I was awake and my phone was asleep. I picked it up to begin our day together, expecting to see the “weather” background that keeps overwriting my usual wallpaper preferences. Why it does this I do not know. Perhaps something to do with the “Focus” status, but I disabled that bothersome thing. For a while I was excited - yay, I can control which apps bug me! Drill right down to what needs to be done! But arranging the particular suite of apps and contacts that can pierce my digital door was tiresome, and arranging when and where things should be on or off was tiresome, and the whole thing became an encumbrance, a series of costumes I was required to wear at certain times. All “Focus” protocols were deleted and life went on as normal.

But this morning the phone did not wake up. Hmm. I pressed the power button for a long time. The Apple did not manifest itself and bless my device with its life. I considered what this would mean for the rest of the day, how I wouldn’t be able to watch or listen to anything during the workout, unless I wanted to use the ancient options on the screen. The treadmill has Flipbook. Log in! No thanks. It has Facebook. Log in! No thanks. It has YouTube, so I could watch city-building game tutorials, but it won’t connect to my headphones. Its phone interface is archaic, and reminded me of those hotels that bought alarm clocks equipped with iPhone cradles. Along came the new plug-in standard, and they were rendered useless, and even made the place seem behind the times. But we were chic and high tech! For a year, but now you're hand-cranked rotary-phonesville, Dad.

Without a phone Iwon’t be able to get texts from Daughter about last night’s “Succession” premier. She stayed up until 3 AM to watch it, and I am keen to know what she thought. It’s her favorite show. I watched it at the same time but did not want to text or interrupt or hover or do anything to spoil the immersion. A day later though, I expect there will be some thoughts.

Do I have to carry around an iPad for that now? What will I read in the elevator? How long will it take to get this thing fixed?

Googled some fixes, and landed on an Apple Help page that told me what to do: push this button quickly, then this button, then hold this one.

Except . . . wouldn’t it be better to spend a day without the Device, just to see how it went?

I'll let you know how that goes.

Went to the bank, and saw this at the teller's window.

Preventa! Drug, incantation, or financial instrument? I suspect the last one, because modern banking seems to be about customer dissuasion. This guy looks he wants to open an account and get some interest on his money. Quick, grab a can of Preventa and start spraying!

I googled it while I stood there, and it was a brand name of Deuterium-depleted drinking water. Seemed an odd thing to advertise here. Googled more. It's a brand of pens on chains. That's not my point. If you worked behind the counter at a bank, would you want to know what it meant? Would you have any curiousity about the name? The teller didn't. Is it odd to want to know? (Obviously I don't think so, but I would, of course.)

Second: Except for banks and post offices, pens-on-chains are mostly gone. I think. Few people write checks anymore, so grocery stores and restaurant check-out counters don't need these. In the old days you'd often see a plastic square adhered to the glass counter at the restaurant, a sign that someone had snapped it off years ago, or it had broken. In thirty years it'll be an urban detail whose meaning is recalled by no one.

Same goes for things today, because we never know the things we never had the chance to forget, or something like that. Sounds like a bad lyric for a maudlin song by Michel LeGrand.







I would never give you reviews of things about which you don't care, because that seems like a cheap way of filling up a blog. However much I may like something, tastes differ. There are a dozen sites that rank Columbo. There's a Twitter account that just tweets screenshots. I have another point here.

First of all: There is no better guarantee of an entertaining episode of television than this.

The poor guy who gets the special guest billing, which meanas he's the victim:

Here's the thing that made me smile: Does that jacket make you think of anything? It should.


"Oh, come on," you say. "That's just a coincidence. No one in wardrobe wasn't thinking about that."



Really? (Forbid the audio, I had to take it on my phone.)

Wait a minute - what did he say? Well, just something people say, I guess, can't possibly be a reference.

Unless . . .

I'm pretty sure it's all a big wink.

One more thing for Columbo fans: I finally saw the last episode of season 5, Requiem for the Commodore, which McGoohan directed.

It's really quite something. Without question, it's the worst episode in every way, and it's bad on purpose. It's an intentional undermining of everything, a big joke, a thumb in the eye. None of it diminishes my admiration of Falk or McGoohan, except: guys, you were just hammered, and it shows.

I'd say more, but that would be a review.






It’s 1956.

You may not recognize the grumpy radio protector.

How about now? It’s . . .

I’d forgotten he got doughy towards the end. He’s 52 here.

(Dick Powell!)


Typical of the new styles of the middle of the decade of the middle of the century.

Two ways! Because there were two different containers. But - in both cases, don’t you just pick it up and shake? Seems like one way -

Hush. Two ways.


Here are two things I do not like.

I would pick that thing up and play it like an accordion.

"Discover for yourself” that there is no relation between weight and the amount of nutritious you get. Lose pounds with Rice Crisps, which everyone takes with a heaping spoonful of sugar, so the milk is sweet, and there’s, like, a sandbar of sugar at the bottom of the bowl! Love it.

They never lost the three imps.

Well, there’s something we wouldn’t do today, for many many reasons.

The more you look at it, the more unnerving it gets.

There was a time when it seemed as if everyone had a parakeet.

French’s! It’s a mustard, and a bird food company!


Historically R. T. French may have manufactured a complete line of spices and extracts, condiments, pickle products, sauces and gravy mixes, instant potato products, and pet care products, in particular canary and parakeet seeds.

Hold on. May have? Is this a mystery? It isn’t: the parakeet seed ads say R. T. French.

Well, the washer isn’t the only thing he’s out of.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! Last of the Margys today, thank heavens.



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