Finally, a straight plain hot day. Friday is supposed to be just as warm, so of course we’re going to lose air conditioning. Just got a note from the power company, which is shutting off power on the block to remove a tree the size of the Eiffel Tower that fell over in a neighbor’s backyard. As I mentioned the other day, it just fell over. Something made it lose structural integrity, as we all like to say because we learned in on Star Trek at some point, and a seed planted seven decades ago results in all the clocks in the house blinking 12. That’s nothing you could predict. Whoever tended the shoot in its early tender years didn’t think “if I rip this up now, people in the future will not have to set their clocks.” That thought never occurs to anyone, nor should it. You’d go mad.
The trick is getting all the clocks to sync. There are three in the kitchen - microwave, radio, and stove. You set them all so they’re blinking, then call up a radio station, and at the top of the hour hit CLOCK on all three in quick succession. Otherwise you’re in that nightmare situation where one clock says 5:00 and the other says 4:59. THAT IS THE WORST. Actually, no, it’s not; when the news comes on and the radio says 5:01, that gets me itchier. The car’s radio is always drifting, time-wise, which makes no sense - it’s all digital, right? It’s all ruled by the relentless whip of the chip, right? It shouldn’t be allowed to drift, but it does. Once a month I have to set to the fifth beep of the BBC World Sarvass, as the Oirish lass says. While driving! It’s so annoying.
After dinner daughter needed to get a birthday present for a friend, so we went to Target. I don’t go to Target as much any more. I have to keep my powder dry on this one, for reasons that will come out soon enough. (Oh: report on the Computer Store Faux Pas on Monday; didn’t forget.) She didn’t know what she wanted to get her friend, and so we went to the Dollar Store. I needed to get something there as well: a shoe-shine sponge. The cheap things you buff on your shoes, and voila: shine. Probably nothing but wax and dioxin, but the Kiwi brand sponges are six bucks, and the ones at the Dollar Store are, well, a dollar. And you get two. We had fun looking at the wares, which look like a cargo container from the worst factory in China threw up all over everywhere. In the juice aisle the floor had a remarkable adhesive power; for a moment I thought I would be here all night until the cleaning crew came and used a high-pressure hose to dissolve the bond.
On the way home, for some reason, I was talking about the Singing Detective. Which lead to “Pennies from Heaven,” which lead to a discussion of Steve Martin. She had no idea who he was. Hard to describe, when you think about it. Smart guy who did a routine that satirized a particular kind of smarmy person, but had an audience who wasn’t as smart, and bought the person without really understanding what it was mocking - partly because the mockery was rather indistinct and unfocused. He would come on stage and say That Phrase and people would scream, because he was That Guy Saying That Phrase and they were there! I mean, they went crazy when he mentioned his King Tut song, even though the song itself was not funny. Really. At all. Very little of what he did on stage holds up. You really had to be there. I think he’s funny, but not the classic routines.
Oh: now I remember why the Singing Detective came up. Daughter had said “amirite” with sarcasm, following it with “am I right or am I right?” and that made me think of the Singing Detective, and how I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I believe I will redress that tonight.
I’ll give “Pennies” credit for this; it’s almost the exact opposite thing anyone wanted to see in a “Steve Martin Movie.” The song itself is the knees of bees, especially at 2:47, but the sequence feels like an outtake from a aborted Woody Allen musical. On the other hand, Bernadette.
The British TV version is better by a factor of 957X, because they didn’t yank you out of Real Life to pitch you into a movie fantasy. And the ending is just brutal.
Construction update: the Downtown East site doesn't have much going on this week. Mostly interior work. The exterior of the towers isn't finished, but soon. So let's go on the Mall:
That used to be a parking ramp, with some dead retail space on the ground floor. Now it'll an Xcel Energy office tower. But not particularly towering. a modest building, but that's okay; the Mall is scaled for pedestrians. And around the corner there's this:
As I've said before, I like it. Not necessarily on its merits, but because it's not another glass building with some clever stone accents. The recessed windows are a throwback, but again, something different - and it'll give the facade some shadows as the day wears on. Convert the picture to greyscale, though, and it looks like oppressive late 60s government offices.
And a pupdate. Those long legs make a comfy position difficult sometimes.
I know you're thinking "but I wanted more colorful refrigerators from the 60s!"
Next week. Yes, there are more.
It's a sad day on Friday. I will come to the end of the Couple Next Door's run. Seven hundred and 30 episodes. I plan to call Peg after I finish and ask her what happened next. For now, we soldier on with the innumerable snippets of mid-century music cues, both deluxe and galore. Or galoric.
CND Cue #561 A study on the happy uses of inconsequential dissonance.
CND Cue #562 She's not mad! Sure. (Previously unheard cue.)
CND Cue #563 The March of Resolve, undercut by the Chord of Domestic Ease.
Now, some Bob & Ray, the brilliant and marvelous low-key radio comedy artists. They spoofed other radio shows now and then, and one of their long-running satires made fun of an interminable soap called . . . well, just give it a listen. The beauty of Bob & Ray's best bits is the intentional, relentless banality punctuated with absurdities, played razor-straight.
This is short, so you're not committing to - gasp - seven or eight minutes of anything.
One Man's Family. Short example of the saccharine music.
One Fella's Family.
"Sustaining" meant no sponsor, by the way.
Now, a word from our sponsor. Be Sociable, Kay says! I can't stand this woman. It's the voice, and it's also how she's miked, and how the tape has degraded a bit. But mostly how it sounds like someone you absolutely can't persuade to change her mind about anything, no matter how much contrary evidence you have, because she knows what she knows and that's that.
Okay, Kay. I like her singing voice, though.
They seem to be getting along okay for people who are grappling with infidelity.
That was his biggest hit - in 1948, years before this one. Griffin died in 1956, but he left so many tapes they could keep releasing albums for a few years.