Welcome! Here we are again. As always. As dependable as the water from your tap, and I suppose just as surprising. I had a great weekend - went to see a play Sunday afternoon with Friend Wife, as Briggs et al would say. A sequel to the Doll House. My friend Terry Teachout wasn’t impressed, but he might have liked this performance. I will spare you a review, and in fact I note it only because we went to a local Chinese restaurant afterwards, where I ordered Chun King Chicken. Never had that when it wasn’t glop from a can. Pretty good. About 63% dried chilis. While we were eating, a customer came in to pick up an order, and my wife thought it was one of the cast members of the play.
I went over to pay my bill, said “didn’t we just see you in a brilliantly acted theatrical performance?” And she said why yes, and glad you liked it.
While we were gathering our things to leave, another person came in to get an order, and it was the lead actress from the play, or so my wife thought. C’mon, what are the chances? It was a four-person play. That’s like, 50% of the cast comes here to get take-out. But on the way out we walked behind the person, and I said to my wife “it’s the rule, you go to the Jungle, you come here for Chinese,” and the woman turned around. Whereupon we told her how much we enjoyed her performance.
I didn’t want to say I enjoyed the play, although I didn’t dislike it, or have any strong emotions one way or the other. The performances were quite good, including one actor who was briefly in the outer reaches of my social circle once upon a time, because he was in an esteemed troupe of French clowns, and one of the clowns was married to a friend of mine.
Fully expected to run into him on the way to the car.
Afterwards, home, nap, then up in time to see the weekend’s last hurrah.
Not to say I’m extraordinary proud that my long-term deep objective isn’t bearing fruit, but: get this. Daughter was accepted to be a writer at the college humor site.
Let’s break this down. I published my first college humor piece I 1978, as an act of one-upmanship. My roommate had put a humorous piece in the college paper. He, like me, styled himself a writer. No, that’s not fair - he was a writer, because he actually wrote. In college you find lots of people who want to be a writer but never actually get around to it, you know? But he wrote, and I wrote, and he got in the paper first. I had published “humor” in the high school paper, and regarded it as a minor sideline to my real calling, which was . . .
(Moment of silence for my parents, right here)
At the time his piece came out in the Daily I was in a bad patch, having just been dumped by my girlfriend, the First Real Love. The reasons, if I recall correctly, had to do with, well, me. I was too much Me. Too intense. Ah, cue the sophomore’s favorite Shakespeare quotes, loved not wisely but too well and all that. I figured I would write a piece to SHOW HER, and it was accepted and published.
The subject was T-shirt slogans. I remember one line, and it had to do with a critique of a T-shirt that said “Trampolinists make better lovers.” The “better lovers” line was a trope at the time. It was not inaccurate, the line went, but was a devastating understatement. That was the line of which I was the most proud, because it couched a rather vigorous visual image behind oblique but instantly apprehensible language. The illustrator for the piece was Jack Ohman, who would go on to win a Pulitzer for his political cartoons - to this day I don’t agree with most of them and to this day I enjoy them, because he’s good.
I was paid $40 for the piece, and I spent it twice over, once on a good fountain pen, and again on a dinner with the woman who spurned me - who, I should note, came back. Not because I was in the paper, though.
But maybe it didn’t hurt my cause.
Anyway: daughter is at least one year ahead of me, or right on target if you factor in the Brazil Interregnum. And I don’t even have any expectations that she should do this at all! But she does, and I could not be more proud. What’s the long term objective mentioned above? A wikipedia search for my last name puts her first, that’s what.
He's back! And more Crime Doctory than ever!
|Strangest case? That’s not a difficult field. These cases are rather straightforward.
He works for an old man. An old rich man. Get this: the old rich man has been poisoned at his mansion.
As far as I can tell from my study of the era, this affected at least 30% of all people with substantial old fortunes. At a minimum. If you lived in an old house, and had some arrogant descendants and a long-term servant, and your house was full of antiques, you probably stood a 50% of being murdered.
Everyone’s nicely dressed for the murder:
They're all just standing around the dead guy, doing nothing, waiting for . . . the CRIME DOCTOR.
Crime Doc sniffs the coffee cup, because if it’s almonds, it’s cyanide! Everyone knows that. I'm not saying it makes the housekeeper a little nervous, but . . .
So yes, it's starting to look like a strange case. But the strangest?
Update: yes this is the strangest case
Nice little sequence for such a low-budget movie.
Oh, it needs a cynical cop who doesn't take with all this psychiatric mumbo, right?
Barton McClaine, from the Torchy Blane movies. Remember him?
It's something of a disconnect to realize his most enduring role was in "I Dream of Jeanie." That seems like a million miles in the future from here.
It was 22 years away from this movie.
That'll do! Another exciting week stretches before us; let's hope it's good for all.