The mid-afternoon slump comes right after the post-meal dip, and it’s followed by the Great Afternoon Trough. But now and then a tweet comes along and throws a pebble at your head, and you click a link, and behold:
You can imagine, then, how I regarded an article in the Nation some years ago that equated Disneyland with Las Vegas. Both communities, claimed the article, were vulgar, both represented American culture at its most corrupt, vile and terrible.
I rumbled for half an hour, then exploded. I sent a letter winging to the prim Nation editors.
“Sirs,” it said, “like many intellectuals before me I delayed going to Disneyland, having heard it was just too dreadfully middle-class. One wouldn’t dream of being caught dead there.
“But finally a good friend jollied me into my first grand tour of the Magic Kingdom. I went…with one of the great children of our time: Charles Laughton.”
It is a good memory, the memory of the day Captain Bligh dragged me writhing through the gates of Disneyland. He plowed a furrow in the mobs; he surged ahead, one great all-enveloping presence from whom all fell aside. I followed in the wake of Moses as he bade the waters part, and part they did. The crowds dropped their jaws and, buffeted by the passage of his immense body through the shocked air, spun about and stared after us.
We made straight for the nearest boat—wouldn’t Captain Bligh?—the Jungle Ride.
That’s Ray Bradbury, coming to the defense of Disneyland in Holiday magazine. Charles Laughton! Anyway, I know that's two Disney things in two days. Sorry; been on my mind, as I arrange for the next trip, which is far in the future. Probably won't go to the Magic Kingdom, though. We'll have limited time, and other things to do, and Epcot is now my favorite. Tomorrowland makes me somewhat sad these days, anyway. Because it wasn't.
Here's a cover from Holiday, by the way:
More covers here. A mostly forgotten magazine.Speaking of old things, curated: here’s a page from Field Notes, a division of Coudal, showcasing the new Field Notes. Take a look at the astonishing array of farmer’s notebooks. Oy.
You can have your Moleskins; to me they’re overpriced and somewhat daunting. It has to be important to be put in a Moleskine. Hemingway used them! Gosh, I can’t put down a grocery list. This thing has hard covers. The Field Notes series feel disposable, but they’re durable, and shirt-pocket handy. I love them. Just about everything in my life is digital, but I’ll never give these up.
Wife said: why doesn't the TV downstairs show the local channels anymore? I said: I've no idea. Turned on the Tivo, went to the local channels, and sure enough. Only one LA local channel, which didn't come in. Everything else was unavailable.
The reason is simple: it's absolutely forlorn and has given up hope.
It tries to phone home every day. No one has ever been there. No one picks up. It's the basement Tivo, the old one - and it's been in continuous operation, disk spinning, since 2000, still trying to record shows that have been off the air for half a decade. So I plugged in the phone cord. It called. It connected! There was someone to talk to! Oh, glory! Oh, happy day!
Almost immediately someone else called the land line and knocked it off.
It’s remarkable that the machine has worked so long and so well without error and complaint. It’s sad to think that the platters now full of discarded interests from a few years ago once had 9/11 footage, overwritten a hundred times. When I got that Tivo it was the absolute “cutting edge” of technology, a frictionless intermediary between the strange cold stream of bits coming down from the bird above and the bit broad screen of the new Sony. I bought a high-definition TV in 2000, and a Tivo to complete the transition to the sharp world of better-than-life TV. Still have the TV. Weighs a ton. Can’t get rid of it; no one wants it. Compared to today’s feather-light monitors, it’s a boat anchor. So it lives in a cabinet in the living room, and its primary function is to display the name of a song played on the satellite music channel when we have guests over.
The Tivo went to the basement. Years ago on the phone to DirecTV, the tech-support person looked at my account and was astonished to find I had an original Tivo. That was years ago. Still it grinds on, the only Tivo in the house now - the other DVR has the dull, bovine mind of the DirecTV programming - and it’s still sifting through our choices, wondering what we might like, offering recommendations, drinking in the new information from the satellites like a parched mouse who finds a leaky pipe.
If it can’t figure out where we are, and can’t display local channels, then DirecTV will send a replacement, and the old faithful servant will be sent to the municipal Electrical Thing Compaction Center. DirecTV doesn’t want it back. I don’t want to keep it; no point. But tonight as I was trying to get it to show the main menu, a task that required great patience - the unit does not respond to buttons with alacrity, let’s say - I remembered how that first Tivo remote felt so perfect, how I missed it every time I picked up a uselessly complex modern remote, how I sat in the basement of our previous house with my Big TV, sleeping on the sofa downstairs because Infant Natalie was snoozing in my bed. Then it was the keeper of post 9/11 footage. Then it was something my wife programmed to record things to watch while she did the treadmill.
It’s just a robot, but when I send it to its reward, there will be a moment of silence. It’s the longest-lasting piece of technology I’ve ever owned. Attention must be paid! We dast not deride it -
Just went downstairs to see how it handled the update. Still can’t pull on local channels. Okay. That stupid thing is toast.