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Revision, roof, plague in Peoria, spring training, Children's Hour

Saturday 3/4/23

* Thursday morning, the 2019 story, "Big Bob and Little Bob," was 2100 words long. I went back into it, which I thought would probably be necessary, and it was. It's now 4700 words long. Still not done. Leaving it sit for the moment and will return soon.

* My street has been closed off for over a week. A building a few buildings down had its roof cave in. I didn't know that was the issue until a couple of nights ago. (I have been staying away from most online things, unless they bring me wonder or knowledge, or have practical use in my life.) There's a police detail posted twenty-four hours to stop people from going down the street. The building--which was unoccupied--will be demolished in the next few days. Men started working on it late tonight and went until 1. (It's coming up on three in the AM right now.) Not just working loudly. That happens. Yelling, screaming, singing, having a right old laugh, no concern for anyone at all. Shouting terrible, loutish jokes.

* I listened to The Peoria Plague, which is a radio play about a zombie infestation from an Illinois radio station in 1971. This is an unlikely document. Radio plays weren't in much abundance come the 1970s--or really in the 1960s. So I was surprised and pleased to locate this. It's also well done. The above links says it was from 1972, but I looked into the matter further. The production was a one-off done by a Peoria radio station, a riff on both Orson Welles's "The War of the Worlds" broadcast and Night of the Living Dead from just a few years prior.

* I am oblivious to spring training this year. It was brought up to me on the radio the other day, but other than that, it hasn't entered my head. Not once. That has much to do with me, but also something to do with how off-putting the Red Sox have become. Distasteful, I'd say. I find them distasteful, and it's the team that means the most to me. I find the ownership very distasteful. The product is bad and ineptly constructed. The posturing with the politics is distasteful. The Boston Globe aspect is distasteful. I don't think Bloom has a clue what he's doing. You're waiting for him to officially fail--meaning be relieved of his job--so maybe the team can then start to get back to being good. But you know what else? Baseball spring training is too long by three weeks. Why is it this long? Why was it ever this long? I can understand it more in the past, I guess. Players had second jobs during the offseason, and they came in way out of shape. But being a professional athlete is now a twelve month commitment to fitness. Spring training reports come out for such a long time that you're almost baseballed out before Opening Day. If you're paying attention. I'm not. The Bobby Valentine documentary showed me how clueless the owners of the Red Sox are. And that was ten plus years ago. They're less committed and more clueless now.

* This is a delight. It's Norman Shelley--who played John Watson to Carleton Hobbs' Sherlock Holmes--reading A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, which is what he was best known for, actually. There was a program on BBC radio called Children's Hour, which ran from 1922 to 1964. It's where a lot of those Holmes episodes were first heard. The title comes from the Longfellow lines, "Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour." The members of the Beatles would have grown up with Children's Hour and known it intimately. (Episodes of the Holmes program also featured on the Light Programme, the same station on which the Beatles also appeared early in their BBC run.) Ironically, they had something to do with its shutdown, which happened to much protestation. Parents complained that kids really benefited from this kind of broadcasting, but it was being phased out. Rock and roll had something to do with it. And obviously the Beatles had a lot to do with rock and roll. Children's Hour was seen as what I guess today we'd call "lame." The audience at the end was said to be mostly middled-aged and elderly women indulging themselves in nostalgia for their bygone days. Which is rather depressing. But it was for that block of programming that Shelley did his Pooh bear readings, and there were LPs as well. They are enchanting. He does all the different voices.


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