I am at the haircut place. Not the barbershop; that's a different kind of place. It has different smells, an older clientele - or so I imagine - and perhaps Police Gazette and Esquire to read. No, that's archaic. A cliche, gone by the time I showed up at the Graver Barber Shop and sat on the padded wooden board they put on the chair.

Barber shop. There's no shopping going on. Just barbering.

It's busy. I checked in online, which was fun because the app updated and lost all my login information. Because, you know, someone could steal my phone, get past the lock code, update the app, and use my login information to run a vast intercontinental fraud-scheme, perhaps. Since I use different passwords for everything, I can't remember what it is, and while I could try my password manager program the password for that thing is so long and complex I never type it correctly, and can't correct in mid-stream because it looks like this:


Because someone might be looking over my shoulder. Gah. It would be less secure if this was disabled, but you know what? The chance anyone would see i are nil, zip, goose-egg, the amount of peanut butter left in a jar after a dog spent an hour with it. THE RISK IS SOMETHING I ACCEPT.

Police Gazette, by the way, was a naughty magazine no decent woman would allow in her house. Esquire was not the metrosexual fashion mag, but an upscale publication with cheesecake drawings. When you went to the barbershop you entered the domain of men who could relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of not being scolded.

There are magazines in a rack on the wall, but they're all celebrity fashion and gossip. There might be some of those at the Graver today, but on the other hand, there are heads on the wall. And guns.

Getting a haircut because I have to do Orchestra Hall tomorrow. My 19th season, I think. Good Lord, that long? Nineteen years? There are people in the Symphony Orchestra who weren't born when I started.


The next day. Backstage.


In between disasters. Well, I wouldn't say disasters, but there were a few moments that kept the show from running as smoothly as usual. We lost an orchestra, for one. Or so it seemed. They were late getting to the stage, or didn't know that NOW was the time to move, and so the stage was empty while some minor setting-up was done, and empty for an eternity. When you have a house that's sitting there in silence waiting for something to happen, it's like biting down on a molar with an exposed nerve: agonizing. It's dead air made manifest. So I went to the mike and made some announcements I was supposed to do later. No big deal.

The other fun part: the stage manager asked me if I wanted to announce the intermission, and of course I did! Always helps to have someone say "break time, see you in a bit" rather than just bring up the house lights. When the guest conductor came back and took her bows and then came back again, I went out an announced intermission. The lights came up - mind you, this is Orchestra Hall, and when the lights come up it's not like snapping on the bulb in the bathroom, it's a great glow that fills the room - and then I saw waving and heard NO THERE'S ONE MORE and I turned around to the door to backstage, where the conductor was leaning out and saying there was, in fact, another piece.

Well, this calls for some self-deprecating humor! The lights went down and the conductor came out, and finished the segment. No big deal. Wasn't my fault, and wasn't really anyone's fault; it just happened. I would have been mortified when I started doing this, but after almost two decades: eh, turned out fine, and they laughed.




Here is modern journalism. Gizmodo:

If you smoke a lot of weed, it’s time you buy an Amazon Echo. This week, Amazon rolled out three major updates to its artificially intelligent speaker, which make it a fantastic tool for stoners: You can now order a Domino’s pizza, stream music from Spotify, and hail an Uber all by yelling commands at your Amazon Echo.

The updates complete the trifecta of killer features that every pot-smoker who owns an Echo has been waiting for: pizza, for sustenance; good music, for those chill ass vibes you’re always looking for; and taxi service, for all those moments when you run out of weed and have to go get more quick.

Because you're too stupid to plan ahead. He concludes:

Here’s the point: Alexa is about to be everywhere, which means more and more consumer services will be tied right into it. Which is why potheads should be tuned into the Amazon Echo right now. All of the new features being brought to Amazon Echo are built around voice-activated, seamless purchasing capabilities. The less that stands between stoners and big-ass slice of pizza, the better.

Know they audience, I guess. What stuck out about the piece was the technological achievement contrasted with the red-eyed layabouts who use these miraculous devices to facilitate hazy indolence. And, of course, the proud allegiance with the Tribe of the Bleary Dullards, which was summed up with great amusement by this piece. The author bought some THC-infused sex lube. She drank it. She was incapacitated for three days, which meant she couldn't go to her job as . . . a babysitter.





Again, not a review - just a look at how the look and styles changed over the course of a long, successful franchise. Or Series, as they might have said.

Worst titles in the batch:

And the worst movie in the batch.

It's 1947; the series has weathered the Depression and the War. It begins on a floating casino. Oh, and look who's singing. My favorite non-Veronica Lake blonde femme fatale.

Veronica was cute, but Gloria could slay 'em.

Time until first drink: 3:32. Myrna just gets better and better:

She was 42. Powell's a bit older, but then again, Powell was a bit older. (He's 55 at this point.) He still inhabits the role with effortless ease.

Name the clarinet player:

Yes, it's set in the exciting world of swing and jazz! Because the War's over and people can be gay again. In the classic sense of the word.

Where have I seen her before?

Of course. Jayne Meadows. She died last year.

Asta is still with us, even though he'd be too old to be as spry as he seems. He's Asta Jr., supposedly the son of the original Asta, whose real name was Skippy.

We finally meet Nick Junior:

As far as I know, he's the only member of the Thin Man movies who did both Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. And I mean "Enterprise" and the reboot.

The movie isn't very good, alas. So let's just look at the interiors. The typical post-war apartment of the 1%: modern, but there's that 40s overstuffed feel in some of the pieces.



Stripes mak everything seem more interesting, don't they? So you think after you replace the blank walls with stripes, and then seven years later you're so tired of stripes you could weep.

If you wanted to suggest old wealth, the go-to prop was an enormous ornate fireplace, every time.


My favorite shot really belongs in a better, more cynical movie:



Finally, this peculiar bit of musical slang. What, Keenan? What?

Finally, one more actress we might have forgotten.


Marie Windsor. She stood out when she appeared on screen, and just because there was three inches between her eyes and eyebrows. IMDB:

Often cast as an adulterous wife, slutty girlfriend, female gang leader or gun moll, she proved so convincing in those roles that she often received Bibles in the mail with passages underlined that covered the "sins" she had committed onscreen, warning her that she would go to hell if she didn't reform.

She went to Brigham Young and was a lifelong Republican.

That'll do; here we go. See you around.



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