It is a particularly apt sign of my mental state that I could not correctly load the Bleat banner for Month 7, Week 2, but I am totally on top of making sure the 2022 Restaurant additions to the Matchbook Museum have the right links in all three positions.

This is a pity, because I have a series of three air-conditioner banners in the hopper for this month, duly arranged some time last December when I laid out the site. Every day on this site is the same: here’s something I set aside a year ago, here’s something I wrote last month, here’s something I did two years ago and am uploading now for an update, and here’s . . . here’s today.

What if today was horrible? Half of it was. The other half wasn’t. Maybe that’s the case for a lot of us - whipsawed by sudden gusts not directly due to the unquiet year, but somehow related, because everything’s sorta normal on the surface but also dialed up to 14, and also fragile the moment it’s touched, and by the way there’s a coal-seam fire AND also a tsunami working its way through the water table, but we just had a staff meeting on Zoom and everyone seemed okay.

Maybe it’s just me. Ahh, what am I doing, striking this tone before the Wednesday Review of Modern Thought, which are free to skip? This is the fun bright daily-bloggy top part! Okay, I went to Target, there’s an evergreen, there’s a hearty chestnut. I made a point of buying the Colgate white toothpaste, which is a paste, because I’ve been cursing at the Colgate blue toothpaste, which is a gel. The latter just goobs out all over the inside of the nozzle and cap; it’s a mess. The paste does not do this. I’ve been poaching my wife’s paste, but that has to end, because surely at some point I’ll fail to return it to the precise place in her drawer, and my poaching will be revealed.

Don’t you have your own toothpaste?

Hey, to love honor and share until death, right?

Yes but you have your own toothpaste.

It goobs.

I’m not worried about this, because I keep tabs on household toothpaste consumption and buy more in advance of depletion, but I made sure today I got PASTE FOR ALL, and damn the cost. Job security may be treading a frayed tightrope in a burning circus tent due to Covid, but I’ll be damned if I go penny-foolish now when goobism ruins the brushing experience.

There. That’s banal enough for a top.











I wonder if people who go out in the world a lot, as opposed to those who stay at home to minimize contact with the Deadly World, have a better mind-set, or a bleaker one.

Surely the more . . . concerned people, to use a kind word, are less experienced with the shape and appearance of things, because they don’t go out. They may see the outside purely through newsfeeds, and are swamped with baffling statistics, suffused with constant dread.

Still? Really? At this date? I mean, I read a lot, and I have a few voices I follow because they are guided by evidence and numbers -

Ah, but we all think we’re like that, don’t we.

We all think our take on the Unabating Miasma is correct, because we follow people who seem to be good with numbers, and they confirm what we suspect.

Why do we suspect what we suspect?

Depends on your biases, and here we are, looking at a disease through biases. My biases are these: I think this is serious but not the “Contagion” movie scenario, by a long shot; I do not think it is fantastically, murerously contagious; I do not put any stock in “number of cases” stories that hype the numbers without putting them immediately in context; I do not check the political affiliation of a state’s governor before deciding what I should think about the numbers.

If your bias consists of It’s Everywhere and No Normalcy Can Happen Until V-Day, aka Vaccine Day, then you tweet about how it’s madness that we’re not locking everyone in the country into their houses for two weeks, and hyperventilating about there being COVID droplets on your apartment door handle, as I saw one previously sensible author say the other day. (From France.)

Anyway. If you stay home and do not go out, the world is scary. If you go out a lot you become inured to a new mode of living, the constant disinfection stations, the mask ubiquity, and it's all a dull throb. but as I said at the start, does this mean you have a better mind-set? A more balanced, optimistic attitude?

The other day I had to return a laptop to Apple because the stupid keyboard broke again. Before: make an appointment, show up, chat, hand it over.

Now: I had to stand in line outside the store. Got my forehead temp-gunned. After ten minutes I was admitted inside. The store felt empty - and it takes some doing to make the spareness of an Apple store feel empty. There were fewer items to pick up and try, and each had to be disinfected. I sat with a genius-bar tech guy, both of us talking in the modern muffled fashion; we had a fine conversation about things computational - software, backup strategies, the modern equivalent of guy talk that once concerned car engines or other pieces of common tech. He disinfected the thing I had to sign, lest I touch it and put my finger in my eye, and then I disinfected my hands afterwards, and left.

I didn’t go to the Apple Store in Uptown, because it’s closed and there’s no sign it will open soon. What was a big clear two-story window is now a two-story black wall of wood, and like the rest of the commercial area there is no indication any of the wood will be coming down. You get the sense that it would be considered an insult to the sentiments on the wood if they were removed.

So I’m out and about every day - which does bring up the question as to why I haven’t caught it, but leave that for later - and I am accustomed to the protocols and the sights of summer 2020. This makes it all easier, right? Familiarity. No shock. Conversant in the new obligations.

Thing is, I hate it, and I hate it all the time. And it’s not healthy. It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be accepted. It should be an outrage all the time, but that’s no way to live, and so you slump and endure and seethe. I don’t take solace in finding political targets for my emotions, because I put this all on China, with some crumbs left over to distribute amongst the fallible domestic institutions whose primary contribution has been to reveal their own inadequacies. But I want to shake the shoulders of all the property owners and ask if they can please scour off the verbal filth, if it’s not too much to ask? What are you waiting for? What siren-in-the-sky all clear says it's now permitted to clean off the admonitions to hate the police?

As for the rest of us, can we have a moment where we’re all standing on our assigned markings in line at the store, look down at everyone standing on their assigned markings, wearing our masks because it's sensible and also policy, and can we just have a moment were we all issue a loud raspberry or BOOO at the situation we’re in? That would be cathartic, and we'd all feel honest and amused and imbued with a new solidarity that doesn't just say ok whatever I guess, I get it, that's how it is, but celebrates our recognition of the bizarre situation in which we find ourselves.




Ahhh, but it’s not too much to take. It’s hardly a burden. It could be worse. It's just a mask. It's just a mural on a piece of plywood. It's just a storefront that used to have a store. It's just a nice building that didn't used to have grafitti. It's just a lake that didn't used to have a tent encampment.

it's still a storefront, a building, a lake, you know. Nothing's really changed!

There are days I drive down the boulevards, driving Daughter home from work, and it actually does seem as nothing has changed. The closer I get to home the more things seem normal.

And also about 20 times a day I feel like the inertial dampeners are shot and the order to brace for impact is an understatement.

I can still feel that scene in my gut. While I was watching I kept telling myself they could still rebuild the ship, it wasn't completely trashed.

I mean, it was a beautiful ship, and we loved it, and it had so many stories. They wouldn't get rid of it just to juice things up, would they?

Why would they do that?




It's 1934.

C’mon, newspapers have been running photos for a long time now.

That's a lot of work, right there. Good thing the paper didn't come out every damned day or a man would never get anything done.

The month at a glance:

1934, Germany’s in a precarious position, and the rest of the world regards the eventual result with a question mark!

Don’t worry, it’ll get sorted out. No, that’s all I’m going to say.

As for Succor at Last, Old Man Work And Care is moving along

It's an odd thing to characterize "Vacation" as an angry cop bent on violence, but there you are.

As for the cartoonist:

As for the artist: Robert William Satterfield (October 18, 1875 in Sharon, Pennsylvania– February 17, 1958 in Glendale, California), also known as "Sat", was an American cartoonist known for his editorial cartoons; he also created the comic strips The Family Next Door, Oh Thunder, and The Bicker Family; as well as the daily panels Sat's Bear and Days We'll Never Forget, as well as Bizzy Bear.

All forgotten now.



Good news!

We’ll meet the Edna tomorrow.

You won’t recognize it. At all.


Most of the paper is local chaff. The editorial page had a dozen-plus small opinion pieces.



Editorial-wise, Rex is really going out on a limb here:



He was right - they were making it up as they went along. And he ought to know:

Rexford Guy Tugwell (July 10, 1891 – July 21, 1979) was an economist who became part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's first "Brain Trust", a group of Columbia University academics who helped develop policy recommendations leading up to Roosevelt's New Deal. Tugwell served in FDR's administration until he was forced out in 1936.

He was a specialist on planning and believed the government should have large-scale plans to move the economy out of the Great Depression because private businesses were too frozen in place to do the job. He helped design the New Deal farm program and the Resettlement Administration that moved subsistence farmers into small rented farms under close supervision.

His ideas on suburban planning resulted in the construction of Greenbelt, Maryland, with low-cost rents for relief families. He was denounced by conservatives for advocating state-directed economic planning to overcome the Great Depression.



Stop the presses!


A fun fact about the chinch bug: “Their natural predators include the big-eye bug (Geocoris bullatis), and the tiny wasp (Eumicrosoma beneficum), which feast on or parasitize them.”

Google if you like. The eyes aren’t that big.

That’s a curious mix of fatalism and . . . fatalism:



Good ol’ Charlie, just standin’ on the corner handin’ out maxims to anyone what wants one.




Yes . . . and no.



The term originally denoted a large open-air fire on which bones were burnt (sometimes as part of a celebration), also one for burning heretics or proscribed literature. Dr Johnson accepted the mistaken idea that the word came from French bon ‘good’.


The word is believed to come from "bone fire". In the time of the Celts, there were midsummer festivals where animal bones were burnt to ward off evil spirits.

In any case, the bone part is correct. But now explain why someone in trouble is in a jam.

Ripley pretender, and you may find yourself not exactly AMAZED.


But you’d better believe it!

• 1887/88 : "Venetian red" paint, applied in the workshop before the parts were assembled.
• 1889 : Application of a very thick, reddish-brown coat.
• 1892 : The Tower turns "ochre brown".
1899 : A coat of 5 colours is painted in shaded tones from yellow-orange at the base to light yellow at the top. It was after this repainting campaign that the 7-year cycle was adopted for the renewal of the paintwork.
• 1907-1917-1924-1932-1939-1947 : The colour is called "yellow-brown". The 1917 repainting was delayed because of the war.
• 1954-61 : A new colour for the Eiffel Tower: "brownish-red".
• Depuis 1968 : The colour “Eiffel Tower Brown” is chosen for its harmony with the Parisian cityscape. It was applied in three shaded tones, with the darkest at the bottom and the lightest at the top.


This work by Karen Arnold is not contemporary with the yellow-brown era, but perhaps that’s the time she’s conjuring.

We now know a bit more about Paris because we paused to look at a newspaper in Gibson City.

That'll do; see you around.



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