Ah, respite. The temps finally climbed down over the weekend, and by Saturday night we were closing windows and putting on long-sleeved shirts, Because Minnesota. At present a kind breeze flows through the gazebo, and the sounds are the sort you only get in summer. A bird, loud and insistent; an owl issuing soft commentary; a kid across the street with a kazoo, a barking dog up the block, the rustle of the leaves and the chicka-chick of the sprinkler, trying to revive the browned lawn. (I watered every night and it still withered.) In a few minutes I will add the sound of the vacuum cleaner through the open window, mixing with low drone of a plane taking off and the mower down the street. Of all the places in the entire universe, this suite of sounds is unique.

Or not? Million monkeys and all that? Perhaps on some other planet the birds sound like lawn mowers and the ice-cream truck barks, the planes blat out the sound of a kazoo as they climb. But it wouldn’t be the same. And it wouldn’t be in the precise combination we have here now, all these random sounds combining to define the moment.

Wow, these edibles really kick in fast.

Kidding. And I’m not crazy about the kazoo, but what can you do. Well, you can run across the street and snatch it and step on it, but not even Mr. Wilson did that. As far as we know. Maybe he did get up with the intention, once, and was felled by an attack and sank in his chair, never to rise.

One of the constants of that strip consisted of Dennis marching through Mr. Wilson's house playing a snare drum, and I’m curious how that worked out. The parents have to see him leaving and going next door, banging away, and they think “good, a moment’s peace”?

I did some carpentry on Sunday. Mended a fence.This meant I had to go into my neighbor’s backyard, and they didn’t mind at all, possibly because we're also staining their side of the fence, and it will look better. It's odd going into your neighbor's back yard, looking at your own house like you're on the other side of an international border. I shouldn't be here, I don't have proper papers!

They have two small boys. They were quite curious about what I was doing, and why they should stay away from the nails. Because they’re old and rusty, and if you step on them, you have to get a shot. Next thing I knew they were watching me from a second-story window. One of them had an action figure and wanted to show it to me, and he yelled down all its attributes and powers, which I heartily endorsed as being Cool.

When the nails were driven into the wood, the 20th century was coming to a close. The wood has gotten weak. I had many panels replaced a year ago, after the price hike destroyed the option of replacing the entire fence. (It was a ridiculous hike. I had a bid that went from “new air conditioning system” to “new garage” in a matter of a month.) So it’s firmed up now, power-washed, awaiting the stain.

“Aren’t we all,” you say.

The last step was to repair the spot where Birch crashed into the boards in pursuit of a squirrel or raccoon. Actually, three dogs have probably worked on that spot over the years, but Birch delivered the coup de grace a while ago and the fence had to be held together with a bungie cord until I could fix it. I pulled out all the old nails, hammered the slats and replaced the . . . the bracing board? The top? The rail? I’m sure it has a technical name. It now looks good, at least from a distance.

The Giant Swede dropped over for coffee while I was cursing over one screw, and informed me that it was a Torx, or something. I thought it was a Phillips. No, it’s a five-pointer. You need a Torx bit. The likelihood of me having such a thing is better than you think, because a few years ago, in an uncharacteristic splurge, I bought some complete sets of tools on the off chance that I would need them. And voila: I did! I found the proper bit, and got the damned thing out.

Did everything without requiring a tetanus booster, which is a bonus.

That was the good part. Other parts, not so much, but there were hamburgers on Saturday, with onion buns and pickle-flavored Pita chips from a company called “Baked in Brooklyn.” I gather this is supposed to be an attractive attribute.

Would you like some baked goods?

No thanks, I’m good.

They’re baked in Brooooklyn

Well why didn’t you say so?

They’re okay, but as with any pita chip, they’re denser than potato chips, without the pleasurable grease. They’re like baked wood.


Google “Reginald Denny” and “The Dark Chapter” and you get a million hits about the LA riots. Of 1992.

It was renamed “What a Man.”

The author, by now, was dead. E. J. - Edith Jacobs - went to the movies with her husband one snowy January night to see a Harold Lloyd pic, "A Sailor-Made Man."

The couple were killed along with almost 200 others when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington D.C. collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. The event became known as the Knickerbocker Storm and occurred January 27–28, 1922.

Ugly building on the spot today. It was my neighborhood for a few years, and I walked by it daily, not knowing. Until I did.

You can find the movie online, and you wonder which scene was playing when the roof fell in.




This being the last Monday of the month, it's time for .  .  .

  Let's catch up with the exciting head-'em-off-at the-pass music.

Ah, the old paralyzing gas again. Well, Laska, the chief minion, calls back to Killer Kane, the Leader, and explains that he has everyone. Kane is delighted and tells Laska to put an amnesia helmet, jury-rigged from one of the human robots, on Prince Tallen’s head - so he’ll tell the Saturn council to strike a deal with Kane!

Back on the surface, Buck and Wilma are tied up by henchmen, but Dr. Huerr calls from the Hidden City, so Wilma is untied to handle the call. Then back to Buck. Say, is his hand loose?

They escape! Alas, they are spotted by a Robit, to use the pronunciation of the day:

They escape, and get to Saturn city. Same underground subway, same big room, sliding doors. They head for the Chamber of Rulers, to the council of Wise Men Who Are Unable To Pick Up On The Slightest Cue:

No one believes Buck, because Tallen - monotonal, unblinking - says the - earth - people - tricked - him. Time for action: Buck punches people and they escape with Tallen in the subway. But Laska wants to close the door!

No, says the Saturnian, that would mean their death!

And so:


GEE THIS IS SWELL, and I really mean that.




That'll do! See you around.




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