The sprinkler guys came by and said the system worked just fine. Well, they didn’t say that. They made a test from the downstairs controller, and all the heads popped up. End of story, move along. They did not call me about this, because they figured “I was busy.” Which I was! Those 1930s cigarette ad site updates aren’t going to write themselves.

I had to call the company and ask what was going on. They said the crew was going to call me back.

They did. Everything was fine, they said. Okay. Except it wasn't. The system did not respond to the app. Oh, my phone saw the sprinkler, to use a phrase no one ever said before 2008, and the sprinkler handshaked with the phone, as no one ever said or ever thought they would say. So I trashed it and reinstalled.

In the evening I called up the app and hit Zone 1. Shazaym, shazaym, shazaym: it burst forth! I let it run, adjusted the heads, and hit Zone 2.

The water flowed with untrammeled force!

Except it was still Zone 1!

I tried to cancel. The app would not cancel. It said I had an irrigation session in progress; did I want to quit? I did. I was also amused that the act of watering the lawn was an irrigation session. Don't ever remember my dad telling me to go out back and hook up the hose and start an irrigation session.

The system was really enjoying this, though; it would not end the session. I turned off the water at the source and rebooted the system. Let’s try this again: Zone 3.


I can operate everything from the box in the utilities closet, but that’s not really the point, is it?

I’m going to try a factory reset, the last resort. It sounds as if it should solve everything. Will Smith or Tommy Lee with the sparkly pen that blanks all memories and upends the Etch-A-Sketch. It’s as if the controller has issues. Bad memories. Old tapes, as we used to say.

Yes, old tapes. When you were in a relationship and your partner saw your actions through the prism of someone else’s quirks and problems, they were playing old tapes. One of those accusations that stopped the conversation dead. There’s no way to parry the assertion, because you’re informed of the existence of the Old Tapes without hearing anything that’s on them.

What will they say in a few decades? You’re loading inapplicable mp3s.

Anyway, I ran it all manually, and felt a certain pride in seeing it all work again. I remember when I had the system installed, how it felt as if I had arrived. The good places in my life, the happy places, the vacation places, were characterized by nozzles that popped out of the earth and watered the grass. It was a sign of a civilized and comfortable place.

Except one of my nozzles was pointed at the street. Great. Like an open hydrant in some picture of New York City in the 60s, kids dancing inn the spray. For a while I considered leaving it as it was, as a test: nothing grows on the newly seeded places on the lawn, and grass does grow on the street, then something is really amiss here.

UPDATE: The system can now be controlled from the phone. I have also added custom picture that show the terrain for each zone, so it's no longer guesswork. Nifty stuff. But I'm wondering how I can take something as simple as watering the lawn and making it even more complex.

I remember our sprinkler in Fargo was one of those things that just spun around and threw a lot of water everywhere. Metal. It would make a good murder weapon, but I don't think there's any crime story that employed one. Of course, back then, just about anything was a murder weapon. You could lay someone out with a phone receiver.

A new Monday feature: movie ads from 1929. They're taken from a big ad buy in a movie mag aimed at distributors, and there's a story behind each one.

Another mystery here. No mention of this on his IMDB page.

Cruze, a regular in these ads, directed over 70 films, and was also an actor in the early silent days.

He did a movie set in Vaudeville, but it came out years later, and wasn’t directed by Wanter Lang. Also:

In 1929 he appeared before a grand jury in Los Angeles that was investigating an accident on one of his films in which one man was killed and others were injured, one of many run-ins Cruze had with the law.

Maybe it was scrapped. I find nothing in the newspapers of the day.




Programmer time.

There was The Falcon and the Co-Eds, about which I had absolutely nothing to say. It was followed by:

They have to run through a series of cliched locales to bring new life to the same damned story. Someone will be murdered, dreadful thing, simply isn't done these days you know old sport, and it falls to the fellow with the top hat to solve it. Because society people are so deucedly clever about these things, at least if they have a name like The Falcon.

Which is never explained.


The usual theme has been replaced for a yee-hah festival of Western soundtrack cliches. But it does quote the original theme, so there's that.

RKO Opening Beethoven because we're still at war.


Ah, now this is how you start it:

They had some serious hair in the early 40s:

A big loud-mouth Texas-type guy blows in, throws money around, grins, laughs, acts like one of those yee-hah-everything’s-bigger-in-Texas oilman cliches - his name is literally Tex. Then he dies. Rattlesnake bite. As it happens, his ex-wife has invited the Falcon to the club, because she doesn’t want her ex to marry Miss Pile-of-Hair. The usual cops, including the hardy Ed Gargan, show up, and of course the Falcon gets involved, because reasons.

So . . . are we Out West yet? Guess not; next scene is a train compartment.

You know what name he calls the Porter.


Once we get out west, wherever that is, we see a stage coach, some rootin’-tootin’ cowboys, and Perry Mason’s secretary . . .

And, of course Authentic Red Indians:

Hale is lovely and smart -

But dare I say the Falcon is starting to look a bit long in the tooth, and obscuring the face with makeup.

Out of his city setting, he seems a rather frail and silly fellow.

Anyway, it ends as expected, and like all other Falcon movies so far, ends with a dame rushing in and begging him for help. I’ll go out on a limb: Conway was better than his brother. He seems more engaged, and doesn’t seem like there’s somewhere else he’d rather be.

This has to get more interesting, you think. Why are we doing this?

You'll see.



Another week! Here we go.



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