We have a nest of robins in the gazebo. We are bobbin’ with the robins. Hob-nobbin’ with the robins. (A Special Bleat No-Prize to anyone who can name that reference.) (Without googling.) They’re the subject of next Sunday’s column, so I won’t say more - except that Wife is worried about them thriving. Or rather, falling out, and getting into the jaws of the dog, which is a fast track for non-thriving. There’s another next in the gazebo, and from my extensive ornithological knowledge I can safely say they are not robins.

The coming-and-going and constant chirping is a bit annoying. Charming at first, as we saw them build their nest and set up residence, but oh the cheeping.

Can’t complain. Well obviously I can, but oughtn’t this is a perfect time of the year. And to think it’s only a few days until the summer nights begin to shorten, and the long slide begins. Not that I’m thinking about that, but it’s the fact. So enjoy the simple beauties while you can.

Monday was different. Wife went to the office, so I had the house to myself on a weekday summer morning for the first time in years. This was how it used to be, and I had to make myself do the stuff I do when I hit the office in the morn. Then I drove downtown - free parking! - and went to the gym. Checked first to see if it was open; passed through the atrium to see a large loud gathering, roped off: private party. Okay. When I went back ten minutes later everyone was gone, and it gave the day a strange dream-like aspect.

I had a desperate anxiety-producing dream about burst water pipes the other day, no doubt due to a day of toilet repair.

Had to take off the tank and get the old parts out, which required buying a pipe-wrench. The Giant Swede had one, but it wasn’t good enough. The term “pipe-wrench” did not immediately come to mind - I said adjustable wrench - and then specified with a reference I knew he would get: what the bad guys had in the A-Ha video. He got that right away.

The good news was that I was able to make it look really involved, so I could spend a lot of time on it and look useful.








Another Perry, since I’ve been in planes.

Longtime Bleatniks can congratulate themselves on knowing what that means: I was on an airplane, so of course I watched Perry Mason while I ate my sandwich. It is the way of things.

It reminded me that I hadn’t continued with the HBO Perry Mason, something I did when I got home. The second ep didn’t grab me. I like everything about it, and the period detail is fantastic. But it’s not Perry Mason. Then again, what is? The drunken sly clever Warren William? The hot-blooded scrappy Montez? The book version, the radio version?

No. There is but one. I appreciate and understand the reimagining of the HBO series, and particularly love the way they handled Paul Drake (a black free-lance Operative) and Hamilton Burger, a perfumed effete cut-throat man of no convictions and supreme amused control. But I would’ve loved to see them orbit someone with the command and control of Raymond Burr’s version. The long plot arcs are interesting. But a series of self-contained courtroom dramas, each an hour long, with an underlying arc would’ve been much better.

But. But. I’d guess that the majority of the HBO audience doesn’t have much first-hand experience with the old shows, its rhythms and brutal efficiencies, its brilliant little character studies that drew on the wealth of societal archetypes, its literate interplay, its insistence on surprise and conclusion.

Anyway. This old dude:

Otto Kruger. As in, Krugerand!

The grandnephew of South African pioneer and former president Paul Krüger, Otto Kruger trained for a musical career from childhood, but after enrolling in Columbia University he switched his career choice to acting. Making his Broadway debut in 1915, at 30, he shortly became a matinée idol of the day, specializing in sophisticated leading roles. He made his film debut in 1915 in The Runaway Wife (1915), but it was in the 1930s that Kruger's polished, urbane characterizations came into full swing. Although he occasionally played a hero, as in Corregidor (1943) he was often cast as the amoral villain or a charming but corrupt businessman (usually a banker), a task at which he excelled.

At one point he talks to his accountant:

And there was a half-second lag between seeing his face and knowing who he was. The moment he spoke I realized how distinctive his voice really was.

At the end of the trial - which of course was not a trial but a preliminary hearing, no jury - Paul Drake brings in some guy who witnessed something, and his appearance is enough to make someone realize the jig was up. He didn’t even appear in the credits.

Lol, as the kids say.






It’s 1947.

She’s gay-hearted:

So young.” As in, what, 20? 19? 22? She looks far too poised and assembled to be 20 today. I mean, she looks like an adult.


One of the more unfortunate facial-hair styles, I believe. That bisected-wooly-caterpillar thing just looks odd today.

“Arthur Little Jr., Distinguished Publisher.” The only returns that come back right away on the Google? This ad.

Those Hockey mitt bookends give me the creeps.

This entire ad campaign is odd. It showed the bottle in these mannered tableaus, which somehow proved it was a special. An aristocrat. They stood out for their white space, so I suppose that was how they set themselves apart.

Ah fer chrissakes that’s too much work, just give me a belt

The Radio Reproducer, it was called. Because you like radio, right? It’s all the rage! Well, this baby will reproduce radio.

How is that different from any other record player?

(Blank smile) It’s a radio reproducer!


Men drank whiskey and they bowled:

The cartoonist was Frank Williams, who’d end up as the Editorial Cartoonist for the Freep until he retired in 1978. Don’t like his ‘stache either. Nothing personal.

Ned Day:

A three-time USBC Open Championships titlist, Day was one of the first to make extensive exhibition and match game tours. He was one of the game's great stylists, who excelled in speaking, instructing and promotion work, and he performed in film shorts produced in Hollywood by Pete Smith.

He did indeed.


Gone are the days when a whiskey’s taste would be described in terms of the morning:

“Pre-War Quality.” Meaning, I suppose, it’s spent more than a week in the barrel.

Finally, a Hannon tableau of idealized American soda-parlor enjoyment, complete with skirted gals attempting to clap on the beat:

You wonder how GIs felt when they looked at this, and knew those kids had sailed through the war, the boys young enough to avoid the draft.
Lucky them.

No one, of course, suspected Korea would be next.

Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do! See you around.



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