Sorry about yesterday is the first thing I wrote, but it’s not true and I take it back. I regret the absence of content, but it’s not as if I had anything to do with it. You can regret things for which you had no input or control, yes - I think we all regret the rise of Hitler. I think we all regret the Challenger disaster. But if you did everything you could, and the thing for which you were partly responsible failed solely because of the actions of the other party, maybe regret isn’t the word. Loud pointy blame, that’s the emotion. Sorry? It debases the word to be sorry for someone else’s internet outage.

The problem started when I was trying to download the iOS9 update, and it stalled halfway through. This you expect. I noticed that web pages were loading slowly, though, and quick! Throw up an incomplete Bleat, just in case. Later I noticed it had timed out. Everything had timed out. Nothing worked, to use the phrase of the week. It’s just odd that it collapsed slowly. You think it’s a binary thing; there is internet, or there is not internet.

As it turns out, there really wasn’t internet. When I checked the website that tracks outages, I got this angry chancre burning a hole in the entire metro area. It wasn’t a CenturyLink page, by the way; heaven forbid you get a status update on their site. No, you have to go to a troubleshooting page that has questions like “are you looking at a computer, or a cardboard box with a hole cut out so it looks like a screen? If so, you need to contact sales.” No big red banner saying OUTAGES IN THE FOLLOWING AREA BECAUSE BOB SPILLED COFFEE ON THE CONTROL PANEL.


So that meant no Netflix. Which meant TV, because I didn’t want to commit to a DVD. When you decide to watch a DVD you have to put it in and wait. And there’s something about the usual pointless FBI warnings - and that chilling message that says Interpol has taken an interest in the subject of piracy - that makes you think you’re settling in. You’ve walled off the rest of the world, somehow. You’re committed. This is why Netflix is so popular: you can bail any time and move on to the next movie, which is probably just as bad, and when you’re done you watched the first 15 minutes of five bad movies, which is just as good as watching all of a mediocre one.

I had a dream the other night where I was standing in a receiving line, not sure who we were queueing to meet. When I got to the head of the line I was surprised to find Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, looking younger than they were on the show, but older than they were when they were famous. Chester greeted me warmly and said he was a fan of the Diner. I was dumbstruck, and then moved along to let someone else greet them.

They were sitting in plain wooden chairs in a room whose contours I couldn’t quite discern, as happens in dreams, and I don’t know where it went from there. But a few days later - this morning - I opened the folder where I have my morning shows, and was chagrined. See, I listen to the same old radio series in the AM while I’m waking, and for a few years the day begins with Lum & Abner. It’s a charming little two-man piece - Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, of course, were the stars and creators. Affectionate and low-key. A “comedic soap opera,” says Wikipedia. Believe me, if you hear one, you may think: eh, cornpone. You hear five or ten, you get it.

Well, the last time I listened in on the old fellows at the Jot ‘Em Down Store, they were trying to sell a formula to some big-city chemical-company agents - a plot line that followed from the discovery that the formula killed boll weevils, which followed from trying to figure out what the formula did, which had arisen out a plotline about the discovery of the formula in a locked box, which detoured into two weeks of figuring out who was a descendant of the man who left the locked box, and turned into a scam where an unscrupulous genealogist managed to make everyone in town related to each other, providing they paid five dollars.

It all just rolls along effortlessly, with the two actors doing all the characters, swapping them in as the script required different personalities. But now there was a month gap in the shows, and there’s another month gap after that. That’s the 1947 shows. Most of the first half of 1948 is missing. There’s only 20 shows from 1949, and a couple dozen through 1953, when it ended.

Not bad for a show that started in 1931.

I realized I’d come to the end of the uninterrupted sequences, and felt as if an old favorite show had been canceled. That’s the peculiar thing about this habit of mine: the shows, appearing every morning in the same sequence, seem as if they’re really on the air, and even though I’m not daft enough to think anyone else is listening, they’re still part of daily life, just as radio drama used to be.

I’d be sad, except there’s about 300 episodes I haven’t heard, since I picked up the pollen in 1942.

Wikipedia: "Modeled on life in the small town of Waters, Arkansas, near where Lauck and Goff grew up, the show proved immensely popular. In 1936, Waters changed its name to Pine Ridge after the show's fictional town."

I’d like to go there some day. Just to see what this is really like. Sixty years after the show ended, and there it is.

Now, imagine there was someone who was on a popular show for two decades, then gave it up for the oil business - and appeared just a few years on the medium that helped make his show irrelevant. And the show was predicated on no one knowing who he was.

Even though they made eight movies. There's your sic-transit, right there. You know why I think this worked with the panelists? They never listened to the show. They looked down on it.

By the way, at 4:30 there's something that made me smile. If you've gone deep deep deep into this site, you'll know why.

Construction update: good thing I stopped by on Saturday.

This, I think, is interesting:

I think the red brick is the original structure, covered up by the tan stone when the old, old building was remade for the bright modern Thirties.





As usual for Friday, the Music Cues. Of course we begin with the Couple Next Door, with its cheerful soundtrack of the mid-century domestic scene. Actual bits of script are left in for surreal effect.

CND Cue #582 C'mon, this mood isn't going to change by itself. Needs help.

CND Cue #583 Another lovely little piece we’ll never hear in its entirety.


Here's the latest in a series of Public Service Announcements that ran on the Armed Forces Radio service. They served no purpose whatsoever, except to make GIs homesick.

Washington DC: it's still there!


Finally, our ad of the week: I love the way she makes antacids sound almost naughty.

That little white tablet.

Guess what kind of guitar you're going to get here:

The "Hawaii" font is like something your artistic girlfriend in high school would draw on her jeans with a ballpoint.


"Moon of Manakoora."


"The Moon Of Manakoora" is a popular song written by Frank Loesser (lyrics) and Alfred Newman (music) for the 1937 Paramount film The Hurricane starring Dorothy Lamour. The song "The Moon of Manakoora" is considered a standard.

Manakoora, loosely translated to English, is "witchcraft", derived from "mana" meaning "magic" and "koora/kura" (pronounced "KUU-rah") meaning "lore" or "school" or "body of knowledge".

More than you needed to know, but I think that pretty much sums up this site, no?

That'll do it - see you in the usual places! And there was a Bleat eventually, if you want to hit the back button down there.



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