Better Homes & Gardens, Oct. 1959

Okay, Tuesday is now Picture Day. For a week, anyway. The weekend films yielded no grabs, so that’s a wash. But at the office today – yes, I’m back at the office; change the marquee, shows daily – I went to my old dear friend the microfiche, pulled a reel at random, and revisited 1962. Two examples of cartoon high-larity:

I think that’s the last time we ever saw liquor in a Family Circus cartoon. Note how brutish dad looks, too. Next, a strip called “Every Happen to You?” by Blake – I’m 99.99% sure that’s Bud Blake, who dumped this feature in ’65 for a strip called “Tiger,” which still runs today. Blake still draws the strip, it seems – remarkable for a fellow born in 1918. Anyway, here’s the single-panel gag:

I’m probably reading too much into that.

When I hit F12 the Widgets deploy – small little apps that display weather, the position of the sun, word of the day, that sort of thing. One of the widgets shows a webcam in Times Square. It’s on 47th by a TGI Fridays. (Note: if you eat in that place on a visit to New York you have forfeited your right to ever set foot in Manhattan again.) Today I saw this guy standing below the camera, talking on his phone.

I hit reload, and he was waving – to the world!

I love this sort of thing - guy prearranges this, calls up someone who’s sitting in front of a computer God knows where, waves hello from the Apple. Then apparently he let one rip:

Then he disappeared, abashed, from the frame.

The world moves on; that's the last we'll see of him, perhaps. If he does nothing else - no crimes, no kids, no art, no mark at all - at least he would have had a few seconds of global ubiquity, and that's something not even Caesar had.

It’s like watching the ocean through a pinhole, this site. The 24-recaps are interesting; you can see the pedestrian traffic rise and fall with the inhale-exhale pattern of the traffic lights. In the dark-night-of-the-soul hours the streets are empty, the shutters down – but someone always comes along, and you can imagine what it would be like to be him. It’s wet; a cab hisses by, hits a steel plate – CANK CANK – and you walk quickly towards the broad & empty arteries. You pass a door, a lighted hallway – if there’s someone around the corner in the hallway, it’s some guy in a rented blue uniform sitting behind a desk reading the Post, and if the two of you share anything besides geography it is the strict and unswayable certainty that you shouldn’t even start to think about asking to use the bathroom. If there’s any doubt on your part, he’ll be happy to help you you regain your sense of conviction. Midtown is my favorite part of New York; it has everyone and everything, - but it’s also the only part of town where I’ve ever felt alone. To feel alone at night in the heart of Manhattan in the middle of the night is remarkably exhilarating.

Let’s see what’s happening there now:

It’s raining. Business is slow. The two guys on the left run the store, I presume; they’ve been standing out front for a while, talking, unconcerned that someone in Minnesota is watching.

What are those black spots on the concrete? Sidewalk melanoma? I’ve always assumed it’s gum, but does gum go black and last six years? Maybe it only lasts a while, and a time-lapsed shot of the block would show the spots appearing and disappearing like raindrops on a pond – but on the other hand, do people still eat gum in such quantities and spit it right in the middle of the sidewalk?


Column night, as usual. New & improved, i.e., revised, Joe Ohio chapter 4 today. See you tomorrow.

permanent link new this week!
main menu archive
the story so far
matchbook monday dead-tree column screedblog
the outside world
new book old book next book