The vacuum cleaner broke, which meant we were looking at weeks and weeks of filthy vacuums. The problem was a Costello lyric: the switch broke, ‘cause it’s old. A ten-year old Oreck. Whether the Oreck is a better machine than most I don’t know; I’m always suspicious of things that aren’t sold in Regular Stores but have their own retail places. This isn’t 1953 with the Singer Store downtown next to Woolworth’s. But it’s done well, and it’s light, and surely a switch wasn’t that much.

If you’re wondering, yes. Of course I walked out of the store with a new machine. That was pretty much a given.

But not the intention. Wife had said to get a new one if the price wasn’t too much, but the price on the new models was $599, hence: no. I asked the go-getter clerk what the switch would cost; $29.00, he said, minimal labor, have it done in 20 minutes.

Would I like a tune up? The vacuum cleaner was 10 years old, after all. (This he knew by looking at it.)

How much?

“Forty dollars.”

I can’t imagine how much tuning up a vacuum cleaner would need. Tighten the belts? Replace the spark plugs? Change the oil filter? No. I said I’d be back in twenty, and turned for the door.

“These bristles - you might want to consider replacing them, though.”

I came back because I was suddenly in the situation of a man with a degraded bristle situation. Sure enough, all the bristles on the roller were splayed and frayed. This meant they wouldn’t inhale dust and other worldly fragments with the necessary oomph. I said well, sure. How much?

“Forty dollars.”

Fine, FINE. I headed for the door, almost running.

“You know, for a hundred dollars more you could get a new one.”

I stopped. It was hopeless. Might as well give in. Which one?

“Well, right over here . . . “ he walked me to some new models that looked SO MUCH BETTER and were attractively styled. “This is a reconditioned unit, in the box, and it usually goes for $499.”

“Are you trying to upsell me?”


“What’s better about this one.”

“Well, it has a wider intake tube, here, and it pivots, like this, so you’re not using your wrist.”

“I hate all the wrist using that goes on when you vacuum. Sure, okay. Sold.”

As he rung it up another older guy came out of the back room.

“This guy’s good at selling vacuum cleaners,” I said.

“He’ll do,” the older salesman said.

The salesman carried the box to my car and stowed it and we shook hands. It was a pleasure to meet a good vacuum salesman, really. He liked to sell things. It would have been almost anti-social to refuse.

Noted previously that I went to ComicCon last Saturday. Not as a participant or paying customer. No, sir, not me! Media! Behold my yellow wristband and bow to my will! Not that it took much convincing; people are walking around in costume for a reason, and horribly shyness isn’t one of them. So it was just a matter of plucking out people from the ceaseless stream and asking them to be whoever they were pretending to be. Only one of the sequences had to be reshot for a technical difficulty; everything is just as you see it. Improv! Let’s all play along.

Do give it a watch. Behind the scenes: Shari Gross, ace videographer with whom I always work because she’s fast and good and after all these years we read each other’s minds, and ace intern and grip, Natalie Lileks. Yes, she tagged along to go to ComicCon and see the others of the Nerd Tribe, and help out, carrying the tripod or mike. She had the Media wrist band. Crew.

Hope she remembers that. Going to work with Dad, and it turned out to be play.

HERE’s the link.

One thousand, four-hundred and thirty items to fix, replace, rewrite, retweak. Sounds worse than it is. Once I get the template tweaked, everything slips into place, and it’s just a tiresome exercise in cutting and pasting. The question you might ask: why?

The Motel Postcard site is one of the oldest on, and one of my favorites. It’s been through about four revisions over the 15 years it’s been up. The last one was kludgy, and required all sorts of precise art placement inside tables. Last year’s updates weren’t added to different states, but lumped into a 2014 Sites folder, so those cards - a mere 54 - need to be integrated back into the site. They need it! They’re just hanging out there uncollated! The 2015 update is around the corner, and I decided to give the enter site a refresh, partly to eliminate Gill Sans and add Google Fonts, tighten up the code, and change the color scheme. For example, here’s the old banner for the page that has all the motels.

Here’s the new one.

Green and yellow. And why would that be?






No grand aspirations here:

What's happening this week that was happening last week?

We all knew they didn’t crash, and when one guy’s got a jetpack the suspense isn’t exactly unbearable.

But what of the guy who kidnapped June? Remember, he was doing so on Orders of the Moon President, to raise money to buy parts for a ray gun so the invasion could happen. He jumped out of the plane, too. Well, he shows up right away . . .

Suit, tie, dress shoes: what you usually find on a guy who just jumped out of a plane. His hair’s intact. You can chalk that up to criminal-strength hair oil.

The driver soon regrets it:

Yeah, and I’ll bet you’re working for the Moon Army, too. Jeez, I gotta go pick up a head case.

This is the dumbest thing ever, but hey, it checks the gunplay box:


Oh no!

Don’t worry, kids, he’s okay. Back at the Lair, more from my favorite minion:

He gets good ’n’ reamed by the President of the Moon, who can’t believe they’re out of money. The criminals - now back in hats, thank heavens - decide maybe they should knock over a payroll. Yeah, that’s the ticket. The cops are on their trail instantly, so it’s a car chase - with gunfire. We’ve already had flying. That leaves only fist fights and final peril.

Do the criminals succeed in their effort? Remember, the bank robbery failed. The kidnapping failed. Well:

Minion Prime survived, but he’s in the hospital. Cody wants to interview him before he’s transferred to a Sanitarium. But one of the lesser henchmen gets wind of it, and decides to stage an event to free Graybar, aka Minion Prime.

The old divert-the-ambulance-in-a-rural-setting swindle. It works! Graybar now has an ambulance for a getaway car, but Cody is behind, driving instead of flying. And so:

Two cars over the bridge in one ep, a repeat of a plane crash and two gunplay chases? That’ll make up for the lack of a fistfight.

Amount of plot advanced: zero. I'm still loving every moment.

And that's today! Except for the update and Work Blog and tumblr. See you around.


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