Sitting outside without a coat, which is something of a feat for the third week of October. Not a “feat” in the sense of a personal accomplishment; no one person is responsible for the weather, or he would have been stoned long ago by a mob.

You know, I’m not personally worried about ebola. Most people aren’t. Concerned, yes, but what does that mean? Enough to alter any future plans? No. But I read tonight that one of the people quarantined for contact with the nurse who got on the plane was a bridal-shop worker in Cleveland OH, and you have to think: there’s someone who went to work thinking about the usual dozen thoughts, and none of them - not even in the second- and third-tier running thoughts that skitter through your head every day - concerned the likelihood of fitting a dress for someone with Ebola.

It would be unwise to make that your modus operandi. It would be unwise not to consider the possibility. That’s all. Then again, I operate in all public spaces as if I’m in the washroom in Grand Central Station in 1983. Use feet and elbows for everything. The other day I touched my cheek after pushing an elevator button and thought “crap, I’m dead.”

Daughter is at an amusement park tonight. Valleyfair turns into ValleySCARE, with all the hardy-har gore and mock thrills and spumes of grue. I go back and forth on Halloween. A warm year like this it seems harmless and amusing. A cold year with sleeting rain that strips the trees early and feels dank and vacant is possibly more accurate, although no one ever talks about the True Meaning of Halloween like they do for Christmas. It’s all predicated in juvenile delights from dim toddler years, the candy and the happy pumpkins. A local TV station had a piece on a yard that went All Out for the season, with bisected corpses gushing guts and demonic faces leering from the bushes; neighbors say it’s too much. Neighbors say it’ll scare the little kids.

Neighbors have a point. What, exactly, is the appeal of the manifestations of physical misery and damnation? It’s one thing to play with spooks in sheets, creaky creepy houses (always Victorian, of course, always a leaning wreck with spires and hanging shingles and portraits of unhappy men in high-collar shirts staring through the cataract of cloudy glass) but it’s another to exult in the ugliness, the sadism, the gleeful rending of the flesh. We had a Zombie pub crawl in town, world’s largest. People staggering around with their skin hanging off. There was blood on the ground by a parking ramp I passed today, left over from the event.

Harmless fun, I suppose. Darkness is edgy! But nothing edgy is edgy anymore; edgy is mainstream, and none of it means anything except rejection of whoever thinks it’s a little too edgy, and those people general don’t care and keep it to themselves. Poor moderns; it’s hard to shock the bourgeoise if they’re busy doing something else, like raking the lawn or organizing the spice cabinet.

Of course, the other side of the culture is this:


Children who can vote who write things like “Squee” and “this latte hack changes everything.”

Where does that leave me? An endless parade of news and current events sites, old Gunsmokes, annotating wartime ads, trying to figure out the subtext of Richie Rich, and finishing a novel. One of the plot point hangs on a movie version made of the events of “Casablanca Tango.” If it existed TCM would run it once a year, maybe twice, depending on who starred in it. (Van Heflin, in the fictional world of the book, described as “a fellow who always looked like he was trying to remember where he left his first name.”) One of the characters is a fifty-year-old computer dork with a mohawk. Because it was edgy!

I remember reading about the punks and mohawks in high school in Cream magazine. That was 1976. It was amusing when they came to the States. What took so long? Did the fashion have to swim the ocean against a particularly stiff current?

Anyway. Babbling. Back to work.


The Friday standard pix: the Downtown East building is done! That was quick.

Well, no. It's just a nice typical shot of downtown in the Fall on a gorgeous day. The reason there's a park? Market crash. They planned on two towers, but then everything went south, and the building stands staring at the space where its twin would have been.

Pupdate: the dignity of the beast.


I dreamed the other day he turned into a small yippy nippy thing that never left me alone. What a relief to wake to a good hound.


And of course our survey of the ongoing pumpkinification of everything. I suspect there will be a lot of this in the 50% off bin November First:

Flavor coated? I can imagine asking a harried clerk what that means.

Excuse me, what are the pretzels covered with?

Uh, flavor.

That's an aspect. An attribute. It's not a substance, unless you're talking about "flavoring," and that's a liquid or a spce. There's obviously something white around these things. Is it yogurt, or what they would call yogurt when they obviously are trying hard not to say "candy"?

(blank stare)

They're Pumpkin Shaped?




Much more Gunsmoke to come, but it wouldn't be Friday with some spry and merry clips from the CND.

CND Cue #483 "I know you think it sounds domestic, but this is a couple that gets along. Add a harp."

CND Cue #484 It's worried, then it's so happy and heading for the conclusion, then it remembers it left the scissors someplace; now WHERE was that

CND Cue #485 This seems something you'd use to describe the busy day of an aunt you didn't know particularly well.

Come with us now to the thrilling days of yore, when Gunsmoke used a large orchestra to give the show the power to beat back TV. The sound quality is all over the road, and most of these were taken from episodes that otherwise had perfect sound.

Gunsmoke Cue #07 Bold restating of the main theme - but it quickly loses its nerve.

Gunsmoke Cue #08 Almost a you-take-the-high-road-I’ll-take-the-low-road tune, ending in the Triumph of the Main Theme.

Gunsmoke Cue #09 Main theme restated with mid-60s Bond string accents.

Gunsmoke Cue #10 "Umm . . .Mr. Composer? You do know this is a Western, right?"

Gunsmoke Cue #11 "I said Western, not a sci-fi movie!"

Gunsmoke Cue #12 That's better.


Do some sleuthing:

CBS Fall Season jingle.

Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then!


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