February 23rd, 2007

krazy koati

Now it trembles in the darkness when the lightning walks about

The show starts on upbeat saxophone licks, with Jeff, wearing a tool belt and a blue shirt. ``Hi and welcome back to Shingles on the Half-Shell, the home repair show for guys like Jeff. For the past three weeks we've been working in this lovely two-story building in Westerly, Rhode Island, and let's let Jeff tell you about it.''

Another Jeff, tool-belt-less, in a red shirt, explains, ``This place was built in late 1886 as a cotton distillery by people who saw potential in the Pawcatuck River but didn't read instructions. In the Second World War its employees put strands of fine wool across Norden bomb sights until the War Department caught them. About five years ago the abandoned place was opened as a micro-brewery, and now we're converting it into a home for a small family like ours.''

The first Jeff says, ``And we've only got a week until the owner gets back and probably starts some kind of fight so let's take a peek at a home on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina, which like Jeff's here has walls.''

After the musical bridge another Jeff (in a green shirt as he doesn't care who sees him) steps into the two-story hall. ``Now, homeowner Jeff has been gutting this beautiful room because of a mistake the last time the house was renovated, what was that?''

Jeff, in a white collared shirt with two nonconsecutive buttons undone says, ``We tried a nontraditional wall covering, red lycra from floor to ceiling, and that turned out not to work at all. The first problem was the cats leaping at the walls and then being angry at whoever un-catches their claws. We could have lived with that, but we kept getting joggers.''

The first (third) Jeff nods, ``You certainly don't want joggers sneaking in and breaking up the sense of private community space. Why did you have lycra in the first place?''

The second (fourth) Jeff says, ``You know, it's an interesting story. But first I want to show you -- '' He opens the door, walking Jeff and the camera crew to the mailbox. ``I designed my own mailbox to look like a beluga whale. You slip the mail in through his mouth'' -- he slides a piece of paper in the dark wood stained creature's mouth -- ``And when there's mail the flag pops up out of its blowhole,'' which it certainly does.

The third (first) Jeff nods, and says, ``That's very creative, certainly distinct, and complies with no known postal regulations.'' A cat runs out the house, leaps up one of the Jeffs and into the flatbed of a truck driving at a responsible speed up the road. Neither Jeff responds. ``Jeff, I hope that helps you out up there in Randolph, Vermont.''

Back to the first (several) Jeffs. ``Thanks for that, and we're back in Westerly, Rhode Island,'' the tone reminding viewers the Jeffs have exchanged passionate words about the difference between Randolph, Vermont and Westerly, Rhode Island. ``Now, Jeff, our team here found some bad news. Let's let Jeff tell you.''

This next Jeff, in a faded show T-shirt and safety glasses, and carrying an adjustable wrench, says, ``We cut a hole just before the monsoon rains for the new four-foot by three-foot skylight. The zoning board now says those proportions are only for replacing old skylights. New ones have to be sixteen-by-nine foot, which is bigger than the house fits.''

Red-shirted Jeff emotes facially and says, ``But you've got some idea what to do?''

``Indeed we do,'' says T-shirted Jeff, and in a dissolve they go out back, by the air conditioner and dryer vent. Jeff taps the wrench on a socket by the garden hose. ``Some earlier owner thoughfully installed a standard inflation valve, so we just need the air compressor here to expand the home.''

Red Jeff says, ``That's going to make an exciting day.''

Blue Jeff nods and says, ``And you'll see all that and more on the next installment of Shingles on the Half-Shell. I'm Jeff; Happy home -- '' and realizing he's trapped, spits up, ``Habilitationing.''

The Jeffs nod thoughtfully while the credits play.

Trivia: Leon Schlesinger withdrew his Warner Brothers cartoons from Academy Awards consideration in 1938 to protest the ``preferential treatment'' he felt was given Walt Disney studios. Source: That's All Folks!, Steve Schneider.

Currently Reading: Alone Against Tomorrow, Harlan Ellison. Twenty stories about alienation: horrible people in miserable societies meeting unpleasant ends. When `` `Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Tick-Tock Man'' is an up beat you know it's sure to cure feelings of hope and good cheer, unless you're one of those fanatics who likes people, such as me. Also features Harlan giving out his social security number, and a back cover picture showing him looking just like Pavel Chekov in The Voyage Home.