A perfect day starts gloomy, with autumnal mist, then clears to a bright noon whose sun has strength. Not that wan pallid winter sun that hangs in the sky like an indifferent deity having a look at its handiwork, but sun you can feel. There's something invigorating about feeling the end product of distant nuclear reaction from a celestial body. As long as it hasn't escalated dramatically in the last half-second and ohmygod the glass is melting -
That was today, without the supernova. I was scared of supernovas when I was a kid. It was like the fallback plan for apocalypse in case there wasn't nuclear war. Okay, well, there wasn't the whole atomic bombardment deal but you could still be wiped out if the sun blows up, AND IT COULD. ANY TIME. If you thought about it too much, the sun itself was a bomb in plain view, and you couldn't trust it. The day we learned that the sun could blow up - the sun! of all people! - was the day mankind realized that the universe doesn't give a tin fig. If it's not the sun, it's some X-ray burst from another star in a completely different neighborhood, which seems unfair; it's like a gas explosion in Texas that somehow gets into the pipelines and makes your town erupt. I don't worry about meteors, though. The timeline seems to be in my favor. It's like a fruitfly worrying about the penultimate year of the next president's second term. Eh, relax. Enjoy.
So I wrote a column and finished another and that was it, but that's enough. Added 11 pages to the 2017 update backlog. Walked around. Played with the dog. Made bratwurst. Went to the grocery store to exchange the brat buns, because they were stale. I brought my Lunds / Bylery's reusable tote bag with me so they know I'm a dedicated patron, not just some scam artist who wants his $2.59 back when four buns have obviously been consumed. But they weren't: they just fell apart. The manager was apologetic. I wonder if he looked what I was buying, because everything was BOGOF. Two for one chicken breasts, such a deal. Two for one parmesan (grated) containers, who could resist? Two for one Bellatoria Frozen Pizzas, which is not on sale about 15% of the time. It's either four the price of two or two for the price of one or two for $10 or three for $14 or some arbitrary price that tells you only an idiot unschooled in the ways of variable pricing buys Bellatoria at full price.
If it is full price, then you buy the other pizza that's on sale. There's always a pizza on sale. There is never no pizza on sale, and there are so many varieties you cannot go wrong, unless the only pizza on sale is Tombstone, in which case you are better off spreading ketchup over a circular disk made of newspaper and papermache.
Now I'm outside at night, and the crickets are singing. It's not perfect but it never was. You have to keep telling yourself that, so you're not sad, and so you'll be surprised the next time it actually is.
I know you don't care and I don't care that I don't care, let alone you not caring, which is why I'm not going to tell you what I watched over the weekend, but here's a clue: NOTHING. But not for lack of trying. Now that we have sixteen gigahours of TV from which to choose, you spend the time you might spend watching TV finding something suitable to watch.
For example. Because I mistakenly dipped into Miss Marple Solves the Murder at the Geranium Convention two years ago, Netflix thinks I want to commit a sizable portion of my life to Hercule Poirot. I have been aware of this character for decades, and I have never been the least bit interested in following around a supercilious Belgian as he solves crimes with the powers of deduction. Main non, monsieur, it was you who gave yourself away, when you did not see the jot of shoe polish on the end of your walking stick. I'm sure they're all clever and such, but -
OKAY okay I'll watch one. Strange horrid credit sequence, some sort of 90s computer-generated "moderne" graphics. We meet Poirot, who is turning down cases that do not sound interesting, and then he says its time for his moustache to get some pomade. Enter the matron who wants him to find her gardener, or something. Everything looks like a set, it's brightly lit, and the actor looks like Jon Polito's brother. I don't care.
Since I dragged myself through that soggy Seattle crime story, "The Killing" - I think that's what it was called. The miserable redhead and the skeezy thin guy, the two worst cops ever. They spent the first season arresting anyone. You're in custody on a 5-9-3, or Being a Red Herring in the middle of the season. So Netflix has been bugging me for a decade to watch "Top of the Lake," and sure enough all the reviews are glowing. It starts promisingly, with beautiful scenery, because all miniseries about difficult, troubled cops who have to solve a murder that has Ripped A Community Apart are set in nice places you haven't seen in a murder mystery context. That's how they sell these shows. It's like Broadchurch, but in . . . uh . . . Corsica.
But right away I know what I'm in for. The male cops are insensitive to a young sexual assault victim. We meet a tribe of feral men with shaved heads and tattoos, with a taciturn patriarch who vibrates with compressed violence. We meet our heroine cop, Elizabeth Moss for God's Sake, aka Peggy from "Mad Men," and nothing about her says "detective" at all. She also seems to be Battling Doubts of some kind. There's also some wacky women living in cargo containers by the lake. I'll bet that seven hours later, we conclude that the loutish men are Generally Bad and the valiant beleaguered women are Brave and Resilient, but everyone's dealing with something in this difficult, beautiful world and I do. Not. Care.
I think one of the reasons I enjoy "Narcos" so much is that things happen all the time. It gets right into its world and doesn't shove a message down your throat like Ash the Robot trying to gag Ripley with a rolled up magazine.
Amazon was certain I would love "Fleabag," a televised version of a play written by the comely star who plays a very naughty, brash, frank, awful person. But! She talks to us, breaking the 4th wall - which is now the "found footage" of TV shows - and since that trick usually puts us on the character's side, I was intrigued. It was LOL funny, the reviewers said. We're supposed to think the character is bad and pathetic, but we're supposed to love her because she's difficult and different, and doesn't conform to the usual societal messages. Actually, no. We put up with her bad behavior because she's attractive, but that only goes for so long. After about 15 minutes I thought she was a pill. On TV you can get away with being a towering jerk if you're really funny, and / or have some level of excellence that gives you the right to look down on your lessers. She's just a jerk.
I have been told to stick with it because it pays off. But I don't care if it pays off.
Keep trying, Sheldon.
Oh, that font. Criminey. It was a joint American-Anglo job, with Sir Lew Grade teaming up with Sheldon. Millicent Martin had her successes, and since it had to do with stewardesses - YOU KNOW THEY HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME WITH PILOTS! - it must have been seen as a guaranteed hit.
Mid-season replacement. Cancelled.
You can watch an entire episode here. It's . . . swingin'. Like all TV in the late 60s and early 70s, nothing shot indoors looks real.
Because I'm lazy this month, I'm lavishing attention on one specific ad.
The women who are having sex and enjoy babies remind each other to keep doing the thing that makes them better than that other friend who doesn't want to be around them:
Why the hell is it Doris' job to remind her to buy soap? Well, let's see how our perfect coven turned out:
DON'T SAY THAT AWFUL WORD YOU HORRID TRAMP WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Since they are kissing, you'd think the actual words would be less distinct:
Well, Science says it, so. And remember! The Federal Price Eagle approves of this soap as part of a national effort to hyper-regulate a struggling economy.
We're coming to the end of the Sci-Fi covers; only this week and next week. After that, you know who's coming. I'm almost disappointed to find that other sites have been detailing his exploits; there's even an imaginative book. I think I may have to write a great summation essay to explain my simultaneous amusement, horror, and admiration for the character and the stories. But that comes later.
That will happen when it's Fall Happiness Season. You remember that, don't you?