You don’t often get a call from the school nurse saying your daughter has a mouthful of blood, and that’s a good thing.

Wobbly tooth fell out. I thought we were past this, but no, it’s time to shed the last. Poor kid. Hurt like - well, like teeth. They have a particular pain and it seems treasonous. When it became apparent that the pain wasn’t subsiding, and they couldn’t give her anything because I hadn’t put a prescription for Tylenol on file, I went to get her.

“It’s weird coming home in the middle of school,” she said when she got home, and she was right; it is weird. It feels off and wrong and you feel like you’re behind on something. I work from home so much it feels absolutely right and proper to be typing at the kitchen table in peace and quiet, but I remember the feeling. As though you’ve somehow violated what was temporarily your parent’s domain.

Routine: it keeps us sane.

I had to read this about nine times this morning before it made sense. And it doesn’t.

Eventually you realize there are three people on the sofa, not five. Eventually you realize there is no joke here at all. Eventually you think: why do I read this strip? Because it’s there, in front of you, as you eat breakfast. And then you look at that last remark, and wonder if the author is serious. That’s a comment no person in America would ever make. I just don’t get it. Slacks are so forward and modern-looking that it breaks the presumed propriety of TV? Slacks?

The author of the strip has a book called “I Could Pee on That.” It is about cats. It is doing well.


It's Product Tuesday! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. If not, I'm sorry.

No, I'm not sorry at all. We learn things! It is important that we know what lettuce looked like in the mid 1950s.



"Each crisp head is trimmed close!" You could say that about the smarter elements of the French aristrocracy, too. It was grown in Caifornia and Arizona - which seems like a peculiar place to grow something that's basically Nature's water baloon - and was sent out to the four corners of the nation. This appeared in Life. Think of that: nation-wide lettuce. That takes one hell of an infrastructure.

Still around:


Not just still around, but this very illustration is used on their History page. Nice. The page notes that the art was done by Mary Blair, a Disney Legend: she designed the characters for the "Small World" ride, and did the concept art for many of the fine 50s pictures. There's a flickr pool devoted to her work.

The origins of Mr. Perky Pickle are obscure.



I'm hesitant to Google it. You go first.

Now, a raft of ads - or is a clutch? A sly? A brazen? - about my favorite place of all in the world, Howard Johnson's.

First, a detail:



The important highways. The unimportant highways could have thier hash-houses and horsemeat burger stands.



It's the 50s; the interstate highway system beckons all to take to the "wide, smooth" roads and work up an appetite for fried clams.



Or the grilled-in-butter frankforts. I wonder if one of those HoJo hotdog holders remains.

Now the ad:



There you have it: the authoritative list. There's a few you wouldn't see nowadays. Not much call for Fruit Salad around these parts.

Hired model guy in full uniform:



Wonder who he was.

Let's ask . . .



"Unclear. Try Again Later."


After the ad, the end of Battlestar Galactica. If you care not for these things, you see that Comic Sins badge? Head on over.

If you are interested in sci-fi - particularly the hard type that doesn't involve a fully-populated universe of bipeds distinguised primarily by forehead bumps and a societal quirk that highlights a contemporary social issue - I recommend you watch it. It's not fun. It might be the most downbeat thing I've ever seen. But it's about as good as this sort of thing gets.


Needless to say, spoilers abound.

I finished BSG last night, prepared for the awful ending that left everyone downhearted, mystified, betrayed, and angry they’d invested years in the project.

I thought it was pretty good.

First of all, it had a tremendous action sequence - long, loud, dazzling, genuinely tense. You knew this was the end; you knew the ship was seeing its last battle. It paid off the “Opera House” dream. It paid off the Mystery of the Notes. Once they jumped to Earth, the show took its time leaving its characters, a long slow fade that slammed into a sequence that made you ask questions all over again.

What’s not to like?

I hadn’t expected they’d find a place where everyone could have cappuccino and yoga lessons again. When it began I thought that might be nice. But as the show developed you could tell this was a story intent on diminishing all possible expectations of a happy ending. It was interested in realism, and as such made Voyager look like Romper Room. (Which it was, at least in the middle; clean and predictable, no growth, no change, everything hunky-dory below decks.)

I didn’t bleed for the show, as I have with some other fine programs - I loved it, really, and I’m glad I watched it. But it was just so damned harrowing, week after week, and I think I recoiled out of self-protection. If you liked "Lost," imagine a show where everything always goes wrong and people die all over the place and then they travel back in time to WW2 and the Japanese invade, and oh yes the plane crashed because of a world-wide nuclear explosion and there's only one dog left in the universe. Like that.

Perhaps that's why I didn't grouse at the "Luddite" ending, the abandonment of technology: I just wanted everyone who survived to sit down in the grass and breath. There were only five characters I cared about in the end, anyway.

The Chief. It’s the Miles O’Brien / Scotty archetype mixed with a Ridley-Scott-”Alien” sense of the working-class guy, and he was run through every wringer you can imagine - something the show handled in typical fashion, by making him less sympathetic without losing the character.

Admiral Adama. A great performance, accomplished through understatement and slow burns. Also puking in the gutter after a trip to the strip club.

Sol Tigh. You never lost your impression of him as a drunken frak-up out of his depth, but he was the most human character on the show, for me, the one I always welcomed, even though you never knew what wrong thing was going to spill out of that turtle-mouth of his. His character summed up so much that was wonderful about BSG, especially during the "Truce" scene in CIC. "It's not too late to put them all in the airlock." Human to the end. And not human at all.

The President. Even though 79% of her acting consisted of “I’m barely concealing my obvious reaction to what you said or did,” she had presence.

Baltar. It would be wrong to say that the entire show was about Baltar, in the same sense that “Star Wars” - which, four hours aside, doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath - was about Vader. But his arc is the Alpha and Omega, and there’s not a moment in his story that doesn’t feel correct. Self-interest + self-knowledge + self-loathing + self-justification + a cynical view of others that not only serves as a balm of absolution but burns because he knows he’s fooling himself - the character was perfectly written and expertly performed. It’s unusual to have a villain who is so pathetic - and to have the character so well-etched you can hear Baltar say the word “pathetic” with crisp derision of others, the situation, and himself.

As for the others:

Helen, Tigh’s wife. Okay, right, Real Housewives of Caprica. Next.

Number Six. I hated her. Regardless of the incarnation. Smoking hot, but I hated her. I didn't like any of the women on the show, to be honest. That English-voiced Cylon I wanted to murderize for toffee-nose smugness.

Kara Thrace: she had a square toothy head and was EXTREME and yelled a lot.

Cavil: He was well-played by Dean Stockwell, but I never shook the realization that he was being well-played by Dean Stockwell.

Anyway. The Cylons -as-humans was confounding; if they were machines, what made them machines? They were organic, and had free will. No gears. Reincarnation with consciousness transferred. Nice trick, but it kept you from understanding their motives for the whole damned thing. Yes, I know, watch the prequels, but I shouldn't have to. Should be obvious why they are not content with victory but demand extermination. And I couldn’t keep all the copies straight, except for Cavil. This Boomer that Boomer this Six that Six - I needed a scorecard, a handy guide. RED DRESS ONE IS BAD, SORT OF.

The big question you’re left with at the end: If this was God’s plan - and “God” could mean Talosians or the Q Continuum or the Organians, if you don’t want to throw a deity in the mix - then it seems a remarkably brash way of making a point. In the last few hours the show went back to pre-destruction Caprica, and you got this sense of a good place. Flawed, human, perhaps too content with itself, but decent enough, surely beautiful, filled with life and light. And the fraking Cylons nuked the lot of it, which might well explain delicate emotions about them amongst the surviving humans, no? But more to the point: the scouring of 12 planets was a plan? A message, a chapter in a plot no one is allowed to read, just so God could shrug and play a What-If with a duped copy of a SimCity game?

At this point "God's plan" doesn't look like some celestial plan for harmony and general self-awareness - it's simple brutal cruelty. Someone noted that there's no devil in the show, just gods.

Perhaps it's the other way around.


Oh, did I mention there's a book? See you around.













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