Congress is talking about a five-cent plastic grocery bag tax. It’s intended to reduce the use of plastic bags. As the article notes, the bill also taxes paper bags, just as long as they're in there fixing things.

If it doesn’t happen now, it’ll happen eventually. The Washington Post quotes a bag-tax advocate:

“This is coming, one way or another,” said Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), chairman of the powerful House Economic Matters Committee, where a watered-down version of the bill died after passing in the environmental committee. “The whole idea of free bags is going by the wayside. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Two points:

1. There ain’t no such thing as a free bag. The cost is built into the products you buy.

2. Once I’d like to see a committee described as “Weak and Generally Ineffectual.” It’s always the powerful House Ways and Means Committee or the Powerful House Committee on Appropriations. You never hear about a bill dying in a “laughably impotent House committee.

 YOU THERE A few days ago I mentioned how you should be irritated that you are being referred to as “you” in presumptuous headlines that are supposed to make YOU read the stories. Because it’s all about YOU. Today’s example of headline presumption is from Mother Jones: “Why Your Supermarket Only Sells Five Kinds of Apples.”

It's intended to make me think “it does? My supermarket? Let me read this story and find out how to change this deplorable situation.” But my supermarket sells more than five kinds. So the story is wrong. Nevermind.

From the Atlantic Wire: Amazon Is Building a Streaming TV Box You Don't Need. Okay, then. 

Let’s wander over to Buzzfeed and see if there’s something YOU don’t know or YOU haven’t seen. Ah: “Apple's New iPhone Ad Reminds You You're Helplessly Addicted To Taking Photos." Double you! Bonus score. There are also “Nine other tweets from the celebrity twitterverse that you missed today!” Maybe I didn’t. How do they know?


LOCAL OLD STUFF Some old city directories have been put online, and I’ve been going through picking out ads. Some are in beautiful shape:


 Nowadays people might not want to take their delicate unmentionables to the GROSS BROTHERS, but the meanings of words do tend to drift.

Take a look at this: can you name the building?



Probably not. It’s undistinguished. But doesn’t it look like a house? Or, perhaps, a clubhouse? 




It was once, I believe, the home of Mr. Rand, the local gas magnate. 

An old hardware supply company:



Neighborhood’s changed a bit.



Yes, that was a fair trade.


Finally, an ad for a safe so good that robbers gave up upon learning its maker’s name:




That’s it. Friday! A few hours from now, we’ll all put. Have a good weekend.