I have a new toaster oven. The old one had accumulated a regrettable patina over 24 years, and it had started to smoke. I probably could have found the offending item in the back, but I had some Best Buy store credit, and wanted a nice new unit that did more things. It’s an air frier! It has a Proof setting, which sounds interesting; no idea what that means. Do I put in a document containing some contentious assertions, hit PROOF, and when the bell dings I get a list of definitive answers to questions that have vexed historians or scientists for years?
For example, there’s the missing billion years, something Instapundit mentioned the other day. It’s called the Great Unconformity.
The Great Unconformity, a missing chunk of time that appears in rocks across the world, is the ultimate example of this phenomenon. This giant lapse in Earth’s memory exceeds one billion years in some places, resulting in 550 million-year-old rocks sitting atop ancient layers that date back 1.7 billion years, with no trace of the many lost epochs in between.
Aliens, obviously; they mined it all. Or not:
One suggests that tectonic activity associated with the assembly and breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia created the Unconformity,
Hmm. Well. Now I feel stupid. I knew about Pangea. I was not aware of Rodinia. Sounds Russian, nyet? Isn’t rodina the word for Motherland? Googling . . . yes. Rodinia came first. In between the two, some say, there was Pannotia. Which is also known as the Vendian Supercontinent; I think Alex Trebec would have accepted that as an answer. On "What's My Life" John Daly might have said, after a conference, that “while some ascribe supercontinent status to the Vendian Aggregation, Bennet, I’m going to give you a qualified no on the matter of whether it was, in fact, Rodinian in its elemental composition.”
Oh you think I’m kidding, do you.
By the way, Pannotia was formed when Proto-Laurasia accreted to Gondwana.
All of these ancient events led up to the present, and we tend to think - quite naturally - that we are at the final, and most wise, arrangement. Everyone is in their place, and this is the End of Geological History. Of course it’s not. I was, as a child, haunted by this:
I knew this was the future, and wondered if this was the way the world would look. What happened to make everything so different, but so familiar? As we know now, climate catastrophes and war, which lead to the stratified society - Flintstones in the Stone-Age surface, the Jetsons above. People have advanced that theory; not mine - but it does have an Eloi-Moorlock vibe, which meant that the citizens of Bedrock periodically shimmied up the poles of the apartment building, carried off screaming residents of the sky, and ate them in their crude stone houses. You also wonder if the people in the Jetsons demographic slipped down to Bedrock to misbehave. All the rules are off down there!
The opening credits of the Jetsons may have had that strange earth, but everything else was comforting: everything in the future would be familiar. A bit different, but not too much. The basics of American middle-class life would abide, and why wouldn’t they? Who’d give it up? And for what?
I did not understand why Rosie had an accent; I did not know that the parents hearing the show might recognize the voices from short films they’d seen as kids, or radio shows they’d heard, just as I didn’t know that my parents knew the narrator of Dudley Do-Right from the radio shows they’d heard in their 20s and 30s.
If they heard them. They never talked about the radio. It never came up. I think my dad mentioned remembering Lum and Abner. But it was as if TV came along and wiped clean the memory of the previous medium. And of course I didn’t think to ask, when I was a kid, because it didn’t occur to me that my parents existed in any meaningful sense before I came along.
Point is, I don’t know the basics of my parents’ cultural experience in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, so I’m not surprised we don’t know what happened to a billion years of geological record. Also, it’s a good toaster oven. Heavier than the other. But it Proofs and air-fries. It’s so clean. It’s so pristine. I can never use it.
The LA Times contest continues - but this year it's for Old Golds, and it's a bit more difficult.
Bit of a reach, but it's not as easy as the previous batch. Actually takes more than three seconds.
That about covers it:
We begin in Reno, which doesn’t look like this anymore, and we’re all the poorer for it.
People at the time were poorer for it, but for different reasons.
After we meet Clair Trevor, who’s in town to get divorced, we meet the meanest man in movies.
Early on we meet a young lad to excels at making a straight, unbroken series of unwise decisions.
I mean, really. Stop when you're behind.
The bad man goes back to his apartment, and of course this is his roommate:
Elisha’s sad that he had to go and kill the guy, AND the dame - you just can’t go around killin’ people.
WHY NOT? he barks.
And that's the movie, more or less. That's the end of my notes, which suggests I watched it all with rapt attention, or it's just another serving of Lawrence Tierney looking mean.
By the way, the picture above? Two guys. Three different Star Trek series.
That will do; another week awaits. I hope you enjoy what's en route. There's a lot! (Audience sags a bit, anticipating Bleats of Interminable Length)