From Shorpy



Sitting at a coffee shop, waiting to pick up daughter from a movie. Finishing a book. I forgot I wrote one over the last year, here and there; pretty much ready to roll, so out it goes by the end of the week. It’s more or less something I’d put up as a site, a 150 page site. Figure I can sell it for two bucks. It’ll be iBooks / iPad first - you laugh, but I understood they sold a few of those devices. It can’t be a Kindle book because it has too many graphics. It will be a Kindle Fire book as soon as I convert it. I just want to see what it’ll do on the iPad platform.

Almost nothing of consequence happened this weekend. That would be good or bad or both, depending; it always depends. In this case I went through the motions like someone conducting chopsticks for an orchestra, but I like the motions.

You may be wondering how the pizza situation turned out. Well, I placed my order online, then noticed that the coupons that gave me free replacement pizzas were not eligible for delivery. Drat. So I downsized the order to mediums - we were having company - and made the order.

Phone rings.

It’s the manager; he just noticed my order, and it was for mediums. The coupons were for large pizzas; didn’t I want larges? Which sounds like a city in Belgium, where everyone is fat. “Oh everyone in Bruges is mean, but at least they’re not as heavy as the people from Larges.” I said these were for delivery, and the coupons weren’t for delivery. Whereupon he said ahhh, that’s okay, don’t worry about it.

Great! Up those pizzas accordingly, good sir. Since everything was free this means you should probably overtip the delivery guy, in the interests of everyone having a great day. This assumes you tip the pizza guy at all. There are fine and decent folk who do not, and thus will be completely surprised when that’s the thing that lands them in hell. If the pizza places have fleets of company cars gassed at company expense with a good wage paid to the driver, and that’s his job in the sense that a UPS driver’s job is to deliver packages, I can understand. No one tips the UPS guy. You wouldn’t know how. It would be awkward. So tip the guy.

The total order would have been $35.00, so you calculate that either pre-tax or post-tax, depending on how flush you feel. Instead of a few lines on a credit card receipt, though, this involved cash. Who’s got cash? Anyone remember cash?

“No, but I remember laughter,” you say. Thanks for derailing this fascinating tale with a reference to a live version of “Stairway to Heaven” performed during the “Song Remains the Same” tour. I always thought that was an odd thing for Robert Plant to ask. Does anyone remember laughter? Sure. Laughed earlier today. I intend on laughing later. I mean it’s not something you pencil in, or necessarily recall unless you had stitches and laughed so hard you opened up the wound again, but sure. What he meant was “in the 60s everything was groovy and peaceful and now it’s all curdled into grim duty and my own role in this enormous machine, something that has squeezed the joy and spontenaiety of life and replaced it with substances that numb the soul but ease the ennui and responsibility.

In that sense, well, yes I still remember laughter. Anyway. Cobbled together the tip; the driver shows up and hands over the pizza, and I give him the Lavish Tip and thank him. Door closed when I realized: that was the manager.

Now somehow this is different, isn’t it? You don’t tip the manager. But on the other hand, the guy went ten extra miles to make up for a few cold pizzas, so whatever.

The pizzas were hot! And they were . . . okay.

That’s the punchline. This place makes a great pizza, but now and then you get one where the crust has bubbled too much and the outer three inches are more or less cheeseless; the cheese is all over the middle because it didn’t set before it was delivered.

So this was a test. If I complained about this, they would be entirely within their power to say “Sir, you cannot be pleased. It hurts us to fail you on such a consistent basis. Please, for both our sakes, it is time you saw other restaurants.”

And then there was the rest of the weekend, in which I did some things I usually did and some things I did not. Variety being spice and all that.

The pizza usually had more oregano. I’m just saying.

Went to fix the garage door. The remote doesn’t work. I said to my wife I was going to go stare hopelessly at the wires and ruin everything I somehow fixed before. Before I started jiggering with the wires:



This was not how I'd left them . The vibrations of the motor made them dislodge. (Sure. Suuuurre.) I saw two wires that were not attached to anything, and figured they were related to the remote, somehow. I mean, if everything works except the remote, and two wires aren’t connected, it stands to reason they’re remote wires. Decided I would get some more wire to extend the reach of the tiny little stubs of copper; got down off the ladder, went outside, reached around the inside the frame to push the CLOSE button.

It didn’t work.

I hadn’t done anything. This was Heisenbergian: the very act of observing the wiring had changed its state.

End result: the inside button doesn’t work. The outside key-activating switch doesn’t work. It stands to reason that the remote doesn’t work.

What made it all doubly frustrating was getting the wires to wind around the screw, then tighten the screws. There’s not enough room. It’s all too small. Sometimes a wire would fall off, and I’d have to get off the ladder. Plug in the unit, go to the wall, press the button: nothing. Go back up, unplug the unit, change wires, go down the ladder, back to the wall, press button: works. Press other button. Doesn’t.

So now instead of getting out of the car and opening the door with a key, I open the other door with a key, walk to the end of the garage, hit the OPEN button for one and the CLOSE button for the other. One more attempt to fix it, and I should manage to make the other bay inoperable and motion-activated ceiling light strobe uncontrollably.







This weekend's movie was something I was really looking forward to seeing.


It's a noir film. It's a private investigator. Hard boiled. Los Angeles in the forties. And more, as you'll see.

We meet the dame first:



. . . and then the shamus.



It's Marlowe. When I watched this I was under the mistaken impression that it was made much earlier than I thought, that it was the first Marlowe movie. No: it's the fourth. Dick Powell played the role first, which I find remarkable; trusting such a character with someone who was playing against type seemed risky for such a property. Powell was too small. Bogart was next, and while for many he's the definitive Marlowe, he’s being Bogie - and it worked just as well for Sam Spade. Robert Montgomery was next; the posters should have said “You’ll thrill to see wood walk around the room and talk.”

Then this guy:



George Montgomery. Dinah Shore’s husband. He was coming out of a WW2 stint in the Air Force when he made this; one made one other film since getting out of the service. An odd choice, perhaps - but “Brasher” isn’t an A-league production. It’s not B-league; it’s just not top-shelf. That’s one of the things that makes it work. It feels modest. As long as you don’t think “That’s Marlowe,” it works just fine. If Chandler had come up with a younger, smoother PI, this would be it.

Anyway. Just to remind us of "The Big Sleep," from a year earlier, there's the lovely young woman in the mansion, above. She's got a little younger-crazy-sister Sternwood to her. There's the rich old suffer-no-fools person in a conservatory:



And then there's the mysterious fellow who drops around to complicate what seems like a straight-forward case. Looking at the set, you can tell they didn't exactly spend a lot to dress it.



No, that money went into makeup.

At least I hope that eye was makeup.



That’s Alfred Linder, who’d die ten years later at the age of 55, probably surprising no one.




Hey, in case you forgot, this is HOLLYWOOD. It says so right out the window.



The Broadway-Hollywood building, and the sign, still exist; it's at 1645 Vine Street. There's no building that would have a view like this; it doesn't make sense even in the set used for his office. But it's a great sign.

Two things. One: we meet again a fellow seen in a recent Black & White world entry: Marvin Miller, who introduced “The Whistler” radio show for many years . . . and was the voice of Robbie the Robot.



Two: Marlowe goes to see a guy about a lead, and goes to this apartment building.



Of course, it’s gone; most of the noir world was demolished when Bunker Hill was flattened. Nothing but a parking lot, with nothing to mark the spot but a webpage or two.

But. You know who lived in that building for a while, thirty years before?

Raymond Chandler.


Usual usual here and there - hit those buttons below! And I'll see you around.













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