And now begins three iterations of column nights, so everything will trail off with a whimper. Trying to get some novel polishing in there as well, fixing the ragged bits and jagged edges before pronouncing it complete. Also busy moving the sprinkler around the immensity of the hill. What, don’t you have a sprinkler system? Yes. But A) we have a ton of new seed and sod and straw, part of the annual attempt to get something to GROW in the dead spots; this time I hired experts. So it needs more than the perfunctory watering the sprinkler system would provide.

Also, the system doesn’t work.

I don’t think it’s fatal. There are two valves on the outside unit; I assume both have to be opened for the water to go. But when I opened one up two extremely high-pressure jets shot out and hit me square in the chest, and that is not supposed to happen. The nozzles are threaded, which leads me to believe there was supposed to be a cap, and the nozzles are used to bleed the system. In any case it doesn’t work. And the water-pressure booster is making a horrible sound it never made before, so I think it’s on the way out.

Also the mosquitos suddenly appeared by the billions. So yard woes, sprinkler woes, and bugs: WINTER CAN’T COME FAST ENOUGH


The MPR event was great fun; won’t air until September, though. For some reason I decided that Anton Bruckner talked like Elmer Fudd. Afterwards, the office, and then on the way home two fire trucks pulled up and blocked the street. Hmmm. Went around, parked, got my press pass and went to investigate. Possible gas leak. I hung around with camera ready, Mr. On The Spot Reporter, but nothing happened.

Gosh, why doesn’t that news make the paper? It’s good news! Suspected Gas Leak Is Just Old Eggs, Fireman say after expensive and time-consuming devotion of resources that back up traffic at rush hour for 15 minutes. You never read about that in the paper.

As you may have noted, or not, there’s a Google Plus link down at the bottom of the page. I use it for posting links to the work blog, because Google People told us this was a way to boost our standings in the Great GoogleMoogleplex, so this I duly did. The other day I went to to add something, and because even I don’t have my Google page bookmarked, I clicked on the plus button by my name up top. Except there wasn’t any plus button. They took it out. Why? Why remove the link on the main page? Because they stand full-square behind Plus, and they’re rolling out new exciting opportunities! Sure. It’s dead.

I don’t care; I have nothing invested in it. There’s not a social network I care about at all, AND NO this is not one of those tiresome boasts about ignoring something hundreds of millions of people use and enjoy. It’s a plea for someone to get it right. Facebook: a firehose, and cluttered and ugly. (I’m tired of the blue.) Google+ was spare and unengaging. I like my tumblr, but it’s just a tumblr. Twitter I love, because when it’s done well it’s like the Algonquin Round Table, except everyone takes turns speaking. The only thing that comes close to summing up what I’d like in a site is . . . this. Because I can control everything except the stupid chumbucket ads at the bottom.

But it makes me wonder why there’s no platform I like better. Either it was tried and it failed, or it hasn’t been tried, and needs to be funded, put into beta on an invitation-only basis, get tried by all the popular kids who ding it for missing one or two features, becomes the butt of tech jokes, gets another round of funding, expands into a new headquarters, has its founder do an interview on Medium describing the company’s commitment to a relaxed work environment focused on the best possible product, and then fail upon major release because the app version crashed when you tried to import your Snapchat contacts, or something like that, and everyone deleted it and $57 million went swirling down the drain.

You wonder why I stick with this, when this sort of long-form project is in disfavor. Short and sharable, that’s the key. I suppose I’ll add back the sharing icons in the next version, but there’s not another platform I’ll use except the one over which I have total control.

It would be easier to just plug copy into someone else’s invention. Have the archiving and RSS and everything else taken care of. But alas; alack.

I’ve been enjoying some Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which I prefer - for the most part - to “Twlight Zone.” It doesn’t have Serling’s simplistic misanthropy, and its droll introductions are always a joy. When I was a kid it seemed like it came from a distant era - it was less than 20 years old, but it was on the Other Side of the cultural divide. By 1973, 1955 was a foreign country. I’ve written about this before, but it’s probably been a few years, so: that tremulous music that accompanies the story title is one of the best pieces of TV music from the era. There’s no melody. Just a chord, with muffled timpani. Something dreadful is coming.

But that’s not what this is about. Here: this fellow.

Do you know him? Yes, you do. The accent-a woulda been-a familiar to people, since he played Pasquale, a blowhard Italian immigrant on “Life with Luigi.” But he did something else that made him practically immortal in the pop-culture firmament, at least for another generation. At least until breakfast habits change permanently.

You’ll either hear the character right away, or have to think about it. And when you'll get it, now you'll think of that character . . . as Tony Soprano.

Name that voice.

Odds and ends for the above-the-fold feature. It's Tile Time, ladies and gentlemen.

Congoleum-Nairn was good for every room! If you were a samples salesman or district rep. Here you see how Congoleum can be used for a slide, which makes you wonder whether the stuff is a bit slick underfoot.


"Everything from grease to jam to finger paints and crayon wipe away in a jiffy." Grease and jam! That's your kids, America. Filthy sticky little buggers.




You know, it really is just back and forth 'twixt Moon and the desert, but I don't know what else I expected.

Sounds fun.

If you recall, the Criminals - hats firmly in place, as per regulations - were firing the ray gun at the rocket ship, but Cody was taking potshots and spoiling their aim. So they pointed the gun at the cliff so a million tons of rock would fall on the guy who could not possibly escape because his jetpack was too heavy . . . no, that’s what you would expect. So:

I guess he forgot about the powers of flight. It does slip a man’s mind from time to time. The rocket lands safely, and the Criminals have to report failure to the prissy little git who’s running the pre-invasion plans for the Moon.

I love this scene so much.

He does that a lot. President Moon is as happy as you can imagine; if the Earth people use the Lunarium to make their own ray guns, then their pointless invasion is even more doomed. Now it’s getting serious:



He tells the Criminals to kill Cody, because at this point he’s just blindly lashing out. Back at Cody’s office lab, the unnamed Government Guy says they’re working on the ray gun, but need to know when the invasion will happen. Have you gotten any clues from your experiences so far? Cody starts to recount the plot, and you realize this is a clip show. So where’s the Mass Extinction? Huh?

Well, look who showed up at the office lab, which is apparently as well guarded as a child’s street corner lemonade stand:

These quisling agents of a fearsome, high-tech Moon civilization seal the door with a laser beam. Just kidding:

Their high-tech gas dispensing system:

Then they go around to make sure no one goes out the window. As soon as Cody pulls up the blinds to let in some air - because it’s getting stuffy with poison - they shoot at him, thereby breaking the window and admitting in fresh air. So you’d think Cody would throw a chair through the window, but - well, “Mass” isn’t the word I’d use.

May every pursuit be a planned pursuit.

Ta da! That's all. See you hither and yon.



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