish Fish, since one sleepover I bought those thick convections, and they went over like gangbusters.



Note: nothing goes over like gangbusters. The phrase has reached the point where it’s about to pass from the vernacular, and has morphed into something it is not. The original line: “came in like gangbusters.” This does not mean that someone entered a room like a Federal agent charged with breaking up the rackets; it meant that something appeared with a commotion similar to the opening of the “Gangbusters" radio show.

Such as:


The Xs in the eyes indicate the cop has beaten the gang member to death, which would be distressing except he's a scarecrow.

Sorry for the scantage, but we have houseguests and it's graduation week and AHHHHHHHHHHH





We're currently enjoying . . .

Let’s bring you up to speed on the nefarious workings of the man they call . . . Brenda. Remember, there's no need to know what's actually going on. I just write the plot to give you something between the clips


What of the cliffhanger? Well, there was a car chase, and the good guys came across a Federal Agent Brenda had thrown into the road. They swerved to avoid him, and it seemed certain they’d crash! Horribly!

Studio to director: be careful, that’s a rental.

Guess what? The agent grabbed the jewels as he was being thrown out of the car. Agent X-9 says: “Even in the face of death his one thought was for his duty!”

And then . . . running around doing stuff. At this point it should be easy to end the serial right here; they know where Brenda is, what he looks like, and where he is. Tear gas and Tommy Guns ought to do the rest.

But no, X-9 and one other guy go to the Mansion, and break in while Brenda et al use the secret fireplace passage to get to the underground boat launch.


The bad guys, including Brenda (dressed like the Baron, remember) go to the secret hideout in the pirate ship in the amusement park. I have to say that every ep. Brenda finds the real Baron still tied up, and says he’s going to threaten the lady at the art shop. Because there are only seven people in any serial.

So Blackstone goes to put the squeeze on the Blonde, who shows her usual dramatic powers as a classically trained actress:

Well, she gets a call from Brenda masquerading as the Baron, and that convinces her to go with Blackstone. But Pidge is listening in!

He speeds off to follow Blackstone.

No one has slept, eaten, or defecated in a week, as far as I can tell. It's like 24.

Back at FBI HQ, Agent X-9 has found tickets to the Pirate Ship in the Amusement park, and deduces that’s the location of the hideout. Yes, that’s correct: the henchmen are carrying around tickets to their secret base.

There’s some comic relief with Pidge skulking around and having funny mishaps, the upshot being Pidge finds a needle that matches the needle used to kill a guy a few eps back. Ergo, he’s on to something! He causes a ruckus that lets X-9 slip into the lair.

Editing and soundtrack, do your thing:

Oh, wait - let me back up. I was going to spare you Pidge’s little fracas in the nautical supply store, but let’s take a look anyway. Meet Chekov’s Harpoon:

Back to the fight, already in progress:

OUCH. I can’t wait to see how they get out of this one.

I actually wrote that in earnest. I don’t think I’ve ever written that in earnest before.

Bonus gif:


Today it's the end of Unknowns, at least for a few years. See you around.


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