It’s as warm as June today, and I’m inside. At the office. Gnat is playing outside at school now, lucky child. The world was made for days like these – not for grim brittle winter or the elderly decreptitudes of fall, or the drone of another summer afternoon, but this: everything fresh and new and warm again. It wakes, it breaths, it grows again. You weren’t owed this; it’s not a debt you’re collecting, a gift that’s overdue, a marker you won in a game. It’s the ordinary yearly miracle, and yes, I am listening to the last movement of Sibelius’ 2nd right now; funny you should ask.

Followed by orchestrated Gershwin from the “Manhattan” soundtrack. Criminey. My iPod is telling me to leave. I’m outta here.

Back. Late. Kitchen table. Just fired up the iPod shuffle for my evening soundtrack, and the first thing it kicked up was the strenuous staggering hugger-mugger of the “North by Northwest” theme, another Bernard Herrmann classic. (Shouldn’t that be Berrnnard Herrmann?) Beats the “Psycho” score, I guess. Let me skip ahead here – ah. Cripes.

You know, the great thing about the shuffle is that you remember what you have in your MP3 collection. The bad thing is that you realize you have all of “The Song Remains the Same” soundtrack.

We soldier on.

Marvelous day. Nothing special happened except the sun and the heat. After I finished up at work I fetched Gnat, drove across the river with the windows down and new New Order playing loud. She fell asleep on the way home, so I listened to a Suspense radio show from 1947 and drove around for half an hour. Went to the grocery store for some Frosty Paws for Jasper – last night I ran out, and he was furious. DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG FROSTY PAWS. It’s doggie crack, and once they know they exist they will pester you daily for another. I’m stuck; he knows he gets one every day after his walk, and I will not begrudge him that. But I made a special trip to the store to buy the things tonight. I’m doggy whipped.

Went home, fell asleep: damn cold. Woke, made dinner, did Hewitt show, greeted wife, walked dog, played Doom for 17 minutes, then wrote two columns. The Strib column on the Walker generated some interesting mail; the yay-me letters were generally kind, and the U-suq letters varied from Olympian bemusement to oddly crude assertions of my stupidity. One letter simply said “You are a dildo.” Uh – okay. So I googled the guy’s name, and he’s an intern at a local architectural firm that does some truly fine work, including some riverfront work I love. What’s more, everything that the firm does has a style that strikes me as the new 21st century architectural vernacular – I can’t quite describe it now, because it’s late and I’m not in the mood, but it belongs to the here and the now in a way the glowering melted Walker cube doesn’t. The Walker is all about breaking tradition, not building a new one; it’s unmoored to its place and its period and its people. Which for some is an absolute plus, I suppose.

It led me to wonder: did other buildings that, ah , broke the paradigm evoke such reaction? Did anyone look at the Empire State Building and think “I don’t get it.” I don’t think so – American skyscraper architecture had a certain plot up until the Depression killed the native styles dead. It was ineptly classical, then monolithically gargantuan and classical, then the set-backs shaped the way skyscrapers rose, and the historically derived decorations were either integrated into the new form with varying degrees of success or replaced with new styles, such as Deco or Moderne. You could look at the sleek towers of the end of Gotham’s boom and see how they connected to the early earnest predecessors. At the most basic level, they shared elemental similarities - they faced the street, they had windows in rows, etc. But they also behaved. They did not look like something from a F. W. Mirnau movie set, they didn’t lean in such a way that pedestrians crossed the street out of fear. They had grace and power and occasionally a serene nobility you get when you pile 70 stories worth of stone into the sky.

Then came the International Style, which I love. But I love it in the Joe-Piscopo’s-character-from-Johnny-Dangerously sense. I loved a Miesian skyscraper once. Once.

Finished “Capricorn One.” It’s 1978 in all its glory: paranoid government conspiracies that require the viewer to assume murderous malevolence on the part of NASA, fer chrissakes; Elliot Gould as a sex symbol; Elliot Gould as a crusading reporter, the highest example of the human species; Elliot Gould as a crusading TV reporter. What did we think back then? Oooh, Elliot Gould, he’ll stick it to the man, in his own dope-fogged, bemused, post-masculine, self-righteous way. It has plot holes the size of the Vehicular Assembly Building (sorry; unavoidable) – but for all that it’s actually fun. The dialogue – and I don’t know how quite to put this, but it’s not stupid, and it’s very much of the era. Makes you realize how the basic standards for something as intrinsic as speech have degraded over the years. I wouldn’t call it Ben Hecht repartee, but t’warn’t Cletus-level.

As a movie, it’s a mess – the first third is a sci-fi suspense / conspiracy thriller, the second part is All the President’s Men, and the end is the Red Baron, where two helicopters attempt to shoot down a crop duster piloted by Telly Savalas (a horrible cameo; he really can’t do comic relief, because he can’t play against type. He just is Telly Savalas, no matter what, and any sort of comic intent is swallowed by the gravity well of his dense bald Greeky persona.) The helicopters end up slamming into a mountain. You’re actually quite sorry, because those helicopters were some of the best actors in the film. The director (Peter Hyams, who did 2010, a movie everyone but me seems to hate) gave the helicopters actually personality – one scene cuts back and forth between Hal Holbrook giving orders to the chopper pilots, and a long shot of the copters; when we cut to the helicopters, we infer their dialogue entirely from their movement, and when the two choppers face once another, it’s as if they’re talking, not the pilots. It’s delightful and quite skillful, and promptly ruined over and over and over again as the last third of the movie labors so hard to peg the suck-o-meter you wonder if they can top that last scene. And then you see thick-maned James Brolin and fuzzy-headed Elliot Gould running through the cemetery, smiling, and you know they can. Running. In slow-motion. The movie starts out like “Apollo 13” and ends up like a Gee Your Fro Smells Terrific commercial.

Did I say it was spring? I did. Here’s Jasper outside; my wife said it looks like he has allergies, but to me it looks like he’s absorbing the glories of the day. Also, random flower picture. New Fence up. See you tomorrow.

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