We had a bat in the house the other night. It was an unwise move on the bat's part, and I'm sure he thought so right away. I did not want to engage in some comic set-piece where I destroyed lamps and vases swatting wildly with a tennis racket. Besides, you have to make grunting sounds when you swing a racket, according to TV. I did not want to kill the bat; they're useful creatures who eat mosquitos, but you worry they'll get in your hair. Supposedly that's high on the Bat Agenda.
It flew back and forth with astonishing speed, a jot of dark mercury sluicing from room to room. Scout just looked stunned: the minute he saw it, it was gone. Then it was back! And then it was gone.
I had a bright idea: open the door.
The bat flew right out. The entire episode lasted a minute, if that, including the time I went outside to think Oh God, it's 12:20 AM and I have to deal with a bat. (I went outside because I did not want to be inside. With a bat.) I'm looking into the darkness, thinking: hey thanks I could've gotten a column out of that.
Next I put on my headphones to listen to TV without bothering the rest of the family, since they were asleep. First I had to remove the cans. I know what you're thinking - oh, stop with the radio colloquialisms, already. So people in radio call headphones "cans." Great. Nice that you know that. Now so do we. Continue. No, I mean, literally, cans. Lately when I deposit the headphones in the charging cradle, no light comes on. It's supposed to be green or red. But nothing. When I press down on the headphones, the charging light goes on. When I lift up my hand, it goes off. So I thought: put a can of chili on the headphones. Actually, I thought "can" without specifying contents; turns out I used chili. And it turns out that wasn't enough. I needed a second can. So the next day my wife wanted to use the headphones, and there were cans in the cradle. (Don't think of the song! Its lyrics are ironically pertinent!)
She figured I'd booby-trapped them in case the thieves tried to take them. The cans would fall and everyone would wake up and think "why are weighted metal cylinders of chili and corn falling downstairs?" and then we would clatter down the steps in our nightshirts waving sharpened implements.
What I actually told her was "I've ordered a new battery. I think that's the problem."
So if those are the issues that roiled your week, you're doing okay. It's been a good one, and different - Daughter had a writing class at the Loft all week, so we were out earlier than usual. She sighed the first few days, remembering the early summer trips to Driver's Ed - which now seems like a very long time ago, since it was on the other side of the great Europe Adventure - which also seems bygone, long gone, even though you can remember the moments with piercing clarity. England felt so much like the home I never knew I came from - and I still can't shake it off. I'm like Malcolm McDowell "rescued" from the Nexus, to reference a movie with a big broad idea that of course they never revisited.
Here's how peculiar my life is. The other day we were coming back from downtown and I was fuming behind a slow car, because I had a conference call to make, and didn't want to shout into the speaker of the dash-mounted phone. The call had to do with a series of adverts I get to do for a company that chooses your clothes. It's for Ricochet, of course - a new sponsor for the flagship podcast. I will be paid in shirts and pants. I always wanted to do voice-overs, and I love doing the commercials. I sleep on the bed I pitch and I shave with the razor I hawk. If I'm only Harlow Wilcox, I'm not happy, but if I get to be Harlow Wilcox, I am.
Everything that I wanted to do I ended up doing, but in strange tangential ways. I get to make videos for work, and I get to score them sometimes. I get to be a pitchman. I get to lead tour groups! Had another one Thursday, same walk around the Loring Park. Every time I add something I learned recently, and this time it was a connection between one of the old houses - long gone - and the architect, Leroy Buffington. He was known as "the father of the skyscraper," because he patented the iron-frame idea. No one ever paid him royalties - except for one guy, whose name I had referenced earlier in the talk. Rufus Rand, the aviator and namesake of the beloved Rand Tower. So it all fit together.
Later a woman came up and said thank you for mentioning Leroy Buffington, she was a big fan, and I should have said more! I went into mock outrage, of course - how many people ever mention Leroy Buffington to you? Ever? And now I do and it's NOT ENOUGH?
As usual, there was an odd street person to complicate the event; last time it was a guy who sat in the shade by the StarTribune booth and talked to the staff for 45 minutes; he was daft and smelled horrible and wouldn't go away. Today a tall glowering man whose shirt used the F work as an acronym for something equally uncivil stalks over to our base station by the fountain, and said what are you doing in a low, menacing tone. I explained we were leading a tour of the park.
"A tour. What's those." He pointed to the box of headphones.
"That's so people can hear what I'm saying on this," I said, holding up the microphone. He scowled.
"What's your problem," he said. As if he was coded to find offense in everything, or just naturally started to pick fights on the third exchange. I walked away.
"What's your problem, man," he said.
As before, it was the stop at Ole Bull's statue that really gave the tour a kick; it's the first stop, and I play an excerpt of his violin concerto via phone-to-bluetooth-speaker-to-my-microphone to their headphones. So you have 26 people smiling and listening, and then applauding the statue. I just love doing that.
So I get to do that! I get to work the State Fair booth and sell T-shirts and give away lip-balm! Okay, not a life goal, but it's part of being connected to an institution.
I get to show people things of interest. That's what this site's about, after all. Tonight I finished scanning the 1970 British Children's comic book site, which is slated for oh, I don't know, October.
Of 2017. That's how much stuff I have in the pipeline. And when it's up I will remember that little jumble shop where I got it, and what the day was like, and how we had coffee and scones at the adjacent cafe, and what an ordinary, happy day it was. Without worry or doubt. Travel, that's the secret.
Stay one step ahead of the person you left behind.
Fridays, for some reason, details the ongoing makeover of downtown Minneapolis. It is now a tradition and hence cannot be sundered, which means I'll have to come up with a new Construction banner for 2017, because of course I redo all the graphics for the site. Otherwise you'd get angry and leave.
This is a very boring spot. It's right by the new stadium and park, and it seems an odd thing - a boring ramp and a tiny slice of grass.
Well: last week a new sign went up on the corner of the lot.
It never stops. Until it does, suddenly.
Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s, and I'm surprised at how few there were. I think I'm already repeating what I previously played. In fact I know I'm already repeating the fact that I think I'm repeating myself, but on we go: this is the sound of narrative radio in its strange last gasp.
Regretful hubby lament:
Works for drunks, too.
Second channel? We don't need no - well, actually no, we do. I wish there was more of this, but it's tinny and mono - and a bit anachronistic for the mid 70s.
Every night should end like this!
The new style of radio ads! Ear-catching, snappy. Annoying.
I seem to remember their mascot - a guy with a strange square jaw. He looked like a convict, but a good-hearted one.
Back to Grand Motel. Heck, speck, etc. Dad, don't haggle over the continental breakfast.
They need the money. Bad
The wooden man who couldn't perform brings you something with his name on it:
He always unnerved me as a kid. He looked like some strange man-ape thing who tried to talk around a numb tongue and a plugged nose.
Brilliant recordings of America's great musicals, with no attribution to the performers or composers? Sure!
Because who cares. You're here for ED, your guarantee of musical satisfaction.
Oh, er, ahem:
That'll do! Hope you enjoyed the week. See you around.