I would not have done well in the medieval period as a cathedral construction worker. On Sunday Wife decided we needed a stone border around the ground cover - you know, the stuff that’s classified as “weeds” when it’s in the grass, requiring me to walk around with a gallon of poison that feeds into a small battery-operated pistol I use to individually slaughter the plants - and this meant hauling several dozen substantial rocks up the stairs and across the lawn. I could handle three at a time, in a bucket.

They were lovely rocks, too - all smooth, no edges. I wondered if they had been industrially tumbled, or if this was the result of millions of years of water-assisted erosion. Probably didn’t happen from the wind. I mean, they could have been worn smooth by wind, but it would take a long, long time. Rocks, of course, have all the time in the world, and they are literally the world, which has had nothing but time, so I guess they could have been wind-smoothed. But probably water. Or large industrial tumblers assisting the Lawn-Industrial Complex. Maybe they weren’t even real rocks.

No, they were, and that made them all the more fascinating. Let me rephrase that: rocks, being rocks, do not exist on an open-ended scale of fascination. They’re interesting, but there’s a limit. So the real rocks that were very smooth were interesting, because a few were composed of different layers, laid down over countless years and pressed into something that would break your foot if you dropped it.

Think of it: a particle of sediment falls to the bottom of a sea a hundred million years ago, sits undisturbed while continents rise and fall and move around, species flourish and die, civilizations bloom and wither, and one day it’s picked up and trucked off and breaks your foot bones. It couldn’t have done it alone, that particle; it needed to belong to a greater community of particles, bonded by time. But you know what? I didn’t drop it on my foot, and that murderous bastard is now stuck in a row on a hill looking at some ground cover. Hah! You had your chance! Snooze, you lose!

One of the rocks tried to make a break for it, rolling down the hill; got it in time before it hit the sidewalk, bounced up four feet, and took out the windshield of a passing car, or a cyclist whizzing down the road. They all want to roll off and escape. I can’t blame them. Gravity and inclines are rocks best chance to go places and see things.

Anyway, I got three in a bucket and picked up the bucket with manly resolve and hauled it up the long steps, and did this again and again and again, same arm, same slight twinge - ah, rub some dirt on it, shake it off - and afterwards I picked up some big sacks of wet cedar chips and threw them over the fence, because it would be a wimp act to open and close the gate over and over so the dog didn’t get out. Hoist that barge, bale that tote, and so on.

Today I have a series of angry muscles that stretch from my lower back to the right leg to the upper-middle back, and a few other places that only start to hurt when the Icy Hot cream works on the main hurt and allows the lesser hurts to have their say.

Probably exacerbated it today by doing those three things that annoy a flared-up back: sitting, standing, and walking. It’ll be better in a few days. I expect it to be lousy tomorrow.

“Don’t get hooked on opioids,” Daughter said. Brought a tear to my eye. Lookin’ out for the old man.

Oh, Birch did not get the Cone of Shame. He got an unguent. If it doesn’t work, it’s the Cone for sure, and then he’ll look like Nipper after an explosion in the gramophone factory.



It’s 1925.

People are thirsty.

This couldn’t have been much of a surprise, but whoa, that’s big play. It’s almost dog bites man.

The Crossroads of Existence.

Nazi hordes forge ahead as Petain named premier.


When the supply has been constrained by force, standards shift downwards.

“How’s the beer, friend?”

“Been drinking it since noon and I can still see, so I think it’s the square thing.

Can’t find anything on the brand.


A bit more accomplished than the usual front-page cartoon, no?

The reason’s right there in the lower right-hand corner. The incomparable Winsor McCay.

His first name, by the way, was Zenas.



Small news in small print here. Possibly bigger over there.

It's like reading about the birth of Jesus in the Rome Daily Courier.




Here’s a column by this guy that immediately fills its space with work by someone else! Blanche A. Sawyer.

It only took a few clicks to find her, provided you included Poet in the search. She was born in 1869, went to law school for two years, and was in the Law Department of US Steel for at least a quarter century. She self-published two collections.

A quote in the Maine Library Bulletin: “I have always been a very busy woman; have not had time to be a real poet.”

Lest you think I’m not aware of the column’s masthead author, yes yes, I know!



The war was long over, and the material left to decay:

Cartoonist was Jessey Taylor Cargill. The politics of the day are obscure now, but there was a controversy over who could build what type of ship so there wouldn't be war anymore.

Yeah, good luck with that. Obviously we built, and built a lot.

The most beautiful gas station you will ever see:

I can’t find anything on the brand, despite the coast-to-coast claim.

I did, however, find the location.

The house is still there!

It’s just like beer! Except it absolutely isn’t!

Oh, the poor folk who had to suffer through that madness. A hot summer day, you’re done mowing the lawn, and you have to drink one of these ersatz kick-less things.

Finally, the back-page comics. Petey Dink, by C. A. Voight:

Another strip long forgotten. There were so many and they don’t exactly appeal to modern eyes, but look at that style! It’s zesty.

Like so many cartoonists, he died in his late 50s or early 60; 59, in his case. I wonder if it was the times, or habits, or both.


That'll do; the 80s await in wishbook form.



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