The banner above is something of a betrayal - it’s a 66, not a Texaco. But gas stations of a certain era, a classic type, summon the same emotions, don’t they?

Don’t they? Maybe not. Maybe you had to be there. I can’t say I was - I was just a small child when that famous style brought a modern look to towns across the country. I only know it now from old pictures and the ruins. You’ll find many Philips 66 stations today, but few are still gas stations, and almost none have the spire that poked through the pointy roof. There’s one on the outskirts of Moorhead I see when I leave town. There’s one in Minneapolis on the way to the airport. They were proud and bold and doomed to fall out of style.

So what of this week? Don’t know. We’ll see. Back to normal. I was going through the phone photos, and found a mistake that somehow summed a lot up.


The Crazy Uke and the Giant Swede took me out for supper Saturday night. Good friends; good men. It was a tonic - and the venue was apt, too.

It’s a fantastically fine restaurant now. If you swing the picture around you find the remnants of another style of gas station - the last Texaco style.

There’s no trace of the old station, unless you are adept in reading the building’s placement on the lot. A rectangle set back in the corner. The dimensions are the same - 3/8s of the building are devoted to a public space where business is transacted and stock is kept; the rest of the building was split into two bays for maintenance and repair.

That’s just the way they were, for decades. But the instinctive recognition, the assumed and shared memory, has already begun to pass.

So many loose details from last week. I mentioned the rural churc with its pressed-tin interior:

There was something about the arch over the altar that unnerved me as a smal child; it was ancient, from another culture that had preceded mine. It was the ceiling of the general store in Harwood, a ceiling in the farmhouse.

Hole for a light fixture?

Eye of God?

The ceiling:

It's in fine condition. I'll bet it gives way if you get up there and give it a little push.




Just because Clippings replaced the Serial feature doesn't mean you're getting off easy. Oh no, my friends. Not at all.

All the ridiculousness of serials - the small cast of characters, the limited settings, the hero who has to do everything bevaccuse there are no other authorities, the silly old alien dudes bent on conquest - without those pesky cliffhangers.

Well, this sounds like it could be fun:

Instantly I thought: let’s go back and see the robert from that other serial. Remember? The one where the scientist had an accent and pronounced robot “robert” sometimes. I’d forgotten all about him.

Here’s that robot:

Now let’s roll film.



Hah! The horn-fart gun again.

So the Ruler sent down his only begotten son to zap everyone? No, it’s the Henches.


AGAIN WITH THE ROBERT. Well, Cody manages to burn out the robert’s controls, so the henches have to call the secret planet and report back to the Ruler. Upon hearing that the robert was wrecked, he says “Try it again! I must lower the cosmic dust barrier before I can add Earth to our slave states!” He speaks in a slavic accent, by the way.

The agents go to Cody’s lab, use a freeze gun on everyone except Cody, so we can have a fist fight. They get away and kidnap Dick - you know, Dick - and put him in the Overacting Chair.

It makes him take orders from the Ruler. Anyway, they’re going to use Dick to get the plans . . .

. . . which means there’s no more Robert? Seriously?

He gets the plans:


So . . . they have everything they need, except the one thing they need. Except there’s a Master Dispeller Ray they can use to land friendly ships. First time we’ve heard of that. Dick calls up the station and clears one of the Ruler’s ships.

One. Not the armada, but one. These guys on Rocket N-6, with its special headgear for turbulence:

Cody flies off to investigate, convinced that Dick isn’t really a traitor. And he’s right! Dick’s hanging around with the Ruler -

but he’s secretly telling trying to send Cody a message on the radio! He gives away the location - planet L-36! Cody flies down, blasts a few henchmen, and - oh, whew. The title didn’t lie.

But he’s friendly, I guess. Cody’s rewired him to be friendly - but hostile to the Ruler!

They get the plans back, because the Ruler didn’t make copies.

Seriously. Well, time for the obligatory jokey ending:

Oh much better than a cliffhanger.

And now matches, this being the start of the week. Wonder how long this one will seem. Wonder whether longer's better.




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