Daughter said that school might not be happening on Thursday, due to extreme cold. She was excited, as of course kids are when such a thing looms. The possibilities! Staying home, hot cocoa, Netflix, texting with friends. But it lacks the important element of a cruel and punishing storm. When you can’t go to school just because it’s cold, it seems lame.

But it’s probably a good idea. Kids have to stand outside and wait for the bus, and according to my forecasting apps it’s supposed to be 27 below with the wind chill, so yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Consider that. Twenty-seven below.

I just checked the app to affirm, and it placed the 8 AM temp at 24 below. So we’re experiencing a warming trend, then. What happened in the models to push the temperature up three degrees? What twitch in the predictions made the recalibration necessary? After ten below there’s no point to the fine details. It’s just murder cold, period.


It’s appalling, but true: some nights I end up watching Star Trek. I mean, the original. There are some episodes I haven’t seen for years, because I know them by heart, and there’s not enough phasers or explosions or proper Kirk drama. Some I automatically dismiss because they’re in that category of C-grade eps, and “Gary Seven” was always one of those. It was cool and different in its own way, and at the time we thought the idea was cool - an Earth Dude from another planet who uses Technology to solve things and help us from the future, and he’s like, Space James Bond! I think at the time we also knew it was a pilot - one of those gyps where you didn't get the whole show, because it was pitching something else.

The premise of the Gary Seven ep, aside from the fact that he carries around a cat who turns into a woman with whom he presumably has relations, is that Space Bond has to disable a United States nuclear-weapon orbital platform to save humanity.

See, if we had nukes in space, we would destroy ourselves. Having a few thousand sitting around in silos, that was tolerable, but putting them UP THERE? Doom. Anyway, Gary Seven sabotages the rocket, but he screws just about everything up, gets knocked out by Teri Garr, and has a few minutes to avoid WW3 - which is something entirely of his doing. The presumption is ridiculous

“Spock, can you detonate the warhead from this computer?”

“I can try, Captain. It appears to be a prop used from ‘The Ultimate Computer,’ so I am familiar with its interface.”

Anyway, his plan is to frighten the World Powers so they back away from nuclear orbital platforms. Aside from the theatrics of the moment, it’s obvious it doesn’t work, because Star Trek’s original plot requires WW3. Leaving that aside, there’s the problem of Seven sabotaging what appears to be a US response to a Soviet initiative, and it seems unlikely that the Rooskies would have said “oh that was close let’s bargain away our strategic advantage.”

But those were the times: as Kirk notes after it’s all over, the incident resulted in “agreements” to do away with this sort of thing. If you were around at the time, you know what the “agreements” were usually like: everyone gets to have the bad things, but the quantities will be restricted. And then a grateful world breathed a sigh of relief. The two sides talked, and reached an agreement! In a brightly lit room, pieces of paper were signed with ceremonial pens!

The Wikipedia entry is . . . fascinating:

According to Scott Dutton's sources, "Gary Seven is a man sent back in time from the 24th century, the only Earth man to ever survive the transit."[1] His goal is to defeat the Omegans, a race of shape-changing aliens who have sent agents back in time to change Earth’s history so they can defeat Earth in the future. Harth and Isis would be the primary Omegan antagonists. Roberta Hornblower is described as she appeared in the final episode, but as a 20-year-old.

That’s not in the original. What’s more, Roberta’s last name is Lincoln, which is the name of Roddenberry’s licensing company.

Anyway. I watched it because I usually close the day with an hour-long show, and the past few weeks the show I’ve enjoyed was 27 minutes long. I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s a comedy, but is it LOL? Or is it one of those understated British things that gives you a wry smile? Yes. It’s a comedy, but is it also one of those shows with an unexpected quantity of Heart that makes you realize the virtues of characterization and understatement? Yes again.

Another odd Netflix suggestion for people who like this sort of thing:

It's called "Roman Empire: Reign of Blood" and it's a quasi-doc on Commodus, Jerk-Boy Emperor. Nice production values. Fanciful in its recreations, as it must be; not a lot is known about his reign, but there's enough for six episodes. Sprinkled throughout every episode are interviews with various experts, who give it a documentary gloss. It's not "Rome" or "Gladiator," but if you like those, you'll find it Roman fare in the modern model. Which is to say, wildly anachronistic, probably. But instructive.

To remind you: this is from a 1920s movie-industry rag, telling all the subscrubers what the execs at the American Motion Picture Association party did. Or looked like.

Here I hit another blank wall. Two, in fact: I thought AMPA stood for American Moving Pictures Association, which later became the Motion Picture Association of America. But it was founded as Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America in 1922.

George? No idea. Important enough to merit this caricature at the time, but now? Feh.







Christmas ads this month, natch. Let's go back to 1936.

It need not have meat. But this does. It has Prime Beef, in addition to Grecian currants. It used to be considered fit for dinner, but that was when it had more meat, and vinegar. The sweeter it got, the more it was moved to the dessert side of the ledger.

Hand-painted. Is that actually a reflection of a light fixture in the artist's studio?

Consider that: a ghostly remnant of a place long gone.


There were other options for Christmas dinner. Figs! Plums!

Hot plums!


To show you how some things didn't change as rapidly as others: thei was the ad in the middle of the 20s.

They changed the color of the Plum Pudding. They probably didn't change the recipe.

If the Heinz ad looked backwards, this one looks ahead. Now! More than ever! More than any point in human history!

Let's look at some details. You thought the white flocked tree was a 60s thing?

Look at that beaut! You're thinking ah, the king of 30s design and streamlining, Raymond Loewy! I don't think so. It's the 155, and the 150 was designed by Henry Dreyfuss. Wikipedia says: "The cleaner sold from 1936 to 1939 and was priced at $80 (which is about $1,500 to $2,000 in today's money)" Holy Crow.


It looked like this:

Don't scoff. If you had an old busted vacuum cleaner, this would be nice. But if you could afford it, maybe you had servants who did this sort of work?

That'll do. Enjoy a Frank Reade Jr. adventure before you go!


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