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Into the City last night for more pleasantly short black & white movies, and actually I was up there all day long. This time I used public transport to get around, riding the Muni buses back and forth, between Amoeba shopping on Haight Street and then hanging around the creaky old Roxie theater near the 16th-Mission BART station, where I caught a double feature of "The Invisible Man" with "The Black Cat" - the latter's why I was there, hadn't ever seen it. Architect/Engineer Boris Karloff has a fascinatingly moderne mansion somewhere in the mitteleuropäisch countryside, built on the ruins of a hilltop fortress. One stormy night Bela Lugosi shows up accompanied by a newlywed American couple (who we'll have to call Brad & Janet). This is the film where Brad says "That sounds like a lot of supernatural baloney to me" and Lugosi replies:

"Supernatural? Perhaps.
 Baloney? Perhaps not."
(This scene was familiar - where did I just see it? *) Experiencing Bela reminded me of the "Ed Wood" film. Stuck around afterwards for the "Invisible," an old friend from way back, when I'd watch ancient movies late at night on my parent's television. During my first period of active TV resistance (I'm in the third one, now) I'd make exceptions for strange old films, and during my high school years this meant mostly the Marx Brothers. That interest was ebbing (since by then I'd seen all the major Marxes) one psychedelic evening in 11th grade when I arrived home after everyone was in bed and tuned in the late-night "Creature Feature" and first saw Claude Rains do "The Invisible Man." I missed the very beginning but saw it again shortly thereafter in its entirety, and haven't seen the film since. I was trying to square his voice with Louie's in "Casablanca," but couldn't (and remembered trying to do the same thing when I first saw that film).

Après-film it was kinda weird outside in the evening's darkness. Even that late at night, poor street people had their meager stuff arranged on blankets for sale, around the BART station - even more of them about than when I'd entered the cinema.

HBO has now shown "Home Page" to some percentage of their audience (not sure about the particulars, what "Signature" means on planet HBO; but my perception is it's not part of their regular schedule). Not everyone is amused; for example this cyber-writer named Todd can barely restrain his rage - it climaxes in this reaction to the screening, his clever exclamation that "I WISH I HAD A GUN LOADED WITH SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP BULLETS RIGHT ABOUT NOW." (An expression I usually spoonerise into "Up the Shut Fuck!") Justin says he "... has an axe to grind" - I'm guessing there's some mysterious early-web history in both of their stories which will be forever obscured to this casual observer. Lots more amusing verbiage can be found at Todd's Tremble site, although he's a New Yorker and annoying for other reasons also.

Both of the people just described write with that youthful affectation of almost always ignoring their "Shift" keys. Can anybody tell me what that's all about? I hate it. The great thing about HTML is the on-line author can make his or her text look just like books, even with italics - a luxury we didn't have with typewriters. To then slob it up by (for example) using lower-case "i"s is just the worst.

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"Suddenly I realized the power I held. The power to rule. To make the world grovel at my feet!"

July 6
© 1999
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* The Monkees' "Head"