Downtown in the empty office at present. The bathroom lights no longer come on when you enter. Last week the water stopped working in the faucets. Possibly temporary, but these days you figure “that’s how it is for the Duration, I guess” and incorporate it into your new habits.

Just finished some work, written some nonessential stuff. The lassitude of the middle-late afternoon has struck early and hard, and I’d take a nap if there was a place here to do it. A co-worker, now gone - hell, they’re all gone - used to snooze in the break room. In the old building, he would fall asleep in the library. Cue the cartoon clip from an MGM romp: Strong Union! They canned him for ethics.

I can’t imagine falling asleep here, in this empty place, slumped in my chair, waking in confusion. There’s something about falling asleep in a place where you’re always awake, professionally so. It’s a violation of norms.

Oh so YOU’RE the guy still interested in norms. How quaint.

I’m one of 20 people in a 50 story office tower, and I’m wearing a tie, so yes.

It’s a perfect late summer day; downtown looks lovely.  It feels like one of those Fair days when the world seems to be at its apogee, and the only thing you want is one more of these. One more. It’ll make today even more wonderful to know there’s one more, and as for tomorrow, we’ll accept that it’s the end. Because we had one more.

On the last day of the Fair you know summer’s gone, but everything still looks like summer. The sun may feel a bit fainter, but it’s there, high and loud at noon.

There’s no fooling yourself the day after, though. Even if it’s the exact same day. Even id it’s the one more you wanted. It’s the day after Labor Day, and it’s true September.

So what is this week? A wandering interregnum.








A tweet from my friend Terry Teachout* reminded me that the black-and-white Dragnet episodes can be found on YouTube. They’re in terrible shape. I watched the one he mentioned, and was immediately chagrined: oh, I know this story. Lady says someone left a baby on a bus. I know where this is going. It’s almost a good B&W World entry, and I’d do it if I hadn’t already filled up the spots for 2021 and had 2022 done through March, so:

Are you like me? Do you wonder exactly where this is?

Wilshire and LaBrea. That's the Light and Power / E. Clem Wilson building. Much more interesting than the picture suggests. Some great old shots here.

All of Dragnet is studio-bound, but the opening shots are always interesting. Nothing arty. Just documentary. Webb didn't shoot it.

This is from ep 13 in the first season. A shot of Bustling LA. The contemporary shot - which I found by matching the theater on the right, the old Warners - looks as if you could film a post-apocalyptic movie on the street at high noon.

You don't think of Webb as an interesting director, but he was.He laid heavy on the close-ups, as if he was simulating radio. In the course of an interrogation he’ll go from a master shot to a two-shot to close-ups of the speakers to really tight closeups, and then back out of the scene the same way, in reverse. An unde- appreciated talent, if appreciated at all, anymore. In the end the work will be completely forgotten and survive only as a four-note leitmotif that means “cops” or “trouble.”

It couldn’t be done today, because it’s unapologetically pro-cop. And by “pro” I mean it shows them as harried civil servants trying to do the right thing and bring someone to account for their crime. There’s none of that “I’m depraved on account of I’m deprived” stuff, just human venality, and a couple of guys trying to find some low-level predator. Friday wants to put them away. Friday, below the surface, is a coal-seam fire, because he’s had enough of these guys. He had enough of these guys before he put on the shield.


In the radio show, do you know the only personal detail we knew about Joe Friday?

He lived with his mother.

He liked girls, sure, but he also balked when anyone set him up with a girl. There was an ep when he was on a stakeout with a female police officer, and there was this awkward moment when she asked him to a dance, and he didn’t quite know what to say. He parried her away.

HE WAS GAY! I don’t know. That's hardly the only option. oe was self-contained by choice and he had to stay that way. He was ascetic. He was a pure warrior. Maybe women sapped his precious essence, or he was emotionally remote, or emotionally banal.

Maybe outside of the job, there wasn't any there there.

Okay, one more thing. I was surprised to see this fellow show up. He's just rotten. You can't help but like him anyway.


* Terry Teachout, Internet friend, although we had a merry dinner, just the two of us, in Minneapolis a long time ago. We still chat. Next time in NYC we've a standing promise for another merry dinner.




It’s 1941 in Canada; adjusted for USD, that’s 1941.30.

Mom the phosgene factory blew up

Shouldn’t we be running or something


Would this make a good dress mommy

Not now I am thinking about stabbing a bunny


I told you it would work wonders, Linda. I use it too! Yes, every night!

Do you know why your knee hurts? Because you do not take the salts that promote 10 AM excretion, on the dot

We've talked about the salts before. Need I repeat the story?

Is the fact that I'm not repeating the story answering that question?

Nowadays they’d be asking for money to set up a World of Warcraft server behind the lines.

Then: Mickey Mouse with his torso turned around 180 degrees so he can see his arse

Ganong Delecto was the online name of Mitt Romney’s CCP handlers:


What a beaut! And you know who was the head of the company at the time, don’t you? We learned this yesterday.

Mr. Goat-Gland opera-wife supporter, that’s who.

As bland and underwhelming an ad as Coke and Sundblom ever did.

I guess they saved the bathings suits for the American audience.

That will suffice. We'll see you around.



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