I had the lucky opportunity to assemble an office chair last night. It came with many screws of different shapes and types, and they included extras as well. The instructions were clear and concise. So how in Sam Hell am I supposed to get a piece out of this?

Hold on - I just realized I can. So hold that thought and wait a week. The column I have to do now is localish, though - at least it pretends to be, although it’s the usual conversation with the voices in my head. Noting much to report, as I did not go downtown to the office as usual on a Monday. Felt odd. In fact I could see not going down on Tuesday, too.

That’s how it starts.

Wife went to the office for the first time in a couple of months, and as usual when you’re gone that long you brush aside vines and cobwebs, wondering if poisoned darts are going to shoot from the walls with a pnuematic hiss.

The chair is for Daughter’s room, as well as a new desk, since the room is being repurposed as an office.

That’s how it starts. Or rather maybe that’s how it ends. There are four phases of a kid’s room: nursery, the big joyful melange of stuff from late toddlerhood to the onset of tweenhood, then the teen years, then the repurposing. It’s that second phase that probably sees the most change, and it’s when you’re the most amused by it all, and the child is mostly likely to explain why the ponies are all hanging from a metal bar by the magnet in their hoof. When teen hood comes the room because something of a principality tucked inside another nation, although Daughter was not too much like that.

I had to collect some books from a shelf that goes with the desk, and found a book of Soviet architecture. It was surprising. I had no idea she had this book or was interested in this, and we tend to talk about all manner of things like this. It felt like a missed opportunity, somehow. And I haven’t felt as if there are many of those.

Well, tomorrow I put the new desk together, and we put the old desk for giveaway on Nextdoor.

Hah: update. I texted her about the book and she sent back a msg that started bwhahahaha. She got the book as a gift in a Secret Santa exchange a while ago. I said whew; didn't want to think it was a missed opportunity to seize on an interest of hers and redefine it by expounding my know-how and making it all about my robust and well-rounded know-how! Whew!












I was listening to a Jack Webb radio show while walking the dog. No, not that one. No, not that one. The one where he played the tough guy who solved crimes but was not a musician. That’s right! Mike Regan, Private Investigator. He did a dozen or so eps before leaving for something else. His early characters were rather touchy, prone to barking out an insult or demand at the slightest provocation, and makes you realize how he dialed it down for Dragnet.

Wait a minute, this is TV Tuesday? Yes. Stay with me.


So Regan is trying to get a phone number of a dizzy dame at the DMV, and I hear the following dialogue.




What came to mind? This dialogue from “Barton Fink.”


It’s the name the cops or the press gave to the Crazed Killer. My brain picked that out of the files as soon as I heard the DMV girl says something that sounded like it. I was confused. And then it tumbled together. Shows what I know, not being 75 and not having grown up in California and not being knowledgeable about early car sound system. I'd no doubt heard the name, but forgotten about Madman Muntz.

The Coens lifted the sobriquet from a real guy, the originator of the “My prices are so low I must be insane” schtick later popularized by Crazy Eddie. Muntz was a used car dealer - hence the reference in the Regan script - but also a car maker, as well as a promotor of a car sound system that would later turn into 8-Track.

Oh, and he sold TVs.


The Abstractions!

A touch of class:

You'll be humming that all day, won't you?



It’s 1942.

The lodge! The era of the Lodge, complete with ritual headgear and costume! We are the lesser for the passing of that era.

You don’t know what’s in it! You don’t know what the name means! You have no idea what animals were sundered, turned into meat slurry, and formed up to make a can! But mm-mmm!

Mmmm mmm!


A finger down the throat?

No, Pepto-Bismol, the collywobbles-banisher.

Can one have a single collywobble?

This piece gives a possible origin, and in passing imparts some info of which I was utterly unaware:

The origin isn't known for certain.

Colly is an English dialect word meaning coal dust. Blackbirds were hence known as colly birds. The song Twelve days of Christmas is usually sung as 'my true love sent to me, four calling birds'... but the actual line is 'four colly birds'. Colly-wobbles could have derived from indisposition caused by breathing coal dust.

It is more likely that this is a nonsense word formed from colic and wobble. The earliest citation of it is from Pierce Egan's edition of Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1823:"Collywobbles, the gripes.”


How? By not enjoying your meal:

There’s nothing in the bag. He knows the drill. One day someone will ask for the money and he will show that there is nothing in the bag, never was. There will be hard words and blows exchanged.

Frying chickens: “an out-of-season treat.”

I had no idea it was seasonal.

I wonder when Frosted when from “Frozen” to “covered in sugar.”

How could they come out ahead on this deal?

Mineralite. What are bowling balls made of, anyway? I don’t even know where to begin excerpting this article. I had no idea!

The things I learn here!

Now I want to write a children’s adventure novel about Rex Ristlite:

It’s a great idea, and you wonder why they make any other kind of flashlight.

We’ve liquified a starlet and infused the dentifrice with her blood and plasma:

The old stuff must have had a lot of sand in it.

That will do today, I hope.




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