When I made my trip to Russia in 2013, I wrote a novel. Yes, that was a very stupid way to pass my time when I had traveled to St. Petersburg with a beautiful young woman, but I had to deal with a severe moral crisis, and I did it in the way I know how.

My indecision about that relationship led me to examine the first 23 years of my life, and I suppose I learned a lot about why and how I trapped myself in a terrible situation. I had an unusual life between ages 3 and 23, I would say it was completely unique (as far as I know), and I suppose all of that may explain why I am always so timid about so many things. My mom and dad are gone, and I have never shared the details of my early childhood with anyone, not my best friends, not my ex-wives, not my children, so before I wrote this novella, none of the incidents existed except in my memory. Now at least they are on the record.

I will not claim to be James Joyce, but I can spin a yarn purty fair, and I have some pretty good ones to spin. I finished the work off in this week of illness by adding an epilogue.

There’s no Uncle Scoopy material except for my customary tip o’ the hat to Romy Schneider, so don’t expect any discussions of sex and nudity. It’s really kind of a sad story. There are also some laughs and there was a lot of fun in my life, but I always ended up getting humiliated in some way – physically, sexually, financially. After a few anecdotes, you’ll get the idea that they never seem to have a happy ending. I was like the Moll Flanders of Howdy Doody fans.

Anyway, those of you who basically know me because we’ve been sharing these blogs for decades may be interested to see what I was like in my years growing up in Catholic schools, which I never wanted to go to and my parents never wanted to send me to. I think you can guess that I have few kind words for the Catholic Church or its representatives.

Here is the link. (Blaise Sparrow is me.)

“As of August 2022, the U.S. had 1.5 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage across the country. That’s around $3.4 billion worth of cheese.”

“A sizable portion of the stockpile is stored in a massive underground warehouse (a former limestone quarry) outside of Springfield, Missouri.”

If cheese ever becomes a precious commodity, Fond du Lac is the Dubai of the future. We’re building those skyscrapers now, on spec. We already have one that’s the tallest building in northern Wisconsin – nearly the size of a five-story building if you count the antenna, which admittedly comprises four of the five stories.

This seems to be a color version of her PETA ad, but the PETA image descends farther down her body, so we still don’t see the full monty. As a commenter points out, she was either wearing a crotch patch during all or part of the shoot, or one was added digitally. See below.

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An extreme close-up seems to indicate that the crotch-patch was digitally added to the image. I am wondering whether both images are just Photoshop products. We know where the B&W images came from, but those color versions don’t seem to have a provenance that can be clearly established. As far as I can tell, they just appeared without attribution. And why are her eyes the wrong color in the “patch” version? I’m suspecting that both of these were created by ‘Shoppers by editing and colorizing the PETA images. But I don’t know that for a fact.

The sentence begins: “The New York Police Department said its beekeepers division …”

Say what?

Is ABC looking for a new scripted series? Police Beekeeper sounds like a winner to me. In an earlier day, I can see Leslie Nielsen gunning down the bees one-by-one with his police-issue 38 special.

The saga of the rugged Police Beekeepers reminds me of my own most famous acting role in The Battlin’ Bellhops, a partially fictionalized story about the legendary 603rd Airborne, which played such an important role in the liberation of Luxembourg. All of the members of that brave battalion of enlistees were former hotel bellmen, and most were just barely old enough to serve, yet they became lionized not only for their courage in battle, but for their steadfast unwillingness to accept tips from the liberated populations. They always stirred the Europeans when they marched into liberated towns wearing their little round red caps in lieu of standard military headgear. I had the supporting role of Skeeter, the naive and doomed German-American kid from Brooklyn who got separated from his unit and was mistakenly shot by an American sentry. The MP heard Skeeter speaking German to the locals and became convinced he was a spy, a suspicion which turned into certainty when Skeeter could not correctly identify the name of the famous Brooklyn baseball team. His crusty “sarge” delivered the funeral oration, in which he declared Skeeter to be “a swell kid, and a real great American, even though he obviously wasn’t much of a baseball fan.”

I guess that’s true in its own twisted way. But really that’s just jealousy, isn’t it? Sydney can dress like this and men stare at her with lust, while other people dressed this way would be the object of snickers.

As I see it, she’s just trying to make the optimal use of her talent, like all the rest of us.

It’s just that her talent lies in a different area from most of ours, and has a shorter expiration date, so she’s flauntin’ it while she has it.

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There have always been places where men and boys have to sit and wait, like the dentist’s office, or the old-fashioned barber shop. Only one thing made these waits tolerable. Buried under piles of magazines like US, Highlights for Children, and 51 dog-eared S.I. issues about regattas and tennis, there was a copy of a true American treasure: the Swimsuit Edition. It was marketed with some flim-flam about fitness or buying swimware for our wives, but we knew that the editors delivered that pretext with a wink and a nudge. Its true purpose was to give us an opportunity to ogle fantasy women in a respectable publication that you would not be embarrassed to read in public, even while sitting next to your minister. In this innocent context could you gaze at beautiful, unspoiled, unattainable young women, their supermodel bodies clad only in the scantiest of outfits. Sometimes they wore no outfits at all, but simply strutted around naked, their exposure disguised by a coat of paint so thin that its only purpose was to prevent our dentist’s receptionist from tossing the issue away in disgust.

Like many other great ogling traditions, its time has passed. The women no longer have to be young, or natural, or in possession of supermodel perfection. Your granny could make the edition now, maybe even the cover. Ditto the cousin that your mom always called “big-boned,” and praised for her personality. Ditto that kinda-cute Starbucks barista you dated once or twice, until you realized she had foul coffee breath, bad implants, and tattoos of weapons.

The models are no longer unattainable fantasy women of the sort that can only be bedded by men with Brad Pitt looks and/or Jeff Bezos bankrolls. In coarse terms, the S.I. Swimsuit Edition is filled with women that even internet schmucks like us, if we put in the time and resources, could actually fuck.

And that, in many ways, represents the collapse of the last, best pillar of the mighty temple of Western Civilization that was so painstakingly constructed by lustful architects from Homer to Hefner.