I had another site design all loaded up and ready to go. At the last minute I decided to use this picture, taken right before the storm hit. First good thunderstorm of the season, at least as it approached: incessant rolling rumbles, mutters and cracks, all coming from the same direction, the same thing rolling in overhead. Years ago my daughter found it frightening. Now: “It’s so cool.” It is.

I’d just brought five bushes in from the vehicle, which will replace eight failed installments of the same shrub. When I loaded them in the car the skies were already starting to get moody, but I still needed bags of stuff to put on the ground to replace last year’s stuff. Every year, bags and bags of cedar chips, useless useless for keeping down the weeds, but I have my orders.

Speaking of which: the weekend chore was to drain the Oak Island Water Feature and remote all the stinking fetid leaves. While the pump sifted the muck I put up the curtains on the gazebo for the finishing touch; looks bare without them, and they keep in the mosquitos. Yes, in - the mosquitos get in through a hole in the netting, and can’t find their way out. I was digging out the filth in the pit when the Giant Swede showed up; let’s run an errand. Why yes, let us.

My wife returned at that very moment from a brunch, and asked if I was going to get the shrubs today. Remember, we talked about this last weekend?

What can I say? Of course I didn’t. I’m a husband. I had things to do this weekend which included stringing some new lights out front, cleaning the pit, fixing the gazebo, grocery shopping, and so on - and these completely erased everything she had told me to do last weekend. But! Thus reminded again, I remembered.

“So can you get them?”

But! We’re going in the Swede’s car, which cannot accommodate the shrubs. So I’ll go to Home Depot with him, come back, then go to Home Depot myself! And that was fine.

But! I had no intention of going to Home Depot. I went to Menard’s Enormostore, where I’d seen the shrubs on sale for a double-sawbuck a few weeks ago. Went back to the end of the gargantuan garden-supply area.

They had one.

Now I realize my truth: I am a Dead Man. Because if they don’t have any, Home Depot won’t, and no one will, and if I’d done this last week I wouldn’t be in this situation, damn damn damn.

I go to Home Depot, where they have dozens. Whew.

But! They look exactly like the ones that died. We were going to replace them with the ones that line the steps out front, which have thrived. Then we decided that they were the same thing. I looked at the needles, or whatever they are - they’re not leaves - and we said yes, same thing. But these looked different.

Husbands will know what I did next, and why: I texted her a picture of the things, with the name of the bush, to make sure . . . of what? That I was doing the right thing? No, of course not. That I had her assent on record. I mean, I have no problem taking them back once she sees them, and they're not right; that's life. If I have to drag them on a sled to the store that's fine. As long as we agree I didn't get the wrong ones.

Also I need the non-cedar-chip mulchy stuff, because my wife wants the brown mulch. I’m fine with that. But is that cocoa mulch? That would be brown, wouldn't it?

Did she really say brown?

Or am I remembering brown because I’d asked her if she wanted brown or red cypress, and she’d said “definitely not brown,” so the word “brown” stuck out in my head? So I call home again, and said “I have the attention span of a flea and can’t remember if you wanted brown or cocoa mulch, because they don’t have any cocoa mulch.”

“They don’t - why would we want cocoa?”

“Well, it’s brown.”

“No, the brown mulch.”

I say fine, that’s what I’ll get. And I’m thinking: what is that, exactly? I know Red Cypress, and of course my old enemy Cedar Chip Mulch, and Cocoa, but “brown mulch” sounds like a description of something that’s actually named something else. Like “Cocoa.”

I go into the store, go back to Mulch, and there are bags and bags of Brown Mulch.

Ahhhh. But: either I’ve lost strength over the last year or these things are four times the weight of cedar chip bags. It doesn’t help that they’re stored outdoors and it’s been raining. So I’m trying to throw 80-pound bags of WET ORGANIC MATTER into the back of my vehicle, and I’m hungry.

That means it is time for the weekly out-on-errands steamed ham, or Hamburger as we call them in these parts. I go to McDonald’s and request one hamburger, nothing more. Please drive forward. I hand over a dollar and get a nickel back in change. All is proceeding well. At the next window I am handed a bag, but before the thank-yous can commence I make a request:

“Could I have one mustard, one ketchup, one pepper?”

“Honey mustard?” she says.

“No, just mustard.” Whereupon she gives me three packets of mustard. I say that I would also like ketchup and pepper, whereupon I see her gathering provisions in quantity for outfitting Napoleon’s assault on Russia, and I say “Just one of each is fine.”

“Just one?”

“Just one.”

I get three more mustards, one pepper, and no ketchup. Ah well. Close.

Then home; get the stuff out of the car in time for the rain to come. It was quite the show. I took a nap with the world beating on the window and the roof. It’s like going to sleep during a drum solo.

BuzzFeed writers make lists. The title gets your attention - “27 Reasons 90s Kids Wish They Were Dead” - and then there’s 27 pictures or GIFs, none of which would stand on their own as something of particular interest. If a source is credited there’s wee grey type to indicate the original source. It is to blogging was potato chips are to potatoes.

So “10 Regrettable Food Recipes” caught my eye, since “Regrettable” and “Food” is one of those combinations with which I’ve been associated with since before the earth cooled. The list one I recognized from my site:



It is from my site. See the corner? Right.



Someone in the comments pointed out that gosh, there’s even an entire site about Regrettable Food you guys, and I added a link to the relevant image. It sat in the moderation queue for a day, because it had a link, I supposed. I tweeted about it, not calling out the author by name because there was only one picture taken. Two or three and we would have had a problem.

Later I get a tweet from the editor of Buzzfeed:

It went up without sources because reasons, as BuzzFeed writers say. Well, I went back to check the sources. Under the Seven-Up picture: http://bitsandpieces.us/2010/06/08/seven-up-in-milk/But it’s not the original source, because that page has a “via” to: http://www.myconfinedspace.com

But no direct link to the thing itself. Then there’s this:



The link goes to lileks.com. That’s it. Front page. Nothing else. Almost as if he couldn’t be bothered to find the Gallery of Regrettable Food itself.

Oh, and I don't think that’s on my site. not my image. Could be wrong, but I don't recognize it, and if I had put it up, I wouldn't be pixellated and croocked and have as much seam-shadow.

But hey a list you guys is it EW or LOL? You know it could be both!





Two movies. Remember, THIS IS NOT A REVIEW or a RECAP. Who cares what I saw? It’s just the images and backstories and details you find in old movies, and to see if there's a Star Trek connection. There usually is.




In the case of this one, picking up the dead body of someone you think your daughter murdered, and rowing it across the bay so you can dump it in the swamp - hell yes it’s reckless. Also more than a moment.

As the movie begins we see our hero - Mom, in this case - going to meet a ne'er do well art student (translation, shiftless reefer smoker) who's seeing her underge daughter. I love old downtown LA. It was a lived-in place. Herewith our inadvertant documentary for the day:



As for the location, well, pshaw; child's play.



Probably. Wouldn't you say, based on the evidence in the shot above?

Okay, I'll stop being so smug. For a second you see OWL in the background. That was a drug store chain. All you have to do is find some obsessive site that identified all the LA locations, and Bob's your uncle. You know it's not the famous one, so that narrows it down.

Nothing unusual here, except: look at the variety of cars you could expect to see in 1949.




The foolish daughter was played by Geraldine Brooks, who did nice job of haughty you-can't-tell-ME-what-to-do-mother, followed by simpering I've-been-such-a-fool. She doesn't look like any 17-year-old I remember, though.



It's a well-made, well-acted, crisp little noir, aided immensely by James Mason's job as the Blackmailer. The director was Max Orphuls, and imdb notes that "nearly all his female protagonists had first names starting with L." In this case, Joan Fontaine is . . . Lucia.

Note how he stages this privagte conversation in the train station. Both do not want to be overheard. Good luck: the director's packed the frame. the other characters aren't in the same plane, but they're in the same space.



Then there was this.



It begins with a sentence that explains succinctly why the intellectuals absolutely despaired of Spillane and all he represented:



Yes, you heard that right. Biff.



He plays Mike Hammer in the dumb-and-tough mode, and does a pretty good job. He died last August, but not before appearing in TV and movies with just about every single "Star Trek" actor from the original series. As well as appearing in "Star Trek," himself.

One of my favorite moments: a photo album that put a certain person in certain places at certain times. Gosh, this was convenient:



It's two-fisted and red-blooded, all right. Noir locales, including the big gas farm that popped up over and over in these old movies.



And, as you may have noticed from the trailer: the Church of Film Noir, the Bradbury Building.



So many movies were shot here - Blade Runner being the most famous, of course. When I first visited the place it was almost like stepping into the setting for communal dream. Which, I suppose, it was.



And just because it's set during Christmas: why not Elisha Cook Jr. as a wide-eyed nervous Santa? Why not?



Here's the opening credits: one minute of a stump-armed guy clawing his way across the floor while Franz Waxman's score kicks him in the head some more.



On Saturday night I did my part for Web and Country by making GIFs of Mike Hammer beating up people. You can find them here, at LINT.

Like this sort of thing.



That's it for today. Except for the Matchbooks, of course. Always the matchbooks. See you around in all the usual spots - Strib blog between 12 and 1, Tumblr in the same general area, Twitter now and then. That's what those buttons are for down there, y'know.



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