Daughter came into my studio.

“What was your last column about?”

That’s one way of saying you didn’t read it, I thought, but I am a prophet in my own land. Is that the right line? A prophet is without honor in his own land. No. No one listens to a prophet if he’s in the neighborhood. Sigh; googling. A prophet is not without honor save in his own country, is the first hit. Bible verse, of course. A bit convoluted. It has the baffling construction of that post-Ripper graffiti: The Jewes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing.

Do I have that right? Sigh; googling. Hah! I had it right, even the spelling. Well, maybe not; one report says Juwes, but I remembered Jewes. I walked past the space where that was written two years ago, I think - the Ripper Tour was interrupted by a dreadlocked guy with a skateboard who assailed the tour guide for bringing people to Whitechapel, and followed us around, yelling, so the instructor may have snipped the part about vowel inconsistencies.

Anyway, Daughter hadn’t read the column. She has a friend who reads it, but she doesn’t. Maybe someday.

“It was about TV remotes,” I said. “Why?”

“I heard voices outside my window. The neighbors were talking about it. One of them said ‘that’s exactly like it is at my house.’”

“I basically transcribed conversations I have with Mom.”

“Oh. It was weird hearing people on the street by our house talk about your column. One of them said ‘did you read his column in the paper.’”

I had an image of people under the streetlight, looking up at the house, conversing about the work.

It was not entirely unpleasant. What writer wouldn’t love that? The diqish ones who hate their fans, I suppose, and worry that people with contrary opinions on unrelated matters are reading their work.

So that’s cool. Also: next door neighbor is out back for a smoke, waves to me in the dusk, asks a favor. I come over.

“What’s up?”

“We have a dear sweet old lady coming over for dinner tomorrow,” he said. “And she just loves Lileks.”

“Well I would be honored to drop by and pay a visit,” I say, thinking as long as you’re not asking me to stay for the whole dinner, sure - pop in during dessert, surprise the old lady.

“I mean the lilacs.” He points to the bushes. “I wondered if I could snip a few.”

“But of course!” I say, and he comes around with a shears, and we chat, and he is kind enough to say nothing of my error. I think it’s the funniest thing that happened this week. So far. A nice counterbalance to the overheard conversation outside the window. I’ll have to ask my other neighbor Paul Krugman if that ever happened to him.







I watched “Grey Lady Down,” which wasn’t particularly good; it’s about the New York Times building falling over. Actually no. A sub is lost on a shelf with Charlton Heston as its skipper, and everyone on board is nervous because he dies in all his 70s movies. Someone pipes up “he didn’t die in ‘Planet of the Apes,’” and then someone who’s understandably distraught snaps, and says “he died in the sequel, man, I think that frickin’ qualifies.”

Of course, no. It’s not that good. It’s one of the last disaster movies, but doesn’t feel like a disaster movie; feels more like a wan sub movie with the usual tropes inadequately deployed. What makes it PURE 1978 is the bearded anti-establishment scientist (Keith Carradine, awful) who has an experimental sub that can help with the rescue effort. What also makes it PURE 1978: his sidekick is Ned Beatty.

It also has Ronny Cox as the exec who’s going to take over the sub after its maiden run, and goes to pieces immediately; Stacey Keach, who is GOING TO GET THEM ALL HOME DAMMIT. It picks up in the last half hour, but has one scene that makes me ask a question: which movies have people watching real movies? In “Sunset Boulevard,” we’re watching a real movie - but it’s not well-known, an old Swanson flick. I’m pretty sure they watch a real movie in “Pennies from Heaven,” and I know that only because I remember that they recreate a Hopper painting.

Sigh . . . looking . . . grabbing . . .

Yes. It's this, by the way. And if you're curious about the movie's use of other Hopper images . . .

Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters.

This is why I have DVDs. I uttered some frustrated tweets this weekend about Blu-Rays and remotes and menus, and someone tweeted back “who still watches dvds?” Well, when it comes to HD, I like to have the physical copy, and while I’d rip and stream from my media center, Blu-rays are huge. Also, you can’t screencap a stream. Can I live? Can I eat my waffle? Thank you.

Anyway, the crew of the sub is watching “Jaws,” which might be the first example of someone watching a recent movie in a movie. I can’t think of others. Can you?

Now, a screen issue that’s also a TV issue.

Let me test your memory. Does this mean anything to you?

It's a perfect example of post-war commercial architecture - an abstract design that neatly severs the place from any historical connotations. It's a new world, comrade.

Actually, the Soviets wouldn't put up something like this, because they needed a modicum of vestigal historicity to lend credibility to their awful system.

Anyway, you might not recognize it, until you see the rest of the structure.

I admit a certain fondness. So what became of it, my love?

It seems as if it's being replaced by a building of equal dimensions. This happened a few years ago, but I just found out about it while googling the locations of the opening credits of . . . well, you know.






It’s 1945. A rather bright and simple Product toda.y

Man, do I want to live in this city:

It’s straight out of “men who plan,” and it’s post-war futurism at its finest. There’s not a building there you wouldn’t be happy to have in your city, depending on the site and materials, of course.

All to sell a pen!

Now let’s enter the peculiar world of a ventriloquist’s dummy who is actually alive and consumes stimulant liquids.

McCarthy. It’s all you had to say.

It’s a dominion-wide swing. Yes, we’re in Canada.

I’m not sure why Charlie thinks he’s entitled to R&R because coffee consumption is up. He may be shilling for it, but it’s not like he’s picking it and roasting it.

Again: a dominion-wide swing! A preference cascade that has swept the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific!

It sounds much cooler than “nationwide.”

Bite it, Woody; it’s not you. Your FRANDS will tell you that:

Of course, he was always known as a braggart.

Jose could have brought this up sooner:

He can’t! He’s a toy, and someone glued his lifeless hand to the ball as a joke.

It’s the lady from the other lane who was also ahead of them on the steps:

That is one unhappy cup of coffee:

So buy this coffee! Because the wooden creature from the radio and Jose, the Latin America Stereotype, have gone bowling.

Roasted in Canada! Well, so was Justin Trudeau.

Buy only the finest Canadian grapes:

Yes, Canadian wine:

Jordan's climate is humid continental (Köppen borderline Dfa/Dfb) and can be considered a unique micro-climate because of the moderating influence of Lake Ontario/Lake Erie and the sheltering effect of the Niagara Escarpment. The area is known in Canada for its orchards, vineyards, wineries and restaurants that feature local produce and wines.

(Köppen borderline Dfa/Dfb)

I’m sorry, what?


That will do; see you around. Scoop awaits. The big plot twist is coming.

I know, I know - Scoop has a plot? Just wait.



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