Possibly my favorite redesign in years! We'll be tired of it soon enough.
The illustration above represents what went into this stem-to-stern, keel-to-crow's-nest revisal of this entire damned site. Every. Single. Page. Link-checked, font-perfected. Did you see the main page? Yes, it's a total rejection of the sans-serif paradigm! I bought a nice font package with lots of weights and styles, and applied it liberally. I am still uploading everything, so there'll be a bum link here and there.
The picture above is also a representation of life itself, I think.
The last night I was home by myself I went bat-guano mad. Break all the rules! I made cookies for the dog while listening to the Elvis Costello playlist on Apple Music! Whoo! It was dog-specific cookie mix, and the moment I opened up the package he came trotting over. Something in the dust that floated out said this was something in which he had a keen interest. And indeed.
We were enjoying Sibelius by the time the cookies were one.
The interesting thing about revisiting Costello - or any old favorite artists with whom you had an amiable parting of the ways - is remembering where you were when the albums came out. I can divide all the songs into two categories: I can remember exactly where I lived, or it was immaterial. That’s the thing about the music of your youth: it’s welded to people and places and times.
For example: I bought “My Aim is True” while living in Sanford dorm, because I was advised by all the music rags that this was an Important Entry in the New Wave category, subcategory “guys who got beat up in high school.” Got it at Positively Fourth Street, the same place I bought “Never Mind the Bollocks.” It had been out for a while. I liked it. Did not change my life. I was more impressed that year by BeBop Deluxe’s Drastic Plastic, and was grappling with Genesis’ “And Then There Were Three,” and by “grappling” I mean making excuses for it.
But then came “This Year’s Model” in early spring, still at Sanford. This changed everything. This thing was explosive. This was new. I mean, hit after hit, Farfisa organ, tuneful and nervy and agree and sarcastic. Perfect for being 20.
“Armed Forces” came out when I was living at the Birchwoods, dating Karen, reading Anthony Burgess’s 1985, which I believed to be an incredibly important work. (It probably is.) A dump of a place, but my first apartment. “Get Happy” came out when I was living in Cedar Square West, the Mary Tyler Moore apartment complex, dating Solveg; “Trust” when I was living at a rooming house in Dinkytown, once the home of the University’s president. All history and character had been erased; the house was reconfigured to drywall cubicles.
“Imperial Bedroom” when living on 8th street in the house built by Hercules the Crazy Uke’s father. “Goodbye Cruel World” at 718 while dating Tamara. “Spike” at 2880 Irving, engaged to my Wife.
After that, no connections. But that’s a ten-plus year run, and all the songs are riveted to the years, some to moments. I can go on Google Street View and find the house where they played “All the Angels Want to Wear My Red Shows” at a college party and everyone danced! Yes, a living room packed with people enjoying Youth! Maybe not. Maybe three or four couples. Maybe two. Perhaps the kitchen contingent was bigger. It was the home of the woman I was seeing. Winter time. All the mess and fun of college relationships.
The people who live that house today have no idea.
Why should they? We’d all be bound by obligations to remember we did not sign up to keep.
None of this is unusual or special; it’s like this for everyone. Some put more stock in the recollections than others. Some never stop listening to the old music; some fall away from music entirely, relegating it to the background. I’ve found a lot of music difficult to hear the last year. There are some styles and modes that seem suddenly walled off. The music that used to accompany my life on the ships. That isn’t going to happen any more, I think. Those aren’t things I’m going to feel again.
This is . . . not salutary. There’s a whole range of emotions and experiences bound up with those styles, and it’s like I can’t hear it because I can’t imagine I will ever walk briskly around the deck ten times after supper at sunset again. It’s like I got hit with a hobbling stick, chained to a spike in the yard.
The solution? The Song a Day Project. The 99 Years Ago Project. The Paris Museum Project. The Random Wiki Project.
You’ll hear about those some day. Not this year.
We have other things to do this year. One of them actually involves the museums of Paris . . . but that’s for another day.
Thursday, if you want to know.
Something new for Mondays: a never-ending contest with no prizes! Not for you, anyway. I have to preface this feature with a warning: I don't know the answers. I mean, I don't have the official answers. I can guess. It can't be that hard.
It ran in the Times in Loss-Angle-ees, as they said at the time.
I haven't seen these collected anywhere, and considering who drew them, you'd think they wouldn't have languished in the digitized microfilm for all these years.
Part of the fun will be picking out all the peculiar elements that the artists used to spell out the hints. Such as the odd college pennant. and the room number on the inside of the door.
Well, it's something to do for a Monday. A new thing to look forward to, and that's what I'm here to provide.
This movie absolutely scared the utter, total bejeezus out of me when I was a kid.
It'll be a bit difficult to get the point across in widescreen, because that results in smaller images. I didn't see it this way on TV, of course.
This was the first “end of the world” movie I’d seen, and the genre would unnerve me more than any horror movies. (End of the world + horror was worst of all, of course.)
Our hero, Harry Belafonte, has emerged from a mine accident to find everyone gone. Vanished. This . . .
Gave me a fear of the CD logo.
Whenever I saw it, I associated it with The End.
And . . . it just got worse.
The scenes of exploring vacant Manhattan - well.
Hey, let’s get a sandwich!
Thanks to PDQ Bach, I knew the name before I knew exactly what it meant.
We find out hints of what happened:
Thanks for the day-brightener, DYING PRESIDENT
Wait a minute, the UN retaliates? Against whom?
And where did all the bodies go?
I know this place - it’s by the Fifth Avenue Office Building, where the Toy Fair used to be.
He finds a radio station, with a great old sign:
And he sets up in a swank, modern apartment building. Note the signage: those downward-pointing signs were common, until they weren't. To modern eyes they look wrong.
Then he meets Inger Stevens, who (gasp) is a WHITE CHICK, so there’s that. As a matter of fact, that’s all there is, once another WHITE DUDE shows up.
They end up chasing each other through the streets of New York with guns, because of SEX and also maybe because of a race thing? Hey, it's possible. Anyway, it's a big empty world, and it seems a bit misguided for 1/3rd of the population of THREE PEOPLE to prowl the rooftops trying to shoot another third.
Our hero ends up in a rough spot:
What’s notable to me, is this:
When the worlds ends and men are locked in primal conduct, they’ll still dress sharp and wear that tie knotted as tightly as possible.
That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.The type has been enlarged on every page, and all the indexes are up to date for the end of 2020.
You might also note there's a PARADIGM SHIFT in the Bleat naming convention. Monday - Friday of the 1st week is 11-15, the second week it's 21-25, the third week 31-35, and so on. This makes it easier for me, since I don't have to hand-recode those dates in the box.