.. Your Empire State Building fact for the day: when the B-25 hit the side of the building the morning of July 28th 1945., it shot gas and flames into the offices. Some secretaries fled to a corner of the floor and opened a window; they figured they were dead. One woman – Judy Klemesrud - threw her jewelry out the window, believing that someone might find it and use it. No sense in having it get burned up. She threw away her engagement ring, convinced she’d never see her fiancé again. He was overseas in the service. Off went the ring, out the window. And I suppose she said her prayers.

She survived. Her fiancé made it back from the war. They married. She had a son.

It’s been a working weekend, but not without its pleasures. Big snow storm on Friday – probably the last of the season.

Picturesque, yes, but I hunger for spring. So we madea crude totem to ward off other such blasts from the frosty gods. We called him Harry:

While Harry took form I listened to the Northern Alliance radio show, a coordinated effort of local bloggers. Really good. Really, really good. Here’s a program that features one host and about 62 co-hosts. It sounded like the third year of a nationally syndicated show. I predict great things. (Note: I am listed as a member of the Northern Alliance, which is true, but I had nothing to do with the show's conception or execution. I look foward to being a guest..)

Gnat had a sleepover, so it was dinner in Uptown, where suburbanites go to experience the Urban Grit, and where urbanites go to escape the urban grit of their neighborhood.

I spent my hey-ho swinging single period in Uptown. (That’s how I remember it now; back then, of course, I was miserable.) It’s the place where young urban professionals (remember them?) rub shoulders and trade sneers with the scruffy boho crowd. It’s where I bought Jasper, many years ago; it’s where I lived when I wrote my novel, it’s where we shot most of the Award-Winning Public TV Comedy Short, “The Readaholic.” Et cetera. The heart of Uptown was Calhoun Square, a two-story mall that was bitterly opposed by the locals. They believed it would change the character of the neighborhood, and of course they were right; it made it better. Two dozen stores, including the best bookstore for miles around, a gourmet kitchen store, a gen-u-wine streamlined diner, and the first sign that the 80s were upon us: a store devoted entirely to socks. Imagine that! Only socks? Whoever heard of such a thing? The last few years have been hard on the place – while Uptown flourishes, the mall was lost most of its second-floor retail, and is trying to come back with new restaurants and office space. It’s not entirely dead – one corner still has critical mass, with enough storefronts and kiosks and the all-important coffeeshop with scowling people reading serious magazines.

The restaurant hadn’t changed in years; is there something about Oriental restaurants that makes them utterly disinterested in updating their décor? Ever? After a good meal slightly spoiled by a fellow at an adjacent chair delivering a spirited political rant at high volume, we walked around the neighborhood. Went to the cooking store; considered new toasters. That’s marriage: looking at toasters on Saturday night. And I mean that as high praise.

The Suburban World theater was dark. Odd name – we all called it the SubWorld anyway, since there’s nothing remotely suburban about it. When built was called the Granada:

It still has a Spanish / Moorish interior, which you can see here. When it made the switch from Granada to SubWorld they renovated the lobby and lower lounge in that mad 60s jet-age style, and the contrast between the ultramodern public areas and the oddly archaic theater was part of its charm.

Started to watch "Cold Creek Mountain," unaware it contained large portions of Sharon Stone. One of my very least favorite actresses. She gives off a sense of self-importance that suggests we mortals should be grateful to see Her, Sharon Stone, Act. The movie lost me right away, but I stuck around to see Juliette Lewis do her lower-class trashy gal whose suspicious, animal-like expression masks a keen intelligence. Or doesn’t. How did the movie lose me? Well, Dennis Quaid as a harried Manhattan documentary maker didn’t quite work. As the movie begins he’s sleeping with his wife, Stone. The alarm wakes her at 4:30 AM. He asks her to reset it for him, and he goes back to sleep, only to wake at 7:56 in a panic. She didn’t reset the alarm! The kids are late!

Here’s the clock.

Here’s a salient detail the continuity people seemed to miss entirely: she didn't reset the alarm for good reason, perhaps.

Remove disk, return to work. But what to watch later? Well, a kind patron of this site sent me the Alien Quadrology, if you can believe that. NINE discs. Unfurled, the package is taller than I am. I have finished the first and second movies - commentaries, trailers, making-of-the-making-of features. And so to Alien 3 . . . which begins with one of the greatest blunders every made in sequel history, right alongside some Paramount executive who said “Sure, let Shatner direct the next one. How bad could it be.” The third Alien movie begins by breaking your heart. It’s cruel. Anyone who had anything invested in the characters is instantly angered by the movie. Not by the story; not by the plot. By the movie itself. I don’t think it ever recovers.

So I took a breather from sci-fi, and watched the rest of the Chaplin documentary one of the cable channels ran. I was a big Chaplin fan 10 years ago, and I still am, but less so; my opinions haven’t changed, but the newness of discovering the silent era has worn off.
But maybe “silent” is the wrong word – of course the theaters were full of music and laughter. We seem to think that everyone sat like stone with only an out-of-tune piano and the conspicuous clickety-click of the projector. Nonsense; people laughed, the orchestras were often larger, or there was a pipe organ. Sound was part of the experience. Just a different kind of sound. And to show how effective it was: the documentary spent some time on “The Circus,” which is one of my favorites. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen it. I could whistle the main “big top” theme without prompting.

Hey, it's Matchbook 100! How about that? Not a bad string for such a weightless project, I say.

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