Today, of course, we dug out. That’s the next cliche. First it’s coming down, then we’re walloped or slammed, and then we dig out. My underwhelming shoveling service did not come by to do the driveway (yes, I have a service. I’d use a snowblower but I have an inordinate amount of sidewalk. A ridiculous amount. It’s the peculiarity of the lot) and when they did come, they ran the snowblower over an electric extension cord that powered the holiday lights. Not plugged in, so the operator did not levitate for a few seconds while his skeleton blinked on and off. He knotted the severed cord into a knot and hung it on my back door.
Thanks! Appreciate the heads-up.
Side streets still rutted at noon, but clear by evening rush hour. Why? Because they had damned well better be, that’s why.
So I went to work, wrote a piece, handed in the column I wrote last night. I had to do a replacement Minnesota Moment for something I wrote last week; wasn’t significant enough. I suppose they were right, but I liked the story.
It’s February 13, 1906. Two children are playing on the ice over Chester Creek in Duluth, and fell into the frigid water. William, who was five hung on the edge, feet kicking as he tried to touch bottom. Alice went in up to her chin. Both screamed; no one came. Agnes finally crawled out “over the shoulders of her small companion, who pluckily hung to the ice,” as the Duluth Evening Herald put it, “in danger every minute of being carried under.”
Agnes knew she had to get William out by herself. “ Three times she tugged away, and nearly got him out, but the boy had become so chilled that he could not help her, and he slipped back. Almost disheartened, the brave little girl made a fourth desperate effort, and this time she managed to pull her companion clear of the water. “ They ran home, and the newspaper reports they were “given stimulants and put to bed.”
I liked that last part: here, have some coffee and let us rub you with nettles. Now sleep. I can see why the editors thought eh, what’s the big deal? Neither child went on to earth-changing accomplishments, although who knows what sort of George-Bailey effect they might have had. The papers, however, noted that Agnes Gordon Alexander was the grand-daughter of Gen. E. P. Alexander, a Confederate general who was still alive at the time.
Gen. Alexander commanded the artillery at Gettysburg, and he directed the covering fire for Pickett’s Charge - a battle won by the last-minute appearance of the First Minnesotan Regimen. It was a moment that broke the back of the South, some say; the war was lost from that day on.
It would be too pat to learn that William’s grandfather fought in the First Minnesotan, but it’s possible he served in the Civil War. In any case, you can only wonder how the old general felt upon learning his granddaughter had saved a Minnesota boy. It had been a long time. You’d like to think he was proud.
So that one was shelved. and I wrote something about a famous hanging. In both cases, there was a matter of feet unable to find purchase, and given my slip on the ice last Saturday I seem to have a theme for these days.
I will note this about the post-snow-storm day: I hurt, all over. My lower back was twinging and aching from pushing out the cars, my shoulder blades and arms were slightly sore from shoveling; my left index finger hurt because I slipped while pushing out a car and hit it on something hard; my side still hurts a bit from slipping on the ice and clipping the back steps, and the Keanu-Reeves-in-the-Matrix maneuver I had to do while falling pulled one of those strings on the inside of the leg. But what you do is stand up straight and square your shoulders and soldier on. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right?
Yeah, no; I wrote a column about this. I should link to those. The number of things which do not kill you are large and mostly trivial - paper cuts, stepping on a Lego, eating a Triscuit - and none of them give you additional strength; otherwise, going to the gym would consist of sitting in a chair and playing Sudoko. Well, that didn’t kill me; must be stronger now. If something get close enough to killing you, it does not provide enstrengthenment. Well, I just beat pneumonia - I could whip a dozen tigers!
Note: many people sent me alerts about Rosie the Riveter dying, or rather the woman who may have been the inspiration for the “We Can Do It” poster. She had a better claim than the one many thought was the model, and that’s just as well; the one originally thought to be the model may have been able to Do It, but decided to Stop Doing It because she feared she’d injure her hand and be unable to play cello.
The article cited above links to this page, which has the Rockwell Rosie the Riveter cover by Norman Rockwell. The great Norman Rockwell. Does anything look familiar about it? I keep reading about it and no one brings it up. (Amend that; found something in an obit for the model.)
Anyway. Here. Annnnd here.
Lately we have been enduring the second iteration of . . .
He was held up over a cliff by an electrical thingamabob. Then he fell. However did he escape?
You’ll notice that the Boy Wonder ran to his rescue - but oh no, there are henchmen in his way! Two of them! However will he get past them?
OH FOR GOD’S SAKE.
But they catch up and knock him out and throw him the back of the truck, and drive off. He wakes up in the back next to a tank of Convenient Marking Fluid:
So he lays a trail for The Batman to find him. Assuming he wasn’t killed by the fall, of course. He doesn’t know if Batman survived. (We cut back to shots of Batman climbing back up the hill, and up trees, until:
What style. Back in the game. Meanwhile, back at the shack where they’re keeping Morton, the guy who has the super-explosive know-how, they taunt the captive by telling him the Wizard will be coming soon, not realizing that Robin, who escaped, is in the shack.
The Wizard eventually shows up. The dude has some issues.
He tries to get the secret out of Mortin, but he won’t talk, so he hypnotizes him. Nice shot:
They spot Robin, and shoot him. Turns out it’s just his boots. He's run away. He is recaptured, but Batman shows up just in time to save the day!
They rally, and save Morton, who was left behind for some reason. Back at Stately Wayne Manor, they tune in to the radio newsman who always has a plot point; the henchmen hear that Morton is at the hospital under police guard, so the henchmen say ah hah that’s where he is.
Lois Lane has one of those new modern compact cameras:
Hospitals, Forties style:
Anyway, anyway BATMAN TRAPPED, let’s get to it. They go an office building where the Wizard thinks the Secret Formula might be. It’s rather spare:
Now this is a Batmove.
A hats-on fistfight follows, but alas:
Hey, the title said Batman would be trapped. That's zapped. No fair.
That'll do; see you tomorrow.