1. Had a work meeting today at 1 PM. Of course I dumped a piece of pizza on my tie and pants before. I knew it would happen, too. It's good pizza, even though it follows none of my rules. There's not a lot of sauce. The size indicates you might want to roll it up and eat it like the savages on the East Coast, but I use utinsils like a civilized man. The crust is not thick enough to adhere to the points of a plastic fork. It often falls off. It fell today. There's nothing you can do; no brushing, daubing, or blotting can remove pizza juice on a tie.
But the meeting was a success, and I'll relate the details soon. They matter.
2. CLEVER PERSON, You. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. I write about how I wish to be freed from the tyranny of having all these old shows to watch, how I'll probably never watch them anyway, and it's a good thing because A) the Crime Story DVDs are corrupted, and this provides me with a certain freedom - I don't have to watch them again! I don't have to do screen grabs and make a site of 1960s Googie Chicago! I'm free!
And what do you do? You send me a new copy of the show from Amazon. I opened the box in the newsroom and laughed out loud. Now I am obligated to watch them and make that site. Freedom was just an illusion. Thanks a lot, pal. Thanks a lot.
(Seriously: thanks a lot! Really.)
(Also, I'll be damned if I'm ever going to watch all the Star Wars and Star Trek movies on Blu-Ray. I WILL BE DAMNED IF EVER.)
This McDonald's is getting bad reviews. Imagine what it'll look like after the vandals have their fun:
It reminded me of this, perhaps because I'd just seen the movie.
Trash chic aside, the touchscreens and their mounting bracket would belong at the Korova milkbar.
Everyone has a few movies they love and don't and love again, right? As time passes I find myself coming down on the Positive Judgment more and more, wondering what made me so bilious when previous verdicts were cast with the same amount of certainty I feel now. It takes a lot to make me hate a movie, and its usually a sense of betrayal. That sounds odd, but that's it. A movie irritates because it failed me on purpose; it ruined something with measured intent.
It is an impossible movie to love; it's the wrong movie to love. It's ugly and repellent, and too many people draw the wrong lessons. Alex is not the hero. There really aren't any heroes in the book, with the exception of the prison Charlie, who serves as the author's mouthpiece. Everyone is venal and fallen; everyone is weak or cruel. The movie is garish and ugly and proud of it: the world is made of cheap plastic or piss-stained concrete.
Yet its occupants seem unaware, or unconcerned; this is their world, and for some it has its pleasure and compensations. Alex doesn't mind it; Alex thrives, and is rewarded. The old men singing alky rhapsodies in dim tunnels remember a better world, but it's unlikely they did anything but feed off its crumbs and root in its rubbish. The politicians are plum and posh; the nurses are cheerful; the agitators who want a better world for the people see the actual people as pawns; the prisons are run by comical martinets; the parents are prematurely aged and beaten into small lives by a state that files them away in tiny flats splashed with the tasteless pop art of an idiotic era.
You realize: no one in a dystopia probably thinks they're living in a dystopia.
Least of all Alex, who's the weak link in the movie. In fact he's the worst thing about it.
Let me explain, since that's almost heresy. Why, Malcolm McDowell is so good. And he is. Which is bad. In the novel, language insulates you from his actions; the NADSAT slang is a filter that makes the violence almost abstract, and Alex's cozening tone - O my brothers, your humble narrator - draws you to his story and makes you interested without giving yourself entirely over to sympathy and empathy. Alex is a monster, and the fact that he can enjoy the high arts of Beethoven is the author's way of rubbing our nose in our preconceptions about the elevating power of Art. The way Alex speaks makes him sound intelligent and gallant, and we are predisposed to attach a certain seriousness to someone who can deal the thees and thous; you don't bristle with contempt like you did with the giggling juvenile delinquents of the 60s urban-decay movies, the ones who terrorized shopkeepers to the sound of bongos and said daddy-o. Because McDowell is so good, people root for him, and once they root for him, they see him as a finer version of Dim and Georgie - not just a sharper, smarter one, but a more civilized example. He will raise a glass to the devotchka who sings Ludwig Van in the Milkbar while slamming his cane into Dim's lap to keep him from insulting her.
It's the Tony Soprano Syndrome: we flatter ourselves by thinking he would get along with us. We think our arm's-length fascination and appreciation of his uniqueness would be reciprocated, if only for the space of a drink.
This all was prompted by someone tweeting a picture from their Halloween party: people dressed up as Droogs. I thought: it's possible you missed the point. If Alex had been played by an ugly actor with a tenth of the charisma, no one would be dressing up like Droogs for Halloween.
Then again, everyone did; the Kubrick script follows the American version of the book, which ends with Alex "cured" and unrepentant. The last chapter was lopped off for the US audience. We never got to see Alex grow up and reform.
It's interesting how long I've been thinking about the book, and what effect it had on me. It was recommended by a high school friend who lived in Chicago, and of course I was knocked out and sent on a long, long journey through everything else Burgess wrote. I also bought the soundtrack, and memorized every note.
It would be years before I actually saw the movie. I'd like to say I was stunned by how it brought the book to life and added so much more I'd never imagined, but I don't recall my reaction. It's possible that the ugliness of the movie wasn't seen as being all that ugly, since it was, after all, the Seventies. But having just seen it again, and having studied Kubrick a lot in the interim, I find it a brilliant piece of work, but it didn't let us stand back enough from Alex. We were right in there with him kicking and chaining. The movie laid bare what the novel concealed, and perhaps confirmed that the novel's appeal was more about Alex than the author intended. It certainly wasn't Burgess' moral lesson that kept you reading.
As for the McDonald's, it's rot chic. It's for people who love the stink of decay, but only if it's properly packaged with sufficient pretension. A wink, a nod: aren't you flattered? You can see how we've brought the rude animal spirits, the real thing, into this manicured experience. It has the whiff of chaos, and isn't that fascinating? Aren't you tired of pretending that chaos isn't really exciting, now and then? Wouldn't it be just delicious to go slum at the milk bar where the toughs drink?
In the book, he drugs and rapes two ten-year old girls. Still want to return the toast?
By the way, there's one moment in the movie that makes me laugh, every time. When you've come to realize the young victim who staggered to your door was the hoodlum who put you in a wheelchair and drove your wife to suicide, it can be difficult to keep your emotions in check.
Only one kind of chain a good patriotic man would choose, and that's . . .
From their site:
The American Chain Company (ACCO), was established as the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company in 1904 and became the American Chain Company in 1912. Through the years, ACCO built a strong foundation in the overhead lifting and marine chain and fitting markets. The ACCO brand name and product still has a strong presence in those markets today.
A new chapter to the ACCO story was created when the Peerless Industrial Group purchased ACCO in July of 2006.
And you're thinking, Peerless is in China or something. No sir: Winona Minnesota.
Throughout the day the Dumpster moved a few more inches at a time, hoping no one would notice until it was way down the road:
There's something about that tableau that might make you think Perry never had much of a downtown. There wasn't a building next to the brick structure on the corner. It seemed as if it was built in the hopes more would follow, but all they got was a shed. So what else does downtown Perry have to offer? Let's see.
Hmm. Cue the lonesome train whistle.
"The good thing is, Bob, is that when you get a broken window you don't have to replace a whole big pane."
Even though these types of places are vanishing all over the country, we stil read it as a gas station. The awning, the service bay, and the pump island.
Don't think it's served up some Ethyl for quite a while.
Whatever it was, it ain't:
Seems they kept the original style, though - the big window over the lower floor to illuminate the store's interior. The grey rectangle may have been a sign, but there's a perpendicular sign hanging in front of it. Some old buzzard driving in from the farm would be able to tell you what it was, and would probably be unimpressed that anyone cared.
This is a bit more like it.
The Palmer and Smelser building. A recollection of someone who lived there as a child:
On the south side, eight large arched windows (now sealed) looked out on the old sand stone post office building and the lush green courthouse park. Those renting south side rooms or office suites kept their windows open all day during the summer months. Charlie Dunshee and his father had a two-room apartment in the southeast corner. Charlie worked in Gay Marcy's New & Used Furniture Store. Various bachelors, including Wilbur Weldon, Freeman Jones and Wayne McIntyre, shared another two-room apartment next to the Dunshees from time to time. All three worked as grocery clerks at different stores around the square, and all three caught the eyes of numerous young local maidens.
More here. It's quite detailed. The view from the Smelser today contains more parking lot than grass.
Stories abound about life behind those shutters, I'm sure.
The site referenced above mentions exciting new plans to spiff up downtown to its original glory. I don't know if this was part of that civic effort.
The article about the improvements is from 1995.
There's space to rent.
You wonder whether you'd be haunted by the name. You'd call the store something else, but find yourself saying "St. Clairs!" when you picked up the phone.
When the modern metal grills come down, you never know what you're going to get. I can't explain the positioning of the windows on the second floor . . .
. . . nor do I have a good explanation for the mod glassed-in protriusion on the side. NEVER MIND, THIS WAY FOR JAZZ
Masons, we have you covered:
For an organization that's supposedly home to many Secret Rites, they're pretty up-front about things.
Restored - or, perhaps, never ruined.
Let's zoom in on that name:
Nothing comes back on Fred Kretsoh, if I'm reading what remains correctly. On the other hand, this is easy:
But the Perry site I've been citing has little on the Globe building, except to note that it was once a Safeway. Shows you how small grocery stores were in the old days - and how newspapers have always come and gone.
If it was a newspaper, I guess - but what else could it be?
Could be anyone named Jones . . .
Althought there probably wasn't any doubt at the time which Jones it was. Perhaps the co-owner of a local cotton concern.
Not a theater, even though it looks like it might have been one once. It's always been the Kumback.
When Eddie Parker opened the business in 1925, he started a true Perry tradition, serving family food at reasonable prices. During the past 77 years, the Kumback has had only two owners—Eddie Parker and Tony Macias, who used to work for Eddie. Tony and his wife, Marilee, took over the operation in 1973, and the venerable institution now can rightfully claim to be the oldest Oklahoma restaurant still operating in the same location.
Eat! So that's Perry? Only part.
And there you have today's diversions. Hope they kept you interested. See you tomorrow. Two new restaurants, and yes I am doling them out more parsimoniously than usual. A limited supply this go-round.