Last week: hot and tropical. This week: sleeting ice. Last week I put up the lights, but Wife did not like the piercing white LEDs, so I swapped them out for the ones she’d always wanted: alternating red and white. Actually found them this year. Had I ever looked before? Surely! She wants, I sally forth and scour the stores. But I never found them, either because A) they didn't exist, or B) all recollection of my instructions had gurgled out of a drain in the bottom of my brain by the time I got to the store.
This year I looked online the moment she asked, and huzzah, they existed. I ordered all they had.
So I strung one thousand lights on the arborvitae that line the main stairs. I was impressed with the results, but more impressed by my ability to string out (hah) the job to encompass the duration of a five-ep Johnny Dollar marathon on the OTR channel. I’m sure I’d heard it before. I’ve heard them all. But I’ve also forgotten them all, which is good. Worrisome, but good.
The show aired more than 60 years ago. I wonder if someone in 2082 will be listening to today’s podcasts. Nnnnnooo, I don’t think so. It’s possible some of the dramatic shows will stick around, but I wonder if there will be preservationists as avid and rabid as OTR enthusiasts. They collected tapes and records and kept the guttering flame alive for decades, because the surviving works were rare and precious. People who create podcasts today no doubt save copies, but I wonder if there’s a general assumption that it’s all saved somewhere, and hence will be saved nowhere.
I mean, I kick off, years pass, domain lapses, the Diner is poof.
For now, though, the site is up and the lights are strung, so I'm good.
Friday and Saturday I stayed home, because in the back of mind there is the raging howl of Covid Unbound. The headlines are all bad: Grim, Raging, Unchecked, et cetera. Given my usual precautions this wouldn’t bother me, much - except that it does. Something pushed me to stay at Jasperwood and be content with that, even though I had some duties and objectives.
Found myself moving back to a March mentality. The make-believe rhythms we invented to give the day structure. Last week I read that the governor was going to give a speech, and I went out and bought flour. But no, no; the mood of March and April cannot be replicated or revived, because it was new and strange. The unnerving unreality of the grocery store - masks, gloves, bounteous produce, bargains and BOGOs - has been replaced with rote protocols observed by habit. Before, we were commanded to go home; in a new lockdown, it'll just be more of the same. You can't not go to the office any harder than we're doing now. You can shut down restaurants, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask if restaurants are the problem.
I understand the fatigue, but that's not the right word. It's not fatigue. It's resignation and impotence with an undertone of despair.
I am a disappointment to all the people who end their tweets or reddit posts with STAY THE FUCK HOME. I find that tiresome and bossy and self-congratulatory. I know what I’m doing, and I’ve been doing this for a while. I am not close-talking unmasked in a bar. I am walking alone in a skyway to give a pizza restaurant $4.25 in the hopes they stay alive.
What I want to know is why, who, how, and where. You'd think this would be in the stories, but most reporting seems to be HERE ARE THE BAD NUMBERS and HERE IS A CAUTIONARY TALE FROM SOMEONE WHO DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. Are people getting it from going to Target? Walking down the street? Stopping off at the hardware store? Having a repairnan in the house? I'd say no to all of them. Is it the heedless youts in bars? Outstate VFW Fish Fries? Packing plants? What? Who? Where? How?
Sunday was more of the same; cold and windy and mean, a true November day. Got a lot done. Wife had gone to Costco, so I cleared room in the fridge to accomodate a quantity of food that would provision Napolean's army to Moscow and back again.
I forgot to ask her to get some red-and-white Christmas lights. I almost want to ask her if she saw any, and have her insist that i dind't say anything about that. Oh but I did. It's okay if you forgot. Believe me, I understand.
Before the credits, the shocker:
The Houston Globe? That must mean it's . . .
Could be good!
Then again . . .
There’s B-grade stuff, and there’s the special kind of B-grade committed by someone with an excessive trust in his own special talent, and that’s what that says to me. Zoom in slowly but leave the light overhead! And some hard-bitten Casablanca-type dialogue:
It has a blonde femme fatale, and one does not think of her in those terms these days:
It’s about some guys who run a scam by stealing . . . crude oil. The imdb credits, as usual, call it a forgotten or neglected noir. Eh. It has some good scenes in which Gene Barry shouts angrily; he was great at that. I mean, he’s good in a lot of things, but he had a commanding shout.
It’s okay. What interests us here is the inadvertent documentary.
That’s a W. T. Grant. Someone with Houston know-how could find it.
The freeway signage of 1956 is . . . droopy.
Oh. This actress?
The star, Gene Barry, had a 55 year career. Hale had 52 years. The blonde woman on the left, 50 years - but in terms of screen time, she beat them all.