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April 28, 2020:

THE MYSTERY OF THE DISAPPEARING MILES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I think it’s high time or maybe low time that I mention the mystery of the disappearing miles.  Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I think it’s high or maybe low time that I mention the mystery of the disappearing miles.  In the motor car there’s a screen and on this screen are many little bits of information, mostly having to do with what’s playing on the iPod.  But also, there’s a readout of how many miles are left before I must put gas in the motor car.  Now, here’s the mystery part and I’ll give you just the latest example: I have just a hair under a half-tank of gas left.  Three days ago, it said I had 140 miles to go before refill.  Check.  Two days ago, when I got in the motor car and started it up it said I had 122 miles to go before refill.  The only problem with that is that I drove exactly one- and one-half miles three days ago.  Check.  Today, I get in the motor car, start it up, and now it says I have 104 miles before refill.  The only problem with that is that I’d only driven about a mile two days ago.  Now, when I’m driving, sometimes the mileage will go up by a mile or two but not back to where it should go.  So, where exactly are these miles disappearing to?  They just disappear, willy-nilly as well as nilly-willy, just like a magic trick of some heinous nature.  I suppose it’s possible the readout thing is having a breakdown of some sort.  Perhaps it’s been self-isolating far too long and has just gone wonky, rather like some people have during this time we’re going through.  It’s baffling to be sure.  I guess I’ll just hope that the actual meter is working fine, and a half-tank of gas should certainly get me another 130 miles.  Well, this has been an endlessly fascinating paragraph, hasn’t it?  I was mesmerized throughout and I only nodded off three times.

Yesterday, aside from the mystery of the disappearing miles, the day was a pretty nice day; in fact, it was a pretty pretty nice day.  I got about seven hours of sleep, maybe a little less.  Once up, I answered e-mails and saw that UPS had already delivered the hardcover copy of my new book.  So, off I went to the mail place and picked it up and it looks splendid and the dust jacket is really nice. Home I came, my book gal called and I placed my order.  Usually, she’ll put a rush on it, as a courtesy to a VIP author, which is my designation there, but the printing place isn’t accepting rush jobs during this time.  So, it will be seven to ten days and we’ll get them shipped right out after I’ve signed all of them.

After that, I did some work on the computer and then it was time for the Kritzerland rehearsals to begin.  First up was Robert Yacko.  We did all of them but Sami’s via Zoom and it worked out pretty well, actually.  We ran Robert’s three songs, I gave teensy-weensy notes no a couple and now he’ll work on them and we’ll be doing some test runs.  After Robert came Kerry O’Malley.  She has a really professional set-up in her apartment and her husband has a pro Canon camera and they have pro lighting, so she’ll actually look great.  We ran her songs, I gave her a couple of thoughts, and that was that.

Then came Daniel Bellusci and we discovered when wi-fi is not strong Zoom hiccups a lot – freezing and doing weird stuff.  But we got through his songs fine. He’s got the funniest number in the show and he does it really well.  His other two songs are great, too.  Then came Brittney Bertier.  I’d switched up one song the day before, but she knew it already and the replacement song is sooooo much better for this show.  She has a somewhat complicated three-song put-together but she pretty much has it down already.  Her third song is a song I wrote that is included in the book of lyrics.

After that, I had an hour break, and did laundry and a little house cleaning, and then it was time for Adrienne Stiefel.  She’s also doing a song I wrote, but one that no one outside of a few people in the late 1970s who may have happened to be at my house when I played it, has ever heard.  The reason is simple.  I, who keep every scrap of paper I’ve scribbled a lyric or lyric idea on, could never find the lyrics for this.  All I remembered from it was the hook/chorus and I really have always liked it.  I knew what the two verses were about, so I just sat down a week ago and wrote them anew and voila.  Her other two songs are classics.  And finally, Sami, who’s only doing one song but what a beauty it is.  And that was that and we were through by 5:45. All in all, fun, and what a pleasure to see all their faces again.

I hadn’t eaten anything and so the easiest thing to do was rustle up some Wacky Noodles, which I did, and I ate them all up and they were great.  Then I was super full, so I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finished watching Jacques Tati’s Playtime.  It’s truly odd motion picture entertainment, but every time I watch it I like it even more.  There’s no real plot, just a series of occasionally very funny visual gags, some downright weird visual gags, and one section that simply goes on a little too long for its own good.  The frame is jam-packed with stuff and yet your eye always goes to the right place, and that is his genius.  His blocking is brilliant, as is his entire visual concept.  It all takes place in a couple of blocks of buildings, stores, restaurants, and the like.  Tons of cars on the streets.  It’s brilliant and even more brilliant when you discover that none of it is real – it was all built for the film.  The color scheme is also amazing – sterile grays and greens for the first half, then warming up for the long restaurant sequence that is the second half.  And the final ten or so minutes is one of the greatest marriages of music, sound, and image ever.  It’s one of my favorite sequences and I could watch it over and over and over again. Apparently shot over a three-year period, it was photographed in 70mm but 1.85 rather than scope.  This Blu-ray in the complete Tati set is a new transfer off the 70mm elements and it is stunning – sharp as a tack, gorgeous to behold, and so lifelike – exactly what 70mm is supposed to look like.  I searched for a review and finally came up with one for the new transfer, but unfortunately for the worst of the Blu-ray sites and one I loathe.  But the lead reviewer there is a real dope know-it-all type complete with Dr. before his name.  And this nabob prefers an older transfer’s color saying this one doesn’t have the cold gray feel.  I honestly don’t know what these people watch on, but you could not have more accurate grays than this transfer.  But I have the other one he’s raving about and it’s GREEN.  There’s no gray at all, everything has a green cast to it.  There’s one sequence in an office building with cubicles – the outside walls are GRAY, and the inside walls are GREEN.  In the older transfer, there is almost no difference between the outside and inside walls.  These people.  Anyway, the film was a bomb, but over the years it’s become known as Tati’s absolute masterpiece.  If you’re in the mood for something different, it’s worth checking out.

I then watched the first ten minutes of Sunday in New York, a movie I’ve never seen.  It’s VERY 1960s but I’m interested to see where it goes.  Good cast, including Jane Fonda, Cliff Robertson, and Rod Taylor.  After that, I took a short drive, and then it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I have many things to do, and do them I shall, mostly to do with the Kritzerland show.  I’ll eat something fun, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and mail, and then I’ll watch and listen.

The rest of the week is all testing and finalizing stuff for Sunday’s show, and then we do the show.  I’m hoping all you dear readers will be in attendance.

Oh, and in the you never know what’s out there department, someone on one of the David Cassidy Facebook pages posted a GIF that happens to be from my final episode, The Last of Howard.  I have no idea who shot this GIF but it’s clearly between takes and there I am joking with Susan Dey and David Cassidy.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do many things, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and watch and listen.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Rod Taylor and Cliff Robertson?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, still baffled by the mystery of the disappearing miles.

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