So what does a CNN producer want with me? That's this week's little mystery. But first:

Sunday night: the last concert of the Minnesota Youth Symphony season, held at Bethel. Way up on the other end of town. When last I did this, in February, I remember being catastrophically depressed for some reason - ennui, weltschmertz, existenstential dread, possibly all three vying for primacy - but not today.

Today I’m just tired. The sort of weariness that comes from boredom, which makes you feel as you you’ve really failed to live up to your end of the bargain. You can’t even get your own attention. Your body gives up: if this is all you got, pal, I’m going back to sleep. Possibly it had to do with the menial duties of the day; possibly a sense of great failure over my inability to fix a leaking shower hose because there are no user serviceable parts, and it cannot be unscrewed. I have to get a plumber. One of those guys you owe $80 just for showing up.

At least today there wasn’t the slush and snow that attended the February concert, and there seems to be signs that the cruelty of the winter has abated for good.

We woke to snow on Friday morning, you know.



They survived. We all survived.


Friday went differently than most, for once; Daughter had a piano recital. She was mixed in with some kids from the younger Yahama piano group, so I got to hear the old classics from her bowl-cut era. It seems, thank heavens, like a long time ago, but I still remember the songs, as does she. Afterwards we went to Perkins with her teacher for supper, and I struggled with the QR code on the menu which promised 20% off if I signed up for special Perkins bonuses. The app bombed. The waiter said I could use the touchpad in the foyer - you check in using your cellphone, and get rewards! I did. It gave me 15% for my first check in.

“Hold on, now,” I said to the waiter. Partly in jest. “This here in the menu says I get 20% for signing up, then 15% on my next visit. The one in the foyer seemed to assume I was already signed up, which I’m not, and gave me 15%.”

“Oh that’s a different rewards program.”

“There are two.”

He nodded. I asked the person at the cash register when I checked out, and she threw up her hands the minute I mentioned it. “I don’t know any tech stuff,” she said. “Ask someone younger.”

It wasn’t a how-do-I-do-this question, though. It was “can you help me navigate the conflicting nature of your loyalty rewards programs, and get 20% off?” So I asked how to sign up for the 20% club, and she gave me a piece of paper. When I’d filled it out I noticed what it said at the top:


What am I, seven? Birthday club?

“It goes into the rewards program,” she said. Good. Because I had damned well get the rewards to which I am entitled. REWARD ME.

At least there’s no mail-in aspect; never would. Saw some Zicam at the hardware store last week: $9.99 regular price, now $0.01 with mail-in rebate. Because 96% of the people will buy it and never send away for the rebate, and if you do, they’ll send a check, and you’ll have to go to the machine, and it’s not one that takes checks.

Okay, off to the concert.

Daughter took this picture of me before I left; apparently she's using that "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" filter the hip kids like





It went well. The script said that the the Repertory orchestra had a slate of “Popular favorites,” and the first was a piece by Schoenberg, and I noted that this might be the first time in the history of this orchestra anyone used the terms “Popular favorite” and Schoenberg together, but this was actually one of his tuneful numbers, not the later unpleasantness.

The Symphony orchestra took on “Rite of Spring,” and as I always like to note, this was not the Little Golden Book version, but the whole big mad score, the most disturbing piece in the classical repertoire. Everything about it is alien and everything is simultaneously recognizable as human.

Or, it’s dinosaurs fighting, depending on your association. I first encountered the piece in “Fantasia,” where it’s edited and set to animation about the birth of the planet and the evolution of species. To this day when it comes to the end of the “Glorification of the Chosen Victim” sequence in Part two, I think of that poor triceratops, sightless eye staring into nothingness, the rain falling down, the nightmare of a mindless, godless world.

Anyway! When it ended and the orchestra sections had stood and received the accolades, the other conductors and your narrator took to the stage, whereupon we were given bouquets, and took our bow - and then Manny (the Symphony orchestra conductor) held up the score of Rite of Spring and the crowd huzzahed for Stravinsky.

Then I ran. Ran out of the hall. Ran to the parking lot. Got out before the crowd, hit the highway, turned on the iPod, found some by-God driving music, and rolled down the window. Dave Edmunds / Cars / Anonymous interchangeable Techno - deafeningly loud. It’s spring; we made it.

Except for the poor virgin girl who had to dance herself to death for the fertility gods, but that’s just the plot of a ballet.





They made thousands of these. B pictures that slumber in the vaults for years while people who have a dim memory of seeing it on TV write articles insisting it’s a “lost noir classic.” Noir, in this instance, meaning Loner Guy, Femme Fatale, money, betrayal, barking roscoes, Venetian blinds, the usual. Well:



IThe title indicates that someone’s going to be set up. (“Set-Up” was probably the working title.) That would be our taciturn hero, who just blew into town looking for work as a mining engineer. Apparently a fella could wander into a hick burg and find himself work on the technical aspects of mineral extraction. It’s Glenn Ford, Mr. Slow Burn himself. Not burning at the moment, just sweating:



We know it’s Noir right away because the bartender is a surly jerk . . .



. . . and because the camera makes sure we’re just KNOCKED OUT by the femme fatale . . .



. . . who’s all wrong for the role, and brings the entire movie down. Several key scenes and plot points rely on Glen Ford getting blotto pass-out drunk, which is amusing; it’s not that he has a problem, it’s just that he tends to drink to the point of extinguishing his consciousness. One of those things.


The other thing I tried to watch . . .


The copy still bore the title card for the distributor that sold these old donkeys to feed the inexhaustible appetite of early television:



It’s like a movie from parallel world, without anyone I recognize. That doesn’t mean a thing, but it just seemed a B-minus from the start, so I nixed it and watched COPS.

Note: I understand there have been some problems with the page; I redid it from the ground up to eliminate the cruft, but I’m still stuck with the same problem I have every time I redo the page. I could put menus and the like at the top of the page, but the entire point of the page is to lead you away from the top. I want something as spare as possible but still interesting to look at - can’t tell you how many “spare” sites I see that boil it down to nothing but a name and a few links. It would be an interesting project to rip it all down and start from scratch - I mean, everything - but I haven’t the time. Spent hours this weekend finally sorting all the stuff in the Scanning Project 2011 folder, for heaven’s sake. The fruits of that escapade will be revealed on Friday.

For now, some matchbooks! Here’s a link just in case.





blog comments powered by Disqus