Welcome! The first full week of the new site. And it’s pretty much like the old site, with a few different font choices no one notices or cases about. (sniff) I hit a wall and stopping tinkering last Friday, a minor change that required altering 65 different graphic elements, but who’s counting.

Hope you had a good weekend! <jimgaffigan voice> Does he have anything to say today? Is he just writing in the hopes something will happen? </jimgaffigan voice> Wife came down with a cold, which meant she could only play nine hours of tennis.

I don’t think you come down with a cold. I think you go down with a cold. It’s not as if the cold is your boon companion on some interesting journey south. Anyway, I haven’t gotten it, knock on wood-grained plastic (still working on the 70s site; just finished carving up the graphics on a 1978 car brochure), and I think I’m safe. The temps are warm. The snow is gone. It doesn’t feel like January.

But we know it is. Sunday I went over to the Giant Swede’s for football. It’s not the same when your team is out of the running. Previously: pizza, coffee, beer, shots, peanuts, chocolate, high spirits! The Crazy Uke in his chair, me in my accustomed spot, the Swede on the sofa in the Dying Gaul posture. But I think the Uke is having Ortho-Xmas. No pizza. No free-flowing spirits. No peanuts. I had some water.

“Which team should I transfer my allegiance to?” I asked. “Based on whether they will hurt the team we hate. And remind me which team we hate.”

The Giant Swede explained it all, why we should root for the Chargers, and thus informed of my proper loyalties, I began to root. The Swede was also happy to have someone whose knowledge of football is about 10% of his, so he could explain at length all the things other fans would know, and tell him to shut up I know already why are you telling me.

It was a good game. Baltimore threatened to come back at the end, but they failed. We watched some of the Chicago game, and then I left. Outside it was bleak and leafless. Went home to wreck things and summon chaos.

A change is needed, so I started to rip up my home office. It’s been bugging me for a few years. It fits the house; nice and Arts and Crafty, but to be honest I want an absolutely blank stark white room with three or four objects, total. Once again, books must go. There’s a line of Penguins I’ve been carrying around since college, and I will never read them again. Even if I wanted to, it’s not like I can’t find Plato or Turgenev. Even if I wanted to read those, the pages would fall out; the glue has lost its will. To open them is to hear the cracking of an old man’s spine on a massage table.

What plagues me are the books that indicate old pursuits and interests - while I still have the interests, they speak to a time, and that time seems dim, and the impetus that impelled some people to collect these old things the books discuss seems a spent force. Not in me; I’m still Mr. Assemble the Old Stuff, Scan, Post, and Repeat until Ash in an Urn. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but it feels (always a bad place to start; methinks thou doth project too much) as if there’s a form of self-imposed amnesia descending about anything prior to 1990.

Everything that went before was either wrong or irrelevant.

The only things that do matter are those that bolster the intellectual fads of the moment. The revisionists have taken over the library and they can actually exude Wite-Out from their fingertips, so they can erase as they read. When they refile books it’s one for the shelf and three for the incinerator.

Says the man who wants to get rid of his books.

Question, you there in the back?

Yes, did you spell it Wite Out for a reason?

That’s the correct spelling.

Wasn’t it invented by, like, the Mother of the Beatles or something?

No. It was not. You’re thinking of Liquid Paper, which was invented by Bette Nesmith, the mother of Mike Nesmith, of the Monkees. She sold it to Gillette for almost $50 million. Wite-Out was invented by another company which sought to overcome Liquid Paper’s tendency to smear on certain types of paper, specifically photostatic copies.

Do the Monkees still matter?

Sure, but less for the music than the particular cultural moment they represented, encapsulated, compromised, and attempted to transcend. They had some good songs - or rather were the public face for some talented people’s compositions and performances, at least at first. It’s now the sort of stuff you hear at Traders Joe on the speakers, next to a Louis Armstrong song, followed by INXS. Each of those songs is intended to produce a mood or recollection or emotional state, and while they are different for everyone, they are becoming more diffuse and vague as the years go on. Eventually all music disassociates from its specific cultural context - for example, it is difficult for us today to experience the newness of something that’s 80 years old, because we didn’t have first-hand knowledge of what immediately preceded it; we may know which rules it casually broke, but we don’t feel it on the gut level.

Now everything is broken, so to speak, so it’s a matter of coming up with a new beat or a new autotune profile.

Anyway, I ripped up my home office and ended up putting everything back where it was. There was only one different configuration, and it was inelegant. Stripped the shelves of half the books - was surprised to find a stack of old paperbacks fortunato’d behind the wall of Penguins - and they were priceless. Burgess paperbacks, long out of print, and DeVries novels (ditto.) Got everything sorted. While taking a break, I got a ping! On my phone.


So I stabbed the phone icon and a series of electronical impulses flowed from phone to router to internet provider to some central location that looked for the proper credentials in the southern hemisphere, and then Daughter’s phone started ringing. Took 10, 15 seconds? TOO LONG

She answered laughing, so that made my knees solidify a bit. She started out by saying she knew it would freak me out - well, mission accomplished, what happened? Gringa can’t take too many somersaults in the ocean, she explained. Ear infection. As I could make out the story - the wifi was spotty - they’d gone to the local emergency room, which was free! But crappy and bizarre, since there was a man siting in the room with bloody stumps for hands, screaming children, and so on. One fellow muttering over and over that he needed to get back home to his wife’s (bleep, as in grab her in the). Eventually she saw a bored doctor who gave her a cursory exam and wrote the classic chickenscratch, which they took across the street to be filled. But first, one last beer before she had to go on a non-beer antibiotic regimen. It’s still odd to hear your child - your baby! - say she had a beer, but when in Rome, and it’s all supervised, and she’s 18, and it beats endless red-cup parties in College, I suppose, he tells himself, happy she’s not hiding anything, I guess.

YOU WERE DOING WORSE says the voice in the back of my head.

Later in the day I stumbled across a reddit post about someone who took bad antibiotics and went deaf, and thought: thanks, random internet link for that. But I’m not worried. She was describing something that happened three days ago, and decided to torture me with it today just for fun.






There's a reason for showing you this minor programmer, and it isn't just the spiffy 30s graphics of the title card.


There's this guy who kid has to leave college because his dad went broke. The lads are trying to figure a way to keep him around.

It’s a comedy! Of course they find a way, doesn’t matter what, it’s only four minutes in. Casey graduates and everyone goes back to the frat to talk about their future plans.

You may ask: why, oh why are we caring a whit about this rote programmer? Because this is the inauspicious start to a franchise practically no one remembers.


After being turned down for a job, he knocks down a dame in the newspaper office:


This is practically Clark Kent meeting Lois Lane. The character has a different name than she’d get down the road, but it’s the same role: plucky newspaper gal with a nose for danger.

Anyway he’s a young up-and-comer with lots of ambition and a line of self-deprecating patter, and before long he’s worked his way up to a montage:


He’s present for . . . an earthquake in Grenada?


No, of course not. This is a history test, right here: do you know what that was? Think: obviously it’s a controlled demolition. Why would something so substantial be demolished?

Here's your answer.

Casey gets a great shot by sneaking into a wedding, and sells it to . . .

. . . that’s Pop Lawrence’s rag. He has a vision: a picture magazine! There were such things in 1938 - Life, Click, and so on. But this one has something different: utterly inappropriate typeface choices.

By the way, there’s a storefront window that shows what things should look like:

Anyway. The plot revolves around disreputable photojournalists making fake pictures of people in compromising situations, like this:

Hotcha! Don’t mail it or the postal authorities will arrest you!

Anyway. There’s some interesting inadvertent documentary:

From this brief view I learned something: Rexall bought Owl. The Wikipedia article says Owl had a store on Wilshire and Wilson, but the intersection is unrecognizable.

Eventually there’s gunplay and romance, but it’s all quite light, and nothing about this says FRANCHISE.

Friday we’ll learn the rest of the story. For now:





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