I felt it Monday, late afternoon: a certain coolness, not unexpected for summer, that nevertheless presaged the season’s fading days. It’s not the end of summer, but you can sense it. It’s not a bad thing. It’ll still be green in a month, still lovely, still the perfect world where everything’s lovely. But now and then you get a tap on the shoulder.

School would be starting soon, if the world hadn’t changed. Daughter would be going off to college. (As noted, she is taken a semester off because she doesn’t believe sitting in the dorm taking 2/3rds of her classes online is a wise expenditure.) I told her she’s about to have her first adult fall: no return to the strictures and rituals of education. One season blends into the next. Same for me, in a way - when your kids go to school, you go with them, even though you stay right where you are. You assume a different mindset; you return to deadlines and bus schedules and after-school timetables. But not this year. It’s lost.

Or rather, in its newness and unexpected challenges, it was not lost at all, but an opportunity to find something new? Something different? Something better?

Nah, it’s lost.

2020, I mean. I think this will seem remote in 2022. There’s a hunger for the old ways, isn’t there?

Particularly after we’ve had a hard, bitter taste of the new ones?






I have to extend and expand my previous writings on Perry Mason, which I still think traded on the nameplate to bring in the paying customers. Yes yes there are difference versions of Perry; have I not shown you earlier movies that depicted the particular interpretations? I am not interested in discussing whether the show hews to the novels, because no one reads them and they’re forumulaic. I’m not interested in scolding anyone who didn’t factor in the radio series, which put Perry Mason in the same league as all the other second-tier radio dicks.

The only way to judge this show is to understand that there is one Perry Mason.

Why? Because that was when it was codified and distributed to millions. So: if you want to bring back Perry Mason and make the story more than it was, add depth and pathos and bio, that is what you revive. Imagine a “Mad Men” era reboot with all that glorious period detail. Hell, cast Jon Hamm as Perry. It would strike a chord and it would’ve been fantastic.

But that is not what we got. We got a great story set in the 30s, which no one associates with Perry Mason except 1,237 pop culture mavens, with the names slapped on characters who bore no resemblance to the popular conception. And that’s fine! It’s a branching alt-world now.

Smart script, great acting, fantastic direction and cinematography - it’s top of the line. Now add a fanatical devotion to period detail by people who do not care if you don’t get how atomic the level of devotion is, they know. And you have this show.

Okay, a few carps. A smooth and seductive fellow who’s obviously operating on his own agenda sits down, and I think: yes of course I get it, Hamilton Burger. And so it was. AND HE’S . . . GAY! (So is Della.) That, in its own way, is more of twist than Paul Drake being Black.

None of this feels like stunt retconning.

It’s so good, towards the end, that it makes me want to let go of the Perry I know. It’s like accepting a second Kirk.

I managed that, because it was time. And the way NuKirk bit the apple at the end was a nod to Shatner. I don’t think this one will have the nod. We’re asked to let go of our Perry

I will. As long as we understand that in Raymond Burr’s Perryverse, Vulcan was never destroyed. And it’s okay to hold on to that, too.




It's 1924.

Ah, Paris: city of harmonious toilets.

No, that’s not what it says, I know.

The toilet water is so fragrant “you will say it must have been stolen from perfumed fairy fountains.” That’s a phrase that’s never sprung to the lips of someone in a Paris pissoir, let me tell you that.


You can play the easy way: rote memorization that carries no deeper knowledge that will let you take your new skill beyond the rigid parameters of mechanical key-pushing.

But you will be a MASTER.

Dainty blue, at all good stores.

In folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp or ignis fatuus (Latin for 'giddy flame'; plural ignes fatui) is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes.

A giddy flame! I like that.


Perfumes in soaps and powders aren’t referred to as “odors” anymore.

That word has taken on a negative connotation, almost entirely.

Speak for yourself:

“First National,” the independent theater-owner chain. Fighting back against the iron-fisted studios! And, consequently, having crap for films!

Well, no. Here’s the deal:


First National Pictures was an American motion picture production and distribution company. It was founded in 1917 as First National Exhibitors' Circuit, Inc., an association of independent theatre owners in the United States, and became the country's largest theater chain.

Wow! So they did paste the studios on the chin.

Expanding from exhibiting movies to distributing them, the company reincorporated in 1919 as Associated First National Theatres, Inc., and Associated First National Pictures, Inc. In 1924 it expanded to become a motion picture production company as First National Pictures, Inc., and became an important studio in the film industry.

A huge player! They set the pace!

Now it gets rich, as they say:

The Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America and the Independent Producers' Association declared war in 1925 on what they termed a common enemy—the "film trust" of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount, and First National, which they claimed dominated the industry not only by producing and distributing motion pictures but also by entering into exhibition as well.

You become what you hate! Literally:

In September 1928, control of First National passed to Warner Bros., into which it was completely absorbed on November 4, 1929.

Wait hold on

Man, there’s a story - the rise of the indie, the corrupting success, the titans in combat.



You Miserable snuffling gob, you malodorous pervert! Your type really makes me sick!

STRONGFORTISM, because “Strongfort Method” isn’t enough. It has to be an ISM.

Enhance your small, beady, rat-like eyes.

Nestle’s, eh? Can’t be the same. They’re Swiss. Is it? (googles) (no)


“Your skin is what you make it” does have a rather creepy undertone.

They don’t seem particularly happy, but romance in the 20s was a serious affair. It had all kinds of things like destiny and fate wrapped up in it.

Or may be she’s realizing he’s about to give her the heave-ho, and she’s realizing she doesn’t actually mind, that much.


That'll do: the worst day of the week awaits, but we'll make it.



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