Stopped off at the office today; someone had apparently gotten a promotional shirt from a fence company, and thought I might enjoy it:

GOT FENCE? It said in the typeface normally associated with inquiries regarding your possession of milk. Had to laugh. Now why didn't I think of that as a promotional slogan? Too busy writing the damn thing, I guess. That'll teach me.

Family went to the park today; I had done my sitting-by-the-pool duty this afternoon so I stayed home and tested the limits of the speaker system. Haven’t really put them through their paces in a while. Can they crisply render a Bruckne scherzo when maxed out? Damned if I know; I was bleeding from the nose and ears fifteen seconds into the test. Crispness was not a detectable factor. Next up on the Punishing Wall of Sonic Fury Tour was some soundtrack music; it never disappoints. I’m not a great fan of James Horner, but when he’s good he fills the bill. He did the soundtrack for “Troy,” which I watched over the last three nights. It’s not as bad as advertised; it’s not bad at all. Nevermind whether it took liberties with the myth; I tend to suspect that the myth took liberties with the myth. There was something indistinct about the conflict that ungirded the tale, and you really had no one to root for. You couldn’t quite get behind Achilles, partly because he would hear your footsteps and wheel around and spear you, but mostly because he just Mister Killer Supreme, Best Stabber in the Aegean League. Hector you liked, but, well, too bad about his problem, which was essentially Being Hector in the Illiad. People said that Orlando Bloom was too wimpy as Paris – and part of the blame can be laid at his parents, who perhaps thought that naming a kid Orlando Bloom would have that boy-named-sue effect. Alas. “Orlando Bloom” sounds like some flowering ground cover. Peter O’Toole showed up, although you weren’t sure it was really him – didn’t he die of advanced O’Toole Syndrome fifteen years ago? No? So you don’t need a liver or lungs to live, then. Rockin’ good news.

It’s worth seeing, if you can find a big enough TV; the various set-pieces do require a big picture to get, well, the big picture, and it’s interesting to watch Brad Pitt refuse to act. I mean he’s on some sort of peculiar personal work stoppage. He does have one boo-hoo scene that reminds you of a class bully faking tears over the death of a hamster because he knows the pastor’s watching. The music has one recurrent motif I’ve heard in a hundred other movies, and it always made me think of Klingons.

Klingons vs. Romans – now there’s a movie I’d pay money to see.

Now it’s Mahler’s sixth, fourth movement. Yes, that sort of day. I was a big Mahlerian in my callow youth; it was my heavy metal. (I also had heavy metal, but Mahler made them all look like puny little nancy-lads. Take the darkest, hardest, gloomiest, power-chordiest slab of heavy metal, and compare it to – oh, just the last few bars of the first movement of the Second, and it’s the difference between Judas Priest and a Rosemary Clooney song. Anyway, Rock music is the song of the individual; orchestras speak for the species. For heaven’s sake, Mahler scored for The Hammer Blow of Fate in the 6th; when that hammerschlag comes down for the third time, that’s it. Game over, man. He really was the last 19th century man, and his work foretold the next fifty years, right down the tortured & desperate evaporation of the 9th and 10th. It's not just a man bade to enter the realm of the shades, it's an entire culture.) I wish I had been around when he was composing, just to hear the works in context, to hear them as something new. It wasn’t that long ago, really. He died a decade-and-change before my father was born. My Grandfather, whose hand I shook, might have used the same mitt to turn the page in a magazine describing the premier of Mahler’s ninth. It just seems like long ago because it’s a symphony, not a movie score, and symphonies of the romantic genre are passé. Not dead, not buried, but standing in a six-foot hole, thinking: a nap wouldn’t be bad. I’m just going to lie down. For a moment.

Lay? Lie? I never figured that out. One of the six or seven things I leave to editors. I hate to be a burden on my editors; I want to give them copy so clean they can use it for surgical masks.

We went to the pool after work. Gnat swam and splashed and had a grand time. There were some mean kids; there are always mean kids. There were some young fat butterballs cannonballing into the shallow end. (And it’s all shallow, really.) Their mothers sat off to the side – slovenly people with gigantic gas-station cola drinks and cigarettes the length of jousting poles, content to parent from a distance by yelling as loudly as possible. I feel sorry for the kids: unhealthy from the get-go. There’s plump, and there’s pudgy, and there’s bucket-of-lard fat, with rolls the underside of which never see sun nor feel the breeze. I sat by the fence, watching Gnat, making notes for tomorrow’s meeting, wincing every time the gate opened: an unholy screech that sounded like someone wringing the life out of a rusty cat. I could have moved, but for some reason it was an apt soundtrack to the day. Got fence?

Watched a bad sci-fi creature feature the other night: "Reptilicus." Awful. Remember the happy days of old creature-feature screen grabs? I do! Let’s return to those halcyon devil-may-care days and amuse ourselves:

I’m sure it was. The very organizing principles of humankind – sanitation, law, monetary system, democracy, all stunned by the appearance of an ancient reptile that spits green acid. That’ll happen.

There were the obligatory scenes of urban crowds fleeing the monster. Most unconvincing. I like the signage, but there’s something about a guy with a purse that doesn’t quite communicate the idea of mass panic.

On the other hand, this fleeing person seems to be having the time of his life.

They all are, for that matter.

I paused when I saw this guy:

And I knew right away he was probably a famous comic from the Danish portion of the world; that was a trademark expression, the look of someone used to making that face to great acclaim. They’d stuck him in the movie because he was a famous Dane, no?

Then he was shocked:

Okay, that settled it: he was known for mugging. Broadly. Poorly.

He’s dead. But he has his own webpage.

Whereas I’m reasonably sure lileks.com will go out with me, whenever the time comes. Should have made funny faces before cameras instead of picking up the pen.

But it's never too late! Tomorrow the Bleat goes to an all-facial-contortion format! Stay tuned. Change is good.

Late-night post-upload addendum: just hit Dashboard to check the temp and forecast, and I ran through the "This Day in History" widget. Guess whose birthday fell on the seventh.


(Sorry for no screedblogging. Too preoccupied. Later. Perm link here.)

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