More lawn work. The bushes on the side have to go, because they were destroyed when the RotoRooter guys piled up rocks and paving stones on a wooden plank to get at the piles, and the weight pushed down the bushes and deformed them for all eternity. Saturday I took out two. One I chopped down to the nubbin, and decided against removing the roots because A) it was in a difficult place that would be difficult to work in, on account of the difficulty, and B) screw it. Number two I had no such excuse. But this thing had spent 15 years, at least, putting down thick woody roots into the soil, and required an astonishing amount of abuse to dislodge. When I got it out, I was Perseus and the Gorgon:



Flush with success I looked at the third one, girder my loins, picked up the shovel, and said “ahh, tomorrow.”

Sunday I go back out, and start chopping limbs. That’s why I discovered that the bush is actually two bushes that have grown together. In essence, this is the horticultural equivalent of breaking into the house of a nice elderly couple who are in the same bed holding hands, and hacking them to pieces, and I’m thinking this would probably be better if I was on bath salts.

The first root ball came up as easily; the second took swearing. Then the branches were chopped and twined and the bin filled with refuse, and the area’s completely naked, waiting for something nice and less unruly. All because the sewer broke. That’s the thing about home ownership: the basement drain backs up a bit, and you look at it, and you don’t think: twelve grand. Plus new bushes. After a while, though, you do.



You know what I love? Buying a bunch of postcards, scanning them, fixing them, writing them up, assembling a site, paying for it, and then someone takes most of the pictures and puts them up on his own site.

But hey, there’s a “thanks” at the bottom of the post, and a link, too! So I should be grateful.

Here’s the deal. You see a post you like, a site you like, you provide a sample, and then you link to it, so the person who did all the work can get the traffic, and new visitors can discover the rest of the site.

Or here’s another idea: get your own damned content. It’s one thing to nick from here or there, or aggregate a type of content for an audience that wants a bucket of new stuff every time they march down the bookmark menu, but coming up with things you’ve found and rescued, or discovered and annotated, adds to the general welfare of the web.

This post is remarkable- it’s a collection of photos of old New York storefronts. I have the book. The Daily Beast / Newsweek put up a slideshow, and it looks like he’s taken everyone one of the images. Oh but hey thanks Newsweek! And what do you get? The pictures aren’t in a slideshow, which is better, but they’re smaller, and the context is removed - no audio interview, no addresses. Just pictures

I spoke with the site’s owner once before when he took EVERY SINGLE PICTURE from the exteriors of the Coffee & Chrome site, and he was apologetic and took them down, but apparently forgot to remove the interior site.

Buzzfeed does this too. This post, typical of the site’s mix of OMG CUTE and SQUIRREL! political stories and lists and other bits of digital crack for the ADD demographic, gives you three pictures of a cute mouse atop a dandelion stalk. It links to the source material, which is nice, but instead of linking to the post, it links to the image - which, because it’s a wordpress site, means a long url that probably means nothing to anyone. So you have to shave the URL to get to the domain name, and then advance four pages to get to the post, to learn that the photographer of the images is Matt Binstead, and he has his own site. So Buzzfeed can’t even be arsed to cite the original photographer.

LINK RIGHT, PEOPLE. LINK. And for God's sake don't take everything on a page that also took everything and say "via," as if that's super-ethical internet ettiquette.

As long as we’re slapping the internet around, can everyone please stop saying “The (XYZ Thing) You’ve Never Seen” or “The Best Picture of (XYZ) You’ll See Today” any other variant that makes an assumption about You.

Okay, one more thing. Stop this:


Does that make any sense? Who designs a site that way when every browser has buttons that say the exact opposite?

Oh, and in case you're curious, the image above was scanned from an old Life Magazine. I have stacks of them. I bought them. I scanned them.


Finally saw Pete Kelly’s Blues, the magnum opus of America’s most famous Jewish - American Indian filmmaker, Jack Webb. The cast: Lee Marvin. Jayne Mansfield. Peggy Lee. Elsa Maxwell. Andy Devine. Edmund O’Brian. Janet Lee. In glorious technocolor wide-screen with set design by a guy who designed the Proteus for “Fantastic Voyage.” Wrap your brain around that: the ultra 60s sci-fi FX special had a perfect futuristic cool little ship, designed by a guy who did the set decoration for a movie set in the 1920s. I keep coming back to the guy:



Harper Goff. He also helped design Disneyland. And the FX for “20,000 Leagues.” And the original “Willy Wonka.”

He was a pal of Webb’s, I believe; Jack put him in an early TV version of Dragnet, where he plays a model train enthusiast - a nice little nod to Goff’s hobby, which was the reason he got together with Walt Disney in the first place. (They met at a model train store.) Webb put him in a scene, playing banjo while Janet Leigh dances. He also gave some movie roles to guys he knew from radio, including Herb Ellis - who's still alive, by the way. (91.)

The movie’s okay. It’s not great but it’s not bad. It’s an odd duck all around - not a musical, not a crime picture, not a romance, but somehow all of the above. For Webb fans, it’s a must; for anyone who regards him as a stiff square punchline, it’s required. I finally realized a proper analogue: Webb was to radio what Michael Mann was to TV. He completely redefined its approach. Just as Miami Vice changed the look of TV, so Dragnet changed the sound of radio.

At the end of the movie: as a kid, this disturbed me.




What, exactly, did that mean? I have no idea. There's a page on the itnernet devoted to all the variations, of course, but no explanation for the name, or why Webb wanted a sweaty, dirty fist associated with his works.


For a cleansing look at something much cleaner and sweeter, here’s Betty Grable:



It's the opening of a movie I was watching before it bored me too much to continue. It’s “Song of the Islands," a 1942 examination of the native culture of Hawaii in 1942, which consisted entirely of primitive Polynesians who show up on the shore and sing communal hymns to the White Goddess approaching in an outrigger. She must be divine, because she can stand straight up and sing while moving.

It’s 90 seconds or so of song, one take, and you have to imagine that face on the big screen in cone-soaking Technicolor: it would have been overwhelming. Here you go:





New matchbooks, grocery-store division. You may notice a few repeats, as I've reordered the section somewhat. It's here. Enjoy, and I'll see you around!







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