Monday, October 15, 2018

The Lone Ranger. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

As a boy I assumed that Zorro, Superman, and Sky King were all one guy, who also sold everything from watchbands to refrigerators. This authoritative Brylcreemed baritone didn’t look like anybody I knew in real life, so I guess it never occurred to me that there might be duplicates. After peaking with the election of Ronald Reagan, that square-jawed broad-shouldered American male archetype is pretty much passé now, supplanted by a different standard spokesman – hipper, self-effacing, way more woke. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t miss the old model. I just wonder if little Beardy McTightsuit is really any improvement.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Take a whiff on me

The woman behind the counter at the Quality Inn is a serious contender for the coveted title of World’s Oldest Desk Clerk and as a result we’ve spent the night in a handicapped room which is also a smoking room. So the bathroom is unusually spacious and everything smells of stale tobacco smoke. Back when people smoked indoors, everywhere smelled like this, including airplanes, libraries, and hospital rooms. In winter, there was also a pervasive funk of wet wool and Hall’s Mentholyptus. And I think people were stinkier too– didn’t they sell something called 5-day deodorant? How did that work?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Spirit and image

I often go for weeks without spitting. My salivary glands are in no way deficient, I just don’t spit all that much. Baseball players, on the other hand, spit all the time. Some of them project neat photogenic spheroids, some scatter a fine aerosol spray, and some (my least favorite) lean forward and just sort of drool. Is this required? Do they practice? Do they remember not to do it at home or in church? People with much nastier jobs (football, legislation) seem to keep their expectorations largely in check, but America’s pastime is soaked in something more than tradition.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Green thoughts

Adjectives can be problematic. Certainly not always – like “red rubber ball” is okay because who cares if you mean a ball of red rubber or a red ball of rubber. But what about “sturdy men’s boots?” Or this: “white railway carriage.” There’s a way to read that one which is totally not okay. I don’t even like to sort laundry by color. Hence the pink diapers on our babies. Now we arrive (finally) at the issue. Microsoft wants to update my hard drive and I find myself questioning  seriously if I want to install something called “Malicious Software Removal Tool.”

Monday, September 17, 2018


What happened last week is I simply forgot to write a rant. It just didn’t feel like a Monday, you know? And by the time I noticed, it was too late to get my head in the game. I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But now I can write about that, and so last week’s lack of topic becomes this week’s topic; like how maybe we don’t give enough credit for refraining from the act of creation. For instance, Schubert gets mad props for his Unfinished Symphony while I get no recognition at all for my unstarted one.

Monday, September 3, 2018

dang furriners

It’s Labor Day, a national holiday to honor working people. The rest of the world honors them on May first, International Workers Day, but we don’t do that for a couple reasons. First off, the socialists who selected May Day were commemorating the Haymarket riot, so there’s something kind of pink about it. And second, May is way too early to put away your seersucker suit and white bucks. I was outside this morning and down the block was a crew of Honduran rooferos nailing shingles like crazy and sweating their asses off. Working. On Labor Day. Where’s the respect?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Cool your jets.

Probably they don’t have snappy Captain Video-style uniforms, but NASA has Planetary Defense Officers. I learned this because one of them made an announcement from their Washington D.C. headquarters about an asteroid that will pass Earth tomorrow: "There is absolutely nothing for concern by this pass of 2016 NF23. This object is merely designated a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) because its orbit over time brings it within 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) of Earth's orbit, but there is nothing hazardous to Earth or even unique about this pass of the asteroid." So, you’re reassured, right? I know I am.