The lawn, my friends, is glorious. The lawn is alive. Lush! Verdant! No longer a source of shame.

The lawn is difficult, because there are shady expanses beneath an enormous tree, a portion that is naked to the pitiless sun all day, and of course a patch beneath some pines poisoned by the alkaline needles, or something.

I tried. Year after year. I hired a lawn company that also did the mowing. They aerated, dumped dirt, dumped seed, called it a day. A few days later the mowing crew showed up and ran over everything with huge machines, the drivers standing up on the decks likethe 244th Mechanized Segway Brigade. Last year I hired TruGreen, which promised I’d get some grass - not a golf course after a few months, but yes, I’d get grass.

I did not get grass. A guy would come by, squirt some stuff, leave a sign. A guy would come by, aerate, but quit because the hill was too steep for his roller. A guy would come by and scatter granules. Nothing. A few months ago TruGreen sent me an automatic message, saying my service would start in two weeks, whereupon I called them to say “you will not enter my property again or I will don a Gabby Hayes costume with a ratty straw hat and stand on the porch in my bare feet with a shotgun, shouting ‘Git, now. Git.’” When I called to cancel the phone system said my wait would be three and a half hours.

Eventually I got through, cancelled, rebuffed all efforts to sign up at reduced prices, and told the retention specialist that a manager was free to call me to hear my story. A manager did call. I explained: they had promised some grass. No actual grass happened.

She gave the expected response: we are very sorry and can offer you 50% off the initial fertilization and weed prevention applications -

No; sorry. I will never use your services again.

Confusion: is this guy angling for a steeper discount? I explained I was just telling them why a customer was never coming back, ever, and would never recommend, ever. You’ve all been very nice but it was a waste of money, and perhaps this is useful information.

They still send me offers. Until I die they will try to get me back.

So. I ditched the company that had a fancy app that told me when everything was going to happen, and went with a guy I got from Angie’s List, who was really into lawns and stuff. He liked making things grow. He had ideas. He did not have a letterhead or a logo. He also knew a guy who did mowing! And this guy did another house right up the block! He’d be perfect, he knew how to mow without ruining stuff.

They came, they dumped dirt, they seeded, they put nearly half the damned lawn under white blankets. “We’re going to baby this,” he said. “Give it special care.” I watered per instructions. It took three weeks. The blankets came off. AH-MAZING.

There was grass.

Then the mower guy came and gently mowed, setting the deck high, manicured the whole thing so they could tell which spots needed more dirt and seed. It’s just fantastic. All because I took a flier on this guy who was, like, really into this stuff, and didn’t have a letterhead, and didn’t have a logo, and didn't leave a little sign.

In the end, that’s what it comes down to: you don’t need a company. You need a guy.

Another nigh-impossible challenge:

Fmonkey Grinderdude? Shoot, that's not one of the options



Oh good, another super colossal man movie. Those are always fun, especially if they’re reusing the same footage of poor ol’ Glen.

Alas, this is does not use the same footage of poor Glen Manning. As we’ll see. It’s by Richard Cunha, a schlockster who turned out four classics of the drive-in genre. I have no interest in the so-bad-it’s-good genre unless it’s getting the MST3K treatment, and even then it had better be the old MST3K, not the new one.

Seems there’s been some mysterious overactin’ up by Devil’s Ridge, and the guy who’s not Sam Drucker from Hooterville is standing outside the general store, whipping up the locals into a frenzy of suspicion.

They’re all buzzin’ about the strange doings, and what might be responsible. Could it be something . . . supernatural? Like them Injuns say? Better call Robert Blake's shorter brother:


Okay. Some scientists come along to research some theories about some conquistadors who have been buried for centuries . . .

Although it turns out that he worst of them, being the titular character, was just buried under some leaves.

He’s not a giant. He’s just stocky. Anyway, I’m not interested in any of this. Let’s take a look at something else: the setting. Fawnskin.

It’s been used in many movies and TV shows, according to imdb, and seems to be a special place to those who live there or grew up there. Shame about the hotel. It’s closed, last I could tell.

Where the opening scene took place:

You’d think there would be a plaque, but I don’t thing there are many pilgrimages to see the shooting locations of this one.

Back to the movie, just to show you the worst Boss Battle and FX in the history of the genre:

Why did I watch it? Because sumnmer's here, and that means late-night sci-fi / thriller movies on Saturday night on one of the three TV stations. No matter what it was, you'd watch it.


That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.





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