October 6th, 2004



There were Busby Berkeley movies on television all night. I got hung up. In the midst of one of those ornate dance routines in stunning black and white, I was struck by the thought that when this movie was released, 71 years ago, Janet Leigh was six. I wonder if she went to see it? Probably not. 1933 was before the Hayes Code took the sex (or at least the obvious sex) out of Hollywood for three decades, and the movie contained more than a few scenes and situations that were quite risque. In a small town like Merced, allowing a six year old to see such a thing would likely have been thought scandalous. I know that all the stars of the movie are long dead, and if any of the dancers or bit players are still living, they are ancient. It's remarkable that something designed as escapism seven decades ago still works as such until the viewer becomes aware of all that time which has passed. I now feel as though I have spent several hours being entertained by ghosts. Or maybe they are more like zombies, since we can see them walking around. This thought conjures an image, both alarming and comical, of Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler coming to eat our brains. Given the fact that so much of the last century has been preserved in movies and photographs and recordings, and given the amount of time that we the living spend with all these accumulated artifacts, the metaphor seems disturbingly apt. I don't think I'll sleep well today.


I don't mind the warmth so much when it is accompanied by drifts of feathery cirrus clouds in a sky the palest shade of that blue found in Chinese porcelain. That is a blue far more pleasant than the blue screen of death. After enduring the latter twice, I went outdoors to enjoy the former. Now that night has fallen, I am back to struggle with Sluggo for a moment. So far, so not so bad- but I won't press my luck. Until the fan has brought sufficient cool night air into the room, this will have to be an offline night. More iced tea, I think.