I’ll be in a better mood after the tax payment is taken out of the account and the pain subsides. I’ll be in a better mood on Friday, when I have the postcard show to look forward to. I’ll be in a better moon on Saturday after I’ve finished scanning all the cards and 2021 looks secure. (Really - I’m writing the 2020 site now.) I’ll be in a better mood in a few hours when the column is done and I can sit down and watch a little TV with the dog. I’ll be in a better mood when I don’t feel as if the banner image above has to be defended.

Honestly, I think there are some people who are aggravated by that, Me, I find it a fascinating artifact, and not just because Dad appears to be putting a picture of Zombie Lincoln in the trunk.

How they expected that pineapple to stay in place and not roll around like a severed head, I don’t know.

So I begin the week at low tide. Last week felt like a prolonged bout of super-strength malaise was en route, and here we are. There are always nice moments, though! He said with false cheer, believing sometimes that the simulation of cheer brings on the real thing! Last Friday I went outside for a cigar. It was cold. The wind, the sleet, the grey sky - oh how we love April in theory, and bitch galore in its first fortnight. There was a skinny guy with unkempt hair. He was whistling.

He said something - was that directed at me? No one talks in the smoking area unless they are co-workers. If someone asks someone else for a lighter it is done with formality, intended not to suggest any intimacy whatsoever.

“Sorry?” I said.

“Shostakovich,” he said. “That’s what I was whistling.”


“Stostakovich’s violin concerto.”

I nodded.

“Now do the Bruch.”

He was surprised. I don’t know if that’s what he expected, or hoped, or feared. It’s classical poker, pal - I’ll see your reference, and raise.

As it turns out he could, although I couldn’t recognize it as such; didn’t know which part of the concerto he was quoting. But this led to a whistle-off, since I was not going to be shown up in the tootling department, so I asked him to identify a passage from Sibelius, and he couldn’t. Not because I can’t do it - but I’ll grant that a guy whistling a theme is not the same as a massive orchestra putting its shoulder to the wheel.

We had a brief and intense conversation about classical music that lasted as long as my small cigar, and then we exchanged names and shook hands, like gentlemen do.

It was a nice moment in a pleasant day. It wasn’t Twitter at its worst; it wasn’t Facebook at its old-man-yells-at-cloudiest. It was . . . .

Normal. At least for these parts.

I posted this on Twitter last week, to say something modern that sounds important but is anything but:

Since the cartoon originated here in Mpls, it's no surprise that it would come home for an ep. I'm not sure why there was a special comic about Minneapolis. And it was really hyperlocal:



That's generous.

He did indeed broadcast for WCCO. "Drouth," by the way, was the spelling for Drought, which is one of those words that gets odder the more you look at it and say it.

Behold, the Rand Tower:

The bad guys were set up in the top of the Foshay tower:

There's a hint of this in the new movie, I gather. They mention Zumbrota . . . home town of C. C. Beck, the original Captain Marvel artist.






We must. That's all there is to the matter. We're going to spend the entire year in suspense until he bad space guy with the Russian accent is defeated.

The world is under danger from an unprecedented attack of stock footage! Bad weather, minature sets tossed in a wall of water, etc. In case you didn't get the idea:

You’ll note that there seem to be competing narratives about the transit fare situation: CITIZENS DEMAND REDUCTION IN TRANSIT FARES above the mast . . . INCREASE IN FARES DENIED on the right.

Newspapers had odd priorities back then.

Page three for all that death-and-destruction stuff. The front page is all about that transit fare!

Of course, these guys are the ones who are ruining everything.

Cody and the other Authorities think it’s the work of “our old pal the Ruler.” I’d forgotten that was his name. He put a lot of thought into it. Ever since he was a little boy he wanted to be The RULER! And now he is!

Well, there’s more bombs dropped, so Cody decides to go up in his rocket suit, thinking “oh I can disarm a bomb from another planet upside down.”

Even though he saved everyone from the last bomb, things are still bad. The Ruler contacts Earth with an ultimatum: get rid of the cosmic dust around the earth so I can invade you! Otherwise it’s nothing but bad weather and you’ll all die, die, die, everybody die, etc. Usual Donald Downer.

The action switches to the Ruler’s Home Planet, where he’s in his lab with his comely assistant:

The Ruler says the Earthlings are stalling for time, and tells his Quislings on earth to do something about that Cody fellow. He gives the earth people two of their days!

That’s great news. They’ve analyzed the substance that causes the bad weather and could use the two days to make an antidote. You know what that means: CHEMISTRY MONTAGE.

The solution to the bad weather gas blanket: a counter gas. So the head up above the Cosmic Dust Belt (which itself should be a problem, no? Shouldn’t the world be darker and cooler, with crop failures and starvation?) and dump it into the atmosphere.

Everyone settle back in your office chairs for takeoff.

Meanwhile, the guys working for the Ruler drop another weather bomb over New York City, and Cody’s a bit frantic - the counters hasn’t spread that far yet! A tidal wave is heading for New York!


Oh, we’re going to reuse this footage? It really doesn’t end well for New York if they’re using this stuff, if I recall the previous serial. Whole town’s trashed.

But of course Cody finds the bad spacemen, and even though they have a ray gun - which they of course would have, being space men - Cody has one too, and he brings them down with his super-cool beam

How does it work? Makes you tired, I guess.


Well, time to go back to the office and assess the damage to the earth. The boss says the damage wasn’t that bad, because it was “localized.”

All damage is local, no? Well, at least there will be no more floods.


Hey - what happened to William Schallert?

Hmm. Well, we have a whole month to see if he'll reappear. That'll do; enjoy your Monday.



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