Daughter’s 18th birthday went fine, and I am as exhausted now as if we’d had a house full of preteens or toddlers in a bouncy castle. I got the presents wrapped, the cupcakes, the candles, the mylar balloon; I went to three places to get Brazilian money to put in a small little repurposed Japanese school lunch money pouch I’d found, but there was none to be had. “We only have the popular currencies,” one bank said.

So I printed out some old Brazilian money - which, as faithful readers know, I have in abundance. Well, not abundance, but there’s a site somewhere on lileks.com with 20 pages worth, so that’s close. Then we ordered Thai food that was incendiary - the spice level options were 1 - 5, and wife was unable to eat 2; daughter soldiered through 3, and at least, as she said, it got her to drink her milk for once.

Then cupcakes and gifts and the movie, the montage, and not a dry eye in the house. I’d seen it enough times so I was inured to the conclusion, but at one point when I dropped in some “Grand Budapest Hotel” music Daughter gave me a look that said it all - a few plinky notes on a mandolin that summed up everything unspoken. Then I got to work flooding the bathroom.

I had not intended to do this; I had to fish a dead bird out of the Oak Island Water Feature first, and this I did. Some day I will bird a dead fish out of it. Ha ha. The bird fell apart upon contact with the rake, but most of the parts were bagged. THEN the toilet. It was leaking, ever so slightly. While my commode gently weeps, I sang to myself. Had to shut off the water to the ground floor just as wife came home from walking the dog and filled her hands with liquid soap, so I had to turn the water on, then off, and then set about reseating the flush mechanism. I got it all done after a while and turned on the water and sat down outside to talk to my wife, and when I went in I heard a horrible hissing because one part was not connected and oh god so much water

I ran around the corner to get the towels and the mop, slipped, hit the ground like a VW Bug dropped from 20 feet, smacked my head on the fridge, bloodied my knuckles on something, got up, went down the stairs, fell on my tailbone, got the bucket and mop and towels -

And thank GOD Natalie’s piano teacher dropped by to say goodbye, which gave me precious moments to soak everything up. She stayed to watch the video, and there was not dry eye in the house. Then she left and I went outside and Birch had a big rat in his mouth.

By waving some food I got him to come inside, which meant he really didn’t want this thing. I got a shovel and a bag, and discovered it was a possum. Really a rat with a better fictional backstory, if you think about it. Perhaps it was not dead, but was playing at the whole “dead” thing; I got it the shovel and put it outside the gate. While I am normally soft-hearted about these things I was not particularly concerned with the disposition of Poor Mr. Possum at this point.

Now my back hurts like hell. Daughter is off with friends. It’s odd to have this birthday so close to the Great Departure, but it’s fitting. It’s like a door shut with a nail gun, one day at a time. I’m sitting outside by myself at 11 PM with Birch on the sofa, and I don’t know when Daughter will be home; it’ll feel like this next Monday, too.

This may seem odd but I don’t entirely have the feeling that this is the end of everything anymore. I mean, I do, but less so. This week has been factored into my mindset for so long the worst has been imagined. Also the worst upon the worst, the worst that follows the worst. Changes are pretty good I’ll see her again, no? Yes?

What I crave more than anything is just normal moments at home. Glad the Birthday’s done. Tomorrow I just want to get up and make her coffee and offer eggs and watch her bounce out the door to go off to something, see her later in the afternoon, send her a tweet about a dog, have a little chat about the news or some piece of cool information.

The other night we were having a heart-to-heart, and I laid it out: I am just tired of endings. My God, it’s been an unending series of endings. All the strands are knotted, the arteries cauterized, the routines concluded, the most commonplace duties erased from the roster. Everything that matters is ending and nothing rises up to take their place.

“I think you should get a tattoo,” she said.

She knows I hate tattoos. We argue about this. She torments me: when I go abroad I’m totally going to get a tattoo at some sketchy place. Okay so you’ll be telling future employers you have poor impulse control

“No it’ll be . . . a thing, a connection, you and me, it’ll mean something. A little reminder.”

“It can’t be visible, what if you disappear in Brazil? It would haunt me every time I saw it.”


“You say that now. You won’t have to live with a tattoo that makes me explain what happened to everyone I meet. I mean, if someone asked, it would be horrible. She was lost in Brazil. If someone doesn’t ask, I will have to bring it up because it’s important.”


“I supposed I could put it under my watchband,” I said. I wouldn’t have to look at it but I would know it was there.”

“Really? Would you really get a tattoo?”

“If you designed it.”

She grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and started sketching something.

The moment I realized what it was, I knew I would get it tattooed on my wrist.

On my wrist, something I would see when I took off my watch, and let go of the reminders of time. A symbol of something we did to while away the afternoons long ago.

And that’s all I will say. Unless you meet me some day, and ask.




It’s 1964.

Televisions are bigger, better, and cost less than $399.

Of course, that’s four hundred smackers in 1964 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $3,200. For a thousand dollars less today, you can get a 65” 4K OLED TV, the quality of which would make someone weep with awe in ’64. By the way, that’s not the TV you get for four bills. The fine print says the price only applies to the Darcy, or Darey - can’t quite tell from this size, and the internet doesn’t say anything about that particular model. Which is odd, because there are vintage TV obsessives out there who’ve built websites that talk about tube specs for fifteen pages.

Odd how they still use Victor after so many years. RCA bought the Victor Talking Machine company in 1929.

I have to throw this in, because it’s fun. The old Victory factory’s tower has . . . well, you can see for yourself.

A perfect example of the new style of advertising:

Looks like a fashion photographer shot it - some famous name known for his stark style. (See also, Smirnoff.) Cheeky tagline that blows apart the old expectations. Once upon a time they’d say of course Canada Dry makes you a better host; how could you doubt that? Now they say it won’t. And you sort-of believe it will, because you’re the person who’s not swayed by ads. You’re smart.


You should stay at this motel chain because they are nice to runaway girls:

The HoJo’s address is given: 1017 Stone Drive, Kingsport TN. Well:

Two Yelp reviews.

I have stayed at this location several times and this may have been one of the worse. My  husband And I checked in late in the afternoon. SO we had the displeasure of meeting Warren. He was very rude, and on top of his less polite attitude he checked us in to a very nasty fowl smelling room.


I’ve been in chicken coops; that’s a nasty aroma.


The staff is rude, every time I have called at the time I was told the manager will be there he never is and now they will not even answer the phone. When and if they answer they don't answer my question they just hang up on me. There was shot gun shell casing in the parking lot!!! The rooms smelled so bad, our kids room had a big hole in the ceiling, there was no ceiling tile even and there was black mold around the toilet seat!!!!!. We was there for the NASCAR race so if you are going there for that DO NOT STAY HERE!!!!!!!

Also: Pimps and prostitutes galore!!!! If your in the market for that then stay, if not keep on driving


I don’t know what you need to know about your milk except MAGIC CRYSTALS.

Elegant 60s dining: brown with candles. Candles! They’re so romantic.


My favorite part of the ad? Learning that Durkee sauces were owned by Glidden, of all people. GLIDDEN. A frickin’ paint company. Now, Wikipedia says the the company because Glidden-Durkee in 1967, when Glidden merged with SCM, which was . . . ready? Smith-Corona. So your sauces came from a paint and typewriter company.

Now it’s owned by - oh, who cares.

They tried everything. No matter how much they try to rebrand the experience, everyone knows it’s “lemon-lime,” which is to say, neither.


In 1998, one commercial poked fun at products which featured cartoon mascots. In it, the mascot for a fictitious drink called "Sun Fizz" comes to life, terrifying the kids and mother, and starts to chase them. This commercial is also notorious for ending on a cliffhanger which remains unresolved to this day.

That’s pretty good.

No one would care about this today:

No one expects anything from their service station.

Why had no one thought of this before?

Was there a technological hindrance that kept everyone locked in a one-ply paradigm for decades?


That'll do. Scoop's merry vacation continues.


blog comments powered by Disqus