!01 today, we're warned. But thanks to modern air-conditioning, inside it's cake-cool!

Or would be, if it worked. It doesn't. It broke. More on that tomorrow.

The goodness of last Friday may have flowed entirely from the smell of hot dogs. If that was what it was. It was 10:30 AM, and I was walking from my car to the office, and I caught the perfume of hot dogs - a particular variety of the aroma. Not the baked-in seared-flesh smell of gas station hot dogs rolling in eternal Sisyphean purgatory, but summer carnival-in-the-park hot dogs. Perhaps bobbing in a tank, ready to be extracted and fitted into dry buns and ribboned with cold ketchup. Whatever the type of frank, the smell unlocked something, and produced a flood of nostalgia for events half-remembered, places and sounds, summer memories where everyone was happy and everything was good. Just that simple smell.

I carried it with me for a block, and looked up in the sky as I usually do while walking, because there it is: the IDS. The tall beautiful blue building that drew me to this city in the first place. Between the IDS and the ugly concrete power station chimney, way up high, was a silvery object silently rising, two white contrails trailing behind. An ordinary sight, as ordinary as the smell of hot dogs, but there was something particularly lovely about it now. The plane was so far and so high it looked like a blurry star. The contrails looked like furrows in a field never turned over. There was one single cloud, a small puffy cotton-ball that looked lost, and would soon dissolve from embarrassment. This was not a day for clouds of any sort.

For some reason these two simple things shaped my mood for the rest of the day, and everything seemed to be good from then on. Not that they were good, or bad - but I wanted everything to be fine, to be okay, and so it was.

Had a good podcast. Made Ann Coulter laugh heartily when I said she was the author of “In Trump We Trust” and its sequel, “What Sort of Idiot Would Vote for This Moron Trump.” I went to the bank to do some banking, and they had a problem with the computer. A big problem. Things could not be done. Fine; I’ll have a seat. There were many apologies. No problem. The delay grew longer, and the branch manager came by to apologize, at which point I wondered if Mongo was going to come over and embed a cleaver in the counter. (Link goes to the movie version, in which Idle does not shoot his cuffs, at all.) Did I want some water?

I thought, this is very Roman. In Rome, Caesar comes to the house of Lucius Vorenus, and they offer him water. It is a sign of respect and hospitality, but there’s also the implication that their water is good. I seem to remember that Caesar accepted the offer. It would be impolite not to. Of course, he could afford any slight to people of Lucius’ class, but he was not the petty sort who’d give affront for the sake of emphasizing his social status at the expense of others. Not because he was a good man, but because it was simply unwise, politically. You never knew when you’d need this man. It cost nothing to observe the rudiments of decency.

“No, I’m fine,” I said, declining the water. After a while I returned to the teller’s station to see if we’d made any progress, and I made the error of intruding on the personal space of the motion-activated hand-sanitizer unit that sat on the counter. It blurted all over my forearm. Well, now I know my arm won’t get COVID.

The bank episode ended with a half-measure, and they bowed and apologized and said is there anything else we can do to make up for this, and I said sure, give me a break on next month’s mortgage payment.

Ha ha good one sir but of course, no

I went back to the office. I had 38 minutes on the meter, so I finished the last week of the Below The Fold features for March 2023. Then I walked back to my car, and since it was 10 minutes to 3 PM, I could take the Express lane to the burbs, gliding at 70 MPM to the sounds of Sunlounger. I went to Target, found what I needed, and was not unduly depressed by the expanse of empty shelves in some departments. Not today. This is a good day.

Home. A nap. A good pizza. Did the Aftershw . Wife came back from dog park, and even better, came back with the dog. We raked the newly mown grass off the lawn. Had a chat about Daughter and Boston and where she will end up, and why it would be good if she stayed there, it being a good place. Really, Boston gets no press along the lines of NYC or SF or Chicago, because it’s not a nuthouse.

Then I watched a bad movie for 2023 B&W World and talked with Wife in the gazebo some more. It was all good, the whole day. At some point I stopped wondering if anything would spoil its ordinary wonderfulness, and just let the current take me.

All because someone was cooking a hot dog at 10:30 in the morning.



Summer means sci-fi!m In this case, a TV pilot.

A lot of people have a soft spot for low-budget 50s sci-fi. Me? It depends.

IMDB’s lead review:

. . . while it is easy to dismiss this film due to hokey characters and cliché love story, the script is visionary for a 1961 movie. There are many other sci-fi films far worse than this such as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians with Pia Zadora. If you want bad, this is not bad.

Who would want bad? I’ve never quite understood that. Yes, yes, when you get to the unbelievably bad, there’s a certain fascination, but mediocre is just a waste of time, unless you’re studying a genre or a period.

Anyway. It’s the sets that interest me. I grew up on these shows, played on Saturday afternoon or after 11 PM, and they shaped my idea of what spaceships should look like . . .

But only for a while. Star Trek changed all that. It’s hard to imagine how radical the design of the Enterprise appeared at the time. How we all thought: of course. It doesn’t have to be a cylinder.

The utilitarian interior:


Low and High: there’s some detailed calibration.

Mission Control:

This is what they often did in 50s rocket movies. They stood behind the instruments. You'd see the same thing on Gilligan's Island, when they stood behind the radio to hear some telling detail that cinched up the plot of the episode.

It would 80 years, but eventually, we’d be able to do this:

Here’s where it gets interesting, but not for the reasons you might think. There’s the inevitable spacewalk:

One of the spacemen floats away . . .

The spacewalk music is better than anything else in the movie. Perhaps it’s due to You Only Live Twice, a movie that influenced how I think about a dozen things, but . . . well.

This is prettttty dang close to a John Barry score, run sideways through a Star Trek cue.  
It’s stock music, uncredited, written by Leith Stevens. He was busy, and good.  

Anyway. They end up on the asteroid, and since it’s sci-fi, all the alien women are serious and brainy and do-not-know-of-these-emotions-of-which you-speak.

Is there a Star Trek connection? There is. Richard Keil shows up and growls. We're supposed to be terrified, but frankly I'm more unnerved by thses guys. It's like the Twitter Mob come to life.





That'll do! See you around.




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