Walk into the cafe; order an espresso from the young lady behind the counter.

Would you like a small, medium, or large? she asks.

Are you deaf? I snap. I said a small. Do I look stupid? Like I wouldn't tell you the size?

You do look stupid, sir, she barks, and at this point I have to tell the lady who's standing next to me at the counter that the clerk is my daughter, and I'm just kidding. Because you can't let that moment go on for more than a few seconds, or it's no fun for everyone. The relief and amusement afterwards have to exceed the uncomfortableness by 10X.

She laughs and says well, if it's your daughter, you can talk to her that way.

Which I find odd. What am I, Alec Baldwin?

So now I have to find a way to surreptitiously take a picture of Daughter at the counter, because even though she will not like it, she will be happy I did. Some day.

Aka parenting, I guess.

To my surprise it's late and I'm skint on Bleatage, which makes me feel guilty: a reader today wrote "I wish you wrote more," and I realized I probably could. (He later explained that he reads quickly.) I write just as much as I want to, as the events and topics present themselves. Tonight I wrote nothing, but edited a video for the paper and scored it. The video is a tour of a cemetery. The piece runs on Halloween. There are two choices: inappropriate music that would get you a letter, well-deserved, from a descendent who did not appreciate crazy Dutch angles of his relative's tombstone while "The Monster Mash" played. The second option is something respectful, but then that turns into something maudlin and treacly. So I just played low major chords with a deep pedal point like the tolling of a bell, until I came to the 1:05 single-take of the chapel's interior, where I went full-on Cathedral Organ. Which sounded horribly cheesy. So I ran the chords backwards, tricked it up with reverb and phase, changed the tempo, and came up with something pretty cool.

This is for work. I like my job.

I should have been doing the Diner, because there's just one more window for that. If I do it. I've been torn. There's a reason I haven't done any this year, and it's as simple as it is depressing: I don't want to. Oh, if I had a producer and callers, it would be fun. But it doesn't seem fun anymore, and that just kills me. It can't be over, can it?

We'll see.

Watched "Jurassic World" this weekend. It's no small accomplishment to do absolutely everything the audience expects, with mandatory appearances by every possible cliche, and make it as good as the movie turned out to be. What could have been nothing more than a series of boxes checked off was much more engaging and impressive than most blockbusters. Not all reviewers agreed, but there's something about the experience of being a reviewer that can mute your reactions. Sitting in a big theater with five other people at 11 AM, thinking I have to write about this is not how most people see a film. Not saying it means they're wrong, just that it can shape your reaction. I can be forgiving when it's the comfy sofa late at night; sometimes I just think don't be stupid and unrealistic all the time. Don't give me a cliche without a little tweak; don't have people thrown 50 feet into a concrete wall, then get up and shake it off and run back into battle.

Anyway. Salon is here to tell you how you can feel superior to that movie the proles are enjoying without fretting over the economic and gender messages:

“Jurassic World” takes place in a giant mall – the Costa Rican dino island is now a multiply-branded retail experience, with a Starbucks, a Brookstone, a Chili’s (unless it’s an Applebee’s or a TGI Friday) that blends dinosaur-themed margaritas and so on – feels, at the level of sensory input, like going to a giant mall and will be watched by most paying audiences in a giant mall. Is that, like, social criticism or just a self-authenticating feedback loop?

Neither. It's what a place like that would look like nowadays. The retail area in "Jurassic World" is like Downtown Disney, a place to eat and shop and stroll and buy when you're not experiencing the rides.

This being Salon, we have to get to the gender politics, which I found interesting.

Everything about Claire, from her fussy hairdo, white sheath dress and heels to her officious, task-oriented demeanor, is presented as essentially unnatural. She is a product of our diseased society rather than the healthy natural urges embodied by Owen’s massive chest, his intuitive understanding of engines and his beastmaster relationship to the park’s doglike pack of velociraptors. She needs to be rumpled, tossed about and sexually dominated by Owen and she needs to reconnect to the beauty and rightness of the nuclear family – and if those impulses sometimes feel contradictory they ultimately point to the same destination of womanly perfection, am I right?

Well, that's one way to see it. Probably the wrong way. I never thought she ws essentially unnatural; I thought she was essentially incomplete, although her life had all sorts of nice compensations that provided her with enough meaning and purpose to find life fulfilling. Like many people. She's bad with the teens she's supposed to show around the joint - she hands them off to her assistant - because she's never spent any time with the nephews. She's too busy and those things are unfamiliar and haven't been particularly important. If the lesson the character gets at the end is spend more time with your nephews, is that retrograde? Is the real destination of womanly perfection alienation from family and complete immersion in a job spent selling branding rights to genetically modified organisms?

Almost all those things are also true of the she-demon dinosaur, whose manipulative intelligence and deceptive wiles hint at a secret connection with the human female that is never made explicit.

Because it's not there.

She absolutely needs to be confronted and conquered by Owen – if sexual domination were involved this would be a much more interesting movie – and subdued to the natural order of things, which despite all the superficial changes of the last several thousand years apparently still involves hot but sensitive bearded dudes being in charge, as in the book of Genesis. As a laboratory-bred abomination who has eaten her only sibling, she has no nuclear family to whose embrace she may return. Such is the painful price of consciousness, and of rebellion; like Milton’s Satan she is the secret hero of her story (except that her story’s not very good).

Or, the big dinosaur - who happens to be female - must be subdued because it's eating people and killing other dinosaurs for the hell of it AND THAT'S THE STORY. Also, it can't be subdued by dudes, singular or numerous, bearded or clean-shaven. That's quite obvious. And it's not The Dude who comes up with the means by which it's led to its defeat.

These people would absolutely loathe "Aliens" if it came out today, because Ripley finds meaning and purpose in maternal emotions - something that was celebrated at the time. Because she was kick-ass! To use the phrase applied to fictional characters that perform some sort of wish fulfillment for media consumers. But I suspect the movie would be seen as a metaphor for single working women, or any woman whose man doesn't help out with domestic chores like shoving a murderous alien monster out the airlock. Oh he says he can't help because he's been split in two and is crawling around the living room bleeding white fluid, but that's always their excuse.




Witches, check. Pumpkin, check, even though it seems more like a dinosaur testicle. Back cat? Check.

Julia Faye. Wikipedia:

She was "famed throughout Hollywood for her perfect legs" until her performance in Cecil B. DeMille's The Volga Boatman (1926) established her as "one of Hollywood's popular leading ladies.

Sounds like the writer thinks those two things - legs and popularity - cannot coexist. She had quite the run in Jazz Age flickers, but the arrival of sound possibly coincided with movies tiring of her, or regarding her particular style as something from a bygone era.

The Thirties required new faces.

The whole movie's up here. What a world!




It's a good old-fashioned squinty hayseed cliche candy-hawkin' hoe down:


  Did I say Hoe Down? It's a gen-u-wine Frolic, stranger, and you're invited to buy 'em and go 'round and get amped up on sugar. Remember, only sugar has the goodness of sugar! Sugar! It's nature's sugar! Welcome to SUGARTIME!


We've studied Brach's before, how they ruled the bulk-candy market with their drugstore bins of goodies, how my grandmother always had some of the caramels around - the ones that had flavored centers tinted with garish fruit-related hues.

It's apparent these were the early days of Candy Corn, because they had to be described thus:

No, now that i think of it, I'm wrong. There was candy corn before, - but this tri-color stuff was new and/or fangled.

This was Grandma's gift to her grandchildren, albeit in different packages. Odd crinkly wrapping; you couldn't ball it up like foil, but it wasn't quite celophane.

A rare example of actual packaging. Only 29 cents? Well, remember in 1953, the average salary was $3,156 per year, so these cost twenty-ninc cents.

No, I'm not serious. More packaging from the era when they realized there was a ton of money to be made by sticking pumpkin on stuff:


Toffee Bullies. No one would dare sell those today. It would encourage bad things.

The rest of the pack: aw, just a sucker? But we never said that. You expected suckers, and you were lucky if you didn't get one of those lame ones that had strings instead of sticks.

Have some Jots! They're . . . jotty.

Costumes shown in the ad: pantsless ringmaster, French Ghost, and . . . girl who's dressed like mom ten years ago, I don't know.



That's it for today! Except, of course, for some exploits from Frank and his Ethnic Gang. See you around.



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