Ready? I am. I love Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t? The people who have to do all the work, I suppose. I have chores, but it’s nothing compared to Bird Work. Then again, I did go to Target and get seasonally-decorated plastic storage containers to give to the guests when they leave, so I ought to get some points for that.
They have Christmas trees, which is apt: after the bird is done, you’re pitched headlong into Fir Imagery Time. I used to buy Holiday-themed Ziploc bags for Daughter’s lunch, but I always had a few left over, and you just don’t feel right sending off a sandwich with skating penguins who are holding candy canes in January. If they didn’t have candy canes, it would be okay, but the candy canes are a reminder that joy time is over. There is no joy in January.
Well, now to answer the email about my last column, which was about Thanksgiving, and knowing this is the last one before Daughter goes off to college, and you fully expect next year you will see news stories like “Storm grounds all planes, daughters stuck at school with questionable boyfriends.” A lot of the mail I got referred back to a few other “serious” pieces and said they liked this side, and maybe this was a new direction for Mr. Lileks? I had to laugh, since I know I am horribly, self-indulgently, pathetically sentimental here -
And I dial it back here, too. You have no idea how much time I spend thinking “this is going to be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER” and trying to put a wet pillow over the shrieking harpies chanting THIS WILL BE THE LAST CHRISTMAS EVER -
Which is why I am determined to make it the Best. She’s getting a car! And a pony! And then we’ll watch that special edition of “Arthur Christmas” where Arthur, at the end, realizes his true destiny, and says “so I’ve decided to go to the University of Minnesota, instead of leaving for the East Coast” and the music swells.
Okay, I dubbed that part, but I used some Garageband tricks so it doesn’t sound like me. Much.
At the CUfB grocery store I saw a display of napkins, marked down to a buck a package. Fifty percent off.
I don't think the designer was trying very hard here.
Might as well say "THANKSGIVING THINGS." Then again, that's pretty much the description for this one:
And my favorite seasonal sentinment: "Corn Stalks."
I am listening to an audiobook version of Dan Brown’s “Origin” as a study in modern pretentious pop-lit. As I said about the first few books, they’re Bond for art history majors. Oh, he’s talking about that painting I know! The idea that his professor-type insert character has saved the entire world from strange religious cabals FOUR TIMES and is going for #5 seems silly, especially since his main hero character is uninteresting and inconsistent.
The first part of the book spends two hours (remember, audiobook) in the Bilboa in Spain, where Brown has Robert Langdon, Thinky Art Man and Broad-shouldered God-Botherer Trouncer, walking through the museum as an AI program describes the art. Like Langdon, I am partial to pre-20th century art, and regard most of the art of my time to be ugly, or pretentious, or dated-but-interesting examples of a particular time in a particular culture, but all too often driven by theory and an automatic rejection of the things that make people respond to art.
Architecture is the worst offender, because it’s so damned big. This piece on Why You Hate Modern Architecture sums it up - nothing I haven’t said here or in print. There is nothing ennobling about these structures; they dump big arrogant abstract objects spattered with asymmetrical objects in the middle of reasonable cities. I mean. Around here we slaver over the Guthrie, which is a monster: in the middle of a neighborhood defined by old brick-and-stone industrial buildings, the architect dropped a blue-glass thing that has absolutely no defining shapes or attributes, aside from an observation deck stuck on the side that looks like a shuttlecraft dock.
I have had architects come up to me and say in low tones how they appreciated my description of the Walker as the Rock’em Sock’em Robot:
Of course it was dropped in an area with three gorgeous churches with spires and exuberant decoration, because SCREW YOU GOD
Anyway. The AI is leading Langdon through the gallery, and describes some big metal sculptures which are obviously Richard Serra works. I mean obviously. I’m kidding, but not entirely. Point is: there’s no way Mr. Art Hero wouldn’t know they’re Serra works. Even if you’re a classicist.
My happiest moment while listening was Daughter down the hall, calling out:
ARE YOU LISTENING TO A DAN BROWN NOVEL
I said that I was.
I have to review it.
IT DOESN’T SOUND GOOD
But it has shadowy religious organizations with great power
BECAUSE OF COURSE IT DOES. GOD
I think she just wrote my review. We’ll see. I liked the first two novels; they were fun. Certainly can’t blame the guy for keeping the series going. But the writing is boring, and either the author knows it - which is bad - or he doesn’t, which is bad.
He’s also a coward. The interminable list of sins of religion begins, of course, with the clampdown on knowledge in the Islamic world, but then ends up in the modern world where Christian religion is thwarting progress.
The atheist notes the cancellation of the Texas Superconductor, which religious types and short-sighted budget hawks had opposed because they hate science.
Congress officially canceled the project October 21, 1993 after $2 billion had been spent. Many factors contributed to the cancellation: rising cost estimates (to $12bn); poor management by physicists and Department of Energy officials; the end of the need to prove the supremacy of American science with the collapse of the Soviet Union; belief that many smaller scientific experiments of equal merit could be funded for the same cost; Congress's desire to generally reduce spending (the USA was running a $255bn budget deficit); the reluctance of Texas Governor Ann Richards; ] and President Bill Clinton's initial lack of support for a project begun during the administrations of Richards's predecessor, Bill Clements, and Clinton's predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
The project's cancellation was also eased by opposition from within the scientific community. Prominent condensed matter physicists, such as Philip W. Anderson and Nicolaas Bloembergen, testified before Congress opposing the project.
And so on.
Anyway. I got about 27 chapters into the thing before anything happened. After that it was the usual dark and ominous religious orders doing dark and ominous things, related in somber accented voices by the narrator. I gave up and went to the Wikipedia entry to see what the great religion-destroying discovery was.
Man, that's just typical of you, kitchen. Typical.
This book assembles the types of metal kitchens you could get, now that Hitler was dead. Example #3:
Homemakers know these things. Let's go back and look at #1:
"Sure, we can work around windows."
Below: Pull up a chair and shell some eggs!
We're currently enjoying . . .
Dean saturated Lynch's plant.
And so kaboom:
“Well, I’d better walk out of here, then.”
The coppers are on the Hornet’s trail, and there’s nots of day-for-night hubbub about putting out the fire. The Hornet gets away, thanks to Katz’s insane driving skills. The guys who saturated the laundry with combustable fluid decide to go look for Lynch, who I think is another guy mixed up in the laundry racket; I’m not entirely clear at this point.
Moike, the Oirish bodyguard, is snoozing at Britt Reid’s house; the Hornet and Kato enter by their secret door. Lynch calls Britt Reid to ask for protection - because of course you call a newspaper publisher at 10 PM when the mob is gunning for you - and Moike wakes up, banging on Britt’s door. Wake up! Wake up!
I mention this only because Britt is in his dressing gown when he emerges - fast change - and Kato is in the room too.
Moike is probably used to it. Ahh, sure, God luv ‘em, it’s his own business.
Well, the crooks get to Lynch first and shoot him; our intrepid newspaper publisher - who of course is armed - charges after them with Moike, firing at some men running away.
As one does.
Well, the newspaper gets a tip on the Green Hornet’s hideout, but it’s not the right one. Britt Reid figures it’s a trap for him, but decides to show up as the Hornet to surprise whoever’s setting him up. Except that he shows up as Britt, then changes into his mask.
Boy, that’ll really confuse everyone. No one will put two and two together ever.
Well, he gets the drop on the guys who are trying to kill the intrepid publisher, but man: this is not the most well-planned action sequence.
Wouldn’t you know it: Moike, who has sworn to get the Hornet, begorrah, finds himself in a position to do just that after he sees him run into a closet, unaware that it’s his boss in there, and he’s changing back into civvies. And so:
It's not the best ep, but most serials at this point pull the compliation number, so I'll give that that.
That'll do; see you around.
But not tomorrow; taking the day off for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your feastage!