Must I? There’s a huge Bleat from yesterday many of you may have missed, because the site was taken down by Dotster. Reason: failure to comply with ICANN’s new security / privacy / whatever the hell policy, which requires me to . . . . well, I’m not sure what I did. I called up Dotter because my domain was on hold, according to the instantly helpful people at Hosting Matters, and sat through a long wait while a chipper voice came on every 30 seconds to remind me of the new ICANN policy. The tech was bored, as I imagine they all are; small talk while waiting for emails to show up in my box were strained. First I had to unlock something and then change something and then lock it back up again.

Yes, I’d been sent an email about it, but as the Hosting Matters tech later wrote to me when I explained what had happened, this was not uncommon, since sensible people regarded the ICANN email as a phishing attempt. As the very sort of thing they warn you not to click and fill out.

That was irritating, but the day began at the DMV, where I went to transfer the title of a car. That was from another state. That had an altered title. That belonged to someone who was deceased.

Let’s say it did not go through easily.

The clerk was a bit confused, but sorted it all out and began to type things. She produced a sotto voce running account of her doings, and periodically would slip a question into the running narrative. I was unaware they were questions, since they did not have the usual inflection. On it went until eventually she went into the backroom, presumably to get the police. (Actually, I had been through this before, and had notarized papers to prove my case.) She returned with plates. All was good.

Later the garage door mechanic came, and validated my belief that I could not fix the door. A short in a wire. Have you ever tried to rewire a garage door? I have. The old one shook and shivered so much it dislodged the wires, and trying to put them back was like trying to thread Daddy Long Legs limbs through the eye of a needle. While the spider was alive. And you don’t know where anything is supposed to go. He did. But as for the remote:

“Geez, we don’t carry that brand,” he said. He gave me a sideways look. “There’s a guy running around town puttin’ those in. They’re junk.”

Great. I love the way he made it sound as if there was a rogue garage door installer breaking into people’s homes and forcing substandard machines on them.

I signed the form and he left. About six hours later, returning home, I saw a large colorful decal six inches by three inches with the company’s name and phone number GLUED TO THE WALL. I repeat. GLUED. To the wall. Not a card stuck in the top of the switch. GLUED. I peeled it off carefully, because I did not want to look at the damned thing every time I went into the house, and then sent an email to the company suggesting that they might want to ask first before GLUING THEIR CONTACT INFO TO THE WALL. Criminey.

Wife came home early; sick. I thought I was getting the cold earlier in the day, but so far, no. Hope I don’t. It’s bad. Most congestion. You know that awful first day when it hits you like a Brinks truck. A Brinks truck full of mucus. Daughter went off to a sleepover, because school has been canceled on account of lethal exterior temperatures. She's happy. Dog got to ride along, which he loves to do, so he was happy. I got my site back and the plates for the car, so I’m happy.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow. If I had my druthers I would work from home but there are meetings.

And now today's entry in . . .

I'm thinking that the end of this branch of the Fuller line might have been complete.

Then again, Clarence wasn't seeing any action; this ad is from '33, and the war was over in 1902. Question: who was N. X. W., that he felt the need to keep his name obscured?



Prepare yourself for three months of . . .


. . . that’s what I’d say if I was going to subject you to this one, but I’m not. The print is bad - it’s a 1932 movie - and it has no score. But in case you are curious:

Of course he is and of course he does. This was Lugosi's biggest payday: $10,000 - which the Inflation Calculator website says had the purchasing power of $173,000 or so. Of course, everyone thought he would be the aforementioned Evil Genius, but the serial keeps tossing out one suspect after the other.

But you want a cliffhanger, don't you? Here you go.

Aiiieee! That's practically Michael Bay-style editing there. The hero of course survives, because he's the hero. On it goes, with mysteries about stolen Czarist jewels, until the Whispering Shadow is finally revealed to be Sparks, the dunce who hung around the radio room. He didn't seem the type, but he has a fine self-image:

That's Karl Dane. This was his last film. His imdb bio:

Dane made major investments in mining in 1931 and 1933. However his business partner was crooked and Dane soon lost all the money he had made in films. Now impoverished Dane went from one menial job to another, always losing them in some cruel and unfair way. One such job was as a waiter at a café. The owner fired Dane soon after when he discovered a former movie star turned waiter did not draw in customers. MGM also refused to rehire Dane as even a carpenter or an extra despite his skills. Yes he did own a hot dog stand, no he didn't operate it in front of the MGM gates. That was a Kenneth Anger invention.

I suppose that's from Hollywood Babylon. Wikipedia cites it as fact. Wikipedia also says:

On April 13, Dane was pickpocketed of all the money he had: $18. On 14 April, he was to meet with a young woman named Frances Leake, with whom he planned to see a movie. However, he never showed and Leake became worried. She immediately arrived at his apartment (at 626 South Burnside Avenue) and with the assistance of the landlady, they were able to open the door. There they found Dane, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, in his chair with a gun at his feet. Leake fainted at the scene. When she was revived, Leake found Dane's suicide note on a nearby table, next to a scrapbook filled with memorabilia, including photos, reviews and contracts, from his acting career. The note read, "To Frances and all my friends-goodbye."

No one came forward to claim his body. ] Police tagged his body with the note, "May have relatives in Denmark. Hold for awhile".

This was where he lived and died.

Anyway. When they ask him how he became the Whispering Shadow, he asks if he could don his hat and coat. Well, sure, don't see any problem there - whoa!

Tthe double-gun routine. Look familiar?



Yes indeed. The two-gun posture and the cape and hat brought to mind the real Shadow, who whispered. But he was a good guy.

And Lugosi?






Mwah! Now they shall have socially sanctioned relations. Mwah!

Next week we'll start another one.


That's it for today - be sure to check out the new site on Sci-Fi covers. Not just for nerds and geeks . . . although it doesn't hurt if you number yourself amongst their proud brigades. You'll also note that the Miscellaneous section has been redesigned, and you know what that means. BAD LINKS!

See you around. Oh - and the comments button at the top now works. I know Paul came up with a solution but I wanted to figure it out myself; just involved moving the anchor.



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