Sitting in the Great Clips about to be Clipped, Greatly. I’m #7 in line, but no one else in line is here yet. Could happen fast! That would be great. I want to nap. It’s been a raw day. The temps are, as noted yesterday, damned stupid, and I feel as if I have . . . something. It’s minor, just a background cough that’s there if I work for it, but otherwise no sore throat or sneezyness. Just

AT THAT POINT I was called to the chair by the most taciturn hairstylist I have ever had. His reticence had the character of weary resignation. I never feel completely comfortable getting clipped in silence. It seems awkward, and I feel like an object. Good cut, though. I said it was fast and really good, and he said he'd been doing it for 30 years, so yeah, it should be.

Now I felt like I'd insulted him somehow.

I know we're all interchangeable napes and noggins who bounce through the door in an endless parade, but jeez. I guess I should've taken the cues and shut up.

Hope for a nap, then out for shopping. Natalie is taken care of but that One Gift for Sara is the problem. (And I am a problem for her, but worse.) Earlier that day I'd walked to Dayton's to see if there was anything in the Marketplace that would be a good gift, and gah, it's all candles and peanuts and leather bags and throw-pillows and such. Everything was cool and high-quality, but I'm not going to give her soap and lotion or $60 socks.

At the gym I expressed my frustration to the two young women who staff the place, every day. They are unflaggingly cheerful and greet you with "Happy (day of the week)!" when you enter. I gave them some of Sara's homemade caramels and Walnettos last week, and they loved them. Actually I made up little bags that had one of each, because, well, they're fitness instructors. They'll take two nibbles and probably throw that up. Sara made me bring more, and they were delighted.

They set about trying to figure out some gifts, and I had to knock them down: done that, wouldn't be used, outside of her parameters, etc. And then . . . Olga named something that was perfect, and I relaxed. That'll work. When I told Sara about the conversation she picked out one item and said "actually, you know, I could use some new ones," and ah HAH. I had a mission.

So off to Southdale, and to Macy's. The temperature was about 4 below. Almost gloves weather. The store was slightly more junky than the last time I'd been there. Macy's seems intent on dragging its rep down by small incremental amounts. Clerks are few and hard to find, and not exactly top shelf: when I brought my purchase to the counter the young man said "are you buying this?"

No, I want it to be doused with butane and immolated in an offering to Baal, and that's why I am in the line that says CHECK OUT with my card in my hand.

I wandered into the mall proper to see how it looked for Christmas. A bit diminished. There used to be a Caribou coffee right in the middle of the courtyard; it's gone. It used to provide a locus for the great space, a certain bustle. Evaporated. There used to be many pop-up seasonal stores, but not any more.

I'm sure the Mall of America was popping.

Should've gone there, but that was for the days of Big Christmases. This one is a small quiet miniature.


So, speaking of the gym! How’s that going, asked no one. I’d certainly be bored if someone brought it up. Other people’s journeys on this subject bore me dead. I used to scroll away and think “good for you, I’ll probably do that some day, probably not though, but I could, but who cares, end of the day we’re bones in a box.” But I have discovered some things that surprise me.

When you stop eating potato chips, potato chips stop being compelling. I never thought this was possible. The same goes for French fries, and this makes me worry if I have to renounce my citizenship/ I cannot imagine being an American and not wanting to be at a drive-in in the summer and eat lots of fresh French fries.

This change has not been accompanied by a sudden love for vegetables, because I hate vegetables. Salads, no, with greens of all sorts and peppers and a splash of Traders Joe Caesar dressing, but Brussel Sprouts and asparagus and all the other stuff, it makes me gag. No, no, you just need to prepare them properly! Perhaps. It's an ancient reaction born in childhood, when I had to eat galling mushy ugh.

Anyway, I haven't stopped. A daily thing. Lifting at the weights I did when I was 27. Started a few new machines and bumped up some other machines last week, so this week everything hurts. AsIi said a while back I'm so fit I can hardly walk.

The treadmill entertainment last week has been the new Judge Judy. She got really mad at someone today! And I mean truly, old-school Judy furious.



How we all wish we had that power. But even then the idiot talked over her.

Related to the "dragophobia" coinage we mentioned on Friday:

Amaflix or HuMax or something had this as a new suggested show. Since I have watched exactly zero shows of this nature, I suspect it's pushing it because they're keen to get all the gushing praise they know will surely follow, because female impersonators are the tip of the spear these days. You are expected to indulge, because the retrograde and dangerous elements in society have picked out drag queens, for some inexplicable reason, and decided to portray these free-spirited performance artists into something unwholesome. It's a coordinated attack! There may be rubles behind it.

Motel, Mattel: it was destined to be! The character's name is intended to make a connection between the female impersonator and a signifier for post-war American childhood frolic, as if the dragsters are the inheritors of all that recollected play.

Okay. Well. The question is why these new avatars of our enlightened age are so elementally repellent.

Ah, see, it's a parody of femininity from another era. You know, the time that held up Phyllis Diller as the epitome of womanhood. They had Valley of the Dolls; these characters give you Valley of the Balls.

Surely that's not a representative picture, though, is it? From the website:

I mean, no one ever looked close to that. Nobody wanted to look like that.

Is it hate to say that's ugly, in one's opinion? Or is the maximum amount of dissent now defined as silence?

I mean, if you bring it up, it can't be for a kind, good, or inclusive reason.




It’s 1915 again - a rare second week for a paper. There was just a lot, I guess. Or I wasn’t too discriminating and decided everything looked good. We’ll see. The editorial page:

Ah, the evergreen:


Deep, man. Makes you think.

Admit it: you have no idea what they’re talking about here, at first, and then you do.



Some short takes:

Annnnnd that belongs in the paper?

I have absolutely no idea what this means:

No one?

It’s a preservative.


Remember the promo last week for the comic story? Well, don’t worry, parents; the cat is not an alcoholic.


A Public Ledger picture? They didn’t produce it, they just got behind it.


The Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the first theater in the United States built by entrepreneurs solely as a venue for paying audiences.

That was the first one. It was replaced, and the replacement burned, and the third one was constructed in 1862.

“It closed its doors for the last time in 1913 after the curtain fell on the final act of Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs Tanqueray, and the building was demolished soon afterwards.

Really? Not that soon.

Oh, there’s more - and that’ll come next week.



That'll do! Back to the Fifties now.




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