Warm and bright; this is one of the better Octobers in memory. Number of Octobers I have in memory: about three. One was hot, one was foggy, and one was cold. For all I know they were the same one. A month is not a vintage you can put on a shelf and take down years later.

After-dark dog-walk, the air mild, the leaves rustling as the cars drive past, the roar from the high school stadium up the block. Driving to the church to pick up daughter, who was manning the vast pumpkin lot. Hundreds of pumpkins. Out all night. No one steals them. If they do, it would be hard to tell. And you have to be a low, low sort to steal a pumpkin from a church, knowing they’d give it to you if you asked.

Daughter now exulting in the Fall Break, which gives them five days to enjoy the last of autumn. We used to go to Disneyworld, and we would have gone this year except the place was booked up. I didn’t make my reservation last April. That’s okay. I would have loved to go to Epcot’s Ambulatory Gluttony Festival, but the days are beautiful and rare, and if I want I can whip up Poutine and stand in the living room and watch a documentary about Canada, just like the Canadian pavilion. Honestly, that’s what it is. A 360 degree panorama, but a documentary nevertheless. All hail the bouncing Mounties and sparkling lakes and sno-cap’t mountains and so on.

More novel to work on - the effortless breezy rewrite hit a thick patch where it all turned to tar, and I can tell I was making it up as fast as possible, and had come back to the book after an absence; long expository passages, as if I’m apologizing to the novel for being away, trying to make things right. Time to prune and slay. I hate that phrase “Kill your darlings,” by the way. It means if you like something, a lot, you’re better off removing it, because you’re blinded by your affection to the portion’s true worth. It’s like saying “your judgment in all areas of the novel is fine, except for the passages where you feel as though you’ve exceeded the standards previously set.” So kill your darlings!

What am I, Herod?

Here’s a picture. Here’s a picture ruined by a watermark! Because it belongs to the paper, as part of the great resource unseen by the public, the 1960 Survey Project. Don’t get me started on that subject. Anyway, here’s a picture of a block that no longer exists.

I love that image. It's a side street, too. The "Marquette Building" was the LaSalle Building, modernized in the 40s. But it's the First Federal I find amazing: such a clock.

I was using it today for a video that wil accompany my architecture piece in Saturday’s piece, a real Kensy-Burnsy extravaganza with pannin’ and scannin’ galore, because there’s only so much you can do with still photos. I will be shooting some moving pictures for the video, but I wanted all the bones of the piece in place. Usually I put down the pictures in the order in which I want to tell the story, then come up with the dialogue. The reason I mention this - aside from drumming up interest, scant though it may be - is to demonstrate the Wonders of Cropping.

Way down in the corner was a detail that seemed as if it belonged to a much bigger city.

Ah, the inhumanity of big cities, the monstrously scaled temples of Mammon looming over the individual. Actually, she’s just going around the corner to Woolworth’s for nylons or a bag of Brachs or perhaps a hamburger patty with cottage cheese and a slice of cling peaches. Clinged peaches? I don’t know, because I hate peaches. I associate them with the unfortunate desserts of childhood, mealy squishy things in a cloying sauce. Could one peach be a cling peaches if it had no mate to which to cling?

Anyway, let’s crop it differently, and make it Ominous and Symbolic in a different way.

I could do this all day. Heck, I did.

Well, no; other things today. A nice fellow came over to interview me for a documentary on Art Deco architecture. My qualification, as with most things, is “I scanned some pictures and put them on line.” I explained that a few years ago I was an expert on old food, then I was an expert on old motels. Next year I might an expert on Richie Rich.

The ongoing pumpkinification of everything continues, but first let me say something about Pumpkinification. Off the top of my head I'd say that's the name of a satire on the deification of Emperor Claudius, written by Seneca. How do I know this - or rather how do I think I know this? Well, I recently read a piece about the Death of Seneca, who had a rather Rasputin-like end with multiple attempts by his own hand, and the piece mentioned his satire on Claudius. If you'd asked me before reading the article, I'd have said it was by Juvenal. But the article did not use the word Pumpkinification, which I recall from reading the satire, published as an appendix to "I, Claudius" novels - which I read back in 1979. And remembered to this day.

Well, it's actually the Gourdification of Claudius. The Latin word is Apocolocyntosis, a play on Apotheosis, the regrettable tendency of the Senate to deify departed rulers, depending on which faction might need to be placated.

Anyway: the Apocolocyntosis of the Hostess Cakes:


Scary. Because? Because of the terrifying presence of orange, the devilish appending of S' before the Cream, and bats.

Same here, yet they are not scary. They Glo. This replaces "Sno," as in the Snoballs, a disgusting "cake" that feels like you're eating a tennis ball.



He rolls out of the way. Wouldn’t have hit him anyway.

Back at Stately Wayne, a little more cold shoulder for the youthful ward:

Nobody wants to face Dick when they're talking to him. He has horrible halitosis.

Last week, you may recall, they had a henchman down in the Batcave. Well, can’t kill him, drat the luck, so they drive to the police station to turn him in. This requires a trip through the strange, crepuscular night of Gotham City:

Meanwhlie, back the villainous Japanese Mastermind’s lair, he’s considering a new career as a disk jockey:

Good news! The Friends of the League of the New Order - really, that’s the name of the 5th columnists - are bringing in a new shipment of radium, so everything that’s been going on for the last few episodes doesn’t matter. Back at the Stately, sort-of girlfriend Linda finally stops pretending Bruce Wayne isn’t gay. (I edited out a snippet where she’s complaining about his friendship with Chuck White, the low-life from the previous episode, which was actually Bruce in makeup.)

And then his stashed rent-boy comes out of his hiding place.

Bruce gets a message from Washington that stolen radium is on the way, which of course the government can’t do anything about, entrusting it to a vigilante playboy. ruce decides it’s not a job for Batman, though: it’s a job for Chuck White. So that’s . . . Batman’s alter ego? I don’t know. This isn’t the Batman who shows up and growls at lower minions to get the information he wants. He’s just the Batman that shows up and gets the crap kicked out if him.

Chuck / Bruce end up in another drab room, like all the other drab rooms in all the other serials. It’s in the Serial Hotel on Serial Street.

He’s brought here so the villainous Japanese Mastermind can look at him through the eyes of a painting on the wall and decide he is nothing more than a “cheap gangster type.” Which counts as an atta-boy in his world, I guess. They take him along to get the radium, which will be dropped from the air, because nothing says “inconspicuous” than a parachute deployment in the middle of a field. Bruce finds a way to screw up his cover and get into a fight, but he escapes and signals Robin, who followed with Alfred.

But how will the criminal get the radium out of the plane without discovery? Elementary:

Wait for the stew to go, then go back to the bathroom, and . . .

Those were the days! You could smoke on a plane, bring a gun, and break out the window in the bathroom if you’d really stunk the place up. So Batman and Robin get on the scene and get the radium, but unfortunately Batman is a really, really bad driver.

This may be the first eel-induced cliffhanger I’ve ever seen.

Don’t fail to see A Nipponiese Trap of Batman! Coming to this spot next week.



Work blog around 12:30, maybe - big column & interview day tomorrow. Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then!


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