Why aren’t you talking about that thing?

I see people talking all the time, and I doubt they’re talking about the thing they should be talking about. It’s possible these people aren’t on social media enough and don’t realize what’s going on about the thing. Yes, yes, sometimes I get a bit too wound up in the thing, or the other thing, or that thing from last week, and sometimes I think about the thing that was the Big Thing a month ago, and I think, I shouldn’t think about things so much. But then I see people who probably aren’t aware of the thing, and it worries me.

What’s worse is suspecting they have their own thing, which is the opposite of my thing. They probably have a list of things that’s completely different from mine.

They don’t even CARE what my things are. If I don’t share their thing, they probably think they know what my things are, and then they go from not caring to being angry about the things I think about.

We can agree on one thing: if they cared about that one thing and not about the other, and I cared about this one thing but not about a different thing that was similar, we are all hypocrites whose position on all things is invalidated.

Well, for them, but not for me. My things cohere into a superior worldview based on solid empirically-verifiable facts; their things are rooted in emotion.

The most blessed hours of the day are the early morning, before I pay attention to Events, which produce the Things. I turn on the radio and look at the news after ten, and there’s a brief scrum as the various things jockey for primacy. Peak Thing is around two, after which it seems to calm down, and the nap blankets come out of the cubbyholes and everyone takes a break. It’s a good thing I don’t go on Facebook, because I think that’s when people come home from work, have a meal, then sit down to see What’s Wrong, and write entire paragraphs about the Thing. It’s an old-people problem.

In the future maybe we’ll get it down to one thing a day, something that shakes out as the Top Thing by noon, and we can wear badges that say where we stand on the Thing. There would be five choices:

I am furious about the thing

I am happy about the thing

I don’t care about the thing but it makes others unhappy so I am happy about the thing

I have no opinion about the thing

I don’t even know what the thing is

Sorry, I don’t know what got me on that, except I passed some people today and they were talking and laughing and they looked happy, and I thought: huh, ignorance. I guess that’s a thing.


To give you an incentive to join Bleat+, here's the sort of quality content we will supply when Daughter is feeling clever and bored.

If you don't get the reference, here.

So what do you get? Well, this started out as a simple fundraiser, and I always feel a bit abashed about those. I don’t know why. It costs money to do this; I could do other things. But there’s no circle on my temple from having a gun barrel pressed to my skull since 1996.

Then I figured, why not, and decided the money (less 10% for web hosting and such) will go to Daughter’s college. She has a fund, but criminey college is expensive, and perhaps readers who’d been following her exploits would be happy to see the money go to a specific purpose than think I was spending it on beer and skittles. Or whiskey and pinball.









NOT A REVIEW. A recollection. Now and then I revisit the TV of my childhood, and most of it is bad. People remember being young and liking something, but what they often remember is simply being young and watching something. We didn’t always like TV, but we watched TV.

Is the distinction plain? No? Imagine you’ve come home from work, had a nice meal, and now you’ve two or three hours before bed. You watched TV, regardless of what was on. Sometimes there was nothing you liked, so you endured it until the bottom or top of the hour. The number of people who looked at the listings, thought “ahhh, there’s nothing on” then turned off the TV was, I suspect, small.

Came across a bad movie that aired on TV long ago. It was cobbled together from bad TV eps of a bad TV show. I can't imagine any adult sitting through this, but they did. As a kid, I loved it.

Because I loved everything that had this.

The allure of secret underground government scientific installations was profound. We knew such things existed; to be shown them was not a revelation, but a confirmation. Yesterday I mentioned Fantastic Voyage, whcih I saw with my uber-nerdgeek science friend Peter. When they were whizzing around the facility in golf carts (it was actually the concourse of a footbal stadium) He leaned over and quietly opined that it was some sort of secret government science-hospital. Of course! They would have such things. Secret science hospitals!

Wildfire in “Andromeda Strain” was the best, because it seemed real, and shiny and high-tech, what with those robot arms and computers that weren’t accompanied by banks of IBM big iron with spinning tapes. Previously, in the bleep-bloop era - that’s when the background noises were always going bleep-blorp to indicate, you know, COMPUTERS - you had facilities like this.

My poor Krell

That's the sort of model you make for the pilot when you're reasonably sure you'll be picked up. And then you'll repeat it every episode without change.

It’s a swipe from “Forbidden Planet,” of course, and it has all the $$ you’d expect from an Irwin Allen pilot. The shows were never as impressive as the pilots. They were all disappointing. As I said, I loved them.

It did look cool.

You can always tell a place is high-tech, because the computers are out in the open.

The movie was -

No, I'm not going to tell you, except to say that it aired in 1982, and was comprised of segments from an old TV show.The aliens are tiresome, but one of them -

Well, we saw him in that previous shot. And here’s a better look:

He was pretty ood; wonder what happened to him.

A test of your sci-fi / old movie cred comes with this fellow.

He always had a fierce misanthropic intelligence. Most famous for paying for something he didn’t get to use.

Question for the comments: what was it? NO PEEKING ON IMDB NOW.

Anyway: this junk fired my imagination as a kid, but I always knew it was a step below Star Trek. Even at the age of 10 or 11, Trek was the real thing.

And now that feels as if it has passed out my hands. It's the worst feeling. I'll live, but I never expected that to happen.





It’s 1918.

That is beautiful. White cars were not common.


The most notable Paige produced was the 1922-1926 Daytona, a 3-seat sports roadster with a 6-cylinder engine. The vehicle was a traditional coupe, with the novel third seat extending from the side of the car over the near side running board. Paige advertised the Daytona as being "The most beautiful car in America.”

Wikipedia gives you the impression the phrase was used for the 1922 Daytona. Seems not to be the case.

The company was bought by Graham in 1927, and Graham-Paige cars would be around until 1940, when production halted. After the war, Kaiser-Frazer picked up the assets; that company was folded into AMC in 1954, so technically you could say my old Pacer was the most beautiful car in America.

AMC, of course, was the loser car company, and ended up vanishing into Chrysler.

Ready to learn something surprising?

I never put all this together. Wikipedia:

The development of a major cigarette industry in Egypt in the late nineteenth century was unexpected, given that Egypt generally exported raw materials and imported manufactured goods, that Egyptian-grown tobacco was always of poor quality, and that the cultivation of tobacco in Egypt was banned in 1890 (a measure intended to facilitate the collection of taxes on tobacco)

One reason for the development of the industry was the imposition of a state tobacco monopoly in the Ottoman Empire, a measure designed to increase Ottoman government revenue. This resulted in the movement of many Ottoman tobacco merchants, usually ethnic Greeks, to Egypt, a country which was culturally similar to and was in fact arguably de jure a part of the Ottoman Empire but outside the tobacco monopoly as a result of its de facto occupation by the United Kingdom.

Egyptian cigarettes made by Gianaclis and others became so popular in Europe and the United States that they inspired a large number of what were, in effect, locally produced counterfeits. Among these was the American Camel brand, established in 1913, which used on its packet three Egyptian motifs: the camel, the pyramids, and a palm tree.

By 1918, American Tobacco owned S. Anargyros’ company.

Ready to learn something else?


In 1883 the school rented the Elkins Park estate of Civil War financier Jay Cooke, named “Ogontz” for Cooke’s boyhood mentor and role model—a Sandusky Indian chief. With the move, the school assumed the name of the estate and became The Ogontz School for Young Ladies.

Cooke, after the war, got into railroads - but who didn’t. He went bankrupt trying to get the rails to connect Duluth MN with the Pacific, and was forced to sell Ogontz. But he made his money back, and purchased the house again.

The picture above is not the house. They moved in 1917, and took the name with them. The school closed in 1950, and bequeathed the building to Penn State.

Who was the man behind the name?

Born in the far Northwest, Ogontz was taken as a baby to be raised by French Catholic priests from Quebec after the others of his village had died from smallpox or fled. He was educated to be a missionary to native tribes, and about the time of the American Revolution, went among the Ottowas to preach Christianity. Having a strong dislike of the British provisional governor, he persuaded two tribes and some French settlers to relocate in Sandusky. The French settled on the peninsula, the Indians on the other side of the bay. There, Ogontz lived at the site of what would later become the property of Eleutheros Cooke, Jay Cooke’s father.

Ogontz decided he could be more useful as a leader than a priest, so he was adopted into one of the tribes and became its chief. This provoked the jealousy of the other tribe’s chief, who tried to sneak up and kill him. But Ogontz was on his guard and slayed his attacker instead. Although it was self-defense, a council was held to decide his fate. In an unusual move, the council decided to spare him, and he adopted the son of the man he had killed, though he knew someday the boy would avenge his father’s death.

Always on the side of peace, Ogontz foresaw the War of 1812 and led his people back to Canada so they would not become involved. After peace was declared, he and his tribe moved again to Maumee River. At a powwow there some time later, Ogontz was killed by his adopted son, as he always knew he would be.

All that from one small ad about a school for proper young ladies.

I’m about ready for something simple that means nothing.

And this yields nothing of interest. Whew.

Except there's a fascinating story about the model!

Unfortunately, no one knows it anymore.

This is cool and incredible for today.

I don’t know why they didn’t catch on. It’s the best idea ever.

I mean, they still make them. ARCO still makes them. It’s still called the Wand.

Here’s a blog from a woman who bought a house and found a 1915 Arco in the basement.

John’s back, tanned and hardened.


“To-day that story means history, and more than ever it is important that it be authentic history.”

Back when you could trust a photograph.

And you have to plug it in with an Victrola cord! Or the electricity won’t be as pure!

BTW: When I see Victor I think RCA Victor, for some reason. Which makes you think of the dog listening to the record. Did you know that was an English painting?

The trademark image comes from a painting by English artist Francis Barraud and titled His Master's Voice. It was acquired from the artist in 1899 by the newly formed Gramophone Company and adopted as a trademark by the Gramophone Company's United States affiliate, the Victor Talking Machine Company. According to contemporary Gramophone Company publicity material, the dog, a terrier named Nipper, had originally belonged to Barraud's brother, Mark. When Mark Barraud died, Francis inherited Nipper, with a cylinder phonograph and recordings of Mark's voice. Francis noted the peculiar interest that the dog took in the recorded voice of his late master emanating from the horn, and conceived the idea of committing the scene to canvas.

Nipper, who has his own wikipedia entry, is buried beneath this bank.

Here he sits, all broken-hearted

Smart captains of industry and eugenics enthusiasts know that regular defecation is the secret to good bloodlines.



Let's drop in on the far-away yet oh-so-relatable world of 1916, as seen through the work of Clare Briggs. See you around.



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