January is over, and huzzah for that. To be honest it was an easy one. Not too much snow. At least I got the snowblower going again. That shouldn’t have been an issue; it’s only a year old. But when I tried to start it this year it refused to turn over.

Someone didn’t adequately drain the gas, did they.

I wonder who that could be. If I find that bastard - such a slapping I will administer. How could you? Don’t you know that the gas gunks up the system over time? Did you just . . . tip it over into a bucket and put it away without running it until it coughed and stopped, exhausted? YOU DID, DIDN’T YOU?

At first I thought I would take it to a small-engine repair place. All of the shops had a three-week waiting list, which was a relief - lots of guys as stupid as me, then! Whew

Then I thought no, there has to be a quick, easy fix for this. Something in a can. I’ve seen it. Degunker. Sure enough, I found some at Home Depot, and bought it. Didn’t put it in, because it didn’t snow. Then it snowed, and I realized I hadn’t put it in. So I shoveled. Wife wanted to know why I didn’t snow-blow.

“I’m working on it. I got a can.”

Then it didn’t snow again for a few weeks. I felt guilty, passing the snowblower in the garage when I came home from work, but I was wearing office clothes. Also, I had disassembled the snowblower to drain the gas I’d put in when the season began, and didn’t feel like putting the handle back together. Then it snowed again and I had no choice. We must confront this. Poured in the degunker. Since it took 12 hours, I shoveled.

But: I had saved money. Since I cancelled the shoveling service, I’ve paid for the snowblower twice over. It’s good exercise! And the driveway gets done promptly! These are the excuses I make with a plaintive bleat.

Anyway, it turned over after a course of the purgative, and the last snowfall I was out there brap-brapping away. The perils came when I tried to go uphill on the sidewalk. It’s a long, long journey. Beneath the snow: ice. So I’m shoving this machine up the hill while trying to keep my footing, failing, straddling the sidewalk with my boots in the snow because snow provides traction, so I can blow off all the snow and reveal the treacherous ice beneath.

January seems so long when you step on its threshold. If there’d been the usual two weeks of -10, I think we’d be in a darker mood. But it was bearable. Now for two weeks of red-themed stuff because ha ha February and love and all that.

I'll have some red-themed banner art next week from the "vintage" era; this week it's something else, for a point I'll make later. Perhaps it's better to stick with images of the world as it is. I really do feel sometimes as if my brand-conscious devotion to Retro has passed into the realm of small niche interests. When I began all this, the 50s and 60s over culture images had some currency. But now everything before 2008 feels like ancient history, as irrelevant as heiroglyphics or illuminated manuscripts.

Something new for Mondays: a never-ending contest with no prizes! Not for you, anyway. I have to preface this feature with a warning: I don't know the answers. I mean, I don't have the official answers. I can guess. It can't be that hard.

It ran in the Times in Loss-Angle-ees, as they said at the time.

This one might take three seconds to figure out instead of two.



I’m a sucker for newspaper movies:

And they never pay off. Maybe one or two don’t wallow in the cliches about hard-bitten reporters and cynical barking editors and the like - but if they didn’t trot out those cliches, what would they have? Something as dull as an insurance office.

Anyway, I’m not here for that. I’m here for this, as usual: inadvertent documentary.

On one of those billboards, you should be able to name the brand, and the artist. Note also the great lost skyscraper of New York.

Here’s our hero team: John Derek - yes, Bo’s husband - and Col. Potter as a cameraman. They’re both good enough.

Here’s our editor: Broderick Crawford. He’s always a growly guy.

The board of directors is worried about the tone the paper is taken. They’re getting scandalous! Devoid of standards!

But you can’t argue with success!

The old version of the Chartbeat system we have in the office today, telling you how many are hitting the site and what they’re reading. Less specific, though. Not calibrated precisely.

The obligatory Female Reporter, since that was one of the jobs women could have without explaining anything to anyone. She’s never anything less than perfect, if you ask me.

The paper has a social mixer for the maritally bereft:

Get a load of these door prizes

The plot? It’s “The Big Clock.” The editor commits a murder, and has to supervise his staff as they try to solve it. “Clock” had a set budget. This one doesn’t. This one, though, does pret-ty damn nice. It’s well-composed, with care.

All those places were razed. Or were they?

Of course, it abounds with the Downtrodden, on whose behalf the newspaperpeople tirelessly labor:

Oh, and who did it?



That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.



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