Whew: Wife did not snap her Achilles’ tendon. She tore her Agememnon muscle. The doctor advised wearing a boot so she doesn’t hobble and favor the wrong muscles, and not to overdo it. So of course she was out there early Saturday morning doing yard work without the boot. I had to chloroform her, which isn’t as easy as you think. You can’t just open a can of the stuff and let it work. You cannot, as I learned, try some ruse: “say, I think these beans have turned, would you give it a sniff?” Because she’d naturally be suspicious that I was opening beans at 10 AM.

Is he making eggs rancheros? Possible. Is he going through the cupboard and throwing out things that have passed their date? That would be like him: paranoid. Well, humor him.

No, the fumes dissipate when you wave a can. Turns out you actually have to soak a cloth and press it over the mouth and nose. I know! So old school. Lucky for me, she had her headphones on, and didn’t hear me coming up behind her. There there, only dreams now. The weeds will be just as bad tomorrow.

We took some nice evening strolls with the dog. On Friday she said she would like to walk up to the water tower and see the sunset, and I said “are you dying?” Because it did have the sound of a last request. There’s new landscaping and plants around the watertower, a community initiative. There was also one (1) beer bottle thrown behind the fence by some callow stupid vandal-type person who was no doubt angered by the fence: prime tagging terrain, the water tower.

There’s not a lot of graffiti where I live. Every other year some miserable people spray up something nice, usually a bridge, sometimes a sign. I think the apt penalty would be huffing a can of Krylon and then commanded to scrub everything clean, but these things are rarely investigated. They are usually cleaned quickly, and that’s good - but they paint over the mess, leaving a reminder of what was once pristine until the idiots defaced it.

Anyway: tonight the sole beer bottle had been removed, probably by someone who tends the garden and has a key to the gate in the fence. More people care than don’t: the secret to a nice neighborhood.

We heard music in the distance. A party? No, it was “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and I cannot imagine anyone would hire a live band that had that in their repertoire. I said it reminded me of the other day at the grocery store; the music playlist was early 70s because that was presumed to be the demographic of the shoppers, or that’s just what came up in the rotation.

“‘Rap, a rap a rap,’” I said to the cashier, who was about 19. “‘They call him the Rapper. Rap, rap, rap, you know what he’s after.’ I think, 1972? The Jaggerz, with a Z.”

I actually said that knowing full well that it sounded like absolute gibberish, and gamely continued. “This was on the radio when I was in Junior High. Do I have to hear it over and over the rest of my life?”

She smiled and shrugged: humor the crazy man.

“I suppose you get used to the music and don’t hear it,” I said, and she smiled and shrugged. Not so at Traders Joe: they’re always up for talking about the music, because it’s usually interesting. Except for the last time I was there. “Philadelphia Freedom” was playing, and I said to the cashier: “I always heard that line as ‘gave me a piece of mama daddy never had,’ even though you know it was piece of mind. But listen to it.”

“I’m going to go see Elton next month in LA,” he said, and this led to a chat about his previous job in TV news. I will see him again in a month and we will probably talk about how “Caribou” was the pivotal album, inasmuch as it just showed he’d happily cast off everything that made “Yellow Brick Road” great. Which, really, it was. But you never hear “Phoenix.” Only that got-damned Benny and the Fargin’ Jets. Or that other song. You had no idea when you were young that you’d be standing in the canned corn aisle 44 years later hearing the deathless lyrics:


And it’s amusing because on the way in I heard a woman talking to a small boy, and she spelled out the word SATURDAY. Like this:

S A.

T U R.

D A Y.

And then she said, with emphasis: NIGHT.

The small child will never remember the day Grandma told him about the Bay City Rollers, but he’ll remember Grandma.

Oh: Wife suggested we try to find the source of the music, and I said I wasn’t really in the mood to go searching for someone who was singing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” in fact I was positively motivated to move in the opposite direction lest “American Pie” be next, and besides, the cook had already said goodbye to the crew so it’s likely the singer would soon fall silent. Within the hour, anyway.



This summer I'm revisiting the classics, as part of the overhaul of the long-ignored B&W World site. A personal favorite:

Attack of the killer time piece? Sworn enemy of the fearsome alien race, the Westclox? No. KRONOS was an invading robot shaped like a big blocky skyscraper:

It’s like the attack of the International Style office block. It did not speak in that met-tal-mono-tone, which helped the suspense. It didn’t say anything; just stamped around and sucked up electricity, making an odd squeak, stamping its legs as it moved. If you're ten, it's pretty awesome. If you're not, it has other pleasures - it's superwide aspect ratio, keeps the stock footage to a minimum, has an usual monster, includes the standard inefficacious nuclear attack, and lots of doom-filled newspaper headlines.

This being the Space Age, upright scientists are aware of Kronos before it even starts to mess things up. Why? Because they have a BIG LAB with whirring computers.

We’ve placed those data tapes in an inconvenient location, just as you asked, sir. And we substituted paper-mache pizzas for the tapes. My kid made them. She's awfully proud. Hope you don't mind.

The scientist calls his computer SUSIE, and of course there's a good reason:

Ah but of course.

Another lab-office.

Why did I decorate with egg cartons? Why?

Anyway. Our crack scientists find the creature in Mexico, and the papers are all over it, low-key style, so no one freaks out:

They fly a copter to the Monster, set down . . .

. . . and we see that they're wearing matching jackets with the name of their org: LABCENTRAL.

Well, Kronos starts stamping around, eating power, and squashing Mexicans.

I think those would be easier to avoid than it looks.

There's the usual escalation of counter-measures, ending in the inevitable:


I'm always amused that they run other stories on the front page. Old sci-fi newspapers are always like this: the armies have FAILED to stop the world-destroying monster, and a controversial building code still makes the front page.

Bonus fun: a perennial favorite guy.

Here's a grab from a scene in which the fellow above informs his colleagues about the trajectory of an object heading towards good old terra firma:

Sound familiar?

Yes, it's him. If only he'd looked at Kronos and yelled for someone to stop this crazy thing.

Enjoy the awesome trailer:



Monday now, but it'll be Tuesday before you know it.


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