Cold as an August afternoon in Iceland today. Full fall. but it's an anomoly; it'll be 92 in a few days.

Spent part of the evening pruning the streaming line-up, and wow what fascinating details I must have about that? No. But I'll get a column out of it anyway. This morning I called up SiriusXM to cancel, because it's too expensive and I'm thinking I'll just go with the streaming. Maybe. There's some content I like and some good channels that nail the genres better than Apple.

Of course, you have to talk to someone. The chat person, or bot, asked why I was cancelling, and I said it was too expensive. If they could give me streaming for 10 bucks a month with favorite stations and Pandora stations, I'd consider it.

Bob: my uncle, on the spot. They dropped the price of the entire package by 66%. Win-win for all: I get the price I want, and they count it as a "successful retention." Next up: telling DirecTV off. Wonder what they'll do. Throw some premium channels? Don't want them. I want to give you less money. Do you understand? These guys over here charge less. I am going with them, unless you drop the price to match.

We'll see if they can do it. I enjoy these experiments. We hold all the cards now. It's messy and confusing and maddening - some streaming services were purchased on Amazon, some on AppleTV, so you have to burrow down instead of having everything on the front page, but I think we can rise to these challenges.

Cancelled Disney, btw. Nothing on it appeals anymore. Don't care about Marvel anymore: they bored me dead. Pixar is over. Star Wars - nah. I'll burn through Andor and leave it be.

But you'll miss the new Snow White when it streams!

I have the original 1937. I'll muddle through.


Well, after yesterday's extravaganza of old architecture, surely you're saying MORE! LOTS MORE PLEASE! No, you're not. But I want to add something I noted in an ad.

A schoolhouse scene in the modern mode. Computer, rotate:

The kid is reading a book called "Freedom," because it's 1960! And that means something different now, I suppose.

The book is hiding a comic book!

A cultural literacy test: who is this? I'll supply the answer tomorrow, but I'm sure you can get it.








NOT a review.

I decided it was necessary to watch the extended LoTR. I may have watched the DVDs when it was released by that archaic medium that actually allows people to own a movie, but that was long ago.

Not sure I'm looking forward to the extended version of the trilogy’s end - at the time, watchng the tight version, In thought just throw the got-danged thing in the fire already so we can get to 12 minutes of Hobbits jumping on the bed or whatever. There’s much commentary on LotR sites about the way the Hobbit trilogy and ts excesses shades the whole evaluation of Jackson’s project. Okay and all that. But I never read anything that puts the movie in its very specific and unexpected temporal and cultural context.

Imagine you’re immersed in an unruly ocean, flailing around in a dark sea, thrown overboard by an unexpected event, and you’ve no route back to the solidity of the iron deck. You see a buoy. When you clamber onto it you feel that it’s grounded, anchored, immune from the storm, indifferent to it, because the buoy is connected to the very mantle of the earth, and it will abide.

That’s what this movie was, because it came out right after 9/11.

I'm serious. After all these years I remember how much it was a tonic, a relief, a joy, a statement of faith, a connection, an assertion - and all the better because it was not intended as such; how could it? Sometimes a movie prefigures a cultural need, and sometimes they channel the underground currents, but sometimes the movie appears at the right time in a way no one could predict.

Also, this extended version is really an argument for the more concise version.






It’s 1956.

Never before! NEVER!

If you're of a certain age, you remember slide time. Or perhaps the dreaded slide time. Dad got out the screen and set up the legs, pulled it down with slithery sound. It was heavy and sparkly. The projector had a particular smell, mostly hot dust. Everyone looked at travel snaps. And that was it. Something to do when company came over!

Dad's about to grab the Little Lady when an apparation of flapjacks doth appear:

Real down-on-the-farm buttermilk! Right in the mix. In powdered form, of course. I don't know why farm pancakes are supposed to be better; the hungry hired hands would eat anything in quantity to get ready for the day, even if they had a carb coma and a sugar crash. But farm pancakes are better. You just know it.

Never use a word for food that sounds like it's a patented name for a dry-cleaning process:

If it does not have the seal it has not been acronized.

Acronizing was the process of dipping chicken carcasses in diluted solutions of antibiotics while they were still being butchered, to give the chicken a longer shelf life. For much of the next half century, U.S. chicken farms routinely fed flocks of birds antibiotics to help them grow faster, on less feed.


They were incapable of photographing spaghetti in an attractive fashion. Or maybe everyone was just used it looking like this.

Maybe everyone was used to the watery stuff.

Would you be surprised to learn that the Cafe Dante still exists?

I'm not.

There was a series of these. Steig? I believe so. Bright and eye-catching. And of course the closed-eyes-of-satisfaction.

Who doesn't want cereal with bananas? Who doesn't want a banana sundae? I don't. I always liked them when offered, and they were delicious, but the number of times I'd order one on my own initiative was zero.

Every cereal concern had their Pick-a-Pack or Kel-Bowl-Pack or some variant of the variety assortment.

These were so neat when you were a kid. Because tiny versions of bigger things were neat.

Basically, it cannot. Everyone knows it. But they can't just say that and not explain!

Ah! Got it. They have nothing to do with one another. The scarf weighs two ounches, but it "takes less weight than this to depress one key." Okay. The pink is nice, though. Your secretary will love it and your wife will hate that your secretary loves it.

Before they realized that they could dump the peas and put a small compote in the side-dish compartment:


The Swanson & Sons' TV dinner branded frozen meal sold 5,000 units when it was first introduced in 1953; just one year later, the company had sold over 10,000,000 TV dinners. The company discontinued its successful butter and margarine business to concentrate on a poultry-based line of canned and frozen products. 

Now that I've researched it a bit, I see that Swanson added a fourth compartment, and put the dessert in the new space. This happened in 1960, but I warn you: citation needed

Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do! See you around.



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