Sunday, September 8, 2013

Breaking Bad Hangovers, Turn-of the Century News You Can Use

from Entertainment Weekly
We have been watching a lot of Breaking Bad. We're only in season two, but are watching frequently enough that it has seeped into the unconscious. I woke up once within the last month, with one final horrifying beat-to-death scene vividly replaying in my mind. This was a first: never before has a show taken over my waking dreamscape, and repeatedly -- it played out twice before I fully woke up. It cast a pall over the day, though if meth is anywhere connected to Javier of myself, we certainly don't know it. But that sense conveyed, of the dreaded downward spiral, playing out amidst seeming normalcy...

Sometimes, when I have been working longer hours, or some aspect of life is especially taxing, I veto Javier's urging that we should separately watch episodes before meeting back up again, or for some urgent reason, that we watch one on the night of discussion.  He accuses me of abandoning the show and cites other joint watchings that have failed to take habitual root (House of Cards, Portlandia, Arrested Development). It's okay, we surely will return to it, it has sunk its hooks in me like the Sopranos did. I was going through a strange fit of MUST UPDATE PHOTOS ON DISPLAY in the living room last night, and encountered a handful of bulky VHS recordable tapes in the bureau. On some, the labels read: "M's Sopranos." as if I had somehow claimed Gandalfini and co. in a more personal way. I don't even own a VCR player any more.

More exciting: tape of my Granddad going down in a submarine when he was 97; and being interviewed by a local news channel when he was 102 or 103 (when he watched it with the family, he became self conscious, "Goodness, my ears are big. Do I usually shake like that, I was never aware I did this.")

On a recent slow rise, Javier gradually climbed to wakefulness. "I dreamed I was somehow involved with Will Smith and the Fresh Prince of BelAir, a reunion show. It somehow involved violence and so we had to watch all the violent scenes from the Wire, to help prepare."

"...Did you meet Will Smith?"

"...uhn unh..." with that, he was back under. He made mournful sounds when I prodded him, so I eventually stopped.

One of the happier harbingers of Fall is the AAUW book sale, which happened this weekend. Compatriot scooped me up in her peppy Mini, though she confessed to a prior book sale trip the night before ("...but I ONLY looked at cookbooks! I swear!") Even with more local book buying than I used to do, it's advisable to stock up for the Winter months. The fiction pantry feels quite low. I wound up not buying so very many novels (though I could have filled an entire study, had I been longing for say, Alice Hoffman, which lordy seemed to be everywhere). Everyone nudged past everyone else, huddling over their half off grocery bags. Both of us opt for building our piles in spaces along the wall, with a protective sweater slung on top, and a periodic protective room scan: Don't touch those books! Those are (to-be) mine. People kept getting in heated political exchanges around Comp, who wished they would kindly stop blocking books while holding forth. No one really talked around me.

I was finding art books which were too heavy and too expensive, but alluring. I took home a stunning book of Andrew Wyeth works focusing on Kuerner farm, abutting his land. Paintings, sketches, initial watercolors. Apparently you can tour the farm, via the Brandywine River Museum, so if you're ever in Chadd's Ford, PA, you know what to do!

Another irresistible find: The Complete Library of Universal Knowledge. Published in 1904, this book promises to avail the every day reader with answers to any conceivable question. All in one book! In the non-stop turn-of-the-century "interrogations-- subjective or objective -- constantly confront the individual, all of which are correctly answered here." How comforting, in advance of computers, or any such hope, to be able to look to a single source...

Herein, you can learn about the photophone and Nikolai Tesla:

This chapter ends: "...It would seem as though we now have the germ of a means of inter-planetary communication."

Medical knowledge, equal parts frightening and enlightening...
The image at left accompanied a section on the wonders of Xrays:"...The X-ray discovered these, as as well as consumption in early stages, ruptures and enlargement of the heart, stomach, and other organs. One case, brought to light some time ago, was that of a patient who suffered pains near his nose. An abcess had formed and the skiagraph discovered a small sack in the cavity back of his nose,containing 32 miniature teeth. In the fight against bacilli, serums are used..."

....WHAT, HOW does one inexplicably shift from a vestigial twin anecdote, to innoculations? I fear my Library of Universal Knowledge does not indeed hold all the answers for my modern life.

It does, however, show us dirigibles...

 Plus a Thousand Things Well Worth Knowing...

Including, most exciting...Behold, POCKET TYPEWRITER OF THE FUTURE!

In the future, it is said that reporters will be able to record commentary, without even removing his hands from his pockets.

 I will let you digest all of this information. But before I go, I'll leave you these tips from the Law without a Lawyer chapter:

Runaway Horse
If a man's horse runs away in the street and injures some one or breaks a carriage, the owner is not liable, unless he carelessly left him unhitched or was guilty of some other negligence.

Law About Scratching Hens
You have not the right to kill your neighbor's hens while scratching up your melons and cucumbers. The custom of doing so, and tossing the fowls over the fence may afford some satisfaction to the gardener, but it makes him liable to pay the full value of the nuisances, although he had repeatedly warned their owner to keep them at home or take the consequences.

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