Friday, March 27, 2015

Self-editing

    Now my brain isn't even letting me write about my dreams. Correction: now my brain isn't allowing me to remember my dreams long enough to write about them. Lately, I'm playing old-time-radio show Escape as my overnight drown-out-the-freight-trains-and-cats entertainment. It's pretty consistently my favorite and I have it loud enough that I can hear the dialogue if I wake up. I do pretty frequently, too, and think, "This is a good one! Maybe I'll stay up!" but then wake up a half hour or an hour later only to hear the start of a different episode and think the same thing again.
    In the mean time, I'm having pretty vivid dreams, but can remember practically nothing about them later. The only one I remember had me driving a very attractive young woman home repeatedly. I could never remember her name, nor that she smoked, nor that I always took her to the same place, which was a fairly working class Philadelphia type suburb near an airport. That was also a mall. Unless it was a beach. Because I wandered around and wound up on a beach, where there were seals, or sea lions. Except I suddenly decided I was in Australia, so maybe they were sea koalas or some damn thing.
    They're all like that, pleasant dreams that make no sense but are fairly amusing even while I'm having them. Oh and the cats seem to turn up a lot, although I'm still having trouble visualizing Harry correctly. Amelia usually does look like Amelia. Yes, yes, I know this is extra-pointless, but the alternative was discussing the temperature drop, and I think I've made the point already that 55 degrees seems really cold when it was 80 yesterday as against a few weeks ago when it seemed really warm when it was 30 degrees yesterday. Even at my ridiculously advanced age, I still find this fascinating, but I fully understand that everybody else figured this out at 5. What can I tell ya? I'm a little bit slow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The worst thing

    The second worst thing is having to tell somebody you made a mistake. The worst thing of course is admitting it to yourself.
    As usual, I can't explain this in any detail. So I'll just mention that I took advantage of the warm day to visit Congaree National Park, where the mosquitos are still absent, to no one's disappointment whatever. A small child with three women held up his visitor's guide to me on the low boardwalk and exclaimed delightedly, "I found it!" I couldn't work out at all what he had found, but was delighted on his behalf and congratulated him warmly for whatever it was. I wish I could find happiness that easily, but then at that age I guess you find misery just as easily. Everything's close to the surface when you're tiny.
    All the walking was good for my ongoing nervous breakdown, kicking it down a notch or two. Resuming semi-weekly vacuuming did similarly for seeing and breathing. Hopefully waking up with headaches (my favorite) will become a thing of the past. Or efforts to find a new home for Harry the cat may become much more in earnest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's funny?

    I was showing a real estate guy my Dad's house, which is in somewhat rundown condition after 50 years almost of our benign neglect. He asked what we were looking for? I suggested that we wouldn't say no if somebody offered a million dollars. He laughed heartily and I put on my straight man face and said, "What's funny?"
    And that was funny, but I wasn't in every way kidding. Not that I had any illusions about the house being worth more than it is (my illusion was that it was worth less than it is) but more a question of replacement value. Owning a house outright is quite a thing. Buying another is a tremendous undertaking. It's probably worth more to us to keep the house, have William able to stay rather than go out and get an apartment, and also for us not to have to get all our stuff out of there.
    For all that each of us would get a nice pile of money from selling, that amount would be nowhere near enough to allow any of us to buy another house. A nice car, yes, but not a house. So crazy as it might be to keep a run-down house 50 years too long, it may be crazier still to sell it. Ironic, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

OK, maybe I'm a little dense

    I have, I believe, blithered in the past about my wish to get a copy of the British edition of the first Harry Potter book, on the grounds that the American edition has been Americanized (Mum = Mom, public school = private school) and it makes me crazy. After the first one became a hit, Rowling got the traditional "nobody changes a word" clause in her contract, so all the other volumes are fine. But I want the first one in proper British English.
    I've been looking for years and found British editions of #2 and #4, not that it makes much of a difference. Anyway, I thought they were from Britain. #4 proves to be from Canada. Now I've been to Britain and I've been to Canada, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Canada would use the British covers and formats. I guess I just assumed that Scholastic Books owned all of North America by now.
    Dumber than that, though, is how bad a job I did looking. I searched Amazon and it appeared that to get "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (different title outside the US), I would have to order from UK Amazon and pay in English pounds. This is silly and I have no idea how I jumped to this conclusion. Anyway, searching apart from Amazon shows that I could get damn thing through Abe Books for about $3, no shipping charge. What a storm in a teacup that was! Wait, do Canadians say "Mum" or "Mom"?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Golden age

    Continuing on the theme of reruns, Casey Kasem's rebroadcast this past Saturday morning was from this weekend, forty years ago, of if you prefer, March 22, 1975. For a change, I was able to listen to the entire show and I was awed. Here ya go: AT 40 forty years ago There was the usual array of stuff that I thought was from years earlier or from years earlier, but what really got me was how much really great music was on there. OK, sure, the Bertha Butt Boogie was on there, too, but still!
    It occurred to me though that 1975 certainly should have been a golden age. Leaving aside the fact that I was 13 at the time, certainly impressionable and that it should have seemed to be a golden age to me then and in memory, the point is more that I, as a representative of the tail end of the postwar baby boom was 13 and the oldest members of that group were not yet 30. Marketers today fantasize about having a group of 13-29 year old consumers to sell to. As such, the best-selling singles of any given week were pretty likely to be, maybe not Bach cantatas exactly, but not Robin Thicke either. And if you don't think so, shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame on you/ if you can't dance too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Art Bell reruns

    When the world was a slightly younger place and there was no cable TV and only three or four channels, we all hated reruns. More recently, I remember a big advertising campaign to the effect that, "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you!" Basically, that network was bragging that nobody watches broadcast TV anymore. It was probably a better approach than, "You didn't want to watch it the first time, but maybe you'll want to watch it the second time!" Or not.
    The reruns that dominate my life are all from radio. I'm a huge fan of old-time radio. For the purposes of this post, I'd better specify that this term refers to shows from the '30s, '40s and '50s, the Golden Age of radio. But I also listen on weekends to rebroadcasts of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 ('70s on Saturday, '80s on Sunday) and of Art Bell's old overnight shows, rebroadcast fortunately earlier in the evening, Saturdays.
    I'm finally about to give up on the latter. I have no idea who is picking the shows to rebroadcast or why. I can only assume that it's somebody who isn't interested in making money or ratings and who hates Art Bell. Art had a show where anybody could call in and tell him about the spaceships they've seen, the space aliens they've met, or the monsters they've caught and are keeping in the basement. (Well, it may have been the refrigerator.) Tips on what hell is really like, remote viewing of Jesus (I'm still not making any of this up), just crazy, crazy stuff. And virtually none of this ever makes the rebroadcasts.
    Instead you get endless political discussion of issues from 20-odd years ago, including many viewpoints that Art later repudiated. Last night was a new low: hours of discussion of a UPS strike from 1997. I mean, MAN! What could be more fascinating in 2015? ANYTHING!
    The other favorite kind of show to rebroadcast is one of the ones where Art talks to a self-styled prophet, all of whose forecasts (except for stuff like "War in the Middle East") have long since been proven wrong. All this is very funny, of course, but still argues for selection on the basis of making Art look foolish. Where my damn space aliens? Where my damn screaming monster in the spare fridge? Or if you have to do fraudulent forecasts, why not run that great one about putting a gold capstone on the Great Pyramid which would turn it into a huge machine that would kick off a New Age for the new millennium?
    All this thought about the reruns in my life makes me feel like a "You kids get off my lawn!" type of oldster, but I'm not sure that that's fair. I don't think the old stuff is better or even as good as the entertainment of today. It's just that the great thing about the past is that there's so much of it! If I have a couple hundred episodes of the old-time radio show Escape and 3/4 of them are good, that's a lot of good entertainment there. I'm perfectly willing to believe that Mad Men and Breaking Bad (or whatever the show of the moment is) are absolutely brilliant. But A) I would have to track them down and I have my radio episodes already; and B) I bet they don't have Boris Karloff. So there!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sad, sad, sad

    Margaret asked me if I could get Dad's voice off the phone for her so she could listen to it again because she misses him so badly. I don't see how his voice would be on her phone except at the end when he might have called her from the nursing home and left a message, and I'm not sure we want to remember him like that. Nor am I sure that I would be able to do anything with such a message assuming that I could find one. People always seem to be overestimating my technical skills. Nor does it seem any wise healthy. I'll certainly try, but I'm not optimistic about being able to help her. I hope she can start healing a bit. Maybe when the cemetery marker is in place some time next week it will help. I hope.