Tuesday, March 21, 2017

From the soul jazz precinct*

On sort of a whim, because I saw it at my branch, I took out the third season of Barney Miller from the library. This is still one of the all time greats. It took anxieties that were in the air about urban decline, energy, disaster preparedness et al and made it less overwhelming. I think this is one of the jobs of comedy.

During this season Phil Fish was being eased out to a short-lived spin-off and Steve Landesberg's Arthur Dietrich was still being phased in. It's interesting to note that Dietrich is a bit of a wet blanket in some of his earliest appearances. One of the first things they had written into his character was that he'd spent nine months in medical school. Therefore he spends a lot of time giving unsolicited medical advice. Over time Landesberg and the writers would find a more fruitful avenue for comedy and character development.

Much the same thing had happened before, with Wojo. In the first season he was mainly a dense, braying guy and borderline Polish stereotype. After that they played up his vulnerability more, which was a good choice and gave Max Gail more to do. It's interesting to see characters who could be and at times are kind of vague come to life.

*as heard here:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

After these brief messages

Here's something that happens to me sometimes, most recently just a couple of nights ago. I'm lying in bed, usually in the early AM hours. Something is keeping me awake, usually a noise. Could be lights too. There's something off about the sound, it doesn't seem right for the context. I'll say something to myself like "Why are they running a pile driver in the middle of the night?" I'll do my best to curl up and ignore it, but it's too persistent.

Then I open my eyes. The noise stops. I realize that it was just some lame kind of dream state while I was in a shallow slumber.

In general my response to this is a delight that the night is so blessedly quiet. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pwca dust

The pooka is an interesting myth. They seem to have been dreamt up as an embodiment of everything a child would want to be - and if not be, then at least associate with. A pooka friend would be fun. You could have one as an enemy and not know it, but God help you if you do.

I recently read "Penguins of the Apocalypse", a William Browning Spencer story about an alcoholic threatened by his pooka. It's sort of a darker take on Harvey. Also reminiscent of this Who song.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

rock on

I love this cover. It truly shines light on some facets of the song that mightn't have been apparent before.

Sadly Robert Plant has not reciprocated by singing "Gingerbread Coffin" or anything like that. At least not as far as I know.

Monday, March 13, 2017


I'm curious to see how this snowstorm plays out. It seems likely to be the last major fall of the winter. Although maybe I shouldn't say that. In any case, it'll be funny to see some St. Patrick's Day parades where the floats are replaced with tractors.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yes, they're on a cloud

CumulonimBAAAHs from Matt Bogacki on Vimeo.

The animator here is working in a familiar formula - Coyote/Roadrunner and other Looney Tunes - but he finds new opportunities for weirdness within it. Very enjoyable.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Everything's waiting for you

For most of the past fifteen years I've worked on the East Side of Providence. The thing to remember is that this is an elevated part of town. Most of it is atop one hill or another. So if you work even on the second floor of a building you look out and just about everything is below or across from you.

This week I returned to work after a few months' unemployment. My new job is downtown, or Downcity as some insist on calling it. The part of downtown that's in the direction of South Providence but safely short of it. And this part of the city is in the valley. Plus most of the taller buildings around here are in the downtown section. So you spend more time looking up. It's a different feel.