It’s always a pleasure to upload the week’s material on a Sunday night, and know that I have a good batch. Of course, you may feel otherwise. You may leave the week with a feeling of empty disgust - why, this was an utter waste of time. We’ll meet on Friday and tote it all up and see if that was so.

By the way, in case you missed it because you didn’t check the comments over and over last Friday, the answer was “Winstons.” The man in the 1940s radio show smoked Winstons. Probably. I say that because the actor voiced Fred Flintstone, and we know that was his brand.

I think Fred was the sort of guy who really enjoyed smoking, and Barney smoked because he was hooked and everyone else did, but it was more of an annoyance than a pleasure.

Decent enough weekend. I was useful in my own way - meaning, I did yard work that used tools and electricity. Give me something I can turn on and wave around and I’m a wizard. In this case it was a new edger / trimmer, which goes the former very well and the latter not well at all. The assembly instructions were fantastically complex and vague, using terms that were not in the pictures with the numbers and the arrows. Attach the application wand to coupler. Remove fortitude adjuster. And so on. There really was only one way the thing could go together. The problem came when I had to attach the shield that keeps the little edger cord from picking up a piece of rock and embedding it your eyeball.

Three screws.

Three holes.

Seems easy enough.

But. The holes in the shield and the motor unit were plastic. The screws did not like the plastic.The metal couldn’t really get through the plastic as you’d expect. As if the metal had a long night and wasn’t 100% this morning, you know? And the plastic was rarin’ for a fight.

I did what I could, then noted that the shield was still loose. I tried to back one of the screws out of the hole . . . and the head started to strip.

The bane of all assemble-it-yourself products are cheap Chinese screws. The littlest thing, and they ruin everything. When the screw starts to strip, you have to push down to get purchase, so you’re pushing down as you’re trying to unwind it from its groove. Great fun. When I got one out I put it in my pocket and went straight to the hardware store. Bought five more, proper metal, with a tapered end. Secured the shield to prevent SERIOUS INJURY. Good to go!

Fired it up, and within 30 seconds it shot a sharp shard of grit into my throat. Well, lesson learned. We don’t use the grit in the winter anymore. It’s the best stuff for traction, but yikes. It would make a nice little movie, though, one of those Highlights of Life that’s never captured on camera because the event is too boring, but:

Scene one: Bitter December; man shakes a bag of Rooster Grit on the ground.

Scene two: lovely June, man is struck by grit and clutches throat, dropping the appliance

In between the two events, so many things unfolded, so many meals, conversations, fears, triumphs; I flew here and there, I saw two oceans. It never occurred to me at any point I would yell OWWW in June for something I did in December.


Another Cruze / Lang mystery: there’s no Clipped Wings in IMDB.

Probably because they changed the name to “Hello Sister.” A spoiled young flapper has to shape up and behave to get an inheritance. Part of that shaping-up would be refusing the advances of Licorice Satan, I expect.

You rarely see "based on a story that was illustrated by X artist." Not often relevent, is it? Except perhaps so, this time. Katherine Sturgis was a noted illustrator of the day. Her son illustrated the Eloise stories. "The artist Hilary Knight is her son and he says that his most famous image of Eloise was inspired by one of his mother's paintings."

Nothing remains. It's lamentable how many were lost, just as it's a problem today that many movies remain unavailable just because the owners don't make them available.




Summer means sci-fi!m In this case, a TV pilot.

It starts with all the images of my grade-school space fascination.


I had notebooks with pictures like these. I couldn't wait for all this to come true.

Inside the station, where they’re preparing for the first moon shot . . .

Just by looking at him on this grainy shot I wonder if I could ask him for a room. We have come from the valley for Festival.

Is that . . . that old guy who was always kindly and sometimes befuddled?




I know him too.

Are these the two guys from the Star Trek Festival episode?


What does it say that I can recognize these guys in a video of such bad condition? Everyone on Star Trek is just burned deep into my brain.

Anyway, something goes wrong - meteors, as you might expect - and it's time for some classic camera-shaking:

Why didn’t this awesome thing get picked up as a series?

Maybe because it has John Agar.

Well, the launch is scrubbed, so the astronauts head back to the station.


Guess not, but . . .

The action, which is not action at all, shifts to earth, where we have a long scene in a restaurant with some women who are about EMOTIONS. Ah: right. It’s a pilot, so it’s setting everything up.

Then we get exciting Senate Hearings about Space, which establishes a parsimonious Senator as an adversary. He’s amused and contemptuous of the space station. Another plot for the season: reduced Federal funding!

C’mon, let’s get back into space. Hey - it’s the Chief!

Wow, these are amazing shots for a TV show.

I kid, I kid. It's all reused footage from a George Pal movie.

Well, they try to go to the moon again, but the atomic pile on the ship goes haywire. It’s a matter of rod control.

Just not their week.

It’s not great. It’s not bad. It would have been fun to see an entire season.

Now, Star Wars credits!

Rip Van RONKEL. Really. But not really.

But more important is that first name.

Director of Return of the Archons. The Star Trek Festival! ep.




That'll do! See you around, and thanks for coming by.



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