I saw a tweet that had a picture of P. J. O’Rourke in the 70s, and smiled, wondering why someone had posted it - and then a flood of oh no tweets. A few said there was no confirmation, no news stories, it was actually someone else, and for a while I thought that was possible. Texted a few people who would know, and had it confirmed. I mean, when it comes from the publicist, it’s real. Unless the publicist is really trying to get the client’s attention. See what I did? You’re trending!

It’s wretched. He was an idol, a GOD when I was reading NatLamp and Rolling Stone, and the idea that I would ever get to know him and hang out would have seemed absurd. Oh right and S. J. Perelman is going to come back to life and pull up in an elegant car with brass appointments, and pick you up, and swing ‘round to get Fran and Woody and you’ll all go to Elaine’s. (That would have been my idea of a humorist conclave on Mt. Olympus back then.)

The last time I saw him, he was in town, and we went outside the hotel where he was speaking and sat down and enjoyed the warm summer Minneapolis night. Clean town, bright lights, a good sane place. We talked about Toledo and other towns of lesser size, about our parents’ generation, about our misspent years and journeys to other notions.

He was a boon companion, as smart as he was funny, and vice versa. I have a bottle of his preferred libation and opened it tonight and toasted his book on the shelf. It sits with the greats. And it puts half of them to shame.











Let’s see what’s going on in England . . . crap, lost the link. But I clipped this:


As reported by Sky News, author and animal rights activist Carol J. Adams believes choosing to eat meat is linked to a “white supremacist patriarchal worldview.” During an Oxford Union debate on the topic, “Beyond Meat” in the UK, she declared:

"White supremacists weaponized eating meat, eggs, and dairy to reclaim their wounded masculinity."


"White Supremacists" means everyone has to pretend to take the argument seriously, becacuse the proper Danger Words have been spoken. If you don't take the argument seriously, you're enabling all the isms.

"White Cheddar flavor Cheez-Its are White Supremacy."

"That's stupid. They're snack crackers."

"So you're okay with how processed foods contribute to the obesity epidemic."

"That's irrelevant to your initial assertion, and I thought we were interested in body positivity, fit at any weight, and so on?"

"We're talking about how the lack of access to fresh foods makes marginalized communities rely on salty snacks, because capitalism undergirds and supports white supremacy at every turn."

(and so on, until the blood runs out of your ears)

Well, how about some late-Covid discussion of mask arttitudes:


A dangerous sociopathic heretical opinion, and he’s quickly set straight:

The thing is, pants and seatbelts are absolutely mandatory. Laws were passed by legislatures after debate, not enforced by rolling decrees, but hey, potato, tohmato. But that's besides the point.  What grates these fellas' cheddar is the idea that someone publicly states a preference to being unswaddled, and proclaims that he will - are you ready? - wear one if it's mandated. But otherwise, no.

Anything other than enthusiasm for masking is regarded as hygenic sedition.

More reasonable pushback:

Because walking into Target at 8 AM is exactly like crounching in a trench in WW1 as the mustard gas rolls across the barren, shell-blasted field.

Always trust the people who put "invidual freedom" in quotes, because this is absolutely the only instance in which they will hold the idea in contempt:

“Big mad.” Rad slang, doc! You seem like you’re down with the people; wanna have a rap session?

So what did he say that made everyone on the Twitters large-scale angry?

I know, I know - it’s alarming how some people use COVID as a trojan horse for their deeeeevious political schemes. At least the other side is interested in Saving our Norms and drilling down on the necessary specifics that will stop this pandemic:

A 267-member Supreme Court might find all these things perpetually permitted, after all.

As long as we’re on the matter of schools:

Yes, the rejection of racial essentialism and Marcusian junk history means no one will teach any of those things, and meanwhile, the schools in deep blue parts of the school will double down on teaching grammar and math and biology; they will not make exceptions for dialects, declare math to be racist or colonialist, and the biology classes will abound with refutations of modern-day critical gender studies. The libraries? A place where no book is banned, and all ideas flourish.


Over at the Atlantic, someone wrote about finally meeting a friend for coffee after two years. Nate Silver retweeted it, noting that a lot of the country had, in fact, gone out for coffee with a friend within the last year or so.

"I've been eating shrimp all my life."

"This is so arrogant. I mean, congratulations on having no allergies."

Oh you back-to-normal fools, jumping the gun, you’ll make it all worse:

A reasonable response. If people who are fully vaxxed  meet after spending a fifth of a decade apart, it's like it was all for naught.

Also, two people who are fully vaxxed having coffee and a donut in a cafe somewhere, who knows where, is a theoretical violation of someone else's liberty:

You might call this auto-curtailment disorder.

To sum up this mindset: masks work, and vaccines work. My mask and vax keeps me from getting sick. Your vaccine keeps you from getting sick, and makes you less likely to spread the virus. But it means nothing if you don't wear a piece of cloth over your face.

No, not cloth, they don't work.

But it's a mask.

All masks are created equal but some ae more equal than others. We mean N95s, with a good tight seal. If you're wearing a surgical mask  and breathing seems easy, it's not doing the job. It has to be tight.

You mean, it has to interfere with talking and breathing?

If you're doing it right, and no, it doesn't interfere with anything. It's just a mask. Why is this so difficult? Don't you know it's the only way out of this?

Okay. And when does this end?

When the war on COVID is won.

To paraphrase the end of 1984: He saw him on the telescreen, muzzled, pointing an accusing finger. Finally, he loved Uncle Sam.




It’s 1933.

Well, this isn’t a disturbing headline at all:

“The aim,” said the story, “is to balance the national population between cities and the country.”

Dig the Balmoral Canal while you're at it, lads. “Mr. Roosevelt expects this huge laboratory experiment to provide employment for 200,000 men in the Tennessee valley alone. More than this, he hopes to carry the project to other sections of the Nation.” The goal: “a people protected by the watchful eye of a government.”

If you’re thinking this turned out to be the TVA, you’re right.


Ah, the most important news of the day.

She was 29, not 21.


I still can’t believe she lost the lawsuit against the animators who stole her act for Betty Boop.

Other attempts to discredit Kane at the trial came in the form of phonograph recordings of Annette Hanshaw and the Duncan Sisters, and a piece of 1915 sheet music that was entitled Bou Dou BaDa Bou (which was actually French, and was not "scat" because it was someone's name). The five women who did the Betty Boop voice in the cartoons also testified, claiming they always 'booped' that way, even around the house.

Uh huh. As for the marriage:

After six months he deserted her and Kane filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized in May 1935. In 1939 she married Dan Healy, with whom she had worked in Good Boy in 1928. They opened a restaurant in New York City called Healy's Grill. She remained married to Healy for the rest of her life. Kane had no children, although she did sponsor godchildren.


The end of an era:

They were the ships of the Iron Steamboat Company, and they looked like this.

Surprising to realize they were still plying the waters in the 30s; we think didn't those go out with President Grant? I mean, that's Wild Wild West stuff there. Guys with derringers up their sleeves playing poker with Brett Maverick.

Look at that wheel: it was an impressive piece of technology, and no man could behold it without knowing he was in a new age.



Yes, we’ve been going through this BS for a long, long time.

You have to love those labels. BECAUSE OTHERWISE NO ONE WOULD GET IT, seems to be the idea.


Another of the 4 million syndicated columnists they seemed to have in those days:

This was humor. Really!

Verni Robert Quillen (March 25, 1887 – December 9, 1948) was an American journalist and humorist who for more than a quarter century was "one of the leading purveyors of village nostalgia" from his home in Fountain Inn, South Carolina.

Syndicated in 400 papers, but still in the B leagues - at least in his mind.

Well into his forties, Quillen hoped to become a great novelist. Macmillan published his two novels, One Man's Religion (1923) and The Path Wharton Found (1924). The first was "little more than a loose collection of pieces first published in the Saturday Evening Post," the second, a book which one reviewer called a "good enough conventional story, hampered by neither originality nor brilliancy.” A decade later Quillen referred to these books as "fortunately out of print.”




Wish there’d been a follow-up so we knew how this turned out

"Hindenburg, whose conservatism is expected to counterbalance Hitler."

Never buy the "counterbalance" argument.




Modern viewers will remember Barry for her role as a foreign spy who seduces Curly Howard in the Three Stooges short subject Three Little Sew and Sews

They may; they may not.

Overdosed on barbituates at the age of 45.

Sheila Terry.

As for the schoolteacher part:

Sheila Terry was born Kathleen Eleanor Mulhern on March 5, 1910 in Warroad, Minnesota. Despite her Irish surname, one of her ancestors was John Wycliffe, who had translated the Bible into English.

She began her career acting in stock companies. Unfortunately, her wealthy uncle wanted her become a teacher instead of an actress. She returned to Minnesota and taught school for a brief time so she could claim her inheritance.

She had a brief career, some difficult flings, and, like the prophetess of smooth elbows, perished from pills in 1957.

She was only 49. Impoverished, she was buried at Potter's Field in New York City.

Royalty: such a happy lot!

Ingrid of Sweden seems like an interesting person. Eventually became Crown Princess, and Queen of Denmark.

During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, Ingrid, with her personal courage and integrity, influenced the Danish Royal House and its conduct in relation to the occupation forces, and won great popularity as a symbol of silent resistance and public patriotic moral. She showed solidarity toward the Danish population, and could often be seen on her bicycle or with her baby carriage on the streets of Copenhagen during the war.

Her open defiance of the occupation forces made her grandfather, King Gustav of Sweden, worry about the risks, and in 1941, he sent a demand to her to be more discreet "for the sake of the dynasty" and its safety, but she reacted with anger and refused to obey, and she had the support of her spouse, who shared her views.

Good for her. Died in 2000, and was greatly mourned.

The one person in this collection of souls that seems to have been complete.






That will do; now drown your sorrows in some liquor ads in the 50s section. See you around.




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