I am up to here with work and exhausted. Didn't get much sleep, and had my nap interrupted by a call from the City. The recording was all I heard: "3 4 5 until further notice."

Hard to sleep after you've heard that. What did that mean? Turns out that a fire at Sprint ad knocked out 911 for Sprint customers. And more: here's the strange notice on the city's website.

Due to a fire in a local Sprint facility, residents in Minneapolis who use Sprint cannot call 911 on their cell phones. This also affects the rest of the metro area for 911 calling.

In general? Everyone? Or just everyone in the Metro who uses Sprint? Who writes something like that and thinks that's clear?"

Anyway, I wish I had more, but I'm going to finish a column and go to bed and hope I don't get my wife's cold. But! I found something I wrote last week and forgot to post. Leftovers. Not much, but it's something. So:

Let me tell you what life is like in modern newspapers.

A while ago we had an idea in the weekly meeting to do something about grocery store food - the hot stuff they sell for on-site consumption. So I went to two grocery stores and took some pictures and wrote my piece and that was that; filed, went on vacation.

The other morning I get an email that they don’t have my picture of some corn dogs and Swedish Meatballs. Oh, no prob, I’ll resend . . . except they’re not very good. Could I get some better ones? This morn? Thnx

And so I drive to the suburbs to go to a grocery store and buy one corn dog and one miserable dry piece of Chicken Tende, and then I sit at the little table they provide for people to eat their brown things, and I have to take pictures. Like I’m Instagramming this. And I’m STRESSED because the deadline is coming right up and I NEED PICTURES OF A CORN DOG.


That was as photogenic as I could get it. That's a "chicken tender," and it was as tender as a shingle.

For some reason they didn't use this one:

Imagine a big tub of that stuff. My guts lurch to think of it.

I hit the road and eat the corn dog for lunch; it’s horrible. At the office I crop and sharpen and send it along and confab with design, and they say it’s okay.

You have the one for the Target store entry, right? I ask. They do. Whew. So I set about writing my Saturday architecture piece. BUT I hear from design that they don’t have the Target photo. I find it and fix it and send it off. We’re cool, right? We’re cool. BUT after the design meeting I ask if they want a food picture instead of a setting picture, and they really do, so I say I will go back to Target - which is four blocks from the Cub where I bought the fargin’ dry-as-a-baseball-bat corn dog - and take pictures.

In betwixt I get an email about the architecture column - change in the layout, section’s ripped up, can I do next week’s architecture piece this week? It’s a book review.

Sure, but I just got the book. Can I turn it in a day late? Yes? Fine, I’ll do it. Pick up daughter from work, off to Target, order the food, pass the time playing Roman Empire Trivia on some world-wide competition network (She’s #2 in Minnesota) then get the food - don’t eat it! I have to take pictures!

Then we go to Starbucks to kill time, because she has a music lesson at 8:15, and I read the book, hammering together notes on key essays, and this is fine, this is wonderful, just sitting here with coffee and laptops reading. Drop off daughter, hit Traders Joe, run errands, pick her up, go home, bang out the review.

File review at 12:47 AM.

Send pictures of pasta at 12:49 AM.

And we’re done.

Of all the names, this might be the only one who might be remembered today:

Tiffany-Stahl was the production company. "Lucky Boy" was released in 1929. The plot:

A young Jewish man works in his father's jewelry business, but he doesn't like it at all—he wants to be an entertainer, something he knows that his father would never approve of. He comes up with a scheme to put on his own show in a theater and show his father that he can be a success, but things don't work out quite as well as he planned.

There's a novel idea. All it needed was a Mammy song.

Oh, hey!





We're blowing through a Western this sequence - one of those Vaseline-smeared prints that tells the same old tired story of bandits and posses and desperados and a good guy in a white hat. Nothing wrong with that if you're 12 and it's 1938.

Basically they just talk, and there’s no shooting. The swarthy, moist villain makes a speech, and then some other guys show up and start slinging lead. I’ve been paying scant attention to the intricacies of the plot because this is C-grade stuff and I don’t care, so we’re all in the position of someone who wandered into the theater and sits through this because you always get a newsreel and a cartoon before the good stuff. Have to ration your popcorn and candy, though, or you’ll have nothing when the show starts.

Anyway, after the shooting starts:

It's like cutting from a car chase to a guy backing out of the garage.

Well, our Hero, who wears the white hat, is pursuing the bad guy in the black hat, and then there's some footage of cattle, and then the bad guys - led by Greasy LeFrench - show up at the farm house, and tell the guy who's playing both sides that his time is running out. LeFrench says he'll get the Redhead, for two grand.

Previously he was willing to kill him for free, so this is a windfall. While he goes off looking for "Red," "Red" sneaks around the house to intervene when another guy is threatening the two-sider. I know. It's complicated. It doesn't matter. What counts are moments like this:


Hats on, film speed adjusted!

The good guys escape, and then there’s a rodeo.


I’m not sure “winner” is the term that naturally comes to mind. Our hero Red is going to ride a horse that “killed the last three men w tried to ride it,” something you don’t hear in contemporary competitions. There was a sabotaged saddle involved, but it turns out that inside the saddle horn were the missing diamonds.

The bad guys realize the diamonds were in the saddle and chase after the carriage carrying Red’s chaste sweetheart. Which of course is out of control. And Red jumps from his horse to the crazy horses who are just running for no good reason, and that’s where it ends. Not even a Leap for Life! So we have to go to the start of Ep 12 to see what happens next, and it’s pretty cool.

The days before the parking brake. Well, he saves the day, the girl, and the diamonds, and they go back to her father’s ranch to put them in THE SAFE, where they will be protected for all eternity. Of course they’re followed, and Ep. 12 ends in the usual fashion:

There are three more, and we’ll finish them up next week before moving on to something a bit . . . crisper.

Okay, more tomorrow; sorry for the smallness today. At least there's a few examples of Buns of Your Betters, below. See you around.



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