It's Christmas week! The cards are done, but not out. That's another Bleat. The presents are wrapped, such as they are - we're going light this year. No needs anything! If we learned anything last year, it was that. No one needs anything. Except a new TV because man, those deals are HOT

Today we are talking about a common problem, which is People on the Internet. For some reason I was watching “Star Trek: Generations” the other day, and noted something interesting in the score when Picard and Kirk were riding horses. Was it just me? I googled:

Hey, I’m not the only one! But it’s a good thing I haven’t said this out loud:


What is going on in your life that you lash out at someone who finds a similarity in Star Trek scores?



It’s there, too.

Next, the problem of the people on the Internet who review things for Amazon.

We have a squirrel in the wall. In a sense we have always had a squirrel in the wall. I call it the Caretaker. I’ve gotten bids, and they’re . . . substantial. Could one of those ultrasonic things work?

You’ll find the same device sold by different companies, with a few cosmetic changes. Are the reviews helpful?

Let’s look closer:


Let’s check out a Verified Purchase.

I’ve noticed that dodgy reviews seems to emphasize peculiar things, like the perfection of the transaction.

Has Tony reviewed anything else? Why yes:

Seems to be important to him.

What are they saying in other countries? Completely irrelevant things.

Why does a review for a freezer show up on a page about a Chinese ultrasound pest repellent?

When you look at the review history, you get the sense that these Verified Customers are buying dozens of things every day and posting endless reviews.

I might trust Chameleon078 or 09, but 08 is dead to me.

Why does anyone trust any of these reviews? How many fake reviews of cheap Chinese crap for Amazon . . . what’s the word, tolerate? Ignore? Have to time at all to police whatsoever?

Isn’t it odd that the review system’s integrity seems not to beparticularly important?




This is the end.


As we’ve always said about serials, the end is the worst because it lacks the defining element: the cliffhanger. We’re guaranteed the bad guy’s defeat, and if we’re lucky it will be savory or ironic. You might recall other serials we’ve endured together - the robot crushing its inventor, the Purple Monster being blasted out of the sky, the Japanese evil mastermind falling in a pit of alligators (I think), the Leader who tried to beat Commander - COMMANDO Cody getting arrested, or something.

The Black Tiger has been a unique villain, because we never see him. He has the power to cloud men’s minds, which the Shadow does not. Again: this makes no sense. It’s like Batman having superpowers and the Riddler lives in a cave with winged rodents. But he has a fine sneer. A very theatrical, mannered, ridiculous, menacing sneer.

Who is he? I tagged the police commissioner’s butler long ago. Let’s see if I’m right.

First, back to the resolution of the final cliffhanger: bad times at the Cosmos Club, where the ploutocrats gather to do their plutey things.

Big surprise.

All the plutocrats survived, because the Black Tiger didn’t use a poison gas. He thought it would smarter to gas everyone into unconsciousness then blow the place up.

But! There was a gas mask left behind. Cranston says there are three fingerprints on the mask, and they could be one of the three remaining Cosmos Club guys. The police commissioner wants them arrested and fingerprinted, but they can't be found by the authorities.


That narrows it down. Too bad the president is too busy on Tax Message to assist.

Interesting news on the left: Plotters Flee as Crash in Averted. It's like news from another serial.

We got to the Black Tiger’s HQ, where . . . where the missing industrialists are being kept. We never saw the abduction. In the holding cell, a chilling warning!

Meanwhile, Cranston’s found the Black Tiger’s HQ. He just has, that’s all. He observed a couple of henchmen going in and out if a suspicious location. That’s all it took. He decides to approach by stealth:

After a hats-on fistfight he gets into the Black Tiger’s Lair, and there is taunting.


Before we get back to that, notice that the Shadow was prepared to plug the guy right in head.

ANYWAY WHO? Oh right, one of the industrialists. We’d just seen him in the holding cell. I was wrong.

Great moments in Supervillain Fast Reflexes:

You’ll never take me alive! He has a rousing bout of fisticuffs with Cranston, and manages to beat him. And so:

Wha? He kills himself? No: he was wearing a steel vest, and didn’t realize his desk was charged after Cranston shot it up. So zap, and that’s it.

Except, of course, the historically underwhelming conclusion, which usually involves celebratory laughter and a suggestion of carnal pleasures that's mild enough to sail over the pre-adolescent's head, but is strong enough to disgust the kids who hate that mushy stuff.

Oh right I can't come along because you'll be having sex

Well, that's it for this year. Next year: much better.



Hey, it looks as if I screwed up the matches last week; the dates are wrong in the FTP program. That means you get a HUGE helping today. I have to finish the Restaurant section before the end of the year, or . . .

Or . . .

I don't know what happens if I don't. I'm guessing nothing.



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