“This is the worst snow,” said the man. He was walking in the street. “No man should have to deal with that.”

“I know. Wet and heavy. Widowmaker.”

“I tried to blow it out and it clogged and stalled.”

“One stroke?”


I was shoveling a path for Wife to get out of the garage. It was, indeed, the worst snow.

“And look at this,” I said, pointing to my side of the garage apron. The guy across the street, his service comes by with a plow, and pushes it up into my driveway.”

“Well that’s just rude.”

“I know! Goes against the rules. Society is starting to come apart at the margins.”

“In so many ways,” he said. We gave each other a salute and he continued on up the hill.

that was Sunday. One more thing about the snow - well, two. No, three. One, we’re due for more. Augh. Two: since it was reasonably warm the day after the storm, and all the arborvitae were bent low by the heavy wet snow, I decided to use their kowtowing posture to remove the Christmas lights. Or rather I decided to agree with my wife’s suggestion that this would be a good time. I did not see it myself, but I rarely do. I have a remarkable ability to not see what could be done at this very moment.

This meant suiting up in the winter parka. It has elastic around the wrists, so snow will not fall down into the sleeves. It meant resigning myself to lots of snow down the collar, though, and that happened again and again. Bright day! Brilliant sunshine, beautiful blue skies! And snow, whipped in my face when I knocked it off a branch and the branch sprang up, liberated. Snow down the back of my neck. On April the Second. Cords of lights buried in the ice and snow, unable to be liberated. Tangled cords that bit each other and snagged on twigs and got wrapped around each other - miserable work. I don’t want to do this all my life. But I know I will.

Or will I? If I’m alive in ten years, will I be out here performing this task? It’s hard to imagine that I would but I see no circumstances that would make me leave. The house is a lot of work, the grounds are a lot of work, but it’s home, and the mortgage rate is good. Five years of empty-nesting haven’t been bad, even though I get a sad, sad feeling in my stomach when I go in the basement rumpus room, and note that nothing has changed there in half a decade. Of course, why would it. Noting needs changing, does it?

You just don’t see how it’s always been so. I used to note that in my dad’s home and it made me feel as time had just stopped dead. There was just nothing more to be done down here.

The third thing has to do with the snow-shoveling service. They would indeed be by on Saturday - for an extra price. The contract ended on March 31, you see.

As I noted in my text, the majority of the snow fell on March 31. Yes, but they were coming out on the First, which was different, and it was expensive for him to get the contractors now.


This outfit wants to do my lawn mowing and fertilizing this year, like last year, and now I’m thinking . . . nah. I just have to find a nice way to put it. I mean, I understand, he has costs. If he’d said he’d shave have the cost of the shovel job off the bid, I would’ve said we’re good. I think I’ll just say “not shoveling the snow that fell on the last day of the contract left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand your position but I still didn’t like how it turned out.”

'Cause, y'know, I don't want to make him mad or anything.








It is almost impossible to describe how much I love Picard. BUT IT SUCKS! You know, I don’t remember anything much about season 2. I liked it because I wanted to, and so I did. Having seen Trek at its worst, and knowing this was not it, I enjoyed watching Patrick Stewart play out his skein. I did not expect that season 3 would be non-stop fan service ultra-Trek, shoveled out unstintingly with over-the-top callbacks. Hey I heard you liked a battle in a Nebula, here’s three hours of that.

But this is not about that. This is about the reviews from uber-fandork manboys. The main sign of a true fan these days seems to be hating everything except two or three core manifestations of the franchise - but when they revive and add lore and history that doesn't rewrite the original or insult it, and puts well-written scenes in the hands of people who've played the characters for decades, it seems stubborn and self-satisfied to dismiss it because you're a true fan, and in fact you are such a fan that nothing they do will ever satisfy you. Because you know better.

I'll give you an example of something that made me just love it.

As usual, the ship is trapped by a very bright special effect, and all hope is lost. And then - well, okay, so I'm 12 again. I whooped! I whooped out loud! I suppose it makes no sense if you think about it scientifically, and you should be angry that the antagonist is a mousy retread of the Nemesis villain, but damn.

c. Paramount etc







It’s 1961.

We’ve already had a Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee ad this year. Is this the same one? Do you remember any of them? Did anyone? Or did they all blend together?

This ad is blue, unusual for “Italian” stuff, with the usual plate-o-brains. Helpful copy: the meatballs are bigger and firmer.

Consider for a moment the prospect of squishier canned meatballs.

There’s just not enough pepper and parmesan in the world.

Hats ’n Hips: Dame Fashion says yes!

Why spend time describing the product when you could just tell everyone where it was? Look for your store here!

I guess they didn’t care about the Minnesota market.

Fantastic ad. What are they doing, outracing the fires ignited by the enormous meteor that landed three states away?

You’re in your car more! The ad copy suggests this isn’t a 100% good thing. In fact you’re a bit weary of it.

Why that high-hatted arrogant pill

“Vision Delinquents” has a faint air of criminality and anti-social behavior. You’d better not be one of those.

On the other hand, maybe Alice’s husband just got a new job and she can sail right past Mary, who was married to Alice’s husband’s boss, and made his life miserable. And to be honest Alice never liked Mary. So no, she doesn’t have to look at her any more. It's a nice new twist to things.

What are all my options here, though

You can cut it with a fork! Because it’s formed and pressed and has so much bread in it.

You’ll get no argument from me.

I do have a bottle around, the Barrel Strength. The local store had an amazing sale on it years ago, and I can’t bring myself to open it; it’ll never be that cheap again. And no, I never see it on the shelf without thinking about a Warner Brothers cartoon about Times Square spectaculars, where the brand was called Four Noses. Red alcoholic noses.

People, you really can wait until you get out of the pool to smoke

Hint of mint? I wonder how discernible it was. Interesting to note that Newport went all in on Blue, instead of Salem / Kool green. One way to stand out.

“Three-ring agitator” sounds like a circus union organizer.

If you’re a student of the era, you know that baby artist - it’s a different style from the agitator painting. I think it was a woman who did those . . . toilet paper ads? Northern? Big wet eyes? Googling . . .

Francis Hook, I think. I mean, she did the Northern ads, but why am I thinking of another illustrator, active in the late 50s, for this one?

Why does it matter? It doesn’t. But it does.

Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do for this, but now we return to our survey of forgotten newspapers comics. Back to the 20s. This won't take up the entire year, although it could.



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