Click. Hummmm, crackle…. The warm glow of vacuum tubes fill the parlour with expectation.
Grandpa turns the dial just a tiny bit, and the broadcast becomes clear. Melvin Merganser And His Merry Orchestra strains to the conclusion of their greatest hit, Polka Blues.
And now, Silent Radio brings you the weekly Clearlake news and analysis – sponsored by Inst-O-Teeth….
(Inst-O-Teeth jingle plays)
Before you make your daily trip to Walmart, snap in some Instant Teeth where your own ivory used to be. Enjoy the respect and adoration of all other shoppers as you appear more rich and sophisticated than them is. Inst-O-Teeth! – genuine ersatz plastic imitation one-time-use teeth with built-in alligator clips for immediate front teeth when it matters most. Your smile may vary. Not available outside Lake County.
And now, bringing you news and features from near and far, your host with the most news, Scoop Svendsen:
Good evening all you good folks out there in radio land.
The much-weathered sign in front of Clearlake’s community college reads YUBA COLLEGE, CLEAR LAKE CAMP . Until recently, this was accurate – judging by the decidedly make-shift buildings. But no more! Brand new buildings were completed a couple of months ago and are already in use. This reporter is tempted to wonder if the U and the S have been safeguarded until the campus could be so rated and the sign updated. (Hmmmph.)
The new buildings were designed by an Architect. We know this for certain, since the largest building has a “butterfly” roof – it is lowest in the middle. This is the World’s Most Efficient Design for funneling rain INTO a building. Apparently the now-campus does not offer structural engineering.
Which brings us to the National News Feature, which today… uh… features America’s most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s masterpiece is the house in Pennsylvania called Fallingwater, because of its spectacular setting overlooking a small waterfall. The house consists largely of flat roofs and protruding balconies – other types of rain funnels. During design and construction in 1935-37, both the contractor and the owner consulted numerous engineers who all urged drastic improvements in the radical cantilevered design. Wright rejected them all with a flourish.
Fallingwater was restored ten years ago, which entailed pretty much constructing it all over again because of all the water damage, to say nothing of the basic structural failure, which began before the owner moved in. Wright had built a brand new broken house.
Architects are artists, which is a good thing. Art-itechts. And Wright was the best – an artist with astonishing sense of pleasant styling. Artitechts can be domesticated, but not… uh… housebroken.
But back home in Clearlake, let’s pick on an engineer too. Pomo Road in Clearlake is 18 feet wide with no sidewalk, and residents park cars on both sides. Pomo Road is the shortest access to Pomo Elementary School. Nearby is a street 34 feet wide.
The City Council, Konocti School District, assorted County Supervisors, and 600 annual pairs of parents have been clamoring for a one-way sign on Pomo for something like a decade. But there has never been an accident on this block, so the City Engineer needs a child to get run over before he can apply to CalTrans for an Emergency Grant and instructions for planting a sign post. Well, his job title is Engineer, anyway.
Making residents park inside their own properties is probably too much to ask. They might have to put down their cell phone to turn the steering wheel.
In better news, the Kelseyville Fire Department has a brand new 3-axle 6-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle that can serve as an ambulance and otherwise do pretty much anything in the woods but clean up after bears. The vehicle was paid for entirely by local donations. Silent Radio salutes you.
Kelseyville is on a roll. Wednesday was Antique Tractor Day at the High School, and young Carson H. drove his grandfather’s historic John Deere to school. His Agriculture instructor is also the Welding teacher. The Welding Team is again going to the National Welding Finals at Cal Poly. Craftsmanship may not yet be dead.
And now, from the immediate neighborhood…. Earlier today, Mike-across-the-street fired up Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. No, not the famous movie car. Mike is a lot machoer than Dick Van Dyke as Caractacus Potts. (We will get to Sally Ann Howes as Truly Scrumptious in a minute. Yes, Ian Fleming wrote it.)
No, Mike rides a Harley Motherofpearl Firebeching Davidson – of some more-or-less vintage… uh... heritage. The stoking-up procedure is always the same: Grindy-Grindy-BANG! Grindy-Grindy-Brum-Brummmmmmmmmmm – and off he goes, bouncing here and yonder like Donald Duck riding a bicycle down a staircase. The mechanical racket of push rods and rocker arms and square-cut gears over-deafens the fartulence of the tail pipe, but the carbonator belch remains loudest. If the cigarette falls out of Mike’s mouth – or he swallows it -- he duly tends to the Emergency by promptly lighting another.
Truly Scrumptious is probably better off with Caractacus Potts, yes. But Mike is a perfectly pleasant neighbor, with substantial mechanical skills. Last year he correctly diagnosed an intricate problem with my pick-um-up-truck’s fuel injection – standing in his own driveway.
And now from The Archives: This reporter once co-employeed with a nice gent who had recently retired from the Marine Corps. During a casual conversation I asked him what he had done in the Corps. He was a pastry chef. No, I couldn’t make this up.
In sports, seven football players were arrested for drunk driving, five went berserk in shopping malls, two ate their respective girlfriends’ living room furniture, and one burned his mother at the stake. Total value of wrecked cars hit 1 Million for the third week running.
I did make that up, but it seems safe to call it a composite.
And finally the Weather -- which will continue to be seen better from your front porch than from my windowless studio in Cincinnati.
This is Scoop Svendsen, saying… good night, and get laid.
(Inst-O-Teeth jingle plays)
You have been listening to the news on Silent Radio, sponsored by Inst-O-Teeth. We now take you to the Crossword Puzzle Tournament, in progress…
Grandpa turns the radio off, gently. Warm cookies are passed around.