I wrote something intended for today, but when I looked at it Sunday night, I thought: nah. Lighten up, laddy buck. So: a torrent of trivialities.

Ran errands on a Saturday, like a rookie. Big mistake. The parking lots are solid, the stores are thronged, with throngs. Great word, no? You imagine someone big and thick-shouldered and thick-browed and thick-tongued with a dull look, hairy knuckles, the assumption of immediate violence. BRING ME MY THRONG, THAT I MAY VISIT HIM UPON MY FOE.

At Traders Joe there was a line outside, because the caps on the number of shoppers still applies. It is a specific number, no more, no less. An equitable Thunderdome: one leaves, one may enter. The calculus extends to its in-house spirits store, which is separate from the actual Traders Joe. If there are 59 people in the store, one in the spirits store, and the limit is 60, you may not enter the spirits store, even though you promise not to go into the main store. Because it is unsafe.

Everyone queued outside was wearing masks.

Target had the usual sign about maintaining 6 feet distance on account of science. It is completely ignored. I don’t think they’re wiping down carts anymore. It’s all falling apart!

I should’ve gone home after Target, since I’d made a good haul. But no. I had to hit CUfB. (That is CUB, the down-market warehouse store that does not want you to think of it in those terms, but has no other brand identity to offer. CUB means “Consumers United for Bargains,” which is why I call it CUfB.) I checked the berries: prices on the high side. It’s interesting how this works: it seems that markdowns on berries, be they blue- or black- or rasp- seem to hit all the stores at once. We were in an interregnum of high prices. Fine. Swing over to frozen fish -


We have fish on Thursdays. It is the way of things. Thanks to the BOGO sales (and here I must again insert the Necessary F: “buy one get one” is the literal definition of a standard commercial transaction. They mean “buy one get one free,” which is BOGOF.) I have accumulated a great amount of frozen fish entrees, because BOGOF means consumption is outpaced by acquisition. If you live on the edge and consume your stocks with the assumption that a BOGOF is right around the corner, you’re probably good - but what if something happens and we have to stay home and can’t shop?

Here’s the thing about people who have a bit of prep mentality: something did happen. The country went into lockdown and quarantine. And we still were permitted to go to the store. And they still had BOGOFs. I remember being agog at the sight of a BOGOF in the teeth of the pandemic: YOU’RE ACTING LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED! LIKE THE WORLD DIDN’T, LIKE, COMPLETELY CHANGE!

On the other hand, the sight of a BOGOF was heartening, a sign that the old ways were still respected, still observed. Like seeing a man in a top hat pick his way through Blitz rubble.

So what do I see: BOGOF on the best salmon entree. DAMMIT. No choice. I turn around, BOGOF on the pulled pork - those are great emergency dinners. OKAY, but that’s enough, I want to get out of here without dropping four double-sawbucks.



I prepared myself for the pizza offerings, and not surprised to find my go-to frozen pizza at two-for-ten. Mind you, I would not have bought the pizzas if they’d been BOGOF with a price of ten dollars, because the base non-sale price for these pizzas is $8.99 tops, and everyone knows that.

The BOGOF price cannot be artificially inflated. It has to be a gobsmacker. It has to be irresistible.

Okay, move along, next aisle  (4636 words snipped) and that's how I ended up with 18 bags of potato chips.

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.


I like the idea that the neighborhoods have signs that tell you what Ward it is. In case it comes up and you need to check.



Serial time!

I prefer love, but I'm not this guy:

You do get the sense that the Stark gang is improvising here.

There's a 30s name for you:

You remember Steve from the comic page, right?

No, you don't.

In case you forgot how that went: kaboom. Is this the end of Tracy? Yeah of course right he’s in such peril however will he escape


So much for Pa Stark’s latest and greatest attempt to make some money.

The Stark boys run for their plane to escape . . .


You can’t write dialogue like that; you just to let it happen. Back at the cop shop, they actually have a sketch artist who draws the plane based on what they saw, and now Tracy and the lads are looking for a special experimental aircraft, and they hone in right on the manufacturer!

The head of the factory said sure, looks like one of ours, but they’re all accounted for. By the way, would you like to see one of our other experimental planes?


Tracy stows away to see if anything’s fishy. Of course the pilot would never notice the extra weight. The pilot promptly diverts to meet Pa Stark, because there are nefarious things going on and have we completely forgotten about the new telescope they were going to blow up? Yes. The Starks are now stealing prototype airplanes. For this ep, anyway.

Tracy is discovered, so it’s theatrical fist-fight time, complete with spring-loaded bad guy:

The pilot hits the silk and lets the deck plane crash. HEADLINES


Tracy knows what’s going on, of course, and sets out to lay a trap for Stark. He goes up with the crooked pilot again, who plans to knock him out with gas.

They’re climbing high; better start to take the O2:


I have to say, this looks bad.


I also have to say that this is one damned brisk and efficient serial, but there’s nothing remotely Dick Tracyesque about it.

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





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