Beautiful day in the empty downtown. Little to report. Wrote, then drove downtown, had a good roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce at my desk, walked around, wrote, then drove home, napped, ate, wrote.

And, I admit, I read some Twitter. There were birthday greetings for William Shatner, who cannot be 90, but is. Made me think a few years back, when I interviewed him for the paper. Not the easiest thing to do. You know he's been asked every question in the book; you know he's heard every possible Star Trek question, and you don't want to ask any, but this is your only chance! You want to flatter him without seeming obsequious!

From the start it felt uncomfortable, because I think I made the mistake of saying this was an honor or a pleasure or something, and I guess that's too much. Perhaps some egos are so enormous they find such things self-evident and beneath mention. It's a pleasure, water is wet, let's get on with it.

My killer question had to do with "The Intruder," a Corman film I'd recently seen, and he didn't want to talk about it, or whether he'd wished he'd done more pure heavies. He wanted to talk about his new show with Henry Winkler, and I get that, except he didn't seem to interested in it, beyond the fact that he was traveling and enjoying himself.

The most awkward moment came at the end, when I asked how he felt appearing at the end of the most recent Star Trek movie, and he was unaware that his picture had been used. So I spoiled a Star Trek movie for William Shatner. It wasn't my best interview, and afterwards I thought, well, never meet your heroes, and all that.

I'm still glad I did it. It didn't make me any less of a fan of his work. And if the interview wasn't as warm and personable as I would have liked, that's okay.

I may be the only person in the universe who laid a rek spoiler on Captain Kirk.






Follow-up to last week's little bit of dyspepia about the stupid XM phone app.


It does indeed fix the bug. Here's the thing, though. I don't think they rushed this through the pipeline the day I called and raised a complaint. It was in the works.

That meant the "customer service" rep had no idea what I was talking about, and not been informed about this.

Why would a company make an error like this? Because they didn't want to admit there was anything wrong in the first place? Oh, we just came up with this ourselves, because our relentless search for perfection turned up this problem you probably didn't notice.

Uh huh. It would be better to send out some info to all the "customer service" reps, because if my rep had said "yes indeed, we're aware of that. We'll be releasing V. 3.32b in two days, and it addresses the exact problem you've described. Thank you for remaining a SiriusXM customer!"

Me: now that's a sharp company! I'm sticking with you guys!

But of course the end result is that I'm still sticking with those guys.

Why? Why not go to Spotify, with its Pandora channels? Why not just rely on Apple music? Is it the Old Time Radio shows? Why am I phrasing everything as a question? It might indeed be the OTR, which is stupid: I own every single episode they put on the channel. Not in the same high quality, though - the station's content supplier has done a nice job cleaning the stuff up. But it's the serendipity.

Sometimes you don't know what you want to hear, and have to be told. Nothing makes you stop looking for something perfect than to know it's best to settle for what's offered. The more choices, the more you skitter around.

That said, I do have Spotify on my phone, and I use it. Never YouTube for music; loathe the very idea. I have Pandora channels for Moby, Henry Mancini, Elvis Costello, and other favorite artists. As with TV, I now have a brilliant galaxy of choices.

So why aren't I just skipping with delight?

To paraphrase the Springsteen song: 570 channels and too much on.










Because I watched “The Odd Couple,” Netflix suggested I watch another Neil Simon movie, “The Out of Towners.” It is a comedy. For some. For me, it is a horror movie. It’s about a couple trying to get to New York. Everything goes wrong. The plane, the train, everything, all wrong. They’re constantly late and missing connections. I have been Jack Lemmon in that movie; I know exactly how he feels in the early panicked part. He turns into an unpleasant, hectoring, threatening, nutjob.

Anyway, the opening starts at an airport in Idaho. It’s actually Islip.

Lovely little thing. I like the interiors, too.

The magazine counterman looks as if he's from another dimension where he played Oscar to Lemmon's Felix.

Note the railing: just like the Minneapolis airport, the second-floor offices looked over the concourse. A popular design at the time. But no matter how crisp the modernism, it was always sullied with signage:

When they get to Boston, and later New York, everything is late-60s careworn and smudged, heaped with garbage. Everything that is old, looks old, and everything that’s recent looks unstylish and careworn.

Now and then you hear a voice, think - could it be? C’mon, show me who’s talking.

Ah, yes. Of course it’s him.

Music by Quincy Jones. Doesn’t fit. But movies had this stuff all over them.

  . I have a shuddering reaction to it. Not because I had an unhappy childhood, not at all. It just seems to be the soundtrack to all the dreck I didn’t notice. How so much of everything was just . . .

Well, this.


Wood-grained plastic. I grew up in the era of wood-grained plastic. As I have said elsewhere, there is only one suitable use for the stuff, and that’s the casket of the man who invented wood-grained plastic.



It’s 1959.

All the Hep Cats are wearing them! By the way, Hep Cats is the name of the magazine.


It’s a print shirt, but it would’ve been hilarious if they’d sent actual newspapers. Hey that’s what the ad said


What is she apologizing for?

Hey kids! Here’s a fast way to make some easy money!

"Ideal for sporting events," if you like to shoot the losers.

Look at this ugly thing: Elvis would want you to fit your head through the ring

Wouldn’t you at least try? Elvis would love you


Seven bucks for this thing:

Why didn’t they catch on? You’d think the antique stores would be awash in old home recordings. What a resource that would be, at least for getting a glimpse of bygone postwar life.

Hey kids! Before you head out with that gun, wet your whistle at the Fibreboard Bar:

“Points up the cleverness of its proud owner.” Not “points out,” but “points up.”



I’m guessing it’s those plastic things with a faceted front, the image changing depending on the viewing angle.

They just couldn’t get enough of Elvis.

  It changes to “funny sayings,” like Dick Clark


That will do today, I hope.




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