Some people had trouble getting the Bleat yesterday, and I don’t know why. Everything was exactly as it should be, unless I forgot to upload it . . . no, I did.

Right now the dog is under the desk, unsure of things. The weather unnerves him. It grew dim this afternoon and the wind picked up, and his ancient instincts decided that a storm was brewing, and he got close and didn’t leave. He’s followed me everywhere for about five hours. I don’t mind at all, and I hope it makes him feel less anxious.

Ah, the lessons we learn from dogs! And from authors who write about the lessons we learn from dogs! Dave Barry has a book out on that very subject, and I talked to him today for an upcoming piece about something or other - I mean, just put Dave Barry and Dog in the headline and picture and it’s top of the charts for a day or so. It was a delightful conversion and we had a fine time catching up.

Well, tomorrow will be a tad expensive, as I have to get my phone screen replaced. Dropped it, and dropped it good. I knew the moment it left my hands that this would be fatal. If you’ve had this happen, you know that the screen might still work, but it’s like reading through a spiderweb. The cracks go through the facial-recognition reader, so the phone no longer recognizes me.

This wouldn’t happen if dogs and people swapped places, because the dog phone would recognize you by smell. Caller ID would be along the same lines. If a picture came up when it rang, it would be a butt.

Anyway, that's tomorrow, but much more. I have a big project in the works and it will meant somewhat reduced Bleatage, but only by 9%.

Eleven percent tops.









I’m going to go out on a well-toned, waxed limb here and say that Drag isn’t the wildly popular cultural component we’re supposed to believe. Drag appeals to some gay men and some women, straight or not, for a variety of reasons. It has a long history, and you might be surprised to learn it was mainstream long before RuPaul. In Times Square there’s a theater called the Empire, noted for being moved from one end of the block to the other, and reconfigured as an AMC. It was originally the Eltinge, named for the era’s most famous female impersonator. It opened in 1912.

Men playing as women, and vice versa, is a form of transgression indulged by cultures to varying degrees, and carried a variety of challenges to the norms that were diluted by context: it was entertainment, and hence required no serious consideration. No one left a drag performance in 1912 thinking “For the first time in my life, I am questioning the iron strictures of the gender binary!” They thought “from where I sat, it certainly looked like a woman. But you know, those theatrical people. Odd lot. Shall we have pie at Child’s?”

I got a press release the other day about a drag show at a shopping mall. There was a winner of some cable show about drag! The PR agent said she was thrilled to take her daughter to this, which seemed completely consistent with modern norms. Drag is Good because it Challenges and Confronts and Expands, and at the very least starts a conversation, etc etc. it’s important to be yourself! Even if being yourself requires adapting a costume of almost parodic “cis” manifestations of female behavior, complete with cultural appropriation of cliched African-American female intonations, gestures, and lateral head movements.

In the modern context, drag is Good because it challenges and explodes and confronts and expands, etc etc.

Perhaps last week you caught this:

DC described it thus:

The actor encouraged social media users to buy cookies for “your real mama, your drag mama, whichever mama, somebody, whoever taking care of you, whoever you feel or consider your mama” in the video.

What's the upside for the cookie company here? I mean, is there a downside for not promoting drag to cookie-buying moms?

Then there’s Coconut Water. Someone insulted the brand on Twitter and they responded by saying they’d send him a jar of urine. As the linked story says:

Yes, Vita Coco's social media team at least pretended to pee in a jar and tweeted it back. And no, it was not a momentary lapse in judgement — it's now the brand's Twitter profile picture:


So, Chips Ahoy is now the drag cookie, and Coconut Water wants critics to drink pee.

I don’t think they’ve gamed out where this ends.

Oh and there’s more!

In the UK some people have decided it’s fun to throw milkshakes at right-wing politicians and public figures. Assault, in other words. Mild and creamy version, but still assault. Hence McD’s declined to sell milkshakes during a local appearance by some of the targets. BK, elsewhere, let you know - #justsaying - thatthey thought it was a cool idea to throw milkshakes at people with whom you disagree. If the milkshakes had been thrown at prominent imams - hashtag sheikshakes - there would have been a National Conversation, and it is doubtful BK would have sided with the throwers in a coy fashion.

Someone got to the idiot in charge of the social media account:

The local brewery joins the fun:

  The clenched fist is quite popular these days, indicating resistance and justice. Mind you, there's nothing violent implied. Violence is bad. But fists are awesome and so is throwing bricks at anyone you've deemed a fascist.

However, don't argue with them; that's a threat.

They can toss it, but not take it, I guess.

Anyway: What's the upside?

Don't these guys realize that whatever social capital they accumulate can be washed away in a second by the very people they're trying to court?




It's 1919. For some odd reason I'm doing this one this week:

GREAT another guy I have to do a site on. There were so many of these one-panel political-cartoon / small-town-life guys.

It's KETTNER, MAGNUS (1890 – 1963). That's about all I know.

Fred had been profiled by the paper nine years before. Said the piece:

  "If Barnum & Bailey's Circus was justified in flashing up Fred Egener's pictures on the bill boards and barn sides all over the United States and Canada as "The Funniest Clown on Earth," last year, they will be truthfully advertising him as the "Most Funniest Clown on Earth," next season, for while wintering here Mr. Egener has consumed a whole lot of extra juice in his think tank in preparing some stunts that bid fair to make the little dog and big rope stunt look sick."

"There is no fun in this funny business," said Egener. "It's work, good solid work and lots of it. The circus men don't take anyone and say, now you be a clown, but it is a trade.”

He noted that he had to come up with new tricks because the litlte-dog-big-rope stunt had been stolen by all the other clowns.

It was clown-eat-clown out there, to give you an unfortunate image.


I'll bet it was ginger soda of some sort.

Mr. Davis was a biiiiiig deal in town. But we’ll get to that later.

If you don't put your money in the bank you're a traitor. And you're a traitor to humanity.

The Women's page had some interesting notes.

  Thimble Party? Dorcus?

Thimble Party.

In yesteryear women felt compelled to be constantly working, and felt guilty if their hands were not always busy with meaningful work. Their husbands might come home, put up their feet and read the paper or snooze, but a woman was expected to continue working through the day, sewing, cooking, cleaning and minding the children. A thimble party was a chance to meet with other ladies and chat, but you were allowed, nay expected, to bring along your mending bag and thimble so that you might work while you socialized.


No, Dorcas. “A woman of Joppa, well known for her good works, restored to life by Peter (Acts 9:36–42). Dorcas is the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic name Tabitha, both meaning “a gazelle.”



We’ll get to that later, as well.



Some classified air-quotes ads air-quotes, to indicate that they knew they were getting all slangy by not spelling out the entire word.

Bring out your dead (horses)



WSS: War Savings Stamps.


The United States Treasury Department issued its first war savings stamps in late 1917 in order to help pay for the costs incurred through involvement in World War I. The estimated cost of World War I for the United States was approximately $32 billion, and by the end of the war, the United States government had issued a total of $26.4 billion in debt. Although national campaigns had aimed to sell $2 billion in war savings stamps, they ultimately accounted for about $0.93 billion, or 3.5 percent, of the total debt issued.

As for the store: The Fiebelman was Eugene, a German immigrant, and he did well - after going bust a time or two. Joined up with the Lederer store, and helped its expansion to several cities besides Brazil. Not a trace remains.

  Its slogan.


Did I say I would explain a few things? I will. But not today.



That'll do; see you around. The 80s, as ever, await.




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