I shouldn't read more any Dickens. Tired of the fellow. Yes, a lot has changed since yesterday.

I am writing a column that discusses the phrase “precious little snowflake,” and it made me think of being a kid and catching them on my tongue, which made me think of being an adult, now, and having no such actual memory. It’s just what you know kids do, so you probably did. But I do remember catching the falling white stuff on my tongue. I just know it wasn’t snow.

We may have thought it was snow, since it was winter, and white flakes were falling, and it never occurred to us that it was ash from the grocery store’s incinerator, where they burned the boxes. We only knew it was ash because one of the kids decided to tell us it was fallout, and it was radioactive so we were going to die, and everyone ran home and told their folks.

Who reassured us that it was just incinerator ash.

Whew. That's a relief.

Utterly ordinary day, with much work. Brought home a box from work. One of many. Over the years I have moved from desk to desk, and each time you move you pack up stuff in a box. After a few moves you stop unpacking the boxes, and just move the boxes. I have three, each a time capsule of a particular era, and I can tell by the one I brought home today it coincides with the time I did TV new broadcasts every morning, because there are lint rollers in the box. There is a cheap plastic Woody from “Toy Story,” which does not have articulated limbs. His hat is permanently affixed. I like Woody, but I really have no place for a plastic Woody, so I tossed it in the bag of trash that fills this week’s edited possessions.

He landed upside down with the boot that says ANDY sticking out of the bag.

Well, first of all, I’m not Andy, so don’t try that on me. Second, don’t make me imagine your face frozen in that wide-eyed genial smile as you’re upside in the bag, ready to become animate any second with an expression of fear. Don’t make me think of this bag’s inevitable trip to the incinerator. Forget it, pal.

Of course I took it out. NO ONE CAN EVER THROW OUT WOODY.

Also in the box: the first mug I ever brought to the office. It is filled with push-pins, which are the most cantankerous office supply of them all; they can’t wait to stick you. They’re colored, which makes them dispensable. The clear ones were like albino squirrels. There’s no reason for colored push-pins at all, when you think of it.

Office supplies. My heart sags with weight at the thought of office supplies. I bring my own - pads, pens, Post-It notes. Because I can choose what they look like. I’ll save the clear push-pins from my cubicle for the new office, and I’ll probably put up the same pieces of art. Spare walls, just a few things. When I worked at TV Guide the walls were full of clip art and postcards and whimsical cartoons and New Wave buskers and all the other things to help remind myself that I was just such a fascinating person, trapped here in this puce hell. Now I have an old 60s cardboard newspaper rack insert for the paper and a framed lettuce crate label for "Talk of the Town" brand, intended as a sarcastic comment on the conceits of a newspaper columnist and the perishability of the product.

I’ve been playing around with an iPhone accessory - two words I always read as “stuff to complicate the device and make it bulkier. It’s an Olloclip, and gives you wide-angle, fish-eye, and macro. Fish-eye is good for all-snout dog pix. The macro is amazing. Here’s a shot of some old equipment in the Strib basement, shot today for the video I’m working on.

See that red paint on the valve? Well:

Feels like Andromeda-Strain-level stuff. I almost expected it to bubble and move. (That, by the way, was one of the scariest moments in movies I experienced as a young fellow; the moment the green lines on the screen, the virus itself magnified by 1500X or something - when it shuddered and expanded, it was a big shock, almost as much as the scene in Alien when widdle bitty alien pops out to say Hiya.)

As long as I’m interrogating figures of speech this week, I don’t think you can almost expect something. You do or you don’t. It’s a way of saying “I know this couldn’t have happened, but I’m going to pretend I was transfixed by something and entered a state of transitory suspension of my rational faculties.”

Rational Faculties would be a fine band name for a group made up of educators.

This message has been brought to you by the Ad Council and your local broadcaster. The final batch of Ad Council Ads for the Ad Council describing the Ads the Ad Council made Ads for.


Savings Bonds: still around. The ads were very dull, for the most part. One series, to use Bond terms, had a couple whose every conversation turned to savings bonds. Well, nice that they found each other.

Did the United Community Campaigns turn into the United Way? Seems likely, but nothing about it on their site.

Keep America Beautiful started in 1953; the famous spot with the fake American Indian would come years later. "Goals for Americans" is perhaps my favorite of the batch; the group was convened in 1960 by "The President's Commission on National Goals," which sounds like a gravy train for some DC folks if ever there was one. But it was actually funded privately, through the American Assembly, another Ike-era program. It still exists, at Columbia U.

There: done with those. Did we learn something? A little. Always nice to learn a little something.



It's Brick Bradford, if you haven't been paying attention.

When last we saw Brick and Sandy, they were going over a cliff on some busted rails in an ore car. However will they escape?

That’s refreshing. They didn’t escape. They just survived. Back at the inevitable CABIN where the crooks are discussing their plot to . . . I don't know. It doesn’t matter. They’re headed back ot the lodge where the genius scientist has his lab, even though aforementioned bald scientist is on the moon. They do now know he is on the moon. It seems rather unlikely. You can hardly blame them. Things that are unlikely to occur to crooks often include the following:

“The scientist is missing. Has he stepped through a portal and gone to the moon?”

“No; why would he do that? The lack of atmosphere would kill him immediately.”

“But say there’s actually Earth-strength gravity, an oxygen-rich atmosphere and a matriarchal government.”


Brick and Sandy punch out some bad guys guarding two other scientists we had forgotten all about, and the scientists say Dr. Tymak the Bald is on the moon. Brick buys it. This is our cue to return to the Moon, where Dr. Chromedome is being grilled by Queen Hangover about how he got to the moon. The scene lasts about 45 seconds. Then it’s back to Earth, where the crooks are talking to the fake Dr. Tymak, and tell him that Brick Bradford is on to them. This means they must kill the other two captives, including Miss Salisbury and the old dude.

And how will they kill them? Two quick shots to the head and dump them in the mine, covered with quicklime? Of course not. They tie them to chairs and set up the DEATH RAY:

It’s set on a timer, you’ll note. Ten minutes to go. Naturally, the crooks leave the room, because the chance of anything going wrong with this plan are just about nil. They go outside to wait for Brick with guns so they can shoot him, but he drops a boulder on them and they run out of the episode. Quick! To the lab! Only seconds until the gong crash and the blackout that signifies the end of the episode!

Hey - wait a minute.

They wasted a perfectly good cliffhanger moment? What could possibly be coming up next? Well, one of the scientist shows them the other energy weapon that can knock down atomic missiles; it’s powered by Lunarium, which can only be found on the far side of the moon. (You expect someone to pick up a handful of dirt and say "is it like Earthium?") (No, you don't expect that. See above.) The rest of the gang doesn’t believe he went to the moon, but the scientist shows them the special space door that took the doctor to the Moon, and the gang decides they’ll walk through this portal, which was shown to them 40 seconds prior, and go off to the Moon. I mean, what the hell, the day’s young.

Or is it? I have no idea how long this day has lasted. As far as I can tell, they showed up at the lab, were almost killed by the death ray, then found the crooks, had the problem with the ore-mine car, dropped the boulder, rescued the rest of the gang, and then gone to the moon.

No one’s eaten or taken a leak. Anyway, they’re on the Moon, and see Moon City:


In mere seconds they are walking down one of the sets previously used as a holding area, unaware the Moon people know they’re there and intend to give them a taste of “The Fiery Death.” This leads to the most boilerplate serial cliffhanger dialogue ever:

That’s your Fiery Death, by the way. Key ingredient: Fire.

Stay tuned! Next week the Moon people discover their charred, horrid corpses!

One more thing: Brick never had to go up against this.



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