Well, here we go. No rest until January 2nd. November always hits like an anvil pushed out a third-story window. The end of Halloween always feels like the end of a period of few obligations. The let-down is second only to the day after Christmas.

I won’t get rid of the pumpkin tomorrow; leave it for the beasties. I always go down at the end of the night to see if it’s still lit.

It always is.

As for the other things who are still lit, that’s usually the menfolk down at the Haunted Triangle. The neighborhood has gathered there for years, but time has eroded the event. The husband who used to string all the lights isn’t around anymore. There were more kids of the Halloween age ten years ago, so we had a bouncy castle. Everyone came in costume. The neighbor up the street used to speak spooky things into an over-amped mike, but I don’t hear that anymore. You could always count on the menfolk to sit around the bonfire playing the music loud until very late, and no one complained.

The bonfire was going tonight; I still smell of smoke. The chili was as good as ever, even though the man who owned the chili pot moved away - but one of the guys who used to convene the night before to make the chili (and drink) is still here, and he got the Old Pot for the occasion. The recipe was handed off to some newcomers, who apparently split it up four ways between them.

“It’s a Millennials thing,” he said.

“The sharing economy,” I said.

But as long as we have the Old Pot, it’s Triangle Chili. And it was good.

As I said, fewer people. Fewer young kids.

I just went down to check the pumpkin - that one last moment when all the kids are done, the night has that strange wet chill you associate with Halloween. At the bottom of my steps, the light was on. Down at the Triangle, the fire was out.

Twitter message in the afternoon: Lileks is on “This American Life”

I was unaware I was on “This American Life.”

Being on a popular radio show that is taped in advance is one of those things you remember.

A few tweets and msgs nailed it down - they were doing a segment on the NeverTrump agonies of my friend Rob Long, a Hollywood Guy; he’s one part of the Troika that does the Ricochet podcast, and I’m another. Somehow I must have come up.

Went to Uptown to buy a hat. A murderer hat for my costume. The line was a mile long at Ragstock; everyone was buying costumes, of course. Checked Twitter. Several of the mentions referenced the TAL broadcast, and found something odd:

They identified me as a Trump supporter.

To my relief they didn’t say my name, but people recognized my voice, and it was still mortifying. It was already a crappy day, unusually so; there were some work-related contrusions, rare for a Saturday, and I was just not in the Halloween Spirit, probably because I am never in the Halloween Spirit. Well, rarely. There were a few years where Daughter’s enthusiasms were contagious, and the TV she watched was full of seasonal tunes and colors and icons and plots, and we would watch some shows together because we’d watched them the previous year. There’s that sweet spot where they remember what they watched last year, and aren’t old enough to reject it as kid stuff. The next year, maybe the same. The year after that, you make a reference to it and laugh, but don’t watch it.

Mickey Mouse’s laugh: it’s like the cicadas. You hear it all the time, and then one day you realize you don’t hear it anymore.


I spent part of the afternoon emailing TAL’s host, Ira Glass, who was dismayed and apologetic and set about making it right as quickly as possible. Which I appreciated. But it’s the Ray Donovan moment, once that’s out there. And it made me wonder how the hell they could think that, since they said they listened to the Ricochet podcasts. It’s not as if I conceal my anti-Trumpism under a lead-lined basket.

And then my wife got mad at me, as I described yesterday. But we got over that once I said sure, you can be my child murder victim. The party was fun. At the end of the night I texted Daughter to see if she was staying over at friend’s house or not. Trouble was, she had to be at work in the morn. 6:30 AM.


Hey, maybe not. Why don’t you come home.


How about now







So I drove to pick her up in my sweatpants, and she went straight to bed. I could not sleep, since I had taken a big nap in the middle of the afternoon when I decided to do a soft reboot on the day and see if the error messages didn’t recur. (Didn’t work.) So I finally went to sleep at 2 AM.

6:20 AM, knock on the door. And so I drive her to work. It’s dark. There’s a man who looks like Santa Claus sitting in his car. Maybe he’s delivering papers. Maybe he’s just checking his route for later.

I drop her off and drive past the patch of a million pumpkins outside the church, park, find the bed, and toss for a while wondering if I’ll ever ZZZZZZZ

When I woke I looked at the clock, and nodded: that’ll do. I had already known the day at 2 AM, 6:30 AM, and now we were meeting again. Yet it felt as though it had just begun.

And now: Odds & Ends presents another installment of . . .

We begin with a generic lady who's having a rough Depression-Era day, spending and accumulating:

Oh, I can think of a few more exhausting tasks.



I always find the assertion of "mildness" odd; when I smoked, I would try a Camel now and then and it was like putting my mouth over an incinerator smokestack.

You may wonder if these are real testimonials. If they weren't, who'd know? Who'd care? Were people supposed to reconigze these famous . . . typists?

Yes, and they might have recognized her. Speed-typing competitions were no small thing. In this interview, she was asked why men generally win the contests, and she said it had nothing to do with ability. Women retired to raise children, while me kept practicing.


About him I cannot tell you much. But he was a modern man who barked commands to the Wire Recorder, possibly to buy copper and sell steel.




Which came first - the soap or the lotion?

I don't know. I do know there was a lot of worry over rough hands in these days, due to domestic chores. This might ruin everything. Kiss your own hands to see if YOU are in peril of having insufficiently romantic hands.

Because that's what he's really interested in. Or would be, if he was like the men in the books and magazines. He came home to empty bottles rolling aroun the floor, and had to call around. Wash-day. The old wash-day excuse again.

She won't have to break her back. That's nice to know. I tend to think that Jane is well-aware of Fels-Naptha, and has heard from her friends how much it helps on Wash-Day.

The name? Easy: "The soap was originally created around 1893 by Fels and Co. and was the first soap to include naphtha." The article notes that "the inclusion of naphtha made the soap very effective for cleaning laundry, but it was not generally safe for personal use." It used to mean "crude oil," but the word goes back thousands of years and has meant many things - but usually something thick and wet.

Note: "At levels of 1000 ppm, 10% of the lower explosive limit, naphtha is immediately dangerous to life and health." Maybe that's Jane's problem.

Another cartoon tableau whose set up, problems, characters and conclusions are utterly predictable. This time it has a wartime angle:

Her new defense uniform.

For what?

Is that a tube of Alka-Seltzer in your pocket, or are you - oh never mind.

Wonder how the G. W. B. in Philadephia regarded this portrayal.


Still made. Top Amazon review - four stars - says "Smells like hell, works like magic."

Jean Parker made a lot of movies, and married four times - the last time to Batman.



I suppose it was a coincidence that they came out with a new shade in the only color the magazines could print on the regular stock.

Rivals blacked out! And it strengthens your nails too, in case you have to claw someone's eyes out for moving in on your man. I know pickings are slim, sister, but this one's mine.


Well, CAN YOU?

Build it yourself and save several hundred dollars. This was no fly-by-night operation; they were around until 1973.



"More and more, stars are taking canaries into their hearts."

That makes sense, even without context.


That'll do - an interesting month ahead, as you'll see. At least here. Some remarkable things to show you. And today, of course, a return to the world of our favorite 19th century Electrical Genius . . . well, you know his name.




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