There is nothing going on. I’m sure it’s just me, and how I’ve spent the week so far, but there seems to be a distinct lack of momentum in the world. I mean the physical one, not the online world - that place is always a beehive stuffed with Coke and Mentos, and Bog help the people who head into every second of every day with an electric mixer and a cattle prod. I understand the need to have an opinion about everything, but I do not understand the need to express it 17 times an hour to an audience of holographic clapping seals. No, I mean the cold bright hard world in which I live now. Only the rigors of ritual and routine keep me moving forward. Like this:
Universe: It is 8:12 AM. The day seems interchangeable with the one it followed, and the one that will follow it. Thus it has ever been; the universe cares not for your existence, nor the product of your toil, nor the fulminations beginning to fizz in the back of your skull as the second cup of coffee starts flipping switches. All is vanity. All shall pass.
Me: Well, then, I’d better call up the 1922 editions of the Washington Star newspaper and start screen-capping those Gluyas Williams cartoons or we’re looking at no updates for Tuesdays in 2021
Universe: I’m not getting through to you, am I
Me: Oh on the contrary
Universe: well, then why not work desperately on a larger project of significance?
Me: That’s next year. This was the year of regret and loss and letting go.
Universe: I know how you feel. I watched sixteen civilizations wiped out by gamma ray bursts this month alone.
Me: What? Did you have to do that?
Universe: You can only hold them in for so long. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
Anyway, I did hear some good news today, and I mean . . . fantastic news, because it means that one of the supposedly and actually quite verifiably fun things I never thought I would do again might happen in 2020.
Two things, combined. Which sounds like something they say in a dream in Twin Peaks.
Part of the problem with the layout of this feature is the need for a batch of copy up here at the top, if there’s a big graphic that’s not preceded by a thick batch of introductory remarks.
So what I’m doing here is writing something to push everything down an inch or two.
Have I written enough? I think so. Let’s start.
This tweet kept popping up in my feed after Thanksgiving:
The guy who sent it walked it back - it’s all right, it was a joke, Gramps is cool with it
Of course Gramps is cool with it, because he probably loves his grandson, and regards that Twitter-thing, whatever it is, with amusement and indifference. Kid’s famous, got a good job on TV, he’s making his way in the world.
You can believe the walk-back or not, but the fact that he sent it out in the first place for a larf is the giveaway.
What sort of man wants to be known for making fun of his grandfather to score political points on Twitter?
A shallow man? An insubstantial man? A jerk? They all might apply to one degree or another. How about: a man whose tribalism has produced a unique form of political sociopathy, wherein he cannot see people who hold contrary ideas as anything but objects to be manipulated for amusement and personal advancement.
He knows people will take offense, but they’re the wrong people, because MAGA amirite? Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the lulz is, at the least, MAGA-adjacent, so screw ‘em. Anyway it’s not about his grandfather, you morons, it’s a meta thing on his kind. It’s a bit, and gramps is a prop.
Don’t you get it? GRAMPS IS A PROP! IT’S A BIT! It’s a zing! Aimed at all those other people who truly deserve contempt because they dismiss Greta.
I guess he's a comedy show producer, and that means he ought t to skewer the cult of Greta. I guarantee you he doesn’t believe we have to dismantle industrial civilization tomorrow to save ourselves, because his profession would be among the first to go. (We don’t need The Daily Show or anything on TV, to state the obvious.) Possibly he believes that Greta Raises Awareness and hence it’s good she’s Starting a Conversation, but these might be rote genuflections towards the things his cohort is expected to believe. In any case, hands off Greta, lest the wrong people be emboldened to do the wrong things, like vote the wrong way.
You gotta punch up! And the Gramps tweet was punching up, because those MAGA jerks are ruining the planet and preventing Meaningful Change. Okay maybe not his Gramps, he’s cool, despite what he believes, but other Gramps. Not yours if you love him. Well no maybe yours, but he'll get a pass if you're a pal. But all those other Gramps out there in Hooterville who are not the Gramps of anyone I know. Screw those guys, right?
He has protected his tweets, no doubt telling himself that he is the victim here because he got dogpiled.
In the end, I think decent people of all political persuasions sympathized more with Gramps, and maybe many people on the left side of the equation thought he was cool when he learned it was A Bit, and was amused by it. But Gramps will die some day, and Brandon will always know he passed him off as an idiot for some Twitter laughs - and in the end, despite how many segments he produces, that’ll be Brandon’s rep.
Comedy segment producers are common. Grandsons who make a special effort to humiliate their grandfathers are rare.
Oh, you don’t know how lucky you are, boy.
It’s 1923. It’ll take you an hour to get past the front page.
This is one of those early versions of Clippings; I seemed to concentrate on movies instead of news. All will be more consistent next year.
The Gompster, feeling poorly:
He recovered, but not completely.
Gompers' health went into serious decline starting in February 1923, when a serious bout of influenza sent him to the hospital, sidelining him from work for six weeks. No sooner had he recovered from the influenza, than he was stricken by a case of bronchitis that laid him low again. By June 1924 Gompers, who suffered from diabetes, could no longer walk without assistance, and he was hospitalized again, this time suffering from congestive heart failure and uremia.
He collapsed in Mexico City on Saturday, December 6, 1924, while attending a meeting of the Pan-American Federation of Labor. It was recognized that his condition was critical and that he might not survive for long. Gompers expressed the desire to die on American soil and he was placed aboard a special train that sped toward the border. He died in San Antonio, Texas.
IMDB: “A wealthy minister in a mining town is something of an advocate for the miners' safety, but he doesn't really get involved in the issue. He is soon snapped out of that attitude, however, when his daughter is trapped underground in a mine explosion, along with the mine's owner.”
Col. Heeza! We’ve met him before, somewhere back in the 20s site.
A print still survives, and the State Theater is still in existence.
The son of a wealthy Bristol shipping magnate marries a Chinese noblewoman, but she soon becomes aware that he is in fact in love with another woman.” Lost movie.
The Blue Mouse is another story. There were many in the Pacific Northwest.
The Blue Mouse Theatre title was used for several historic vaudeville and movie venues opened by John Hamrick in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The name may have been inspired by a lounge in Paris. Hamrick is said to have used the colored rodential title for his first theatre in each city.
There was one in St. Paul, but this one was in Minneapolis. Cinema Treasures:
The unusually-named Blue Mouse Theatre opened in 1920 after more than a year of construction at a cost of around a quarter million dollars. This downtown Minneapolis house could seat around 1,500 in its elegantly decorated auditorium and contained a marble staircase in its lobby.
Renamed the Lyric; demolished in the early 70s for a new theater, the Skyway. Which has closed.
I don’t know this one:
Starring Mildred Davis as “The Sick Little Well Girl.” One of the top ten movies of the year; made a pile. Wiki: "Released between the sensitive, complex character comedy of Grandma's Boy and the daredevil "thrill picture" Safety Last!, it was Lloyd's first intentional five-reeler, whereas his two previous features, A Sailor-Made Man and Grandma's Boy, both grew from two-reelers to five-reelers during the actual shooting.”
People forget how big he was, and would be.
||Just a nice piece of design, that’s all I’ll say.
The Lagoon is the name of a new theater, opened in 1995. It takes its name from either the nearby lagoon by the lakes, or, more likely, the Lagoon theater, which turned into the Uptown. (Which Tok its name from the nearby lagoon.)
The Uptown and current Lagoon are still open. The Loring is a playhouse.
Not a bad record for local theater survival, eh?
Finally, the stupidest boast I’ve ever seen in an old movie ad, and I’ve seen many:
Also it is LITERALLY TAKING THE NATION BY STORM. Clara Bow’s first movie.
That'll do; see you around. Today in the 80s: more computer game ads.