Even more perfection: morning rainstorm, pounding hard on the windows, a million angry fists with the incoherent roar of the storm making you burrow into the bedclothes with a smile and drift off to sleep, knowing you don’t have to water today.
Took daughter to this week’s event - it’s a trek around town on bikes - and we avoided the previous day’s sniping, although traffic curdled my mood; ever since the lanes were reduced from four to two on this route in order to work off an excess of striping paint the city accumulated, it takes forever to move three blocks if there’s a bus anywhere in the mix. Add some traffic lights timed to choke off free flow, including one cruel one-two punch spaced just a couple of blocks apart, and an intersection that cries out for a left-turn green light with the sorrowful despair of someone who has watched the last ship leave from a port soon to be overrun by barbarians, and add the usual pokey drivers doing seven MPH below the posted limit: aggravation, and no way around it.
Oh, but there’s always a way, you say. Side streets! Sorry. The neighborhood was reconfigured years ago to prevent side-street shortcuts. There are no straight shots. Nearly every street is blocked off, providing an endless series of right turns that makes you certain you will not only be deposited a mile from your destination, but will be eaten by a grue.
When I finally got to the location, I stopped because a woman got out of a van, opening the driver’s side door into the street. As is her right. Then she opened up the back door and arranged the disembarkation of three other small children, all of whom were full of Lucky Charms and wanted to run into the street and had to be restrained. Instead of doing this so the kids came out on the boulevard, it had to be done with all the doors open on a narrow street that was choked with at least fifty cars trying to drop off kids.
It’s like this every summer.
You can either feel your brains shoot our your ears, or sit back and think of England - which, in my case, was the voice of a BBC announcer doing a documentary on the Somali immigrants in Cardiff, Wales. They go back to the 18th century. I didn’t know that. Now I do.
When I picked up daughter she had another wound on her leg from a #bikefail, but it had been an AWESOME day because they went everywhere and fed ducks at the lake and here’s the Vine of that!!! And now it’s the best summer ever. I will remember none of the aggravation of getting there and getting back. Just us in the car on the way away, and heading home. Thank you, selective memory.
Over at the Work Blog I had some pictures of things planned, and things demolished; you may enjoy the little snippet of bygone streetlife. The picture of the planned downtown freeway is truly horrifying, and I wonder if even the most devout followers of Moses - the other one - blanched at the wasteland it would create. The post was a response to a local blog that asked whether it was time to dismantle the downtown freeways, a question that can be safely answered in the negative. But that’s how these things work: one generation asks “is it time to level blocks upon blocks of old buildings downtown in order to create a planned, modern city with empty-souled buildings for our technocratic betters?” and two generations later the heirs of their society are asking whether this whole “freeway” thing is just past its prime. At least the first vision is expansive. The second is constrictive.
Unbuilt projects have a mysterious allure; the future that could have been, the great buildings we will forever be denied. Or the not so great. There’s another genre: great projects that weren’t finished, usually downscaled due to a Copper Panic or some other market crash. Today’s Minneapolis update concerns one such example, which most people don’t know is a fragment of the original idea. It reminded me of something else, a church in New York. I have a postcard:
One of those God + Mammon ideas. A skyscraper atop a church. (In other instances, a church atop a skyscraper) The crash killed the project, but not before they’d built the flanking wings. And so:
Once you know what was supposed to be built, it must be hard not to imagine it, every time you look up.
And now, a new below-the-fold feature:
Science fiction on TV! I ate this stuff up when I was a kid. Robots and monsters and ships that went whizzing through space and explosions and the constant, gnawing sense that this was crap. It usually was. Because it was an Irwin Allen Production. That meant a certain sort of cheapness, a slackness, a juvenile quality that the real sci-fi - Star Trek - didn’t have. (Much.) In short: “Star Trek” was Marvel. Irwin Allen was DC.
He had great themes, but that’s not entirely unexpected when you hire John Williams. “Lost in Space” might be the only TV show to have two great themes, one of which cannot be whistled or hummed; you end up grunting. “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” made me feel as though great mystery and dark-briny-drama was en route, but all I remember is the sound of the sonar, and guys standing in front of blinking panels, talking. “Land of the Giants” was unnerving. “Time Tunnel” was cool enough although you couldn’t really make one out of Lego, and all that period-history stuff blended together week to week. But it had people in lab coats sitting at consoles that had buttons, and this made it okay.
A failed pilot. Here’s the man:
He was kidnapped at an early age, taken forward into time, trained to be a secret agent for what appears to be the Ferenghi as played by Balok as played by Clint Howard:
This is how super-smart aliens appeared, of course: bald, big heads to hold their massive intellects, and fabulous sparkly robes to differentiate them from people. (If we’d worn robes, they would have worn pants.) It’s not clear why they are going to all this trouble; if they wanted to defeat Earth for some reason, and they have time travel, well, why not go back all the way and pick off the early hominids? No, they have to train a guy to infiltrate a super-secret government base and bring down the shields so they can attack.
I think. It’s not clear. Which is why this is the pilot, not the first of many episodes.
Off he goes in the flying saucer, 37% of which appears to be devoted to the elevator that takes him inside.
Once on earth, he goes to the Secret Government Base and drives through a special effect that tells you this is Science Fiction, because the walls are shaped differently. No one ever builds a plain old tunnel, or a rectangular door. It has to be a hexagonal portal or an octagonal tunnel, preferably one that’s too narrow to accommodate two-way traffic.
I can’t tell if this is a matte or a set, but it’s General Control, where things are controlled, specifically; it has lots of blinking lights, and like all Irwin Allen computational systems, these lights are filled with gunpowder, so if anyone falls against the board of blinking lights they will explode and catch on fire. This happens frequently in the episode.
I swear that’s Les Nessman on the left:
Down in the control room of the Secret Base, there’s the bridge of the spaceship from “Lost in Space.” Hey, it hasn’t been picked up yet. Use what you have.
There’s a fight, and the Man from the 25th Century is captured, but - I think; not quite clear - he switches sides right before the alien invasion, and helps the earth people defeat them. Here we have another large command-center room; Irwin was good for these, at least.
But then everyone blinks out with that trademark Irwin Allen “things have just appeared or disappeared” sound effect, and there’s his double, who’s actually a robot, sent by the aliens to defeat the Man from the 25th Century and take his place, although it raises the question of why they’d go back in time to get a guy and train him and spend a ship to get him to earth when they could just teleport a robot into the room. Then everyone reappears and the Man says it’s not over, it’s just begun. THE END.
No one picked it up. It’s sixteen minutes long, and can be seen here.
From unsold back to unbuilt! Hit the Mpls update below for something you might not know, if you're a local. If not, you may enjoy the curious architecture and the odd way it was turned to modern purposes. You may also note the encroachment of Design Inconsistencies, as I apply the system-wide changes to updates. Have a fine day!