47 out of every 100 words spoken in the house consists of NO

Dog has discovered the joys of Digging, in particular the planters inside the house; dirt everywhere. So the planters have to go in another room, along with the rugs, and the good chairs; the doors are all closed downstairs to keep him contained.

All bones must be buried. It is His Way.

Possible new name: Biter McMouthy.

Favorite place: under the kitchen island.

No one who’s had a puppy is unfamiliar with tiny-dog blurts; it seems to be a natural consequence of getting them established in their new niche. Stress, changes in environment, eating things in the new home, and so forth. But Scout had been A) plagued with particularly percussive bouts of evacuation, and B) somewhat listless.

Except when he wasn’t. It’s been hot. You’re covered with fur, you want to sit under the table. He would come outside to join me when I was working in the gazebo, and sit under the chair. But too much “sitting under things” makes you think the dog isn’t well, and wishes to withdraw. I had to take Daughter to piano on Friday, so I put him in the kennel, which lead to instant alertness and barking galore. Well, good to see he’s got some spunk!

And! When I returned in 45 minutes! He was spunky! And covered in stuff whose composition and aroma you can guess! O fun puppy time! Gah. You have to prioritize: get him out, wipe him down, pad in the washing machine, haul the kennel outside and hose it, open the windows, get out the fan to pull the air out. But none of it is really a problem.

Because you love the little guy.

The next day I took a sample to the vet to make sure he didn’t have a parasite of some sort. Turns out he has a parasite of some sort. Medicine: $80. I’m feeling pretty smart, because I was proactive in getting him fixed, and I’d signed up for the free 30-day insurance that came with the chipping. It covered things like this. Hah! Ahead of the game. Check the policy:

Deductible: $75

Oh. Huh. Well, there were issues of more pressing importance, like getting him to take his pills. Put them in peanut butter and put them in his food. Everything was eaten except for two pills, pristine, cleaned of all peanut butter. Okay FINE then it’s going down the gullet in a wad of peanut butter . . . which lead to two perfectly pristine pills coughed out, cleaned of all peanut butter. OKAY FINE then it’s the Cheese-Pocket option. I cut off some wedges of cheddar and pierced them to create a surreptitious pill-delivery space, and that did the trick.

Fascinating, I know. But our domestic lives are now centered around this little fellow. I am inordinately pleased with Daughter’s assumption of responsibility; my heart melts when I see how happy my wife is to have a dog around the house. Me, I have a companion for the hours when I work at home.

Someone to say goodbye to when you leave. Someone to say hello when you come back. The immensity of the void was unrecognized until it is filled again.

It does lend itself to amusing tableaus, though. I left a door open somehow and the dog went downstairs and bepooped the carpet. Wifely admonitions followed, as well they should. Mea Culpa. Next day: wife goes upstairs, leaves a door open for a moment - she’s coming right back - and in that space the dog goes to the sun porch, where the Expensive Rug has been rolled up and put away, and blurts on it.

Ah hah. See? But I can’t say that. I do, however, detect the aroma of additional deposits not cleaned up, and in the process of investigating I feel a certain sensation on my bare foot that indicates I have, literally, stepped in it. So I walk back to the kitchen with the affected heel arched to avoid floor conduct, and have to explain en route what I discovered, and am doing, to wife.

“And you’re walking around with it on your foot?”

“Yes. That is exactly what I am doing, Smearing it all over the place as much as possible.”

To be fair she was coming off a 12-hour work day with 6 hours of sleep, and we laughed about it the next day. Lesson: the dog is able to project a holographic image of itself so you think it’s where you left him, when he’s really doing the business on a rug.

I’m still curious about Scout’s backstory. There was only one brought North. Not a litter. He was a stray. Perhaps found as a wee beastie in a barn or by the road. Alone and scared, wandering the backroads. And now he’s here. A hard sad live with the happiest possible ending.

Because we have FOOD that just APPEARS and it’s INCREDIBLE.




NOT A REVIEW but notes on the art of games for people with a passing interest in this new medium.

Sad. Finished all the downloadable content, and the story is done. You’d think the story would be done with the game itself, but as it turns out, no: your head can be twisted around on your neck at least three more complete revolutions. It feels like a curse to know everything - or as much as you can decipher; there’s no way to describe how convoluted this story becomes, but just think of an infinite number of snakes biting their tales in a multiverse where snakes are also biting the tails of other snakes. At the end of it all you’re left with nostalgia for the time before you knew the answers, when your goal was simpler - save the girl, repay the debt - and the relationship between the characters was starting to thaw.. I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment in games like the one on Battleship Beach where Elizabeth is free and discovers people dancing on the boardwalk, or I was just exploring the city, marveling at the sights.

I know I have never had a moment like this.

I was playing Call of Duty: The Most Recent One, and the scenes are all intercut with some sort of interrogation / torture. Something about The Numbers. I never cared. I never felt the pain of the character I was supposedly inhabiting. It was just a game. But the scene above, well: I couldn’t watch it. My iPad was sitting on the desk and it reflected part of the screen and I watched part of the reflection.

Back up: I noted that you play Elizabeth in this part of the game. Not a masculine hand holding the gun, but one with red nail polish. Chipped.

You also get an idea of the marvelous imaginative set design at work. And it contrasts nicely with earlier scenes:

Same game. Back to Rapture; back to Columbia.

But it’s this. It’s the set-up for the end.

You walk up the ramp to face the bad guy, who’s flanked by two men who are unnamed, but represent different kinds of evil: the man who would harm a woman, and the man who would harm a chlid. But . . . your character has guns, right? Super powers?


At this point the game takes away control, and you watch - but you’re not watching, you’re experiencing, because you’ve been the person to whom these events are happening.

Movies tried to do this once, with the Robert Montgomery / Marlowe movie. It didn’t work; the medium is unsuited for it. Books do it well, but no matter how much you get lost in a book, there’s never a moment where you, the reader, dart behind a pillar and crouch down our of instinct and fear.

Sad it’s done, but glad. I want to go back to these worlds some day, but first I have to spend a long, long time away from them. Rapture and Columbia are dangerous places, horrible and mortally flawed, but there’s not a player who’s spent time there who doesn’t think of going back. Not for what it is, but for what you imagined it could be, had all gone right. Comstock, Ryan; Fontaine, Suchong, Fink. It would have been so much better without them.

But without them it wouldn't have been at all.





If you know the era, this makes perfect sense. If you don't - well, you might ask "why is the big radio tower playing an odd version of Beethoven, and what's with the guy with the weird laugh?"

The Beethoven has been explained here before - V for Victory. This is 1942. And audiences would have recognized the laugh right away as the trademark sound of . . .

But something interesting came after that, something I knew without knowing why I knew it. That comes later.

We meet all the particulars right away: Judge Horace Hooker, for example. But he’s not the same actor. Then we meet Leeeeroy, who’s not Leroy either - understandable, since he was played by a grown, if short, man named Walter Tetley. Instead we have this kid:

And he starts singing, because he’s taking a music lesson. Four minutes into the story, and he’s singing. Leroy would never have sung; he would have said “aw for corn’s sake” and warbled something awful. But as I said, this isn’t the same actor. It’s Freddie Mercer. IMDB:

A noted singer in Detroit and soloist for the Detroit Symphony at age nine and also soloist for St. Paul's Cathedral.

His promising career ended abruptly in 1944 for unknown reasons.

That's mysterious.

His teacher is Miss Hooker, the judge’s spinster sister, who was never introduced before:

Mary Field. IMDB:

Dark-haired, slender-faced Hollywood actress generally typecast as nosy or prudish: sometimes spinster, sometimes gossip and sometimes efficient secretary or officious shop clerk - but ever-obnoxious withal.

There were many varieties of Spinsters, though; my-an crazy types, romantic delusionals, practical sorts who find love late, etc. She was of the delusional variety here.

We meet Marjorie, the other child Gildersleeve adopted:

She wasn’t the same actress, either. At least Gildy’s Gildy, as the audience knew him, and Birdie, the maid, is Birdy.

So. Imagine: you’re going to see Star Trek: the Motion Picture, because you’ve loved the TV show for years. It has Kirk and Spock, but different actors for everyone else, and Bones and Kirk don’t get along.

I note the last point because Judge Hooker dresses down Gildy and threatens to take his children away.

What's it about? All sorts of things, but part of the story involves a backwards running competition. We're informed of the record holder, seen in one of those "believe it or not" knockoffs:

Pathetic! Today's backwards runners are much faster. Less aerodynamic drag from the facial hair, perhaps.

It’s a charming piece of early 40s middle-America entertainment, coasting on the good will built into the Gildersleeve character. If it lacks the rambling charm of the original, it’s because some things really are better suited to the medium in which they were born. The writer for the radio show, by the way, had a grandson who went into the entertainment business as well.

He’s done okay.

Anyway: Here's what stuck out: the tidy minute-long credits music lifts from Mahler.

There are two big Mahler quotes in here - one's the swooping three-note motif starting at :07, and the other's at :42 - dum dum dum DA dum dum dum.

Work blog around 12:30, Tumblr around noonish or so - see you then!


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