I'm tired of allusions to the M'f snakes on the M'f Plane



















Lovely day, all in all, given that the world is supposed to end on the 22nd. Personally, I don’t think anything will happen. Checking to see how many hours Tehran is ahead of us . . . Crap, it’s 11:34 PM. Well, I don’t think they’re going to launch Armageddon at midnight. You’d want to do that on a good night’s sleep. Otherwise you’re cranky and you don’t enjoy it at all. Something woke me up after six hours of sleep – probably the last UPS plane or the first one; they’re loud, china-pulverizing loud – and I couldn’t get back to sleep for half an hour. You know how it goes: I must get to sleep. So you can’t get to sleep. Then you start to think of the things you need to do before you die. “Live 60 years” is one of them, but odds aren’t good. So you think of what you need to do before the weekend. You toss; you punch the pillows, turn away from the growing dawn, despair at the first peeps of the birds, the damnable birds –

And then it’s later and the alarm goes off, and you slept anyway.

Imagine if you were responsible for hastening the end of the world on a particular day, and you overslept.

Anyway, it's midnight there but happy afternoon here. In the other room Gnat and her friend are watching a My Little Pony movie, “A Very Minty Christmas.”  I've just filed two columns, and now I'm writing this instead of picking up the Play-Doh. I'd best get to it. That Play-Doh isn’t going to clean itself up. We tried to bring it to life with electricity and fish organs so it would be able to clean itself up, but the experiment failed.

Back. Two minutes to midnight in Tehran.  In the next room, Minty has lost her Christmas Sock, or something. It’s possible there won’t be a Christmas this year. If kids learn anything from these movies, it’s the fragility of Christmas. Anything can keep it from happening. It’s almost like everyone’s looking for an excuse. Oh! The tree’s leaning 2 degrees to the left! It looks like there won’t be a Christmas this year!

11:59:58 . . .

August 22. Checking the Jerusalem webcam . . . refreshing . . . refreshing and delicious . . . well, all seems well. So far so good.

This is a busy week – due to holiday deadlines, I have 13 pieces due this week at the paper. Which is nuts. So here’s some Noir:

Dull. Sorry, but not even Cagney can light this one up. “G-Men” suffers from an excess of goody-two-shoesism; the heroes are the coppers now, reflecting the shift in the public mood. (There’s a shootout at a train station and a shootout at a hidden Midwestern resort, both of which paralleled actual events; everyone in the movie house would have gotten the references of Kansas City and Wisconsin.) Perhaps because the mood’s still in transition, though, the main racket boss is a sorta-kinda good guy; he bankrolled Cagney through law school, and when Cagney joins with the Feds, he’s generally supportive. No hard feelings, kid. Sure. It does have one interesting moment. Apparently, when shot in the chest and face several times, the body reacts by putting up an arm and grimacing:

Classic Thorburn’s Position, if you ask me.

The love interest is very 30s; here she looks like she’s the half-sister of the Metropolis robot. (The plus-skin version.)

Times are hard! We can’t afford too much in the way of facial features!

There’s also a nice-guy fella who I recognized right away, a man whose name fit his nondescript features perfectly:

Lloyd Nolan. If ever there was a facial type that deserved to be known as Loidnolan, it’s that one.

More later.

Okay, it’s later. It’s now 5:40 in Tehran. Still a little too early to start the end of the world, but it depends whether you’re a morning person or not. Of course, if you’re hastening the chaos to bring the Messiah, you’d want to tidy up first. Fresh flowers.

I like whistling, personally. And gosh, this is a big graveyard.

It’s now the evening, and a placid one at that; the crickets have once more shamed the cicadas to silence. The last flights of the night are leaving the airport. The reflective hour of the night. Soon I will bid goodnight to all, make a bag of popcorn, and finish the movie I began last night. (For some reason I put on “Alien” the other night; I watch it every other year, and always note something different. Sometimes it’s the perfection of the score, including the ecstatic relief of Hanson’s second symphony at the end; sometimes it’s an aspect of the performances, sometimes the use of editing to foreshadow character and plot, and sometimes it’s the general unhelpfulness of having a ship whose coolant system is set on self-destruct fill the halls with jets of steam. This time I was struck by the way the sets don’t tie together – you never get a sense of the flow of the ship, which helps to make it seem all the more vast and labyrinthine. Since I’d watched “Alien,” I had to watch “Aliens.” If nothing else, it’s a template for a hundred lesser movies. But it’s more than that.  It’s just a really, really good movie. Except for the kid.) I’ll go to bed not worrying what the 22nd will bring. I’ve heard some odd things from some generally reliable sources, but these sources have been best and describing the truth of what is happening, not the nature of what dark plots are forthcoming.

I was listening to Hewitt on the talk-back radio today, as we don’t call it, and a fellow dialed in to rant about 9/11. It wasn’t a terrorist attack; the government took the towers down. He defied the host to have the makers of the “Loose Change” documentary on, and I was prepared for him to bark out something about how THEY SHOULD CALL YOU JEW JEWITT, because the host did not believe the Twin Towers were brought down by explosives. What interested me, for a moment, was the passion of the caller. But he wasn’t nuts. People who are nuts think giant invisible space lizards are sending coded messages through their livers, and they can’t drive a car because they see pteradactyls EVERYWHERE. No, he was sane. But he believed a crazy thing. It made me wonder what he would be equally angry about had 9/11 not happened.

I’m serious. Conspiracy theories fill a great aching void for some people, and I wonder how they cope when there isn’t a conspiracy sufficiently vast to fill the hole. And I wonder about people for whom an actual real-life conspiracy that stretched across the continents and brought down two towers wasn’t vast enough.

Whatever happens today, or doesn’t, there will be those who doubt their lying eyes as a matter of course. Conspiracy theories are a narcotic, inhaled in endless lines; the addict looks at himself bent over the mirror and thinks: you agree with me, don’t you? Then I’m not alone.

New Fargo tomorrow! Quirk every day, except Sunday. See you tomorrow.






c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.