That was a good week. Nothing special. Cold. Warm. Grey. Sunny. The standard procession for the second week of January, and better than last year. No weltschmertz! No, sustained vigah, as Vaughn Meader impersonators say. My new phone has provided, oh, 1.7% greater joy, but I think that’s an exaggeration. It’s interesting: the easy migration from the old device to the new means it’s just the same thing uploaded into a new body.

The camera is better, so now I can shoot incredible video! Which I reduce in resolution to conserve disk space! Every year I swear to do that little-video-every-day thing, and yes, I’m trying it again. The result is not exactly a robust and diverse set of experiences. So far I’ve captured the new carpet in the skyway between Ameriprise and 333, which was quite the talk of the town, believe me. (No one mentioned it, although I brought it up to the rare coworker I encountered in the dogleg skyway. How about this new carpet! Mmmm, breathe in that outgassed adhesive and synthetic fibers.) I’ve granted posterity the uncanny sound of the office Bunn-o-Matic, which makes the most tortured squeals of disapproval when it brews. Of course there was the fellow touching up the walls in the lobby. A rich and full record.

I jest, of course, in that non-jesting way, but think of it: we would give anything to have hundreds of hours of random, ordinary, quotidian footage from the first half of the 20th century. There’s no way we know all their slang, for example. Some words might have been too unsavory to make it into print or cartoons, and too regional to make it into the literature turned out in the hothouse boho parts of the big cities. Some word that took on a new meaning, flowered and withered, and was forgotten, and died with no one knowing its secret life.

You’re somethin' of a cashew, ain’t you?

What do I look like, your uncle’s rutabaga?

Look at the straws and bowls on that one, pal

Okay, what else. Lots of data from Natalie in London, pictures and stories. Back seems to have healed itself. Finished first season of Columbo binge. I have to wonder: I’m sure in the 5th season the rich arrogant murderers are still treating him like an idiot, but by then there would have been news stories over the last few years about all the high-profile first-degree murder cases he cracked, and he would’ve testified at the trials, no? I mean, he cleared something like 40 crafty murders by season 5, and everyone’s still looking down their nose at him?

It’s interesting to apply modern sensibilities to the show. Tonight I saw a guy go to the place where he hid a body, and he just threw his cigarette on the ground. Now we think: DNA. Back then: well, there were cigarettes all over the place.

More about this in weeks to come, because the show provides a great deal of inadvertent documentary of the early 70s, and it’s great fodder for TV Tuesday.

Let’s see what’s going on in the wonderful world of Detritus, Ad Chum division. It never gets better. It’s still junk. We will never be rid of this miserable stuff.


Well, no. It's "35+ Movies That Would Never Be Made in This Era"


One example: Back to the Future.

This film might have become a cult favorite,

“Cult favorite.”

The piece is so poorly written you almost cheer the rise of AI, because ChatGPT could do a better job. Perhaps that’s what will make human writing stick out in the future: it’ll suck.

but some of the film's writing is quite problematic. The movie is laden with several scenes of bullying. In addition to those controversial scenes, several racial slurs can be heard in certain scenes. The film's lead character is often shown to be drinking and swearing at the drop of a hat. Many people think that this movie needs to be sent back to the editing room, and possibly to the storyboarding stage, to make up for its issues.



No he didn’t, and no they aren’t.


When you search for Trump Watches, you find a 2016 story about, well, Trump Watches.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Mr. Trump explained his approach to watch making.

“Mark my words, Megyn” Mr. Trump said. “I will build a great watch—and nobody will build a watch better than me. I will build a great, great watch.” Mr. Trump explained that this was a project years in the making, “long before that choke artist Rubio made that crack about me selling watches in Manhattan.”

I don't remember that.

. . . The watch is not without its faults, however. The chronograph hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock sub-dials are awkwardly designed, looking like stubbly little fingers.

Wait a minute. That’s the old Spy line, the "short-fingered vulgarian."

The hairspring is actually fashioned out of a strand of Mr. Trump’s real* hair, noted for its impressive resistance against shocks and magnetism. Some large Swiss firms, all of which asked to go unnamed, are reportedly looking into licensing the technology.

It’s a joke piece on an otherwise serious watch review site. Okay.

The watches in the picture are for sale here and there, mostly in Etsy and eBay sites, for prices that range from $30 to $150.


The paranoid approach. They hide this from you! Who’s they? Well, Big Opthamology!

They’re selling a supplement, of course. Not this weird device.


Nothing. Nothing will happen.


Throw away your glasses now seems like bad advice. I mean, give it a day to work, at least.

I actually googled “can putting a teabag on my eye help,” and felt like an idiot doing so, and wondered what sort of junk I will get now that the algorithm has judged me to be a fool.

  Here’s more crap that doesn’t work. But you look at it and think hey, how does that work? I fry up some citrus, and the aroma makes the belly fat just fall off? I should click to see! Because right before bed, that means it’s probably really easy, because you’re tired.

You're going to be super-busy before bed! Fry the lemons, eat the powder that makes you shed 44 pounds in a shuddering detonation because it's pure dried ghost-pepper, and fix your wrinkles!

Now you're wide awake and feeling frisky; what now?

  Put this on the list! Suck cactus marrow! Tonight! Put it on the list!
  Well, yes, hundreds of reports of instantaneous fatality will have that effect
Why isn't this stuff dinged for "misinformation," I wonder.

And now, the weekly dream-journal entry, illustrated by artificial intelligence.

The website Breitbart had been subject to a terrorist attack, Charlie Hebdo style. As I walked past the office I did a flip somersault in front of a snooty co-worker, then admired the canal and realized how much I loved Washington DC.

Except now I was on a ship, about to perform my concerto. Rehearsals had gone well, and everyone liked it, although some were sneering at the idea of doing a piano concerto; it’s such a cliche. I regretted not doing something shorter that didn’t require 3 movements, but I’d committed to it and was ready for the concert, as a performance of all the students in this composition class.

Couldn’t find my copy of the score.

Hey could anyone help me find it I called. A few people made a desultory effort, but no one found it - and as much as I begged them to rearrange the concert order (I was second) they said no. I ran down to the ship’s print shop to get a copy.

(AI Prompt: Print Shop on a Cruise Ship)

The guy in charge (Dave Matheny, old friend, appearing here like a character in a movie) was very unhelpful, and said the score was just a crutch, but eventually he agreed. Where will it be printed? I asked. At my cubicle or my job, he didn't know. I ran to my cubicle, and it wasn’t there, but I wasn’t in my cubicle; I was in another classroom I had mistaken for mine. I got someone to drive me on their scooter, and we raced through the shopping area of the ship until I realized I worked at a store called Minnesota Memories. I ran inside, scooped up the score just as I heard my name and concerto announced.

Ran desperately down gangways and stairways knowing I would be late; about the point where I knew it was hopeless - I had to get down to the 2nd deck midships and was on the fourth deck aft my wife said GOOD MORNING and woke me up.

AI Prompt: Minnesota Memories Gift Shop

AI Prompt: Minnesota Memories Gift Shop on a Cruise Ship:

Nothing in that store exists, or can be bought, or makes sense.

They're always better in the renderings, and you're always hopeful they'll have the same crisp sparkle.

Well. Here's the Stadium apartment building, about 3/5ths of the way up.

The color of the walls isn't inspiring a lot of joy, as they say.

She's gotta lotta head.

Solution is here.


This year's old newspaper feature: a social no-no single-panel illustration. Can you figure out what's wrong?

The answer will be provided on Monday. That gives you an entire day to speculate in the comments!


Now two ways to chip in!

That will do. Thank you for your visits, and I'll see you on Monday.




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