I never liked “The Fairly Oddparents.” In fact I hated the show. The character design annoyed me, couldn’t stand the characters themselves, or their voices, and it made me anxious the way they bobbed up and down. It seems like a very long time ago I had active opinions about those things, because Daughter watched TV in the family room. Note: it was a very long time ago. Good: it seems like a very long time ago.

Anyway, El Kevin is on my way home, and the character is obviously borrowed from the Fairly Oddparents.

Cultural appropriation! Or not. Or, if so, who cares?

Strenuous rain last night - kabooms and cracks, downpours that . . . did what to the windows? Right, lashed the windows. When I got up it was still damp, but I had work to do outside. Dirt had to be rearranged. The dirt was in bags; it had to be put on the lawn. So I picked up 8 40-lb bags, one at a time of course, and dumped it all where we’d ripped up the lawn. Onanized the dirt, raked, watered, and said: I am done. No more.



None of this will work, but at least I tried. And perhaps some of it will work; there’s new growth on the hill, even though it’s that pathetic stuff that looks like your lawn has male-pattern baldness. Or Male Pattern-Baldness, I don’t know. This made me think of the old Hair Restorer fluids in cartoons, which would give everyone an instant crop on top. They sold hair restorer back then, but you know it didn’t work. Never worked. No one ever went from cue-ball to hirsuite, but it was still sold and purchased with the faint hope that it might work.

Or you could just suck the recalcitrant follicles out of your skull with the Vacuum Helmet. It was causing a sensation! You have to wonder if we have become so jaded as a society that a simple vacuum helmet would not cause a sensation. Gone are the simpler days when you'd walk into a cafe, sense a buzz of excitement, see people eagerly speaking to each other in a tumble of words, and you'd ask: what happened? Was war declared? No, there's a general recognition of the existence of the vacuum helmet! We're just all atwitter! There's a dominion-wide swing to it!

Sorry. Anyway, I pulled my back lifting the bags, and should really be soaking in a hot bath, but I have a column to write. Obviously my mind's not on this, so I should quit pretending I'm doing anything but doing the word-equivalent of aimless whistling.








One of the confident youth at BuzzFeed who has the world figured out (it sucks but it might be better if there’s socialism) wrote about cutesy bathrooms signs:


Look. It's 2018, and gendered bathrooms are kinda dumb! But if you INSIST on having them in your establishment, you gotta make that shit clear so people can use the restroom they're more comfortable in. THIS SIGN AIN'T IT!

It’s 2018, and gendered bathrooms are dumb. Kinda dumb! There’s about 7% of the population that thinks like this, but the rest of the people in this demographic cohort are obliged to agree, because, you know, “gender,” amirite? The comments are what you’d expect, with a few women stating that they do not feel safe, as a rule, in bathrooms where men are present. It’s one of those areas where the larger imperative - women’s safety - is casually and cheerfully tossed into the woodchipper in order to advance . . . well, something; I’m not sure what. We’re not even talking about biological males who identify and present as females, but just the archaic notion that there should be gendered bathrooms. In 2018! They cannot even.

I love the idea that an abiding idea is ridiculous because it’s 2018. This suggests we are at the forefront of human advancement, with the usual great lagging mass of old-think people who still think it’s, like, 2016 or something. For all its cheerful assertiveness, BuzzFeed is a compendium of confusion, anger, inchoate resentment, and soggy, infantile nostalgia - brittle people with adamantine certainties bought off the rack at college, with no underlying beliefs except the demolition of the old ways must be hastened, and afterwards there will still be awesome smoothies and beauty tips you MUST TRY.

Underneath it all is Miserabilism, the nagging, abrading, depressing belief that the emotional depredations of young adulthood bestow some sort of revelation about the world. This forces people to invent tribes and invest them with intellectual superiority, crave the rush of reinforcement from others in the circle, hoot at the primates outside the circle, and believe that this moment - 2018! - is a watershed in human civilization. It is not.

To be 25 is to be somewhat powerless and irrelevant, and you inflate your importance by jacking up the importance of the things your cohort is interested in, and engage in a variety of theatrics to assure yourself you are, indeed, vital and crucial. You are Fighting and you are Resisting. You are the Underground in plain sight.

The smartest people I knew in college fell into two camps: we’re doomed, and we have to win. The former read the Economist and shook their heads at Thatcher and Reagan and wanted international agreements, which would keep bad things from happening. The latter wanted an oppositional stance to Communism, because the alternative was a darker world. The former spoke in hushed tones about Schell’s Nuclear Winter piece, because it was a portent, and everything possible had to be done to avoid it. The latter believed it would only happen if the West was weak, and strength would not invite confrontation. Ivan was Ivan, but he wanted to live.

So those of us in the smart group opposed anything the Reagan administration proposed, because new weapons systems and deployments were provocative. We supported European governments that wanted a rapprochement with the USSR. We were squishy about Soviet dissidents - after all, dissidents were like us - but in the end we’d applaud a Posner before we gave a dissident his full measure. The dissident was not helpful, in the end. The Posners, they could bridge the gap.


Vladimir Posner. I interviewed him once in a bar in a swank St. Paul hotel, before the collapse of the USSR. Totally Western dude. Leather jacket, ordered Johnny Walker. Talked a good line on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Wouldn’t you know: lives in Paris now. I’ll bet he kicks himself for not thinking of the word “Sovietphobia.”

No, I don't have a point, other than they can have their 2018 and I'll have mind. It includes information from years 500 BCE to 2017.

Useful stuff.





We now return to the utterly generic tale of . . .

Purple Monster - that’s what he calls himself - is the entirety of the Martian invader force. He’s supposed to get plans for a rocket that can return to Mars, since Mars has only figured out one-way travel. They can’t invade until they know how to get back, I guess. The ticket are cheaper that way.

Step one in the Martian invasion: get your hands on a lot of money. You’ll need it.

When last we saw our bland, nondescript hero Craig, who has no particular authority, he was falling to his death!

Okay, that was handy. Back to the story. Craig gets a call from a supplier who wants to be paid for his rocket fuel! That kicks the tension up a notch. Craig goes to the observatory where Dr. Leighton, who is dead, has been possessed by Purps - after he vapes something, that is. Somehow the fact that Dr. Leighton is dead doesn’t impede his mobility, which makes me think he’s really not dead, and will join us in the last ep so he can laugh and say things with the rest of the cast.

Basically, here’s the first six minutes.

Talking on the phone. But then Dr. Leighton turns into Purps, so he can do devious things. It’s . . . it’s terrifying!

Eh. I don’t know why he does this; he promptly starts a fistfight with Craig in the planetarium, only to run away after Dr. Leighton’s niece shows up. Then he re-vapes to take possession of Dr. L’s body again, and you realize they just did that so they could use the special effect, and make people think oh I saw something unusual. What magic movies can make these days.

Purps’ sole henchman has gone to the factory where the jet-fuel is kept, and schemes to get it before Craig gets there. So Mars sent a guy who has no guns, dresses conspicuously, can’t get home on his own, and has to rely on someone else for gas. Best invasion ever.

The hench does what needs to be done:

Snappy banter! Well, Craig and Niece speed to the fuel factory, have a brief gun battle with the hench, and then follow the truck on to a winding road, all the while firing at the truck that has the fuel they need.

“We can’t out run him,” the hench says, and makes a perfectly reasonable move with the fuel his Martian boss has sent him to steal:


Purps will probably bring that up when it’s time for the annual employee review.

That will do; Chain Store Age awaits.


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