It got cold. It got mean. These swingin' Spring Gals are mocking us.

Low grey clouds and mincing winds; spittly rain and temps in the 40s. May went Merlin on us. Driving daughter back from work I said "I love October" and she sighed. But summer is nigh! Summer is a comet, child, a fleeting remark in the ether; winter is the ground on which we stand.

OKAY FINE she said.

I said I was wrong, and she was right; it will come and it will be wonderful. Thinking: wife will want to cover the plants, because they're predicting frost. Well in the outlying suburbs. Here in the city we husband our heat; the sheer mass of people and things makes it warmer, the old "heat island" effect that supposedly nudges tornadoes away from the core and guides them over to the trailer parks.

As I am writing this now there's howling in the eaves, the sort of sound that makes you think it's but a fortnight until the stores are full of cornucopias and orange leaves.


At least there's lots of sun. The dog gets up with the sun, and the sun gets up early. He believes that light means food, and thus encouraged by a distant thermonuclear reaction to stir and stretch, he goes upstairs to stand outside the door and whine: it's time. If you would. I know you can. By your leave, my liege, but HELLO I'M SCRATCHING THE WOODWORK NOW

So I went to Amazon to get an automatic pet feeder. Found one that had a voice-message option, so you could set it for, oh, 5:50 and record yourself saying SCOUT FOOD SCOUT FOOD FOOD FOOD. It arrived quickly and I took it out of the box with joy, thinking: here is an object that represents additional weekend slumber. O miracles of science.

It took C batteries. Who has C batteries? Gah. Went to the Mega Lo-Mart (you get a lot of batteries for eight dollars) and stocked up. Powered it up and read the instructions.

To set the timer, press SET for two seconds until the numbers flash, then advance MODE with two clicks to set the FEEDING time to the desired hour with the SET button. DISPLAY WILL BLINK TWICE. Advance the SECOND NUMBER to the desired TRAY for the feeding, then SELECT the hour with the MODE button to jimaratz the FRING. If FRING beeps twice, HORZINATE the bragu.

TROUBLESHOOTING: Bragu does not Horzinate. Solution: wipe with a damp cloth. DO NOT IMMERSE.

I have programmed many small irritating electronical devices, but this was the worse. The LCD display was either cheap, busted, or cheap and busted, because it showed all the positions: 888888. Even when you selected a MODE and tried to ADVANCE something you saw all the other numbers ghosted behind the one you were setting. It was impossible to figure out what you were doing, and the UI for setting time and feeding was so utterly fubared in the first place I got a headache. Periodically the LO BATT light would flash and the other ghostly numbers would disappear, and I had a brief window in which I could hastily stab the buttons to set the fargin' FEEDING WINDOW - but that only lasted a few seconds. And you could only set the feeding time to the top of the hour. If the dog gets up at 5:50, you can't set it for 5:45, only 5 AM. Or 6.

I wrote a scathing review on Amazon because I am turning into the sort of person who writes scathing reviews on Amazon, then printed off the return labels. Took out the batteries. Put them in the battery drawer. (It had 6 C cells.) Put it all back together in the box, which I'd saved, and taped it shut and groused about the effort of returning it.

In the future people will complain about having to walk the thing that came out of the matter replicator all the way to the molecular disassembler.


Patreon update:


I have to say that here because it doesn't seem as if I can email everyone - I started to do so, but realized all the emails went to the same address. There are individual messages I can send to your Patreon account, but believe me, the last thing I want anyone to do is worry about another fargin' mailbox somewhere with NOTIFICATIONS. No. I will use this feature at some point next month to give you a Secret URL to a reward site, which will be different than anything else here on the site.

If you missed it last week: please consider becoming a patron of the Bleat, so that I may feel better about shoveling massive amounts of content out into the great yawning void of the Internet. It redoubles my desire to keep the site bursting with . . . things, I guess. I spent three hours on Saturday just getting the below-the-fold basics lined up for the next three weeks, and I hope you like them. A buck a month? Two? Five? Three hundred thousand?

(That last one was at attempt to use psychology on people who would say "No way I'm pledging three hundred grand. Two hundred grand, maybe.")


Let's see what's in the folder for Odds and Ends material . . . oh. This. What was I thinking. Well, it's laid out, so let's hope it gets better. But hey! Accurate typeface for the logo, so there's that.



From 1949, a feature in Look, the magazine that was Pepsi to Life's Coke. They said nice things about people who had hard-working, succesful, persistent publicists. Today:


Wikipedia has more.

By the age of twenty she was singing on Hollywood film soundtracks and it was there that she was spotted by Laurence Olivier. He picked Merriman to accompany him and his wife, actress Vivien Leigh, on a tour of Romeo and Juliet, where she performed songs during the set changes.

If you're so inclinded, you can hear her here; I'm not a fan of opera, so I'm no judge.






Get ready for some no-holds-barred two-fisted journalism!



It's a real crowd-pleaser, snappy and "adult" in the zippy sense of the era. Our hero:



Looks like a burn victim. A lesser Cagney, but there could only be one. Our heroine:



She had a classic Hollywood story:

Following her sophomore year in 1929, she went on summer vacation with her mother and older sister to visit family in the Los Angeles, California area. She began working as a movie extra as a lark. Her big break came when, still an extra, she was offered the lead opposite Maurice Chevalier in Playboy of Paris.

She married Joel McCrea and they stayed married. Anyway: ths movie starts out in a boudoir, where a model is eating crackers in bed. As the photographer says, when they see this, eating crackers is all they'll do in bed.



Then we go to a beauty pageant, because: skin! Your announcer:



Never found him funny in movies. Droll, but never funny. Have to admire him for finding that niche and doing what everyone expected, though.

Anyway, more of her, and for good reason:



It's completely gratuitous, and I love it. This is 1933: form-fighting suits that ride up. This is before the Hays act, and it has to be one of these thing that made some men in the audience think what a time to be alive. Hub-fargin'-hubba.



So who was she? June Brewster.

A minor supporting actress of the 1930's, whose only claim to fame (or notoriety) was being married to Guy McAfee. McAfee was a former L.A. vice squad captain, turned proprietor of an illicit gambling den, the Clover Club on Sunset Strip, which was equipped with gaming tables that could be flipped over and hidden during raids. This did not, ultimately, stop a successful raid by the police.

McAfee, with wife June in tow, duly left for Las Vegas, where he acquired the Pair-O-Dice Nightclub and Casino on Highway 91. He purchased several other lucrative properties during the 1940's: the Frontier Club, the Mandalay Lounge, the Pioneer Club, the SS Rex (which became Benny Binion's Horseshoe), and, most famously the Golden Nugget in 1946. At the time of his death fourteen years later, McAfee was considered one of the most successful operators in the history of America's gambling capital.

Take a look at this mug:

She outlived him by 35 years. There has to be more to that story. If you're curious, she ended up . . . as the basis for a character in a video game.

ANYWAY, we move right away to an earthquake, where our shooter gets footage as things are falling down. From Sex to Comedy to Sex to Destruction! In the middle of the carnage he meets . . .

A hard-boiled gal reporter who's not above conniving our hero to get her story. Of course they'll end up together, but first they have to shoot in a hospital that's falling apart. Check out the pace of this - eight cuts in 11 seconds.

We also meet a drunk reporter who has a wall fall on him during another disaster - a brewery explodes - but that's before our hero runs off to a flood in Louisiana. (We have also seen footage of race cars crashing, spectacularly.) In short, it's a formulaic, sensationalist, sentimental 30s flick - which is to say it's great.

This is how a real man reacts when his best gal throws him over for a soft-hand banker's boy who's taking her back home to the south to raise babies:



Of course it doesn't work out that way; he rescues the gal in the end, and the ace reporter stands by the brownstone giving an interview about her capture.




Like I said, snappy. Of course they didn't make a sequel. They didn't do that. They just made it again with different actors.




Go on, click it! After you've enjoyed this week's three-matchbook update. It used to be one, but then I realized I'd never post them all in my lifetime.



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