Surely Wednesday is the day the chill comes. This weather is so kind it's actually cruel. One warm day you ascribe to a fluke front, a tendril of Gulf air that reached up here to dissipate like an old man going to Venice to die; two days are unusual, but you're still grateful. Three or four and you take it for granted, and when the cold comes in you sulk. Add the fresh dark of six PM, and it seems unreal. The blow must fall. But it doesn't.
Until it does. But until it does, this:
Daughter said "it looks like a dystopian society," and I got a quizzical look - until I knew what she meant. Perhaps my generation imagines 1984, with its ruined streets and blaring telescreens and omnipresent government control of the crudest kind, with deprivations and uniformity. Hers imagines shiny worlds until the thrall of technocrats whose main objective is putting Young Adults through various trials. In other words, everything looked too nice to be good.
But it is good. Minneapolis just topped a survey of Best Places to Live, and as usual the cranks came out in the comments section of my newspaper. They pointed out that there is crime in some spots, which is true, although they seem to believe that every neighborhood is plagued with so many running gun battles the joggers are slipping on all the expended cartridges. Others complain about the taxes, and rightly so, but if you choose to live here you choose to pay more, and there are compensations galore. The high-tax environment was created by the majority of the citizens and maintained by the same majority, given their disinclination to vote for people who would cut taxes. Could they cut taxes without true loss of quality of life? Absolutely. I'm just saying that the naysayers are tiresome cranks, and when it comes to their twin complaints A) no one is holding a gun to my head, and B) no one is holding a gun to my head.
What motivates many critics of the city is the same thing that motivates many critics of the suburbs: anger at other people who do not realize how much they should not be enjoying their lives.
Anyway. I had to buy a new iPad today, because the old one was destroyed by someone in the house who is not me and does not have four legs. Not something I wanted to do, which is why iPad sales are flat; once you have one, there's little reason to upgrade, because it does what it does very well. I wanted the cheapest one, and I wanted it in Space Grey. The Apple Store was busy - lots of people back at the Genius Bars being tutored in things like "removing 1,642 photos from your phone," perhaps. I could not just pick up an iPad and buy it, though. I had to wait for a personal sales assistant who would walk me through the options. Because there are many options. There used to be one (1) iPad, with variations in storage and connectivity, but now there is a Mini 2 and a Mini 4, with no sight of the Mini 3, and an Air, I think, an a Pro. Reminded me of the days when you had a raft of indistinguishable computers with made-up names that told you nothing.
Product line bloat is not a good thing. It says something that I had to wait ten minutes, and couldn't just pick one off the shelf, because they presumed I would need guidance.
Played with the Apple TV, which I love and will get some day, but not for any of the reasons they'd like. The interface is sweet. The remote is a dream. It has games, but I will never play them. The greeter called up a game I could play while I waited for my Personal Sales Assistant, and it was essentially Frogger with an 8-bit cow in isometric perspective. I succeeded in getting the cow across the road and over a stream by jumping on logs, but then faced another eight-lane highway. I cannot think of a situation where I would feel the need to manipulate a cow across an endless landscape dominated by vehicular traffic.
Nothing much to say about today; I have a large thing about Rooting for Bad Guys, but I'm saving it for tomorrow, it being a column day O my brothers. (And there's a hint about the subject matter.) Had a few spare moments, redid some sites. It's taking a week to move the 2015 motels to the relevant state subsites, for example. It must be done. I do ten a day. Boring rote work. I slap the 1966 Alden Department Store Spring Catalog on the scanner and do five pages a day. Boring, but you'll like the site. Over the weekend I dashed off a site while listening to some old radio, and there's a sentence I could write over and over every week and it would be true. In this case, it was the 1968 Frigidaire Brochure.
You may wonder why this merits any sort of memorialization on the web, but c'mon. Really? Of course it deserves it. An ephemeral bit of genial propaganda with stylish illustrations of pedestrian domestic devices. The color schemes, the clothing, the look of the appliances - it's our heritage, it's the pith of American culture, a concise look at our aspirations. I could teach a college course on this stuff, and I say that not to elevate my own mad interpretative skills but to comment on what passes for a college education these days.
Considered a brief screen that popped up to say "hey, donate! Or not" and then it would go away after five seconds. Perhaps I'll do it, but we all know how annoying those nagging screens are. Everyone is conditioned to say NO. No I will not sign up for your email newsletter. No I will not vote in your poll. No I will not let Washington know what I think. No I will not stand with A Politician Whose Jaw is Raised to Indicate Determination. No no no. Go away.
And I don't want you to go away! Please stay! There'll be ice cream!
Another found item that would be Pop Art if I had a showing and a dealer who convinced enough rich people with no taste that this was important critique of gender roles and consumerism:
Long-time readers know I'm fascinated by the word "Glorify," and how it went from "improve, wonderfully" to sarcastic term for something exalted way beyond its obvious merits. As in, a pretentious dessert is just a glorified cupcake.
Let’s audition a serial and see if it’s worth living with it for three months.
Here’s the theme, which is as old-west as giddyap-get-out:
Yee hah, etc
So we have something to look forward to, is that it? The US Army losing a battle, Tragically? Stick around, kids - Custer takes an shot right in the left temple! How will they get out of that cliffhanger?
Well, I don't know why they brought up Custer, except to signal the general era and situation to the audience.
As usual, we need a newspaper to take the place of lengthy exposition or set-ups; pitches us right into the action.
Ah, the more things change, etc. We meet a guy who looks like Custer, demanding action:
As it happens, it is Custer.
And then it’s off to the wagon trail, where we see a hardy pioneer explaining this week’s sex-role-playing games to his confused wife:
Turns out that guy’s a gun runner. About time we meet our hero, eh? Someone who'll stop these turncoats?
The fellow knows how to capitalize on the element of surprise:
Could this be the Black Ghost? He certainly has derring-do:
Back to town, where Custer and the Colonel are talking about that newspaper article written by that Tom Kirby, who’s played by Lon Chaney Jr. That’s right: it’s the Green Hornet set in the old west. but where’s the Gal who will be in peril 40 percent of the episodes?
That’s Dorothy Gulliver. A bit part actress whose career was on the decline; the year after this serial, her role would be credited simply as “Girl.”
Anyway. Crusading Frontier Editor Kirby suspects that the guns are coming via a wagon train due in town soon, and suggests that he and Custer and the Colonel ride out to meet it. They arrive as the indians are staging a poorly choreographed attack, which nevertheless results in a successful escape with the guns. But Tom soon enough comes up against . .
Injuns! They flee from the braves. Tom changes into his Black Ghost costume - I think - and races off to save The Girl.
Now. You’ve seen a lot of these, right? We’ve been through many. So many. They were all from the Forties.
This is 1932.
I’m not sure I have the strength for this one. We’ll see next week. .