Went to the Mall in the evening again. I like it at night. No one there, which doesn’t bode well for the Mall in general, but for some reason the clerks leave you alone. No one leaps on you like a monkey springing from a tree limb up above and asks if they can help. You just HATE that, except when you want a clerk, and then there are none to be found, and honestly they think they can run a store like this? Well I never.

Went to Brookstone, a store I vowed to boycott a few years ago when I got a portable scanner as a gift. The user interface was based on one simple principal: how quickly can we make Grandma cry? I expect that was the market for these things, since you fed them photos - I know, really, photos - and then it displayed a horrible scan with janky color, tilted 15 degrees to the left or the right. Then it broke. I remember the attitude of the clerk when I tried to return it a few days after Christmas. I didn’t have a receipt, since it was a gift, and they seemed to think I was trying to put one over on them. Yes, that’s right. I flew to Shanghai, bought this garbage in a back alley, painted it white, and carefully wrote BROOKSTONE in the exact shade of proprietary grey you use on all your products.

They say “I can only give you store credit” like it’s some sort of punishment. Sorry, but you’re forced to exchange this junk for some other junk. It should be good news! I can’t give you money, since I stand in humbled fealty to the God of Store Policy, but you’ll have credits you can apply to a wide range of delightful merchandise! Like this remote-controlled helicopter! The store should rename itself OKAY FINE HELICOPTERS AND PILLOWS. HAPPY? Because that’s basically it. Plus a lot of white electronics that are supposed to make you think of Apple products, I guess.

I was in the mall for some phone upgrades. Apple Store end of the deal: seamless, fast, in-and-out in minutes, sign with your finger, welcome to the 21st century. Then to the AT&T store for some rejiggering of my plan, where you enter the twisty maze of the Plan Labyrinth. While I waited for someone to assist me, I eavesdropped on another customer. Mom and teen girl.

“We need to replace the SIMS card, we took it out and it got lost.”

“No mom I have the SIMS card.”

The sales assistant smiled, waiting. At least we’ve narrowed it down to the SIMS card, which your phone needs to play the game with the people who can’t cook without starting a fire and spend hours sleeping at the kitchen table while flies buzz around a plate of unwashed food. Nearby was a young man who was wondering about his plan ‘cause it cost a lot, okay, and yeah he used a lot of data, for, you know, music and videos.

The clerk called up his account, nodded, and said well, your last bill was $426.

Yeah that’s what I’m saying.

Oy. When I call up a YouTube video when I’m not on wireless I feel like I’m feeding dollar bills into a shredder and setting the chaff alight.

Finally, my turn. The clerk called up my account and plan and then printed it off. He informed me that I was on a legacy plan, which is why there wasn’t any text messages included for the new account. “You were grandfathered in.”

Of course, my good man, makes perfect sense. Let us redress this matter. So he flipped the paper around and drew figures indicating the breakdown of costs. I thought: paper? Pens? I am among the barbarians. The total sum was more than I wished to pay, and I pointed to the largest number. What’s that for?

“That’s your data, 6 GB.”

“Ah. Well, I don’t need that much. What’s two gig?”

“This,” he said, writing a sum. “But remember this is among three accounts.”

“My wife uses none, I use little, I can meter the third account on my AT&T app, and if I go over it’s $15 per gig, and I can adjust the plan if that recurs.”

He nodded and recalculated, and said: “You don’t know how much easier this is when people know what they’re talking about.”

A flush of geek pride, but really, that’s like being congratulated for knowing which side of your car the gas tank’s on.

Hey, I just got the mail! Been two days since I picked it up from the box. Big thick stack of catalogs spilling on the counter like fish guts. Let’s see:

Letter that has a handwriting font on the address to make me think it’s personal, even though there’s an immense barcode on the envelope. Probably an engraved invitation to apply for a mortgage . . . no, a Christmas card from a windows company I did business with seven years ago.

Cruise ship catalog from a company that will not leave me alone

L.L. Bean, from whom I have never purchased so much as a sock’

Papa John’s pizza coupon; no thanks. Puffed-up crust, excess cheese, stingy sauce.

“What On Earth” catalog that has novelty T-shirts and custom doormats and OH WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

Signals, which is aimed at gifts for the Public Radio demographic; tasteful items for college-educated middle-aged people who think that something with the Papyrus font imparts a certain spiritual aspect; distinct from its relative, the Wireless catalog, which is the sister who’s a little older and wilder - she has a tattoo - and never really found herself, but she says she’s happy, and will talk your ear off about whatever she just discovered. Zen, Sherlock Holmes, Science, it’s always something.

Ah! The next in the stack is, indeed, the Wireless catalog. Poorly photoshopped cover with a guy in a Dr. Who sweatshirt opening gifts, one of which is a collection of Dean Martin Roasts. Demographic precision of a shotgun there.

Heh. Brookstone Catalog. Uh huh. Sure.

Christmas card; letter from another Cruise line that won’t leave me alone; begging letter from school daughter hasn’t even attended yet; letter from a charity I support with a rather dire message:

Letter that belongs to a neighbor; flier from local store SET IN COMIC SANS.

Wine Country catalog. Sample:

I don’t know who I dislike enough to task with that thing.

National Geographic catalog. Make-A-Wish letter. Humane Society Letter. Postcard Christmas card. Credit card come-on. Homeless shelter letter. Copies of magazine with my work. Disney Vacation Club magazine to remind me I need to make reservations. Last item:

 

A stocking to put on my bottle of Maker’s Mark, seeing as how I’m a Brand Ambassador. I’m supposed to take pictures of my bottle wearing the nightcap, and post them on Instagram.

Well. Challenge accepted. Stay tuned.


   

Finally! The last thrilling chapter in the story we’ve followed with such eager anticipation for weeks, since the days when the sun was high and the days were longer. A show so daring, so unique, so pulse-poundingly thrilling, that I could use screen grabs from the previous 14 eps and you’d never know the difference.

Or would you? Prepare, my friends, for THE FINAL CHAPTER.

First, a note about the crew.


Royal K. Cole, according to his imdb bio page, was “considered by his contemporaries to be one of the best screenwriters of his time for that studio.” Which was Republic, so. But still. Born 116 years ago died in 1993. The other names did mostly serials as well, although Poland is credited with a TV movie, “Captain Mephisto and the Transformation Machine.” Which, of course, was this: “Truncated feature version of the serial 'Manhunt of Mystery Island (1945)', in which Captain Mephisto attempts to take over the world's supply of a valuable ore.”

Anyway, we were heading off to the planet Atoma, when the flying saucer blew up the plane! We get another shot of the fearsome Death Saucer:

And Ka-Boom. How could they survive? Simple: they jumped out of the plane, leaving Evil Doctor Tobor behind. He dies! We don't get to see it.


Good ol’ Gallagher uses the handy-dandy gravitational decelerator - every lab should have one - to stop their descent. I had no idea he was even paying attention. Why he didn’t use the lab’s equipment to -

Oh, never mind. Now they have to walk, which means the chances of a driving sequence or a fistfight seem unlikely. Well, we’ve feasted enow on either in this show. It’s off to the planet Theros, for some reason, where Vultura is broadcasting war plans to his army of Future Bedouins:

 

Actually, the Therosians don’t know it, but that’s the Supreme Leader, listening in. He calls Captain Video on Earth in the Second Time Cycle, but Vultura blocks the transmision, so Video uses the Electronic Amplification Unit!!! The entire sequence, which consists of “Turning Up the Volume, takes about 16% of the show’s total running time.

But Captain Video decides this would be a good time use the new “Psychomatic Weapon,” the existence of which everyone in the lab knew, but no one ever mentioned it until now. Video goes to Theros, where the soldiers great his escort with the ancient rite of Properly Dealing With a Sneeze:


It whines and knocks everyone down, then everyone “acts like idiots,” as the Surpreme Leader notes. (They roll around and twitch a bit.) The battle won - thousands and thousands of soldiers captured! - and Captain Video, the fate of the earth hanging in the balance, has them all put in camps until Vultura sues for peace. Just kidding; they’re put in spaceships and sent back to Vultura, although CapVid tags along, dressed as a soldier, presumably so he can use his special Cerebrotronic FireGun to make the even tyrant’s head explode, after he reminds Vultura that he tried to kill him fourteen times and failed.

Probably not. Question: if you’re trying to defeat Hitler, is it wise to dress up in an SS uniform and pretend to be one of his trusted subordinates, right after a big defeat?

They’re discovered quickly, because it turns out Atomans have dainty little hooves.

Vultura decides to use the Atomic Disintegrator on them, and goes to the sole piece of equipment that’s stood in for the entire civilization’s tech:

He tells Captain Video to prepare to meet his doom. I’m going to miss this big lug.

But the Future Bedouins on the other planet, who’ve been eavesdropping, THROW A SWITCH! The power is fed back just as Captain Video intended all along!

We don’t even get to see the body. It’s quite anticlimactic, and a rather stupid plan; a million things could go wrong, and there they’d be, right in the dictator’s lair.

But they don’t But he’s dead, and immediately his troops say “we were going go defect, honest!” and Captain Video says they’ll have to prove it. First, elections. And so we end with this, from the era when this wouldn't raise an eyebrow.

Miss them yet? I do. So let's pretend it's starting all over again.

The usual usual scattered about the internet! See you around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

 
   
 
 
   
 
 
     
 
 
   
     
 
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