Okay okay I loaded all the music back on the computer, BUT I am going to go through it and take out the stuff I don’t want. And put back a few tunes. “Crazy Little Mama” is going back, just like it was before. In the early Oughts before we had phones that connected to a hole in the dash - something that’s already archaic, given that new cars chatter with phones via Bluetooth and respond to voice commands - I burned CDs to provide a soundtrack while I drove the child hither and yon, so lots of Veggie Tales and the like. Cebuuuuuuu. I also made some copies of the “Cruisin’” series, which played on post-American Graffiti nostalgia to recreate radio days of yore. Each featured an actual DJ with actual airchecks. I got attached to some of them, and enjoyed the brief patter more than the songs themselves. (Joe Niagara, for example: what a talent.) The 1955 version featured Jumpin’ George Oxford, who played “race” records for a SF station. Tons of echo, theatrical delivery, the very model of the mid-decade radio man. (Right down to the payola scandal.)

Anyway: I love this song, and it’s not a genre I’m particularly interested in. It has all the basics, but for some reason it clicks. Toodly-whomp:

So a guy was driving down the street on a Saturday night in a big piece of Detroit iron, streetlights rolling off the chrome; he’s heading to the place with the burgers and the shakes and the carhops, where everyone’s radio in everyone’s car is set to the same song. It’s a good time to be alive and it’s a good time to be 20.

That guy’s 80 now.

I also reloaded all the fonts. Oooh tell me more you say, leaning forward to hear another fascinating tale. Well, that’s just it, I reloaded the fonts. But I have to put them into categories so they’re easier to find, and that means deciding whether its Caps or Headlines or Serif or 30s or a combination of the genres. Did this with 548 fonts. Winnowed out some, but kept everything by Nick, the most astonishingly prolific fontographer of our times. You may recall I wrote about him a while back - he had hit hard times, quit the business, and Disney used a bunch of his fonts for their Oz movie. I emailed Ruben Bolling to see if BoingBoing might point out his plight; he was enthusiastic about it, but couldn’t convince the mods or whomever to put up a post. This still mystifies me. Nick’s work is everywhere. For heaven’s sake the side of the wine store in my neighborhood uses one of his fonts.

I did not reload the JRL ARCHIVES folder, because I discovered the backup has something horrifying: about half the stuff is in Pages, because I learned absolutely nothing when MacWrite was discontinued. The only reason I have work from 1990 is because I was able to emulate an old Mac OS on an old laptop and run MacWrite and export the files to text. So now I am in the process of converting everything to pdfs and txt files, which will be printed out, bound, placed in my archive box under the stairs, which will be donated to the U of M upon my demise, whereupon it will be stored in a vast underground chamber next to the Arc of the Covenant.

Speaking of which: If blogs are dying I suppose I shall go with them, he said, using “shall” to put you in mind of someone tossing a scarf over his shoulder and facing the bracing wind. There’s been a few stories here and there about the expiration of the form, occasioned perhaps by Andrew Sullivan stepping away, and noting how everything is going Social and Sharable. I’ve thought of adding social buttons to the bottom of the post again, but it would make more sense to add them to individual pages so people could share links to whatever caught their fancy. There are thousands of pages.

So no.

Am I worried about time and trends passing me by? Not at all. This has always been just what it is since the very first entry, and while it’s expanded in length and subject, I am not going to convert it to a series of sharable snacks for Facebook feeds. Perhaps that’s unwise. But I hate Facebook and have no desire to spend any time there, so tailoring the Bleat or lileks.com for Zuckerberg’s dull blue borg cube would be like spending a lot of time and money getting fitted for clothes I don’t like so I can blend in amongst people I don’t know in a country I don’t like.

What I like, I do; I like Twitter, and I like Tumblr. The former was the subject of an interesting piece that noted the author’s experience at converting tweets to page views. I must be unusual in the number of stories in my tweet feed that get a click and a read; this poor fellow had 1 percent conversion.

I suppose I could tweet more links to things on the site, but the tweet-stream flows past so swiftly. Even if you do snag a few new customers, they might be apalled to see how the site does not update nine times a day. Sorry. The daily site exists as a Thing that comes out in the Morning, and can be consumed Today. The bulk of the site exists to entertain someone tomorrow.

(I wonder sometimes how many of you have actually explored the depths of this site, which are Stygian in their reach.)

Anyway: it worries me a little that “blogs are dying,” because if so we lose the idea of a place where people speak their piece, as oppose to speak in pieces.

While most blogs weren’t deathless examples of great writing, there was the opportunity for individualism, and you don’t get that from a Pinterest page. You don’t get it from a feed of things snipped and reblogged and pinned and shoveled into The Feed. The web turns into bushels of confetti shoveled into a jet engine, and while something does emerge out the other end, it’s usually made impressive by its velocity and volume, not the shape it makes.

Then there's the desperation of most commercial sites. I just went to a webpage to investigate a technical question, and my browser said the site would like to send me notifications. Of course not, dear fellow, you think, imagining yourself patting the website - young, fresh-faced, eager - on the shoulder. The very last thing I want is to get a small box sliding in at the top of the screen to tell me you have updated something or posted a new article. If I said that for all the sites it would be nothing but notifications. They would be on my phone, and even though I had disabled them from popping up on the lock screen and making my phone vibrate to indicate that you had - against all odds! Defying the entropy that seeps through the very marrow of the cosmos! - posted another article, they would be in the interminable list of notifications that gather like the calling cards of swains on the silver plate of an eligible lady. So SCREW YOU for making me dismiss the box.

Have you noticed that there’s never a box that pops up on this page and asks if you would like to sign up for a daily email? And you have to click NO before you can see what you came for? And that this triggers a page that appears under the browser and offers to sell you gold? Have you noticed no panel slides in from the right to indicate the next story? Or that the videos I post about the movies or the serials or anything else do not start with a car ad you have to stare at for five seconds before you click and continue? I could probably monetize lots of this, but I hate that stuff. I just want this to be a clean, distraction-free experience, and if there’s an annoyance it’s because of something I said. There's a Contribution widget if you're so inclined, and ads to click on if you wish to assist.

In the supermarket there were two boxes of Lucky Charms, the new and a “Throwback” for the vintage set. It’s two different ideas of web design experience as well.

That's a fine way of describing busy sites full of sparkle and distraction. Five New Clover Hats.


Rest, after a long day of doing dog things. Ever-amusing dog things.

Friday Downtown East progress; this is the other, slower building. The one that's a month or two behind its twin.

Bad workers have to walk the plank.



As usual for Friday, the Music Cues. This year we'll be showcasing more peculiarities from old-time radio - dialogue, themes, and so on. But of course we begin with the Couple Next Door.

CND Cue #520 Never heard this one before; if they used it, it was a long time ago. Rather nonsensical cue.

CND Cue #521 It's hot-potato time in the wind section.

It's National Brotherhood Week! Here's Peg Lynch doing a rare PSA.


Moving along with the innumerable Gunsmoke cues:

Gunsmoke #61 Approaching strangers meant tremulous accordian music.

Gunsmoke #62 Err, Doc . . . that oath you took? Remember?

More Johnny Dollar, from the later years. I shouldn't use this art, since Bob Bailey had quit the show by this time and was a few months away from swan-diving off the cliff into obscurity. Bob Riddick took over; hardly anything's on the web about him. Then came the last and 2nd best Dollar, Mandel Cramer. Played him older, less romantic

YTJD #4 Another example of the "passing time" genre.

YTJD #5 LATER. If I had to bet, I'd say the composer was Leonard Rosenman, because of those last three notes.

YTJD #6 Never mind. Suddenly the cues are getting into jazzy noir. It fits.

To round out the radio offerings, the weekly ad. A smoke they don't make anymore. In "Mad Men," it was one of the accounts they were trying to land.

Welcome aboard.

The comic sensation of the decade!

"Just a Little Lefse." Supposedly it gives you indigestion. I cannot possibly see how; I've eaten it all my life, and it's the blandest stuff you can imagine. As for Boreson - what a name - and Setterberg, they were a comedy team who did Scandahoovian humor records; "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" was their most abiding hit.


That concludes this week of distraction - odd how a computer problem mixes up everything. You just want to get everything the same again, except slightly better. But that's what I wanted out of the week, more or less - and in the end, that's what it was. Have a grand weekend!



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