I spent half an hour trying to set up the garage door button on the new car. Was it this? No. Was it this? The one that says “door”? No. Honestly, it ought be obvious. Well, let’s check the internet . . .

Oh good. A video. Even better: a six minute video. There should be two options:

A 25 second video clearly labeled “Obvious answer”

A 6-minute video titled “because you really can’t figure these things out very well, can you?”

I would have chosen the first, even though . . . well, I obviously couldn’t figure it out. There was a good reason: there wasn’t any button for the garage door. In the endless permutations of option packages I somehow neglected to get this one feature I was looking forward to using, since who likes a clunky remote hanging from the visor? Never mind, I’ll stow it in the armrest.

This means I will not be able to turn off the house lights or security system from the car, but I had no intention of doing that. I have all these competing systems, barely meshed; the Apple Home phone app controls the lighting, as does the Phillips app, as does the Echo, as does Siri. Security is something else. But you know what? I don’t really care. If I was living alone I might want the lights to come on when I arrived, but I’d set them to turn on before anyway.

Picture someone in 1947 considering these problems. (Which are not problems.) “You’re saying I have to set up my Studebaker so the light in the kitchen pops on when I open the garage door? I guess so, but . . . we just turn them on when we get in the house.”

“Right, right, but if your car talks to your home hub -“

“Hold on now the cars are talking?”

“No. Well, yes - if you have the TruLink Audio package, it’ll talk, say things like ‘you have arrived at your destination’ -“

“Wouldn’t I know that?”

“Yes. Anyway. It communicates with your house, and tells it to turn on the lights.”

“Is there some kind of robot arm? Reaches out like in the cartoons? I saw that one about the house of the future. It went haywire. How often does it go haywire, the vacuum chasing the cat, the hands doing the dishes dropping all the plates?”

“It’s not like that. There aren’t any robot arms. It just . . . turns things on. Like the lights, the music -“

“You have to have some type of robot arm putting the record on the player.”

“There aren’t any of those. All the music is in . . . oh, an enormous jukebox in the sky that everyone can use. It broadcasts to your house.”

“Like the radio? You don’t have radio?”

“We do, but this is like radio where you can request any song you want.”

“So I drive up to my house, open the garage door, and lights come on, and I push a button to get ‘Moonlight Seranade, and it plays.”

“You can just say ‘play Moonlight Serenade.’”

“To who?”

“There’s microphones everywhere.”


In other words, someone from 1947 might not see the point, but they’d grasp it. It’s fair to say that someone from 1937 would too. It’s an interesting exercise - how far back do you go before what you’re describing make no sense to anyone? Would Ben Franklin get it? We’d like to think he would be keenly interested. You’d like to think that Caesar would be intrigued if you said “we have machines that can fly.”

In the sci-fi of the dystopian future, our miraculous miracle devices are repaired by eccentric old Chinese men in stalls in a rainy city, with six lenses on hinges on their glasses. The actual truth: if you go to get your screen replaced, you go here:

Name the date of construction. Here are some hints:

The bricks give it away, don't they?

This was the most modern look a building could have!

They could take it all up and give it a new floor, but that would cost a lot. It's a 1972 building, if you hadn't surmised the era.

The real joy was the interior of the elevator.

Plastic printed marble.


I find these small suburban office buildings fascinating, really. An unheralded type of building, with small meek histories no one records. More on the building here, if you're really fascinated for some reason.


You get the idea Lance is something of a big deal in Cosmopolis. Almost a superhero!

Solution is here.




A Casey Extravaganza today.






The Casey Chord - and then some cut-rate Gersh





That's a hardworking cue





The original theme, but it's up to shennanigans!





Now it's full "American in Paris" mode





Again with the Edna


2019 returns to the bins, and the records dumped back into the world when someone dies and the kids give the contents of Mom and Dad's entertainment system to the Goodwill.

You can tell their profession, no?

Wayne and Shuster were a Canadian comedy duo formed by Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster. They were active professionally from the early 1940s until the late 1980s, first as a live act, then on radio, then as part of The Army Show that entertained troops in Europe during World War II, and then on both Canadian and American television.

Wayne (born Louis Weingarten; May 28, 1918 – July 18, 1990) and Shuster (September 5, 1916 – January 13, 2002) were well known in Canada, and were Ed Sullivan's most frequently recurring guests, appearing a record 67 times on his show. Despite repeated suggestions that they should move to the United States to further their careers, the duo chose to stay in Canada.


The days when comedy albums had orchestras. It's Frank DeVol, too.




1938: a fine candy bar. I suppose I should have saved this for December.

Ever noticed that the end of the page, the absolute bottom, has had a different number for the last month?

Bleat+ up for members, but who am I kidding, you've shared the URL in the comments probably because I missed someone who should've got it, and I deserve that. Doesn't mean you have to freeload, though! 90% of all contributions go the college fund for . . . now what was her name again? It's been so long.




blog comments powered by Disqus