This is a mystery.

Oh, I know where it came from. It’s one of the screws that held the downspout to the bracket on the wall. I found it in my pants pocket this morning as I walked to work - felt something sharp, and there it was. I transferred it to my shirt pocket, because it would otherwise cause a small hole in the pants pocket, and within a month it would be leaking coins or lozenges or any other loose object.

If I had any coins, that is. I rarely have coins, because I rarely use cash. Coins now seem like broken money. You have to put them aside until you have enough pieces to reassemble into something you can use again.

Anyway, the mystery is this: I don’t know how the screw made its way into the shorts I put on this morning. When I removed the screws on Saturday I put them aside on a table downstairs. When I gathered them up to install the downspout, I was wearing casual around-the-house shorts. Somehow the screw made the jump.

The irritating thing about the mystery is the existence of a sensible explanation. Not just that there has to be one, but there most certainly is one. Nothing supernatural about this, only some missing component in my own head. It’s entirely my fault that this is a mystery.

Another mystery: Birch slew a possum the other night. Big fat ugly thing. He trapped it in a narrow space behind the shed and the fence, and I had to remove some stacked extra bricks so he could back out. He dropped it when he got out. I couldn't get it a grocery bag, so I used a shovel to throw it over the front fence, thinking that either I would get it tomorrow or Nature would somehow take care of it.

It wasn't there the next day. No sign. Either a coyote dragged it off, or it wasn't really dead. You know, the whole playing thing. Certainly looked dead, though.

Which reminds me: who ascended into heaven, Romulus or Remus? Googling . . . Ah.

After a reign of thirty-seven years, Romulus is said to have disappeared in a whirlwind during a sudden and violent storm, as he was reviewing his troops on the Campus Martius. Livy says that Romulus was either murdered by the senators, torn apart out of jealousy, or was raised to heaven by Mars, god of war.

I'm going with the "torn apart" option.









A recap of transatlantic TV. As you know, or don’t, or don’t care one way of the other, I always bring my own entertainment. Always an old Perry Mason, because it eats up an hour, it’s a guaranteed story, and because it’s great. On the way back, I had to laugh:

It’s Albert. Or rather Alan Bunce, from Ethel & Albert et al. I’d just been channeling him the day before as we practiced a script. He looks old here, but he was always a bit older than the character.

I used to watch MidMorning Matters - you know, North Norfolk Digital’s chat and music show featuring that Alan Partridge fellow. It was a web series sponsored by a beer. Molson? Guinness? One of those. They were 12 minutes long, hilarious, and a sign I was on an adventure: only watched them on the plane. Most seem to be scrubbed from YouTube, although some audio-only versions survive. Why not? It was a radio show. Meant to be listened.

This time I had something I had not expected to find: This Time, with Alan Partridge. No idea he’d done a new series. I’m curious how these things happen. How someone at the BBC says “I say, shall we do another show with Steve Coogan” and everyone nods and says “yes of course, he’s brilliant,” and they call him up and ask him what he’s got, and he pitches Partridge? Or they ask for Partridge? How does he feel about the character that’s defined him? Or does it? Does he feel like Gervais doing a third or fourth go at David Brent?

Alan Partridge is a brilliant comic character, and you can’t exactly say why. He’s pathetic, and deeply insecure, full of bravado, adept at the demands of broadcasting but endowed with some horrible instincts and inability to self-check. A smarter Ted Baxter. He had a big BBC show, blew it up with a spectacularly bad ep, was relegated to doing radio in Norwich, but now has a shot at the BBC again when a presenter for an evening chat show falls ill.

10 seconds that says it all:

“Right. I see what I’ve done.”

So I watched that, and it was everything I wanted.

Then I finished a show I’ve been doling out for a long time - again, on airplanes. It’s Detectorists. Surely I’ve mentioned this before, how you can’t quite find the proper word to describe it. Lovely? Gentle? Low-key? Sweet? It’s two guys in England waving metal wands over fields. Three seasons of six eps. Finally saw the ending. Absolutely perfect. McKenzie Crook and Toby Jones.

Do yourself a favor.







It’s 1954.

Travel gear designed for people who travel? That's an innovation that must have shaken up the entire industry.


It's covered in Koroseal. Marvelous Koroseal!

The rest of the ad. I had to include this, lest you go to your grave not knowing that the line is Perpetually Matchable.


Not only is the brand still around, they use the same logo.

Founded in 1910 by A.J. Kotkins, Skyway began operation from Seattle’s Pioneer Square under the name Seattle Suitcase, Trunk and Bag Manufacturing Company. A.J.’s son, Henry Louis Kotkins, joined the business in 1936. With a vision inspired by the growing airline industry and the excitement of air travel, he introduced a line of luggage called “Skyway.” Kotkins’ commitment to delivering high-quality products earned him a loyal following of international travelers seeking a reliable-yet-accessible travel experience.

My first house in Minneapolis had sheets of that stuff covering the back porch. It lasted forever. Eventually, through, a piece cracked when some storm damage fell on it, and I had a horrible time replacing it.

I didn't know what to call it.

Now I do.



If that's the 1954 conception of a college freshman, you can sense the expectations placed on a young fellow heading off to learn his trade.

You're already a grown-up, mister - better act like it.

"Flight-proven." Doesn't say how many flights. Could fall to pieces after ten, but who took ten flights?

Wherever they go, I think she's going to have a lot more fun than the guy on the other side of the ad.

Imagine taking a hat box on a flight today.


I suppose that words as a slogan because "Mow" rhymes with the final vowel in REO, unless you want people to think REO was pronounced ROW and they've been saying it wrong ll these years,


Note the names: the one of the bottom left is the DeLuxe Runabout.

The headline refers to his watch. Doesn't matter - it'll alienate every man before they get to the clarification.


Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do. Or not: finishing up the scant run of 40s examples in Comics Obscura.



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