It happened. It happened around 3 PM. The winds had been mean all morning, and they were winter winds. There's a certain sound of a winter wind - brusque, pitiless, bereft, implacable. Without the intermediary leaves to slow its approach it just streaks through everything, howling and yelling in the banshee oration you forgot about months ago. But here it is, and you're outside on the porch trying to open a box whose dimensions suggest a 65" TV is inside. It's the garbage can screen. That long nightmare has reached its end game; Wife's request for something to hide the shameful bins has resulted in this box, which must be opened and its contents brought inside. The gusts, the weather app notes, are hitting 60 MPH.

I got everything in, and of course it was covered with Styrofoam nodules. The box sat outside while I put everything in the basement for the weekend assembly. Which I dread. But that's another Bleat. When I was done I left the box on the steps because I had to pick up Daughter from school and take her to work; when I got back I saw a plastic shroud from the box on the lawn. Hmm. Parked the car, ran outside - it was gone.

Then I saw it, high in the trees, like the shroud of a dead person who'd burst from the earth and risen to Glory, and I thought "I'm going to have to bring that down or my wife will notice it," and went to get the big pole with the hook on the end. But when I went to the front yard it was gone.

Ahhhh. Well. Then the usual Thursday night; nap, radio show, dinner. Daughter wanted to know if we could go to the grocery store, and of course I said yes; never turn that down. An experience in American culture and packaging and typefaces and general laughter and bonding and all that. It's a sociological expedition, if you're paying attention.

On the way out of the store, we passed a fellow who was talking to no one and everyone; he had his coat drawn close and tight, and said "DAMN it's COLD I'm going back to CALIFORNIA" and Daughter and I gave each other a look: poor fellow. He has no idea what's coming.

On the way back to the house I told her about the runaway plastic sheet, which she found hilarious. I pointed out where it had been - and then saw it had migrated to another tree, even higher up. It could be there all winter.

Well, wife won't know that's my fault.

She took the dog for a walk when she got home, and an hour later I went downstairs for coffee and saw a piece of Styrofoam on the counter. I moved it to the basement without comment.

"Did you get the box off the porch?" she asked. "Because there's a sheet of plastic in the tree."

I don't know why I ever think I could get something past her.

But that's not what happened. What happened was snow. Just a few flakes. They died before they hit the ground. Nothing accumulated. The air was not full of dancing jots of albino precip. Just for a moment, there was the least amount of snow possible. But there was snow.

The wind picked up one of the chairs in the gazebo and knocked it over. Just because it could.

Now begins the Enemy Season. Took a while; November was lovely. But the Holidays are close and it's time for the skies to bear down and give us what we know is coming. I'm ready. I scoff. I welcome the blizzards, standing on my porch, arms akimbo, taunting winter, because I am from this place, and that makes us strong.

I also say that as someone who read the predictions which say El Nino will make this winter extra mild. Which would be great, because I'm already done with something that has yet to really begin.

A kind reader sent a box to the office: hotel stir sticks! And matches! So of course I must share the bounty. These gave me a kick:

The BOOM BOOM ROOM. What I wouldn't give to have a drink in the Boom Boom Room in 1957. The Fontainebleau Hotel ("Where the elites meet to marvel at the number of vowels in the name") is an American mid-century classic, but that doesn't mean the interiors were sleek and Scandinavian. Here's the Boom:

Low and loud. The Poodle:

Fussy, but swank. LaRonde:

Bright and sort-of quasi French. More on the hotel here. You've probably seen it.

That's the opening of the movie, BTW; after the opening theme it jacks the energy right back up. The only word for the score is boss.

Wonder how many takes it took. You'll see what I mean at :48. What timing!

The last of the batch . . . until, of course, it's Christmas time. And then it's Santa-o-rama.

Useless drugs:

Good thing they printed the certificate of quality right on the front; otherwise you might wonder about its purity. This site says:

"S.B. Penick, Sr. founded the Company in Marion, North Carolina in 1914. Its beginnings were humble, as merchants and millers of drugs of vegetable origin gathered from nearby fields and woods.

"World War I created huge demand for the Company’s products and led to significant expansion, acquisitions and the opening of a plant and offices in New York. The pattern of internal growth coupled with acquisitions continued into the mid 1960’s when a multinational conglomerate corporation acquired the S. B. PENICK COMPANY. At the time of its acquisition S.B.Penick was considered by many to be the largest supplier in the world of botanicals for pharmaceutical and allied uses."

Among their popular items: Medical Cannabis. Among their chicken products: THRAM.

Don't you wish there were more products with names like THRAM? I do.




As usual for Friday, the Music Cues. Of course we begin with the Couple Next Door, with its cheerful soundtrack of the mid-century domestic scene. Actual bits of script are left in now and then for surreal effect.

CND Cue #600 The Chord of Domestic Ease with a suprising dose of wah-wah.

Hold on. Didn't we just hear that?


CND Cue #595 But it's different.


Thrilling news from Ma Perkins.

The "Couple Next Door," mentioned in the list of dramas, wasn't.


Seconds later the Martian death ray nailed 'em:

It's what you hear when you've left your body and you're heading for the light, that's my fear.




That'll do it - see you in the usual places!


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