Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday night lineup

Is there a viewer anywhere who can name every current Saturday Night Live cast member? Me, twelve of twenty. I think it’s twenty.

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Okay, 1-A, five letters, “Macbeth witches’ place”? That’s easy. Try 1-D, five letters, “British contemporary of Richard Strauss.” Is he British? I guess he must be. 2-D, five letters, “Get away from Handel operas”? Eh, pretty obviously clued. And 9-D, nine letters, “. . . Tin Tin plot portion, per the title”?

Wait — is it Saturday? Because this Newsday  Saturday Stumper, by Brad Wilber, doesn’t solve like a Saturday Stumper. It’s an exceptionally easy Saturday, with answers that are only slightly 33-A, six letters, “Oblique.” But the puzzle is not at all 14-A, six letters, “Yawn-inducing.” It’s full of pleasant surprises. For instance:

4-D, fifteen letters, “Yogurt or oatmeal.” A weird and wonderful answer.

10-D, fifteen letters, “‘To get right to the point . . .’” I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone say the words of the answer.

30-A, eight letters, “Many of today’s tennis pros.” Well, yes.

37-A, seven letters, “What high schoolers sometimes get free.” CHROMEB? — no.

39-A, six letters, “Brown named for a town.” Ah, childhood.

61-A, eight letters, “Instructions to a sitter.” I got it right away. With “instruction,” DONTMOVE would make a good answer.

My favorite clue in this puzzle: 38-D, five letters, “Tubes watched in the kitchen.”

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.


[Peanuts, October 31, 1973. Click for a larger view.]

Yesterday’s Peanuts is today’s Peanuts, or, really, yesterday’s Peanuts. This strip from 1973 ran again yesterday in color.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Naked City meta

Here’s a nicely meta moment. Actress Libby Kingston (Nancy Malone) has been fitted for a costume, an “airline hostess” uniform. As she changes behind a curtain, her boyfriend, Detective Adam Flint (Paul Burke), tries on a hat and mugs like a screen hoodlum.

[From the Naked City episode “Bullets Cost Too Much,” January 4, 1961. Click for a larger view.]

There’s another meta moment in this episode, in Libby’s apartment. Libby is in costume for her role in a soap opera. Barbara Lord plays Dee Vale, a nurse who’s knocked at Libby’s door hoping to find Detective Flint. I like this exchange:

“What airline do you fly with, hmm?”

“Oh! The Eighth Avenue. Subway. On my way down to 66th Street, to a television studio. I’m an actress.”

An actor playing a cop playing a screen hoodlum, an actress playing a nurse, and an actress playing an actress playing a screen airline hostess.

[Barbara Lord and Nancy Malone. Click for a larger view.]

Why would Nurse Vale go to Libby’s apartment? There’s a Naked City trope: if Adam can’t be reached at his apartment, he must be at Libby’s place. Detective Arcaro told the nurse she could find Adam there.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)
Elaine’s post about Naked City music

“Mother, I’m a poet!”

A detail from Douglas Crase’s remembrance of John Ashbery, friend and fellow poet:

It was October, bright and chilly, and his mother, then seventy-nine, was raking leaves in the front yard. She was not making much progress. She had a scarf wrapped around her head and her nose was dripping. As John came out of the house she said to him — and she had a voice that could rise in a nasal whine to match his own — “John, if you were any kind of a son at all you’d help your mother with these leaves.”

John, his hand already on the car door, turned briefly back and replied in exasperation, as though she should have known better, “Mother, I’m a poet!”
Related reading
All OCA John Ashbery posts (Pinboard)

The daily news, from a historian

Elaine pointed me to daily news write-ups by Heather Cox Richardson, historian. A good alternative to endless television. Richardson’s Facebook page is public, no account needed. Her write-ups are also available as Letters from an American.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“You’re gonna get better”

Donald Trump* today in Tampa, Florida: “You know the bottom line though? You’re gonna get better. You’re gonna get better. If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast.”

You heartless, hollow fool.

Trump* equals death. That anyone still cheers for this shambles of a human being amazes me.

Naked City exchange names

[From the Naked City episode “Bullets Cost Too Much,” January 4, 1961. Click any image for a larger view. And notice the Public Telephone sign in the second image.]

Ma Bell’s 1955 list of recommended exchange names includes WAbash, WAlker, WAlnut, WArwirck, and WAverly. WAverly, as in Waverly Place and the Waverly Diner, sounds to me like the most citified choice, but I can find no evidence that WAverly was a Manhattan exchange. PLaza is a bonus in this episode. Did you know that the Hotel Pennsylvania still has its PLaza number? 212-736-5000. But the hotel is closed for now.

I love the idea of being able to send a notice (how?) to “all cleaners & dyers.” And I love the idea that a hold-up man whose jacket gets stained as he holds up a bar would think about having that jacket dry cleaned. Maybe even Martinized. It was a different time.

More EXchange names on screen
Act of Violence : The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse : Armored Car Robbery : Baby Face : Blast of Silence : The Blue Dahlia : Blue Gardenia : Boardwalk Empire : Born Yesterday : The Brasher Doubloon : The Brothers Rico : The Case Against Brooklyn : Chinatown : Danger Zone : The Dark Corner : Dark Passage : Deception : Deux hommes dans Manhattan : Dick Tracy’s Deception : Down Three Dark Streets : Dream House : East Side, West Side : Fallen Angel : Framed : The Little Giant : Loophole : The Man Who Cheated Himself : Modern Marvels : Murder by Contract : Murder, My Sweet : My Week with Marilyn : Naked City (1) : Naked City (2) : Naked City (3) : Naked City (4) : Naked City (5) : Naked City (6) : Naked City (7) : Naked City (8) : Nightfall : Nightmare Alley : Out of the Past : Perry Mason : Pitfall : The Public Enemy : Railroaded! : Red Light : Side Street : The Slender Thread : Stage Fright : Sweet Smell of Success : Tension : This Gun for Hire : Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Waller Razaf Costello & Batiste

I was trying to pin it down all through Elvis Costello’s “Hey Clockface” — where do I know those chord changes from?

[Elvis Costello and Jon Batiste, A Late Show, October 28, 2020.]

Yes, those changes are from “How Can Face Me?” by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf. Here’s the 1934 recording by Fats Waller and His Rhythm, with Herman Autrey, trumpet; Floyd O’Brien, trombone; Mezz Mezzrow, clarinet; Al Casey, guitar; Billy Taylor, bass; Alvin Dial, drums. YouTube won’t allow it to be embedded. But here it is anyway, turning up at the end of last night’s Costello and Batiste performance. Wonderful stuff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Bob Woodward, insightful

Bob Woodward, on CNN just now, commented on the Trump* administration’s response to COVID-19, as explained by Jared Kushner in an interview back in April. Said Woodward, “I honestly think this gets to a point where there’s a moral dimension to it.”

Gosh, ya think? And is there also perhaps a moral dimension to the journalist’s choice to keep his knowledge under wraps for months while a book took shape?

A self-owning comment from Kushner in the interview: “The most dangerous people around the president are the overconfident idiots.” Dunning-Kruger!

“This isn’t Wal-Mart!”

At a local business today, the owner attempted to put us at ease: “You don’t have to wear your mask. This isn’t Wal-Mart!”

Elaine decided to mess with him: “We may have been exposed.” Which might after all be true. But we have no reason to think we have been. She was messing with him.

I couldn’t top Elaine’s response, but I did mention the alarming number of cases from yesterday’s tests at a nearby hospital. After which the store owner began to explain that the reason we have so many cases is that we have so much testing.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Public Health Director, speaking today on NPR’s Morning Edition : “The desire by people to believe in things which are comforting but not true is incredibly strong right now.”

If I ever hear “You don’t have to wear your mask” again, I will be tempted to reply thusly: “Well, just between you and me — heh, heh — I’m not even supposed to be back out of the house yet.”

What’s with the Strand?

Three accounts of current events at the Strand Bookstore: this one, from The Baffler, appeared in September; this one, from The New York Times, and this one, from The Washington Post, appeared two days ago.

Somehow I find it difficult to trust a bookstore owner who asks customers to #savethestrand but invests in Amazon, buying “at least $115,000 of stock” according to the Post, “between $220,010 and $600,000” according to The Baffler. The Times mentions an investment in Amazon but with no dollar amount.

Neither the Times nor the Post mentions the larger picture: according to The Baffler, Nancy Bass Wyden, the Strand’s owner, bought “between $3 million and almost $7.9 million” of assorted stocks between April and September. Meanwhile, employees (those who hadn’t been laid off) went without adequate PPE and cleaning supplies.


That house with the signs and the pool and the lawn furniture all over the place: it would be really immature and small-minded to make fun by calling it Mar-a-Lago, don’t you think?

But also fun.

Buying “shoes”

I was in a shoe store. My total at the register: $501.94. Now there’s a mixture of the mundane and the bizarre, the two poles of my COVID-era dream life.

I think I can point to the source of this dream: some thinking about the difference between buying “a pair of shoes” and buying “shoes.” In this dream I must have been buying “shoes.”

Related reading
All OCA dream posts (Pinboard)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

“Nice, heavy notebooks”

Donald Trump*’s surrogate’s recent presentation to Lesley Stahl of a big bound book allegedly containing a healthcare plan reminded me of Walter Galt’s explanation of the notebook system at his high school. It’s the same mentality, really:

Daniel Pinkwater, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (1982).

“We” means Walter Galt and his friend Winston Bongo. If you’ve never read Daniel Pinkwater’s books, you’re missing out.

A related post
“Pineapples don’t have sleeves” (A Pinkwater story and a standardized test)


“This is a three-quarter-length child.”

Related reading
All OCA “overheard” posts (Pinboard)

[Switching the television back to cable without looking at the screen can make for strangeness. “This” was a painting, on Antiques Roadshow.]

Monday, October 26, 2020

Alvin & Company

Gunther at Lexikaliker shared the sad news that Alvin & Company has closed after seventy years in business. You usually saw Alvin products in the art and drafting aisles of office supply stores, always with unglamorous but distinctive blue and white packaging. The company also distributed a wide variety of products from other manufacturers.

I have Alvin products stashed here and there — eraser shields, pencil extenders, a beautiful cork-backed stainless-steel ruler. I’m especially fond of my two Alvin Draf/Tec-Retrac mechanical pencils, 0.5 and 0.7mm.

As a lifelong resident in the world of “supplies,” I’ll miss Alvin & Company.

Deevie and diskey

It’s 1903. Mary-Jacobine McRory, a young Canadian, is abroad enjoying “the London Season.” From Robertson Davies’s What’s Bred in the Bone (1985), the second volume of The Cornish Trilogy :

The Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for the adjective deevy, with the alternate spellings deevey, deevie, devey, and devy : “‘divine’; delightful, sweet, charming.” The dictionary identifies the word in all its forms as an “affected alteration” of the slang word divvy : “extremely pleasant, ‘divine,’ ‘heavenly.’” The first citation for deevy, or in this case, devey, is from 1900, from Elinor Glyn: “Miss La Touche . . . said my hat was ‘too devey for words.’”

But no diskey in the OED .

Eric Partridge’s A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1970) glosses deevie/deevy/dev(e)y as a perversion (!) of divvy and gives the meanings “delightful, charming.” Partridge notes 1900–c. 1907 as the time of the word’s vogue.

But no diskey in Partridge.

Green’s Dictionary of Slang has deevie, “wonderful, excellent.” But here, too, no diskey.

You’ve probably already guessed what the adjective diskie must mean. But is it authentic slang, or something Robertson Davies made up? Because he does at times invent. Google Books has the answer. Here’s a small catalogue of slang words from the smart set:

[Sydney Brooks, “The Smart Set in England.” Harper’s Weekly, February 27, 1904.]

I wish the scan were more readable. I will note that nightie, pals, and undies are still with us. And diskie, yes, means “disgusting.” And yes, twe-est is “dearest,” and my twee meant “my dear.” The mnystery here is cassies. Or is it cossies ?

One more source, pairing the words as Davies does:

[Clement Scott, “The Smart Set and the Stage.” The Smart Set, April 1900.]

I don’t know how Davies came by his knowledge of deevie and diskey (maybe by reading The Smart Set ?), but I’d like to think he would admire a reader’s effort to track down both words.

Related reading
All OCA Robertson Davies posts (Pinboard)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Something Kamala Harris said

I wrote it down as soon as I heard it: “Our democracy is as strong as our willingness to fight for it.” That was Kamala Harris, speaking this afternoon in Troy, Michigan.

Bye, Odwalla

I saw the news that Coca-Cola is discontinuing Odwalla, among other brands.

Did you know that the juice company took its name from the work of the Art Ensemble of Chicago? Odwalla, teacher to “the people of the sun,” is a character in a “myth poem” by Joseph Jarman, recited in the Malachi Favors composition “Illistrum,” on the Art Ensemble album Fanfare for the Warriors (Atlantic, 1973). Wikipedia has the story, with inaccuracies.

More famously, Roscoe Mitchell’s composition “Odwalla” was long the Art Ensemble’s closing theme in performance. Here are four versions, from 1972, 1981, 1991, and 1998. For a good idea of the Art Ensemble in performance, choose 1991. For the best sound, choose the 1998 studio recording (minus Jarman, who had left the group in 1993).

Some AEC posts
The AEC in Boston : The AEC in Cambridge : Joseph Jarman (1937–2019) : Joseph Jarman again : Lester Bowie on Fresh Air

[The Wikipedia inaccuracies have already been pointed out on a Talk page. I have the LP right here as I’m typing, but it hardly qualifies as a Wikipedia source.]

Hi and Lois watch

[Hi and Lois, October 25, 2020. Click for a larger view.]

It’s coincidence, I think. Daily comic strips are created well in advance of publication. But here, as in a recent New Yorker cartoon, a dream of blue leaves.

Related reading
All OCA Hi and Lois posts (Pinboard) : Trying to figure out the New Yorker cartoon

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Mail early in the day, today

I don’t know that it's true everywhere, but if you’re voting by mail, it would be wise to assume it’s true.

And as they used to say, mail early in the day, so that your ballot doesn’t sit in a mailbox till Monday.

The Lincoln Project, whatever the backstory, is doing great work in this election. The Times Square billboards are aptly brutal. And the Kushner–Trump threat to sue has now given those billboards more prominence than they would have had otherwise. There’s a name for that phenomenon: the Streisand effect.

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper is by Greg Johnson. It’s a solid sender.

I looked at the shape of things: twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-letter answers across. Uh-oh. I looked at 1-A, twelve letters, “Low-altitude airborne pollutant” and 1-D, five letters, “Silas Marner exclamation.” Uh-oh. But I found a start in 26-A, three letters, “Fabled ready-for-winter creature.” And another: 31-A, three letters, “Pontiac clubber’s pride.” And those two gave me 20-D, six letters, “They have big food bills.” So there’s my secret strategy: look for clues whose answers I can fill in. I ended up where I began, with the first three Across clues. Tough stuff.

Some clue-and-answer pairs I especially liked:

18-A, four letters, “One often stuck in traffic.” TAXI? No.

35-D, five letters, “Hairpin stealing, circa 1885.” Yes, it’s true. The kids yesterday. . . .

62-D, three letters, “Parallel line part.” I always like seeing a junky answer redeemed by its clue.

63-A, thirteen letters, “Got ticketed.” Dang clever.

64-A, twelve letters, “Urban survival skill.” But I’m not sure it’s a skill. More a state of mind, I’d say.

Nits to pick: 13-A, thirteen letters, “It’s stalked in the kitchen.” Not in this kitchen. And the obligatory cryptic clue in this puzzle is just a rAW FULcrum — in other words, too contrived.

My favorite in this puzzle: 15-A, fourteen letters, “Oxymoronic appliance.” Yes, it is oxymoronic. And I used one for years, a gift from my fambly.

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

Four panels, “some rocks”

[A first panel. Bliss, October 23, 2020.]

Thanks to George Bodmer, who draws Oscar’s Portrait, for passing on yesterday’s Bliss.

“Some rocks” are an abiding preoccupation of these pages.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The death tour

From USA Today:

As President Donald Trump jetted across the country holding campaign rallies during the past two months, he didn’t just defy state orders and federal health guidelines. He left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks in his wake.

The president has participated in nearly three dozen rallies since mid-August, all but two at airport hangars. A USA Today analysis shows COVID-19 cases grew at a faster rate than before after at least five of those rallies in the following counties: Blue Earth, Minnesota; Lackawanna, Pennsylvania; Marathon, Wisconsin; Dauphin, Pennsylvania; and Beltrami, Minnesota.

Together, those counties saw 1,500 more new cases in the two weeks following Trump’s rallies than the two weeks before — 9,647 cases, up from 8,069.
Trump* = death. Literally.

Masks, freedom, and
toxic masculinity

From a brief interview with Anand Giridharadas about the American aversion to masks:

I think the expectation of invulnerability in men is quite universal.

But the idea of “freedom from” is an American obsession — freedom from the government and so on. But freedom to — to be able to eat or to pursue your dreams — we’re much blinder to those types of freedoms, which political philosophers call positive freedom.

I think that “freedom from” obsession results in this feeling that government is emasculating.

The common sense exertion of public institutions to protect people makes many American men feel weakened, as though faceless bureaucrats are doing for their family what maybe they feel like they should be doing for their family instead.
Related posts
Andrew Cuomo, Edward Gibbon, Edith Hamilton, Margaret Thatcher, and “freedom from” : Huck Finn and “freedom from” : Sociopathy unmasked : “You wear a mask”

On the crisis in the humanities

Jon Baskin and Anastasia Berg, writing in The New York Times:

No one should minimize the impact of the closing and contracting of humanities departments and liberal arts colleges on students, professors and staffs. And, to be sure, there remains scholarly work that requires the resources and support that today only a university can provide. But the case for humanistic education should never rest solely on the survival of these institutions. This means the “crisis” cannot be adequately described either by the number of openings on the academic job market, or the number of Great Books on university syllabuses. The health of the humanities should be measured instead by whether our society provides ample opportunities for its citizens to ask the fundamental questions about the good life and the just society.

By that yardstick, it seems, the humanities are healthier than the doomsayers might lead us to believe.

In recent months, in the midst of a pandemic, a protest movement and a presidential election season, millions of Americans have gravitated to online reading groups and book clubs, attended Zoom panels on the burdens of history and the meaning of open discourse, watched philosophy lectures on YouTube and flocked to longform, humanistic magazines (as editors of one of them, The Point, we can attest that our readership has nearly doubled since March). Those who truly care about the future of the humanities, as opposed to the viability of certain career paths, might begin by seeing such public-facing pursuits as central, rather than ancillary, to their mission.
I’m sympathetic to Berg and Baskin’s argument. As the formal study of literature continues to wane, small group efforts (assisted, often, by digital technology) will become increasingly important to the work of serious reading. “Houses of reading,” to use George Steiner’s phrase, need not be classrooms.

Two related posts
Book clubs and the Internets : George Steiner on reading

How to improve writing (no. 89)

A sentence from a New York Review Books e-mail:

Thomas Tryon’s The Other narrates the tale of two identical twins, one of whom begins to terrorize the peaceful New England town that they call home.
I first thought Omit needless words :
Thomas Tryon’s The Other narrates the tale of two identical twins, one of whom begins to terrorize the peaceful New England town that they call home.
But wait a sec — what if it’s a tale of a town’s worth of identical twins? The village of the twins! The context for this sentence is an e-mail devoted to horror and science-fiction, so anything is possible, no?

But wait another sec — the phrase “one of whom” pretty clearly suggests that the story is about two twins.

But wait one more sec — without “two,” perhaps there’s still a slight risk of misreading before one gets to “one of whom.” Okay, leave it in.

I would like to think that the writer of the sentence went through the same process of overthinking that I just did. Sometimes writing can be improved by going back to what you had. Not every improvement is an improvement.

This sentence got Elaine and me to thinking about the word pair. Why say “a pair of shoes”? They’re just shoes, right? Only sometimes. An everyday shopper buys “a pair of shoes.” Imelda Marcos bought “shoes.”


November 25: It occurred to me to look up pair. From the entry for pair in Garner’s Modern English Usage:
Is it right to speak of a pair of twins — that is, does this phrase denote two people or four? Because twins are always two per birth, a pair of twins is two people. (Shoes also come in pairs, and a pair of shoes is two — not four — shoes.) Four twins are two pairs of twins. But the redundant phrase pair of twins can be found in print sources fairly steadily from 1800 to the present day.

April 24, 2021: A passage I found by chance, in Theodore M. Bernstein’s Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer’s Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears and Outmoded Rules of English Usage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971):
In ordinary, forgivable usage a pair of twins is the customary phrase. In some situations it is almost necessary. If you were walking down the street and two like-looking creatures approached, you would probably nudge your companion and say, “They are twins”; but if you were relating the incident to a companion who had not been present, you would be quite likely to say, “Coming toward me was a pair of twins,” rather than “Coming toward me were twins.” Incidentally and not altogether irrelevantly, “a pair of trousers” is never questioned, although, of course, “trousers” by itself covers the thought (as well as the legs). But it should be noted that no idea of two-ness is inherent in that word.
Miss Thistlebottom? “Your eight-grade English teacher,” Bernstein says. The sexism of Bernstein’s unfortunate title lives on in Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style (2014). Pinker borrows the name Thistlebottom and adds his own sexist insults: ”grammar nannies,” “Ms. Retentive and her ilk,” “schoolmarm,” “schoolteachers,” “spinster schoolteacher,” and “usage nannies.”

Related reading
All OCA “How to improve writing” posts

[I read The Other for my tenth-grade English class. It was good then. Would it still be good now? And how many shoes are “some shoes”? This post is no. 89 in a series dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]

Thursday, October 22, 2020


“They are so well taken care of”: Donald Trump*, in tonight’s debate, speaking of the 545 children taken from their parents at the United States–Mexico border, parents who cannot now be found.

We know who Donald Trump* is. But it’s still, always, shocking to see it so clearly. Any parent — any person — should shudder at this president’s utter lack of empathy.


Donald Trump*, interviewed by Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes: “When I finish, this country will be in a position like it hasn’t been maybe ever.”

Yes, exactly.

You can watch this interview, or some edited version of it, on Trump*’s Facebook page. Ten minutes in, I’ve seen nothing but falsehoods, distortions, and endless repetition: we got hit, we got it, we saved millions of lives, we saved millions of lives, we just picked up 11.4 million jobs, we just picked up 11.4 million jobs, the check is in the mail, the check is in the mail. No water drinking yet. But it’s fascinating to see Trump* working up his serious face as the interview begins.

[Look, it’s in the mail. I put it in the mail days ago, okay? Days ago. If you have a problem, take it up with your mailman. Not with me.]

“What should I do until then?”

[“Biden His Time.” Zippy, October 22, 2020.]

Today’s Zippy poses an urgent question. Griffy explains that he has to keep Zippy “offstage & blindfolded” while awaiting the end of one “long national nightmare” or the start of a nightmare even worse.

What to do in the next twelve days? I’ve voted, and I’ve given all the money to candidates that I can. I will follow the news, some of it, and try to remind myself that CNN and MSNBC seek to intensify angst.

Also: read, write, walk, do FaceTime, and listen to music. And have a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or two ounces of Scotch at night. Reading includes the comics and Robertson Davies’s The Cornish Trilogy. Music includes The Harry Smith B-Sides. Scotch means Glenmorangie.

How do you plan to get through the next twelve days?

A Langston Hughes Zoom event

Jameatris Rimkus, archivist, presents “The Mystery Recordings of Langston Hughes: A Poet Visits the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” Thursday, November 5, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. CST. Registration is free, via this link.

The mystery recordings, found in a box in the University Archives, are of Hughes reading his work for a live audience. The only documentation: the recordings were made by WILL Radio. But the archivist is on the case.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

“What? What?”

Whatever our current misery, I feel fortunate to have had eight years of life with this man as president. And to have him campaigning for Joe Biden now. Barack Obama, a few minutes ago at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia:

“You’ll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that Navy SEALs didn’t actually kill Bin Laden. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine. What? What?”
Honk! Honk!

A repurposed caption

[Cartoon by Lars Kenseth. The New Yorker, September 21, 2020. Caption by me. Click for a larger view.]

I thought it might be fun to repurpose the caption from a recent New Yorker cartoon by Teresa Burns Parkhurst. So I looked at recent cartoons from the magazine’s Cartoon Caption Contest. The Burns caption fits this cartoon well. This one too, kinda sorta. But the cartoon above, from a few weeks back, is a perfect loopy fit.

The New Yorker offers no prize to winners of its Contest. And certainly not to someone captioning after the fact with borrowed goods. I am therefore awarding myself a small plate of crackers with peanut butter, and a small glass of Silk on the side, to be consumed as a midafternoon snack.

The canonical all-purpose captions for New Yorker cartoons — “Christ, what an asshole!” and “What a misunderstanding!” — would work well here too. But I wanted to make something out of the blue.


[Zits, October 21, 2020.]

As D’ijon explained in yesterday’s Zits, Pierce is “experimenting with conformity.” But it’s not just his appearance that’s changed. Look at his speech balloon: he’s sounding like the old Mark Trail. And from Monday’s strip:

[Zits, October 19, 2020. Click either image for a larger view.]

I have to think Pierce’s whom is meant for laughs. Notice also his wristwatch.

Related reading
A handful of Zits posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Old Landmark

Elaine called it first. Fourth and Bowery: we were there, at that corner, last summer, on foot, on our way to see an exhibit of Joe Brainard’s collages, drawings, and paintings. In the time of Naked City, the corner establishment, 359 Bowery, was The Old Landmark Bar and Restaurant. The Old Landmark appears in five Naked City episodes.

[Detective James Halloran (James Franciscus) pays a visit in search of information. “Line of Duty,” October 14, 1958. Click any image for a larger view.]

[Halloran again. “Beyond Truth,” April 7, 1959. In this episode the interior seems to be that of another establishment.]

“Killer with a Kiss” gives good glimpses of the Bowery to the south of The Landmark (the 7 Up sign) and north. Look — there’s the Five Spot Café, at 5 Cooper Square. Even if you don’t know jazz history, you might know the Five Spot from Frank O’Hara’s poem “The Day Lady Died.” By 1960 a sign with the establishment’s name had replaced the generic BAR & GRILL visible in “Line of Duty.” And by 1960 one or more buildings across 4th Street had been torn down for a parking lot.

[“Killer with a Kiss,” November 16, 1960. A drinker inspired by a missionary’s zeal pours out what’s left in her bottle. Burt Brinckerhoff, a near ringer for Anthony Perkins, plays a psychokiller posing as a blind pedestrian, waiting to cross the Bowery.]

[“Show Me the Way to Go Home,” November 21, 1961. Burt Brinckerhoff, Celia Adler, and Lois Nettleton take a break. The Old Landmark stands in the background.]

Here’s a last glimpse of The Old Landmark. I like the tattered awning, a nice urban touch.

[“Bridge Party,” December 27, 1961.]

Not only were we walking the Bowery last summer: we had lunch last summer at the establishment that now stands where The Old Landmark stood, Phebe’s Tavern and Grill. It was a lovely place for lunch, brick walls, an old wood floor, salmon burger, quinoa salad.

Here’s a post from an East Village-centric blog with some photographs of The Landmark. Dig the businessman’s lunch menu — quite a ways from salmon and quinoa. According to this post, The Old Landmark was in business in 1910. According to the New York City Municipal Archives (see below), this building dates to 1920.

And here’s one final look at The Old Landmark, as it appeared not in Naked City but in real life:

[From the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery, 1939–1941. Click for a larger view.]

The 29-DVD set of Naked City, all four seasons, is still available. A great value in television.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)

Thank you, Brian and Al

“We have absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach”: Brian Wilson and Al Jardine disavow a Donald Trump* benefit put on by Mike Love’s touring version of the Beach Boys (Variety ).

Mike Love is just so gross.

Lighting and me

I finally realized why I get so much spam mail about lighting fixtures. Look at my last name.

[L-e-d, as in LED.]

Monday, October 19, 2020

Jeffrey Toobin, exposed

From the New York Daily News:

Journalist Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended from the New Yorker after exposing himself during a Zoom call, according to a report. Sources told VICE that Toobin was suspended while an investigation is conducted. The incident reportedly occurred during a call between workers at the New Yorker and WNYC radio, in which the prolific writer allegedly showed his penis. “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera," Toobin, who’s 60, said in a statement to VICE. "I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers.”
I was going to say that there’s always been something about Jeffrey Toobin that rubs me the wrong way, but I think I’ll just step back from that joke. Toobin has, though, always seemed to me a tad arrogant, more than a bit of a mansplainer in his CNN appearances. Now he really has some mansplaining to do. “I thought I was off-camera” is a pretty limp excuse.


It’s worse. I’ll add that I made that rub-the-wrong-way joke before the full extent of Toobin’s folly was known.

Afterthought: “Toobin’s folly” would make a nice euphemism for something or other.

A related post
How to improve writing (no. 80) (A Toobin sentence)

“Orange Crate Shark”

I downloaded the Google app to try its new song-recognition feature. Just hum, and the app tells you the song. I often have unidentifiable bits of music popping into my head. For instance. And more recently, this little phrase for strings. I’m a capable hummer. So I thought the Google app might be useful to me.

I tried humming. I started with “Orange Crate Art.” The Google app identified it as “Baby Shark.”

Okay, something easier.

The Google app turned “Old McDonald” into “Death Grips” by Ha Ha Ha. Yes, really. Honest.

For “Take the ‘A’ Train” it had nothing.

A minute or so later the app was gone from my phone.

In Wisconsin

I was in Wisconsin, in the town of Da Vinci (so spelled), watching a protest at a Vietnamese restaurant. About what or whom, I didn’t know. Someone threw a brick through the window. Instead of shattering the window, it made a large, perfectly cut circle.

My dreams during the Great Pause have veered from the mundane (buying groceries) to the bizarre (a talking squirrel). This dream seems too much drawn from waking life.

Related reading
All OCA dream posts (Pinboard)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

“This is not normal”

Amy Siskind’s select list of norms Donald Trump* and his administration have violated, week by week by week: “This is not normal” (The Washington Post).

A message to Senator Doodyhead

I left a message for David Perdue (R-GA), who was in the news this week. Here’s what I left on the senator’s contact page:

Dear Senator Perdue:

I was appalled by your recent mockery of Kamala Harris's first name. It smacked of junior-high immaturity and cruelty. The racism implicit in your mockery of an unfamiliar name was unmistakable. And yet how unfamiliar to you is Senator Harris's name anyway? You have served with her in the Senate for several years.

As someone whose name so readily lends itself to mockery — David Perdoodoo, David Doody, perhaps even David Doodyhead — you should be aware of how inappropriate such mockery is, especially when one moves beyond junior high.

Be best, &c.
[My name too. My dad and I, across the generations, both endured Ledhead. Or was it Leadhead? I never asked about the spelling.]

Nancy and Japan

In today’s Nancy, Olivia Jaimes offers a performative commentary on Japanese comics.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Ed Benguiat (1927–2020)

The graphic designer Ed Benguiat has died at the age of ninety-two. From the New York Times obituary:

“Music is placing sounds, to me, in their proper order so they’re pleasing to the ear. What is graphic design? Placing things in their proper order so they’re pleasing to the eye.”
Benguiat’s Interlock has made several appearances in these pages.

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper is by “Anna Stiga,” or Stan Again, Stanley Newman, the puzzle’s editor. It looks intimidating, with stacks of fourteen-, fifteen-, and fifteen-letter answers top and bottom. But look, there’s an opening: 18-A, three letters, “Lentil cousin.” And another: 22-A, four letters, “Internal motivation.” And things began to fall into place. I found some moments of difficulty in the southeast quarter. For instance, 44-D, three letters, “Restraining order”? That’s tricky, especially if you’re uncertain how to spell 51-A, five letters, “Asia’s highest major city.”

Some clue-and-answer pairs I especially liked:

7-D, six letters, “Cause precipitation.” Nice misdirection, Ms. Stiga.

33-A, eight letters, “OK to drive.” Is it clever, really? I think it’s clever.

50-D, six letters, “Put to the test.” Aah, put. Present tense, or past? And what kind of test?

55-A, four letters, “Up.” AWAK —? No.

58-A, three letters, “Get close to, in quantity.” I think that should be in number, but I still like the twist.

The funnest fifteen-letter clue in today’s puzzle: 61-A, “Secret thing since the ’50s.” But my favorite clue in today’s puzzle is 54-D, five letters, “Late spring/early summer tag phrase.” So simple once you see it, though it may take a while to see it.

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

Friday, October 16, 2020


The song is “New World Coming” (Barry Mann–Cynthia Weil). My guess is that too many people won’t know the singer. She is Nina Simone.

Sally Foster Wallace (1938–2020)

This news appears to have gone unremarked beyond a local obituary: Sally Foster Wallace, teacher and writer, has died at the age of eighty-two. Her husband, the philosopher James Wallace, died in 2019. David Foster Wallace was their son.

Sally Foster Wallace’s Practically Painless English (1980) is a textbook noteworthy for the loopy humor of its sample sentences. Three random samples:

George is upset because his father thinks he lied about the cherry tree.

Rats! My wig has burst into flames again! Help!

The big fish kept out of trouble because he shut his mouth and stayed in school.
And from an exercise in commas:
You set fire to the pizza[,] didn’t you?

“End Our National Crisis”

“Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II”: The New York Times today has published a special Opinion section, “End Our National Crisis: The Case Against Donald Trump.”

Naked City playground

[From the Naked City episode “Saw My Baby There,” June 9, 1959. Click any image for a larger view. And to the girl in the first picture: stop looking at the camera!]

Swings, seesaws, slide — the only thing missing is the monkey bars.

That playground could be anywhere in mid-century New York. Those swings, like the sinks and toilets in prisons, are made to resist damage. A thoughtful parent might lay down a diaper or towel before seating a child on the metal surface. I speak from experience.

[Me, in a playground at 43rd Street and New Utrecht Avenue, Brooklyn, 1957.]

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

I’ll say!

Maria Magdalena Theotoky, graduate student:

Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels (1981).

The Rebel Angels is the first novel of The Cornish Trilogy.

Related reading
All OCA Robertson Davies posts (Pinboard)

A little help?

[Teresa Burns Parkhurst, The New Yorker, October 14, 2020.]

Yesterday’s Daily Cartoon baffles me. “Let’s go back home — none of them are turning blue”: has this couple been traveling through a red state? campaigning for a Democratic candidate?

“A little help?” is what we used to say when a basketball rolled away to an adjacent court. People playing basketball probably still say it. So I’ll say it here: A little help? What’s going on in this cartoon?


I’ve added this caption to a New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest cartoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

“The antithesis”

“He’s like the antithesis of public health”: Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University, speaking of you-know-who on MSNBC a few minutes ago.

Tackling with chutzpah

From a New York Times review of Christophe Honoré’s stage adaptation of Marcel Proust’s The Guermantes Way :

Not only does it takes chutzpah to tackle Proust’s magnum opus, whose meandering style has wrong-footed many film and stage directors, but Honoré ups the ante by dispensing with the first two books.
What I first noticed: the profusion of clichés. After which I paused to take issue with “meandering style.” Merriam-Webster: “Meander implies a winding or intricate course suggestive of aimless or listless wandering.” Proust’s prose is neither aimless nor listless. It was only after copying and pasting the review sentence into this post that I noticed takes, which has stood in the review since October 8.

Also: the narrator’s family never had “a stay with the Guermantes in Paris.” They had an apartment in the Hôtel de Guermantes.

Related reading
All OCA Proust posts (Pinboard)

“The Problems of a President”

The Reverend Simon Darcourt has been visiting his colleague Ozias Froats, who studies not faces but faeces, human faeces.

Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels (1981).

The Oxford English Dictionary confirms that at least most of these names for animal faeces are real. Watch your step.

The Rebel Angels is the first novel of The Cornish Trilogy.

Related reading
All OCA Robertson Davies posts (Pinboard)

[Collect: “a short prayer comprising an invocation, petition, and conclusion. Specifically, often capitalized : one preceding the eucharistic Epistle and varying with the day” (Merriam-Webster).]

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fifty PBS shows

In The New York Times, appreciations of fifty PBS shows that have made “a lasting imprint on our culture.” Reading through, I realize that I’ve watched a lot of children’s television: I’m happy to see Ghostwriter and Wishbone among the fifty. And I’m happy to see the very funny bilingual comedy ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.? And look: PBS has a page for that show, with several episodes.

Naked City Mongols

Whichever side of the law you’re on, the Mongol is the pencil of choice in the Naked City.

[Henry Casso as a numbers runner. James Franciscus, Harry Bellaver, and John McIntire as Detective Jimmy Halloran, Detective Frank Arcaro, and Lieutenant Dan Muldoon. From the Naked City episode “Ten Cent Dreams,” March 10, 1959. Click either image for a larger view.]

I missed these Mongols the first time around. Other Naked City Mongols: here, here, and here. When I was a kid, the Mongol was the pencil of choice in our family. Still my favorite pencil.

Related reading
All OCA Mongol posts and Naked City posts (Pinboard)

Monday, October 12, 2020


On The 11th Hour, Brian Williams just characterized Republican distancing from Donald Trump* as a Great Migration and “a family trip to Africa.”

Related reading
All OCA metaphor posts (Pinboard)

“Illinois has no place to go”

Thus said our president this morning on Twitter. And he’s right. We’re hemmed in by other states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentcky, Missouri, Iowa. There is Lake Michigan, but Illinois can’t squeeze in there. Truly, our state has no place to go.

Except to the polls, to vote this president out.

George Floyd in high school

The Washington Post continues its series on how systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life. The focus in today’s article is education, in high school and college. From a description of life at Jack Yates High School in Houston:

In Floyd’s senior year of high school, 21 percent of the juniors and seniors at Yates who took the mandatory state test passed all three sections, compared with 43 percent in the district and 54 percent statewide. About half the class took college entrance exams, but almost no one scored at a college-ready level.

It was a school where many students came from poor families, with little support at home, and where teachers were flooded with students with significant needs. So it was that students like Floyd, good kids who didn’t cause problems, could skate through academically, able to do the minimum. . . .

For top athletes at Yates, things were easier — for Floyd and also for Dexter Manley, the former Washington Redskins star who graduated in 1977 even though he was unable to read or write.

“One thing about athletes, at every level there were people to help you,” Manley said in an interview. “Because football is king in Texas — I mean king — that means those faculty are going to work with the head football coaches. They’re going to give you the support. They’re going to give me the help.”

Teachers asked little of him, he said, satisfied that he turned up for class and even that he sat toward the front. “You’re getting a lot of credit for attendance,” Manley said. He laughed when asked if he ever was asked to write a paper, and said he’d get “help” from girlfriends on tests.

Near the end of his all-pro career, Manley testified before a Senate panel on education that he had been illiterate through high school and college. He struggled to read his statement. “The only thing that really made me feel good in schools was athletics,” he said through tears. “That built self-esteem and some self-worth in Dexter Manley. Other than that, I had no identity.”

“You didn’t fail, sir,” Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) told him. “The system failed you.”

Four months later, George Floyd started high school in that same system.
A related post

Brooklyn, represent

I called the assisted-living place to reserve the gazebo for a visit with my mom. “You sound just like her,” the staff member said.

I have long known that I sound just like my dad. Plumbers, when I would answer my dad’s business phone: “Oh, jeez, you sound just like your father.” But yesterday marks the first time anyone has told me that I sound just like my mother.

As the staff member went on to say, she meant my accent, or alleged accent. Students, too, used to tell me sometimes: “I love your accent.” Only people from elsewhere have accents, of course.

The Brooklyn lives loudly within me.

[That final sentence is meant to ring a bell.]

“Red meets black, you’re okay, Jack”

[Mark Trail, October 12, 2020. Click for a larger view.]

Mark Trail has a new artist. Her name is Jules Rivera. She calls herself Mark Trail’s new dad. Here’s an article about the change.

Yes, that’s a camcorder, not a phone, in Cherry Trail’s hands, which I think must be a joke at the expense of the early aughts.


And now I’m surprised to see that news of the switch made The New York Times in September.

Related reading
All OCA Mark Trail posts (Pinboard)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A precept from Paracelsus

It’s National Coming Out Day. And by chance, I read this sentence this afternoon, in Robertson Davies’s The Rebel Angels (1981), where it’s attributed to Paracelsus:

Be not another if thou canst be thyself.

Man and Superman

The New York Times reports on a Donald Trump* scheme:

In several phone calls last weekend from the presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Mr. Trump shared an idea he was considering: When he left the hospital, he wanted to appear frail at first when people saw him, according to people with knowledge of the conversations. But underneath his button-down dress shirt, he would wear a Superman T-shirt, which he would reveal as a symbol of strength when he ripped open the top layer. He ultimately did not go ahead with the stunt.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Bikes and birds

A former Trump* White House official speaks:

“They aren’t even considering what happens when he’s feeling worse than he’s feeling now, when he’s hopped up full of steroids and other performance enhancers. He’s on the sort of drugs you’d see with a Tour de France rider in the mid-’90s!” Another way to say this, the former White House official said, was that the president is “hopped up on more drugs than a Belgian racing pigeon.” In keeping with the bird theme, this person said the president’s illness was proof that “the chickens are coming home to roost.”

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper, by Matthew Sewell, is a really good one, meaning 1. that I could solve it, and 2. that I could solve it in about twenty-four minutes. Some giveaways, some stumpish clues, some surprises and weirdness and fun. I started with a giveaway: 1-D, three letters, “It had 300+ campus chapters in ’69.” Only one possible answer, really, for that clue, even if the answer was a little before my time.

Some clue-and-answer pairs I especially liked:

5-D, five letters, “Hand-made props.” Stumpish.

8-D, four letters, “Talk follower or preceder.” Surprising.

24-A, seven letters, “Guys set for life.” I was thinking STATUES, though the clock is ticking, or has ticked, for so many of them — and rightly so.

26-A, four letters, “Chica, brevemente.” Maybe a giveaway, but the clue redeems the crosswordese.

27-D, four letters, “Either of two in the Bluetooth logo.” So that’s what they are! So much fun with shorter answers in this puzzle.

33-A, nine letters, “Swing shift?” I was thinking hours.

41-A, five letters, “Upsize, say.” I did not see this one coming.

One clue that made me wince: 45-A, three letters, “Pronoun in Hiroshima.” There’s a place name that should be off-limits for wordplay, I’d say.

And one clue that leaves me baffled: 32-A, four letters, “Suspended course.”

Huh? Wha? No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

Newman speaks

[“A Message from Your Friendly Local Mail Carrier.” From PACRONYM.]

I’m not sure that it strikes just the right tone, but I can’t resist sharing it.

While I was sleeping

Earlier this morning, Orange Crate Art had its two millionth visitor, from Istanbul, visiting a post about the Mayflower Coffee Shop(pe). Yay.

I suspect that the visitor was seeking to clarify a reference in Frank O’Hara’s poem “Music.” Search for “mayflower coffee shoppe ” and “frank o’hara ” and my post should be the first result. Or at least one of the first results.

It was mid-afternoon in Istanbul when someone there found the post. The Internet, it’s a wonderful thing.

Friday, October 9, 2020

A commercial to go with it

David Plouffe’s description of Donald Trump*: “A spray-tanned, drugged-up pitchman for Regeneron.” Now there’s a TV commercial. Or a “TV commercial.”

[Plouffe’s words: yesterday, on MSNBC.]

“I might as well”

Maria Magdalena Theotoky is a graduate student at Spook, the College of St. John and Holy Ghost. She has signed up for New Testament Greek with a professor she calls Prof. the Rev., Simon Darcourt. Prof. the Rev. is checking his students’ Latin skills by asking for a translation of a short passage. It forms the motto, he says, for the work of his seminar: “Conloqui et conridere et vicissim benevole obsequi, simul leger libros dulciloquos, simul nugari et simul honestari.“ Maria is the only woman in the class of five. And she is the only student who can provide a translation.

Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels (1981).

The Rebel Angels is the first novel of The Cornish Trilogy. Only one-thousand-and-something pages to go!

Related reading
All OCA Robertson Davies posts (Pinboard)

[The source for the passage: book 4, chapter 8. Augustine is describing pleasures with friends.]

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A concise description

“A spray-tanned, drugged-up pitchman for Regeneron”: on MSNBC, David Plouffe just offered this concise description of Donald Trump* on the White House lawn yesterday.


Oh, look: now there’s a TV commercial.

Recently updated

Opportunities A Washington Post article about how systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life has more on Floyd’s time in college. There are more articles to come. The next one is to be all about education.

Sluggo, the Sultan of Swat

[Nancy, May 19, 1950. Click for a larger view.]

There’s a Nancy for every occasion. Get on that stage, Sluggo, and give Mike Pence what for.

Thanks to Chris at Dreamers Rise for this strip.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

[Post title with apologies to George Herman Ruth Jr.]

Cursive is good for you

Psychology Today reports on new research suggesting that cursive is good for your brain:

Data analysis showed that cursive handwriting primed the brain for learning by synchronizing brain waves in the theta rhythm range (4-7 Hz) and stimulating more electrical activity in the brain's parietal lobe and central regions. . . .

The latest (2020) research on the brain benefits of cursive handwriting adds to a growing body of evidence and neuroscience-based research on the importance of learning to write by hand.
Related reading
All OCA handwriting posts (Pinboard)

Reality just got a little weirder

I’m not linking, but I just read that Stormy Daniels (yes, that Stormy Daniels) will be conducting a paranormal investigation at a nearby location, once a poorhouse, later a psychiatric hospital. Tickets are $75.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Advice from Colbert

Stephen Colbert just now, offering advice to Susan Page, the moderator of tonight’s debate:

“Susan, if you want to make Mike Pence shut up, you have to ask him to say ‘Black lives matter.’”

I feel sorry for Daniel Dale

Oh, the work of a legit fact-checker. My fact-checking of Mike Pence can be much more casual. No. No. No again. Nope. False, I’m afraid. Uh-uh. No, not that one neither.


Kamala Harris was impressive. Though Pence seemed to be using up more time, CNN clocked the candidates as virtually equal. I think Harris was able to turn Pence’s endlessness against him: she waited as he went on and on, then insisted on time to respond, and, in so doing, had the last word in a number of exchanges. I believe that rhetorical strategy is known as rope-a-dope.

Two posts in retrospect

I spent a little time today going through recent OCA posts in Pinboard, having finally decided that I had to tag some of them with pandemic. Two of those posts look newly strange:

~ in a March 6 post, I linked to a Borowitz Report citing Donald Trump* as “the source of the community spread of coronavirus misinformation throughout the United States.” That was satire. And now in October, the Cornell Alliance for Science has identified Trump* as the “single largest driver” of misinformation about COVID-19.

~ In a March 9 post about Trump*’s paranoia and magical thinking, I quoted the journalist Gabriel Sherman:

Last week Trump told aides he’s afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One, a person close to the administration told me.
Given such dark imaginings, can we rule out the possibility that Trump* might have been hoping, even if vaguely, to infect Joe Biden at last week’s debate? I don’t think so.

A suggestion from Annie Atkins

[By Annie Atkins. Click for a larger view.]

Annie Atkins is a graphic designer. She was the lead graphic designer for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Yes, she did the Mendl’s box. Here’s a 2017 interview. And here’s an article about the poster project.

The image above is now available in a set of postcards (“€2 of each sale will be donated directly to St David’s Hospice in North Wales”). Squarespace keeps timing out when I try to order. Must keep trying.

I found this image via a nice slice of tororo shiru.

[I would like to see “Wear a Mask.” But the posters are from early on in the pandemic.]

Hi and Lois watch

[Hi and Lois, October 7, 2020. Click for a larger view.]

“My touchpad”? I guess they didn’t want to say “iPad.” But they could have gone with “tablet.” A touchpad is something else entirely.

I suspect that Hi-Lo Amalgamated, not Dot herself, is the source of error here. No child of the twenty-first century, not even a two-dimensional one born in 1954, would call that device a touchpad.

Related reading
All OCA Hi and Lois posts (Pinboard)