When I open the door to let Scout outside he sticks his nose into the cold air, and leaves the house like someone in a movie who’s going outside after the tornado has passed. He doesn’t like it, and you wouldn’t like it if your bathroom had two feet of snow on the ground.

All distress was forgotten when I made my lunch for later; the smell of turkey breast made him drool. I gave him a few pieces and went upstairs to shower, knowing there were still a few scraps on the counter. I was going to give him those before I left, in his bowl, with commands to wait and then a command to chow down.

He was standing in the bathroom when I got out of the shower, ears down, tail thrashing back and forth. He looked away. He put up a paw. I knew he had eaten the scraps from the counter, but this was something new. He had come up to apologize before he was busted.

And, of course, it worked.

Went to the office.. The world felt like it was made of crushed ice - smack it, and it shatters. The heater takes too long to blast out the torrid air I require; the new-fallen snow was so thick the curb was two feet away, and my foot went into the snow and the snow went into bare shin. It’s like getting in the car and you sit down and your sweater rides up and your exposed lower back hits cold leather. Most everyone who lives here hates it now. Oh, there are bikers. Oh, there are hardy skiers who exult in the crisp bracing crisply braced glee of it all, but most of us just hate it here now.

But you get out and you do things. I walked to the Library to take a picture of the Opus project, passed through a high-80s office tower being renovated to remove its overall mauve-ness and cold marble grandeur. Paused to find the occasional beauty. It’s there.


By the way: here's the picture from which this week's Bleat Banner was excerpted.

It's a few blocks from my office.

It's Screencap Friday! I just made that up. Whether or not it'll be a regular feature I don't know, and of course it doesn't matter whether it is, or it isn't. Who cares! Anyone keeping track? Any price to pay if this entire site turns into a bitter rant about customer support at the Murphys Oil Soap Hotline for six months? No. As I've said before, the things that kill a site aren't joylessness or monomania, but joyless monomania. You can be humorless about different things, and be interesting; you can be monomaniacal but funny, and people will come back. But not both.

The Alexa app keeps track of your interactions, and lets you tell her when she got something right. This was an instance of playing Jeopardy when she really did not understand what I said.

Thing is, this was my answer to another question. I actually did say brett favre, but in response to a football question. But it looks amusing.

I often enjoy the way Buzzfeed reveals the utter weightlessness and infantile character of the silly little millennials who can't even. But you wish they could write.

Sam needs to check his privilege because there are people who are serious suffering from anxiety okay and this is not okay

You know what, Sam? I used to suffer from crippling anxiety, and it's not funny. It's not about standing in line and wondering if you got anything. It's about not being able to stand in line at all, Sam, because you can't leave the house, and if you do manage to work up the courage you're wondering if your heart is going to explode right here because you're constantly wondering about that, Sam. Not okay. Reported. Triggering. Disrespectful. Check your privilege.

No, I'm not serious, even though I did suffer from anxiety for many years. It would never occur to me to take offense to this, but he's a buzzfeed writer so I'm sure he understands that some things are just NOT FUNNY OKAY because problems.

Worst interface I've seen in a while: it's a PDF compilation program. Please later . .

Everything looked like this for a while, once.

In case you're curious: that's a compilation of all the archived Bleats into one wad.

I only post this because it's grim and ugly, so you have context for how nice it looks later.

Meanwhile, at the end of the Nicollet Mall, the mess is still messy:


And I put this up so you can say "I was there from the start!" next summer when the girders are up.

This is a view that will soon disappear forever.





We're doing Gildersleeve cues this year - but I can't not tell you about the cliches of the show. It's a window into 40s culture, and the cliches that shaped TV comedies into the 60s.

In the style of the sitcoms, the show progressed through dependable, predictable setpieces with supporting characters: Judge Hooker, who turned from enemy to friend, and bone-dry adenoidal wisdom of Peavey the Druggist, whose catchphrase (well, now, I wouldn’t say that) could bring the house down. Hooker’s catchphrase was his laugh, invariably described as a billygoat sound. Gildersleeve’s old catchphrase - you’re a haaaard man, McGee - was replaced with a limp, and equally unamusing, “this is going to be one of my baaaaad days.”

Then they dumped the catchphrases for sounds. Gildersleeve had four sounds, which appear in every ep.

  Ohhhh! (raspberry)


  The Quadruple Sigh. It was never used for disappointment or moroseness; it was a sound he made when he wanted to relax.


  The Patently False Laugh, deployed when he was revealed to have lied, or misrepresented something.


  The Dirty Chuckle. It had various lengths and amounts of laciviousness.


People expected these every episode, and for the most part, they got them.

Back to the cues:


  As noted last week, the first few years had the same format: Announcer, opening theme, ad, stock second theme, announcer saying we're going to visit the Great Gildersleeve, then the custom cue.

  Different every show! It was a lot to write, and it wasn't necessary. But they were spending a lot of money on this show, I think.


  This week's ad: the return of Horlicks! It's from 1936. The announcer tries some secret-shopper shenanigans.



Half Satin, Half Latin: 1960.

One of the songs Elgart and his brother wrote was the theme for Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

This isn't it.



New this year: end-of-show aphorisms! Folk wisdom to end the week.

They only did this when they had to fill a little time.


Text at the bottom.



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