Sorry about yesterday's doubled-up guitar solo error. The ONE NIGHT I check everything except that, and that's the part that's wrong. . Oh, there's an explanation; oh, it's typical. It just amazes me how I can have the bulk of this site designed out two weeks in advance and still screw up little things like proper files and links. Fixed now.

I think.


And by now NO ONE CARES

Usual Thursday Bleat deficit, alas; column night. If I get it done by midnight I can watch some “Blacklist,” which I started last night. It answers the question “What if we made Hannibal Lecter a morally ambiguous guy with his own agenda and Claire was like sort of Jack Bauer but not entirely and they had to team up?” Okay. It has all the cliches of the genre: frowning African-American boss? Check! Supremely capable young woman who’s fresh out of the academy but possesses innate skills that catapult her above seasoned agents? Check! An example of the terrorist group Americans fear most in their guts, the Serbian nationalists? Check! Aforementioned female agent’s amazing ability to connect with a four-year-old girl through a story about her own childhood? Well, that’s not really a cliche of the genre, but a standard trope: kids are impressionable little things, and if they’re utterly terrified you can calm them down by telling them a story about how you used to calm yourself down by pulling out boogers and pretending they were Happy Fairy Pills or something. I don’t think I would watch it except for James Spader, who has transitioned from the guy you love to hate to the guy you hate to love.

I nodded “that’ll do” when the pilot was over, and apparently it gets better. But I know myself; if I don’t watch it every night I will save it, and if I save it I will never watch it again, because I’m waiting for the right moment. Relaxed, work done, ready to sit down and absorb a chunk of codified, carefully-arranged entertainment consisting of characters who move through idealized worlds - the Restoration Hardware homes with just a bit of clutter because there’s an oblivious cute 3 year old at the breakfast table to highlight how the couple is Committed, and whose innocence highlights the perfidy that will soon unfold; the meticulous white office with a faint blue tint, devoid of Post-It notes or piles of paper, staffed with intense young people staring at screens connected to miraculously fast and deep databases; the streets of DC, always in the first few weeks of autumn, never in the skull-melting torment of August. And so on.

The other show I’ve been chewing through is Netflix’ Bjoack Horseman, a cartoon about a horse who was in a sitcom a long time ago and hasn’t done much since. He drinks. He sleeps with his agent, who is a cat. He coexists with humans, and this is no surprise to either. The evening news is read by a whale. It’s not as complicated as it sounds; it just is. I bring this up to play you the theme, which reminds me that the most memorable title sequences these days seem to be cartoons.

I mean, that’s the Warhol a horse actor would have over his bed. Framed pix of bygone mags; paparazzi; empty party; Don-Draper swoon; a Sunset Boulevard finish - and a sax that channels as much horsey honk as the instrument can provide. Fifty-three seconds:

It does everything possible to let you read it as the usual snarky meta-meta festival of emptiness with sparkly frosting, if you want. But I’ve watched seven episodes, and this thing has the potential to be very, very good. It has a heart. It likes its characters, and a show that likes its characters makes you pull for them in the end.

Okay, post and back to work! It’s almost midnight.

Well, a few more things.

Products you already know about if you have small children in the house in the last ten years: the premade cookies with vague images embedded into their very marrow. They've changed the packages slightly. Also: too soon.

It's not enough to sell them in a roll; people might put the whole thing in the oven and be dismayed at the results. Good thing they're pre-cut. Note that "shape" and "sugar cookies" are in small print; it's possible some people would think these are pumpkin-flavored. NO and NEITHER ARE THEY PUMPKIN SHAPED. They contain the shape of a pumpkin.

Obligatory 19th century house in the background; once a sign of prosperity and culture, it is now identified with abandonment, infested with restless spirits. Such as:

Much nicer than the old style, which was a bit brash and gaudy. The Doughboy is well-shaped now.

But please do not eat raw dough. It won't kill you, but don't. Please.

Something I saw on TV the other night - a commercial for a phone service, I believe. They want to appeal to the Youth of Today, and what better way to connect with this fickle demographic than by resurrecting the imagery of the late 1970s?

Pretty sure that's the Prime Idiot of the punk era, Sid Vicious. He wore a chain and padlock around his neck. He was authentic! He was HARD CORE! Yes, Sid was the genuine article, and people who live life to the fullest - by which I mean they are constantly staring at a glowing rectangle in their palms while life swirls around them - all have a little bit o' Sid in them, or wish they did.

He was an ignorant, talent-free drug addict who killed his girlfriend. Next. The ad also had this:

Rebel! Be one of a kind! Live life ot the fullest! Also DO NOT ATTEMPT.

Which should be under Sid's picture.

These ads may look like they're Rebellious, but they're sugar cookies with Rebel shapes.



Another week in another month; another town in another state. Let's sample the downtown glories of . . .

There's churches, and then there's CHURCHES. Like the Greek Temples of old, a supplicant had to climb a bit to get to the embassy of Olympus.

That fine building is an example of centuries of cultural accumulation, a process that resulted in forms all recognized and understood.

Then came the 70s.

The church raises the soul; this one razes it.

Well, let's see if we can find our basics - the bank, the ghost ad, the theater. Scratch that first one of the list:


White, gleaning, elegant, cultured. And then came the 70s.

What a piece of slit, you might say. Usually that style was reserved for college architects, who built bunkers like this on green classical campuses all over the country. Nice little people-mincing machines that spoke of a future of feeding tubes and unisex jumpsuits. Next:

It's just like Pompeii - they tunneled down, hit a wall, then dug alongside, eventually realizing there were paintings on the wall. Wonder why they stopped with the Princess cafe sign.

I thought this was a movie theater once, but it appears I'm mistaken:

Lest I give you the wrong impression, much of downtown looks like this:

Restored, well-maintained, with balconies on the second floor. It's a nice downtown, and you can tell they understand the amenities that make downtowns special:

A restored ghost! You'll also find Hoppereseque moments like this, which look marvelous in the morning sun:

And then . . . there's this. I'm glad they didn't restore it.


Here you go: have a stroll, if you'd like.

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