A big box showed up on the stoop. I expected it: the fortnightly meal kit. The last one had a leaky fish container that made the fridge smell, well, like a 19th century fish market, and when I contacted the company they were sorry, so very sorry - they gave me a credit for the whole box and $30 credit on the next one.

This box had dampness. The little bags that had the ingredients were moist, and you just don’t want anything to be moist. I decided to take pictures in case I had to complain, because if I was a customer service rep who threw a guy some credits I’d raise an eyebrow if he came right back and said “oh hey my shallots were bruised.” Sure enough, one bag was wet, the cardboard divider was stained, and ewww:

I sent in a full photographic record with questions about whether the mayo was safe to eat, and included links to this site, my work site, and Twitter to show that I wasn’t one of those people who spent their time extorting companies with jumped-up BS. It was more of an informational thing, i.e., your warehouse is pooch-screwing my orders and maybe you want to know.

Later I went out to get the mail: another box. A big one. Amazon. No idea. Heavy; the contents sounded like a bag of pebbles. No. Idea. When I opened it, well, idea: I had signed up to have a bag of dog food delivered once a month. Same price as Target, and I didn’t have to lug it to the checkout, to the car, from the car, to the storage room. Never had to worry about running out of dog food again!

So this day’s going good, mayo smears aside. Around six: ding dong. Doorbell. I am suspicious of the doorbell, because it’s like a phone call: who does that? Daughter said she saw a guy walking around the house in a yellow vest, and I figured he was soliciting money or signatures. Went out later for some reason and saw two enormous boxes on the porch.

Bounty towels. From Amazon. One box must have weighed 40 pounds. How can Bounty towels weigh so much? More to the point, what is it with the Bounty towels? Did I install a Dash button somewhere and it got bumped repeatedly and now 40 bales of Bounty were here?

Looked at the address label: not my address. Not even close. I would have walked them over but they were huge and heavy, and we live up on a hill with many stairs. So I called UPS.

They delivered it, right?

You can’t do anything with their phone service unless you have a tracking number. It’s Kafkaesque. Well, maybe USPS, aka the Post Office, delivered them. Spent some time on the phone with their robot.

Would you like to hear our privacy policy NO

At the conclusion of this call would you like to take a brief NO

Please select from the following options. For delivery, say “Groximxhr.” For packaging, say “delivery.” For hours, says “Ours.” To hold your mail, say “tapeworm slump.” For what you really want, shout “operator” repeatedly to no effect.

Eventually the robot said she was sorry, but they were closed, because they were the Post Office.

Finally found an Amazon page that let me input my phone number, and they’d call me. They did. I was put on hold. Then disconnected. Called again, got a really helpful guy who sussed it all out, sent a message to the Delivery Team, and said they might be by to pick it up.

I said I don't want to leave it over night, because it looks like we’re not home.

Oh no, you can take it inside.

But how about tomorrow? What time should I put it out tomorrow?

I wouldn’t worry about it, he said. In exchange for your inconvenience you can keep it.

Mind you, I’m tweeting during all of this, because of course. That’s what one does.

Wife and mother-in-law and daughter come home from the movie. It was bad. I explain how we're in a Bounty-towel waiting-type situation, and wife says I shouldn’t take it in, I should leave it out in case they come tomorrow.

They’re not coming tomorrow. No one is coming tomorrow. No one is coming tonight. They wrote this one off. They moved on. They’ve cut their losses.

But what if they do come?

Well, I don’t think the Post Office is sending a contract employee at 11 PM to reposition a box, but I’ll leave it out there until 12. After that I’m bringing it in. I’ll look like something was delivered and we’re not here.

But we are here.

They could break a window.

Scout would bark.

Given the choice between moving the boxes inside and having the dog fend off a burglar who has erroneously assumed our absence I’M LEANIN’ TOWARDS THE FORMER

AT 12:37 AM I moved the boxes inside. Tomorrow I’ll open them up. I’ll bet they're just plain. White. No patterns. I like the ones with patterns.

Modern life is just a constant stream of disappointments.


It's 1949. The war is long behind everyone, right? We'll see how Paris was doing this week.

Any Bleat readers in France who can check the records to see how they did? Alan certainly wanted out, so maybe he got here and stayed.

Search for Alain. They may have changed that for Look mag.



Window snoops are disgusting pervs - and the film starts by putting you in his show.

An early 50s B-movie that's really uncomofortable:

The restoration notes say “Thanks to James Ellroy,” who detailed his own experience as a creepy window peeper hopped up on goofballs, so this probably not going to be classic noir, but weirdo pulp.

The Prowler's target:


She’s Evelyn Keyes. B-movies for the most part, never a big star - despite fine performances and a memorable turn in Gone With the Wind. Married John Huston for a while. Didn't last. Married Artie Shaw - lasted longer than her other three marriage. Stuck around long enough to do Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote.

Two cops show up to assist the lady who called in the peeper, and one of them is Van Heflin.

You know from the start: he ain’t right.

After they do a rote look, the cops leave - but Officer Harwood comes back to see if she’s okay, and it’s . . . unnerving.

It’s his way of announcing he owns everything.

Turns out they went to the same high school. He remembers her. She remembers him, but barely. They chat. He’s full of resentments mixed with false cheer, and she’s disturbed and uncomfortable.

Flash forward: he’s in civvies and she’s making appetizers.

Did we miss something? No; they just compressed the plot.

There’s a bit of exposition you suspect will be a plot point: her husband is on the radio at night, and he records his shows to examine his diction. (Yeah, right.) There are shelves and shelves of his shows.

Anyway, he goes for broke:

She slaps him and tells him to go - but eventually she gives in, a moment when the movie suddenly becomes less interesting. What could have been about a rogue cop now seems rote, because he’s not in uniform. Where is this going?

Some place very dark, that’s where.

I'm going to let the rest of the plot alone, because it's a downward spiral of murder and fear and guilt and all the rest - a timeless story that feels tawdry despite her confortable home and nice insurance settlement. Let's just look at a little inadvertant documentary:


Somewhere in LA, but where? Doesn't matter, I suppose. It's the great dark mythical LA after sunset. The inside of the store is amazing:

I love the Vicks barometer.

As today: Vicks and Alka-Seltzer.

While they’re making whoopee, the husband’s radio show is playing.



  The voice is Dalton Trumbo.



That'll do! I'd link to the column but it's basically a compressed version of the story above. See you around ~



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