While Waiting At Rite-Aid For Fifteen Minutes After The Flu Shot


They used to have a TV set here, didn’t they? Little thing here in the seating area outside the vaccination room. I remember they were always showing that afternoon chat show. You know. Four Women Excited That Bradley Cooper Will Be Stopping By Later. He’s never with the four women excited. He’s always supposed to be on a later segment, or maybe later this week, or maybe next week. No idea why they’d take out the TV set. People would watch that. Maybe Bradley Cooper finally stopped by and they’re retooling the show. Four Women Excited That Idris Elba Will Be Stopping By Later would have to be at least as popular, I’d think. No reason to take the set out.

Boy even for a free “health magazine” that’s all advertisements for prescription drugs this “health magazine” has a lot of advertisements for prescription drugs. Great set of tips for people buying sunglasses in October. I guess four sentences is enough for people doing that. We’re just going to have a hazy cloudy cover through to about April anyway and nobody sells cloudglasses worth anything these days.

Got to be something else here. Wonder what the Wi-Fi password is. ‘riteaid’? … no. ‘RiteAid’? … no. ‘Rite_Aid’? … no. They say there’s Wi-Fi in the store, why don’t they tell us what … it can’t be ‘password’, can it? While it can be, it is not. Good to have that sorted out.

Well, I can wander around some. If I collapse in the store they’ll send someone around to smoosh a mop against me. Hey, one of those Classic Video Game units-in-one thingies. Those are tempting. What do they have for the Atari? Oh, Tank. Tank II. SuperTank. Color SuperTank. Hm. Why don’t they ever have the god-awful games like E.T. or Superman? I bet they’re way less totally unplayable now that I have motor control and can read the eight-page instruction book. I’m in practice from all those grand strategy games. They have, like, an eighty-page instruction book that explains you can start a trade with another nation by clicking on the ‘diplomacy’ tab and clicking the ‘start trade’ button. They never explain whether putting a pile of rare earth metals on your side means you’re offering a pile of rare earth metals or whether you’re asking for them. So there’s never any guessing why your deal is getting rejected, until you give up even trying. Oh, Pong II. Hey, I remember that time at that boring con the only thing to do was play with this thing in the video game room. There was that whole baseball game where I never had any idea whether I was batting or pitching. And I drew a crowd of appreciative watchers, none of whom could tell either. We had similar results with the football game. And the guy who owned it asked if I wanted to take it home and I didn’t realize he was trying to give it away. It was easier playing games as a kid. You just argued with your siblings over whose turn it was, and punched. Didn’t even need the game.

“Now Better Crunch! Easier To Bite!” That’s a heck of a claim there, pack of granola bars. I bet they did it a chintzy way. I bet they nerfed the granola bars’s mouth-evasion AI. That’ll be convenient in some ways, I guess. I’ve had enough granola bars leap away from my lips and into my forehead, my left kneecap, into the mantle clock, over to the squirrel feeder. Too many light snacks have been ruined by my needing to disguise my mouth behind something that doesn’t trigger the granola bar’s fears. Maybe a picture of John Harvey Kellogg. Maybe a TV showing Four Women Excited That Chris Pratt Will Be Stopping By Later.

Ah, the local alt-weekly, that’s something. So … OK, why is the City of Lansing holding a tender to buy Harley-Davidsons? The city dates to 1847. It’s too old for this sort of midlife crisis. Oh, good, Dave still has his Reasonable Lawn-Mowing service going. Far better than those people who charge, like, four hundred thousand dollars and mow the lawn by beating it with an unchewable granola bar.

Maybe the password is “RiteAid” followed by whatever the store number is.

OK, what time is it? I should be able to leave in … thirteen minutes.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index rose a point just to see what all the noise up there was about. (It was an accident. They didn’t know their subwoofer was turned all the way up.)

134

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How Pinball League Went Last Night


I don’t want to get into too much detail about last night’s pinball league out of fear for wearing out the term “super-sucktacular” so let me focus on the one high point. We were playing the hipster bar’s newest machine, Ghostbusters, which just got put in the last couple days and hadn’t even broken yet. I put up a couple million points, nothing exciting, on the first ball and waited for the other players. Second ball, I stepped up, player two, and through the kind of gentle, soft plunge that new players never realize is what you really want to do, got the ball just where I wanted it. I got the “We Got One!” mode started and even completed, and got a ball locked toward Storage Facility Multiball. By the time the ball ended I had built it up to about 46 million points, a pretty respectable score especially given that nobody in the league really knows how to play the game.

Then I remembered: I had started the game as player three. I had played someone else’s ball. The president of our pinball league’s ball, in fact. But apart from that little mistake it was a great performance.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index rose in several hours of trading when it was set under a clean tablecloth and left on the counter while the yeast did its work.

133

In Which I Generally Update Stuff


I got my new license plate tags on my car, which required taking the plate holder off, without needing the help of the auto care place on the corner that’s going through some messy drama based on my reading of their message sign. This is literally the first time I’ve managed to take the plate holders off and put them on again on my own.

Neither the Michigan Secretary of State nor the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission have communicated their anger to me. Also I’m still not in trouble over that jury duty thing.

Still not reading about the history of socks.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index drifted down this afternoon following a heated discussion about what to have for lunch and whether to go to another medium-price fast-dining option or to just accept that what everyone really wants is to go to McDonald’s and eat their weight in fries with ranch sauce and they know a place that’ll give you any of the dipping sauces just for asking. But there’s always the one person who thinks asking for dipping sauces when you aren’t getting Chicken McNuggets is imposing too much on the customer-cashier relationship, based on one time in 1996 for crying out loud that the cashier was all snotty and called them names for trying.

129

Coming Soon To Meridian Mall


Sign on an empty storefront: 'FunShop X-treme: Coming Soon To Meridian Mall'. There's a reflection of me broken up by the division of panes of glass so it kind of looks a little like I have a third leg, if you don't know how reflections work.
Photograph taken by me, using my iPod on one of those peculiar days when I had three legs. It’s surprisingly easy to get used to, as my only actual dance style is to shuffle one way and then the other, following the patterns of the WiiFit Step Aerobics dance, and for that it doesn’t really matter what the extra leg is doing.

It’s the X-Treme nature of this that makes it so thrilling! While it’s too soon to say for sure what’s coming, my guess is “1997”.

And as usual for the day before Monday I talked about comic strips over on my mathematics blog. It’s friendly territory. I say something nice about Ernie Bushmiller’s art, the way everybody says nice things about Ernie Bushmiller’s art.

(The Meridian Mall is my favorite place to buy a dime’s worth of longitude.)

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile Index rose five points over the course of the day, owing to traders being undecided whether it should rise ten points or whether it should just stay right where it was since that had been working out so well for everyone. They compromised and everyone thought that a great idea except for the one who thought it should have just risen five points in the first place, and complained everyone stole her idea.

135

In Which I Am Just An Outright Fool Regarding Michigan’s DMV


Just like the title reads. My love got curious and looked up just what people could do at Michigan Secretary of State offices and it turns out it isn’t merely the ordinary Department of Motor Vehicle-type services you can do there. You can, for example, register to vote. Sure, you can do that at a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office, but — and here’s the thing — only as part of Motor-Votor plans. That is, you can do it only if it’s at the same time as doing some motor-vehicle-related business. If you just wander in to a New Jersey DMV office with the intention of registering to vote, you’ll be turned away by DMV-paperwork-inspectors. They’ll look over your itinerary and tell you that, no, the only thing you can do in their offices without any connection to motor vehicle paperwork is to sign up for an official state non-driver identification. Oh, and go to the bathroom, they’re okay with that.

But not so in Michigan. Here, you can go to what I had thought of as just the quirkily-named local version of the DMV and sign up to be a notary public. I mean, you could do that at a New Jersey DMV office, but only because you brought the form in to the bathroom with you. You couldn’t expect anyone to process it. Also at the Michigan Secretary of State office you can submit papers to have the Great Seal of the State of Michigan affixed. I’m pretty sure you just give them to the office and they send it in to be Great Seal affixed. I mean, they can’t have a Great Seal in every Secretary of State office since that makes a mockery of the whole Great Seal concept. But in case you need a Great Seal affixation, well, there you go. It’s to the Secretary of State office. Pretty sure what they do is send your document over to the Office of the Great Seal, which is a thing that exists, to be affixed there, and then you get it back somehow. Oh, you could just mail your thing in to the Office of the Great Seal directly, at a mailing address that is not the physical address of the Office of the Great Seal’s office. My point is just that if you go to a New Jersey DMV office you’re not going to get any documents affixed with that state’s Great Seal.

So while I had carelessly thought of this Michigan thing as a bit of quirkiness, that’s just because I had failed to investigate the matter. It’s entirely on me for not knowing this. At a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office the only non-motor-vehicle business you can transact is getting a non-driver state ID and go to the bathroom. At a Michigan Secretary of State office you can carry on all the business a person might expect to conduct with the Department of State. Except that you can only get the Great Seal affixation-submission business done from one of the six Secretary of State SUPER!Centers, which are like regular Secretary of State offices except you giggle when you see their name put out like that. Also I imagined that the Secretary of State office I went to wasn’t a SUPER!Center, since it’s on the east side of Lansing and the Office of the Great Seal’s office is like two miles west on the same road. But no, it is, and now I have that bit of trivia to deploy on some unsuspecting documents-authentication group sometime. So, you know, this has been a fruitful weekend overall.

Also the jury duty people called back and said as it happens they didn’t call my number anyway so no harm done when I forgot to check in for three days. I still feel awful about that.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile Index drifted upwards today when it caught a strong gust of wind and efficiently stowed the jib and made ready the spinnakers.

130

Statistics Saturday: TV Shows I Remember In Too Much Detail


Shorter list: everything I watched from 1978 through 1991 except _Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future_ and _It's Garry Shandling's Show_.
I am embarrassed to say I do not remember Supertrain in enough detail to include it in this list, but I kind of wish I did.

In my defense, Automan is the coolest show in the world if it is 1984 and you are eleven and don’t see enough TV shows with Chuck Wagner in them.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose nearly nine points, and then topped it off because it seemed like a waste not to take the full ninth point, following intense speculation that one of the traders might win a date with Tad Hamilton! He’s the dreamiest!

127

In Which I Apologize For What I Suggested About The Michigan DMV


My love took exception to something I published yesterday. That was the suggestion that Michigan was quirky in calling its Department of Motor Vehicles offices “Secretary of State Offices”. I want to reiterate that I don’t mind Michigan having a quirky name for an office like this. I’m glad they have. My love argues, correctly, that licensing motor vehicles is a function of the Michigan Department of State. And that’s fine. I answered that the name “Secretary of State Office” is quirky, because it implies that people could conduct other, non-motor-vehicle, Department of State business there. You know, like … um … certifying official copies of bilateral income tax reciprocity agreements to be accurate and true, or peering at the Great Seal of Michigan. And we can’t do that, as far as we know. (We never asked them.) Then my love asked if, back in New Jersey, the Motor Vehicle Commission regulates boats. I think it does but I don’t really know. So overall you see why everyone says we’re just the most adorable couple. Anyway I don’t want to suggest that it’s a wrong or bad name. Just that I think it implies a broader scope for work that can be done there than they mean. Maybe. Remind me next year to see if I can do something about notary public registration at the Secretary of State’s.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose a little bit as the proper amount of baking powder was mixed in, without being over-mixed, and it was left to sit before baking. The result is not bad, although kind of flavorless, in that recipe-for-seventh-grade-home-economics-classes-in-1985 way. Mmmmmm. Smells like a B+.

118

In Which I Apologize To The Michigan DMV


I went to the local Department of Motor Vehicles branch to renew my licence plate tags. Only they don’t call them that in Michigan. They’re called Secretary of State offices, for reasons that Michiganians explain to me by pointing in the opposite direction and running. I don’t mind. I like a little quirkiness in my state bureaucracy. Back in New Jersey the Department of Motor Vehicles went through a phase back in the 90s, like most of us. But its 90s phase was one of renaming themselves every couple years. I know they went through being the Motor Vehicle Services for a while, and the Motor Vehicle Commission. I liked the latter, because it sounded like you had hired them to compose a song about your 1982 Mercury Grand Marquis. “It’s built like a tank // The window nearly cranks // All the way up! // Ooh-ah-ooh! // Bad alternator! // Ooh-ah-ooh! // Needs replacement! // Ooh-ah-ooh // Yes, again!”

Anyway, the Secretary of State has an office in the annex of a local strip mall. Also we have a strip mall with an annex because, I don’t know, I guess 1982 was a happening year. The office had this system where you enter your phone number, they give you an estimated wait time, and text you when you’re done waiting. I even had my phone with me. So I got in the queue. Then I noticed they had an automated booth where you could renew license plate tags without having to wait or even talk to anyone. I did that instead. It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just I feel like I’m bothering them when I do talk to them, and why should I bother the people whose jobs are about handling my minor legal obligations?

But after that I didn’t see any way to take my number out of the queue. At least no way without talking to someone, for which I’d have to be in the queue. Also I’d have to talk to someone. Again, I don’t dislike people. It’s just I know my conversations can’t live up to the ideal of human interactions, which is Mister Rogers chatting with the people in the restaurant who’re making his cheese-and-lettuce sandwich. (Look it up!) So I left, feeling a little dirty.

Today I looked at my phone and realized I had a bunch of texts. I get maybe one text a month on average, which is fine, since I remember to look at them about every two months. There was one welcoming me to the queue system and thanking me because the without people in it the queue system would just be a performance-art piece on the absurdity of modern life. Also there were messages telling me I was in the queue, and that I was still in the queue in case I worried about that. Also that I was five minutes from being up. And then some messages that I was up. And texts that they were still waiting for me. And texts that they were going to have to stop waiting for me if I didn’t get there soon. And then a text that they had to go on to the next person and they’re sorry to have missed me, but the art critics thought our project charming. They liked its Jacques-Tati-esque setup of a system so automated and convenient that the only role actual humans can have is to slow things up.

I don’t know when I last felt so guilty about ghosting a minor civic responsibility. This is a lie. I last felt so guilty about ghosting a minor civic responsibility earlier this month when I kind of forgot to check in for jury duty. But that was an innocent accident. I moved the slip of paper with the phone number I was supposed to call the night before and forgot it existed. The license plate thing was a choice. I chose to do my business in the most time-efficient way possible and then leave. Anyway, I’m very very sorry, Michigan Secretary of State, and maybe I’ll just renew online next year. Also, uh, sorry, Ingham County Court System.

I haven’t yet actually put the new license plate tag on. So I don’t know if this will need the help of the auto care place down the street again. More on this as it comes to pass.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose sharply today after analysts looked carefully at my Twitter feed and determined I’m not one of those people who somehow tweets like eighty times an hour every hour of the day, and instead just posts a reasonable couple times a day except when I’m delightedly watching some awful movie and I have to share how this awful movie is awful.

112

Paint Is Unsurprisingly Bad At Making Threats


The banner ad warned “the first bacteria-killing paint is here”. It’s a badly placed message. While I’m as intimidated as anyone by killer paints, the simple fact is I’m not a bacteria. The banner ad service would know this if it were any good at its job, which it’s not, because it’s a banner ad service. The best you can hope for is they’ll be ready in case I need another hip-hugging laundry basket right away. As it is the existence of the ad is baffling. I’m not a bacteria so I’m not threatened by the paint unless someone drops it in the bucket on my head. And if I were a bacteria, why are they warning me ahead of the paint being applied? This would just warn me way ahead of time to duck out of the way or hold my cilia until the painting thing blows over. It’s a really badly-thought-out banner ad even by the standards of banner ads. No sense to it at all.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped again slightly today, as it was distracted when someone at Wendy’s ordered fifteen spicy chicken wraps and one regular fries. Not even a drink or anything, just far too many sandwiches and a normal order of fries. The index doesn’t even know anymore. Gads.

105

Exciting News For Lansing Model Railroading!


The noon news mentioned a building being moved, like that was a normal thing that could happen in the real world. It’s the old Michigan Avenue Tower, a railroad switching station no longer in use because railroads have had kind of a rough time the last 115 years. The moving’s being done by the Lansing Model Railroad Club, and they got permission and everything, as far as the noon news knows. Someone with the club mentioned how they were looking to restore it and maybe even use it as a control room for their layout.

This demands we ask: how big is their model train layout? I don’t know, but it turns out the Lansing Model Railroad Club has its headquarters in Delta Township, one of the suburbs. The city of Lansing, Michigan, spreads out over two or possibly three counties, depending on a very boring debate you can have about municipal government organization. But either way, they couldn’t fit their layout inside the city and had to go where the land was cheaper. And now they need a two-storey building relocated from Old Town in order to run it all.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped today after analysts realized it hadn’t done that yet and if it doesn’t go down sometimes then nobody is going to feel it’s special when it goes up anymore.

107

Caption This: The Consultant’s Review


Picard and Dr Crusher awkwardly offering handshakes to the seated Vash.
Yes yes I know the woman is Vash and she’s Captain Picard’s slightly out-of-character lightly-romantic entanglement from that Indiana Jones ripoff episode that we all thought was pretty swell at the time but haven’t looked back on, and this still is from that Robin Hood ripoff episode that I certainly thought was one of the worst things they had done not featuring The Outrageous Okona but haven’t looked back on, even if I admit Worf had two good lines only one of which was ripped off from Animal House which I haven’t seen either and don’t judge me.

Woman: “All right, I’ve seen enough. Well. While this may look bad, I don’t think you have reason to worry. I have helped people with even more severe difficulties in high-fiving. And, as they say, the mere fact that you realize you need help indicates that you’re not too far gone.”


And I enjoy when people have their own ideas, so here’s some space for that:


As usual for Sundays I reviewed comic strips over on my other blog. Includes two comics to look at directly instead of just clicking links to read later on! Which for some reason I don’t do for every comic strip I talk about. I don’t know either.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose slightly when analysts remembered this Dave Barry crack about employment figures being eaten by a goat. In context it makes sense and you can see why analysts would be thinking about goats eating things.

116

If Only History Looked Upwards Two Paragraphs


My love pointed this one out. From Wikipedia’s entry “Deodorant”:

The first commercial deodorant, Mum, was introduced and patented in the late nineteenth century by an inventor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edna Murray.[2]
[ … six sentences later … ]
In 1888, the first commercial deodorant, Mum, was developed and patented by a U.S. inventor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, whose name has been lost to history. [2]

Screen shot from part of Wikipedia's Deodorant page, in which the introduction and the history manage to talk about what seem to be the same events in different and confusing ways.
Another perfect Wikipedia moment: the sentence explaining that Ban Roll-On was briefly withdrawn from the market in the United States, but not to fear, as it’s been reintroduced as Ban Roll-On. I couldn’t think of how to highlight the sentences I’m particularly delighted by — the first sentence in the top paragraph of the screen shot, and the first sentence under History — so, sorry.

If it’s possible to make things any more perfect, both the sentence claiming the first commercial deodorant was developed by Edna Murray and the sentence claiming the inventor’s name was lost to history cite the same reference.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose appreciably thanks to a precocious child who didn’t see any reason not to keep pressing the ‘up’ button on the elevator. Well done, child, keep trusting in your elevator-button-pressing instincts! Until the building closes and everyone has to leave.

114

Statistics Saturday: Names That Get In The Way While You’re Trying To Think Of That Guy From _My Fair Lady_


  1. Ron
  2. Rob
  3. Rob Petrie
  4. Robert
  5. Ron Petrie
  6. Ron Stoppable … no, no, not Ron.
  7. Reg
  8. Roger
  9. Roger Goodell
  10. Rex Carlton
  11. Rex Stout
  12. Rex, Rex, Reggie. Reginald!
  13. Reginald Van … Gleason?
  14. Ron something
  15. Reggie … from … Archie Comics?
  16. Reggie van Dough?
  17. Roger … Daltrey?
  18. Roger Dean
  19. Roger Waters
  20. Rex Harrison! oh thank goodness.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose slightly on after-market trading today following how generally happy everyone was with the launch of the index and how there was almost enough for everyone, but not quite enough, so the people who got there late could feel anxious about it. That sort of situation makes people feel so glad things turned out the way they did.

104

What’s In The Refrigerator Still, Somehow


So sometime back I bought a pack of kaiser rolls. I’m not sure how far back, except I’m almost sure it was summer when I got them. We use them for (vegetarian) burgers, except I keep thinking they’re pretzel rolls when I’m not looking at them. That might seem like a curious mistake to make repeatedly but then remember I keep them in the fridge so they’ll last longer in the summer weather.

Thing is, we have four of them left in the pack. And we had four of them left in the pack last time we had burgers. I’m not sure when’s the last time we didn’t have four of them left in the pack, which is part of why I can’t really swear to just when we got the bag. It’s been a long while considering our veggie burger consumption.

Anyway, I just want to say I’m going to be cross if I’ve finally come across a magic endlessly-regenerating never-empty bag of something for my life, and it’s kaiser rolls instead of Boyer peanut-butter Smoothie cups. Or, I guess, pretzel rolls. Not that Mallo Cups are bad, just the Smoothie cups are harder to get in good shape.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Also, I’ve learned that people really, really like numbers. At least numbers they don’t have to do anything with. If they can just see a number that’s different from the number it was last time — but is the same just often enough to be exciting — they’re happy. So who am I to fight that? So let’s try this. I’ll start the index at 100, so today it’s:

100

Curiosities On The Highway


Pumpkin Is Back. Unexplained sign in the midst of a patch of those trees they have lining every Interstate-grade highway. It’s an invitation to wonder: pumpkin was away? I suppose technically. We worry a lot about pumpkin-spice things in fall and I guess it’s fall enough for most practical purposes around here. But pumpkin isn’t pumpkin-spice, as your pedantic friend on Facebook is already trying to contact me to complain about. I’m not on Facebook, but if you like I’ll give you some inaccurate names that might well be people your friend could complain to instead. Still, pumpkin what? Pie? Bread? Spice? Some other pumpkin product, such as pumpkin-inspired gatherings of squirrels? All great thoughts before you smash into the back of the Two Guys And A Pumpkin moving van that stopped short.

An Unspeakably Great Mass Of Foam On The Median. This overstates things. It’s more of a speakable mass of foam, but that’s because there isn’t a whole lot to foam. Most of it is air and the parts that aren’t air are … water? Soap? Something, anyway. What makes it so speakable is that it seems to be going on for quite a way. A quarter-mile or more of dribbles of foam resting in the grass, almost all the way to the Pumpkin sign. Why foam? Is someone trying to scrub the highway? Sure it needs it, but why the median? Or is this what’s left over after an inadequate rinse job? If they’re rinsing, is it just washing the road or are they trying to dye the highway so it looks younger? But why would a highway want to look younger? Is it trying to attract a new partner after Old Business 17 got re-routed five years back? Ends at Thump Road, gateway to the industrial bubble district.

Lego Buck Rogers. Another inexplicable sign. Is this a movie? A toy line? One social commentator’s cryptic message about the recycling and mashing-up of ideas to produce a franchise that feels worn out at its newest? Is Buck Rogers different from Flash Gordon in any way we have to have an opinion about? Is it about leaving the spaceships all over the rumble strips on the edges of the road? Did they dispense foam on the median in the attempt to escape killer trucks? If so, why is it not Lego Foam?

Inexplicable speedup. The less-appreciated counterpart to those weird little vortices of tardiness that roll around highways. Those spots where everybody suddenly drops to like twenty miles per hour. Here for no especial reason all the traffic gets going twenty or even thirty miles per hour faster. This lasts until the spot is passed, which takes only a couple seconds. Many people don’t even know they were in it unless somebody remarks how they arrived as much as five seconds ahead of expectations. This happens maybe four percent more often than you would expect.

Highway Sign Displaying The Message “September 5”. This one seems straightforward enough, what with there being a September and it having a “5” in it. No warning about anything starting then, or ending then, or continuing then, or even not being done at all then. And it isn’t the 5th of September or any date particularly near it either, except on a cosmic or historical scale. Possibly someone hopes to raise the brand awareness of September. Or “5”. If it’s an attempt to raise awareness of 5 that might explain why it didn’t say “September 15”. That would bring “1” even more attention than it already gets.

Customers Welcome. Sign painted to the wall of the … cement shop? Had they not been taking customers before? Were they just sitting behind cement desks thinking how nice and peaceful everything was and then they got worried about meeting payroll? Or is the cement industry only now getting tired of old-fashioned ways? They’re now looking to sell cement to people who need cement for whatever it is they do? Maybe something like creating tiny Brutalist public libraries for their backyard patio? Easily the strangest customer appeal since the shop with the sign Nominated One Of Three Places To Buy Paint that was off the foamy exit like six months ago. Maybe they were celebrating the return of someone nicknamed Pumpkin up there? That kind of makes sense.

Caption This: The Man, Trapped


Spock writing on his Space Clipboard while Uhura looks on.
The High-Definition remastering from original film elements this episode got a couple years ago really makes the pile of yard sale Space Garbage in the background look alive.

Uhura: “Should you really be writing your fanfic on the bridge, Commander?”

Spock: “Should you really be peeking over my shoulder if you don’t want the jerkface aliens named for you, Lieutenant?”


Here’s some space for your own caption, if you prefer:


And, hey, more comic strips over on my mathematics blog. I mention the mysteries of three but fail to share Robert Benchley’s piece about the number. Too bad.

Ahead of the Service Call


My car is just short of 90,000 miles, which is kind of amazing when you consider I work from home anymore. Now I have to work out the important questions: can I get it serviced before the trip to Cedar Point amusement park we’re figuring to take this weekend? And: can I get the interior vacuumed out so the car repair people don’t see how often I’ve clawed bits of fingernails off and left them to fall onto the floor? They’re my fingernails, yes, but I know if I were servicing someone’s 2009 Scion tC I wouldn’t want to run across torn-off fingernails. Also given that we’ve got like fourteen perfectly good nail clippers in the house why don’t I use those? I bet it’s because when I’m at home I almost never get stuck at an excessively long stop light and have the time to maul my own fingers.

I already worry enough about being judged by people I see as much as three times per year, I don’t need to worry about this on top of it. I wonder if I should mention the fingernail anxiety when they ask me to review the servicing.

Now I Know Why I Failed Bio (Toys At Michael’s Edition)


Now I Know Why I Failed Bio (Toys At Michael's Edition)
I wasn’t suspicious until I noticed the bin labelled ‘SQUIRREL’ was empty except for a baby deer and then I knew: someone got them!

I totally would have said these were toy lobsters. Live and learn. Ah well. Happy moon-blowing-out-of-Earth’s-orbit day, everyone!

Also stuff was normal again on my mathematics blog, so you can look over there. I’d like it if you did.

Smells Like Very Old Teen Spirit


[ Edited the 15th of May, 2017 to add: ] I’m grateful you see this site as a place to learn what’s going on in Mary Worth. My most recent story summaries should be at or near the top of this link’s essays, if you are looking for some idea of what’s happening in the stories as stories and not just how they look.


So I don’t want to alarm anyone with the inevitable passage of time. But here’s a startling demographic truth. Given her perpetually fixed sixty-something-ish age, sometime within the next fifteen years, Mary Worth is going to become part of the Generation X age cohort.

Yes, I was as excited by the prospect of her giving out self-aware irony-tinged and highly sarcastic advice for everybody around her and their stupid problems. (“Surely forming an incredibly heteronormative relationship and making babies will fix your sense of ennui at work, because how could that plan ever fail in the real world we live in?”) But you know that Gen X Mary Worth is going to be written either by a Millennial who thinks Generation Xers are just Baby Boomers insisting they do too know how to use the Internet even though they remember the last summer they didn’t have Internet because that was a thing only school offered, or else by the last lingering Baby Boomer who’s somehow not dead yet. We’re going to be left on the sidelines, grumbling, which to be fair is our generation’s voice.

Statistics Saturday: 24 Words Prefixed By “Thermo” For No Good Reason


  1. thermocookie
  2. thermobook
  3. thermowolverine
  4. thermomansard
  5. thermoglasses
  6. thermodemocracy
  7. thermomumford
  8. thermosons
  9. thermoscraping
  10. thermoyard
  11. thermovalentine
  12. thermoflight
  13. thermoquarrelsome
  14. thermokippy
  15. thermoscoop
  16. thermolight
  17. thermoworkforce
  18. thermosoup
  19. thermoverbal
  20. thermoshort
  21. thermofling
  22. thermorain
  23. thermobounce
  24. thermoyipping

Next week: why didn’t my spell check object to “thermosons”, “thermoscoop”, “thermoshort”, and “thermoyard”? How can any of these possibly be wordlike constructs?