What’s the line - whom the gods would destroy, they first raise up? Or make high? Or let them win the lottery? You get the idea. Hubris, pride goeth before, all that stuff about rising to the uppermost of the toppermost before you get your comeuppance, and go downance. It puts the gods in a rather bad light - spiteful sods, cruel creatures toying with ants out of sport and boredom. Or it could be a nice gesture on their part. Say, we have Grotius Maximus scheduled for utter humiliating failure and fall from power down the road; how about we give him a few years at the top to compensate? Let him have a taste of the good things before he’s plunged into disgrace and despair.
Anyway. Another way of tempting the gods would be thus: those whom the gods would make drive around for 2 1/2 hours on a bitter cold Saturday night they first make tweet the line “It’s -147 degrees out (plus wind chill) so I’m just going to stay inside and make websites.” I said that. I should have known.
Daughter after piano: I’m going with friends to the Pet Store, they’re having an adoption event, you get to see all kinds of dogs and cats. Don’t worry, I have a ride.
Sounds good. I actually do sit down and finish a website. Around 3:30 PM I’m a bit logy, thinking of a nap, and ask when they’re going. She doesn’t know, exactly. I’d take a nap but when someone comes over the dog barks, doors slam, and so on. A few minutes later plans change, sort of, because the mom who was going to give the ride, can’t. Well. Should I drive? I’d like to nap. Well, maybe we’re going. The friends might be walking over.
When? Don’t know. It’s up in the air.
Well, can you attach some sandbags and let hot air out of the balloon and perhaps lower the basket so everyone can have a conversation about what’s next?
Okay. But no plans are made and it turns out they’re not going to the pet store but everyone is coming over for fondue as planned but instead of coming over for fondue at 6 they're going to go to the Mall first and hang out, maybe see a movie, then have fondue afterwards.
Huh? What? Mom got all the fondue stuff, the cheese, the chocolate, the Li’l Smokies, the bread, and this was going to be dinner, and now it’s going to happen at 10? What movie? You know you won’t be hungry because everyone will have popcorn and slushees, and should an adult point out that you ruined your Fondue Capacity with that decision, everyone will say but we were hungry. Yes, because you didn’t have Fondue.
FONDUE HAD BEEN PLANNED AND NOW EVERYTHING IS ARWY
Idea: I will go get the friends (three of them) and they will come home, have fondue, then I will take everyone to the mall. Does this work? Can you text everyone? Could you possibly even call someone? Once this is settled I take my nap and get 20 minutes into it when the dog walks outside the bedroom door with a big bone in his mouth and drops it BANG and that’s the end of that nap.
Sooooo out into the cold. Get the kids. Back to the house. I stay away from the fondue thing because it’s wife and child and friends, a girl thing. The dipping and the cheese and the strawberries and all that. Take them to the movie theater at the appointed hour. I could go home and twiddle my thumbs or find something else to do . . . in the dark, in the burbs, on a Saturday night.
We pause now for an abstraction.
What is this? When you get it, you may marvel at the fact that - well, that you get it. And perhaps how quickly you got it.
Now, the conclusion.
I go to a cheap burger joint and read the New Yorker. A piece about a Russian oligarch who is now an anti-Putin spokesperson, the sort of thing you should read so you’re up to speed when he’s assassinated. I forgot to order the Small Hamburger; if you order just a hamburger at this place you get two patties. That is the default setting. Two. Sigh. Well, we’ll just have to get through this as best as we can. The overhead speakers are playing the same Boston song from 1976 they always play. There are 8 young men in hockey uniforms. The fries are pretty good. Russia is a mess. At the end of it I have burned 20 minutes; what now?
Let’s go to the Traders Joe / Infinite Inebriation Enablers Node like I used to do every Saturday before I switched it to Wednesday. At Infinite (Total Wine & Spirits, actually) I spent some time peering at the in-house brands they would like you to think are independent brands. The cheapest hooch is AMERICAN PRIDE, and you can get a 1.75 liter bottle of AMERICAN PRIDE TEQUILA for an astonishingly low price, which makes you think someone mopped the floor of a Mexican distillery and rung it out over a bucket, which was poured into this unhappy, rote, generic container. The rest of the store brands have names (if they’re whiskeys) or British places (if they’re gin) or concepts (if it’s vodka) and in every case the font choices are damning. But if you confront the manager and say “really? Algiers? It was played out as a 19th century signifier years ago” he will adjust his tie and look right through you, because dude.
Then I went to Traders Joe, where I’d just been a few days before. I needed nothing, but you can always find something. Wife likes almonds for snacking at work. Get some almonds. Daughter likes Jerky, and it’s $5.99 here as opposed to $6.49 everywhere else. Get some jerky. Go to the counter.
“Some times you just have to leave the house on a Saturday night for jerky and almonds,” I say to the clerk, because this is just so meaningless I feel the need to defend myself.
After that I consider going home, but decide to drive downtown. So I drive to the office. Hello: they’re working at night on the Downtown East project?
On the way back to the suburbs the OTR channel kicks in with a 5-part Johnny Dollar, and even though I heard it within the last year I remember little, so I sit in the parking lot of the movie theater for a while and listen to the story until the movie is over. Then it’s four bubbly 14 year-olds back to the house for . . . dessert fondue. By the time all is done it’s 10:45 and I have accomplished nothing.
None of which matters when I recall the hug of gratitude Daughter bestowed.
Which doesn’t change the fact that 14-year-old girls are incapable of making plans whose specificity extends beyond “we will do that thing maybe idk we’ll see.”
Answer to the abstraction.
In other words, Happy Birthday GW.
Now it's time for our weekly excursion into non-colored entertainment. Not a review. Not high-falutin' cineast critiques. Rather, a look into the familiar tropes and forgotten faces of a bygone time in a bygone medium, with the occasional review. And often a cineaste critique. Okay, usually.
Let's begin with the Spring Fever Theme.
We meet a man who is attempting to repair a sofa, and possibly fears getting a pointy end of a spring shooting in his tender eyeball.
Coily the Spring is going to give him his wish: he will now experience a WORLD WITHOUT SPRINGS.
His watch - it doesn’t work! His windowshade - it falls down! His telephone - the dial is useless!
The car seat - say, it seems rather uncomfortable.
That’s because he wanted a world without springs and by cracky he got it, good and hard.
Coily materializes to torment him with the consequences of his idle wish.
Since I look at these things like inadvertent documentaries, we can’t let a moment like this go by without looking at the interior of the 1939 car, with its gorgeous dashboard - and crude steering column.
When Coily shows up to note that the pedals won’t work because “NO SPRINGS HA HA" we notice that Spring Sprites aren’t exactly keen on dental maintenance:
As usual in these cases, the man finds that his wish has turned against him, and perhaps thinking he has plunged the entire world into a pre-industrial state, he pleads with Coily:
Coily says “just this once, but don’t ever make that wish again.” Because it was rather genocidal, when you think about it. You are also invited to consider whether the Spring Sprites are constantly listening in the trembling ether for threats against the usefulness of springs, eager to make mankind pay for their blasphemy. Note how he started to materialize before the wish was even complete. But the springs were made by man. They owe their existence to man. They seem rather malicious about the relationship.
Then they go golfing and the man, who has seen the light, spoils the entire day by lecturing the rest of the foursome on the usefulness of springs. He continues the lecture on springs in the car, going into such technical detail it is apparent Coily has inserted a script about springs into his head. His passengers:
One of them attempts to blaspheme:
He will live in terror of this apparition for the rest of his life.
No work blog today; finishing up a video. But tumblr, I imagine, will be up if I remember to reload it for the week to come. See you around!