I said it was back, and I meant it.


Shorter, but not by much. Working this one on the old computer was miserable. A few themes may be revisited here, but remember, this is building the show up for a new audience as well. More on that in a few weeks.

Busy as a one-armed paperhanger at a time when adhesive technology had not advanced to the point we accept today, in a humid climate where things simply didn’t stick to walls very well, and also where gravity was slightly stronger. At this point you’d think: why, under those conditions, would you assign a one-armed paperhanger to do the job? I mean, I’m sure he has unique capabilities, and there are laws against disability discrimination, but a good crew chief would send him out with an assistant. But you get the point.

Up with the sibilant tones of the iPhone alarm; check the time, recall the dream I was having, and head back for some more. Had an entirely different dream. Got up, pounded the go-sauce, did a podcast, wrote the work blog, finished the column for the paper, and got into a suit to go do . . . something for Give to the Max Day, an annual charitable event.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do, except interview people. When I got to the Mall of America I was a big surprised to see an audience, a phone bank, a big technical board supporting at least four cameras, a stage, and a JUMBOTRON on which I would be displayed, visible to the four levels of Mall that surrounded the atrium.

Well then!

Before I went on there was a stage performance by a theater group; I couldn’t quite get what they were on about, but it had to do with Capitalism, which was symbolized by a coffin. They were bringing it back to do good things, I think, although the zombie / vampiric overtones were strong. When I finally took the stage I said “that was the most Brechtian thing ever done at the mall,” and they approved. I had eight minutes to interview the director. At the end of it we had a minute left and I asked if they did improv, so I asked them to improvise a scene at Santa’s workshop (the entire rotunda is decked in Christmas gear) where the elves have been told by their shop steward to strike on Christmas Eve. They all got down on their knees and had a big fight.

This is my life. It’s just so damned odd some times.

After that it was one non-profit spokesperson after the other; they kept coming up the steps, we’d do five minutes, thank you, good luck, next one, and you are? The last was a guy who ran an art gallery, and we had fun. It’s hard to describe. I was joking on conceptual art, and the difference between me sitting on a stool thinking about doing a conceptual art piece, vs. someone who was not officially part of the gallery but was sitting off to the side thinking about doing a conceptual art piece, and whether the fact that the gallery put velvet ropes around the first guy made him art, and made the other guy just someone sitting there thinking.

Because, as I said, I had no idea what I was really doing, except standing on stage talking to people on Thursday afternoon.

Then I got in my car and went home and napped.

Finished the Diner after supper, and now this. Hope the computer comes back on Friday; not having a machine where everything is where I want it has been absolutely maddening. Trying to find all the Diner files with the intricate series of aliases all busted meant poking through backups for everything. But it’s done.

Now, ham and eggs and dictatorship. From Life, something I've had sitting around and need to use so I can forget about it sitting in the Odds and Ends folder:

What do you know about the HAM AND EGGS DICTATORS? Well, an ad in the San Jose Evening News helped out, here. Or:



Now, the Cues! BOILERPLATE: As I say every week: if you're just joining the Listen project, it includes a selection of music cues gleaned from old radio shows In this case, "The Couple Next Door," the wonderful 1958-1960 radio show written by, and starring, Peg Lynch. It's library music the producers dropped in to get them in and out of scenes. It's the background soundtrack for mid-century life.



CND Cue #255. Welcome to 1959: Polio and cocktail parties.


CND Cue #256 Uncertain scurrying; best for ending first act.


CND Cue #257 Merry walking-around-the-house music - but just when you think it's over, the wind comes up outside and blows around the leaves and for a moment, life feels unsettled. But not in a bad way, necessarily.


CND Cue #258. Another version of the honking horns - borrowed from "An American in Paris," perhaps - but at least here traffic appears to move for a few yards.


CND Cue #259. Uncertain way to end a show, but that's what they did. Why? Because the Ta-Taaa puts a bow on anything.


And now, something else. The "Couple Next Door" shows were recorded with promos for CBS; local stations could put in ads, if they sold them. The promos are dreadful - the writing is clunky, and the announcer just can't sell them. He just can't. His heart simply isn't in it.


CBS Promo #1. Because your cat can't go to Europe.


CBS Promo #2. Go with radio!


CBS Promo #3. Take it along for your weekend!


CBS Promo #4. Oh, dear.


CBS Promo #5. At least this gives a window into middlebrow culture in the 50s: people were encouraged to listen to "Wozzeck," which is a shrieking atonal opera.


Let's go back to some very old ads for a show that ran forever:

Bob & Ray. This is the show that Bob & Ray demolished with their parody, "One Fella's Family."


That's it for this week! Column up here; scroll down to the COLUMNS pane. (Note: restaurant link does not work, but everything should be back up when the computer comes back from the shop this weekend.)









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