One more detail to rewrite - tonight, if I can finish this column for a secret project I will announce in a month - then I think, I hope, my novel is ready. Oh, I thought it was ready. Hah! Then two editors who make eagles look like myopic mud-dwelling flukes found 1,493 different things that needed explaining or adjusting. The former is easy, sometimes: BECAUSE. THAT’S WHY. You trust the reader won’t remember, and if they do, eh: car in the ocean, to use a “Big Sleep” reference. But just because Chandler got away with not explaining the car in the ocean doesn’t mean you can. One of these days I’m going to write a novel where the mystery is explained by a letter in the pocket of a guy named Chandler who’s found in a car in the ocean.

The “Adjusting” is the fun part, because once you fix one detail it immediately invalidates another, and it’s like trying to set up cascading dominos while they’re falling.

The novel has changed names. I have a cover. So we're almost there.


Today’s unsubscribe request went to White Kidney Bean Extract. I wished the form had a survey asking why I was leaving them. “I never signed up for this email” is a common option. The mere existence of that question on the form would imply that someone had signed up to receive regular emails from someone selling White Kidney Bean Extract.

Now that I’d unsubscribed, I was curious a out WKBE. Let us Google. Hah:

My initial response after looking around was “Oh, dear.  Another supplement sweeping through the citizenry thanks to the invisible hand of Dr. Oz.”  But after a closer look I became more accepting of the stated physiological function of kidney bean extract, but remain boorish on their ability to mediate the effects of insulin resistance and blood glucose levels.

That’s what I fear will happen to stocks soon: a boor market.

In case you were sitting around the house drumming your fingers, wondering how the construction is going across the street from my office:

The worst part of any construction project is this, right here. The ugly concrete core rising high above a stunted thicket of I-beams. The adjacent block is a few months behind - and keep in mind it’s the same building, just reversed.

At this moment there are 17, maybe 20 men on site. Since the last time I took a picture of the site, an enormous crane has been added; they’re building the support platform for the second now. It seems bizarre that a site this big has less than two dozen men, and they’re accomplishing a lot - somehow. You see them hammering the forms together, building a slab into a place, tying something down, measuring this - and then three days later all the pillars for the foundations are in, there’s another crane on the site, the walls are poured, and so on.

Then there’s this, a few blocks away, where the Stadium is rising.

There are 16 cranes visible from the parking lot out back.


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?

Trek, no. Sci-Fi, yes. Almost the Proto-Kirk, in his own way.


Yes, we return to the exciting Bleat feature that doesn't just recap bygone, grainy, blurry out-of-copyright movies, but gives you short snippets to highlight the amsuing and piquant moments of a medium long gone. The Serials! Ladies and gentlemen . . .

The comparisons with the modern versions are . . . revealing. Behold the BATCAVE:

He’s just sitting at a big wood desk. He runs out with Robin to go do Crime Stopping Stuff against the Axis powers, because it's 1943, and contacts the police by using . . . a minature walkie-talkie hanging off his utility belt? An enormous light that projects a signal on the clouds? A police box. But he has a special key! He handcuffs crooks to a light post and drives away. But he left . . .


Well, we need a villain, and a plot. We meet Bruce Wayne, and learn he’s a frivolous playboy - but we knew that, right? Remember, this is wartime: he explains he’s 4-F, because otherwise people would get suspicious.

The presence of a teen boy hanging around all the time, that doesn’t raise an eyebrow, but remember: he’s a ward.

We soon learn that the OFC, or Obligatory Female Character, has an uncle who’s getting out of stir, and in one of those natural things that happens every day, she drives to prison with her grinning, rather louche sort-of love-interest guy and his boy-toy. But Uncle's old gang gets there first and spirits him, away to . . . the lair of the Villain.

Here, my friends, is 1943:

The wise government has dealt with those shifty-eyed people, one of which would grow up to be on Star Trek.

The business is the Japanese Cave of Horrors, where you take a tunnel-of-love the car past scenes of Japanese atrocities.

Deep below the streets: THE LAIR! THE VILLAIN!

Somehow I don’t think that was their war objectives, but never mind. The OFC’s Uncle, who we suspect was wrongly convicted, is pressed into the service of Daka. He needs a pliant, morally compromisd “industrialist,” and apparently the only ones around in '43 were guys who were just fresh out of stir.

By the way: Daka is J. Carrol Naish, who was Irish.

We meet the Electrical Brain: turns out it’s some gear on the noggin that turns me into zombies, willing to do the bidding of Hirohito.

What's the McGuffin for this ep? Radium. Radium! For the Radium Gun:

It blows stuff up. Specifically, concrete. Because Lord knows concrete is so hard to demolish. But if they get enough Radium, they can build a big gun so powerful that the US will be unable to retaliate, and will sue for peace.

Interesting how that turned out. I’m reasonably certain that the gun, and radium in general, won’t make it more than two episodes, and the war-changing gun will be forgotten in favor of a Helium Bomb or something.

Hey, you know what this is missing?

Nananana nananana AWKWARD.

The crooks are pursued to the roof, where they decline to use cheap, easily-reloaded bullets to shoot Batman, but engage the cumbersome Radium gun with its rare, precious ammunition. Don’t worry: Brave Batman and Robin will jump down and hit them on the head and defeat them!

Oh, how I am looking forward to this.

Or not.

Then: fistfight! To Classical Music! On a roof top! You know very well how that’s going to end.

Oh, how I am looking forward to this.


Motels, as is our wont in the summer. Work blog around 12:30, Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then!


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