I’m listening to some Martin Denny right now. Exotica, as the genre is called, because it has vaguely ersatz Polynesian drums under the usual smothering quilt of reverb strings. Yes, vaguely ersatz. The bare outline of a cheap fake. It’s fun, although I don’t know if it would be excoriated today for cultural appropriation or celebrated for introducing Pacific Island sounds into the genre of cocktail-culture soundtracks for swankin’ and smokin’ and sitting in the knotty-pine rumpus room having wienies and Jell-O on TV Dinner trays, listening to music and talking and hoping Harvey doesn’t bring out the slide projector
Oh God he’s bringing out the slide projector
When I was ten, I got a cassette tape recorder for my birthday - a Magnavox - and it came with a tape of Denny’s “Quiet Village,” ten years after the initial release. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Nineteen albums of the stuff wears a little thin, but that goes for any genre, except of course for the superior ones I enjoy because I have better taste. I was walking through the skyway today listening to Sullivan’s Cello Concerto, wondering how long it would take before music is repudiated because of the prevailing sentiments of the culture that produced it.
“Really compelling piece,” you might think, “if your mind thus wandered.”
Granted. And did you really say thus? Congrats. But I was also thinking this because I’d spent some time sticking my head in the bee-box of twitter, where EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE NEWS AND THE NEWS IS THAT EVERYONE IS HORRIBLE, which spins you up and makes you expect the worst around every corner.
You know what? News anxiety is entirely voluntary. I know of one place where people are not constantly having panic attacks over the news, and it’s called the newsroom. The atmosphere is quite calm. Even with all the TVs and crawls and big monitors displaying which stories are rising and falling.
If I want to get away from the madness of the day, I go to the newspaper office. Never realized that before.
I came across a wonderful tweet thread about DisneyQuest - a study and appreciation of this peculiar place, with an eye towards 90s design and the aspirational ideas behind it.
Some pictures, if you're interested. The exuberance of the spaces were remarkable, thick and saturated, and hopeful - the future would be cool, and it would be smart, and it would have faint vague resonances of Victorian tech, if only to honor the lineage that brought us to this point. Steampunk but softer, with purple and velvet, Nemo schemes, Jules Verne dreams.
In retrospect, today's clean white Apple aesthetic is the 30s moderne to the 90s’ jumble of new and old. It didn’t seem so at the time, but now that I think about it, the 90s abounded in gussied-up classical locations in CD-ROM navigational menus, and this became a shorthand for the spaces we would visit on the Information Superhighway. Myst, of course, helped.
In retrospect, today's clean white Apple aesthetic is the 30s moderne to the 90s’ jumble of new and old. It didn’t seem so at the time, but now that I think about it, the 90s abounded in gussied-up classical locations in CD-ROM navigational menus, and this became a shorthand for the spaces we would visit on the Information Superhighway. Myst, of course, helped. in the morning, because we had time to kill before the plane. Wife took a bus to an outlet mall, and got stranded in the wilds of Florida. Daughter and I went to play games and draw Goofy - on these odd things.
The author of the tweet thread lamented something I’ve felt and intuited but never articulated, because the 90s are only now starting to coalesce in my head as a time, a theme, an episode. IT was the post-history moment when it seemed that there would be a Tomorrowland ahead. (Provided we got past Y2K.)
It all felt dated by the time I got there, but now it seems tremendously optimistic. I’d love to go back, but it’s gone - it was underfunded and ignored, and recently tore down for an NBA-themed restaurant. Downtown Disney will look completely different, should I go there again. It’s Disney Springs now, right?
Sigh / tempis fuggit
It was a family tradition: We walked to Downtown Disney from our Saratoga Springs complex the first night we got there. We owned a part of this; we would always come back. As it turned out I was the only one in the family who wanted to go back. Daughter grew up and Wife doesn’t have the Disney gene.
The Happiest Place on Earth, and I can’t go back! Tragic!
Thing is, I remember the things that made some trips unhappy. I went there one year while the paper was collapsing and jobs were being sloughed off at an alarming rate, and I knew when I returned there’d be A Talk. (There was. Remember? How I found a way? How I has a bucket?) There was a time when Daughter poured out her emotions about being an only child, and I realized the pressures of being the Sole Receptacle of Parental Devotion. There were snits and tight grins and weariness at day’s end. But my memories of the place factor all that into the equation. It was the happiest place, and I remember it all, and I can’t go back.
Unless I’m about to croak! Then I think everyone would agree to go back. Humor the duffer.
We're currently having a small amout of fun with Batman.
When last we saw our heroes, they were pursuing the bad guys, when the Wizard Took Control.
Good thing the car that went over the cliff was swapped out by the editor at the last moment:
Back at the paper, Vicky Vale eavesdrops on her brother Jimmy, who’s in league with the Wizard; then she tails him. He goes into an office building, and she calls . . . Bruce Wayne, of course. Not the newspaper. Her rich playboy friend.
Meanwhile, inside the office building, which is actually Crook Central - high tech!
It’s Loser Brother. Vicky goes in to find him, and is instantly captured.
What the hell is this serial about, again? We seem to have lost the plot. Well. They stow her in a room where there’s a phone, so she calls Alfred again, but the crooks catch her. So Bruce Wayne decides to be Batman, spring one of the henchmen from jail, then follow him.
No one ever sleeps or plans ahead.
He finds the building and goes in with his usual stealth and well-preparedness:
He recovers, of course, and there are some short but vigorous exchanges of fisticuffs. Alas:
Let’s back up a bit. Remember when Batman was jolted unconscious? Loser Brother makes a discovery:
Then he drags him into a room. We don’t see what happens next, but it’s obvious that Loser Brother put on the Batman costume, which gave him the confidence to punch everyone so he could save his sister.
Cliffhanger-wise, it isn’t: that Batman dude is dead.
'Tis that moment we call "the apex, or apogee" of the week, and it occurs around noon. After that, the happy slide to Friday. Right? Unless you're having a particularly messy, fraught, complicated week, in which case don't listen to me. Assuming you ever did. See you around ~