The week starts to end on Thursday night, at least for me. I’m wrong; there’s more to do. There’s another column. There’s this. But after I’ve done the radio on Thursday the wave has crested and crashed, and a certain sort of elation seeps in, if the conditions apply. They did tonight: had to pick up Daughter at the Guthrie theater downtown at nine, and drive her friend home in a distant burb. (Distant thanks to highway construction, which required a ridiculous detour, and driving through some of the most bizarre roundabouts I’ve ever seen. Double roundabouts with signs indicating you had to make a fish-hook turn to get on the highway. It was pointlessly complex, but it did away with traffic lights and left-turn lanes, and that’s the grail these days. Why, I remember when left-turn arrows were invented; we thought we were living in a glorious age of innovation. No one had ever seen a traffic light with an arrow. How’d they do that? Never struck us to ask why didn’t they do that before? Say, in 1911?) On the way we listened to my music, which the kids found Interesting and not-at-all-Dadlike, and on the way back Daughter played her songs, which I generally like.
Mostly I liked the glee she had when she listened and sang along. A happy child is a blessing, and gives you confidence they'll do well in the wider world. All these years you think you were building a nest; turns out you were building a bird.
Anyway: lest you think I'm padding this out with pix and sound files, there's a chunk of Bleatish musings down in LISTEN. So bear with me, and let us slog along together through another entry.
Construction update: nothing going on at the StarTribune demolition site this week. They paused to clean up the rubbish from the last demolition effort, and fill in a tunnel that ran under the street. So let's go to Nicollet, where a sober and unremarkable building has its exterior finished:
Confine your excitement.
Look, it's better than the parking ramp we had before. The entire block was once occupied by old stores; they were slain by time and gravity. On the other side of the block is the new apartment complex - and here's 14 seconds of painless video about that.
No pupdate because he was naughty and ate the muffins.
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 #584 Another example of hearing something new, right before they fade it.
CND Cue #585 That quasi-military music again, with the Chord of Domestic Ease at the end.
Complimenting the cues, and the revelation of the Cheever script - to write something that has never been written before - here's a note from PL about Helen Hokinson.
Thanks to her daughter Astrid, who has a brilliant ability to perceive exactly which objects from the Massive Lynch Assemblage would give me the greatest delight, I have that book. I don't know how the subject came up when I visited, but it did; as I've mentioned before, the lodestone of my early teens was the great compendium of New Yorker cartoons. Some of them baffled me, because the cultural references had evaporated. But there were a few cartoonists who stood out not just for style but subject matter, and Hokinson always drew the kind matrons from the garden club who peered at modern art and tried to get it. Well-meaning mothers whose daughters were misbehaving at Vassar.
Eastern Air Lines Flight 537, registration N88727, was a Douglas DC-4 aircraft en route from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. via intermediate points on November 1, 1949. NX-26927 was a Lockheed P-38 Lightning being test-flown for acceptance by the Government of Bolivia by Erick Rios Bridoux of the Bolivian Air Force. The two aircraft collided in mid-air at an altitude of 300 feet about half a mile southwest of the threshold of Runway 3 at Washington National Airport, killing all 55 aboard the DC-4 and seriously injuring the pilot of the P-38. At the time it was the deadliest airliner incident in United States history.
The DC-4 was cut in half by the impact. Such a violent end for someone whose work was so gentle.
I’m still wondering if Astrid will find anything Thurber related; he was a fan. Which is interesting. Thurber’s muse was the Goddess of Unresolved Perpetual Domestic Friction, and the Couple Next Door / Ethel and Albert was all about sanding down the friction after the peak moment of discord and finding resolution and merriment in the recollection of the dispute. He wrote a long series for the New Yorker about radio soaps; did he get around to Ethel and Albert?
That’s another day. Anyway: the New Yorker interest as a young fellow came from reading a Thurber collection, and watching the TV show based on his work. It all combined to make the Twenties and Thirties an era of great fascination, the beginning of my interest in the culture of the past. Is it rare to still have interests from so long ago? I look back at the things that held my attention in 1973, and laugh - on the work blog last week I wrote about a headline on a pop culture site that referenced a Spider-Man comic I remember from early teen-hood, and last night I watched a Star Trek episode. You’re always scanning the horizon for the Next New Thing to pop over the horizon, and hardly notice that the past has been trotting along side the whole time, matching you step for step.
The PSA of the week: Fitness! You may know this voice. Oh, of course you do. If you don't, you need to watch more old cartoons.
Finally, our ad of the week: that Sociable Pepsi Couple again. She bugs me. I don't think I was alone.
Darling Kay, as Ray Goulding says.
He's giving her the cold shoulder, for some reason.
He was born in Argentina; career peaked in the 40s and 50s. This one is from 1957, and the sessions' concert master was Felix Slatkin, Leonard's father.
"You Don't Know What Love Is" was written for . . . an Abbott & Costello movie. Didn't make the final cut.