I love fall. After a long hot spell, there’s always something comforting in the evening breeze, a sense of rest and release. Oh, sure, the sultry nights make you feel alive in a sensual, maddened sort of way; you think of beach bonfires and longnecks hoisted to the setting sun and a lot of people shouting WOOOO for some reason - the beer, most likely, but possibly sheer joy at the way the summer seems, at some point, to be unbreakable, eternal, a thing that will be repeated until your dying breath, when you see the sun disappear and finally, for the first time in your life, see the Green Flash.
Yes, I love all that in all its overwritten glory, but I WOULD LIKE IT IN OCTOBER NOT ON THE FIRST FARGIN’ DAY OF JULY FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE.
Whoever Mike is.
The day was cold. The evening is cold. In a way I’m not all that upset; it’s just a Tuesday, but really. Gah.
So it wasn’t a big deal to be inside in a big room with almost everyone in the building: an all-hands-on-deck meeting to greet the New Boss. I wondered when he would stride to the dais and grip the podium and start dishing out the platitudes, as you expect the Cliched New Boss would do; to my surprise he was right behind me, walking through the rows of chairs and shaking everyone’s hand. Retail politics.
For those not in the neighborhood, he’s a Minnesota fellow who’s done okay, and owns a few things here and there. I’d never seen an interview, so I was unprepared for how Minnesotan he was.
“People say, heck, Glen, you’re 73, why are you doing this?” he said, and somewhere in the
answer to a question about outstate delivery and coverage, I think he answered the question. He said that when he was growing up on the farm they got the Tribune, a day late in the mail, and it was his way of finding out what was going on in Korea, in the world. A small-town kid poring through the paper, the great dispatch from the wide world beyond. That gets its hooks into you.
And now it’s his.
My favorite question he asked himself:
“You might say, what if you croak, for gosh sakes? What happens to my job then?”
We’re part of a larger company, so don’t worry. There was more, but that would be talking out of school.
This week of unparalleled lameness - which will reach the apotheosis of lameness tomorrow, trust me - has reasons, but they're irrelevant for the moment, and utterly expected in a project as long and ongoing as this. I mean, nothing of note happened today, and I'm just not in the mood to inflate it to long rollicking Bleat dimensions. I'm busy and tired. But there's always something else to complain about! Thank you internet.
WSJ tech column today: “Of all the potentially embarrassing things I confess to friends and acquaintances, perhaps the one most guaranteed to get a reaction is this: I don't have broadband Internet at home. And here's something I've never said aloud: I don't think you should, either, because it is ruining your productivity, if not your life.”
Huh. Well, of all the potentially embarrassing things I confess to strangers reading newspapers, perhaps the one most guaranteed to get a reaction is this: I don’t have a refrigerator at home. And here’s something I’ve never said aloud: I don’t think you should, either, because it is ruining your cooking, if not your life.”
Because you should walk to the store daily and only cook fresh, in my example. I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD DO THAT is the underlying tone of half the things on the internet, often expressed as YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, or YDIR.
So why is your life being ruined by speedy internet? “The best research we have tells us that, given the opportunity, humans tend to interrupt ourselves on average every three minutes. We'll switch from a Web browser to a Word document, for example. These interruptions are fairly harmless as long as they are all related to the task at hand.
What's devastating to our productivity: interruptions we didn't invite, especially if they draw our attention to an unrelated task, such as an incoming email, instant message or other alert.
Here’s how to be more productive at home using this one weird trick: if you don’t keep your email program open, you don’t get alerts. If you turn your phone off, you don’t get texts. On and on it goes with more examples about the “Distraction-Industrial Complex,” and none of it has to do with broadband. It’s mostly about the interruptions you get on your phone.
But you shouldn’t have broadband. Okay.
It’s like the people who sniff that they don’t own a TV. Really? You don’t like movies? Oh I love movies. Then why don’t you want to see them at home - what you want, when you want it? It’s not the same as the theater. No, it’s not. But it’s close. Would you rather wait 14 years for the local art house to screen a scratchy print of Kane, or see the Blu-Ray at home? I’d rather see it in the theater.
And I’d respect that. I don’t agree; I think it’s missing out on something, but I get it. So I am not inclined to write a piece that says Everyone Who Doesn’t Have a TV is Ruining Their Life.
Speaking of YDIR, I never click on the articles that tell me I’ve been cutting a cake wrong my entire life. I want to say “perhaps, yet the cake has made it from plate to mouth.” I don’t even click on the ones that promise a Cake Hack that will Change the Way I Think About Cutting Baked Objects. No one ever expected that the “smart” part of the world-wide computer network would have a tone of scold fussbudgets.
By “smart,” I mean the people who have always been told they’re very smart, and went to smart schools and hung around other smart people and have absolutely no interest in things that went before them, aside from a few hoary slabs of received wisdom long ossified into historical tropes. Impatience with the past is a hallmark. It's so long. And so long ago.
I'm guessing this ends with someone falling out a high window, and it's either Cap, the District Attorney, or Spunky Gal Sidekick Dale:
If you recall, Cap fell out a window! High in the sky! We saw him plummet to his death!
He fell into a truck loaded with laundry.
While he’s getting his wind back, Mattson the Undead Hench and the other henchman abscond with the guy who’s important to this story for some reason. Something about the plaque. He has the other plaque that will reveal the location of the Lost City of Diamonds or Lost Temple of Emeralds or something like that, so the Scarab can go to the nation of Mayan and get them. Of course, when Malodor, who is the Scarab, shows up with all the emeralds, everyone will know that he’s the Scarab, and wonder why the hell he needed all the emeralds when he stole all that stuff in the first few episodes.
But that’s our Maldor: genius all the way. And not a trace of camp.
After Gale and the other guy we forgot about are freed, it’s back to the District Attorney’s office, where things are said and time is consumed. Then it’s back to Maldor’s hideout, where he wants to force the scientist to translate the symbols on the Mayan tablet.
There’s a lot of scientist forcing in these serials.
Anyway, he’s quite confident that neither Captain America NOR the District Attorney will foil his plans. Never occurs to him that they might be one and the same. Never. To anyone. Anyway, he uses his Science to get the scientist to confess. A clever potion, mixed just so to loosen the tongue and diminish inhibitions - aww, just kidding. He starts to whip him.
Meanwhile, back the DA’s office, the tell-tale clue - in this case, an eavesdropping device - immediately yields a clue in the form of a fingerprint, and the fingerprint is immediately identified as the whorls of a guy who runs a radio repair shop. (All the Scarab’s henchmen have day jobs.) They’ll call him in for questioning! Or set up an elaborate hoax so he’ll lead them to the Scarab, like they tried to do six times before to no avail.
Meanwhile, back at the interrogation:
That just cracks me up, for some reason.
The radio guy makes a call to Maldor’s hideout, which Captain District traces, and so he runs to the store to confront the radio salesman. Alas:
But he’s only a radio repairman, and apparently they’re not known for swift reflexes:
They are, however, known for their luck: the DA handuffs him to a pole and leaves. Well:
This means it’s a race to rescue the Scientist before the bomb goes off! What bomb? I missed that part, but the sound’s been garbly. Apparently the Scarab is going to bomb the farm where the scientist was held to destroy all evidence, because District Captain knows that’s where he was, and rather than shoot everyone and burn the place he's going to fly over it and drop bombs.
Hmm: the radio repairman’s slow reflexes appear to have been contagious:
Fast work, Cap. Well, at least that means another 2-on-1 fistfight. Meanwhile, overhead, it seems everyone’s reflexes are bad today.
But third time’s the charm!
Maldor's the worst. But Lionel Atwill is the best.
Did I say this was the last? Obviously, I was wrong. So very, very wrong.