Oh, it’s cold. It’s cold in the morning when we wake, because I turn the heat down to avoid getting bills with commas in the balance due. It’s cold in the afternoon when I come back to the house. It’s briefly stifling in the early evening when the house gathers all the heat and gives everyone the Requisite Toasty Feeling, then it’s cold when I go downstairs to watch some TV after midnight. It’s just cold. Dark, and cold. The sun slinks down like it made a mess on the rug and doesn’t want anyone to notice; the wind is all beaks and claws, and the thin snow on the lawn reminds you that there’s more to come, and it’ll be here a while, and die hard. Even the raw scrape of March seems tropical from here.

Talked to folks in Arizona tonight. They had rain.

Ah well. We soldier on. It’s Friday, and that seems remarkable – I’d expected this week to be long and dense, but it galloped past. I love Fridays more than any day, even more than Saturday; the latter can get flabby and aimless, or gets weighed down with rote domestic work. Friday night is the finest of them all. Nothing has to be posted for the next day.

So I can work on things to post the next week. Makes all the difference in the world.

Natalie, as previously noted, belongs to Club Penguin, an online world that somehow hit the sweet spot with the pre-tween crowd. There are so many of these places. Webkinz,  Tamagochi, My Littlest Pet Shop, Beanie Babies, Hello Kitty, Toontown, that lousy online Disneyworld thing, the Dairy-Queen site, Millsbury (a cereal-based online town) – you can have a dozen secret identities before you turn ten nowadays. To the grown-up, they’re all the same – games, rooms you can decorate, restricted chat, closed monetary systems, endlessly looped music. But she said something tonight that made me smile: she noted that the Club Penguin newspaper comes out every Thursday.

“You know what I like to do? I like to go to the pizza parlor and read the newspaper.”

That made me happy on several levels. You love to learn these little details about your kid, the small private things that make them happy. I’m sure they stop telling you these things at some point, because you wouldn’t get it. Unless perhaps you make a point of getting it, being interested. Or at least feigning interest. She’s still reading this endless series of books about Warrior Cats, and today we had a long conversation en route to piano about the series. I maintain that the cats are wrong to shun life as domestic pets.

“They don’t want to be kitty-pets,” she said, using the derisive term.


“Because then they’d be owned by the two legs, and they’d have to do stuff.”

Like what? Cats don’t have to do anything. And they get a steady supply of food.

“They don’t like the kitty-pet food. They call it pellets.”

It’s not all pellets. There’s the wet stuff. (This entire conversation, incidentally, began when she started singing the Meow Mix theme song out of nowhere.)

“They hate the mushy stuff!”

Well, it’s got to be better than a dead bird, with bones and blood.
Especially when it’s winter.

“They call that Leaf Bare.”

What’s Spring?

“New Leaf.”

And fall?

“Leaf Fall.”  


“Uh – New Leaf.”

How about Plenty Leaf? Leaf a-go-go? So many leaves you could plotz?


Boo-coo foliage?

“DAD. There’s no such words.”

I could never talk with my parents about Tom Swift, so I understand the appeal of having an adult who’s interested in your childhood mythologies. And I also liked the idea that “newspaper” still meant something, and that she enjoyed sitting down in a favorite place and reading it.

So there’s that.

And then there’s this. Last week’s haul of old scannable items yielded another example of the famous Sack o’ Sauce in a Can o’ Meat ad, which put the Gallery of Regrettable Food on the map ten years ago. I give you: THE WIENER THE WORLD AWAITED. A thrill of hope, a wienerless world rejoices.


And I give you this. Many years ago I agreed to play a judge in a cable-access Klingon show. I found the tape today, and digitized my stellar performance. Without a whit of shame, I present the clip in all its dreadful power.

That's it - except for five pages of comic ads. See you at OH CRAP. Forgot Well, I have to do this. Every week. That's the promise. Well, let's get to our weekly review of the craptilicious flix in the "100 Mysteries" DVD box.

Last week we described a “Shadow” movie that did contain an overabundance of the Shadow – he didn’t cloud anyone’s mind, cackle, talk from the darkened corners of the room, or other requisites of the Shadow character. This week, another Shadow movie:

They’re really boosting that Shadow angle, aren’t they. But it is a Shadow movie. Really! You can tell from the opening shot:

That’s a plaque outside the radio station. The “Evening Classic” is a show. Why take out a billboard when you can chisel your schedule in stone and put it on a building? If you’re wondering what sort of show “The Evening Classic” might be, well, naturally it’s a recitation of the day’s crimes – read by the Shadow.

He’s introduced as the Shadow, too. Outside his office a guy from the radio station plays security:

It’s obvious right away that everyone knows who the Shadow is. The police know. The radio guys know. The newspaper reporters know. It says so on his office door: Lamon Cranston. In fact the Shadow isn't a mysterious mind-shrouding vigilante at all. He's a newspaper columnist, with his logo drawn by Toulouse LauTrec:

Got it? The Shadow Says, instead of the Shadow knows. This is like doing a Superman movie in which he says "Arise, Arise, and Yonder!" It all adds up to another Non-Shadow Shadow movie, so what's the point? Well, there's this:

"Here's Flash Casey" was an actual movie; came out in 1938. That's the Shadow on the right, incidentally.

Later he makes a phone call, and this presents a dandy challenge.

Go on, find 'em. Have fun.

(More "100 Mysteries" here.)


New Strib column and comic-ads update. See you at buzz.mn, and of course Twitter. Have a grand weekend!