Annnd we're back! I’ve so much to tell you about tiny things of such small consequence. Can’t wait. It’s been month since the Bleat was live, in the sense that it’s ever current and up-to-the-minute. Note: in all honesty I'm recounting some events that occured a while ago, since I wrote a lot of stuff over the last week. The picture above, for example, will make sense tomorrow, and was taken ten days ago - but it still applies. It's a sure sign summer is over. But summer did not get the memo.


That was my phone on Friday. Felt like 100, ! it said, but no one really believed it. It's been a fantastic September, payment for the cold rainy August - an inversion no one wants when August starts, but is happy to accept when September rolls in.

That's the good news. The bad news . . .


It will take me a long time to find my keys via public transport. Believe me, it's even worse on foot.

That's not where they are. The tracker device fell off somewhere around the house, and I can't find it - but the last time it checked in, it was in my luggage at the dock in New York.

While it's completely wrong, it's fascinating how the program can access the information needed to reunite you, right down to the alert on that last bus.



Not everything has been inconsequential. A while back the phone rang, and I didn’t recognize the number. Voice mail, then. Someone wondering if I’d found my dog, and if not, she thought she saw him.

I looked over at the bag on the passenger seat of the car. It had a box of ashes inside. No, I found my dog.

Wife took care of the remains,since I was on the ship. She varried a feather-light box to the vet for cremation. She signed up for separate remains, which means you got your pet, exactly. The other option, I guess, is a portion of Batch #2239

The box of ashes weighed more than the box she brought in.

Here’s another odd detail: the amount of ashes matched exactly the contours of the box. Filled it out completely. I weighed the ashes, and they were twice the weight of Jasper’s remains. He was a full dog when he went. Scout - well, I can’t say, and hate to say, but there wasn't much left.

The collar is still in the basement with his tags, some elements rusted, the new tag with phone number still crisp. (I got that several months ago because the old one was fading, and I thought, you know, he does run when he can.) The disposition of the collar is the hardest part, because it should be on him. You remember the feel of his fur when you put it on after a bath. Damn, damn, damn.

The sorrow is still with us; I’m still sorrowful about saying goodbye to Jasper. I am sitting outside in the gazebo now, looking at the chair where Scout would be sitting in the evening time. Damnit. Someone out there hit him and drove on. Screw you, person. Just screw you.

Well, that wasn’t expected. Anger But it’s there. All those years I feared he would be hit by a car, and he was hit by a car. I don't blame the driver for that. But for driving on? Yes.

Anyway, I went back and asked if we did indeed pay for separate remains, and how they can possibly tell us they just didn’t give us Two Scoops of undifferentiated dog.

I told them I had too much remains, and they said they’d call the company. I said I didn’t expect them to admit anything. Hate to be cynical about this, but I don't expect the pet crematorium to launch an investigation, check the logs, interrogate the employees - and I imagine the fellow who does the job as some olf gravedigger type from an EC comic, suspicious, nuturing secret grudges, resentful of the boss who comes down into his domain. Thinks he can tell me my business. He'll find out. Oh he'll find out.

The vet called back after an hour. I was informed that the reason my old dog’s ashes were heavier might have been due to the size of the ashes; sometimes they’re finer, sometimes they’re larger.

“The granularity is the same in both cases,” I said, being a man who had recently examined two boxes from different beloved pets."

“Well, sometimes the box is included in the procedure.”

“The box was cardboard.”

And so on. They weren’t going to say “yeah, you got too much dog ash, here’s some money back.”

Now I have to figure out what to do with them. There was a spot in the back under some bushes where he liked to sit; it was cool, and he could watch his domain. It’s the spot from which he would emerge when I couldn’t see him, and called, and called, and rattled the Milk Bone box.

Wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking of his signs when I drive by certain areas.

On the other hand: tonight we called up the Humane Society pages, and looked at the adoptable dogs.

It’s a start. It takes a while to get ready, but maybe you shouldn't wait. It will be cold soon enough. You want long autumn walks. You want a dog that feels at home and knows the couch in the sun porch is a great place for a winter nap.

You want to hear the clink of the tags downstairs because he's scratching his ear like the dickens.

There's a bag on the shelf with a box of dust. We have too much dog, and not enough.


And now the second installment of a feature I started last Autumn: obscure shows that didn't last. There were so many.

You know when you can't find the internet page that's autoplaying a video? You're a . . .



You can guess what it's about. Wikipedia:

Hunter stars as Paul Morgan, a 29-year-old cartoonist whose comic strip Bachelor at Large profiles his amorous adventures around Malibu BeachCalifornia. The program also starred Jerome Cowan as Hunter's boss; John Larsen, the owner of Comics, Inc.; Richard Erdman as his best friend, the rich playboy Peter Fairfield, III; and character actress Reta Shaw as Hunter's housekeeper, Thelma, who disapproved of his life-style.

They kept trying to make the "funny cartoonist" situation work. It didn't. But who drew the strips?

The Bachelor at Large comic strips seen on camera were drawn by veteran cartoonist Zeke Zekley, who had worked closely with George McManus on the classic strip Bringing Up Father from 1935 to 1954.

In an industry known for raw deals, Zeke may have been dealt the rawest:

McManus was one of America's most widely-read cartoonists with his newspaper strip, Bringing Up Father, and he was in desperate need of an assistant. Zeke was quickly hired, and the two men became close friends, with Zeke eventually drawing and even writing more of Jiggs and Maggie than McManus. (Well into his eighties, Zeke was still able to draw those characters in a manner most would find indistinguishable from their maker.) Zeke worked with McManus for years, and it was assumed that when McManus died or retired, Zeke would take complete control of the strip. This did not happen. In 1954, McManus died and King Features Syndicate elected to give the job to an outsider—a move that was unpopular with other strip cartoonists and which caused some of them to make contractual demands about who would take over their strips after they died

He also worked for Preventive Maintenance Monthly, and if you're a comics geek you know what that means.






When a movie has this title . . .


You can be reasonably sure the title character is innocent. Especially if it's a big star.

Here he is. He? Of course not. It's Judy Garland as Marlene Dietrich!



It's Loretta Young. She has left a car in the rain, and she's walking alone along the road.




  She has her own symphonic movement. It’s by Victor Young.


When she gets to town, the lightning illuminates a movie billboard because FORESHADOWING or maybe POSTSHADOWING. It’s certainly relevant. We think she committed a murder. She’s certainly acting like one.


That's not a real movie, although Carey and Russell did do a film togther in 1950, a year after this one came out.

She makes it home. Flashback to a previous morning. She’s teaching a class. One of the students . . . well, that boy ain’t right.



But he has a strange brainy charisma, and against her better judgement she takes him up on an offer for a ride. They end up at the beach, where he tries to, shall we say, press an outrage upon her. She kayos him with a tire iron, and we assume she’s killed him.

What happens next is exactly what you expect. There's the local policeman assigned to the case, who is distracted by the fact that Young's bosom is in the middle of her torso:



Wendell Corey. There's a chemist who examines the evidence, and seems to think he's in a Universal Horror picture:



"Don't blame me if I seme strange, Lieutenant - it's the lighting."



"No, perhaps it's me after all."

Bob Cummings shows up to provide a love interest, and wouldn't you know it, he was the dead rapist's guardian.



Where are they, you ask? At the prize fights, where there's always a woman in the background cawing for blood, her face shining with excitement.

They appear to be boxing under the lamps at a restaurant that really wanted to make sure the food stayed hot:



It's what you expect of a movie like this. Wikipedia:

The New York Times gave the film a positive review: "Murder is a common and salable screen commodity...The Accused, a super-duper psychological job, well spiced with terminology which sounds impressive, if not always crystal clear in meaning, and the performers go about their business with an earnestness which commands attention. Under William Dieterle's assured direction, the story flows smoothly and methodically builds up suspense to a punchy climax which leaves it to the audience to determine whether the defendant should be punished or go free."

It's not bad, and holds your attention. It's not stupid. It's a grown-up movie.

But don't let anyone tell you this is noir.

That'll do! See you around.


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