Now begins the end. Let us toast the diminution of summer, a thing we never believe until it is upon us.

The other day I went downstairs to the basement pantry to get some peanuts. The carpet was damp.

There is no possible scenario in which this is a good thing. Well, no, one: you just spilled some water, and are relieved that the dampness is easily explained, instead of suggesting some dire situation that will require professionals and an exsanguination of the bank account.

I found the problem after a while, and despaired. I think the weepage comes from a PVC pipe, not the ancient drain to which it is bolted. It’s not a bit thing to replace, but my fear is that it will have to be brought up to code. I had this with another old pipe situation. Can’t just replace that part. Got to bring it up to code.

Whether this is true, I don’t know; it seems likely. No plumbing company would argue against a law that required any small repair to include bringing everything UP TO CODE. It makes me wonder how I get in touch with the rogue plumbers guild, a swashbuckling league led by the Robert DeNiro character in Brazil. He’d do it. Good as new. Right as rain. Well, not rain, that’s wet, and you don’t want that.

If it is indeed a metric keisterload of money, I will not be surprised. This has been the year when everything started to fail, when trees had to be removed, the fence finally fixed - all NINE MILES OF IT - and other sundry details that make you gaze upon your capital outflow and weep. Oh and college tuition.

Oh and inflation.

I’m not hurting; we’re fine. I’m just complaining, because if I can’t vent to you, who can I bore with these everyday things? Co-workers? Hah! There aren't any. Can't really bring it up in a Zoom meeting.

Anyway. Good weekend, that aside. It being summer - and I'll hang on to that until August rings down - I had a gin and tonic.  Every time I have a gin and tonic I think I should have more gin and tonics. Not right then, although that is occasionally the case, but in general. It’s so civilized and English and all that, old chap. It has . . . botanicals! So does my bag of lawn clippings.

You have to admire the way it surmounted its wretched Hogarthian reputation. Or its Orwellian rep, if you wish.

I usually have a bottle of the stuff around, and it’s the cliched choics: Bombay or Beefeater or Gordons’. Which are good! The NYT says so.   But this summer I tried some others, which ranged from paint-thinner to “I like it because I like the bottle” to the one I’m on now, which has about 351 botanicals packed in. Can’t discern any of them. Am I tasting Licorice? Sorry, liquorice? Can’t say. Hmm, does my exquisitely tuned palate pick up a note, say a 16th note, of coriander? Wheatgrass? Fir? Welsh Moss? All I know is that I have to cut it with a lot of tonic and give it a punishing gout of lime juice, because it has notes of something you can only describe as worrisomely industrial.

This is next.

  Gin label design is quite good these days, since the image of the drink suggests a civilized pleasure.

Buy it because there are railway stations named after it!

Tequila labels can be interesting, but they’re all over the road. A lot of them go for a "traditional" look - "Mexican" fonts, a skull, an old unchanged label to indicate it's venerable, even though the stuff came out of the pipe last week. This is now my current blanco:

  At the risk of horrifying everyone, I will admit to liking this, with grapefruit juice, a drink I call a Chihuahua. A play off the Greyhound, ha ha, because, you know, Mexican dog. (If you use red grapefruit juice, it’s a Raw Chihuahua.)

Bourbon design is stuck in a ditch of Deadwood cliches. I haven’t seen a bottle that impressed me since Bulliet, and that was a long time ago. Same with expensive whisky from some wind-swept island in Scotland. Long name, serif type. And expensive. You don't know if you'll like it. But it really opens up with some water!

So do my pipes.


You know, I’m starting to think they paid a lot of money for ol’ Jimmy, and wanted people to know it. Or, he was just that big of a draw himself.

This one was made. The story: the Champ gets mixed up in shady business, and has to take a dive. Will he? Or will he do the right thing for the gal of his dreams? You have to be Barton Fink not to have the answer to that.





  Let's catch up with the exciting head-'em-off-at the-pass music.

It wasn’t much of a cliffhanger - Buck was in peril, there’s a surprise.

He escapes, but Wilma and Prince Tallin, the Smart Saturnian - the others appear to be doddering idiots - are imprisoned by the Zugs, who have never known anything but sullen, brutish servility. They’re really not good at being top dogs.

Hugga munga munga hugga

They are, it seems, capable of speech. I love this:

Buck, of course, storms the Council of the Wise, and frees the earth dude from the Amnesia Helmet. The Zugs still think he’s God, though, so he puts the pressure cooker back on his head . . .

And the Zugs are, like, yeah, sure, we quit. Back to the Rocket, and back to Earth. Everything seems fine, no? Treaty is signed, again, whatever that means, and Kane’s plans have come to naught through the predictable incompetence of his underling. Buck will slip through Kane’s blockade with no problem, thanks to the Dissolv-O-Ray, which makes him invisible!



Buck’s ship reappears, Kane’s men goes after it, and we’re reminded again that half the cliffer action is about getting past Kane’s ships.

My car beeps and automatically slows down when I get that close. They must have disabled this idea in the future.




That'll do! See you around.




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