A foot of snow welcomed us Friday morning. It was 65 on Sunday afternoon. The snow died fast; the lawn was bare in the front, but there’s always those shadowed patches in the backyard where the ice takes refuge, like Argentina for Nazis. It’ll go soon enough, but that last snowfall was too much. I went out with an ice chipper and hacked as much ice to death as possible. Sheer vindictiveness. Settling scores. No muttered oaths; no mad spasms of fury. Revenge on the cold is a cold dish best served cold. And if it’s warm out, all the better.

Sunday daughter came home, which is what I would have written if the plane was on time. American Airlines, by some odd turn of events, had its flight delayed. It was supposed to arrive at 9:55, which would provide a joyous reunion before wife had to hit the hay - big early morning duties - but detecting the narrowness of this window, the gremlins that run the airline pushed it back two hours so everything was spoiled just enough to make tomorrow difficult.

Sigh. So . . . what would have been the Sunday night writing of the Bleat is spent watching the app that tells me when the plane is leaving, if the plane is leaving, whether the airline has suspended operations.

So . . . that was a weekend. It’s been a long grind. Not unpleasant in any way but just . . . rote.

Listened to an audiobook adaptation of “The Guns of Navarone” then watched the movie. The differences, as far as I can tell, consist of substitution of nationality for various characters, for no reason except a) get David Niven in the movie, and B) add Tough Partisan Women. Also old friends are made to be mortal enemies, for Drama. Because the story of commandos trying to destroy guns the size of the piers that anchor the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t dramatic enough.

What annoyed me to no end was a speech by David Niven’s character about how he’s Bloody Sick of Gregory Peck being the leader, and telling them what to do, and not killing enough people, which he shouldn’t do anyway, because of the Bloody War, of which he is Bloody Sick and Tired. All this arguing is going on before they have to commit the most spectacular piece of espionage thus attempted in the war. It’s somehow less interesting if people do what they have to do with a minimum of grand philosophical expostulation about War Being Hell.

Can’t speak for myself, but that would seem to be delaying the landing of the Apollo module to argue about space travel and whether man was meant to leave the planet. Buzz, shut up. We can't go around another time.

It’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to see Captain Americ 2a. The idea that he won’t be betrayed by his government - not a rogue element, but the very thing for which is fighting - seems inconceivable these days. Someone, probably Robert Redford, will make a cynical speech and smile while he says it. The movie’s getting good reviews, and I have a difficult time believing it’s because Captain America sends the audience out with any sort of pride or patriotism.

The revelation of fallibility is no longer a revelation at all; it ought to be a given at this point in story-telling, but people still think it's novel to retell Goldilocks from the Wolf's point of view. I remember the first time I realized this was not only tired, but said something wrong about the people making movies: Mission Impossible, when they revealed that Jim Phelps was the bad guy. Wouldn't it be great if the hero of all those old TV shows was shown to be corrupt? Wouldn't it be great if he wasn't.

I also watched a movie called "Despicable Me 2" which had the same computer models as the first one and the same accent in the main character, but was otherwise unrecognizable; turned it off halfway through.

Well! A cranky, tired start to the weekend. Almost midnight . . . time to go to the airport.




AS? Not is?



George Nader was a B-lister wit a quarter-century run. He made a splash in a 3D creature feature, Robot Monster; it got him a contract at Universal, but he was always in the shadow of similar actors.

The opening credits are zingy, with lots of shots of Times Square and a bouncy mid-60s soundtrack:

Hey, that’s a lot of German names. What’s going on? It’s a German show, that’s what. A series of “Jerry Cotton” movies were made for West German TV, I believe, and dubbed for American audiences - who weren’t fooled for a second.

Nevertheless, if you pause it and grab the frames and sharpen them up, you have the Deuce.

Germans thought our Texaco gas station attendents looked like:

I was amused by this. Can you tell why?

Just discussed the building on the left the other day in the Restaurant Exterior section.

Nevermind the story; let’s look at how West Germans saw the FBI in those days. It had control centers!


Here's the music that played while they showed the bustling command center:

German Police Music, #1

German Police Music, #2


Now square that music with the banks of computer:


Which kind?


The Univac Universal III.

The UNIVAC III is a medium-cost, high performance electronic data processing system designed to meet the broadest possible needs of business and science. The magnetic core memory holds from 8,192 to 32,768 words in increments of 8,192 words each with a cycle time of 4.5 microseconds Words can be pure binary, binary coded decimal, UNIVAC Xs-3, or any other form. UNISERVO III tape units allow reading, writing, and computing simultaneously. The read-write rate is 200,000 digits per second.

Up to thirty-two Uniservo III tape units and six Uniservo II tape units are possible.

The computer, with 8K of memory - EIGHT KILOBYTES - cost $390,000 base, but you’d spend over a million by the time you bought the whole machine, including the $200K card puncher.

The FBI chief had a huge office; big map of Manhattan on the wall - I think; it's hard to tell - and sliding doors, like the Enterprise.

The loving spirit of J. Edgar looking on in the background, approving of the agents' bearing and stern mein:



Speaking of Texaco: One of the classic post-war designs. Still white to indicate spotless purity. The curves are gone. Curves are over.


Back to Times Square, shall we?


It moves! It moves!

There's also a scene in an A&P, back when New York had lots of A&Ps. The scenes took place in the manager's office, with the store seen through his windows. Obvious and unconvincing rear projection. I mean, you can't fly everyone to New York for every scene.



Waldbaum's, eh? Yes. Still around, and then some.


If it weren't for the dubbing, you wouldn't think it was German. It manages to get things right, although the details are so scant it's hard to see what they might have got wrong. But still you study the margins, looking for a slip-up.


Hah. That vuss your first mistake, my friend.

Banana split is two words. Not one.

Usual usual here and there; see you around.



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