The ad for MONday’s TV line-up was confusing, at first. Then i just thought “oh, my brain is broken.” This is what everything looks like when you’re illiterate, perhaps:

Later it hit me: Oh, right.

Went to the AT&T store tonight for reasons I will explain on Friday. Had a helpful & eager clerk who wanted to know my account information, and I handed him my phone with the AT&T open to the proper screen.

“At last,” he said. Someone had used the bleepin’ app. I looked to my daughter: see? See? Dad has cred in this world. (eye roll)

I will grant that “using the AT&T app” is right up there with “Found out he could move the AARP app from one screen to another,” since who the hell cares about the AT&T app? Well, you don’t, until you do. You might have to manage your account. You could be out in the world somewhere unable to engage in account management.

Imagine someone standing in a field in 1947, and you wander up through the corn. He’d hear you coming, and be ready; maybe have a wrench in his han, just in case. Could be someone from the house with bad news. He’s on edge when you step through the corn.

“Can I help you?” he says, a note of wariness in his stoic farmer voice.

“Yes. Aren’t you concerned about your inability to manage your telephone bill out here?”

“Not sure what you mean, friend.”

“Well, you have a line to the house, right? A party line, probably. You have your own custom ring tone, right?”

“Not sure what you mean there either.”

“Two short and two long, that’s your ring, right? Well, don’t you wish you could buy a different ring tone from out here, using a special application that lets you manage your account no matter where you are in the world?”

Pause; squint.

“You’ve been out in the sun too long, friend.”

Even if you don’t use the remote account-management programs, you like to know they’re available; if not, there’s something wrong with the bank, or drug store, or grocery, or whatever it is. Right? Example. Tonight after we finished t the AT&T store we went to the food court, and I had a burrito at a place that might as well have been called “C’mon, There’s More to Life Than Chipotle.” Not cheap, so you know you’re getting quality. Three sauces: Mild (about as hot as ketchup) Green (some kick) Thick Dark Blood Red (Pain now and Pain Later.) The helpful clerk gave me a card I could use in the future, if I registered online. Free chips for signing up! No one in their right mind turns down free chips.

Once home I called up the app that lets me store all my important Loyalty Codes, reads the barcodes, and matches the store logo for the icon in the list of codes! It knows these things! Now in the future I can hold up my phone and get Points! Then I remembered: it was an awful burrito. I never want to eat there again.

The receipt said I could take a survey, though, and get Free Chips! So I took the survey. Praised the staff and the cleanliness but said the food was tasteless, and the chicken came from a “bucket of nubbins” that didn’t look fresh at all.

The website was very concerned about my low scores, and asked if they could contact me. Because I am curious how these things work and have all the time in the world, I said yes. I now await the phone call.

The bottom of the receipt says “This offer is valid for 7 days after <DOB>”

Huh? Date of birth? Dire Offal-Bowels? Dubious Old Bastard? What?

Now, daughter ate elsewhere, so we called up their survey page and gave them a raft of straight Fours, indicating satisfaction. Free Entree for that.

My, you say, what an in-teresting life you have. I'll bet you meet such in-teresting people. Anything else? I made a GIF:



The work blog had a post about movie posters in animated GIF form, so I made that one. Took about 10 minutes. Then I saw a tweet from Matt Zoller Seitz, the excellent TV / Media critic, saying he wanted a ringtone of the Giant from Twin Peaks saying “The Owls Are Not What They Seem.” Sigh. Must I do everything for the internet? THAT took four minutes. (Right click to download.) I sent it to him and he was grateful.

Also, lots of writing, but that's for elsewhere.

Now, the conclusion of Rocketman. Brace yourself: if you haven't seen what this episode contains, you're going to be quite surprised.



I’m not sure how suspenseful this will be. We know who Dr. Vulcan is. Turns out he was that guy. No, the other one. There won't be a cliffhanger. It’s the last chapter, so we know Rocketman will prevail, right?

Maybe he doesn’t.



A little late in the game for Burt to get his own card, but it’s the last one. Might as well give him that:



It turns out there’s a good reason: Burt kicks the bad guys into the Electronical Disintegration Beam, but Vulcan and Dirkin escape. Burt and Rocketman find a receipt for a plane ticket to New York, and they’re dismayed: no way to catch them now.

HELLO? The ROCKET part of ROCKETMAN, remember? But no; they take a plane to New York to keep the Festival of Disaster planned by Dr. Vulcan for reasons not entirely explained, or necessary.


In the lower left corner, that's the Barclay-Vesey building, reknowned for its fine Deco interiors and the way the base fills out the lot, angled on one side, with the tower aligned to the grid. One of the first skyscrapers to use the "setback" style required by the new zoning laws. Took heavy damage on 9/11, and it cost them $1.4 billion to repair.

Anyway. The Civil Authorities don’t believe him! But then someone enters with a letter, and suddenly Mr. Civil Authority changes his tune. By which I mean he maintains the same monotone:



We learn Vulcan’s demands: One beeeeelion dollars. Yes: a cool billion, or he blows up New York. Even in today’s money that’s a tall pile of jack. He’s not stupid enough to hide the Decimator in Gotham; he goes to “Fisherman’s Island,” 300 miles away. Dirkin is confused: I thought you said the Decimator has a range of 200 miles. Vulcan explains:

See this tiny island, which is obscure and secret but nevertheless merits a large spot on the map? See the Amsterdan Fault, which is put on maps so ships can avoid it if there's an earthquake on the seabed? Well, he’s going to blast the Fault and create a massive destructive wave. That’s why he has the Decimator carefully calibrated and aimed with great precision:



He has another reason: this way they don’t have to apply for permits to shoot in New York.

Ah, but Jeff King has that Thromium Detector, right? It has a range of 250 miles! Exactly! Therefore the Decimator must be 251 miles away! Let’s go!

The deadline passes in two hours. Vulcan decides "screw it, then" and blasts the fault.. The first tidal wave hits the city, and Mr. Civil Authority stands there dampening his drawers while Jeff King tells him to evacuate the city while he flies to Fisherman’s Island. (Yes, he figured that out rather quickly.) It’s a good thing he’s en route, since New York will be saved -









While New York is being destroyed, we get the best Rocketman entrance in the entire serial:



Vulcan shoots Dirkin by accident, then there’s a fistfight while the Air Force carpet bombs Fisherman's Island:


Rocketman escapes as the island is being pulverized, and Dr. Vulcan pays for his crimes.

Happy ending! Oh, my, what a merry day's it been, but all's well that ends well!


I'm sad to see it go.

No, they didn't have a budget for the destruction of New York. It's footage from 1933's "Deluge." Rather incredible.

Strib blog in short form in the morn; Tumblr, of course. See you around!




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