My wife plays tennis, and she watches tennis on TV. This gives me a certain amount of credit on the weekends, since I can credibly say “well, I didn’t do anything around the house, but you were off playing golf for three hours and now you’re going to sit on the sofa and watch golf,” except the amount of work she has done on the lawn exceeds by a factor of 900X the work I have done, so I don’t even think of doing that. It would be unwise and inaccurate, and I am happy when she is playing or watching tennis. She needs diversion.

But just because it was a beautiful day didn’t mean I could sit in the gazebo and goof off, so I decided I would paint a windowsill that was cracked and peeling. Now, by “decided I would paint” I mean I committed to the idea of doing so in the future, with the day given over to arranging the materials so I could do it some day. Which I suspect won’t, but it’s possible. Drove to the hardware store with a tiny chip of paint, and asked if they could match it with their high-tech gear.

Of course! He said it would take ten minutes.

Uh - no, I have to go, I’ll stop back. It’ll take hours. You understand me? Hours.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll put the can by the register. I know who you are.”

I have never met this guy before. That’s the thing about being in the media, I guess; the phrase “I know who you are” just pops up at the store in a non-threatening context.

Called the Giant Swede to see if he was available to waste some time, productively. He was. Off to Home Depot, where I got some sandpaper and blue tape and a thing for scraping - I don’t know what it’s called, the scraperator - and also some poison for the spurge.Then we went to an enormous outdoor store so he could buy roof racks for his canoe. He has been building a canoe for years, applying endless layers of lacquer, and it’s quite beautiful. I fear the first time he takes it out on the creek he will have a heart attack and go over the Minnehaha Falls, but he’s in great shape, and besides, we’ve all agreed that when he does go we’re putting him in the canoe and dusting him with Ronsinol and shoving it out on the lake after it’s set alight, because if anyone deserves a Viking funeral, it’s the Giant Swede.

For me the outdoor store is like a library for an illiterate, but I like looking at the water filtration kits and other emergency supplies.
After 9/11 I put together a bug-out box, and I update it every year or so. Water purification, crank radios, tarps, waterproof matches, face masks, the basics. I’m sure I’m woefully ill-prepared by pro-prepper standards, but I do have lots of emergency food.

Me, day 34: Tonight, it’s lasagna!

Wife: it’s been lasagna for 33 days

Me: And lucky you, married to a man who plans; it’ll be lasagna for 33 more!

Then we went back to my place to have a cigar in the Gazebo, drink coffee, and discuss the latest Avengers movie. I finally saw it. Eh. Everything’s dialed up to 12 and quippy, and the fargin’ soundtrack NEVER STOPS. Just let it go quiet for a moment, let the characters mourn or doubt or weep or smile. But no. Quip quip hey funny raccoon oh no big disaster rinse repeat. I know, I know, it’s a superhero movie, but nothing matters because you never for a moment believe there’s any peril, as dire as it seems. And just because they’re SUPERHEROES doesn’t mean they are capable of anything. Spiderman has Super-spider strength! Therefore his webbing is capable of slowing down 9 million tons of space debris and his arm isn’t yanked from his socket!

I like them well enough. But the smaller ones are better. And they’ve all taken the wrong lessons from the first Guardians.

Let me put it this way: lots of OMG on the internets because many characters died. But no one believes it. Okay, maybe one or two are dead dead, but otherwise? Nah. It’s like watching “Saving Private Ryan” and a beloved character gets shot in the head and you’re thinking “he’ll be okay in the next ep.”

A pleasant civil chat with an old friend about characters and stories we’ve followed all our lives.

In the evening I grilled steaks for wife & me, texted Daughter in Brazil about the closure of her favorite restaurant at Southdale. Ruby Tuesday. It’s a joke - when she was 11 or 12 or so, she liked to go there, and said once it was her favorite; this morphed into a running joke. We would drive past and see the neon sign missing a letter or two - UBY UESDAY, was a fave.

The restaurant closed because no one needs anything they have, there are much better places in the neighborhood, and Southdale itself is having a death spasm that depresses me. It can’t be permanent - the area itself is booming, surrounded by new housing developments. But the mall is starting to gasp, and even losing a crap franchise left over from the era of “vintage stuff thrown up on the wall, here, have some Alfredo pasta” restaurants has to sting.

I checked Twitter while making dinner, saw the controversy about the US Open. Couldn’t tell Wife, who had the match on the DVR, but though I would have fun asking questions about the match while she watched it. Every time I came down for coffee, or later, for ice and a splash, I would feign interest and start dropping tennis terms I oughtn’t have known. You can’t talk to the chair like that, you’ll lose a point. She was so caught up in it she didn’t notice, but afterwards I confessed that I’d known the results all the time. She thanked me for not telling her what had happened.

Wha - why would I? That would be the worst. That would be a spoiler. I hate spoilers and the people who spoil things. I think she was so grateful she didn’t ask if I’d painted the window.

No. It was a beautiful day best spent sitting outside chatting of matters mean and grave, small and large, grim and merry. It was almost perfect.

Ding: text. Daughter. She'd seen the text about the restaurant.


Correction: it was a perfect day.




We've come a ways from the days of static title cards:

Description: “A dissolute rich society boy marries a worldly nightclub singer, and she begins to have a wholly unexpected effect on him.”

That’s novel. That’s a new one.

Here's the stuck-up swells what can’t see the gal’s on the level:

And here she is:

Yes indeed, a woman of obvious low breeding. The family will be ruined, socially.

Leave it to the matriarch to react as though someone ripped a wet one:

It’s vaguely amusing, so this must be a comedy, right? The author wrote comedies. But other things, too - the biography is quite detailed, and gives you a picture of a major figure in American entertainment and writing.

Utterly forgotten today.

You can guess how it all goes: rockily, and then happily. What counts - the reason I’m doing this, since these aren’t reviews - is the luminous imagery, splashed up on the screen a hundred times bigger than life.

In the world of these difficult star-crossed romances, the newspapers regularly roll out the big wood for things like cross-class nuptials:

I'm thinking this may have been a women's picture:

Preposterous costuming, roses and satin - it's almost a parody of how the hoi polloi thought the top-hat crowd dressed and behaved.

Such gorgeous despair:


But holy crow, she's good -

It all ends badly, as noted. The husband is dissolute, reassuring people in 1933 that the rich behaved poorly and were not to be envied. A good-hearteded resourceful gal could find herself at the end of the picture facing the wreckage of her marriage with rue and regret and clothes that indicate she'd come down a notch in life:


But it ends with the two connecting on a Soulful Level, and again: imagine this on the big screen.

Supernatural beings, larger than life.

Another week; hope I earn your visits. See you around.



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