That was nice.

Oh, it had its slight abrasions and moods and missteps, as anything that gets human beings of long-standing arrangements together, but you can expect that. None of that matters in the long run, partly because I can retcon the past quite well, and mostly because it doesn’t because it shouldn’t. We broke up tradition this year by going to sis-in-law’s house on Christmas Eve, then went home to open a few gifts before turning in early.

5 AM wake-up call for the plane.

I didn’t go. For reasons of dog and airfare. I would’ve loved to see everyone but it also means sleeping on the floor on an air mattress in my mother-in-law’s condo, and that bed, while initially comfortable, deflates over the course of the night, leaving you beached on a marble slab. Also, I would be dragged hither and yon, or left to my own devices in Scottsdale without transportation. I do like walking around to the nearby commercial node and writing in the quaint coffeeshop the locals call “The Starbucks in the Fry’s” but that pales after a day or two. So it’s me and the dog, and an empty home. It’s a bit tough.

Got up at 5 and got everyone out. Drove home, wondering if I could get back to sleep. Hah: three deep hours in REM, ending in a dream that provided an advertising tagline for a fictional Mexican chain restaurant. Not to say this next year on the Bleat has been planned in advance in some ways, but you’ll hear about that tagline in the 40th week of 2023.

Cleaned the house, did away with the holiday detritus, threw away the wrapping paper and put the gifts where they belonged. Wife got me the full compliment of Dayton’s merch - sweatshirt and shirt and glasses, a marker of my demographic.

Natalie got the most underwhelming Dad gift ever, I suppose - a travel bag with every possible cord and converter, with an emergency battery and a UK adaptor. You’ll be glad when you need it! Some fashion items missed the mark, since you never know, and since tastes change since the last time the kid was home. Oh, the work involved in telling someone they can take back a gift. You have to assure them it’s okay, and they have to lie about how they like it really no it’s okay, and back and forth until everyone agrees it’s going back.

Anyway. Spent the evening editing all the home video for 2022, the incidental stuff I shoot for no reason. The way the backyard looks. A narrative of my walk to work. A storm. A dinner. Checked that one off and moved on to the column due Monday . . . which I’d best write now. The house is very still and the radio is playing obscure classical Christmas music, which has an unusual impact in the evening. Everything is over but this moment seems special. It’s still Christmas . . . and you have to think a bit on what that means.


The interegnum week! What to make of it? It has the trappings and routines of an ordinary week, but we know it's not. It's the most unusual week of the year. The big holiday is spent, unless you're Orthodox. But another looms, and shades all that comes before. A Festive Mood predominates, but it's rote. On the other side, though: it's just the thing I call the long raw scrape.

What shall we do this week? Full BTF. All updates, except for Motels. Hiatal-type Bleatage above the fold. And then the big reveal of the new site redesign next Monday, which I'm certain will dismay, annoy, disappoint, or be met with a shrug of acceptance.

Was it this year we began with Kresge filmstrips? Please tell me it was this year.

Whew. It was. Okay, well, let us end with Kresge Filmstrips. Not to do a blow-by-blow, but to tease out the bygone details and get a sense of the world you’d never get from a book or movie.

This one concerns CS, which of course stands for Capable Saleslady, but also something else.

She seems either angry or confused, or both.

We’re at the store. Elder experienced Saleslady is counseling the newcomer. The quantity of goods, as we saw before, is just overwhelming.

She works in the ribbon department. There’s a ribbon department.

Sometimes she looks like she stepped out of a Weimar cabaret act:

Here’s her understock.

You have to keep tabs on your understock. If you don’t, you may have to go downstairs to get supplies while a customer is looking for you, or for the item you’ve neglected to refill, and you will lose the sale.

The manager will be held responsible in the end, and while you may be fired first, he will get it in the neck somehow.

I’m paraphrasing. Continued after the break.





But what’s with the CS? Turns out it’s part of the brain-melting configurations Kresge uses to ensure the stores are always well stocked:

Another look at the store, with all the items that must be tracked on the previous sheet:

If you’re low on something, it must be reported:


This might be my favorite:

It’s the handwritten boxy letters. BTW, now you know why CS means Capable Saleslady: because it means Checking Sheets. I guarantee that Checking Sheets were the bane of their lives, and some were let go because they could never incorporate Checking Sheets into their job. Some were dismayed when they got the job to realize that it wasn’t just standing there and selling things, they had to do stuff like this.


But don’t worry! You’ll be happy after you’ve got the swing of it. As long as you COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY.

Don’t you wonder what happened to her? Whether she did work in other filmstrips, or whether this was her one shot at fame?

Or else, of course.



That'll do! See you around. Some matches to round out the year's allotment.




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