Been a while since we had the view from the porch:

Six more inches en route Monday morn.


Sunday: It began with a small red line on the bathtub, which I thought was a scratch. Got out the Magic Eraser, which continues to be sold under that name without protest from the Federal Government even though no necromancy is involved, and rubbed it away. Noted another spot that needed removal: what appeared to be a footprint on the wall. Pointed t out to daughter:

“It’s not mine.”

So. Either your mom or dad put on special shoes that had the imprint of smaller feet on the sole and laid on the hallway floor and put their feet up on the wall, or you’re not telling the truth.

Force a surly confession; move on to pointing out how the microwave is all smeary, because someone’s dipping their hands in bacon grease and punching all the buttons. At least that’s what it looks like. Note loudly that no one ever cleans this except me; get reminded by wife and daughter that no one ever cleans it because I always do, several times a day. Along with everything else in the kitchen.

Open the fridge for a soda; note crumbs in the produce bin. Remove bin, clean; note how the other bins are a bit sticky as well. Remove everything from the fridge and clean entire interior; perform triage on bottles whose use was fleeting and meal-specific. Hold up bottles and inquire of wife:

“Chances of needing Thai Fish Oil in the next year? Okay.” Check bean dip container for fur. Eliminate a poorly chosen mustard no one loved.

“While you’re at it, the recycling needs to go out,” wife notes. Indeed; it’s heaped. Two bins in the closet. Since no one crushes their cans around here except me, they fill up fast, particularly if plastic salad-bar containers have not been nested. Take out the recycling; note spilled soda here and there.

Remove everything from the closet, including six plastic drawers, and clean them all; consolidate art-project supplies, dedicate one bin to emergency items, like flashlights, emergency radio, candles, and so on. Scrub walls. Replace everything.

Where was I? Ah: fridge. Take everyone out of the freezer side; move all the nuts, which we have in abundance for reasons I cannot say, from those horrible grocery-store plastic bulk-purchase bags into proper ziploc-style bags. The nuts will be in these bags unmolested for months to come. Find a piece of frozen meat stored away for future use; realize right then and there this will never happen. It just won’t. I know it. Ditto for a divot left over from a box of frozen hamburgers: once it’s out of the box it seems untrustworthy, somehow.

Put everything back after cleaning the shelves. Wipe down every surface in the kitchen. Gather family into the middle of the room, show them how everything is neat and orderly, and issue two simple commands:



There’s always a point in in the weekend where everything’s perfect, ready for the next week. I don’t know if it’s the nadir or the week or the zenith.


It was a weekend of consolidation and arrangement, with just a little creation. There was one moment of sanity, though. I was very, very close to changing my online life to use a program that managed my bookmarks. Now, up to now I’ve never been troubled by unmanageable bookmarks. They’re healthy, shiny, and tangle-free. But this program would help me arrange them and give them tags! TAGS! TAGS I TELL YOU!

If you have thousands of bookmarks and want to take the time to tag them all, sure. If you want to import them into the program and run an update to get a thumbnail, sure. If you want one more bloody program that nags you every other week if you want the update, or whether you’d rather install the update on quit (which it never does; it’s like asking a teen to do some menial chore and they say “later”), because the program is new and the author wakes up every day to 1592 bug reports, then sure, why not.

Back up a second: for a fortnight I agonized between two different programs that organized documents and scraps and various files. I liked the way of them had a little shelf to which you could drag something; I liked the way the other one presented the data. Each had a lot going for it; each had a critical aesthetic flaw that annoyed me. In the end I realized something that made my decision much easier

I didn’t need either. I never will. I use something called “Folders.” They have names that reflect their contents, and are grouped according to purpose. How about that.

Anyway, I encountered this message box:

Let’s go over that again: Would like the program to skip duplicates? Seems straightforward. But it needs elucidation: if you choose YES then only then all duplicates will be skipped automatically.

Aside from the clumsy wording, is there any reason to think this wouldn’t be the case? You read it again to see if you’re really doing what you want to do. But the thing that really got me was the concept of the N. B. Import. You cannot imagine how many people wondered what an" N. B. Import" is. I’m tempted to go to the support page for the site just to hear the plaintive wails.




What on earth possessed them to make this? What producer looked at the script, and thought "we've got a sure-fire blockbuster on our hands here"?



The credits have an oh-so-Hollywood line: "The World's Greatest Artists, in Order of appearance." It ends with something that's just so perfectly American:



It begins in the old days of Carnegie Hall; a charwoman is listening to the orchestra rehearse, and the Spotlight of Destiny falls on the lowly pianist she loves:



Behold the obligatory imperious conductor:



Then there's a flashback: the charwoman remembers when she went to Carnegie Hall as a litlte girl on her first day in America, and saw Tchaikovsky. Uh huh.



Dramatically, it's something of a boiled potato. The charwoman marries her pianist husband, but he's strong-willed, doesn't want to take orders from the conductor - yeah, that'll serve him well in this business - and falls downstairs while drunk and dies. Lucky for the movie, they've already had a kid, and mom goes about training him to be a Great Pianist. In between the dramatic scenes, such as they are, there's marvelous performances, shot in B&W with every imaginable type of dramatic lighting and framing.



And so it comes to pass that a Hollywood movie features the conducting of a man who knew Gustav Mahler. Bruno Walter.



A bit of inadvertent documentary: Carnegie Hall in 1947, with a great 30s sign in the corner.



The mom is played by Marsha Hunt, who's allowed a few scenes in the Bloom of Youth; then she's strategicaly aged, because all Mothers go straight to Grey Mode when they hit 40.



As the credits noted, there was Harry James, and Vaughn Meador, too. Wives may have dragged their husbands to the movie, saying there'd be some hot jazz! Husbands slunk in their seats, rolling thier eyes when the movie kept tossing up guys like this:



Eventually they get to a nightclub, where Tony, the son, sits in with Vaughn Meador . . .



. . . and this scene in this movie draws a direct line between Gustav Mahler and Mary Tyler Moore. See if you can figure out what I mean. Yes, it's her.

Of course the son playing with these cheap, popular bands is an insult to his craft, his lessons, his mother, his father, Beethovel, and so on. Mother and son fall out over his career choice, only to reconcile after a performance by Stokowski that includes an amazing tracking shot that floats over the hall. You really have to imagine this on the big screen.

The expectation, I guess, is that the casual viewer would be confused if they didn't clap, even though it's the end of the second movement.

I can't imagine the movie made a lot of money. The market was, shall we say, rarified. It's still a testament to the era that they made it at all.

Oh, Harry James? He comes in at the end to play what Leopld calls "A New Rhapsody," meant to remind us that "Rhapsody In Blue" started in this hall as well. It's most of the 'modern" orchestra pieces movies came up with to show how the old forms could fit the new era: it stinks.

Usual usual here and there; see you around.




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