I have no tales. I wish I had tales. Sometimes I do. But the last four weeks have seen such a relentless assertion of monotonous order and duty no tales have emerged; even the interactions with clerks at the store, long a source of minor enlightenment or irritation, have been rote. The dog has not escaped. The child has been good and bright. Work - well, I love it, and there was a moment on Friday when someone announced that they’d cleaned out the fridges earlier than expected, and I stood up and shouted MY WIFE’S EMBRYOS! and ran away. But you can’t build a blog entry around that. Just part of the madcap life of a newspaper office! Oh, such characters. Anyway, I expect this week to be the same, but things start to change on Friday. Trust me on this. Next Friday things get gorgeous.

As for the last one: perfectFriday. A dismal day on Saturday. Taken together, which sets the tone for the weekend? Which wins? But Friday is not the weekend, you say. Not until quitting time. True, but your mind is in weekend mode after lunch on Friday. You begin to unwrap the prospect of free time - which is anything but, if you’re inclined to cram the weekend with useful things, as some are. I am not. I am, however, married. So: time to fix the sprinkler, so I don’t go sliding (oh, to answer my question: Saturday sets the tone. Friday isn’t the weekend. That’s crazy talk.) down the hill and ending up in all the mud I bought. It was dirt when it came. It’s mud now. I bought mud.

The problem with the sprinkler system was simple: two screws needed to be tightened. And so they were. Pressure restored, the little heads popped out of the yard and began to spit long streams, ensuring that an area about a foot wide gets wet. There are new systems that do a better job of covering an area. This system I do not have.

Most of the zones worked, except one sprinkler went rogue and decided it would sprinkle the street. Now, I like the wet pavement look. It was one of the innovations Michael Mann brought to the screen in a big way in the 80s, starting with “Thief,” and later used to great effect in “Miami Vice.” There was something romantic about those wet streets, the way they made you think “it must have recently rained” but also “What a mysterious place is the night, with the lights of the city glimmering in their reflection as Sonny drives off shouting into a cellphone, usually starting out with ‘RICO,’ and then something about Mendoza or Sandobar or his nemesis, Calderone.” Who, I believe, he shot by a swimming pool in his estate. One of those places where the grounds are perfectly manicured, and the sprinklers pop on at 10 PM.

So I like wet streets, but one patch in the middle of the street does not a Miami Vice episode make, so I tried to turn it to pay attention to the grounds. I forgot that another sprinkler a few yards away would make a pass, and it shot me in the back as I bent over the rogue. It, too, wanted to irrigate the street, but only a few feet. It had seen the sort of madness that possessed its brother.

Now to set up the timer and the remote detector that turns it on if we haven’t gotten any rain, and set some zones to Monsoony. Back to the days when it WORKED AS ADVERTISED, and hope that the seed and mud and straw yield a nice thick lawn.

Which, by then, will be under a carpet of fallen leaves.

But next year! Next year it’ll be great.


Sunday I got mulch. I know. I know. But mulch I must for a better tomorrow. Why, my life is too-mulch-tuous! Ha ha. This was the last run, though. The side of the house and under some bushes. Done! DONE I tell you.

You, however, are not my wife, who decided to prune under the trees on the side wall, and that exposed an area which had not been covered in mulch for years. As I keep noting, this is the first complete and utter mulch bestowment in a decade. Everything must be smothered. When I’m done the living room will be seven inches deep in the damned stuff. Anyway, I got eight bags of the side mulch and three bags for the back, where no one ever goes unless you are a dog, and looking for a nice place to extrude your leavings. Who cares if there are weeds back there? Who would know? Well, the Shadow knows. He knows that the weed of crime bears bitter fruit, and that could make the dog sick if he ate it.

On to the side. What had been billed as an eight bag job was a 16 bag job, so it’s back next week for more. I can’t take it any more. I want to stop pedestrians and pull them up the steps by the hairs of their neck and say I HOPE YOU’RE ENJOYING THE SIGHT OF ALL THIS MULCH.

It was hot, too. Sweaty, dusty work. At one point I was emptying a bag alongside the air conditioner, and the fan blew a cloud of tiny mulch shards into my eyes, which made for a few minutes of merry sport, let me tell you. Add to that a trip into the trees and bushes, all of which had limbs that seemed to sprout razors and fishbones, and it was bloody work. My wife’s no better; she looks like she got drunk and went fencing.

All in all a good weekend; not typical, inasmuch as all the usual basics were not observed, but that’s fine. We had my nephew over for supper, since he’s in town, and that meant cleaning the entire house. Men, upon learning someone is coming over for burgers: better check to see if I have ketchup. Women: go clean the interior of the toilet tank on the bathroom on the second floor. Oh: forgot. The Giant Swede’s daughter had her graduation party on Saturday, so I got to see some folk I’d missed for a while. There’s the Crazy Uke pressing a shot glass of Polish wudka into my hand. As we used to say during the aerobics craze: feel the burn.

You look at the graduate, almost six feet tall, and remember when she was a lanky little tot up in the playhouse you took down last month, watching you set off fireworks on the traditional Fourth when all the families got together. That was just back there, wasn’t it? Around that corner beyond the other corer?

Another, Uke, if you would be so kind.

Sole weekend video entertainment: episode 2 of season 3 of “Black Mirror,” which is available on Netflix. A show about the future - two, three, ten years away. I’ve never been disappointed with a single drama (it’s an anthology show) and I never read the description. It was very disturbing. When it’s done you replay it all in your head and marvel at the construction, and struggle with the ethics. Smartest thing I’ve seen in a long time, but as I said: disturbing.

I swear I had nightmares about this.






Instead of beginning with a static title, here’s the opening bars.

So . . . God is responsible for the monster that’s going to knock London flat?

We begin with a scientist who is warning a group of other scientists that atomic testing is poisoning the planet. A chain reaction is underway, as fish eat plankton and birds eat fish and everything increases the amount of radiation.

I for one refuse to be panicked, says a scientist, to which the others respond in the most British fashion possible:



We switch to Cornwall, where a fisherman is attacked by a special effect, in this case a bright light. It burns -

. . . .but not before he says it was Bememoth. That’s good, because that’s the name of the movie. It would be annoying if he’d called it Leviathan. Then there’s a funeral, where the priest quotes the Bible verse about the Leviathan, and how it shall have hot breath that will burn everything, which is a really, really smart thing to do in front of the guy’s family. Later they go for a stroll, and see thousands of dead fish, and a pulsing thing.

News of the pulsing thing leads our Atomic Cassandra to cancel his plans to return to the states, and go directly to the town where a pulsing thing was seen. By now the audience might be getting restless, because we’ve just seen burned people and dead fish. We need SCIENCE.

And so:

After lots of peering at slides and X-rays, they decide to head out into the roiling sea, because it’s time to reveal the creature.

That’s all we get. Time: 33:04. That’s about right for a 90 minute film. Thirty more minutes of our scientist drawing conclusions and investigating the Wake of Destruction, and the last scene concerns the creature’s attack in a major city, because it’s angry, radioactive, and never saw a movie like this.

One of the military guys appears to be a living Gerry Anderson marionette.

Where have I seen that guy? He was a Nazi somewhere. Probably named Willy.

Finally, it arrives to spawn in its old spawning grounds, and we meet the creature. Brace yourself:


He pushed the model over. We know this really happened because there are news reports:

So we’re 52 minutes in; we’ve had the first encounter. Now begins the desperate planning to meet the threat, followed by mobilization footage. Thrill, if you will, to the passion the script brings to the imminent peril:


Even the movie loses interest in what he’s say.

But then it gets to the invasion of the Leviathan - and it’s not bad.


It goes back into the river, so the scientist and another guy take a sub and blow it up. That’s it.

There really wasn’t any reason for the movie to be made. But I'm glad they did.

That's it for today! Except for the matches. See you tomorrow.



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