Ahh, here we are, back in the old groove again. Last week, while you suffered through the tropical tales, I was actually in Minneapolis; the hiatus / recap always lags. It got cold. February cold. The wind was vituperative; the sun a wan joke. The warm evenings of Mexico were instantly forgotten. The long-term weather reports say it’s going to be a cool June, too. The general tone of the town is low-key homicidal. As merry as the tableau above.

And that’ll all change and be forgotten. It always is. We never learn.

Right now it’s the weekend, and I’m enjoying a bourbon. The dog is slumbering, perhaps toting up the day: a bath, yes, but then hamburger. I got him upstairs for the bath by dropping some kibble in the bowl, a sound that summons him from wherever he happens to be, and then I wandered away nonchalant with a treat in my hand. One of those chew things the wife buys in endless variations. I think it may have been a dental chew, the green bars that scrape away plaque. Makes you wonder why they don’t make those for people. He followed me upstairs, but as soon as he got to the top of the stairs it clicked, and he realized what he was in for. Had to push him down the hall by his butt into the shower.

The hamburger was the reward, but since it came two hours later, there was no connection between the sopping indignity and the boon of fresh hot meat. While cooking, btw, I got a ding! Indicating a text from Natalie. It was a picture of an old man holding an owl.

I asked her where she was, but no reply. Sigh. Save, open in Photos, check the metadata: oh, she’s in Scotland. Well then.

Wife returns from tennis, finds me making supper.

“Natalie is in Scotland,” I said.

“Oh! Did she text?”

“She texted a picture of a man with an owl.”

“And that’s only in Scotland?”

“No, I checked the EXIF data on the photograph, and it put her in Edinborough.”

“Did she say why she sent a picture of a man with an owl?”

“No, that’s all I know at present. She saw a man with an owl in Scotland. Look, we’re lucky to get that.”


I'm sure there's more to it, but perhaps it's better just to let that be.

Below, something I hadn't noticed before at the Cancun airport It's not as if I spent a lot of time in Mexico looking at their consumer goods, and a little research told me it's not new. They passed the consumer protection law a few years ago. For some reason it stood out this time, because it's awful:

We all know what that says. But how can they say that? What if you eat just one? One isn't excess.

It is possible to eat just one, you know.

Depending on what's in your stuff, the warnings have the power to A) change consumer attitudes and actions for the good, and B) destroy the manufacturer's ability to make their product attractive. Which might be the point. I don't think they change anyone's actions at all. If you're a fan of Pep Ms, you know what they're all about.

From two to three to four warnings. Who knew that Oreos had excess salt? Thanks for the heads-up! I'll take two

For those romantic interludes:

"What kind of Milka is this?"

"I've no idea."

I mean, what's behind the S?

Starbucks shows how to incorporate the warning into the product. You design the package with the state-mandated ugliness in mind.

I've no doubt that some people in the States would rejoice if all attractive packaging was smothered with warnings and off-putting graphics.







Another radio show that crossed over to TV . . . sort of.

Starring . . .

Gargan had a four-year run on radio as Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator. It’s a solid show all around, and avoids for the most part the Private Eye cliches, except for the formation of the main character. He’s a cynical and amused PI who’s seen it all! It ran from 1951 to 1955. He also played Martin Kane, and the two shows overlapped by a year. The series even had a comic book, illustrated by the great Wally Wood.

AND he had a two-year stint as Rob Dolan, another PI, in a show called I Deal in Crime.

Our hard-bitten, rough & tumble shamus:

Anyway. We start out in a courtroom, where this guy’s testifying.

No one saw that coming. Somehow Martin Kane, with his trademark pipe, gets involved.

There's a scene at a grocery store with your basic realistic New York grocer: you-a want-a some-a provelone, eh?

Kane meets some cops, for more smoking:

American Tobacco was a sponsor of the show, coincidentally.

Anyway. Let’s consider the theme that closes the show.


Let’s consider the theme that closes the show.


Why . . . I do believe I know where they got it.


I've always wondered if I could locate the precise cue.




Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! Some matchbooks await your perusal.



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