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Wednesday, Aug 24th

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Alex Baer: Mulling Day

mulling dayWelcome to your Day of Rest, aka A Brief Opportunity to Catch Your Breath Before You Have to Jump Back On the Hampster Wheel.  Me, I prefer to call this Mulling Day -- the only 24-hour period in which the long list of Haftas takes a breaks, and something from the Wanna pile gets to slip into the mix.

The trick in life, of course, is to minimize your Haftas and maximize your Wannas -- a truth known by the ancients, which is to say, known by Trump, by Clinton, and by your boss, for example, and by any hyper-hormonal teenage spawn in your roaring, throbbing, pulsating vicinity.

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Alex Baer: Hopalong Banshee

earth exploding It's the Age of Superheroes, among other burdensome identifiers of today.

(Such titles are the darlings of media and marketing, and are among the clusters and clutter of many clumsy, clunky ways of trying to figure out What On Earth is Happening Right Now, I realize, but it's better than the Age of Ignorance and Arrogance, as titles go -- GOP- and Trumpian-fandom and other related Fox-like IQ-slides aside.)

Perhaps superhero-dom is all the rage because all our problems seem so big, so unresolvable, so permanent, and so unyielding to our constant, hapless tinkering. Maybe it's just the mathematical result and automatic fun which comes from unchecked population increase where, thanks to sheer body-count growth, we still have the same basic percentage of lunatics, fools, morons, and village idiots, but -- Hey! -- where did all YOU yahoos come from? we say.

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Bob Alexander: Following in the Footsteps of Victor Frankenstein

Trump monsterJames Whale's 1931 classic film, Frankenstein spawned six direct sequels. In The Bride of Frankenstein, The Monster learned to speak. In the next film, The Son of Frankenstein, the screenwriters dropped the idea of a talking Monster, and invented the character of Ygor, the doctor's assistant. In The Ghost of Frankenstein Ygor's brain is transplanted into The Monster, and after the operation The Monster speaks … with Ygor's voice. And then, because brain transplants can be tricky, The Monster went blind.

And now a little backstory …

After the success of Dracula, Bela Lugosi was offered the role of The Monster in Frankenstein. Lugosi considered the part to be beneath his talents, said he was a star in his own country, and did not come to America "to be a scarecrow." William Henry Pratt, a struggling British actor, took the part, changed his name to Boris Karloff, and became a movie star.

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Alex Baer: ... And Now, th' Snooze

Alex Baer: the SnoozeThinking can be dangerous -- thoughts can go anywhere.  Maybe that is why so little thinking is done any longer by the masses.

This is especially true, given the vast array of predigested information sources available to the various publics which still clot and cling together, despite our vast differences, as we start to exit our country's Terrible Twos, as the perspective of world history goes.

Our brains now scurry and scramble for their allotment of junk-food information, whether fresh or stale, direct from the squeeze-tubes of right wing think tanks, from the boiling vats of corporately-cooked fodder, from the overstuffed pork barrels of stout political earmarks.

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Alex Baer: Survivor's Gilt

survivor's giltIt's a wonderful thing, when stuff normally taken for granted goes missing for a bit, then pops back up, reasserts itself, and gets appreciation flowing in your veins again.

Like gravity.

Toward the end of the end of my month-long experimentation with colds, flus, and pneumonia-wannabes, I was thrilled when all those sumpy pockets and pools of rippling gravity faded from the swooping and swerving, eerily unfamiliarly, looking-through-binoculars-backwards, miles-long hallway between bed and bath -- into the Great Beyond, where all the cold and flu products danced in a long conga line, like a 1950s theater intermission moment, when all the popcorn, drinks, and candy bars danced themselves out into the lobby for your happy, refreshing treat.

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Alex Baer: The Flue Flu: Two Dox to Open

Flue fluDespite my flu shot, I've gotten the flu anyway.  The irony is not lost on me, but it's a complex vintage, and one not easily achieved or savored.  For example, part of me wants to feel I have finally gotten my money's worth in a modern-day transaction.

So much for theory, where the shot is supposed to give you the flu -- sort of -- in order to build up some immunity to the flu.  Well, sure.  Got it.

But,  I'm feeling on the wrong end of an old punchline, where this guy in a joke walks in to a drug store and asks, "Have you got anything for a headache?" and the pharmacist whacks him on the head with an SUV-sized wooden mallet.

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Inside The Tiny Police State With Seven Armies

Tiny police stateForces from America, Japan, France, Germany, Italy—and soon, even China—are crammed into the dirt-poor Djibouti. Good luck asking the locals if they like all the attention.

There’s a smell of sewage out on the beaches outside, juxtaposed with tangerine, sunset views glimmering atop the murky waves. Looking southward across the warm waters of the Gulf of Aden, whale sharks congregate en masse to feed in the fall and winter.

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