The underwhelming and somewhat labored Christmas of 2012 continued today. For most of the morning, I felt like this:

It’s an odd screengrab from my Zite Minneapolis feed. It often scrapes the wrong photos for stories. I don’t think that picture went with the norovirus tale, unless the fellow threw up with such force he banged his head on the commode. From what I’ve heard, it’s not entirely unlikely.

Anyway: I awoke at 6 AM with extreme nausea. I was not nauseous, because that means “capable of inducing nausea in others.” See also, poisonous. My first thought was the pork supper, which was pink. But no. That was 12 hours ago. Surely I would have heard something by now. I tossed and turned for half an hour, having an argument I’m sure is familiar to all: I know what I wish to do but I do not wish to do it. In the end I did not, and woke an hour later exhausted.

Went downstairs, had a cup of coffee! Uh. Er. Hmm. Right: upset stomach. On the other hand, though, coffee! The rest of the day has been a steady climb up, mostly because i took an epic nap that spanned over two hours, making up for the holiday hours and exertions and indulgences.

That’s how they used to pitch Alka-Seltzer: for when you’ve over-indulged. We’re supposed to indulge; that’s the preferred ad-copy word for making people feel special and entitled about eating expensive chocolate, or buying shampoo that’s 37% more expensive. Indulge! You’re worth it! To Over-indulge, though, suggests a moral failing - you did not know your limits, you did but you exceeded them, or you just took the license to indulge too far, and shame on you.

In the old Alka-Seltzer ads, they didn’t judge. It meant, more or less, “really tied one on, didn’t you?”

I don’t know where that phrase comes from. The result of drinking a lot leads to the lack of manual dexterity that’s required to tie anything, and what you tie it to, I don’t know either.

No one knows.

Go up earlier than usual to take daughter and a friend to a morning soccer thing. It’s not a camp, because it’s not summer. It’s just a soccer thing inside a big inflated stadium. The exterior sidewalk is almost completely encased in bumpy ice, and to get through the alley to the door you have to climb a ridge while grabbing some cold metal - the side of the door, the retracted stadium seats. It’s completely unsafe and you imagine all sorts of lawsuits if someone fell, and yet there it is. I was almost happy to see it. Someone hadn’t said “we have to get rid of that for liability reasons.” There was a clear back on the other side of the retracted seats, much safer. If you didn’t take it, it was your own damned fault.

Even better, there wasn’t a sign that said “don’t go this way.” Almost as if you were expected to look at the two options - dangerous, and safe - and make up your own mind.

I’d like to think it’s intentional, but it’s probably bevcause no one got around to it.

Went home and felt a little better. Wrote some Strib blog. Until the nap, though, I felt pretty much like the dog.

He had the pork, too.




Because there's little else to note today, I give you a question. The pictures below are from a 1949 movie called - no, that would be unfair. A boy given to lies and exaggerations witnesses a murder. Mom! Dad! The people upstairs killed someone! No really!

Which couple are the parents, and which are the killers?



Think carefully.

Of course, it's the vaguely ethnic ones below. That's Paul Stewart, the guy at the end of Citizen Kane. The wife was Ruth Romn. Above: Arthur Kennedy. The woman? It was one of her larger roles; she'd knocked around in uncredited roles, the pretty girl in the hotel lobby. She had a talking role in a Falcon picture - something that means just about nothing to anyone anywhere anymore. When TV came in she filled the smaller screen better than she had the big one - and then, at the age of 34, found a role that would keep her in chips for the rest of her days.

Aw, c'mon. You've seen her.


So there; that's if for today. Hey, it's a HOLIDAY weekend, right? We're all on half-duty, except for cops and nurses and ER people and the folks at the gas station and my wife.

The tumblr goes on, though. In case you're curious: you do not have to sign up to anything to look at the tumblr. It's another site, like this one. It's the daily blog for the Institute of Official Cheer . . . which has been completely redesigned, as you'll see next week.

Pinterest will be going away because I am bored with it, and that's that. At least it's nothing people visit; it automatically pumps your stuff to their page, so if you fall silent or go fallow they don't notice.

You might be wondering: what's coming up for next year? I haven't the faintest idea, aside from a few projects that build on some previous ideas. Tht's partly the problem with my mood, I think. I've been working on redesigns of old projects, and nothin I do feels new.

It's bad. And I should feel bad.

Oh! Forgot: Gerry Anderson died. He produced "UFO' and "Space: 1999" and all the marionette shows that gave me the creeps when I was a kid. The theme for Supercar bears a listen:


Everyone cries: it's the marvel of the age. Every kid wanted a Supercar. The really English guy with the sideburns and unblinking eyes, we could do without.

The music is very British, for the time: first the heavy symphonic theme, then that jangly buzzy guitar with a clavioline to remind people of Telstar.

I prefer Telstar to any Gerry Anderson theme, with the exception of "UFO," one of the more tense and exciting films on TV, period. Telstar has a sad story:

A French composer, Jean Ledrut, accused (composer) Joe Meek of plagiarism, claiming that the tune of "Telstar" had been copied from "La Marche d'Austerlitz", a piece from a score that Ledrut had written for the 1960 film Austerlitz. This led to a lawsuit that prevented Meek from receiving royalties from the record during his lifetime, and the issue was not resolved in Meek's favour until three weeks after his suicide in 1967.

Austerlitz was not released in the UK until 1965, and Meek was unaware of the film when the lawsuit was filed in March 1963.

Suicide is only half the story; he shot his landlady, too. He was off the rails long before:

Meek was obsessed with the occult and the idea of "the other side". He would set up tape machines in graveyards in a vain attempt to record voices from beyond the grave, in one instance capturing the meows of a cat he claimed was speaking in human tones, asking for help. In particular, he had an obsession with Buddy Holly (claiming the late American rocker had communicated with him in dreams) and other dead rock and roll musicians.

His professional efforts were often hindered by his paranoia (Meek was convinced that Decca Records would put hidden microphones behind his wallpaper in order to steal his ideas), drug use and attacks of rage or depression. Upon receiving an apparently innocent phone call from Phil Spector, Meek immediately accused Spector of stealing his ideas before hanging up angrily.

When you can out-paranoid Phil Spector, you're playing at an entirely different level.

He shot himself - and the landlady, Violet Shenton - with a gun he stole from the bassist who played on Telstar. Lest you think it was all madness and failure: he produced about 45 top-fifty hits.

In any case: he left something that makes you feel good. So did Anderson. That's enough for a moment of thanks.

If you're curious: here's what he got sued about.





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