For reasons I don’t quite understand (it has to do with science), summer begins tonight in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones but tomorrow at 12:24 am for people in the Eastern time zone.

Longtime readers will remember how much I dislike summer. I won’t go into another rant but you can read why here and here. I was thinking today that it seems I spend most of my summers doing two things: sweating and killing ants.

Ants. I hate ’em.

I can’t wait for Labor Day.

My First Word Was Batman

Adam West died Friday.

My mom once told me that my very first word wasn’t “mom” or “dad” or even “binky,” it was “Batman.” I was obsessed with the show even at the rather early age of 1 or 2, and I would sit on the floor in front of our gigantic Magnavox (TVs really were more like furniture back then) and raise my hands in the air and exclaim “Batman!” when they said it in the theme song (and they said it a lot).

I’ve been hot and cold on the big-screen movies. Keaton was fun in the first two, Clooney was OK but he was stuck in one of the worst movies ever made (it’s funny how Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies try to be more like the original show than Tim Burton’s darker/weirder movies, but they just don’t work), and while I can appreciate Christopher Nolan’s movies and their “quality,” he still doesn’t know how to shoot a fight scene (none of the directors of the movies do, actually) and I don’t think they’re “fun” enough. And yes, fun is still an important element in a comic book movie (I’d still like to see a black and white, set-in-the-’40s, B-movie noir Batman, but that’s a whole other post).

So Adam West will always be the “real” Batman to me. I was too young to get the in-jokes and satire and overdone plots. I watched the show unironically for the fights and colorful villains and that fantastic hidden pole behind the library bookcase and my early love for Julie Newmar. I watched the show again recently, and while I remember thinking “this is so ridiculous!,” I thought it with a smile on my face. The show knew what it was doing and it did it well. I can still remember the feeling when I saw the feature film based on the show. I was too young to see in the theater but when I saw it on TV later it was a big event for me. My God, it’s going to be like the TV show, only longer and with all the villains? Yes!

I’ve always found it fascinating how some stars of old TV shows completely fade away while others reinvent themselves in some way, taking off on their old roles/personas but still doing something fresh. West played similar characters in movies and in many animated shows. Who could have guessed that West would go on to be loved by a whole new generation of fans by voicing the mayor (named Mayor West) in a cartoon like Family Guy? Though I guess a lot of those fans are adults who get it. There was something not just about the tone of his voice but the speed of it and how he structured his words. There was nobody that sounded quite like him.

We all have the things beyond family and friends and geography that have shaped us. Everything I am is because of Raymond Chandler novels and Dean Martin songs and Quisp cereal and TV shows like The Dick Van Dyke ShowLeave it to Beaver, Warner Brothers cartoons and Letterman. I would add Batman to that list too, even if I don’t think of it that much when I make those mental lists we all make. I don’t know if I would put it on any list of the “best” TV shows (I never have), but “best” is a very different thing than “favorite” or “most important” when it comes to lists, or at least it should be. Batman was very important to me.

Godspeed old chum.

Crimson and Clover

Readers of The Letter (next issue is coming next week) will recall that I had an odd thing happen to me several months ago, involving an actor on The Twilight Zone and someone who knocked on my door. Well, this is just as weird, and it involves another classic TV show.

I was driving back from the supermarket Tuesday, playing around with the Sirius XM radio dial, when I came across the 60’s song “Crimson and Clover.” I don’t know why I thought of this, but I was imagining that it was make for a great Jeopardy! answer. It could be one of those answers where they give you one half of the question and you have to give the other half. Maybe give the “Clover” part and the contestant would have to give the other part.

Later that night, this was an answer on Jeopardy!:

This deep red is paired with clover in a 1960s song title.

I really should play the lottery more often.

It Is Happening Again

Shoes don’t vibrate. Sure, they can, if the water is warm, but then you have to think about the pickles. Put it this way: if a helicopter started to talk, would that mean you had to go to Macy’s to buy a shirt? You take all the flowers and put them into the sky, but they’re not running for office. They don’t care, so why should you? There’s nothing left that’s yellow, and you sit there with a Dixie cup, ready to cross the river.

If you don’t understand the paragraph above, trust me, it makes more sense than last night’s premiere of the Twin Peaks reboot.

I don’t remember the original being this weird, not from the get-go. Was it? It was more of a mystery, this small town where a murder happens and everything seems normal but there’s a lot of weirdness hidden (and then it became crazy). This reboot is just wall-to-wall strangeness, an acid trip, a series of odd scenes put together. Lots of interesting imagery and WTF moments, but if it’s just weird for weirdness sake without any cohesion, what’s the point?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe David Lynch will tie it all together at the end, but I don’t know if I can stick with it for that long. I’ve been screwed over before (*cough* Lost *cough*). Or maybe it’s just specifically for Twin Peaks super fans and not anyone else (and there’s nothing wrong with that). This might be one of those shows that I don’t really watch all the way through, I’ll just read the Wikipedia recap when it’s over.

A Fistful of Dollars

I went to the convenience store up the street (I could probably say “down the street” but up seems more positive in some way?) and bought a few things. When the clerk gave me my change it was all one dollar bills, maybe 8 or 9 of them. When he handed them to me he said “That’s for when you go to the strip club tonight.”

My first reaction was, how did this guy know I was going to a strip club tonight? Kidding! My first reaction was to look around me to see who else was there and what they thought of the joke. Guy in his 30s. No reaction at all.

Warmer today. A day that said “summer is coming, time to put the screen door in and buy bug spray.” Of course, we had a day like this a couple of weeks ago, when we thought the seasonal switch had been turned on, and then this weekend it was rainy and in the 40s and I had to turn the heat on again, so who knows if this will last. May is a weird month (though not as weird as April).

The next Letter will be out the last week of this weird month, I promise. In fact, if I don’t get it in the mail by then I’ll send you nine dollars. All in ones.

One Of Those Days

Maybe I should have just stayed in bed.

Everything seemed a little…”off” today. I had this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t catch up to anything or get things settled – no matter what it was – so I never quite felt comfortable, like there was this “thing” making me uneasy and off-kilter, an invisible saboteur making sure I couldn’t do anything. Maybe my biorhythms are off.

There’s a word you don’t hear anymore, “biorhythms.” Is that still a thing? It certainly was in the late 70s. It was a scientific (*cough*) way of figuring out your life and how things were going to go for you, based on various things like your mental state and your emotions and cycles and some mathematical formula. Or something. I recall a lot of numbers and wavy lines.

I also remember going to one of the department stores – it may have been Zayre or perhaps King’s, one of the chains – and buying a baseball game in a box based on biorhythms. I was so excited because I was obsessed with baseball at the time and this whole biorhythm thing sounded so fascinating! I couldn’t wait to get home to play with this new, expensive game. (This may have been it but I’m not sure.)

I think I opened it once. I never even played it. It was confusing and based on stats and math and I hated math, even as a geeky, bookworm-ish baseball fan. It certainly wasn’t “fun.” I went back to Scrabble and my Aurora Movie Monsters models (but never jigsaw puzzles – I never had the patience for jigsaw puzzles). There were several games – if you can call them games – based on biorhythms, including computer games. Like the one in the above pic, where it looks like the oldest brother from Eight is Enough is playing tennis with young Roseanne Barr.

Now I’ll stop talking about biorhythms because I can never remember how to spell it.

But things were just odd today. I dropped my laundry on a part of the floor that happened to be dirty, seconds after taking the clothes out of the dryer. I missed the UPS guy by a few seconds. I turned the stove on and checked it ten minutes later and realized I actually hadn’t turned it on after all. I spilled food on my jeans, which means I have to wash them tomorrow (since I have to redo my laundry anyway…). A check I was expecting didn’t come. Oh, and a drop of boiling water somehow splashed up from my tea kettle and landed on my eyeball. This is actually the second time it has happened to me in the past few years, so I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or simply intrigued (what, exactly, are the odds that someone will splash hot water in their eye – the same eye – while making tea…twice?). Recently I got some sugar in that very same eye. I should just go ahead and add some milk and a tea bag to the eye and complete things.

Have I earned a gin & tonic tonight?

Yes. Yes I have.