It’s cold and it’s rainy. That's the word you use when it’s not actually raining now, but has, and will. Rainy. Rainesque. A day with rainability. I got home before it started, and saw a big box in the driveway. The deliveryman could not be compelled to bring it up the stairs; I shall have a word with his superiors. (No, I won’t.) It weighed a lot, though, and as it turned out that was mostly ice. Someone had paid a pretty penny to ship ice, but they had a good reason: inside were perishable foods, produce, chicken, fruits, and so on. Sufficient ingredients for three good meals, and the descriptions had all the right words - basil-sriracha crunchburger chickpea tacos, and so on.

I hadn’t ordered this, though. Here is another indication of the oddities of my life: a box of ice and food appeared in my driveway, and I thought: I’ll bet I’ll be selling this soon on the Ricochet podcast. (I was right.) The same thing happened last week when I got a box of socks and underwear. “Well, I’ll probably be telling people to buy these briefs in a week or two” and I was right.

I like being a pitchman. It is a venerable calling.

There’s a new feature on my phone, or something I never noticed. If I type “dog” in the search box in the photos app, it returns all the dog pictures I have, or the ones it thinks contains dogs. These are not photos named dog - it came up with a picture of Mabel sitting on a cushion in the Anchor pub in Walberswick, and I did not tag that picture as DOG. Didn’t tag it at all.

I tried “statues” and holy crow, there’s DC, Paris, London. All my statues. Or rather all their statues.

How does it know? Daughter asked. It just does.

There’s also a Memories option now, which collects the best pictures from a certain time or event. This is different than just identifying pooches. It chooses your memories for you. At some point when the software gets really good, and it can pick out the best pictures based on some inscrutable algorithm, do we give up selecting our own, and let our devices choose our memories for us?

Probably; it’s just too much damned work to do it ourselves. You may have grown up with a few photo albums, or some shoeboxes full of envelopes of pictures. Unsorted. My Mom seemed to give up on photo albums around 1970, much to the detriment of my sister’s assembled chronology. (She turned into an avid scrapbooker.) I have not given up, and in fact spent all my leisure time this past weekend DEALING WITH THE DAMNED PHOTOGRAPHS.

We take a lot of pictures. That’s great! So many images of the world for future historians. There is one (1) picture of 1826. The whole year. Everywhere. Every place on the planet. One. In the previous year there were no photos. Of anything. Anywhere. I have 23 pictures of one building on one block on one day. Who will sort through all these pictures?

No one. Or machines. Which is to say, no one.

Here’s the problem: Europe trip pictures. There are 1,712 of them. I synced my phone with my laptop every day, so there’s one version. I dragged them all out of Photos into a desktop folder to put them on a flash drive in case the computer was lost on the trip, so there’s another.

When I got home I uploaded everything to my main computer’s Photos program, so there’s another version.

This library was backed up to my Time Machine, so there’s another.

The automatic backup routine put another copy of that library on the Network Attached Storage. I dragged everything out of Photos and went through the soul-draining process of culling and naming, so each photo has a useful name like London Subway 43 instead IMG_8873.jpg. That folder is likewise duplicated on the Time Machine and the NAS. A compressed archive of all the photos and movies is stored on an archive hard drive, and soon will be duplicated to offsite hard drive.

And of course the photos are in the Photo Stream cloud, which must be manually emptied.

And of course the photos are in the iPhone backup on the computer, which keeps a copy of everything on my phone. (This is backed up to the Time Machine as well.) I noticed that the backup was a whopping 98 GB, and thought: I should take the Europe pix off the phone, and just create an album of the best ones, in case anyone says "show me a dog in England." But because the phone was the Master, the most complete and accessible archive, I had to drag everything out of Photos on both computers, compress, archive, offload, and then delete - before I could bring myself to take the photos off the phone.

Because that’s the moment when you feel as if you’re in danger of losing something - even though the pictures are on the portable item you’re most likely to lose.

Ah well. And if I lose one candid picture of the parking lot of an English pub? This matters?

Maybe it does. Maybe everyone could upload their castoff useless pictures to some site that would assemble them via geotagging info into a detailed collage of what the world looks like, each picture being permanent proof of an ephemeral moment. I mean, it’s possible I have the only picture . . . of this:


What was that? Why does this exist? I don’t know, but at least there’s evidence for speculation.

UPDATE Nevermind there’s another picture on the interet

UPDATE 2 While going through the pictures I got a text from Astrid in Walberswick who informed me that a very important pol had stopped by the Anchor for a pint.

When I called up the Memories pane on my phone a while later it had changed the poster frame to the Anchor.

How does it know

Grindl: "an American situation comedy that began in the fall of 1963 on NBC, originally sponsored by Procter & Gamble. The show, starring Imogene Coca in the title role, lasted for one season."


More of the same, perhaps:

Grindl (Coca) worked for Foster's Temporary Employment service and was employed doing domestic work. The show revolved around the different humorous situations she would get into with each new job she was assigned to each week.

It was between Disney and Bonanza, but people turned away to watch the second half of Sullivan. Some titles and synops:

"Grindl, Counterspy" Foreign spies covet a secret rocket formula which is stored in the house where Grindl works.

"Grindl, She-Wolf of Wall Street" Grindl startles Wall Street with her unconventional approach to high finance by the use of numerology.

"The Great Schultz" Grindl tries to convince police that her employer, Prof. Schultz, has turned his wife Hilda into a rabbit with his invention, the cosmic regenerator.

I can't see why it didn't catch on. Coco was great, but . . . maybe not here.



Government Agents vs. the Phantom Legion: it's all about shipping schedules.

The summary:

How did that go? Well, this isn't the most convincing piece of editing.


After the ship's rammed, this:



So he swam home! No. In the next scene he describes how the Coast Guard picked him up. They didn't find the henchmen, though. "I guess we'll have more trouble with them," Hal says.

"No doubt," says the Gal Friday. "This is episode 9. There are four more to go."

So they use the hidden microphone to fool the henchmen of the Phantom: they talk about how they're going to be hauling uranium disguised as soap powder, and when the Phantom's henches show up, we'll get the drop on them, and then somehow lose the advantage and have a fistfight!

Well, no, that doesn't happen. They actually get the drop on them. Crackerjack dialogue:


Our G-men tell the henches to call the Phantom and come out to their remote location, because if they don't turn States Evidence they will be going to jail for a long time. Being stupid men of limited skill, they switch teams right away, and the Phantom agrees to come out to the Old Barn on Oak Road.

But! The Phantom knows that his hench would never request such a thing unless they were under duress, so he dispatches another hench to investigate. Behold the stealthy sleuthin' style of this new guy:



Why snoop around and listen at cracked windows when you can just cut to the chase? And so:



Fatal indigestion. During the fracas, however, the captured henches knock out the other Government guy who is not named Duncan, and force Duncan to drive to the Phantom's HQ so he can spill all he knows about . . . government shipping schedules. But! Duncan, figuring he's a dead man, drives so recklessly the crooks give up their guns so he won't kill them all. "Get out and start walking," he barks. I'll be right behind you.

And so:


Of course, this leads to our old familiar locale, the CAVE. IT is "Underground Peril," after all. It's a working mine, which means there are tons of ore up above positioned right over a tunnel.

Well crap he's dead.


Aside from the lackluster heroes and boring villain and lack of any compelling overarching story, this one's not bad.

Since it's still drive-in season - barely - we have one more intermission.


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