Welcome to 2022! If you're curious: this was the original design. I went through three more before I came back to this. They were all sans-serif, and while I liked them at first, I came to hate each one in its own way. The main index page redesign stays, though. Too much bloody work to redo.

Hate to say it, but that's a theme for this year: more of the same! With minor tweaks.

Well. Much has happened since last we talked, and I'll take them all in sequence.

Took Daughter to the Maw of America to get a booster, since that’ll be the new definition of “fully vaccinated” soon, and a requirement for entering a college building, probably. The Mall had a walk-in booster operation, starting at 11 . . . most days. On this day, as we learned, it opened at 1 PM. We learned that on the way there. At ten.

Well, let’s make a day of it! Kill some time. And so it came to pass that I had the best day in a long time, just walking around the Mall, looking, laughing, talking, evaluating logos, reminiscing a bit. After a while we separated, so she could shop and I could do some returns. I ended up at the line at 12:05, where I was . . . first!

Sign said: Appointment Required.

Hmm. But the website said boosters were walk-in. Three more people showed up, and they were getting boosters as well. Then ten people. Then 20. How many had come for boosters and how many had finally said “I suppose I’ll get a shot,” I can’t say. Wonder how many were getting the shot because the news is all CASES CASES CASES and they thought there’d be an instantaneous effect: well, I got the shot, so now I can go out on New Year’s Eve. Can’t blame them; that’s how I feel about the flu shot. Two to three weeks to develop immunity? Pshaw. Watch me grab this doorknob and rub my eyes.

Really, I just put the flu out of my mind. The news can say “this year’s shot 98% ineffective,” and I shrug: sorry, whatever, my flesh was punctured in a white room by someone in a white coat, I have no worries.”

At one the Health Guidance Professionals, or whatever the badges said, walked around with a QR code for everyone to scan, so you could enter your vitals. Interesting how that tech was on its last legs, it seemed, something no one used and few liked, and now it’s ubiquitous. I’ve used it for drink menus for house parties. One more thing to focus us back to the phone, make us bow our heads, and commune with The Device.

Once we got into the vaccination center, I realized that this was the old Saks store, gone now these X number of years. It had been stripped down to the beams and HVAC / electrical infrastructure. A big room with queues, cement floors, a few attempts at decoration - Dora the Explorer in balloon form! KidzBop on the portable JBL wireless speaker! Minecraft posters in the injection cubicles.

It all felt ad hoc and makeshift, which I suppose is good - you wouldn’t want to get the idea it was a permanent facility.

While Daughter was in the booth, one of the helpers said “You can go in with her if you’d like,” and I said “She can vote. She can do this without dad.”

“But you’re here anyway,” she said, a smile in her voice. I had the same happy tone, I hoped. Everyone in the place was cheerful. Can’t tell, though, because everyone’s masked.

After the shot we said in the Reaction Zone, which used to be Furs or Lingerie, perhaps. Now it’s folding chairs on a concrete floor. The floor moved, almost imperceptibly, but it moved, as if a tiny earthquake was happening every minute or two. I don’t know what it’s from. You get that feeling in the parking ramp, which seems to flex a lot. It’s not something you expect in the Mall of America, even if the Saks is gone, and you’re sitting in a vast empty space with the rest of the pandemic injectees.

When the Mall opened, we were all proud of Saks coming to town. No one expected this would be a pandemic management facility in the second decade of the 21st century. That would’ve sounded very, very bad. Thing is, it . . . isn’t, completely. I mean it is but it’s better and we’ve dodged the worst and 2022 looks okay, right?


If this tweet is correct, it’s not because of what the virus does to people. It’s what we do to ourselves because of the virus.

Note: I don't think that will be the case.


Note: hours after we were at the Mall, someone got mad and shot two people, sending the place into lockdown, shoppers herded into the vast secret corridors behind the stores. The suspect is still at large. We'll probably never hear anything about it again.


Guess what: they kept going.

But this time it's not to get circulation leads.

Old Gold bought into the idea, and upped the money. It launched in February. They felt the need to spell out exactly how this thing worked. This is only a sample! Do not reply! For instructional purposes only!

Hogar Ecomonleigh, obviously:

Thus, you have formed the name of HORACE GREELEY! Only took ten minutes, with your tongue hanging out the corner of your mouth as you chewed on the end of a pencil, right?

I don't have enough for the whole year, for reasons you'll later learn.




Zukor and DeMille? This will be big! BIG I tell you!

What noble valient men be these?

Good! Finally something from Hollywood that's historically accurate!

We now go back in time to the one city you've probably heard about:

It was a very bad year:

That would be the year of the Siege of Jerusalem. The guy who surrendered would eventually get a castle and some land from the conqueror, but that's another story, and it's certainly not this one.

It starts out with a good ol’ fashioned religious purging: symbols destroyed, books burned.

Thanks to PDQ Bach, I knew the name before I knew exactly what it meant.

We find out hints of what happened:

Then it’s a good ol’ fashioned slave auction, selling off the pure white women to get our outrage up:



We meet the Bad Guy, Saladin:

He faces down a hermit who says “I’m going to tell on you and all my friends are going to come and you’ll be sorry.”


Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa.

By this time Saladin had already met the Crusaders, and whipped them, but nevermind. We switch to France, and here we meet our First Kingly Hero:

He’s French. His advisor says “don’t go on the Crusade; William the Lionhearted will take France in your absence.”

Actually, William the Lionhearted led the Crusade against Saladin after the fall of Jerusalem, but never mind.

Look who’s the Falstaffian minstrel who’s funny and full of life: why, it’s Captain Kangaroo!



Just kidding; it’s the Skipper.

Kidding! It’s the Skipper Sr. It’s uncanny to see that familiar face in a 1935 movie.

Turns out Richard goes anyway, because he wants to avoid marrying the King of France’s sister, played by Sophia Coppola:

Well, no, but she was DeMille’s adopted daughter. The real love interest is . . .

Joan Crawford. Okay. Convincing, right?

Meanwhile, back in the Moslemly designed place:

It's like a throne room from a Flash Gordon serial.

Then, war! Dutch angles to make you unnerved!

Great production value. Spectacle galore:

No expense was spared!

It's all surprisingly tiresome.




That'll do: Matchbooks await to complete your visit.




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