I tried to have the perfect weekend, but several months ago I bought a garbage can shed to save the neighborhood from the shameful sight of our bins. I could tell upon assembling it that it was the finest Chinese lumber, and the metalwork - well, the entire thing was held together with screws the size of a mouse's penis, and the very touch of the screwdriver stripped them. Because they were made of clay. The doors are held shut with barrel-bolt clasps, and I know they're "barrel-bolt" because I had to do a search to replace them.

The little protruding knob, essential to the operation of the lock, fell off a while ago. It was either glued on, or attached with solder adulterated with the ground-up remains of workers who had expired at their post and fed to industrial shredders. My wife asked me Saturday to fix it, so that settled that. I'd been intending to replace it when the weather warmed. Well, the weather warmed. A nice 40 degrees. So I unscrewed the part - in the rain, of course - and went to four hardware stores. No one had the proper part, because it was made especially for the unit. Anything smaller would be insufficient; anything larger would not fit.

I have alerted the company and expect that the problem will be solved one way or the other in April. I'll keep you posted.

At least I tried!

Prior to that the Giant Swede helped me install the Nest thermometer, which is to say he removed it and discovered I'm lacking a necessary wire that must be fished from the wall by a professional.

So that didn't work, but at least we tried!

Wives love it when you fail but say you tried.

Prior to that we were at a Tile Store, where he had to buy some tiles. Seemed the place to go. You see, several years ago the people who lived in the house where he now resides redid the kitchen, and put in new tile on the wall, but figured: what's the point of putting tile behind the control panel of the stove? No one will see it. Now the stove has perished, and the one he wishes to buy does not have the control panel. So rewind the clock four or five years to the moment when some guy said "eh, never mind behind the stove" - it led directly to the purchase of the last box of matching tile in the store and possibly the metropolitan area and quite possibly the continental United States, since that's how these things work. Items appear. Items are discontinued. The factory closes down. The workers who disassembled it are shot and dumped into a pit; the ground is salted; the area is paved over and a park or school is built on the spot, and there's no evidence this particular type of tile ever existed.

But he had the last box, by God. Before we left we stopped to look at two competing bathroom paradigms, which I believe can divide people along hard bright lines. You're one or the other.


As we were standing there the sole remaining tile the previous owners had left slid off the box he'd just bought and shattered on the floor, and even though the manager cleaned it up there'll be one piece that lodges in the tread of someone's shoes and transports to another house and falls out and perhaps someone treads upon it in a month and has no idea where that came from.

It came from the guy who decided not to put tile on the wall behind the stove, and the appliance designer who cut corners on the circuit board that gave the fatal F1 signal that required stove replacement. But the person who's looking at a bloody foot will never know. They can't. There's just no way they could.




Again, not a review - just a look at how the look and styles changed over the course of a long, successful franchise. Or Series, as they might have said.

That's what he does. What, you say - the Thin Man from the first movie? Who's dead? They're shipping the decayed bones back to his ancestral home? No. We all agree that The Thin Man is sort-of Nick, but mostly just a stand-in for the general impression we have of Nick and Nora. It's a mood. A spirit. An adventure, with the promise of laughter.

It almost didn't happen: "This movie was to begin production in 1942, but Myrna Loy refused the part. Instead, she went to New York to marry car rental heir John Hertz, Jr., and worked for the Red Cross war-relief effort. The movie almost began shooting with Irene Dunne as Nora Charles."

We're in New York, but just for the opening scenes.

Or are we? A page on New York film locations says: "Movies lovers of the 1940's will notice the MGM version of Grand Central Terminal." That's right: it's a set.

The camera bores in, and all is right with the world.

The wartime character of the early scenes shows how things have changed: transportation is difficult and crowded. No more retiring to an elegant stateroom; now they're sitting on the armrests. And Nick's on the wagon, drinking only cider. Alas.

Well, once he gets back to his home town, the newspaper takes note. Nick always makes news, just by showing up.

I mention this because of the headlines:NAVY EXTENDS DEFENSE ZONES. ARMY TRANSIT PLAN MAPPED.

Whatever happened to Loose Lips Sink Ships?

Tell me these aren't the most early 40s people you've ever seen:

The fellow on the right ended his career as a recurring judge on Perry Mason, which is why I trusted him throughout the picture.

Mr. Hertz was a lucky, lucky man:


She gets spun around the dance floor in one sequence, because we have to have swabbies and swing. Powell's so good:

He does it all with the minimum effort.

This is amusing, and was probably noted by audiences at the time. Nick's out in the hammock, relaxing.


On the big screen everyone would have seen what he was reading: Nick Carter, Detective. It was a long-running series I find utterly pedestrian and without character. Modern eyes might not catch the joke - Nick reading Nick - but modern eyes will certainly recognize this:


Not the guy. The other guy. Do with less, so they'll have enough! Now that smiling dogface is known as the cheerful GI who's offering a cup of STFU.

  Not the guy. The other guy. Do with less, so they'll have enough! Now that smiling dogface is known as the cheerful GI who's offering a cup of STFU. We know his name: Thomas J. Murray, who died in 2002. His daughter was reportedly unhappy with his use in internet memes. Can't blame her.


Another Myrna outfit, just because:


And finally, a moment from the inevitable gathering to name the murderer. The fellow on the left is a cop.



He's just taken a weapon off the fellow in the middle.

That's some quality firearms-holding there, Lou.

That will do; today should hold Tumblr and Workblog. See you around. Oh - almost forgot. First day of the month, it's the 193 Housewives' Almanac. What happened this month that no one ever thinks about any more? You'll see.


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