Hah! The worst is over. January, that’s the thing we endure, the big block we can’t get over or around but have to chip our way through - it’s done. We won. It felt like a long time, too, which is good.

You know what else? I'm just clearing my throat here! Not saying anything of substance, just typing away, wondering what will come to mind. Something nice. Something beautful. Because sometimes you turn on the TV and you think:

What is wrong with them? I originally said "us" but this isn't me.



What is the matter with them? Yes yes, it's a comedy and I'm sure it's darkly witty and wittily dark and juxtaposes Sunny California with dismemberment and flesh-eating for grins & knowing self-referential zombie-commentary or something but what the hell is the matter with the culture?


Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet leaps into the undead figurative fray by turning fiction's most resilient brain-munchers into a way to examine, with occasional repetitiveness, suburban ennui and marital complacency, getting a reasonable amount of laughs.

Sheila's transformation is an abrupt, vomit-filled thing

Because comedy.


POSTULATE: few things, in the end, are as uninteresting as other people’s taste in music.

For example: I’ve never loved the Rolling Stones. Liked a few songs. Admired the longevity. Since I have no fellow-feeling for the blues, listening to Keith Richards go on and on about the roots of their sound held no interest - but I did watch a bit of a Netflix doc on him to see how long it would take to show him smoking and drinking. (Ninety seconds.) He seems a happy chap, and I’m glad he’s upright and making sounds. I still think that the blues, compared to classical music, has the same relationship as bowling has to chess.

If you like the blues, do you care that's what I think? Nope. You would say I was missing out on something - and you'd be right, inasmuch there's always something you can learn by studying things you're not inclined to study.

Nine million movies to watch, and I did “The Andromeda Strain.” Seems like a once every-other-year thing. I am fascinated by the look of the movie, and how influential it was on my childhood - it wasn’t science-fiction to me, it was real. It was like 2001, except you could imagine that Wildfire did exist, now. Those were real machines, real computers. The characters were compelling - cranky, argumentative, tired scientists, all-business military men, mealy politicians - but none more so than Dr. Jeremy Stone, who was my hero. I think we were supposed to admire the Obligatory Angry Doctor the most, and to a lesser extent the Tubby Butch Rebel Scientist, but she was too sour - which worked well, because it kept the film from being a happy-clappy batch of eggheads bustin’ germs.

Again, I have to remind you: if you were a kid when you watched this movie, there was nothing strange about a brilliant female scientist, because why not? It was better than Raquel Welch’s turn in Fantastic Voyage which was ludicrous but who cared. Yes, yes, you can say “it wasn’t helpful at all, because they finally give us a realistic portrayal of a female scientist and she’s an epileptic lesbian, which stigmatized the character and so forth and I’m going to drone on and on until I start foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards.” But she was a real character of the likes we hadn’t seen before, and without her the movie would be so much less interesting.

It seems quaint now, but the scene where the organism is first discovered, and moves, was up there with the chestburster scene from “Alien.” The deaths of the animals - simulated - took the air out of you. It was frightening in a way no movie had ever been, and it sounded like nothing else.

Wasn’t the first movie with an electronic soundtrack; I think that goes to Forbidden Planet. But it wasn’t the usual bleeps and burbles, thanks to Gil Malle’s ability to lend urgency and emotion to the inhuman palette of sounds.

Here, take a look at the opening credits: They really do sweep the deck clean in all respects - the graphics tell the story in a way that prefigured the X-Files, and the music seems piped in from the place where unfathomable things breed.

It’s this one I loved. The Desert Trip. I don’t expect you to listen to more than a bit; it goes go on. But he does so much with six notes, and points to a future where electronic sounds will create more relatable human emotions. Like urgency:

Or transcendance. Which brings us to something you probably will never listen to all the way through, because it's humanly impossible. No, not Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. Let me back up a bit:

I usually listen to ambient music when I’m in the air, half-asleep. I listen to Music for Airports, or some Jon Hassell, or more Eno, or Roger Eno, or my favorite, Harold Budd. I fade off into that incomplete airplane sleep, jerking awake when my head nods, falling back into a gauzy state, and the music is there, but it isn’t, but it is. The half-conscious mind finds all sorts of details to examine; a repeating motif suddenly sounds brilliant and fascinating, or disturbing and otherwordly. It’s like the soundtrack of what’s really going on below and above everything, if when you erase the busy muddled middle where we live.

Or so you think in a half-asleep state.

Anyway. Eno recently released “Reflection,” which I liked a lot. Of course it comes in app form., costing a ridiculous $40. a work that is theoretically capable of outliving everyone who listens to it, playing on and on eternally without repeating itself. (Although, to be honest, who’d know if it did.) The app version of the music produces an eternal performance of “Reflection” that goes on and on, and as long as there’s juice, it’ll play.

Or rather, exist. It’s a philosophical question: if an ambient song plays endlessly but the generating device isn’t hooked up to a speaker, can it be said to actually exist? It reminded me of the questions I had about those multiplayer mayhem games, where everyone shoots at everyone, and you blow up and respawn and repeat. Gruesome, and meaningless. If you played the game by yourself, the program generated opponents, who would fight each other in rooms you weren’t in. You’d hear shouts and explosions in the distance, in your left ear, elevated to indicate they were fighting on the balcony. You couldn’t see them. They didn’t exist as pictures on the screen until you entered a room where they were. But the existed, in a strange nonexistent form of Being.

Likewise: set the app on play, turn off the volume, put down the device and walk away: it will create music until told to stop. That music was unique, since it was generated by code that mixed up some variables along one of a billion combinations. It was never heard. Did it exist?

I don’t know.


The Missing Persons feature of an oater mag.

Dad had been in the wind for over a decade:

The second personal is curiously worded, and was possibly a coded message to spies. (Gardening.)

Frank Hill, Famous Cricketer, played for Lindum. That's all the link says. There's a photo somewhere; there's a trophy on a shelf, or perhaps it was sent long ago to the antique store, was bought for a TV show, ended up in a props warehouse, and hasn't been used since 1977.

All we really have is this mystery, unsolved, unsolvable.




In case you forgot, we're watching . . .

Oh boy oh boy oh boy are we going to see robots this time are we


Well, we all know how this went; whenever someone’s car is in peril, you can be certain our hero bails out, and assumes the superhero-landing posture.

Back at the hideout, Dr. Scott is waiting for Dr. Satan. He chats with a hench, trying to flip him. After all, it’s not as if Dr. Satan’s track record is impressive so far; everything he does seems to put his plans deeper in the hole, and you wonder if the henches ever think "is it just the accent? Is that what makes us think he's super-smart?"

Dr. Scott, who is not mysterious, finds a way to get the Control Device off the henchman - and rememberer, the Control Device is Dr. Satan’s way of keeping his troops in check.

The hench is a trusting soul, but with good reason:

Dr. Scott removes it as Dr. Satan is showing up. The bench gets the drop on his boss, but doesn’t know there’s a SECRET CONTROL PANEL:

Oh boy oh boy hey wait a minute. BATH? Oh well.

The robot crushes the hench, but we don’t see it. Just dangling feet. Dr. Satan says “nice work, eh?” or villainous words to that effect; vouldn’t you like to work with me on these robots to control the world, Dr. Scott? Not that you have a choice. I'm paraphrasing. I think.

Dr. Scott agrees to help, but of course he’s just biding his time. Meanwhile, back at the house - you know, The House - Spunky Scientist Daughter remembers that Dad has his own radio frequency! He might use it to contact us! Sure enough, Dr. Scott figures out a way to tell anyone who might be listening where he is - never mind how; it doesn’t matter. But at least it gets out of out of the studio. Inadvertant documentary.

Once Bob Wayne, aka the Copperhead, gets to the hideout, it’s more of that fantastic fistfighting:

The Copperhead prevails, and makes his way to Dr. Satan’s office. But this, friends, is the definition of an oh-bleep moment:

I love that so much. And so:

That'll do! This week in the Twenties: old ads.



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