Now that I think of it, this ban makes it look as if Don Draper is thinking about starting a Punch and Judy show in the kitchen. He has his own little stage and everything! Adorable.

Is anyone going to empty that dishwasher? Apparently not; she had to take out some dishes for supper, and she's not happy about it.

Odd she has the drapes closed when it's so bright out. Perhaps the sun has gone nova, and they're carrying on as normal to make their last minutes conforting and familiar.

It was a normal Tuesday in this godless land, where the wind lifts you off your feet when you come around the corner. Everything feels hard and brittle, as if you could take out the wall of a building if you hit it with a hammer. A car could drive into a skyscraper, and it would topple, for it is only made of ice. Every morning I get in car, turn it on, and curse: when, When, WHEN will I remember to turn off the heater before I turn off the engine so I don’t get a face-full of cold air when I start it up the next day? When?

Then it’s downtown to park in the usual spot, which is a moonscape of compacted drifts. Everyone’s about two feet from the curb. The good thing is the snow’s so hard and dirty that when you lose an AirPod, you can usually find it. If the snow was clean and fluffy it would sink like Rose’s gem at the end of “Titanic.”

I did not lose my AirPod this time. I made it to the skyway entrance point without slipping or having the tears in my eyes freeze, and told myself it is a Tuesday, and that means the reward of a wee dram of the brown stuff tonight. (I refer, of course, to heroin.) (Kidding. Scotch. A marvelous soft and gentle blend from Compass Box, a distillery that is incapable of making a bad Scotch.) And because it is Tuesday, that means tomorrow is Wednesday, when - huzzah and gloriosky - I have pizza for lunch.

There’s a lot to be said for inflexible habits. The pleasures are queued and you can see them as they approach. Unless your glasses are fogged because the mask mandate is still on.

Work was fine. When we started having our weekly work meetings at Zoom, I was the only guy at the office, and I felt as if I was broadcasting from Ice Station Zebra. Now, a year and a half later, I feel as if I’m the normal world, and it's visitor day at the prison, and I’m talking to people who are serving indefinite sentences in very nice, neutral-hued cells. There should be the occasional loud buzzer and metal clanging of doors.

We were talking about the return-to-office plans today, and they’re tentative. Spring? Maybe? I remember last spring, when the return was pitched sometime in the summer. But then a WAVE, and that fell apart. Or was there a wave? Down south, but up here? I know there was a Delta problem. Was that it? Anyway, people stopped talking about going back.

It’s all a muddle. Is this 2021? No? 2022? You don't say.




Every day has a pattern: I get up, start to work on the various projects, and avoid the internet entirely. No current news until noon, unless I hear a siren blow, and it’s not the monthly tornado-warning test. Around lunch I dip into the firehose of discourse, paranoia, contempt, overreaction, and mischaracterization that is Twitter, and hoo boy: that’s where the pandemic rages. I mean, that’s where people rage, about the pandemic.

“It’s a pity that restaurant closed.”

“Yeah well maybe no one wants to die in the middle of a global pandemic.”

We have vaccines and treatments and a milder variant (I know, I know, that’s NOT REALLY SO, DATA FROM CORNWALL AND PERU SAYS IT’S DEADLIER and also NEW STEALTH VARIANT) and some people are still behaving as though it’s March of 2020. Fine; do as thou wilt. But they are furious at anyone who disagrees, just as the people who disagree are furious with them. The former group says you’re trying to control my life with your fear. The latter group says you’re trying to end my life with your ignorance.

I’m a bridge-building kinda guy at heart but I don’t know how you find the common ground there.

What I’ve heard a lot recently is the idea that the people who want to return to the old normal and fill up the restaurants are a direct threat to the people who do not ever leave the house.

  Megan really stepped in it here.

Sensible good-faith reply!

No, that won't do.

  This is certainly the mindset you want setting rules for civil society, going forward from here.

Or we could fall back on the nation's greatest resource and spiritual leaders, sarcastic agoraphobics:

I went back two years to February, to see how it was unfolding. Two years ago tomorrow:

Eh, fear, schmear, really. No one really thought we’d be under mask orders, let alone mask orders two years later.

Same paper: the ever-lovin’ fargin’ gall of that government.

Did we give them $100 million? Who knows? China said on two occasions it hadn’t got the money. Maybe we did, and they lied; maybe we didn’t, and they told the truth. Who knows? Politifact says we sent them the money. Where did it go? No one’s ever going to ask.

I kept reading, waiting for the point where it tipped over into HOLY CRAP, WE MIGHT ACTUALLY DIE. It's this:

That was the point at which the lockdowns began. We settled in for the duration and hunkered, expecting very bad things.

Note the number of cases. Thirty-five.

Of course, it got worse. I kept reading. By the end of May, there were COVID deaths - and the paper noted that 81% were in long-term care facilities, median age in the 80s.

Headline in May:

Almost 60% of the respondents approved of lockdowns and restrictions. Something had taken hold: Perma-concern. I don’t know what it’ll take to change it, aside from everyone getting it. I was surprised when the news about anti-viral treatments in pill form (there are four, I think, of varying efficacy) didn’t seem to make a dent in the mindset of the Perma-concerned.

The only comparable mindset: Cold War nuclear dread. Fear of Climate doesn't match, because it's indistinct and slow and elsewhere. Nuclear dread was immediate and personal. Same here.

The difference is that no one wanted to live in constant worry over Soviet nukes. Everyone was happy when the USSR fell, except for the hectoring misanthropic collectivists who used their participation in a mass movement and hatred of their own society as a cover for thier own unhappiness.

I don't know, maybe some parallels apply.




It’s 1967, and this is your Freedom Newspaper:

A delightful story from the days after the Sino-Soviet split had been mended:

“Two Soviet policemen who stand guard outside the building saw the fight but did nothing.” Ha

Dorsey bus cracks up:

The most seriously injured, it says, was Lee Castle, the bandleader. He survived and led the band until the 80s.

At the end of a story about how the timetable for future flights wouldn’t be changed:

  A bit too late to rip up the page, it seems.

“Let’s see, what can I do today . . . I grew Mr. John Q. Planet, but there’s no big issue on the wires . . . could be the sun, I guess . . . oh, wait, got it”



This isn’t quite correct:

Urban decay was a big issue, and had been vexing leaders for ten years. The people who had moved out did not particularly care. The solution was usually the same: bulldoze the blight.

Didn’t work.

Rather generic, no?

But of course there's a story and a bio.

Aggie Mack was a newspaper comic strip about a teenage girl. Created by Hal Rasmusson, it was distributed by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate beginning on September 2, 1946, and concluding on January 9, 1972.[1] It had a 26-year run, with a title change to Aggie during the final six years.

The central figure was a blonde named Aggie (a nickname based on her first name Agnes). Aggie was raised by her father's second wife, who favored her own daughter, Mona, a few years older than Aggie.

I’m betting that was the second wife, who was mean to Aggie. And the step-sister was mean, too. Cinderella-type stuff.


When Rasmusson was in ill health, the series was taken over by Roy L. Fox, starting with the strip dated January 8, 1962; Rasmusson died later that year. In 1966, the title was shortened to Aggie. The final episode of the strip was published on January 9, 1972.

Beginning in 1947, the strip was very popular in France.

I wonder if that was due to its tantalizing American setting.

That’s it. Nothing else really caught my eye. Not even the story predicting the imminent end of the two-party system.




Whew, that was a lot. Well, wait until tomorrow! This was haiku compared to tomorrow. BUT WAIT: THERE'S MORE! The end of 50s cars awaits.





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