We were supposed to have a storm on Friday. Six to eight inches. I warned Daughter that we might not get to the COVID testing place, because they might have shut down. Would this affect her ability to go back to college on Monday?

Thing is, I was genuinely concerned. She needs to go back. She wants to go back. She has to go back.

Woke Friday morning to mere slush. Now, slush has its own problems. It’s hard to shovel. It freezes, of course, and coats the sidewalk with a carapace of ice. Jasperwood just isn’t on a corner lot, it’s on a hill: both sidewalks slope down. So I shoveled the slush to keep it from freezing, which had the effect of scraping off the stuff that gave you actual traction, and exposed the underlayer of ice. But hey, civic duty.

Friday night, last Pizza Friday before Daughter goes back. Earlier I’d taken her to get her COVID test, which led to a discussion about how much spit one can issue on command.

Me, being manly: however much spit they want, I can give it.

Daughter: yeah well you’d be surprised

I wanted to hit the grocery store to get some fruit, and to be honest, full disclosure, was looking for one more shot roaming through the store, riffing on things. But she had some zoom meetings with college, one for a TV show she’s going to be writing, and another for the school’s film society publication she has been tasked with assembling, editing, designing, writing, and other such details. Fine, fine, off you go.

Went to CUFB and got what I needed, and also picked up a few things for next week with the idea, now returned and shaping all meals going forward, that we are cooking for two.

Home. Wife on conference call. Put everything away stealth-ninja style, wincing at the rustles. Nap, which was fitful: Birch had some hard barking he needed to do to save the neighborhood. Woke, coffied, hacked ice and slush off the sidewalk. Oh, yes, that: we were supposed to get 6 to 10 inches of snow. We got drizzle and snow, which meant the entirety of Jasperwood’s sidewalks, angled down on both sides, were treacherous. I’d shoveled widow maker slush off in the morning; did so now again. Then I went to get the pizzas for the last Pizza Friday of this interval.

Drove to Uptown on the same route I took when picking up Daughter from her job at Target. It’s been almost a month. Now feels disconnected from those trips. Just as well. Listened to a dramatization of the Alcatraz Riot on “Gangbusters,” which has been off the air for half a century, except it’s not. Parked, went into the hip little pizza joint. Oh the bustling nightlife of the city:

It has a little stage by the window that tells you it used to be something else. But everything in this neighborhood used to be something else.

Drove home. Listened to the conclusion of the Alcatraz Riot. We ate pizza, after which I told daughter you are now free to have pizza any day of the week you wish, free from tradition. Make your own traditions. Have it on Tuesday - no, that’s Tacos. That is a rather iron rule. Thursday! Or not! Your future is your own!

Then we opened presents. The boxes Wife ordered last month finally arrived, so we we opened them. It was Second Christmas. Wife insisted on actual Christmas music, too. Which was . . . weird, at first, and really weird, but then you realized that sitting around the tree (which is still up, because the boxes hadn’t arrived) and hearing the traditional songs, which can be summoned up simply by asking Siri, who will not inquire why you want Traditional Christmas in January - well, the illusion was complete.

It was a good Friday.

Saturday I addressed the Ice Situation, and got 100 lbs of grit to strew. The absurdity of the lot size for Jasperwood, so absolutely abnormal for this city, meant I had to drive the car to the farthest point for get dispersal, because I wasn’t going to haul a 50lb bag up the ice walk. In the course of laying down the grit I fell three times, the last time assuming an almost superhero posture. In each instance I fell because the street was pure ice, not the sidewalk, and I had to walk on the street to get the grit.

These are things no one in warmer climes ever has to consider. I cannot imagine an analogue. Like, I had to lay out all the sponges to absorb the humidity so people walking their dog didn’t have their hair affected.


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.

Oh yeah def Fred Mac, it's obvious



Am I supposed to know, or care?

Not a cheap cheap Republic, but not A-league stuff, either.


The opening music. Yes, this again. I spoiled it by playing it at the end of last year. Well, here it is again, the Elmer Bernstein bit that wants so hard to turn into the opening Star Wars sequence.



Oh, the Gordons.

The Gordons? The Gordons.

The Gordons were crime fiction authors Gordon Gordon (born March 12, 1906, Anderson, Indiana – died March 14, 2002), and his wife, Mildred Nixon Gordon (born June 24, 1912, Kansas – died February 3, 1979, Tucson, Arizona). Both attended the University of Arizona where they met and later married in 1932. They wrote numerous crime fiction novels, some of which were filmed.  Many of these feature fictional protagonist FBI agent John "Rip" Ripley.

After they learned that the screenwriter of Make Haste to Live received $40,000 while they, the authors, only received $5,000, the Gordons insisted on writing the screenplays for their books being filmed. Gordon was an editor of the Tucson Citizen newspaper and a publicist with 20th Century Fox from 1935 to 1942, and later served as a Federal Bureau of Investigation counter-intelligence agent during World War II for three years.

Seems like that would be an interesting movie.

Anyway: She meets the charming hood, and he drops her off at the cigar store her mother runs.

Who's fighting?

They fall in love, marry, live in a a big house, have a kid, and then, years later, the mom dies, and the daughter has to clean out her spare room behind the old cigar store . . .

Remember, this is years later:

Boy those guys must have rematched every other weekend.

The story’s okay, but the characters are boring, and nothing has any momentum. The bad guy gets out of prison and finds his ex wife, and spends most of the movie . . . annoying her, and occasionally appearing in Ominous Noir Mode.

It’s low-key sorta-kinda terror, but not really, until it is, maybe. And no one ever says “hey, it’s that famous gangster who was in the paper.”

The flashbacks to the happy times are shot in Recollected Romance Mode:

There's a troublesome blonde. She even makes her way into the other woman's happy recollections.

Does she look familiar?

Perhaps if she was dressed all in black and smiling as Gomez kissed her hand.

Oh, one more thing:

Guess we do know who won.

If you wish,  make this a challenge: There are four magaines on the rack, with multiple copies. From the left, it's easy to pick up Newsweek and the tell-tale red border of Time. The one on the right, I can't say. I don't know. But in between the one on the right and Newsweek is a cover style - and name - I haven't thought about in years. Did you recognize it? If so, was it immediate?

That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.



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