The snow is coming. The snow is coming! We had false Spring for a while, with temperatures that melted all the sidewalk impediments. But Monday morning brought snow, and the Prediction Terror machine started filling the feeds with dire warnings of a hellish inundation. Two feet! Two feet!

Okay, two feet.

White-out conditions!

Okay, well, I’ll drive slow. Okay, slower.

Dangerous winds!

Look, I’m not out in the prairie trying to get the cows into the barn. I don’t need to run to the store to get bread and milk because I have bread and milk to last for a day or two, after which I will maybe go to the store for bread and milk, which I won’t, because I don’t need any more bread and milk.

I am worried about getting downtown to do all the downtown things, because if you don’t go to the gym every day you completely deflate down into a sad little empty balloon, usually within 48 hours.

Came home from work early to shovel, for the four people who will use the sidewalk in the next 12 hours. Waved goodbye to my neighbor, who left the house with his official pilot’s cap, tugging a carry-on. Given the forecast, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his wife at the window with the two kids, tearfully waving goodbye, perhaps with a handkerchief, as if he was off on expedition around Cape.

I kept shoveling, making sure to do the entire width of the walk, but to be honest it would have been better to leave half unshoveled for those who need the traction. Under the snow is slippery stuff. When I took Birch for a walk nearly every step had a glissando. Some people strew grit or sand, which is nice, but then you hit those long patches of thick eternal hard-pack ice, glinting up at you, and pray the dog doesn’t bolt and take you down.

I have enough gumption left for two more big storms. That’s it. I’m not overly tired of winter - self-preservation keeps that from happening, since that way lies madness. But only two more. This one I’m shrugging over, since we might not get the three feet, might get one, no big deal. Could be two? Could be. It’s February. It’s allowed. When you get another at the start of March and another towards the end, that’s when you mutter and curse and wonder why, why why am I here.

Then comes a day in April when you know why.

And we call that day “April 45th,” because it usually comes in May.








A break from Columbo research today.

Have you ever started a TV show and decided, in the first frame, that this was made entirely for you?

It’s an Apple TV show called “Hello Tomorrow.” It’s about Florida real-estate salesmen, the guys who go door to door to hawk a new community where life is easy. Except it’s not Florida. It’s the moon. The setting is all 50s retrofuturism, and nothing is explained. When I heard about it, I just figured it was a forked future: say we made a big tech breakthrough in 1922, and everything was sped up afterwards. So you have big Detroit iron, but they’re hovercraft.

It rolls out one perfect image after the other:

The aesthetic is consistent, which is never the case in real life, but who cares.

Here’s a touch I love, though. Take a look at this grocery store.

That’s not the 50s. That’s something from before, held over, because the world doesn’t change all at once. The past persists and defines longer than you think.

I’m on the fence about the product design, so far.

Well, every other frame.

Mostly I’m looking for the things they got right. But it’s an imaginary world; how can they get anything wrong?

I should note that the music in the ads is correct: they use “In the Limelight” right away.

One of the finest pieces of commercial background music ever penned.

Here's the trailer.








It’s 1978.

I never knew what to think about these guys, because they seemed . . . dumb. They had one trick. But I’d come to respect them soon enough. “I Wanna Be Sedated is a great track.


The album incorporated musical elements that were less prominent in punk rock, such as heavy metal-influenced guitar solos and 1960s-style ballads. The songs on Road to Ruin are considered by some as an attempt to get the band more airplay. The album did not sell as well as the band had hoped, peaking at number 103 on the Billboard 200, more than 50 places behind its predecessor, Rocket to Russia.

Yeah real punk man it’s a bootleg you could get arrested


The design of the album is intended to ape the poor production values offered by contemporary bootleg records, even going so far as to give an incorrect track listing: the song "Draw the Line" is included on the record but does not appear listed; the track is a secret track after "Mother Popcorn".

It was intended to sound lousy:

In his own 2014 memoir Rocks, Perry confessed that the idea behind the LP confounded their label Columbia:

We were working on Live! Bootleg!, an album of old shows that we intentionally wanted to sound bootlegged. A couple of those tracks were recorded off air onto a cassette. It had hiss all over it. We left on the hiss because the hiss was real. But I'm not sure Columbia ever understood our concept. They wanted a clean sound, but we wanted to keep it real. That's the thrill of a real bootleg.

You kids today, you got no idea how important the receiver was.

This was top-of-the-line gear, and told everyone you were serious about your rock music. Because music was very important to you. Dials and lots of buttons.

The company called it quits in 2014.

To be honest, I hated most live records. It meant you weren’t getting a new one for another year. Maybe a hot solo, but that was it.

On the other hand, this made the band.

The critical view of history:

In Pitchfork, Stuart Berman wrote on the album's success and influence, respectively, that "At Budokan, is not just one of rock's greatest live albums, but also one of its most triumphant underdog tales, an exemplar of pre-internet viral phenomena," and that "for the Foo Fighters, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Leo, the Raconteurs—basically any band that's ever tried to weld a Beatlesque melody to a power chord—all roads lead back to Budokan.”

Sure, sure - but had no one heard the originals? Was this their first introduction to the band? I think I listened to the live album once.

Tokyo Denki Kagaku.

We’d follow them into the world of VCR tapes, because we knew them from cassettes. The “SA” stood for “Super Avilyn,” although no one knew. Maybe the guy who was really into those things.


The 30s / 40s pastiche style was more popular than you might think in the 70s. A certain cadre of artists did it very well.

This must come from another CREAM, because this was copyrighted 1978.

Was there that much of a difference between the two years?

You’d be surprised.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! New artist in the Comics Obscura section. See you around.



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