You know, I think they’re having a sale.

I went to Southdale on Saturday to glean shirts and pants from the end-of-season sales. We’re beyond summer, you know. It’s over. Everyone’s fall-fashion-forward now! This is the only time I shop for clothes, and I have to deal with what’s left - in most cases that’s fine, because it’s not like these stores had my size in abundance to begin with.

“Say, there are all these online competitors to our bricks ’n’ mortar model. How about we compete by providing a robust selection of smaller sizes?”

“Well, no. The market is - you’ll excuse the pun - quite small.”

“It’s not really a pun. Point is, when we carry smaller sizes, they sell out immediately. The end of season sales are always choked with XLs and XXLs. Ought we not adjust our inventory, based on years of evidence?”

“Jetson? Yyyyyouuurrrrrr FIRED”

I found a few shirts that fit, if I rolled up the sleeves. The Smalls are now 14 - 14 1/2, and while I usually take a 14 1/2, they trend small, so I look like Bruce Banner a few seconds into the anger-transformation process. The Mediums are 15 - 15 1/2, which fit in the chest but are long in the arms.

Providing a wide selection of shirts whose fit can be ascertained on-site would seem to be a profitable niche, but Macy’s isn’t interested. At least the shirts were on sale: whew! One or two days a year they’re not, and some rube walks in and pays $59 for a shirt, but the rest of the time the deals are AMAZING, I’m talking 40% off! How do they stay in business.

Interesting detail from the Herberger’s going out of business sale:

I’m thinking that “job security” probably isn’t foremost in the mind of someone intrigued by the offer.









It’s that time where it seems as if I’m going to engage in some grueling review of something you haven’t seen or don’t care about, but it’s really some equally uninteresting personal thing I have to get off my chest because my family is tired of hearing about it, or wouldn’t care in the first place.

And with that spectacular build-up, I give you: The Horrible Feeling of Not Caring. I’ve been trying to write about this for some time from different angles, with different approaches, because I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Oh, no one’s alone in anything. But you experience it by yourself. There’s common experiences we can understand on a rational level, but an empathetic reaction doesn’t always follow. Let me put the Horrible Feeling in the following terms:

I don’t care about Star Trek except for DS9.

That, you may think, is a ridiculously unimportant thing to say. And it is. It’s like saying “My enthusiasm for another Superman movie is less than it has been in previous years.” Grow up! Criminey. But I’ve always loved Star Trek, and it’s one of the few things that has been around since I was ten. Sports fills the same function for others.

Earlier this year I watched the original series on Netflix, in nice HD, and thought “this will be the last time I do this.” I’ve no idea why I watched it. Comfort food, something familiar - start from the start, reacquaint yourself so you don’t lose a trivia contest, see it with fresh eyes. (It had been a long time since I’d actually watched it.) It made me feel . . . old. The future was so long ago.

Occasionally I would dip into TNG, but it now feels like a period piece as well - a statement of civilizational confidence that seems less apparent these days, since everyone has to agree that everything is awful, and we are awful. Voyager got better towards the end, but the characters aren’t very engaging. I have admiration for “Enterprise” for reasons irrelevant here, but there aren’t many eps I’d rewatch that don’t have Phlox, Trip, T’Pau, and the Andorian dude.

I’ve meant to get back to DS9 for years, because I remember the density of the arcs, and that kept me from rewatching. Where to start? You begin with the discovery of the Latest Threat to the Federation, and then you have to chew through years of back-and-forth losses and victories, with lots of personal eps in between. This is the one where Character X deals with His Father. This is the one where Character Y has a Problem specific to his Alien Culture. And so on. The only ones that matter are the ones that drive the geopolitical conflicts, because A) they are the best means to reveal character, and B) they’re the most interesting.

This I never forgot.

Now. Miles O’Brien was a minor character on TNG, and he’s a rock on DS9. And he’s a secondary character. Everyone is a secondary character on DS9, and they’re all fantastic. (Well, except Bashir.) They built emotional webs between the characters that exceeded anything any other Trek show had accomplished.

What is hitting me right between the eyes now is the excellence of the performance of these two guys:

Garak, the Simple Tailor. Ran a shop on the Promenade. Solicitous, sarcastic, courtly, evasive - a facade of manners that hid his past life as a member of the really, really bad guys - and, in the end, a good man. Fiercely intelligent and estranged from his home.

Gul Dukat.

Just about the best villain Trek ever had, partly because he wasn’t the Embodiment of Evil. He was vain, clever, manipulative, charming, cold, and occasionally accessible on a personal level - you had to respect him and you could hate him intellectually, but not entirely with your heart.

One year in DC my wife and I went to a Halloween party as Trek characters, and she was a great Kira.




Oh, and Worf finally gets to be a Klingon, instead of getting his ass kicked every episode by every Super Being who appeared on the bridge. Oh, and Quark turns into the thing Trek could never get otherwise: comic relief that wasn’t cute.

Anyway. Point is: it’s a dark place, DS9. It doesn’t look like the Federation. The interfaces are all wrong. It’s all complicated. There’s no happy bright corridors with new recruits bonding along with a confident stride on their way to check out the roots of the new hybrid plants in Xenohorticulture on deck 23. It has a brothel.

I love it, and it’s the last piece of Trek that still connects.




It’s 1941.

Cooler, milder? Good Lord, if that was true by the standards of the day then smoking anything else must have been like inhaling the effluence of an industrial smokestack.

Vera Gilmer hand a brief run as a pin-up girl, with a couple of appearances in some radio shows. According to the deets on a 1941 Life mag cover shot, she was a kindergarten teacher. Perhaps that’s what she went back to doing when the phone stopped ringing.

I can almost place the artist. Almost.

What's the worry?


This word was part of my childhood, since Dad was a Texaco man. I never knew what it mean, except that it modified “Lubrication.” Wikipedia:

The name is derived from an Arabic word مرفق marfaq, meaning “elbow”.

Oh. What? Well: the name was attached to two stars, suggesting it had a role in a constellation. And then it hit me: STARS. Of course.



  What the hell are they doing? Skiing on a beach? Is this the sort of madness that consumes you once you start dunking yeast in that gawdawful thick goop with the acidic taste? Boy, you’re full of energy, skill, and coordination! Have you been eating yeast? Or do you chalk up your vim to liver?

Boy, you’re full of energy, skill, and coordination! Have you been eating yeast? Or do you chalk up your vim to liver?

Oh God twice a day Did they just add that because they knew no one could do it, and thus would blame only themselves if they didn’t have the desired effect? Upside: doubled sales


Yeast is a dish best served at revenge temp: mash a cold cake and add cold tomato juice.



Closed eyes and a smile: the time-honored sign of self-satisfaction.

Robert Day. There’s not a lot of info about him. 1900 - 1985, known for New Yorker work.

Waterman's: still around, and one of the "few remaining first-generation fountain pen companies." You may infer the annoyance of fountain-pen writing in general by the ad's assurances.

Confidentailly, it isn't work! Well, yes, it is.


Scoop awaits, and as I said last week: this is where it turns into a completely different strip. Subject matter AND art style.


blog comments powered by Disqus