The gratifying, glorious, marvelous end to the Oven Saga, I thought, as I sped home. It began when the 20-year old stove began to issue an F1 warning, indicating the circuit board was fried. I’d been through this before, and wasn’t going to spend the money to replace it when the whole thing was old. The problem was the configuration - it’s a half-stove, in a way. Built in, with a vent in the back that rose when you pushed a button. All the rage in 2000, I guess; wasn’t my choice.

Getting a replacement for this style was, in a word, impossible. Replacing the downdraft back-facing vortex vent or whatever was ruinously expensive. I had Best Buy appliance experts come in, measure, judge, speculate, and draw up plans. Eventually, in August, I pulled the trigger on a GE Monarch.

It was due to arrive in November.

The day came; the day went. The oven was still in transit. It was now slated to arrive in March.


I canceled, chose another oven, with a delivery slated before Christmas. You all know what happened there: the installer had to add a gas pipe to the floor, at considerable expense, because the old stove was connected in a certain way. Then the electrician broke the connector, which would’ve left me without a stove for the holidays. But the electrician’s supervisor moved heaven and/or earth, replaced the part, and all was good.

Three weeks later the new oven stopped working. Some firm words secured a swapping out of the Bosch for another unit. This required an electrician to change the outlet from a 220 - which I’d just paid to install - to a regular outlet, because the new range was all gas. This I did, at considerable expense.

I requested delivery on the coming Thursday; turns out they put in “Monday.” I was at work when the installers arrived. I begged them to stay while I hurried home - wife was at the dentist - and they couldn’t, but they might circle back if other customers were flexible. As it turns out, they were, so I beat it home from downtown, hoping to arrive in time. I got there ahead of the installers; they asked if I could check the back steps for ice, and I said I could. I shoveled out some show and strewed some grit.

The installer was a very nice fellow, courteous and efficient. He removed the Bosch, and -

And -

And he said -

“Oh, man, this is going to be a problem.”

The gas pipe the previous installer had put in was too high for the new range. It would have to be replaced. At a later date. The dispatcher would call me today to reschedule.

And so they put the new oven back on the truck, and left.

PS The dispatcher did not call to reschedule.









When a TV star from your earlier years dies, you’re always surprised to find how old they are. Then again, one is often surprised to find how old one is. Why, I’m older now than he was then. Does this mean . . . I, too, will die? Oh most certainly.

Betty White was no surprise. Howard Hesseman was, just because I hadn’t thought about him for a long time. WKRP was a great sitcom, but I only think about it around Thanksgiving. Everyone drags out the Turkey Drop ep (their version of the MTM Chuckles the Clown Funeral ep) but little else, suggesting that there wasn’t a lot of great situations we could mine. I mean, what were the situations, show to show? Herb has car trouble? Les wins an award? Johnny has to play a record he doesn’t like?

But I’ll tell you this: now that I think of it, I’d rather spend time in that little radio station than any other sitcom of the era, because everyone seemed fundamentally . . . nice. Am I forgetting something? Or did everyone just seem normal, and decent?

Would anyone want to hang around in Archie Bunker’s house? Or, God help us, Maude’s? It might have been fun to be an intern at WJM-TV in Minneapolis, but after a while you’d pick up on Murray’s lingering bitterness, SueAnn’s brittle cruelty, Lou Grant’s marital unhappiness, Mary’s drift toward arid middle-age, and think: now I know why John Amos took that job in Chicago.

WKRP also had that famously incomprehensible closing theme, which is discussed here. There's a line in the YouTube video title that means nothing to some, and everything to others: "No Meow."

I used to think it began "went to the bartender" or "said to the bartender," which seems correct. After that, you're lost.

One more thing. I have some old Weekly World News issues, and it wasn't until I dug it out after hearing about Hesseman that I saw something I'd never realized before. Quite obvious, now that I think if it.

Did they want us to believe the story and the photo went together?



It’s 1939.

So . . . no one left the house because breakfast was unsatisfying?

Can you construct a scenario around that assertion?

Ah. Yes.

Seems Henry gives up on the day before it starts. There’s just no point. She’s pretty brutal, too. It nags at her, and she has to take the matter to her friend. who is actually a ghost.

He’s not hungry! Why? Because he chugs coffee on an empty stomach, maybe takes some vitamin pills, washes it down with a swig of whiskey, grips the sink with shaking hands and wonders how he’ll get through another day?

Off to the Ghost Grocer, or"Ghoster" as they were known. "MY FRIEND COVERED THIS BUT I WANT INDEPENDENT CORROBORATION"

Just takes a few days, and he's practically firehosing testosterone out of every pore:

Shut up child, I’m flirting with your mother. You attempt to piggyback on my happiness and make it all about you is pathetic

Here’s our expert:


Mrs. Beach's popular column, "Keep in Trim," written under the name Ida Jean Kain, appeared in the women's sections of dozens of newspapers across the country and was distributed by King Features Syndicate from the late 1930s until 1969. She also wrote two books, "Stay Slim for Life," a cookbook of low calorie fare, and "Rx for Slimming.”

As a columnist who stressed the adverse effects of obesity on health and preached smart eating by reducing the amount of fat in one's diet, she became a counselor to thousands who sought advice on nutrition and exercise for a healthier way of living. She received about 12,000 letters a week from readers who poured out their troubles and expressed confidence in her advice.

She was destined for it:

She was born in Upstate New York and raised in Battle Creek, Mich.

Even better:

She received an undergraduate degree in nutrition from what is now Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek and a master's degree in health education from Columbia University.

She was a dietitian at Battle Creek Sanitarium but became discouraged, she said, because many of the diet regimens at the time were actually harmful for the patients. It was then that Mrs. Beach decided to start her newspaper column to get the word out on her beliefs about health and fitness.

No one remembers her now, except we just did.

“Why do you call it that?”

“Because it doesn’t have any tar in it.”


“I gathered that, because it’s such a strange trade name. Usually there’s a twist, a curious spell. But you just say No Tar In.”

“We could’ve said 'No Tar In It.'”

“That’s better! Notarinit! That works!”

“You’re right, it does. Dammit.”


Looks like a Sid Hoff.

Get an eyeful of that Distant City - it’s enormous. A featureless mass rising up from the sidewalk across the wide street. Unless, of course, they are in the middle of the country, standing on a street laid out years ago to support a development that was never built, and the skyline is in the distant. We don’t know. We can never know.




That'll do. Now let's see if Fireball Twigg's moving any flakes.




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