Yes, I forgot to upload yesterday’s installment. Canny users will have gone to the archives, but if you just assumed I had driven off a cliff or expired, Lenny Bruce-style, on the floor of the bathroom with a needle in my arm, well, thanks for all the flowers.

Spent the evening at relative’s house. We were company, to use the archaic term. And use it incorrectly, I think: you have company over, but you never think of yourself as company. No one ever says “We’re here! Company!” When I was a kid Company was always a mixed blessing  - it meant that Mom went to DefCon Two, food got fancy (although there were always nuts in small cups, and the nice nuts, too, buttery cashews and exotic Spanish Peanuts), and the house got smoky. My parents didn’t smoke but all the aunts and uncles did; in those days, no one went outside to smoke in a nonsmoker’s house. They sat down and reached for the ashtray which had been provided in advance. It was the good ashtray, too; heavy and clean, probably a wedding gift. At the end of the night the men would be downstairs smoking and working through the Hamm’s, and the womenfolk would be washing up, chattering away.

I think I have a picture.

I do.

Bionde wood with copper hardware, turquoise boomerang-patterned Formica counter (they're making it again), the Fridgidaire with the chrome trim and chrome handle and turquoise interior, the pattern of the floor covering, which looked like lung tissue from "Fantastic Voyage," and the heels! I remember looking at the linoleum and seeing small round indentations around the oven and the sink from the women's heels.

Anyway. It was a merry gathering, complete with two little girls running around playing games. (G)Nat’s younger cousin is a real firecracker, and (G)Nat loves to occupy the zone of noise and abandon she creates. Gives her permission to hoot and screech and be silly. A distant relative called; the phone was passed around; gossip was traded tongues were clucked. I helped my brother-in-law fix a stuck folder on his iMac and fixed the settings on his mouse. All in all, the very stuff of life. At the end my sister-in-law told my wife to wait, she’d get her that plant she had promised to give her.

Women! I said. Never in a million years at the end of a dinner party will a guy say let me go get you that plant. The Xbox game, yes. A plant, no. A guy would wonder why you’re handing off the plant. Can’t you kill it yourself?

So I was having fun tonight instead of working. Rare but fun. A few notes before I bail. As noted the other day, I watched the first Kojak episode. It has that gritty defeated feel I associate with adolescent TV; if something took place on the East Coast, things were falling down, hopeless, lost, with only a few cynical-yet-romantic figures to catch the occasional lost soul and drill the feral snarling goofball-hopped-up-upon killer. If it took place in the West, it was a place of sunshine and opportunity.

Here’s a typical Kojak set. The abandoned tenement, complete with authentic graffiti.

Acid is groovy! Kill the pigs! We meet the bad guys – the usual bag of twitchy-fingered homicidal lunatics, losers along for the ride, and the canny street-smart leader:

That’s Harvey Keitel, of course. His partner in crime:

In the genre of dirtballs, early 70s TV excelled. The finest dirtballs, hand-crafted.

After Kojak has won the day, an old hostage scuttles over to say thanks. He’s the obligatory honest lifelong New Yorker held prisoner by the scum and decay infesting his beloved Gotham. Familiar?

William Hansen. To my surprise, he didn’t do many movies. Mostly TV. His first credit is TV – in 1945. He looks so familiar. He died tw years after this appearance.

From around the web:

This is hard to watch without getting your blood angered up. Why do I think that the police might be instructed to be less than neutral if the protestors were blocking Planned Parenthood, or a political party HQ, or a library where that SATANIC Harry Potter book was available, or any other place people have the right to enter?

I’ve said it before: pitch black is the new enlightenment. Better to love the darkness than light a candle; that wick emits awful pollution when you put it out.

Che flags in an Obama’s office. I think this piece by Slate / New Republic / NYT Book Review author Paul Berman would surprise a few of the idealists happy to labor under his noble visage. It’s like finding a banner with the picture of George Lincoln Rockwell hanging in a McCain office. I think there would be a flap. Certainly a kerfuffle. Possibly the media might ask staffers what they thought of certain policy positions put forth by the man whose picture hangs in the office. I don’t think the banner means Obama or his supporters want the same things Che wanted; I think it simply means some of them are lazy ahistorical bourgeoise children full of romantic adolescent ideas.

Wonder how this would have played if it had come out before the Florida primary.

Clown horror!

New comic; yesterday's Bleat here. See you at buzz.mn.