not that there's anything wrong with that!

I spent most of Monday sitting outside with the laptop, writing, so I don’t have much to note. Not even a trip to the grocery store – did that yesterday, laying in a stock of bratwurst for grilling. Also got a fresh tank of propane. Had to drive carefully en route, take the corners slowly; one wrong move and the propane canister rolls over and gouges out the plastic in the trunk. Of course, it not only rolled over it landed upside down, which looked dangerous, somehow. I walked into the hardware store and said this cylinder was broken  - worked fine for a month, then it just stopped! Hyuk hyuk. Oh, the gift of the Funny Customer. How they love it.

This weekend’s TV entertainment was varied – got the second season of the Office, which is good. After three episodes, though, it looks like they’re leading up to revealing the boss to be gay; sure seems that way. Also watched “The Avengers,” which the TiVo snagged in a moment of spite. Mesmerizingly awful, and makes you wonder: is Sean Connery always this bad, and we just never noticed it before? The movie was apparently cut from 180 minutes to 90, which may explain the utter incomprehensibility of the thing, but nothing could have saved it; The John Steed role calls for a cricket bat, and Ralph Fiennes looks like a letter opener.  Uma Thurman mistakes prancing for slinking. It’s one of those movies where you get out the laptop halfway through and start reading reviews, just for company and reassurance.

The weekly noir was “Lady in the Lake,” an interesting misfire based on a Chandler novel. Robert Montgomery stars and directed, and decided to take a novel approach: the camera would show the point of view of the hero. You see the clues! You follow the story! You talk in a voice-over while the other actors stare at the camera and wait for you to finish! It’s unnerving to see a movie in which everyone’s looking at the camera, and it’s hard on the actors, too. The femme fatale is played by Audrey Totter, and land sakes, the woman could glare:

Turn it up a notch:

And again:

Pour it on!

Full strength!

When a woman looks like that in a film noir, it’s because the detective’s said something particularly impertinent. It’s usually followed with “I think you’d better leave” or, if the woman is a coltish psycho, “I don’t think I like you anymore.” If any of you have young sons, show them the picture above, and stress the importance of not making women look at you like that. No good ever comes of it.

Lila Leeds - what a DC comics name! - plays a slinkly blonde receptionist:

Notable only because her imdb bio says she was busted with Mitchum at a reefer party. She later made an anti-marijhuana movie – community service, I gather. A few more parts, then nothing. But that’s enough.

I’ve had some requests to show the back of my TV, with its cables all nicely coiled, but I cannot; it’s not as neat as I’d like, so shame forbids it. Some of those cables cannot be arranged – the Monster cables, for example, are like the tendons of the Minotaur, and one peculiar cable that goes to the subwoofer is as stout as a butcher’s thumb. The end result of these projects is never as good as you wish, but you soldier on. As do I – work to do, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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c. 2006 j. lileks. Email, if you wish, may be sent to "first name at last name dot com."