Cleaned out the shed over the weekend. I can tell that Winter is coming - well, Fall; winter is at least 72 hours behind Fall - when I get that urge to purge, sort, straighten, neaten, batten, and stock up. I've been on stocking-up missions for a week, with some ridiculous results. Ah! That Traders Joe Garlic Aeoli Moutard whatever, it will be good on ham when the snow comes. The family will enjoy its zesty, bold, and undeniably French flavor. Into the cupboard it goes to be forgotten. But NO. The cupboard needs to be rigorously addressed and ruthlessly culled. We must use these things. But then they'll be used! And then they'll have to be replaced! It never ends.

You hope, anyway. Wife came home after one of my excursions, and asked if we were having a party. Well I hope so! No, it's just stocking up. There were two bottles of wine on the table, one red, one white. Recent events had depleted the stock, so I just bought the red and the white in case. They go up above the fridge in the hooch department. We are ready for sudden party situations. Or are we? The party supply cabinet needs to be sorted. It's a mess. Behind every drawer and door, a mess! Not really. But half of everything should go. I've set a series of tasks for self and Wife, with the idea that we don't need much of what we have. It burdens me to think about it, so I don't, but then you open a drawer to get a tablecloth and there are nine sets of placemats you would rather burn than use.

The shed had the usual late-summer disorder. Stuff gets tossed in there. Bags of seeds, tools, outdoor decorations, pots, hoses, and so on. There's a pump I use to drain the Oak Island Water Feature in the fall and the spring, and a mile of hose I use to run the water across the lawn, under the fence, and down the hill. The hose is all over the place, a Laccoon that has captured tiki torches and badminton net poles. I dragged everything out, boxed and bagged, shook the plastic bottles for weed killer or plant food, clucked in disapproval over some low-voltage light parts I'd kept in vain hope they would work again -

- which reminds me. I have to dig out the ants from one of the lights. It's aimed at the big tree in the backyard. There is an amazing colony of ants underneath, every year. Industrious buggers; don't know what they do in the winter, but every year I have to knock them out of the light. They manage to pop open the light because they fill it with dirt from their excavations, and when the light comes on I imagine it burns them horribly. But hey, singe all you like, we'll make more. When I pick up the light and shake it, a million ants tumble out. You'd like to think they have an entire belief system based on the light, its power, its transcendence, the appearance of The Power Force Being that picks it up and releases the dead and the light shines bright again. People say that religion is like that, but that doesn't mean I don't exist.

In the back of the shed, this.


Left over from the deconstruction of the big playset with swings a few years ago. The bucket in which Toddler sat and was pushed to evident delight.

On the curb. Take it away. It's ugly and heavy and frankly now it's just a metaphor. That's one of the things that drives the purging: ach, all this stuff, it's a metaphor for the passage of time and the impermanence of our arrangements. Begone! Trouble me no more.

At least I'm getting to the stage where things and activities no longer remind me so much of times gone by. The last gasp of that phase of life is remembering the time when this thing reminded you of a previous time. Eventually there is the blessing of forgetting, or at least not being reminded so much. You remember the ship; then you remember the ship disappearing over the horizon; then you remember the time you remembered the ship disappearing. And then it's just you and the line between water and sky, everything else erased.

Also threw away some expired tonic water. The bottles had puckered, like they were sucking in their cheeks. That can't be good.

Of course the day involved adding something, because you find things you have to have. The day daughter went to a friend's cabin up north I went to Hunt and Gather and found a trove: Mom died, so the kids gave away all the stuff she kept from her 1964 trip to Europe. The maps don't interest me. The hotel brochures are a different matter, and thank you Mom Whoever for taking that Berlin Shopping Guide the hotel put on the desk, because it's fantastic. And yes it will be a website.

Let me give you a little Coming Attractions preview here: I'm about 2/3rds of the way through the 2017 Wednesday Updates. Monday is Matchbooks, and I've scanned, resized, and written the year's worth. Just need to add them to the pages. Tuesday will be Comic Sins, with some Frank Reade Jr. Thursday is Motels / Restaurants, which I need to do. Friday I'm keeping secret, because it's cool. Wednesday is the wild card, and I have an amazing amount of stuff that rivals this year's additions. In total, almost 600 pages. And then all the Bleat content. It's huge.

Berlin Shopping Guide might be slotted for 2018, is all I'm saying.


They had lids?

Yes. Nowadays the Dixie cup is just a paper cup, if anyone thinks of it at all. The name seems to have passed out of vogue as a brand name and a generic term. You can still buy them, and I’m sure they sell millions - when my daughter was young I’d buy a box for a birthday party, happy smiling licensed characters on the side - but there’s something about the portion size that seems out of sort for Big Gulp America.

  The history of the company goes way back; they began as the plainly-named Individual Drinking Cup Company in 1907. It was changed to Health Kup in 1912. Trains started carrying the item; vending machines that sold water used the cups; the flu pandemic after the war increased demand, since no one wanted to share a cup with someone who’d just a six-minute coughing fit.
  They changed their name to Dixie cup in 1919, taking the name from . . . a popular line of dolls. Dixie Dolls. This would be like selling Barbie Cups today, perhaps. Anyway, so says this page. Sound ridiculous? Probably so. The word Dixie had been popularized by the dolls; didn’t mean the cup-makers were attempting to draw a connection between posable small model humans and disposable auto-irrigation containers.

Post-war the cups were known for single-serv ice cream, too. An entire generation of kids grew equating Dixie Cups with ice-cream treats - and I suppose I’m part of that generation. It was just a word - digsiecup. It meant hard vanilla ice cream, eaten with a wooden spoon that splintered half-way through the job.

But if you ate enough, look at the swell things you could get! Gee, a 3-D picture paint set! Just like the movies!



More underwhelming choices tomorrow.




After a month of cheap dreck, I thought I'd end by reminding you of the best of the era. The best.

There's little I can say about it that hasn't been said elsewhere, and why would you want to listen to me about it? If this is the hero of the attack on the arctic base, isn't that all you need to know?

The insoucience, the swagger? He's mad for a dame what gives him as good as he gives, too:

The banter between the two eventually escalates to light bondage, as was the custom in arctic bases in the 50s. Here's what starts the trouble:


The ship is implied, not shown. It's one of its skills - and you don't get the sense that it's not shown because they can't afford it. The scale may be small, but there's money and care and talent behind every frame, and you know it.

Oh, we see portions of the creature -


But it's doled out, with each view giving us more to fear.

Wait a minute - we need an overly-educated clean-fingernail-type who doesn't want to fight the creature, but believes we must communicate with it. So much to learn! So much!

Yeah, you know how he ends up. But note also the composition - the movie goes between three-shots to two-shots to one to seven, expertly balancing the ensemble. There's simply nothing like a genre movie shot by high-caliber talent, and that's what makes this movie better than all the other monster movies.


You know all these guys, and you like them. The fact that one of them was Groucho Marx' announcer is irrelevant here.

Here's what really sets it apart: the dialogue. It's zippy and natural. People talk all at once, talk over each other, or say things they don't finish. This throwaway line made me grin, because I knew exactly what he was talking about.



There was this one fellow indeed. And his name was Tom Howard.

That'll do. The Fair starts this week, and you know what that means. No? Well, guess.


blog comments powered by Disqus