I wouldn't mind living somwhere with this view.

It's Friday! I hope you've toted up the week and found it fine. Right now I'm listening to something I did not expect to find: airplane Muzak. But of course there's hours and hours on YouTube.

I find it more interesting for background music than the Spotify ambient channels, and it reminds me of my earliest flight experiences. You'd plug in these strange headphones connected to thick tubes. I don't think there was any transmission or amplification involved - I think they played the music into a literal pipe that had tunnels through the plane, threading through the armrests. The sound quality was awful. But it was music on a plane! And that was something. Have a seat, plug in the tubes, order a Manhattan, light up, and open the Herald-Tribune to see how the world was doing.

The previous paragraph was the first time I have indulged in random wisfulness for the Big Bygone since, oh, 11:37 this morn, when I finished the latest Diner. I did spend some time thinking about the 20s when I was walking to my car listening to a song from 2012 that channeled the brisk beats of a peppy dance number, and I thought about the 50s in a conversation with my editor about an upcoming piece. Thought about the 70s when editing the Menucards update. Spent about 30 minutes scanning a 1906 newspaper tonight.,

Spent all my time in 2024, of course, but wasn't particularly impressed.

I cannot explain this, so I ask your help. It’s the back of one of the free bottles of hooch that came to the office.

  Is there something missing? Like “there’s very little to recommend it” or “it’s mostly water”?

If you’re curious, no oranges are involved. Wikipedia:

Orange wine, also known as skin-contact white wine, skin-fermented white wine, or amber wine, is a type of wine made from white wine grapes where the grape skins are not removed, as in typical white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for days or even months.

Okay. I should note that the word “wine” is in teeeeeeeny yellow letters:

In case you thought you were getting rum. You are not getting rum.


I think I mentioned something earlier this week about my news feed being full of fandom culture, and the endless number of sites that obsess over this stuff. Dork culture. Mind you, I've been a comic book sci-fi guy since childhood, and I speak geek, but this is a not suitable substitute for an actual culture.

Unless you're 14 or something. But this is all aimed at nominal adults.

My GOD the movie had a BENDING FLAW

No, correct that; it had many bending flaws. One was the biggest.

Good thing the trailer fixed that.

  Finally, some love for underused role-playing game archetypes

It was just proved, presumably hours ago, and that's good, because recognizing that a trope is massively outdated is the first step in updating it


Probably not.

And even so, so what

  Worst-trend-replication has been confirmed by the Authorities
  Probably the most recent and substantial bit of fan-culture news, but still, yeah, okay, I guess

That was one day of my "news" feed.





I was at a resort somewhere, but it didn’t seem like a resort at all. A golden retriever was loose, and needed to be caught, so I followed it into a building that turned out to be a school. The kids enjoyed seeing the dog, and thought it was mine; I had to tell everyone it wasn’t, and I was trying to catch him. The dog led me down to the basement of the school, which was dark, old, cramped, narrow, and dirty, whereupon the dog turned on me.

(Prompt: Angry golden retriever in the basement of a dingy elementary school)

I escaped and went back to my room - where, to my surprise, my first roommate from college was sleeping.

He was something of a loser, and I was surprised to see him, as well as learn that he was doing okay in the photography business. (This I gathered from several papers strewn about.) William Bennett, the former secretary of education, had followed me into the room to talk about a class he’d just taken, and while he was standing in the doorway talking the roommate fell out of bed, still sleeping.

I decided that this was getting annoying - here I was at a resort, and I’d spent no time on the beach, and I'm dealing with my old roommate and the former Sec Edu. So I put on my swimsuit and left the room, whereupon I saw that it was snowing. Large flakes with visible spokes and details.

When I got to the beach there wasn’t a beach at all, just a dock with a boat that would drive you around the ocean for a while. It was cloudy, and the sea was rough, but I went anyway. The boat circled back to the dock after one brief circle. That was fine, since I had to give a speech, and hadn’t really thought much about what I was going to say.


Some additional dog shots for your enjoyment.

Odd that a boat should show up here, as it did in the dream; I didn't mention it in the prompt.

Again with the boat.


And now, a related feature that will provide some Friday amusements:

Here are the full versions of this week's banner AI - in this case, a New York in the winter.

I'd be happy to have any of those skyscrapers in my town.

The dreaming brain reached for the Waldorf-Astoria on the left.

They really enforced the zoning laws:

When I don't give it dates, it defaults to a pre-war New York. No glass skyscrapers.

Now, our Friday comic feature.


These were sent to me by a Bleatnik and I CANNOT FIND THE NAME. Either reveal yourself to great acclaim or wait for me to find it, which I will.

I have to admit: I'm stumped!

Solution on Monday.


And that's it for Fridays! Ha ha kidding, of course it's not.

Last year I cut out the tunes, but heck, why not bring them back. We'll be counting down the bottom 50 songs as listed by Whitburn. It'll be fun! Stuff you've never heard. A grab-bag of styles.

How the HELL did this end up in the bottom 50? I can only assume it was released late in the year. Like, December 30.

Listen the way the guitar goes down and the bass goes up. It's so good.

Now we're done. Thanks for your visit, and I'll see you Monday.



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