Rainy day: perfect chance to do some shopping. I have a set price in my head for jeans, because I have a rough idea of what it costs to make them, and I will be damned if I pay $98 for jeans. Or $60, for that matter. Sorry. I’ve been buying clothes online for a while from those personal shopping services, and they come up with stuff I’ve never seen anywhere. When I went to Macy’s tonight there was one shirt I liked, and they didn’t have my size.

But of course I could go online and see if it was available, they said.

No. And isn’t online what you brick-and-mortar people are fighting against?

Anyway, I went to Southdale. The Penneys store has been removed and the side of the building cauterized. A LifeTime Fitness will rise on the spot. Apparently they couldn't occupy the old structure, so the entire Penneys had to go.

I feel bad for Penneys. An old and venerable name, mishanded over the years, then run through a brand refit that tried to give them some Apple Store aesthetic, with the end of constant sales and misleading 50% off signs. People hated it. They wanted the signs to lie, and they felt out of place in the upscaled environment.

A local chain, purchased by Bon Ton, which is going through extra-hard deathruptcy:

I tried to find some pants, but the markdown prices were the usual sale prices. Everything Must Go but they're not particularly interested in making it go, I guess.

You had to leave by the stairwell. In case you didn't get the point of the 436 signs in the store:

Nothing held back! Frank opinions of the customers freely expresed!

I was surprised to see a raft of vacancies in Southdale. I mean, a lot.

Most are off the main area, but not all.

I had a sudden, strange, sad conviction: it's dead. It might spring back with different types of retail when two large nearby housing projects are finished - and there are more on the way, including some tall towers. There ought to be enough people to fill these shops, but the only new things coming in are the signs a mall is sagging: nail and brow shops, and independent boutiques that use Papyrus in their name.

What's the problem? Two things. There's the nearby competition in the form of the Maw of America. Would you rather shop in the vacant halls above . . . or here?

Alas, I didn't find the pants I wanted at the Mall, either. At least not the right price. The options for men's clothing were limited, because they're always limited. They're an afterthought.

The other factor: well, you know. I bought something from Amazon, and I was pretty sure it was made in China. Maybe; this could also be American, with that optimistic, slightly childish tech-bro talk that's almost sincere.

Okay, now I think it's from China. Go Green! Throw it away!

This, however, is my favorite. The tag for some Men's Furnishings.

I wish my shopping trip had left me with sense of love wearing star, but that's a lot to ask these days.




Let’s get up to speed:

He was about to be cut in half by a motorized gate, but he’s saved. By Frankenstein.

You know what I mean by that, don’t you? Apparently they didn’t think anyone would notice.

Well, Pidge is being held hostage by a farmer who wants to fine him for trespassing. The Baron is heading there to get the painting, and presumably throw everyone off the track by murdering everyone in the house, including a Federal agent. That always works.

Man, these criminals are serious! We’d better back off.

Yeah. The Baron shows up just as Pidge goes out the back, but a barking dog makes the Baron think “that must be a Federal Agent, escaping,” so he gives chase while Pidge finds a place to hide:

Remember, Pidge is an agent of the government. I don’t know why he doesn’t pull out a gat and bust the whole ring right here. No, he hides the painting that has the safe-deposit slip in the overalls of the scarecrow, taking out the washboard that kept the scarecrow rigid, then drives off so the Baron follows, tosses the washboard out of the window so the Baron will stop, then he crashes his car. Oops. But now he decides to sneak up on the Baron and pretend he has a gun, and force the Baron to drive to headquarters.

Meanwhile, back at Mr. Raymond’s Mansion, the G-Men are looking for a secret exit in the room. Crack observational skills are at work:

They find a secret passage down to a secret door, and they “hear water.”

“This place is by the bay!” says Tommy.

Hello, it’s a secret boat launch! Hats-on fistfight? No, hats are knocked off immediately.

Yes, The Blonde With Questionable Allegiances is in the closet, but pretends she was locked there by the gang. Which escaped, of course. She’s worried: shouldn’t the boat be followed? They have the painting.


No, not guilty at all.

The gang members go back to the Pirate Ship in the waterfront Amusement Park, and they have the rest of the paintings, except for the one that Pidge put in the scarecrow.

You understood that sentence, didn’t you? Right. Well, the gang is peeved, because they ran all the paintings through the X-Ray Machine. The girl must have it!

Back at the FBI, the boss dresses down Pidge for bringing in the Baron, who is, after all a diplomat. The baron leaves just as Pidge talks to X-9 about the real location of the painting. OR DOES HE REALLY LEAVE?

When eavesdropping at the FBI building, make sure you’re lit up and smoking. The Baron tells the gang to go back to the farmhouse, and X-9’s en route as well. X-9 spots the crooks. And so:

All this about a damned painting.


That's it: tomorrow - more, and less. More or less.


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