Here we are again, with another week of extremely similar stuff, except all different.

Last week while leaving the office I got a Crime Alert on my Dick Tracy 2-way radio wrist watch. It said there was a man with a gun at a certain address. That's odd, I thought. That's right were I am now. Do I have a gun? No. So where is this fellow? Is it the Invisible Man? No, I think the alert would have said "Gun is hanging in the air, waving around on its own."

I got a few more updates. The man was in a black Audi now and leaving the area. Okay. I don't really trust this app at all. It gets addesses wrong, regularly places northside shootings on the southside, and really screwed up when it called a suicide in my neighborhood a homocide, passing along misunderstood info. I'm done with it. On the other hand, it told me yesterday that Daughter had signed up for the app in her new town. I'm sure I could arrange it so I got text alerts about crimes in her immediate vicinity, just to help with the whole "sleeping well" thing.

Reminded me of something I had forgotten to post a week or so ago. It began thus:

“I’m checking out a crime report of a man exposing himself at Walgreen’s right now," I said.

“No, you come back here.”

Let me back up. I took Birch to the vet. He had vexatious hindquarter issues. This probably meant he needed to have his backside expressed, to use the correct medical term. He never associates my car with anything fun. Wife’s car is the magic conveyance to the dog park; I’m usually a trip to the vet or some Marathon-Man trick where he gets in, we pick up Daughter, and he ends up back where we started, never having gotten out. But we all were happy and excited: car! Trip! Yes! Fun! He picked up the mood and was all for the jaunt, and ran downstairs and hopped into the car.

The truth of the situation doesn’t hit him until we’re at the back door of the vet’s. No one can go into the place BECAUSE COVID, so they come out to your car to get the dog. The last time I had to pick him up and put him inside. This time it just took a little shove. I go back to my car.

Ding! Crime alert. Man exposing himself at Walgreens at 54th & Lyndale.

Well, let’s go check that out. Just a block away.

I was close to the store when the phone rang; it was the vet. She wanted to say first of all, we love Birch. I wanted to say . . . really? I mean, he isn’t one of those affection sponges that drinks in all human attention, always has his tongue hanging out and that doggy simulacrum of a smile. In many ways he is my favorite of all the dogs, because he’s just such a dog, and he looks at me like none of the other dogs. He has a vastly over-exaggerated opinion of himself and is capabilities that is not born out by the evidence, daily; he has peculiar quirks and passions and fears. But we know that, because we live with him.

“He’s just a great dog, and I want to thank you for doing the heart worm treatment, I know it was hard on you and him and us too, and it cost a lot, but we’re just glad he’s with us.”


“Anyway he has an infected anal gland, I gave him a slow-acting antibiotic shot, he’s in the shop now getting his oil changed and they will call you with the ransom so you can get him back.”

“How long will this be? I’m checking out a crime report of a man exposing himself at Walgreen’s.”

“No, you come back here.”

“Okay,” and I turned around. Never did see what happened at Walgreen’s. Birch bounded out the back door and we went home and he got some food then groused on his bed for a while, low key, because that hadn’t been fun. But he was yelling at the mailman a few hours later. All was well, except for the part where the mailman has the GALL THE UNMITIGATED GALL to cross outside the window.

As ever, he was successful. Threat met. Threat repulsed.

Later I went to run an errand, and he followed me down the steps - then stopped. Oh right. Stuff up the butt. We’re good, chief. You have fun.

Something new for Mondays: a never-ending contest with no prizes! Not for you, anyway. I have to preface this feature with a warning: I don't know the answers. I mean, I don't have the official answers. I can guess. It can't be that hard.

The ol' "Augur in the butt" gag, a sure-fire laff-getter. What's your answer?



Guess who’s back?

Hey - wait a minute, you say. We’ve never done plain-old Dick Tracy Being Here, how can we have him returning? Simple: the first serial is too degraded. My copy is bad. This one looks sharper.

Let’s assume Dick won, and that there is no continuity at all between the two, because people didn’t expect it. Our cast:

Pretty chipper Dick, eh? More about him later, since we don't want to spend the first installment with too much backstory.

The Gal Friday:

You can tell he's the villain by the lighting:

What? A kid?

Was there a kid in the comic?

Well, let's dive right in.

Let's whet the appetite with VIOLENCE!

It’s a training film for the new cops, which leads right into a montage of an eager guy training to be a good G-Man. which means he’s probably going to be shot soon. The FNG’s name is Ron Merton.

Next we meet the Bad Guy: Pa Stark. What kind of a name is that for a Tracy bad guy? He has five sons, and we meet them all - layabouts who sit around sneering and smoking. Back to Tracy’s office, where we learn that the Plucky Dame is Gwen, his secretary, and the annoying kid is Junior, who walks around dressed like a hotel page for some reason.

Well, our lad is sent to accompany a bank delivery, which gives us some inadvertent documentary . . .


They’re waylaid by PA STARK’S GANG, which steals the entire armored car in a truck. Een though the FNG is gassed, he struggles to his feet and get a gat. So, of course:


Either it’s a bad print or a bad edit or they didn’t want to show the guy getting plugged.

But! Pa Stark doesn’t know if the G-man was dead, so one of his sons goes back to finish him off.

This . . . this is confusing.


This serial really has an aversion to showing this guy getting shot.

Tracy’s on the scene, and follows:


Really built those things to take a scrape, didn’t they.

The shooter survives, and when Tracy shows up, he pretends he was an observer.


Heyyyy, wait a minute.

Tracy takes him into custody. Because he has a sixth sense about these things! Also unlimited power backed by the state.

Anyway, FNG survives, and goes into an Iron Lung, that terrifying instrument of immobilty. Pa Stark’s disgusted by his son’s incompetence, and goes to the hospital to kill the guy in the iron lung. Attempt #3 happens off camera, and we are informed of FNG’s demise by phone. We are all sad.

But! The cab driver has been found, so Pa Stark has to kill him to save his stupid son. MEANWHILE Tracy has used MODERN SCIENCE to identify the tire tracks of the Stark gang, and goes to question the guy who sold them. Because they’re like fingerprints!

Get this, Junior G-Men: outside the tire store, Tracy spots another set of tracks in the mud. They’re just like the tires that were sold to the Stark gang! That means if you follow them, you will find the Stark Gang!


Meanwhile, remember the cab shanghaied to drive out and kill the G-Man? The driver escaped, went on the lam, but Tracy’s boy found him, and they’re flying him back. So the Gang Members go to

A high-tech radio room! See, they'll give the pilot confusing instructions and make him crash.

I love this so much. Get on the running board, we’ve a long ways to go!


The crooks take it over so they can cut the beam the plane is depending upon for landing directions. Because that’s how aviation works, you know. The crooks set up another beam that will no doubt send the plane into the Convenient Mountains, but Tracy is on the scene as the Gang is destroying the equipment, and there’s a brutal fight.


Tracy wins, of course, frees the operator, and they run to another plane . . .

. . . to use its radio to hear the radio traffic from the plane with the taxi driver who witnessed the rub out. Got it? That’s when they realize the rest of the gang set up a new beam! Tracy takes off in the plane, as we suspected he would, and heads up into the absolute dark and fog to see if he can find the beam.

Oh this looks perfectly sane

He gets the plane’s attention and persuades it to climb! Hurrah! Alas:


I swear we saw that exact same situation play out in another serial.


Are you hopeful? I'm hopeful. But I always feel that way after the first one.

That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.






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