The first movie I remember seeing was called Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot. I'm sure I had been to the Warner Theater before that but I remember this movie because it was not for children, I was six, and there was some negotiation before I was allowed to go. My brother took me.

I remember the monster coming up over a hill, roaring, but far more intense than that was the massive yellow Sasquatch logo that appeared on the screen at the beginning of the film. Looking at a clip of the film (obviously awful) shows, in contrast to the eyeball-drilling of Star Wars or piss-shower of Taxi Driver, a thin, nervous country with just enough money for a pack of cigarettes and a tank of gas.

Why they were showing a 1975 movie about Bigfoot in 1981 at the Warner? I was at that point only a slip of paper in a pullover shirt and man did I like dogs. My brother might have worn a denim jacket lined with thick beige lambswool, and cars had ashtrays. The Warner was a velvet-and-gilt palace near the Woolworth's. The floor had an inch-thick layer of grime and every step you took, at least in my little sneakers, went THWICK. There were gilded women carved into the walls and a red curtain that pulled apart for the show. I would imagine it was built in the 1930s--(yes, it was)--a big dose of Celebrex to cure the Depression, and while the art-deco style was modern the curtain and gold belonged to the theater. Or more likely to vaudeville.

(A vaudeville story, according to my father: his father, as a boy, would get inside a tire to be rolled across the stage between acts; he got a nickel every time. You had to keep the show moving. Later he became a respected whistler. Never met him.)

I could keep going backwards here until I was at the Globe Theater watching men in bear costumes chasing after boys in wigs, or further back to a naked stage in a natural ampitheater with chanting men in masks. But you had to read Oedipus in high school too. And the Warner shut down soon after Return of the Jedi to become offices; no longer were movies within walking distance. A tragedy in the original sense--meaning a song for the the goats.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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