That's what it looked like around here last week.

This week, it's a bit different.

This weekend, it got Biblical.

This was thew view out the window at 8:45 AM.

The sky was black. The inside of our house was glowing. Outside, the howling wind, and something snapping and spitting down the street. Since there's a pole with a lot of electrical equipment, I figured it had taken a strike, or a line was down.

Called 911, and it took forever for anyone to answer. That's because everyone n the city was calling 911. A great storm had moved into the city and was tearing everything apart. When 911 finally answered, I said there was a fire at -

- and the dispatcher read back the address before I could say it, because everyone else had called it in.

I went to another room and looked out the window, and my heart sank with the same velocity the gazebo had rose:


It was in the bushes, 20 feet away from where it had stood. It had taken flight, and was now bent and bereft.

No power, of course. Not much sleep in the bank. Decided to go to McDonald’s for coffee and Egg McMuffins; daughter was up for a road trip. Off through the lashing rain, driving around sundered limbs; highway, suburb, drive-through, bleary conversation - two large coffees black, one with cream and sugar.

Okay so that’s three large coffee with cream and sugar


But I just said no, two large black, one with cream and sugar. They gave us two large black and said the one with the two tabs depressed had cream and sugar. It didn’t.

Ate in the parking lot, feeling like it was the end of the world, but in a fun way.

Back home, the rain had stopped, and we managed to get the gazebo back to its old place. It’s bent, but serviceable. The day was looking up . . . but then I remembered what I’d seen on the lawn. Two limbs down. One was about ten feet long, and a foot thick at the base. Absolutely immense. I’d have to chop off the branches then saw what I could. Right away I discovered something I’ve never known about this tree: it is a right murderous bastard.


What the hell? WHAT the HELL IS THIS? All these years and I never knew I had a Georgia Squirrel-Sticker in the yard? The spikes were not for show; they weren’t pliable, and they were deadly sharp. I commended the bloodletting right away, and spent the next hour hacking and sawing and dragging the limbs to the boulevard, thinking about Shatterhand’s garden in the original “You Only Live Twice.” Okay, Blofeld’s garden. After I’d made a large heap of cellulose stilettos, I got tangled in the branches and fell right into the pile. In a second I was able to somehow shift my weight, stick a gloved hand out and push, and I ended up tumbling into the street with a thump and a shout. Okay then. More blood. Carry on.

After I had finished that I went to a party.

The Giant Swede’s son was graduating from high school, so I caught up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in ten years, then went back home and slept for 15 minutes. Got up and moved the cars because it was hailing. My wife moved her car in and almost ran over my foot, but pinned my shoelace.

No power, remember. No power to vacuum or run the laundry, both of which were important since the FFES was arriving in 90 minutes.

Cut to the chase, since I’m saving stuff for the column I will write on the matter: power came back at 8:30. The day was interesting, and it was fun to see all the neighbors out walking with children and dogs. The house was silent in a way it must have been when it was originally built. When I took daughter to the coffee shop at 2 PM so she could use the internet, we both agreed that our morning trip had seemed like weeks before. Another life.

But! The FFES is here and all is fantastic.

Fantastique, rather. More tomorrow.


Let's revisit the glory days of 45 art, shall we? Or rather the glory days of an old site - I mean really, really old - that got lost in all the renovations. It wasn't much, but that's not reason to deny it ever existed.

Confusion, thy name is a Webb Pierce sleeve. He’s got a certain Liberace look, and seems rather old for a boy. What is he wondering about, exactly? Royalty payout schedules? Tour gigs? The effect on one's career of excessive eyebrows?

The font doesn’t look very Country Western. And it’s hard to tell if that’s a picture of a farm in the back or some Durer woodcut about the torments of hell.

Probably the former. Check out the gist of the song titles. Add the "plow" and the "ram" and the "pierce" and you have a field day for the anthropologists of 2025.





It's a really stupid name.

But it means something, right? He's intricately bound up in temporal matters! Just to prove it, here's the opening shot! See! Get it? Get it?





  The theme. Not particularly memorable. No one playing it seems very interested in it.

Our hero, Mister O'Clock:

It's your basic story of a crook who's really okay, because there's a worse crook, and a sleazy cop who's trying to pin something on the not-entirely-bad crook, who doesn't hurt anyone, and besides, he's Dick Powell, so c'mon. Give Mr. O'Clock a break.

The Cop:

Lee J. He dros ashes all over the desk.

Rather than review it all - which isn't the point of this feature anyway - let's just look at the shots and the people.

A little-remembered 40s archetype: the prissy, officious man who probably didn't serve and hates real he-men men, who are real he-man men.

That's Phil. In both senses: his character is named Phil, and he's named Phil. To be exact, Phil Brown. His last imdb credit: "Battlestar Galactica: the Second Coming (1999). He was blacklisted for a while, something for which he blamed Ronald Reagan.

You may know him for another role.

The bad-bad crook has a fun girlfriend, who's also so very 40s:

Ellen Drew. And she has a nice, er, origin story:

Talented Missouri-born Ellen Drew was born Esther Loretta Ray in 1915, the daughter of an Irish barber. She worked various jobs (accountant, salesgirl) to support her family until her fresh-faced good looks and high-wattage smile earned her a couple of beauty pageant trophies. Encouraged to try her luck in Hollywood, she was discovered in somewhat typical Lana Turner fashion. While working at an ice cream parlor, customer William Demarest took notice of her and was instrumental in having her put under contract at Paramount Studios in 1936.

So it did happen.

The description of this role: "Slatternly woman tenant."


She started in silents, quit to be a Mom, then got back in the business.



We just met her a while ago, didn't we? We did. Evelyn Keyes. The love interest in The Prowler. She's a lot more hotcha-I-love-my-wife-but-oh-you-kid here:

Wow. She could work that nail.

Another thing that pegs the movie right in the 40s: something people probably saw in comic shorts, but not so much in big serious movies. The soda-slurping young woman with not a lot of class, interested in dumb girl things, unaware of her intellectual limitations.

The scene sums up the movie: it's all there, but it's missing something.


It's not that things looked like this - it's that moviemakers thought people believed that gangsters lived in places like this.

Or this.

Modern art: the sign of the new man, freed from history.

That wasn't always a good thing. In fact, it usually wasn't - as this film proves.


That'll do for today! Don't miss my MONDAY newspaper column! Just click on the Star. You know: The big green Startribune Star.


Matchbooks await, with the diminished summer frequency of two per week instead of three. In case you're curious.



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