You really have to live in the center of the continent to understand November. We get the real thing. I don’t like it. I’ll say no more.

Time for some questions that came in from the Meebograms earlier this week. I’ll get to the other 234 queries later.

Ever read Modern Mechanix? I got two issues from the 30's, and the ads & articles are fabulous (and not all that PC)

I have a bunch of the old pop-sci type mags, and they’re wonderful. The ones from the 30s are full of sober news that looks amusing to the modern eye – Radium Paste produces natural skin-tones for tele-vision! – and they have stories about gigantic American shipyards that makes you a bit wistful, because those were the days when we made practically everything we needed.  Then there’s an article about asbestos bed-sheets, and another about using owl bones to bring in short-wave radio bands. It’s a wonderful period in the history of Science. They were close, and they had cigars.

Any chance of you meeting up with Mike Nelson for an episode of Rifftrax?

I don’t know. Hey, Mike: you have my number, pal.

[09:25] meeboguest224193: The problem with high fructose corn syrup is that they put it in stuff I'd never expect it to be -- like bread with healthy sounding names like "Fiberloaf" or "Ultragrain."

Agreed. I buy the double-fiber bread, because, well, I don’t want to be BULK MINUS, as the old Kellogg's bulk-pusher pamphlets warned. I don’t know why they don’t add extra fiber to all breads.

Additional note: I really don’t even know what fiber is. As far as I can tell it’s nature’s Chore Boy.

Speaking of Kellogg's: The other day I bought another Kellogg’s “Sunny Side” book. They’re all about eating bran and producing healthy stools with the consistency of a cricket bat. Here’s the intro:

Here’s the desired result of applied intestinal exercise:

Good bye, tiny wife! I’m off to the office to move my bowels! Have a fine time at home moving your bowels!

It also helps with archery:

I love her. Did you know you were supposed to draw the bow back to make a chin dimple? I didn't.

Remember, gals, Bran is a beauty aid when applied to the back of the neck:

Seriously nice artwork in this book. Even the photos are instructive. This is what the 30s looked like, color-wise:

Back to the mail.

jhugart: I like this idea. Telegrams for the 21st century!

That’s a good way of putting it, except that in 20th century, not even the President got 36 telegrams per hour.

Remember what “Western Union” was called in the Warner Brothers cartoon? Right.

Midiclorians: So, what e-mail address should your adoring fans be using? Or is it just me you're ducking?

Yes, it’s just you.

(I’m not ducking anyone. I have no secret email anymore.)

Good morning James. I'm glad to see that you weren't so overwelmed by the first day of using your new chat feature that you pulled it down. A question for you sir: why don't you elaborate much about your wife? You talk about (G)Nat - post pictures, etc. Just curious.

She didn’t sign up to have her life revealed for all to see, drat the luck. Also, she’s a lawyer, and I don’t even want to think of writing anything that may interfere with her lawyering. I mention she wore black shoes to work, and two years later she’s defending the Brown Shoe Guild, and someone googles around and has her tossed off the case. The world is like that now.

(They were great shoes.)

Brad: Hello kind sir. Never heard much final word of what you thought of the Firefly series or the Serenity movie. Did I miss it?

No. I got stalled. I keep meaning to pick it up again, but I enjoyed the first half of the episodes so much I started saving them for Special Moments, which never ever came. Last night I should have watched one, but I watched “The Invisible Ray,” a 1936 Universal horror movie. More of sci-fi film, really, but it had KARLOFF (that’s how he was billed) and Bela Lugosi, so it gets lumped in with the rest of the Universal creature-features. I thought it would be lame – heavy on the atmospherics, light on the frights – but it was dang fine. It’s really three movies; the first takes place in a remote and improbable Carpathian observatory, and has some interesting special effects for the day. The middle portion? Off to Africa. The last third: Paris, where KARLOFF uses his Radium X ray to melt religious statuary.

I have “Serenity” in HD waiting, too. It’s killing me.

meeboguest420580: Did you watch Mad Men this summer? I wondered what you thought. As a creative director who enjoys your design crit I couldn't help but think you'd enjoy it.

I’m waiting for the DVD. In fact I’m waiting for the DVD for everything. Not so I can watch it, but so I can buy it, and watch it someday. Some far-flung mythical day when I watch more TV. I don’t watch enough, frankly. I think I'd watch more if they didn't cancel shows after three episodes. Who wants to commit when it's going to be yanked away?

I don't think I've watched a TV show at the same time it was broadcast since 1986.

[10:18] meeboguest10844: Can you say anything that will help me get past the PC "tower" paradigm, and switch from a PowerMac to a new iMac?

I’m the last guy to ask. I’m eyeing a new tower myself, for a variety of reasons: I’d have to accept a smaller screen if I got an iMac, and I want four hard drives in one machine. I’m always running out of space. But if you’re not concerned about having 2 TB of disk space to save your HD footage, go for the iMac; the screen is so crisp that looking at it feels like biting into a cool carrot freshly yanked from the ground. Just wipe the dirt off first. With a non-abrasive microfiber towel, and a non-alcohol cleaner.

What happened to Buzzy the Anthrophomorphic Weather Triangle?

The weather was simply too boring; I was running the same picture over and over. He’ll be back as soon as it gets cold.

I have a question which you may want to ignore, for reasons of privacy, and I complete respect that. My wife and I got the impression that you had a second child a year or two ago. We can't decide whether we just misinterpreted clues or you would prefer not to make this child a topic of discussion. So: If this is discussable, were we right? Or should we mind our own business?

You mean (T)Ang? Well, there’s only so many times you can write “went up to the attic, applied salve to the ankle chains.” So I let it alone after a while.

Seriously, no: we have one and one only. I really wonder what I wrote that made you think we had two. I may have been talking about a book. They’re like children, except that you don’t feel like a stupid failure when you find them sitting on a table at Barnes and Noble under a sign that says BARGAIN CHILDREN.

Are you still afraid terrorists will attack the Mall of America?

I was never afraid. I was always concerned. I still am; who wouldn’t be? It’s a big red target with great symbolic value. It never keeps me from going there, though. Somehow I’ve avoided the FEAR and PARANOIA and PERMANENT WAR HYSTERIA that we’re supposedly fed 24/7. You know how it goes; if you believe there’s actually a credible threat from Islamofascists – well, no, that’s not the right word, because it’s inflammatory, inaccurate, racist, and is used as a code-word for an exterminationist agenda founded in a desire to control all the oil in the Middle East and convert it to Christianity. So call it the Small but Legally Containable Conservative Religion threat, since that reminds us that all religions are equally dangerous when taken to extremes. I mean, Fred Phelps, Catholic priests, Timothy McVeigh, and that little thing called the Crusades. Also the Inquisition and the persecution of Galileo. No one has clean hands here, except for me, because I washed them before I put that clever COEXIST bumpersticker on my car. No, I’m more afraid of the Mall of America itself. You go there in December – not that I do – and see people walking around eating meat and shopping for things they don’t need and shouldn’t really have because they don’t need them, and you can almost hear the planet shriek like the music in that scary movie about the psycho, whatever its name is. I didn’t watch it. I don’t support movies that promote violence against women. Wasn’t she in a shower? Those are so wasteful. I clean myself with a pumice stone and the sharpened edge of a clam shell.

(Sorry; I just enjoy the autumnal aroma of a burning straw man.)

john jackson: this is a trivia question and a tip for what to say about your job. Who said "It's chancy and it makes a man watchful. And a little lonely"

Oh, please. ;)


See you at And if you don't mind: buy the book. Please? Thanks!