Cooler day, less smoke. Did a podcast in the morning where I was the guest, then hosted one. Finished a column, wrote more, hauled some iron around, napped, made salmon. Couldnd find fault with any of it.

So! Friday. What do we have detritus-wise? Here: something that means nearly nothing to most people under 50 now, but is instantly familiar to people with more rings in the trunk.

That either sets off a ding! or it doesn't. I'll explain the pertinence in a moment.

Google sent me an email that asked a small favor: is this the exact wording you want when you tell people you’re dead? Apparently I set this up a while ago if I go inactive, and people email me. They get an automatic reply that says a”Hey, I must be dead, or tired of Google. Or both!” I guess I have to log in and do something every two months to keep from alarming anyone.

I don’t use my Gmail, because I don’t like it, just as I don’t like to log into YouTube. Staying logged out broadens the stuff I get back, because it’s not worried about making me happy. It also exposes me to what YouTube looks like to other people.

Urg: a festival of mental illness and unsettling imagery. I don’t know why this bugged me:

Clickbait; you have to know what happened. Guy dived into a fast-food take-out window for blurts and titters. It was not a matter of “intrusive thoughts,” faint stirrings of madness, compelling him to do something. As usual, it’s a lie. Just a TikTokish prank at a drive-through window.

I'm trying to figure out the intention behind this:

The color scheme is utterly unnatural. Purple person who looks like a Venusian Michael J. Pollard, blue sidewalks askew . . . FIRE HYDRANT. Who looks at their phone like this?

Is it intentionally bad, or is it just bad and no one knows the difference between this and something good?

I mean . . .

There's an unnatural, nasty, empty quality to these enticements.

Ninety-six million views.

Ninety-six million.

The full page of this nonsense is here, complete with all sorts of clips that have nothing to do with it, more "9 year old" garbage with contorted faces, an endless scroll of Things Being Done in Portrait Aspect-Ratio with clips of prefab music with att-ti-tude.

I don’t want to live in that world. Good thing you don’t have to! Right? Anyway, here's the thing that some people might not have recognized.

Now it's easier, because the sign has context. That sign - which, of course, is the old Standard sign - was the era's equivalent of a meme, no? In the sense that it was a visual object widely recognized, its meaning shared by all without explanation. There were few of them, compared to today. The mental landscape was much less cluttered, and less bizarre.

And now, the weekly dream-journal entry, illustrated by AI, because that's what this week is all about.

I was on a cruise ship, with my wife. It was a very large stateroom; people seemed to come and go. My wife seemed to be alarmed when strangers came into the room, and I wondered if she was worried about something. What do you think they’ll find?

I had to call my friend! It was good that she was on the ship, because I knew we had been estranged for years. I called the O number on the phone, but it didn’t work. I had to find . . . a desk.

There would be a desk with someone who would help.

So I set out, and found a part of the ship that was decorated like a big old industrial area. I asked the bartender if she could find the room number, and she reeled back but maintained composure, and I thought I’m going to end up on a subreddit about this. I lit a cigar and waited. There were guys talking about the gas station business, and I listened for a while - then I joined the conversation, asking, did they have to bring up the tanks? That was the phrase that bought me cred.

I left, walking across an inordinately large area to a part of the ship that seemed to be modeled after an English early 20th century shopping arcade.

They had a desk, but I knew the moment I opened the door they would not be able to answer my question. I turned and left.

There was a white building in the distance, with colored lights in bands, diffused - an obvious model from a 70s TV sci-fi show. I went there. When I entered the building there was a door to my right, and I knew that I had gone there frequently when my daughter was young, it was a play-place of sorts. It was all very 70s, and didn’t seem to be connected to the ship at all. The sound of a vacuum cleaner down the hall.

I woke with the alarm, was sluggish for a while, and wondered anew whether the person I had dreamed about ever dreamed about me.





Sad news, which is also good news.

This motel was in my neighborhood.

A neon landmark.

It was in the Coen Brothers movie as the Jolly Roger:

In its later years it was a welfare hotel, and there were occasional tensions with the neighborhood. It closed, and will be turned into longer-term affordable housing, I guess.

And so:

Another loss.


This is predicated upon Lance turning over a particular object, isn't it?Solution is here.


This year's old newspaper feature: a social no-no single-panel illustration. Can you figure out what's wrong?

The answer will be provided on Monday. PROMISE. That gives you an entire day to speculate in the comments!


Now two ways to chip in!

That will do! Thank you for your visits, and I'll see you on Monday.




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