This will be short, since I’m doing another little video for tonight. I went to a fireworks stand in Wisconsin, where the illegal stuff is legal, and adults feel like stoner 20 somethings on a European tour entering their first Amsterdam hash house. I bought no illegal stuff. As much as I love rockets, I can’t light them off without thinking that I’ve set someone’s house on fire down the block. It took 40 minutes to get there via highways I rarely take, but it was a joy to just the open road and drive. Yes, at 6 PM, the roads around here are open. Big broad freeways laid across rivers, draped over hills. I found a place that was perfect for the story – a mom & pop shop, more or less, teeming with helpful kids. Once in the door I badged the crew chief, thinking again how happy I am to still be working for a paper; that magic little ID card is like a snap-brim fedora with a PRESS card in the hat band. Of course,  I don’t know why anyone talks to the press. Ever. They didn’t want me to shoot the customers, naturally, and I agreed: just the merch. Besides, as they explained, they didn’t really need the publicity.

A subsequent conversation with another adult (the place had 194 kids helping out) indicated that they’ve had some bad experiences with the press – people come by, all smiley and kind and solicitous, then do a TV story about people from Minnesota who buy illegal fireworks, coupled with a Troubling Story From China about lax safety techniques, and then the nice mom & pop business feels like they’re crack dealers, or something. I explained that my family used to sell fireworks, back in North Dakota, right by the family gas station. This seemed to put her at ease. So I turned on the camera and palmed it and asked leading questions! Well, no. but I wish they’d let me interview everyone – the kids were just wholesome as hell, helpful and sweet, and the main guy behind the cash register asked how many kids would be attending, and threw in two boxes of snaps for each. There are few emotions that match the pleasure of walking out of a fireworks store with a giant sack of explosives. You just can’t wait.

Otherwise: sloooowwww news day, which is hard on the buzz; only did four updates instead of five. I did run to the office for Face Time and Story Coordination, and dropped off my new iPhone number to all the relevant capos. Am I loving the new device? I am. En route to Wisconsin tonight I pulled up traffic maps, got some congestion info, and adjusted my route accordingly. Sweetness. When I picked up Gnat from summer school I was early, so I sat outside and read teeny tiny Instapundit. On the way back from summer school we stopped at my favorite antique store, where  picked up 30 new, or rather very old, matches; Gnat decided she was going to collect sea shells, and prevailed upon me to buy five dollars’ worth. I snapped this shot of antique store jumble, just to judge the quality of the camera:

The Bleatban pix at the top of the page, if you’re wondering, are taken from “You Only Live Twice,” my favorite Bond movie ever period thank you, and as I’ve noted my introduction into the Ways of Men. My dad took me to see it when I was young, and it made an impression on me I’ve never shaken. It gave me a love of the Bondiverse, to coin a horrible word; it gave me a deep elemental appreciation for John Barry’s music; it scared the hell out of me – when a tourist was described as having been “liquidated,” I took it literally. To this day the score’s one of my favorites, and the title song has a mystery and yearning not even Nancy Sinatra could screw up. (Whatever things she inherited from her father, phrasing wasn’t one of them.)  Every time I see something new. This time it was this guy:

Dang: the Hawaii base station communications man. He looked familiar. He sounded familiar. I imdb’d him. Burnell Tucker. Well, what do you know. Name this movie:

He was in Star Wars. As a communications man! Well, find a niche and fill it. It seems like a great chasm, the time between “You Only Live Twice” and “Star Wars,” but it was only a decade. That seems hard to accept, but the time between your eighth birthday and your eighteenth is an eternity; the time between your 40th and 50th is a sigh, a wink. He'd know; he started his career in the early sixties, and he's still working. But if he's ever looking back on his career, wishing he'd had the big role, the breakout part, he has to smile: he was in a Bond movie and a Star Wars movie. If ever they need a Vulcan for Spiderman 4, I nominate him.

New comics, and of course buzz - with a new video around 11 AM or so. See you there! (Note: I finished the video around 10:30, and realized I'd been at the job, in one way or another, since 8:30 AM. Didn't feel like it. Didn't feel like work at all.)





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