If I could work 11 percent less, I think I’d be happy. But then I’d fill up the space with work. Why even try. It’s hopeless.

A few moments here between duties. I was outside typing in the gazebo when my wife came out and said “Your daughter is just like you. She’s got three screens going.”

Eh? I usually have three windows in one screen going. What do you mean?

As she explained it: the TV was on. I didn’t mind, because she gets a small ration of TV per day, after everything else is done. After school there’s homework and piano and reading and other duties; a portion of Spongebob before bath is only fair. That was screen one. Screen two: she was on the computer, watching a YouTube video about unlocking a secret function of her “Diamond and Pearl”  Nintendo game, and was busily following the instructions on Screen Three, the aforementioned Nintendo.

What? I should note that she gets to play with these devices in the family room; no slinking off to enter a solipsistic cocoon. I can always see what she’s doing on the computer, which lead to my main question: YouTube?

So I went inside and braced my seven-year old and asked her what she was up to. She can only access the websites in the bookmarks, and YouTube isn’t one of them.

“Well I wanted to find out how to get the secret gift in the game so I went to Google and –“

Hold on. Google?

“Yeah and I typed ‘how do I get the secret gift in Diamond and Pearl and it went to YouTube and there was the video.”

I looked at the screen: some kid had uploaded a video about that very subject.

How did you know about Google?

“Well I just did. I saw you do it.”

I suppose I should be alarmed, but I’m just so proud.

We have a new rule: I do the googling around here. That’s fine with her. She got the secret gift, incidentally. She also repeated my warning back to me: whatever she does on the computer, Dad will find out. It’s my way of keeping her on the right path. Or turning her into an excellent hacker.

Noir Tuesday!

Eh. Young kid with a pregnant wife steals some money from crooks in a moment of weakness, spends the picture dodging said crooks. More Farley Granger. My favorite part was the opening credits: helicopter shots of lower Manhattan c. 1949. It's like the opening credits of "West Side Story," in Noir-o-vision, dense, stony, crazy:



I had to check the Google Maps to make sure the white building above actually exists; it looks like it was dropped in by special effects. I recognize the building across the street - it's the Equitable, the famous gargantuan file-cabinet style structure whose gargantuan bulk lead to the NYC building codes, which influenced architecture around the country. The post-Equitable codes mandated setbacks, as you see in the the foreground.

On behalf of skyscraper geeks everywhere: man, look at that service core!

Obligatory Noir Tuesday Oh-That-Guy moment: Whit Bissell. I just realized he's a skinny-head version of me. Or rather I'm a fat-head version of him:

The movie ends up in a nightclub, as they usually do. Here's the torch singer:

Recognize her? No? Here's another shot:

Literally. She's a boozed-up songbird, cynical and empty. Nasty work. Recognize her yet? No? Well, at the end of the Bleat, all will be revealed.

In the end, roscoes bark, crooks crumple and die right on Wall Street, and order is restored. The ending looks a lot like "L.A. Confidential," and I'd be surprised if the director of that fine film didn't see this one and use the same ideas. As Lobachevsky said: only be sure always to call it please, homage.

Closing shot: the narrator. The man who stalked our hero and let him off because our hero's heart was true and his wife knocked up: JOHN FARGIN' LAW.

I recommend the movie. I recommend them all. There's more entertainment in these collections than you'll find in dozens of modern direct-to-DVD cheapies. Every one an inadvertant documentary; every one a fascinating look at the moral world of the 40s and 50s. Watch enough of these, and you see Tarantino for the hopped-up juvie movie-nerd he is. It's pulp fiction, but it's made by actual grown-ups. And it's all cooler than hell.

Oh. Sorry; forgot. The woman who sang the song. A few years later, in a bigger picture:

There are color stills in existence:

Actually, that's the movie within the movie. And the movie is . . .

"Singin' in the Rain." Jean Hagen.


Other movie news: I had written something about "Flags of Our Fathers" and modern Hollywood war attitudes, but I'll save it for tomorrow. New Funnies. I love this one. See you at buzz.mn!