Fall in all full fall strength today - cooler, rainy, that whole season-of-mists-and-mellow-fruitfulness thing Keats was nattering on about. But it’s still technically summer, and everything is confidently green. The crickets are out tonight in defeating numbers. I’m dressed for warmth, though, and there was a time today when I wandered over to the thermostat -

And stayed my hand. Not yet. There will be a day when the whoomph! Of the blower downstairs is a welcome sound, because it’ll be orange and brown and green outside, and everyone will have that Fall Nostalgia of bittersweet memories compounded from long-ago days we’ve rewritten into happy childhood memories, but not yet.

I did just turn on the gas fireplace, though, because damn, it’s chilly.

Well, I’ve nothing to add about today, because the Hennepin County Waste Disposal Center was closed, and I was hoping to bring you highlights of the end of the road for several pieces of consumer electronics. Tomorrow, perhaps. Let’s see . . . anything else? I scanned. Lord, I scanned a LOT.

Where, do you think, will this end up at lileks.com? What's the product?







Clickbait? In my google news feed? It could happen to you, because it happened to me. Couldn’t resist “Ten things about Deep Space 9 that didn’t age well,” because I was pretty sure most of them were wrong. And they were. The main villain was too . . . villainy! C’mon. Gul Dukat was one of the best Trek villains ever. The setting was wrong for a Star Trek show! Okay, you’re a fool. It did make me wonder if I should watch the second season of Discovery, because it pains me endlessly that there is Trek on and I don’t like it. I mean, I really didn’t like it. Through and through. All the characters annoyed me, the reimagining of the TOS period, the unearned leap to the Mirror Universe - bleh.

As long as we’re on the subject, though . . . let’s talk about the ridiculousness of the uniforms in Star Trek 3.

But perhaps we should talk first about the things that are good. The shots of the Excelsior - what a beautiful ship.

I don’t know if there’s anything more perfectly mid-80s than Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon. The problem is that we know see “Christopher Lloyd! As a Klingon!” but he’s good.

The idea of hijacking the Enterprise, and showing it can run with a crew of five, seemed natural; of course they’d take it to save Spock, because it was their ship.

And that’s what makes the third-act heartbreak wrong, but we’ll get to that. The scene in which they back the Enterprise out of space dock - the needlessly vast interior space where the ships are sheltered makes no sense, but it’s cool, and it does give a sense of scale for the station.

You would think that Kirk could have forged some documents to cover his mission, but okay.

The graphics have not aged well, but we give them a pass on that. It's the uniforms.

As I understand it, the flaps get removed when you're not on duty, or something, but it seems like a rather large amount of fabric involved for something that could be communicated in another way - and it also cuts down on the distinction between roles. Obviously they're doing it with collar color here.

I don't know if I liked it at the time, or told myself I did because it was new and cool.

Let's go back to the first movie:

Updated, but classic. And Kirk gets to be Buff:

Kirk by the last movie:

Perhaps that's a compromise. It looks like a dickey.

Also a problem: the other captains are uninspiring figures.

At the time this was okay, because it made Kirk more awesome. But it made the Federation seem feck-deficient.

Another thing: the destruct sequence codes are basically “PASSWORD 1234.”

And that’s that problem. I understand why they had to blow it up plot-wise. The shots of the ship blowing up were heart-rending, even though they made no sense - the bridge blows up first? There’s no core detonation?

But they didn’t have to do that. By blowing up the Enterprise they raised the bar, and the subsequent ship punishment that seemed required of every movie was set in motion.

Granted, it does provide a great line from Kirk as he watches the wreck flame through the atmosphere: My God. What have I done.

When the D was destroyed in “Generations,” it was a great sequence - but at the time I remember thinking, they can fix it! They have the saucer, just stick it on another body! No. We got the Sovereign class, which left me tepid. The Enterprise had been reduced to a vehicle, not a symbol.

They can only blow up the Enterprise once . . .

. . . which is why they crash-landed it the second time. And again. and again.

Oh sorry spoilers





It’s 1899.

What is the origin of that term, anyway?

This seems to be a sensible explanation:

Charles G. Leland, writing in The English Gypsies and Their Language (1874), says the use of “shaver” for a child “is possibly inexplicable, unless we resort to Gipsy, where we find it used as directly as possible.”

However, the Oxford English Dictionary, the most authoritative guide to English etymology, says “shaver” is simply derived from the verb “shave” and the suffix “-er.”

When the verb “shave” first showed up around 725 in a glossary of Latin and Old English terms, it meant to scrape or pare away the surface of something by removing thin layers.

If you think of those layers, or shavings, as little pieces of the original, the figurative use of “shaver” to mean a boy makes perfect sense, much like the 17th-century expression “chip off the old block.”

It'll do.

Good news! It’s RICH in Gluten!




How things flip. They’d look at us askance today. You're . . . you have a what?

Interesting font.


They had one more year in business; then they were part of Ivers Johnson.

You may not know what this is, right away:


Dry plate, in photography, glass plate coated with a gelatin emulsion of silver bromide. It can be stored until exposure, and after exposure it can be brought back to a darkroom for development at leisure. These qualities were great advantages over the wet collodion process, in which the plate had to be prepared just before exposure and developed immediately after. The dry plate, which could be factory produced, was introduced in 1871 by R.L. Maddox. It was superseded by celluloid film early in the 20th century.


That’s an enticing claim, if you’re unhappy with your work.


The last job in the list: English Branches?


Notice the back! It’s needlessly complex and will tangle up after a day or two!





Worn since antiquity, the puttee was adopted as part of the service uniform of foot and mounted soldiers serving in British India during the second half of the nineteenth century. In its original form the puttee comprised long strips of cloth worn as a tribal legging in the Himalayas. The British Indian Army found this garment to be both comfortable and inexpensive, although it was considered to lack the smartness of the gaiter previously worn.

Spats, BTW, were originally called spatterdashes, and protected the ankle and shoe from mud.

The Gable-JFK effect: a King stopped wearing them, and men followed.

Spats were another clothing accessory left off by the King in 1926. It is said that the moment this was observed and commented on by the spectators it produced an immediate reaction; the ground beneath the bushes was littered with discarded spats.


I can think of many things that are far more rare:

No one ever believes that an inflatable mattress is better than a real mattress.


1899, and they have the voice recorder:

NO BOTHER MUCH FUN. You wonder how many hours of people’s voices were lost when the format changed from cylinders to disks.




Let's drop in on the far-away yet oh-so-relatable world of 1916, as seen through the work of Clare Briggs. See you around.



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