Monday, April 12, 2004

Napoleon McBlog.

A small bit of my heapin' helpin' of spam this morning was from "Pelts O. Plutocrat," a name I had to like. Could be the equivalent of Crassus Dives in some forgotten Victorian farce, top-hatted and fat. Another message was from "Napoleon McManus," which also has that Victorian ring to it. Could have been a cavalry commander under Forrest.

My invaluable Webster's New Biographical Dictionary (Merriam Webster) lists no noteworthy McManus in the service of the CSA. The closest entry -- the only McManus -- is George McManus (1884-1954), the cartoonist who created Bringing Up Father. Of course that led me to an intensely detailed web site on that strip, about which I had only a vague notion, and I was astonished to learn that it was finally dropped from syndication only in 2000. The lesson here is that, probably, Peanuts will finally disappear around 2050, provided that newsprint doesn't disappear first.

As for a Google search of Napoleon McManus, it turned up several pages referring to the an episode of the HBO series Oz, "Napoleon’s Boney Parts," first broadcast July 21, 1999. I don't know what that title refers to, but McManus is (or was) one of the characters in that show, which I've seen only once, in a hotel room some years ago. It had all the gruesome violence you could want in cable prison drama, and none you would want on broadcast television. HBO ought to have advertised it, "At least one con offed every episode!"

Easter was a fine, clear day here in northern Illinois, pleasant but for one thing: 40-degree temps. December, January and February are supposed to be cold; that's part of the game, I can live with it. Even March can have its share of chilly days. But when it comes time for April, it should be warm every day. It never is. I go through this every year, and it makes me miss the Aprils of my youth. Easter was always warm, at least in my memory. However, according to my mother (in San Antonio) and my brother (in Dallas), both of whom I talked to yesterday, it was only marginally warmer in Texas yesterday than Illinois.

Those steeped in local weather lore -- like Tom Skilling of radio WGN, who also does the daily weather page in the Tribune, and who's the brother of Enron miscreant Jeffrey Skilling -- say we in the Chicago area were treated to the coldest Easter since 1997. I wouldn't have remembered that. I do remember that on Maunday Thursday (March 27) that year, we confirmed through medical testing that we had indeed set in motion that person we now call Lilly.


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