A peaceful evening. Rain threatened but moved along without further comment.

I don’t know what the dog ate but the effect on his digestive system violates most international protocols concerning airborne agents. I had to check to see if he had forgotten his training, and perhaps pooped into a high-speed fan, so profound and all-encompassing was the funk that rolled down the hall. But no. He was just sprawled on the floor in his Long Dog posture, looking straight ahead with forbearance and a vague sense of regret.

This little guy.

That was the highlight of Saturday. Well, no, but the most notable event. Can’t call “a trip to the bank” all that remarkable, except for the fact that the bank is open.

“Why wouldn’t it be?” Daughter asked as we drove.

“Because it’s Saturday. I didn’t know they were open until I saw the sign on the door last month.”

“Why is that unusual?”

How to explain? Because it’s a bank. When I was growing up, banks were never open on Saturdays. They closed at 3 every day and the idea of banking on Saturday was like, well, going to the Mall on Sunday. The world was closed on the weekends, that was the assumption. When the Stop ’n’ Go arrived with its absurd hours - every day, open until 11; who was up at 11, who needed anything? - it was seen a singular allowance. This much and no more.

Restaurants were different, of course; pancakes and coffee, the staff of life, but banks? It would never happen.

But here it was and it happened and who knew when that happened?

The teller couldn’t find Daughter’s savings account. I got some looks. I was asked some questions. Turned out only my wife’s name is on the account. Did I know her birthday? Rattled it off. Address? Well, same as mine. Furrowed brow: different last names, same address - oh. The account was found, but . . . would we like to convert it?

Sorry, what?

"She’s old enough for conversion."

There’s a phrase you realize has been appearing in the back of your head for years in some form.

In this case what it meant was simple: Daughter was going to get a debit card and open up a “teen” account, and she looked forward to putting the card in her wallet. It has about 14 spots for cards and six separate zippered pouches. She can put loyalty cards there.

“You’re going backwards,” I said. “Physical cards. Actual pictures. You’re supposed to be the internet generation that’s past all that.”

“I like having the actual things.”

Interesting. Thus the rejection of the paradigm begins. Natural, I suppose; in a world where everything is digital and ephemeral and constantly accessible, the allure of Objects reasserts itself.

Got the same banker I always get. He’s become the de facto family banker, inasmuch as the term means “guy who punches stuff in the computer then turns the screen around so you can see something.” He apologized for forgetting my name, but said “I always recognize your face.”

“Probably from the newspaper,” I said with a little extra preening.

Blank stare.

Anyway, Daughter got her account, and will soon design her own debit card. I approve. Everything that can be customized should be customized. Must be.

A brief thing to tie together Monday through Friday: Were these actors from Peyton Place Episode #100 also on Star Trek, or, Failing That, Some Other Form of Science Fiction?

I think I’ve just narrowed the internet down as tight as it can go, right there. Why, I should start a Tumblr dedicated to this idea, then abandon it about three months after it gets some publicity. Like so many. One sharp idea, ten great posts, then intermittent updates, then nothing. Or: constant updates, ignored by a world that feasted on 30 posts and didn’t bookmark or follow and moved along Because Squirrel, as they say.

We’ll start with -

What’s that? Peyton Place? I have some episodes; never cared for anything about it, except the role it played in the culture. It was a byword for SIN when I was growing up, I guess; every decade has something salacious that shocks the bluenoses and is hence Catnip for those who want something naughty. “Forever Amber” one generation, then “Peyton Place,” then “Valley of the Dolls,” then “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” and so on unto the meretricious titillation of “Fifty Shades.” I can tell you who wrote “Peyton Place” and the fact that she boozed herself to an early grave - it takes some serious elbow work to get cirrhosis by the time you’re in your late 30s - but beyond that I don’t know and don’t care. It’s a soap.

Let’s begin with an actress who straddles the fence of the question.

Yes! Uh - no.

That’s correct. She was not in Star Trek, but she was in Gene Roddenberry’s wince-inducing “Genesis II,” where she had extra navels because of The Future. In that TV pilot, the hero, a defrosted 20th century guy, moved from one post-apocalyptic setting to another via subways, which were supposed to be like, you know, the Enterprise and its shuttlecraft, except they were trains.

We had such high hopes for the show, but even a teen lad who thought Roddenberry was a faultless visionary had to admit the thing was not only dramatically inert, but depressing.



I don’t think I need do anything here but show you this. You know how “future culture” often looks silly in sci-fi? The anachronisms, the fashions, the music.

Not here.

It's this:

First of all: the music’s just right. Traditional instruments, not tonal as we’d understand it, but catchy, and you get its meaning right away. A fellow offers someone a cylinder; he takes it and gives it a sniff. The other declines. An aromatic intoxicant? Then that dance move. It’s nothing you’d see today but you can easily imagine that’s where dance would end up.

This is a Communist-era Eastern Block sci-fi movie. I enjoyed it a great deal. Didn’t understand a word. Do you have to?

It has all the basics. Robot with whirring things on its head? Check:

He looks like a mortified, socially awkward version of Robbie the Robot.

Inscrutible machinery!

The control room:

The ship has a gym, of course, so the audience can be treated to Future Bodies:

Looks very Eastern Bloc, somehow.

Some observers suspect that Stanley Kubrick saw the movie, as part of his "exhaustive" study of sci-fi movies, and this might have influenced the look of "2001."

You know, I can see that:

At the end they find the White Planet, and head in through the atmosphere; everyone stands on the bridge, staring at the viewfinder, wondering what sights their journey will finally provide. The clouds part . . .

. . . and they see evidence of a vast and sophisticated city. END. Quite cool.

There was an American version. Unfortunately, it was an American International version, and the ending was changed. Instead of the hopeful vision of a new world to explore, the spacefarers look through the viewfinder and see . . .

Horrible stock footage! Also, Earth - so they're the aliens, and we're about to be invaded? What a twist!

It's not a bad idea, but the original is more . . . mature.

Then you find English versions online, and it’s strange - as if they turned on the universal translator.



Work blog around 12:30, Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then!


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