New Diner today! Also, I am getting a cold, so new disease today as well! I thought I’d dodged the joim, as a Brooklynite in a 1940s movie would call it; child got it before Disneyworld, it hit my wife like a sack of waffle irons in Disneyworld – she’s still dealing the tenacious sinus aftereffects – but I skated unscathed. Until tonight. I feel rheumy. Oh so rheumy. I feel rheumy and goopy and weeeak, and I’m loopy, and can’t wait for my nostrils to leak. Nana nana na na na naa na na.

If that made no sense, go here. Criminey jehosaphat, what a babe.

Went to the video store to get “Indiana Jones and the Franchise Extension”  in glorious Blu-Ray. (Spent my Amazon credit on a Sony, and we’ll get to that in a moment.) Three boxes marked DISPLAY ONLY greeted me. I could rent “Blade Runner, the Final No Really Completely Final Director’s Cut With Nineteen Endings” or a “Saw” movie, but if you get a high-def player to watch torture-porn you might as well save up, fly to Thailand and find the real thing in some back alley bar. I hate those movies. Scary stuff I enjoy; snuff-stuff, no. For a second I was back in the early days of DVD, and recalled visits to Mr. Movies with Jasper: they had dog treats, so he liked to go. They also had an ancient musty-carpet / bookstore smell, perhaps the aroma of mites chewing on undisturbed paper products. They had plenty of paper – in those days, my children, we rented thick black plastic rectangles that contained spools of tape, and they came in cardboard sleeves. At Mr. Movies they put the back catalog section in the part of the store with the biggest windows, so the sun had bleached the boxes of all the old unwatched unrented films. It was like the Dudley Moore Memorial Film Library. The new stuff was in the other half of the store, and there was a small selection of DVDs. Over time one format eclipsed the other. So it will be with Blu-Ray!

In an alternate universe, perhaps; if there are alternate worlds in which every possible possibility is played out, there’s one where Blu-Ray triumphs over DVDs. Right now in this one, it’s a race – will enough people buy the players, because enough people have the HD sets, before distribution goes completely digital? Or is that just a niche for the toppermost of the uppercrust, tech wise? I don’t know. I do know that the player was cheap, I had some store credit, and I like movies. So there. I also know that I will give up physical media when it takes less time to download a movie than it takes to drive to the store, or have it mailed from Netflix. Right now I’m enjoying HD version of the Office from iTunes, but because Steve Jobs wants me to live in the future, I can’t just walk the file over to the Apple TV, plug in a drive, and transfer it. No, I have to do it wirelessly, and deal with a machine so flaky it makes a tender Spry-made pie crust look like an ingot of pig iron.

But that’s not my point. This is: they were playing the Indy movie in the store. They were playing the end of the Indy movie. Once I realized this I hummed loudly to myself, applying pressure up the Eustachian tubes for that inside-the-head loud sound while I fumbled for the iPod controls to drown out the dialogue. It’s not as if I wanted every brilliant, witty syllable to be fresh when I heard it in context; I expect lousy dialogue. It’s not as if I thought there was a plot twist at the end, and Indiana Jones dies of delayed radiation poisoning, or something. I just didn’t want to see the ending of the movie before I started it.

I brought this up with one of the clerks, who is Uber Film Geek Extraordinaire, and has excellent taste; he agreed totally, and told me it was a decision from Corporate. “They told us to play Iron Man non stop for two days when it came out, and now we’re supposed to play Indiana Jones.”

That’s a wise decision on Corporate’s part, because there’s a substantial chance that people walking into the movie store might be unaware of the existence of the Indiana Jones movie.

The pizza box at church-basement pre-choir dinner had Indiana Jones all over it. The store has a poster in the window. I think people are aware of the movie. It’s like putting up a poster in a recruiting office in 1942 that says “INCIDENTALLY, WE’RE AT WAR.”

I asked if they had any Blu-Ray for sale. They didn’t. Well, they had a pre-order copy, which the manager had got to “test the pre-order system,” and they’d sell it to me – for ten dollars more than Amazon charged.

Hollywood video is doomed. I say that every time I go there and give them some money.

I’ve been meaning to post this for months. Might as well get it over with. If it amuses you, then it’s a sign of how well-entrenched OH DAMMIT.


I paused to go downstairs to get a refill on the Shiraz, and heard a sound downstairs. The drain the RotoRooter man fixed three weeks ago is vomiting bathwater again. Argh. Well, I’m not paying for the next visit, no sirree. If only there was a batsignal for Joe the Plumber! Anyway: certain pieces of art become iconic, and transcend the artist, the style, the era from which it came, and all that stuff we art history majors used to set ourselves apart from people who enjoyed Normal Rockwell uncritically. Fools! It has to be filtered through an understanding of middlebrow sensibilities and the rearguard assault on anti-representational art! Jeez. Anyway, if this makes you smile, you are culturally literate. One of those perfect semi-random headline + rotating ad juxtapositions, in other words.


Best part of today, AISOT: Driving back from the video store with Natalie, discussing the Indiana Jones movies. She’s seen #2 and #4. I had no control over #2; she saw it at a friend’s house. Didn’t like it. But she liked #4. She started to whistle the theme, and I joined in. She’s a good whistler, which I take as a point of personal pride. Supposedly only one in 20 people could whistle the opening notes of the old “Whistler” radio show; I can. I’ve been whistling around her for years, and she picked it up. Nerdy as this sounds, we actually whistle scales from time to time while driving along. Piano finger exercises. Whistling is a lost art, and while it’s best kept to one’s self unless you’re really good and intend to deploy something jaunty while striding along the avenue, I wish there was more whistling about. Not massed whistling, Mitch-Miller style. But I don’t think anyone would mind if they passed someone who was, say, doing a Mayberry while he worked. (That’s what those of us in the whistling brethren call the “Andy Griffith Show” theme.) (No, not really.)

Tonight she’s been working on Club Penguin, another piece of the Disneyverse. It’s like Webkins, inasmuch as you have an avatar in a computer universe, and it’s like Toontown, because you can chat and interact with others. But Toontown grew boring, and we cancelled it for Club Penguin, where her friends hang out. Tonight they all got together and chatted online. Yes: it has begun. Texting.

I hope this ends the Webkinz craze; I’ve berated her for doting on new Webkinz when the others languish, unloved, starved. She rolls her eyes and tells me that she put them to sleep. Not in the euthanasia sense, of course; kids games haven’t incorporated Soylent-Green type scenarios yet. Your Webkin doesn’t lose health or become sad if you put it to bed. So eventually she will stop playing with them, as will all the kids when the craze ends and they move along. I am haunted by the thought of hundreds of thousands of Webkinz in suspended animation, sleeping their dreamless sleep, never to wake again.

Provided it is dreamless, and some sort of super-conscious entity doesn’t arise from their collective code.

Bonus whistling-related moment: just now the iTunes kicked up the "Steamboat Willy" soundtrack - you find you own the oddest things when it's on shuffle - and Natalie called from the other room "Hey! That's 'Steamboat Willie!'" It is, and that's my girl.



Today: the #17 hit, "Makin' Whoopee" by Eddie Cantor w/ Nate Shikret's Orchestra.

Today, elsewhere: See you at!

And, of course, at the Diner. (or here, if you want to get it delivered automatically via iTunes.)

And at the column. See you there, and have a grand weekend.