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small orange square A few days ago I bought something new: on-line content. I now have an account with Slate, a "magazine" I've been checking almost daily since it started up over a year ago. Although it's owned by Microsoft (who Lord knows can afford it), as of last Monday they're charging admission... I was planning on trying to just forget about the thing (because I think Salon is better anyway) but after reading this Katz article I decided to pay up, to support the concept. Plus they're sending me an atlas CD-ROM, a useful item since I currently have no such reference - I left my out-of-date 1984 "National Geographic" atlas back east (and that thing's to big to lug around anyway).

small green square Speaking of novelty, I saw something yesterday morning in the locker room which was new to me - a warrant officer, suiting up in his dress uniform, had garters. I've seen in old illustrations mens' garters from days of yore - unlike the rigs for women, familiar to all of us who know our way around pornography; rather than a belt around the waist with little straps leading down to the stocking-tops the male variant was one per leg: a band fitting around the upper calf held the straps which held the socks up. I heard recently <1> that these went out of fashion due to the stylish Duke of Windsor, the abdicated King Edward VIII who left the throne for Mrs. Simpson. He stopped wearing the things, going for a slack-sock look the fashionable set of the 1930's eagerly embraced, and which the rest of the male world eventually adapted; rather like President Kennedy and hats. <2> Anyway, the only garters I've ever worn were these ridiculous components of the Boy Scouts' summer uniform, minimally adjustable elastic bands strapped around the upper calf with the very long socks folded over them, exposing only these silly green tassels attached to the garter, correctly oriented to the outside of the leg. (Although I'm not sure, I doubt seriously that today's Scout wears these.) But this officer's garters were merely separate straps which he attached to his sock-tops, then to his shirt tails. Not a bad system, if you find the thought of a glimpse of that naked area below the trouser-cuff intolerable, should you cross your legs while sitting. (Doug C, my lost now but close friend during Jr & Sr High, thought that sight disgusting.)

small red square N and his wife Q are now reading these entries; no longer is my toil secret, the cat's out of the bag. He rather likes being identified merely by an initial, like the characters in "Men In Black" - but wonders why he didn't get another, more similar to his real name. I had to explain that I couldn't use "I" or "A" due to possible confusion with the same words-of-one-character in the English language, and that not everybody got their real initials anyway. A different method for him to relate to his identity initial might be our young nephew M, who sometimes calls me Uncle You and him Uncle No (or maybe that's Uncle Know).

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<1>On the occaision of the auction of their stuff at Sotheby's - do you know that somebody bought a piece of their wedding cake, sealed in a tin, for thousands of dollars? Due to this event I also learned 'twas he who tied his tie in a special (though rather tedious) way which gives the knot a nifty symmetrical appearance, like you can always see the TV news-readers wearing. I tie my ties with this knot, too: the Windsor knot.

<2>Bucking tradition, JFK wore no tophat at his inauguration, allegedly giving the American man permission to discard the hat he always wore - contrast movies of the 1930's, 40's and 50's with films of the 60's and you'll see that something happened to the hats.