I have a barn-burner of a Bleat ready to go but no time to lay it out. No, that’s not quite right; barns were not torched. If I have to be honest I don’t even think a timber was singed. The hay may have smoldered, I’ll give it that, but -

Start again. I have a fascinating account of 1940s funeral greeting card graphics ready to roll, but it’s late and I just discovered I didn’t resize any of the scans, and I’ve a column to do. You may say: I didn’t know this when I called up the site today, but an account of 1940s funeral greeting cards was just what I wanted on a Monday morn, and now you have to dangle the notion without producing it?

Others might wonder whether there is such a thing as a “funeral greeting card.” Whether a better description exists. “Funeral card,” perhaps, since the “greeting” part doesn’t seem apt. “Sympathy card,” then. Isn’t that how they’re grouped at the store? SYMPATHY. As if the term might not also apply to greeting cards after you pass 50.

ANYWAY IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN because I spent an hour on the phone with Daughter, and that threw everything off, and I’ll regret that not a whit. Bonus: nothing to report for the weekend! The most exciting part was the Vikings game, which I saw with the Giant Swede and the Crazy Uke, and it was a barn-burner.

No, that’s note quite right. One team burned the barn the first half, and then the other team burned the barn the second half. But you can’t re-burn a completely burnt barn. And it doesn’t quite fit to say “It was a game in which portions of the barn were burned.” You could say it was a nail-biter, but no farmer ever looked at a burned barn and said “well ain’t that a cuticle-chewer.” It was -

Well, first, the basics:

The pizza was Tombstone, which always brings to mind the slogan: “What do you want on your Tombstone?” They want us to think of toppings, of course, but perhaps most people silently think “A substantial range between the two four-digit numbers.” It wasn’t a bad pizza if your definition of the foodstuff includes a crust that resembles wet cardboard dried in an industrial laundry press.

Side dish: wife made guacamole, for the reason people always make guac - someone bought a bag of avocados and they’re about to go bad.

Sweetness: leftover Halloween candy, including some Jolly Ranchers in thin rectangle form that defy pleasurable consumption. A standard Jolly Rancher you pop in your mouth, then smooth away the pointy parts, until it gets down to a thin fragment that forms a seal in a back molar. These are thin, and cannot be fit in the mouth without gagging, but eventually they will become pliable, and you can suck on them with morose disgust while your team is losing.

The Broncos scored at will the first half, and were up 20-0. The Vikings came down to a defensive stand in the last few seconds. As good as it gets. Here’s the point, though:

We watch the game on delay. It starts at noon, we usually start to roll around 12:45 or so. This means we can speed through the annoying commercials, or pause and hoot at the ads for their mysterious inability to correctly gauge the average demographic. It also means that the eventual disposition of the game is a fact about 40 minutes before we see it.

So it’s coming down to the last two minutes, and I’m looking at my phone, thinking you know. YOU KNOW. All I have to do is hold it up to my face and punch a button and I will know. I can save myself all this agita. I can have relief or I can begin to deal with sadness.

But you don’t, because the nerve-shredding nail-chomping twist-in-your-seat tachycardia agony is essential to this day, this hour, this minute, this shared experience of watching the game with your friends, knowing that when you burst from your seat in exultation it will be a true thing. And it happened. We won.

It’s my favorite part of the week. I’ll miss it when it’s over.

Anyway, 1940s sympathy cards have been moved to Thursday. I hope this whets your appetite. And now back to writing the column.



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

Last time when we saw Commando Cody and his band of Science People, they were laughing, because they’d just defeated The Ruler for the tenth straight time. Remember, no cliffhangers.

This time they’re on routine patrol, having a good grin:


Oh no, they spot one of the Ruler’s rockets, and head after it at full speed. It’s out of range of their ray gun. Two minions get on top, and pretend to fight, and one pretends to fall.

Cody rescues the falling minion, then beats him with brass knuckles until he confesses the Ruler’s next plan. Actually, no; the Ruler’s minions call home, tell him the plan’s working. Back in Cody’s ship, we learn that viewers are expected to believe some utter nonsense:"Citizen of Mercury." Uh huh. Republic or constitutional democracy?

Whatever. Tme for Extravehicular Activity, and pay attention:

Dress shoes and rope.

Of course the Mercurial goes out to help, and manages to cut the rope so Cody falls, and they have to get the ship under him to save him, because there’s one more ep to go.

They land on Mercury, and the atmosphere of course is clement and breathable, so Cody goes off flying. The Mercurial holds up our Science People hostage; why he doesn’t shoot them with the car-horn fart gun I don’t know. But here’s the twist:

Yeah, double-cross the supreme leader of the galaxy; that’ll go well. Again, there’s a lot of world-building going on so late in the series; apparently there’s a huge sprawling set of civilizations out there, places where you could hide from The Ruler if you had a fast ship like Cody’s.

As you noted, Cody overheard, so he goes back to his ship and prepares to shoot the jewel thieves, but - oh, one detail added to the ship since the last ep.


The false Mercurian gasses everyone, and incapacitates Cody, which leads to a scene that suggests these guys aren’t really the sharpest tools in the box:

Real A-Team, there. But they manage to take the rocket and try to lift off the rocky surface of Mercury, but since they didn’t kill Cody like any good criminal would, he follows them in his jetpack, which of course performs normally in the atmosphere of Mercury.

Quick fight:

But of course he’s victorious. Cody says they have to make sure the Ruler is never able to use Mercury as a base to attack the rest of the universe! Keep in mind that we saw no base, and it would be rather odd to concentrate your forces on MERCURY FOR GOD’S SAKE.

Then it’s time to laugh:


Hey wait why are we laughing is it because you all think I’m gay

That'll do; see you tomorrow. Or elsewhere!




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