The more you look, the worse it gets: someone just dropped a live powerline in the water.

I’m just falling down on the job Bleat-wise. Didn’t write a big long post this weekend for the site. Barely managed to isolate and rescale five 1950s product examples for tomorrow. Oh, I wrote all the updates. But those are just dessert, right? Right.

So, what did I do with my life? Watched a lot of Battlestar Galactica. Bought 440 pounds of dirt, again, and was sitting in my car afterwards checking Twitter when I was interrupted by a fellow who’d taken one of my writing classes years ago, which was doubly surprising because A) I remembered him, and B) i’d forgotten I’d taught a writing class. I wrote an essay for a member-only site. I polished all the wood. I cooked brats for dinner, now that I have the grill working again. (In Seussian terms: The tank was full. The flames were low. The reason, this I did not know. So I stood there by the grill with my phone, googled LOW FLAME GRILL and got some instructions on resetting the regulator. It worked. The trick, it seems, is to turn the gas on sloooowly. If you turn it on fast the regulator says WHOA WHOA HOLD ON MAN I’M LOSING IT DUDE and then it gets all sullen and uncommunicative, and you have tendrils of flame instead of big bonaroo tongues.)

Got the brats at Target, which did not sell brat buns. There should be a law: if you sell brats, you sell brat buns. Hot dog buns do not work; it’s like putting a manhole cover in hamburger buns. Meat-bread parity must undergird the experience. I didn’t find brat buns at Cub, where I also shopped, or Trader Joe’s, where I also shopped. The rare and dreaded three-store Saturday errand run, done while my wife dug up the boulevard with a spade and inserted hostas.

You may ask: why aren’t you digging up the boulevard? Because she hates to shop for groceries and I hate to garden. Jack Sprat and all that.

Hey, Sunday was our 23rd. It’s working out so far.

Went to the mall on Friday night to exchange my birthday present at the Apple store; wrong color. You’re thinking: they have different colors of things at the Apple Store? Thought it was all white, black, and aluminum grey. Were they just waiting for Jobs to perish so they could fill the stores with a riot of hues? It was a pair of headphones - a redundant term, now that you think of it - and when I dropped my hint a while before, I’d said “green.” Wife and child had stood in the store and deliberated; wife said silver, daughter said green. When I opened the package on my birthday, following an elaborate charade that put me in the position of the workaround a philosopher used to reconcile omniscience with free will - that is, I denied myself foreknowledge of the events until they occurred - they asked which color I preferred when I said “green,” daughter pounces: AH HAH.

So I went back to exchange them. I like going to the Mall on a late summer Friday night, if only for half an hour. First went to the Gap to see if these shorts I’ve wanted were marked down. I liked them two months ago, but not for $49.00, because I am not stupid. I won’t pay FIFTY DOLLARS for shorts. So you have to stalk the item through the various clearances and sales, watch it move from the sale rack out front to the sale rack in the back, then pounce! when the moment is right.

The moment was right. It was $24.00. However: another identical item in my size was $29.00. Asked the clerk why. “Sometimes a different color is more expensive,” she said, which made no sense. Color is never taken into account when pricing identical items. Right? Wouldn’t that throw everything into chaos? A style of shirt is one price regardless of hue or size, even though the XXXL uses more material and dye than the S. Once you charge premium prices for a color, all the lines start to break down - and the stores could use the color as a status symbol. I’m wearing Gap Orange because I can afford it. Or daddy can.

I took the item to the cashier to see what the true price was, and it was . . . $19.00. The prices are always subjective. Someone should open a clothing store and call it “Subjectivity.”

There was a reason I began writing this, and it eludes me.




Later that night I watched:


Three gals and their husbands / fiancees / suitors throwing into screwball chaos when they’re all given the same hotel room in Washington DC. The war’s on, housing is tight, so there’s misadventures and misunderstandings and slammed doors galore. It’s obviously a stage play, but it’s well adapted and directed and acted, and lots of fun. It has Ann Sheridan, who’s gorgeous and funny, and Jane Wyman as a dopey airhead chorus girl. I don’t get the appeal, but I guess stupid has an attraction for some. I mention it only for two reasons:

1. Eve Arden plays a Soviet soldier, and she’s hilarious.



Yes, of course, our Soviet allies, who shared our deep respect for religion and its free exercise.


2. It’s the end of the movie I can’t quite figure out. Throughout the film there’s a running gag: a squat little traveller, exhausted, unable to find a place to sleep, moving from room to room to sofa to sauna. Whenever they find him they wake him up and send him on his way. At the end of the movie everything’s resolved, of course, and the star couple can finally have the room to themselves, and since they’re newlyweds, this means they can have sex for the first time. Of course the little man in in the bed already.


Nevermind the painful drop: why does she break the fourth wall? And what’s she smiling about? Perhaps there was just no other satisfying way to end a filmed version of the stage play, but I’m unable right now to think of any other movie from the period where the actor directly engaged the audience like this.

Here’s an example of SPTSS, or Sudden Political Tweet Spasm Syndrome:

Pentagon considers #Curiosity an abject failure; we didn't find a civilization on Mars to attack, defeat and support for the next 40 years.

From Ruth Buzzi. I followed her in the hope she would make a Walnetto joke, or at least understand a Walnetto joke should I send one along, since Jasperwood was built by the man who made Walnettos.

I don’t get this tweet. It starts with a predictable jape - you know, those fat generals sitting around smoking big cigars in the War Room, saying “Gentlemen, we need a war. Any war will do. It’s getting dull around here.” But then she ads “support,” which means . . . what? We attacked Nazis, defeated them, then supported their mirror opposite for 70 years. Does that fit Vietnam? Korea? Iraq?


Our Roving Lab #Curiosity gives us a huge edge on the rest of all mankind; we're the very first to discover Mars has rocks, gravel and dust!

Oh ho ho. Leaving aside the previous landings that go back to the decade in which Laugh-In was on TV, of course, but never mind. Earlier, she’d boiled it down:

Man has landed on Mars to discover whether or not there's any form of life there we can kill.

Okay, lady. See, it’s funny because it’s true! That’s what man is all about, right? KILL KILL KILL! And when we do something that’s pure science, an example of our better nature, our curious spirit, it has to be framed in the context of our worst aspect, the one most contrapositive to the act of exploration itself, to remind us that we’re just shite. Mind you, she doesn’t want to kill any new form of life. Her friends don’t. The good people she works with down at the cat rescue shelter don’t. But they’re all exceptions to the rule. It’s those others out there who want to find life on Mars so they can invade it and kill it ha ha, oh, it’s sad but so true.

God, what tiresome people. Not that they think this, but that they think this passes for wit.

New Today: those Monday Matchbooks. See you around the usual places!







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