The tree guys came and the tree guys tooketh away. Quite the operation: an enormous crane over the garage to the elevated back yard, wherein the tree was wrapped in rope, severed from the earth, and lifted up up up and down to the street, where men with motored saws fell upon it and made it a memory in short order. It was an odd tree in an odd spot, and as I noted yesterday I already have factored its absence into my expectations of the backyard. They took a bigger tree on the south side as well, and this I noted because I saw them through the window in the shower.


At Traders Joe the music system was playing “Funkytown.” None of the clerks knew that it came from Minneapolis. (I polled two.) To be fair, the clerks were in their twenties, and the song is 41 years old. FORTY ONE. If someone had come up to me at my convenience store job in 1986 and queried me about a Harry James hit from 1945, I . . . would have known who Harry James was. Maybe not the best comparison. Because I’m so knowledgeable! And special. Anyway, I went on to make a fool of myself by noting that the shout-out to Minneapolis in Huey Lewis & the News’ compendium of towns in which the heart of rock and roll was still beating used that fantastic guitar chord - a hook, someone once said, you could hang a side of beef on.

I went next door to Comprehensive Intoxicants, which I think is a better name for Total Wine and Spirits, and made my usual wander through the Bourbon, Whiskey, and Whisky aisle. Asked a clerk if they were getting in any Earl Settler.

“Noooo,” I said, “I don’t know.”

“Because that stuff is fantastic,” I said. I have had this conversation with three clerks now. It’s interesting. Earl Settler, apparently, was Comprehensive’s attempt to put a good-quality spirit on the shelf at an unbeatable price. I’m sorry, price point. I mean, under twenty for a handle. (The industry term for a jug, I guess.) They contracted with a small distillery, and the result was remarkably good. I’m always curious to what they steer me to next, since they are under orders to push the house brands. No one steers me to Lonehand, because they’re ashamed of it, I think, and would hate to look me in the eye after I came back with a glowering expression, bellowing WHERE IS HE. WHERE. IS. THAT. GUY

At Target I needed little, but managed to spend four times what I expected. I mention this only because I’d gone for one thing, and they were out. Perhaps it’s the time of day - 8 in the evening - but I have noted great gaps in the shelves for a long time. Stuff disappears for weeks on end. I’m used to it now: new normal! Supply chain and all that. But it makes you buy two when something shows up, because you don’t know. Downright Soviet, where you join a line at a shop without knowing what they’ve gotten.

I’ve been trying to buy a stove for four months, and it’s hard. Then: order stove, stove appears. Now: order stove, use countertop toaster oven for ten fortnights until something makes it over the bounding main and begins the journey to the middle of the continent. Apparently demand surged as production was cut, and it’s all fubar’d for the duration.

We’re still saying that, this many months in: for the duration. At least in WW2 they had an end point: surrender. I mean the other guy, not us, in endless quarter-measures of diminution.










My Twitter feed is almost entirely COVID. It's infected almost every free-roaming social commentator I follow. None of them are banging pots and pans or calling for conspicious disobedience; for the most part, they're reacting to the ever-tremulous thrum of disapproval and dread from the Covid Eternal cohort. We're about two weeks away from Mu bolstering the need to retreat inward evermore. In a few months I expect that stories about Mu breakthrough cases in people who had the booster will lead to a surge of tweets condemning pictures of airports full of people going somewhere for Christmas.

Mind you, I had the double-poke AND the Covid and sure, I'll take a booster.

Anyway, now and then something non-Covid penetrates the interminable, useless debate between people who think "horse dewormer" is clever and people who have the audacity to drawn obvious conclusions from government charts. So herewith abrief account of recent things on the on-Covic Twitter.

First, a stern reply to people who believe our institutions have lost faith in our fundamental ideals and principles.


They didn't lose it. They threw it away.

It's odd when the paper of record is simultaneously a parody account.

Makes you wonder why the chaplains didn't ease into it gradually, appointing a Deist first. It also makes you wonder whether the Times, or the chaplains, believe that atheism is the same as "religiously nonaffiliated."


But I'm sure everyone else in Harvard is deeply devoted to the fundamental concepts of Western Civ and does their best to carry them forward into the next generation. Well, maybe not the English department, which will probably decide to dump the usual texts and teach the oral traditions of Madagascar. For those students who increasingly identify as "liking stories" but are "literacy nonaffliated."



Justice requires the abolition of the Constitution.


It is, after all, an odious thing ridden with harmful speech. Someone tweeted out a screengrab, and I had to check for myself. As they say, "when you see it."


My daughter will remember the days when one could just walk into the National Archives and look at the Constitution without anyone warning you what harm might ensure.


Perhaps there should be a tent in the rotunda where people can get counselling, and be guided through some deep-breathing meditations to cope with the harm. What worries me is how no one's really made a comprehensive assessement of the words engraved on pediments and plinths in DC. They're all gendered as hell, just for starters.


Dandy fellow here. I trust he spares the right wing books that are not garbage? Or, you suspect, a certain range of views on individual liberty or resistence to statism are sufficient to require their destruction.

  Me too! I burned books too! Can we be friends?




It doesn’t look like 1959, does it? But it is.

It’s the Essex County Herald, a weekly that devoted itself mostly to local comings and goings of the most quotidian manner.

Like this:




Goodbye, here’s your billfold

If you showed up and your name didn't make the paper, had you really gone at all?

The whole page is like a burglar's guide to who's not going to be home.


Ah, those Ripley rip-offs, syndicated to papers grateful to fill some space with a professional graphic:

Yes, Columbus got off the boat and was playing roundball with the locals right away. Anyway, nevermind those gum-ball bouncy things - we have Modern Creative Scientists, and hence, Butyl, which sounds like it should be a British female name.

(Also, psssst, it’s an ad)

In the more things change, the more they increase the debt department, the editorial page cartoon:

The sole piece of editorializing is in the trash bin.

Oh great, more of this

Double Morrisettes? What is this, Harry Mudd’s planet?

The editorial page, which I’m sure was written by the one-man band that did this whole thing.

  He was het up about a summit.
  The durned Coviet flag!
  If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we (fill in pet peeve)

Uh. What?

I can find the second one:

Little Aurore's Tragedy (French: La petite Aurore: l'enfant martyre "little Aurore, the child Martyr") is a Canadian 1952 Quebec biographical drama movie.

A classic of early Quebec cinema, La Petite Aurore l’enfant martyre was based on a true story. Aurore (Laflamme) is 12 years old and lives with her sickly mother (McKinnon) and father (Desmarteaux) in a small village during the 1920s. A widowed neighbour (Mitchell) appears concerned and helpful, but Aurore discovers she actually hastens her mother's death. Her father marries the widow, and the child is forced to live with her cruel stepmother. She is systematically beaten and tortured until the local doctor (Gagnon) intervenes, but he is too late, and Aurore succumbs to her abuse.

French movies at the drive-in? Yes: Norton is right on the Canadian border.



Hold up.

Seeing those two names in 1958 is something of a surprise. Like the Norton, all gone.



And herein lies a tale, as people say when they don't want to think of something new.

About those endorsements:

Banghart, Kenneth Born in Paramus, New Jersey 9/11/1909; died 5/25/1980 in Delray Beach, Florida. Banghart worked as a tour conductor and manager of Thomas Cook and Son Travel Agency in Washington, D.C., when he became a radio announcer at WRC, then went on to be a radio and television announcer, and a news commentator and sportscaster.

Served briefly during WWII, as a war correspondent, then in 1944, he moved to New York where he became an NBC staff announcer.

As for Mr. Reynolds:

As associate editor at Collier's Weekly from 1933 to 1945, Reynolds averaged 20 articles a year. He also published 25 books, including The Wounded Don't Cry, London Diary, Dress Rehearsal, and Courtroom, a biography of lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. His autobiography was titled By Quentin Reynolds.

After World War II, Reynolds was best known for his libel suit against right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler, who called him "yellow" and an "absentee war correspondent". Reynolds, represented by noted attorney Louis Nizer, won $175,001 (approximately $1.5 million in 2014 dollars), at the time the largest libel judgment ever. The trial was later made into a Broadway play, A Case of Libel, which was twice adapted as TV movies.

Then, oops:

In 1953, Reynolds was the victim of a major literary hoax when he published The Man Who Wouldn't Talk, the supposedly true story of a Canadian war hero, George Dupre, who claimed to have been captured and tortured by German soldiers. Bbut he wasn't.

The hoax began to unravel when a retired Royal Canadian Air Force officer appeared at the offices of the Calgary Herald. He had served with Dupre in Winnipeg in 1943, when Dupre claimed he was working undercover in France. Three other officers stated that they had sailed with him to Britain at the same time.

Calgary Herald reporter Douglas Collins, himself a former intelligence man, tricked Dupre by dropping fictitious names Dupre claimed to recognize. Eventually Dupre confessed. Reynolds was rather disappointed and Reader's Digest published a three-page retraction. Unfazed, Random House representative Bennett Cerf recommended that stores move the book to the fiction section. The book continued to sell well.

Bennett was no fool.


  That'll suffice for this page and this day. A generous heling of 50s clothing ads awaits.





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