I wonder if the death of the Cars’ Ric Ocasek is a shock because he was from my youth, not the youth of the Boomers who came before. There was a great article a fortnight ago - can’t find it at the moment, sorry - about the coming tsunami of deaths that will take all the late-60s / early 70s GODS OF RAWK. It’ll be dismaying to lose them, but these things come to all generations.

But. Perhaps it’s because the 80s live in perpetuity on the satellite channel, the bands introduced by the same VeeJays who appeared on the early days of MTV, the between-the-song chatter discussing the latest tour of a band that had one album with one hit, and still does the circuit. It’s as if time folded in on itself and created a pocket where it’s always 1985. There are pockets for every year, and they don’t age.We do, but the past is now always with us, pretending it's not the past at all. When someone from the pocket perishes, it’s as if the pocket was punctured and decompressed, and the ageless are dessiccated in an instant.

On Saturday I drove to the same high school where we’d attended all the Rotary meetings. How I ground my teeth through all of those. Here’s the necessary part about the insurance plan, which includes bringing the corpse back to the states.

Really, that’s one of the slides. The presenter doesn’t dwell on it, but it has to be said. I suppose it’s intended to show the comprehensive nature of the plan, but the message the parent can’t help take away is “don’t worry; if your child perishes, you won’t have to pay a cent to get the body back.”

Most of the presentations were useful for first-time Rotary families who were sending off their precious children for the first time, but if you’re hosting Inbound, and you’ve already had an Outbound, it’s a little less useful. Translation - if your kid went abroad for Rotary, and now you’re hosting one from another country, you know the drill.

Did I mention this? We’re hosting a Rotary exchange student in the spring, and I got to meet her today. Charming young lady. <manuel from fawltytowers accent> She is from Barcelona. </manuel from fawltytowers accent>

ERROR LINE 31 (too many spaces)
ERROR LINE 32 (That’s not how html error messages look; God forbid they should be so helpful)

I was a bit nervous, wanting to put the best foot forward, and I suppose I talked a bit too fast. Doesn’t matter; we’ll be fine when she gets here, and since we’re the third family all the kinks will have been worked out and it’ll be a breeze. She attends Daughter’s old high school, just a few blocks away.

No, this is not a pathetic attempt to have someone around the house again! It’s a sincere, philanthropic attempt to have someone around the house again. It’s only right to give back, since Rotary did so much for Daughter, and I was reminded to my surprise that this will be the third exchange student we’ve hosted. The first was a Japanese girl who spoke - well, what’s the Japanese word for “eleven”? - words of English. Then we had Emma from France for two months in that great summer of 2016.

Was it great? I know I had a great sad moment on the train back to DC from NYC, thinking of how little time there was left with Daughter and how fast it would go, but I’m an expert at reconning my past to remove all unpleasantries and casting a golden sheen over everything, AND things are generally good, even great, and frequently marvelous, and never hard, so yeah, it was good. (Except for the Twin Peaks Summer, but that’s another Bleat.)

Anyway, when it was done I drove to the hardware store for some paint. I handed over the samples and said I’d pick it up tomorrow, no rush.

“No, I can do those now, in ten minutes.”

“That’s okay. It will give me an excuse not to do it today.”

“Ha ha! I’ll be right back, just take ten minutes.”

“No really I’m serious I - “ but he was already on the job. Damned efficient conscientious local hardware store. I also exchanged a propane cylinder, even though it still had some gas in it. I can never tell. If I worked with these things every day I could tell by hoisting it, but it seemed light.

“Probably some in it,” I said to one of the 39 youths who work the store, “but if I can hoist it one hand it’s probably almost done.” To demonstrate my manliness I hoisted the cylinder chest high a few times. Ha! See! Am not old. Strong like bool!

I have a red line of pain running from my scapula to my kidney right now.

Went home, did not paint, because it was supposed to rain. It did not rain. Fixed a few things, napped hard - had got up early for the Roseville jaunt - then grilled kababs, wondering exactly what I was missing that would have added SHISH to the KEBABS. Helped Friend Wife give the dog a bath; it’s amazing how he knows a bath is imminent, and will brook no subterfuge. Anytime someone tries to get him upstairs with a treat, he’s suspicious. If you try to get him in the bathroom with a treat, he is convinced that this will end with humiliation and wetness for no good reason at all, I mean, c’mon, why? He just got to the point where he’s a walking embodiment of all the interesting things that have happened and the interesting places he has been, and we’re just going to erase that? A shower for a dog is like the little amnesia pens the Men in Black use.

Then I finished watching “Rebecca,” and mark this day well because it’ll show up in B&W World in 2021, and “The Seven Year Itch,” starring mopey mid-century icon Tom Ewell, and Marilyn Monroe’s hips. I get why she was the va-va-va-voom icon, but the breathy guilessless hourglass blonde bit never really grabbed me. His secretary, on the other hand -

And it shows the Typical Apartment of a middle-class family in New York in the 50s, cramped and a bit shabby.

It makes you think our world, to them, would be like living in a sci-fi future. Probably because we are.



Let's play the introduction, because it's thrilling!


They made several of these each year. It’s 1944. Remember, we’re interested in three things: Watson’s humiliation, whether or not Watson shoots anyone, and Holmes’ speech at the end. Will we be rewarded?

Simon Pegg's father is suspicious! Oh yes, we’re in Universal territory. A quiet restaurant in a small village, a foggy night, an anxious local. Why?

Because the church bell is ringing! And no one knows why. It could be an evil spirit! Villagers talk about straaaange events, slaughtered animals, lights on the marsh. The vicar goes to investigate the bell, which seems reasonable. They take a horse-drawn carriage, which spins a little connective tissue between the updated setting and the original stories.

They find - a dead girl! Lady Penrose! The priest leaves, and you almost feel as if it’sa Universal monster movie.

Hey, look who’s the butler! Once again, a direct line between these classics and Star Trek.

Where is our hero? Hanging out at the . . .


Holmes is in attendance, to throw cold water on the occultists.


But Lord Penrose, addressing the conference, says there was an apparition 100 years ago that slew and vanished. Lights were seen! Sheep were killed with their throats slit! It’s interesting to see Doyle’s creation scoff at spiritualism and insist on the facts and the proper interpretation thereof, and it makes you grateful Holmes didn’t serve as a mouthpiece for Doyle’s more curious interests.

What I love about the Universals: the faces.

Anyway. Holmes heads out into the moors, and sees something very . . . odd - and it reinforces the Universal Monster vibe.


Radium! So they’re all dead in a few years.

Later, Holmes confronts a man, and the soundtrack does something interesting.


Sound familiar?

Did he just flat-out lift that?


I'll let you argue that in the comments.

Anyway. Maybe it’s the vaguely supernatural tint to the tale, but I think this is one of the better entries in the series. But heck, we’re in Canada. What possible reason for a patriotic speech could there be?

Not much Watson humiliation here, so we'll be grateful for that. He does get hammered, which I've never seen before.

By the way - I'm sure there are entire websites devoted to finding Frankenstein sets used in other movies.

This is one of those sites, sometimes. But not today.

OH, OKAY. Here. ;)



That will have to do; I'm afraid; see you around.




blog comments powered by Disqus