Saturday, September 30

72 Hours in Luddite Heaven. Great, Now Get Me the Hell Out of Here.

Wednesday, approx. 5:20 PM local time, seated on the couch with my Poor Wife at my side and Mr. Stinky on my lap on the usual grounds that he'd be the first to know when I got up, possibly resulting in food, even though he should know (and in fact does) that he won't get fed again until 8. Larry was presumably in the basement due to the thunderstorm activity event the weather hairdo had just finished showing us and describing as "remarkably narrow"--something I, with over 50 years weather experience, scoffed at, seeing as how the thing was at least a county wide for much of its hundred-mile length, which seems more like "average" and certainly not "remarkable". It was about two minutes later when I heard the most intense thunderclap I've ever heard in my life (though neither the loudest nor the most impressive), followed (if that word may be used to distinguish the Speed of Sound from the only fractionally slower Speed of Cat startled by thunder) by the fortuitously freshly claw-clipped Mr. Stinky departing the general region of my gonads in a Big Goddam Hurry. At roughly the same moment my Poor Wife was launched a good foot in the air, bounced twice, and locked me in a death grip on landing.

Oh, do not get ahead of me, young tech-savvy interneteers--a few hours passed before I entered my office to find the expected throbbing orange sleep-indicator light in fully flaccid, necessitating a flexing of my UNIX muscles (the sum total of which being the fsck -y command) a reboot, and a quick if hopelessly-last-century dial-up connection to check email with an eye toward cutting Mitch Daniels down to size thereafter (oh, wait...). Instead, a "Modem not responding please check your connection and settings" alert. It is never anything to do with the settings. Once in a while it might be the connection. Still, I check both, because the sign told me to, then I turn on the sound and try to reconnect, and there's no dial tone. So I went over to the kitchen phone and picked it up and heard...a dial tone. Shit.

I went upstairs to my wife's office. Her computer is on a different phone line, but it's the same story. I plugged a phone into that line and dialed our home number and heard the bedroom phone ring. We're fucked.

Of course, this is entirely my fault because I'm what passes for the geek around here. For the first decade or so of computer ownership I dutifully ran around unplugging everything anytime a storm was coming, but I've become complacent. The current surge protectors must be seven years old, and the phone lines weren't plugged into them.

But here is where we exit the reminder to brush your teeth, wash your hands, and keep your pubic region barbered and re-enter the realm of Panglossian economics, because it took only a short time to reacquaint myself with the gaping holes surrounding the total lack of substance in that whole "Aren't you glad you live in a technological wonderland?" schtick.

I'm basically a frugal fellow, but not out of any real respect for money. I'm more than willing to spend what other people would describe as exorbitantly on something I want. There are $200-$300 bottles of wine in my cellar. I buy eyeglasses at the priciest joint in town, and I can't remember when I bought a pair of shoes for under 150 bucks. But I'll tie a broken shoelace together and keep going until the shoe wears out, my non-professional wardrobe is by M. Targét, and I wash and reuse aluminum foil. It's more a reaction to incessant waste than miserliness, but there you go. I have no real intention of buying a new computer (or a car) until the old one doesn't work anymore.

But with a car you can control that somewhat--they still make tires that fit my '95 coupé, and I can still get the proper oil filter and air cleaner and parts for any of the three other mechanical things I've capable of doing myself, but nursing a computer through a decade is a bitch.

So we have six-year-old G3 Macs, my wife and I, and they do everything they've always done, and the only thing I've run into that would require an upgrade is that dual-sided DVD recording business, which means I'll get around to dual-sided DVD recording the next time I buy a new computer, unless DVDs are obsolete by then. By just try telling a repairman you've got a six-year-old machine. You'll get the same response asking him where he stocks the sleeve garters.

I decided that the best approach was to buy a single external modem and see if that solved the problem. $20-30 would beat any repair cost. So I was off to the nearest Big Box at 9 the next morning, only to have to search for fifteen minutes to even find modems (I suspected they'd be hidden somewhere in the Unloved section with the floppy drives and blank 125 MB Zip discs, and they were; I would have asked for help but the three or four knots of employees seemed to be enjoying themselves so much I hated to interfere). Then every single one of 'em is a Windows product. I had not really anticipated this problem in the second half of the USB decade, but watcha gonna do? Three more stops at three more Boxes, plus a side trip to The Apple Store, which is now apparently The iPod Store, Where Do You Think You're Going, Gramps?, with no luck. Home to the Yellow Pages, realizing all the while that this problem would be solved almost instantaneously if I had a freakin' internet connection. Search "Computers--Service and Repair" or whatever it was for little Apple symbols. The first guy I found had no address--not generally a good sign, but he was cheery, told me he had one but not two external modems in stock ("Jus' want but one," says I), but was too busy to meet me anyplace (explaining the lack of address), but he knew for a fact that Fry Electronics near me (that is, 12 miles away) had them. Off to Fry, where the employees are too busy enjoying the latest in electronic wonders to bother wondering why you're there, where I finally find the Apple modems, which read "Required: G4 computer or later." Back home, with one more futile stop in between, call Mr. Homeless Mac Repair again and tell him, nicely, that the modems at Fry weren't G3-compatible, and what did he have in stock? to which he replied, "Oh, I didn't realize you had a G3." Understandable enough, I guess, since I'd only mentioned it twice. But he was a nice guy, and he told me about a repair shop which might have the parts, and I tried them and everything worked out ducky, plus the modems were all that was damaged.

But O, Brave New Electronics Boutique! Who in hell voted for you? Is it possible that Jane Galt, et. al., have never been obsolescenced? I can't imagine they have long to wait, assuming it registers. I'm fifty-two. I remember tube testing machines in the front of drugstores, next to the stamp machine. All those 78s my grandmother gave me were already history, but it was at least a decade before I bought a turntable that wouldn't play 'em. Since then, of course, my vinyl collection has been superceded (but not replaced), most of my cassettes are in critical condition (I never owned an 8-track), and I've got a few hundred videotapes I'll probably have to be buried with just for the sake of space, but those things can mostly be used. So far as I know it's still legal, though perhaps not competitive, to play tennis with a racket smaller than Lincoln Navigator. But what in hell am I going to do with the 14 400 baud modem in the basement, let alone the 9600? Anybody need some 44MB SyQuest cartridges? A grayscale scanner?

Okay, sure, technology marches on, and I'm not trying to stand in the way. It's just that once you've spent two whole days trying to get stuff repaired and even the guy at the Used Mac store looks at you like the only explanation he can come up with is you just woke up from a coma, it's time to put the question to all those people who can't live without the latest ringtone: just how long do you imagine you'll want to keep running after this crap as it changes before your eyes? I'm glad you're enjoying the ride--it is exhilarating--but check that ticket again. You want off, you have to jump.

Wednesday, September 27

Happy Birthday

Asashoryu Akinori (born Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj)
The 68th Yokozuna
born September 27, 1980, Ulan Bator, Mongolia

• 18 Makuuchi Championships
• Only man to win all six honbasho in a single calendar year
• Only man to win seven honbasho in a row
• Won 84 bouts out of 90 in 2005
• Career record: 460-126-17 (.785)
• Yokozuna record: 254-44-17 (.852)
• 4 Zensho Yusho (perfect 15-0 record in basho)

Tuesday, September 26

Pangloss School of Economics Quarterly Report

Roy unearths another example, this time from Jane Galt:
But let's say we could find someone who makes $29,931 today, and remembers the 1970's. Do you think that if you offered to send him back to 1973, with 4% more than the 1973 median income, he'd take you up on the deal? What if you doubled that, to 8%? What if you sent him back to 1973 making 15 or 20% more than the median wage, so that he could keep the wife at home and still enjoy a modern level of household income?

Personally, I wouldn't take the deal . . . and not just because I'd be the one stuck at home trying to make the Harvest Gold drapes match the new Avocado refrigerator. 1973 means no internet. No cell phones. No cheap air travel to exotic foreign climes. No computers. No blessed asthma drugs (see my co-blogger's memoir for just how much this means). Three television channels and nothing good on any of them. Expensive books. Air pollution. Shorter life expectancies . More crowded housing. About the only thing more available then were Manhattan apartments, and that was because the muggers were cramping everyone's style. Yes, we all wish we'd done like my parents and bought a co-op in 1973--but that's because we want to live in it now, not then.

Of course, you wouldn't make this sort of argument if you weren't trying to prove something, and it's the sort of thing that's driven me crazy since Physics 1&2 back in 1970, before the invention of Harvest Gold, when they ran us through the standard experiments designed to prove that Light is both A Particle and A Wave, and that you therefore should find yourself shaking hands with Quantum Mechanics, except that all I noticed was that the experiments were not consistent, so it really just made me question the people who were selling the textbooks. If they'd have just started off explaining the thing to me I'd have believed 'em. I didn't think they had any real reason to lie about such things.

So too, you know, I'm willing to give your argument a fair hearing, but when you hang the whole thing on the fatuous notion that I'd never part with my Best of All Possible iPods I'm reminded we're no closer to a cure for idiocy than we were thirty years ago, despite the need being that much greater.

Okay, one: if you simply must do this sort of thing, avoid Lileksification at all costs. People who were co-ordinating Avocado appliances and yellow formica countertops in the 70s have just as miserable taste in interior decor today, just not so dated. Nothing survives being thought of, as Oscar Wilde said. Your hipster eyewear and flat-screen latte machines are gonna be grist for some smirking retro-trendoid mill by 2036. Count on it.

Two: no internet. Cheap applause line, a Lee Greenwood lyric before the start of the Daytona 500. Hey, I loves me some internet, but I didn't pine away for it in the 70s. Apart from meeting people from around the globe, the internet means free pornography and information at my fingertips instead of a mile away at the public library in case it's not in my own.

Three: no cell phones. And none going off in the middle of a movie, and no self-obsessed bimbo carrying on a conversation about his personal life at the top of his lungs as the two of you share a grocery aisle.

This is not your standard curmudgeonly retort. It's "Conservatives" who are always going on about modern life going to hell in a basket of some sort or other, but here's a device which has clearly increased the public rudeness factor at least 6x, and that's without touching what it does on the roadways, but it makes life worth living because you can call your broker from the dry cleaners.

So this is perhaps the time to make the general point about this sort of hooey. Darwin changed the world without knowing anything of genetics, and Shakespeare changed the language without decent medical care. One has to ask what benefit we get from all this technology that makes our times so superior.

Four: no cheap air travel to exotic climes. And no rapid spread of regional diseases into worldwide pandemics. I'm sorry if that's a flippant answer, but it's a flippant comment. How many poor people--how many middle-class people--are jumping on planes for tropical locales on a regular basis? I'm comfortably upper middle class, yet any such trip would require I decide what to give up of equal or greater value, just like it did in the 70s.

Five: no computers, no asthma drugs, three channels and nothing on. So now I've got 120 channels and nothing on, and the easiest way to relate to any stranger is to talk not about Art or current events, but about Survivor. Plus anyone who's ever been on a program is a celebrity for life. You can't even get rid of Howie Mandel. There's a reason it's so profitable to repackage so-called reality into so-called programming: it's because the audience no longer knows what reality is like. Reality is the fucking remote.

Really, remember that when Warhol said everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes, he meant fifteen minutes and out. Back then you starred in Johnny Reb, US Marshall, or you crooned a couple of hits for latter-day bobby soxers, and that was it. You had amused us to the fullest extent of your talent, now go invest in real estate. Sunday, Brittany Spears was on the cover of one section of my paper. Why? Her job description for the last three years has been "public embarrassment", and she doesn't even have to produce anything to keep it.

And of course no one's going to argue than medical improvements are a bad thing, but then every time I have to go into the hospital I'm paying for all of it. I pay for equipment I don't need, amenities I don't want, fantastically expensive specialized care that doesn't just save or extend lives but helps infertile couples conceive sextuplets and increases and decreases bust sizes as fashion dictates. Being tested half to death may make you safer than you were in 1973, but it sure makes you poorer a lot quicker, too.

Six: longer life expectancies. Very nice, I'm sure, provided you can afford it. In 1973 you might still imagine you could live on Social Security. At least you had no reason to suspect it would be yanked out from under you.

But let's note here that "longer life expectancies" is not just a linear, March-of-Science achievement but the result of a lot of things that "Conservatives" or Conservo-Libertarians don't think much of. Safer automobiles, safer households, public anti-smoking campaigns, all accomplished with government dollars and "nuisance" lawsuits. It's not just the medical-science-assisted extension of your Golden Years you get to hope you're healthy and wealthy enough to enjoy.

This offer may be void in certain areas if you're a young black male.

I don't know that any of this is meant to be taken any more seriously than Jane's "Harvest Gold" crack. I hope not, or not much. Because--ye gods and little fishes, if this plastic gimcrack society is the Civilization we think our young people should be killing and dying for it won't be too long before the guns are turned the other direction.

Happy Birthday

George Gershwin
September 26, 1898--July 11, 1937

That's Fucked Up

Channel 13 Hairwitness News intro: "Some Colts fans upset over alleged halftime music."

No, it's about the story, not just the hair-brained [sic] use of "alleged" there, which is an actual quote. Local news actually made a story out of this:
The Colts' play on the field gave fans plenty to cheer about, but there were jeers when it came to one of the songs played inside the RCA Dome.

The song "Go To Church" by Ice Cube, Lil Jon and Snoop Dog contains profanity and fans thought some of that bad language aired on the in-house sound system.

Item: I haven't attended a game in about three years, but it's a goddam Dome, and the sound is cranked to 11, and my guess is it's still louder than the Blue Angels taking off directly over your head *. Loud enough that unless you know the words I'm guessing you'd be hard-pressed to pick any out.

Item: Sample:

Yo if you're fucked up, put your cups up
Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, nigga what's up
See he's a gangster, I'm a hustler
Yo it's either thank ya, or it's fuck ya
[Lyrics courtesy]

And the thing about that is I could have cut-and-pasted practically any four lines at random. So:

Item: I'm guessing that is not the version they played. Which seems to be backed up by what the Colts' spokesman said, and I'm paraphrasing here:

"That's not the version we played."

Item: So my sense here is that maybe, just maybe, the folks at Channel 13 knew all along they didn't play any motherfuckin' obscene lyrics but the story was just too good not to use. Call me a cynic.

Item: The Colts also announced that, despite the apparently misunderstanding, they would never, ever, ever, play that song again, because "We want to see kids at our games and we want them to have a good time and we want parents to not have to worry about what songs are played. We have to be more diligent in just screening the songs." Because God knows when you take the kids out for a wholesome afternoon of sitting just in front of several half-naked beer-swilling sports fans in blue body paint and silver glitter, the last thing you'd expect is to hear any profanity.

*Actually happened to me, May 1964, when my Dad took me to see them at the airport, for some unknown reason, although now that I think about it watching planes take off was still a popular spectator sport in the Midwest in them days. There were about six cars parked at the end of a runway and a bunch of guys milling around, and I figured we were about to see them take off across our line of sight when suddenly they roared off maybe a hundred feet over our heads. Two hundred decibels, easy. It would have drowned out the Who.

Monday, September 25

Herbert Lee, Died September 25, 1961, Amite County, Mississippi

He'd been born there just short of fifty years earlier. He farmed and raised nine children. He joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When SNCC brought its voter registration classes to southwestern Mississippi, Led attended, despite his wife's opposition.

Lee was shot and killed in broad daylight in the parking lot of a cotton gin in Liberty, Mississippi by state Representative E. H. Hurst in front of several witnesses, both black and white. A coroner's jury ruled the shooting an act of justifiable homicide that afternoon. Hurst claimed that Lee had come at him with a tire iron, that he had hit him with his pistol in self-defense, and the gun went off.

The African-American witness, Louis Allen, eventually told the real story to FBI agents (sent from Alabama for the purpose; there was no FBI office in all of Mississippi). He was found shot to death out side his home on January 31, 1964. Neither crime has ever been "solved".

Thursday, September 21

Yoo Hoo

In case you thought you noticed a listlessness in these parts, a magnification of certain middle-aged tendencies, well, it could be true. Late summer means scrambling to get various projects finished so that weather-sensitive chores can be done on time, generally with the slightly optimistic sense that this time I'm going to get ahead of it all only to realize that it was not just pure laziness that left things undone in previous years but the impossibly complex set of steps which must be completed without regard for anything else. To this one may add a demented mother and the required interactions with doctors and drug peddlers, minor computer glitchettes, football season, cat maintenance, some interesting reading, a bizarre real-life Agatha Christie interlude when I accidentally intercepted a cocktail my next-door neighbor had designed to kill his wife which caused me--so I am told, anyway--to turn ghost white and slump in my chair with my head cocked at an unnatural angle, though I was completely aware of all my surroundings and continued to carry on a conversation, if at a somewhat reduced rate of speed, and stranger still, the recurrence of an eerie psychic phenomenon which has followed me at least since age eleven, wherein I suddenly become irresistible to women. Seriously. Not all women, certainly, but enough. And certainly nothing to do with anything I've done, so far as I can tell, and if I could figure it out, believe me, I'd use it. It's a complete mystery. I'm not a handsome fellow--you can see the picture--and I'm no longer a stylish or particularly fit one, and I mostly mind my own business. I was never particularly flirtatious in my youth. I'd go months without a girlfriend, then suddenly find myself holding two generous scoops of homecoming queen or getting explicit phone calls late into the night from girls I didn't know while my stepfather pounded on the wall. Then it would stop as mysteriously as it started. I exempt my college years from the official history, of course, as the Tee Ball of Sex, but with the first job I took afterwards I slept with all six women who worked in the place without having made a pass at any of them. On one particularly memorable weekend in 1976 I, on successive nights: was thrown out of a women's restroom at last call, together with a woman who was at least five inches taller than I, engendering a standing ovation by the remaining patrons; narrowly avoided being caught in a police searchlight while partly clothed in an alley; was led on a streetlight-running chase across the northside of Indianapolis by a woman I had never spoken to before who walked up and snatched my jacket just for that purpose, and who turned out to be some sort of amateur circus gymnast. She also impersonated my doctor's receptionist calling in sick for me that Monday. In no case had I known any of the women involved two hours earlier, and none of us was drunk, a fortunate thing since I was ticketed for running one of those lights. And those are just the ones I can tell you about.

Now, I've known guys whose entire lives are pretty much like that, but the point is with me it arrives like rain in a Kalahari riverbed, and it struck again last week, a cloudburst of improbably young women standing closer than necessary or holding eye contact a couple seconds too long, and I a happy brimming brook.

It is, of course, a purely theoretical exercise lo these many decades, and, of course, my wife has some sort of natural immunity. Although at one point last weekend I did go upstairs to find the bedroom lit only by Lava Lamp, a bag of clothespins on the bed, and Billy Idol's cover of "To Be A Lover" playing on the dinky bedroom CD player. My wife is no musician, but she does have a particular appreciation of that song's tempo. Think "Bolero" on crank. I'm still having trouble using my left arm.

But then even at my age physical maladies eventually heal, but the mental torture of reading

John Yoo, "How the Presidency Regained Its Balance", New York Times September 17

has shriveled me up like a spider on a hot stove.* I think I've taken six swipes at the thing over the past four days, and they're all sitting unsaved on the desktop. Let us say that Yoo, our foremost proponent of the idea that the Supreme Court issues suggestions, writes 1100 words on the erosion (!) of Presidential authority and George W.'s selfless battle to reverse it. Let us say that he, a professor of law, manages to do so without ever citing the law but while quoting Dick Cheney, who holds the rare distinction of having served in the three most lawless administrations since Reconstruction and while evoking the well-known principle of jurisprudence (forgive me, I don't know the Latin) of "this leads to pork-barrel spending". Let us note, again, that we live in interesting times.

And just let me say that if the occasion arises again I'll happily try to send Yoo a cadre of young nubiles if it'll cure his problem.

* Little Big Man, 1970

Tuesday, September 19

Happy Birthday

Willie Pep (Gugliermo Papaleo)
born September 19, 1922

Rest Easy, America

Johansson happy with her curvy figure

NEW YORK (AP) -- Scarlett Johansson struts her stuff in cleavage-baring dresses on the red carpet, but in real life, she'd rather remain a mystery.

"I can't stand those articles where people spill their life story," Johansson says in the October issue of InStyle magazine, on newsstands Friday. "After a while I feel like I know more about them than their best friend does - and that's weird. It's better when you don't know everything."

The 21-year-old actress, whose screen credits include "Lost in Translation" and "Match Point," plays a former prostitute in "The Black Dahlia," opposite Hilary Swank and Josh Hartnett.

Johansson says: "Do I ever get nervous about this, right now, being the pinnacle of my career? Yeah, I do. At the end of (filming) every movie I think, `Wow - this is the last one! Nice working with you.'"

She's more confident about her hourglass figure. "I'm curvy - I'm never going to be 5'11' and 120 pounds. But I feel lucky to have what I've got."

And, given the chance, she'd like to trade lives with President Bush. "Whose life would I like to step into for the day? The president's. I could probably get some things done in the Oval Office."

"Mr. Goodwin is not unaware of those attributes of young women which constitute the chief reliance of our race in the battle against insects."

-Rex Stout


Sunday, September 17

Happy Birthday

Hiram "Hank" Williams
September 17, 1923--January 1, 1953

Joy of Matrimony, Part 683

Me (calling into the living room from my office while reading the Star online): Honey, [80s Indianapolis mullet-rocker] Henry Lee Summer was arrested for DUI in a Southside trailer park after he careened through the park, bouncing off cars, trucks, and at least one home, elbowed a Sheriff's deputy in the head, and was Tasered. And here I...

Poor Wife: Thought he couldn't even get arrested in Indianapolis any more?

Me: That is so not what I was about to say.

Friday, September 15

Birmingham, September 15, 1963

"That Sunday was the annual Youth Day at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Mamie H. Grier, superintendent of the Sunday school, stopped in at the basement ladies' room to find four young girls who had left Bible classes early and were talking excitedly about the beginning of the school year. All four were dressed in white from head to toe, as this was their day to run the main service for the adults at eleven o'clock. Grier urged them to hurry along and then went upstairs to sit in on her own women's Sunday-school class. They were engaged in a lively debate on the lesson topic, "The Love That Forgives," when a loud earthquake shook the entire church and showered the classroom with plaster and debris....

"Claude Wesley, principal of Lewis Elementary School, did not often subject himself to Sunday-school classes. He had dropped his adopted daughter Cynthia at the church and then escaped to the errands of a pleasant Sunday morning. When the noise of the blast interrupted his shoeshine, he had made his way to the church, the hospital, and finally the morgue, where he and his wife identified their daughter's remains by the feet and a ring on her finger...."

Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters

"As Virgil Ware, 13, soared down a lonely stretch of road outside Birmingham, Ala., perched on the handlebars of his brother's bicycle, he was happily unaware of the carnage downtown. It was Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963. At 10:22 that morning, four black girls had been killed by a dynamite bomb set by the Ku Klux Klan at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The church was a focal point of Birmingham's civil rights turmoil that year, but that unrest hadn't touched Virgil and his coal-mining family, who lived in a modest, all-black suburb and rarely even saw white people. All Virgil had on his mind that day was the money he and his brothers were going to make with the newspaper route they had just secured....

"Succumbing to peer pressure, [Larry Joe] Sims had gone along with friends to a segregationist rally that day--and now he was holding a revolver that his classmate, Michael Lee Farley, 16, had handed him as they rode home on Farley's red motorbike, its small Confederate flag whipping in the wind. As they passed Virgil and his brother James, 16, Farley told Sims to fire the gun and "scare 'em." Sims closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. Two bullets hit Virgil in the chest and cheek, hurling him into a ditch as the motorbike sped on. "I've been shot," Virgil said. "No you ain't," [his brother] James said in disbelief. "Just stop tremblin', and you'll be O.K."

"He wasn't. Instead, Virgil Ware became the sixth and final black person to be killed in Birmingham that Sunday. (Another youth had been shot in the back by police after he threw rocks to protest the church bombing.) Virgil was the last civil rights casualty of the summer of '63--when the defining social movement of 20th century America became a national concern and not just a Southern one. Network television brought the season's atrocities into U.S. living rooms along with the triumphs, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington 2 1/2 weeks earlier....

"Farley and Sims were charged with first-degree murder, but an all-white jury convicted Sims on a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter (to which Farley then pleaded guilty). A white judge, Wallace Gibson, suspended the boys' sentences and gave them two years' probation--scolding them for their "lapse"--which made Lorene Ware "break down in the courtroom crying and hollering," recalls Melvin. Says James: "You could get more time back then for killing a good hunting dog."

Tim Padgett and Frank Sikora, "The Legacy of Virgil Ware", Time,
September 22, 2003

"If you're going to blame anyone for getting those children killed in Birmingham, it's your Supreme Court."

Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, Birmingham Public Safety Director

Thursday, September 14

Big Deal. There've Been Four Star Trek Spinoffs, And That's Just Since 1968.

George W. "Third Awakening" Bush, the only soap-opera star who takes those "Don't trust Melissa. She's just using you to get to Brad." fan letters seriously:
Bush noted that some of Abraham Lincoln's strongest supporters were religious people "who saw life in terms of good and evil" and who believed that slavery was evil. Many of his own supporters, he said, see the current conflict in similar terms.

Yeah. Not to mention everything else.

If there's any similarity between the First Two Great Awakenings and general religious fervor today it would be the rather blasé attitude about theological consistency. Otherwise, one question:

Where is it?

Not in church attendance. You don't have to take Barna's word for that, just drive around next Sunday morning and try to get yourself into a traffic jam. It's not in personal accountability. The public face of religion in America has for thirty years now been about pointing fingers at others' shortcomings and ACLU-led compulsory atheism, and the big box churches now on every street corner are well-known for their over-egged ear pudding messages. It's not in a new inclusiveness, of the sort which reached out to blacks and poor whites in the 18th century, and it's certainly not in the confrontation of anti-Christian treatment of minorities, however much the religious right enjoys portraying itself as modern-day Abolitionists. Christians are still portraying themselves as 1st century lion bait, for that matter, with as little justification.

It's a bit curious, from Bush's stated perspective, that revivalism hasn't done much to boost his poll numbers. On the other hand, it's no real surprise he reports receiving so many letters from Americans of strong religious belief. Why, the very act of writing a letter to George Bush could test the limits of one's faith.

Wednesday, September 13

Ask a Chickenhawk

William Kristol and Rich Lowry, "Reinforce Baghdad", Washington Post September 12

As you may have heard, Kristol and Lowry (who should consider writing anagrammically as "Two Rosy Krill") have solved the little problem we're having with that war they've been (mostly) telling us we've been winning all along: more troops. More troops! How do they come up with 'em?
We are at a crucial moment in Iraq. Supporters of the war, like us, have in the past differed over tactics. But at this urgent pass, there can be no doubt that we need to stop the downward slide in Iraq by securing Baghdad.

Guys, look. There isn't any reason either of you should be taken seriously, but if we're going to pretend you are then you at least need to pretend to be acknowledging a truth neither of you was willing to acknowledge before it smacked you in the face, repeatedly. Your batting averages on Iraq are not just below the Mendoza Line; they're a challenge to the very concept of Zero. That much should be taken as apparent to anyone who might find himself reading the Post op-ed page. Instead we get this dance about "differing over tactics" in the past. Pure flummery. You been wrong about the war in the past, albeit in slightly different ways simply because Mr. Kristol chose to "differ" with the administration by insisting it should be doing more of what it already was doing. That's permitted him to pose as a "critic" of the administration's handling of the war, but the fact is that as spectacularly wrong as Lowry's "We're Winning" cover story was, and is, Kristol was wrongerer. Not to mention his cheerleadership for the On To Damascus contingent.

But then the game here isn't accuracy, and it's certainly not The Comeuppance of the Neocons, it's the "Conservative editors call for more troops" meta-story, which requires that Kristol and Lowry be accorded the standing to make such a critique. Only problem is, they don't have it.

It's a common theme around here, but however effective bald-faced lying has become in winning elections it still exacts a price. It's the Right, the "conservatives" in this country who are the self-styled guardians of the ancient virtues, but they're also the ones who've twisted the truth beyond all recognition. You listen to Bush's stump speech stirring tribute to 9/11 the other day, if you can, and it strikes you that he's still tap dancing around the very notion of who or what we're supposedly at war with. But there's no difficulty about it. There's no real confusion over whether you can conduct a real war against an idea. The only difficulty is that the war mongers cannot justify in principle what they want to do in fact, which is to take revenge on whomever is easiest and at hand, and use that as a permanent justification for the installation of a government that does their domestic dirty work in an atmosphere where debate is treason. And it doesn't work, and it's not going to work just because they get even more desperate to manage it.

So how, exactly, does this sort of thing wind up on the pages of WaPo? The Iraq war, the idea behind the Iraq war, every justification behind the Iraq war, the execution of the Iraq war, and the positive geopolitical results which were supposed to accrue to us because of the Iraq war are all piles of ash. Is the person who now wonders "Hmmm, what do you supposed Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol make of this" even sane? I know the WaPo is the ultimate Beltway insider, but aren't the editors human, too, at some point?

And that doesn't even touch the substance of their argument, which may be for the best since it's not a good idea to plunge your hands into a pile of crap unless you make a surgeon's salary, or at least a plumber's. "More troops to Baghdad," they say, without being called upon to tell us "From where?" It's been three years since the fall of 2003, when it should have become clear even to those too willfully blind to see it before that we did not have enough troops in Iraq. Three years. In three years we went from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima, and were preparing to make the costly excursion into the Philippines on principle, not military necessity. We were about to absorb the last shock offensive of the German army in the West. In three years the Soviets went from shovel brigades blockading the streets of Moscow, to pushing what was left of the German Army into the Baltic and Black Seas. Three years and untold lives sacrificed for half-assed ideas these two supported, and now they're ready to begin looking at the results?

Three years, and I'm sick of pointing out that the warfloggers have been moving the same Vapor Divisions around the same little Risk™ mapboards without ever once being asked where the feet to fill the boots are supposed to come from. If we put 400,000 more troops into Iraq, however you find them--whether conscripts we have no way of training at the rate necessary to get them into the field in 18 months, by stripping our military presence everywhere else in the world, or arming mechanics, computer operators, and the gang at the Corner--what are we supposed to do then if Kim Jong Il decides to cross over into South Korea, just to use one obvious example? Or is your answer "send 400,000 more troops?"

The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment.

Decisive battle, the man says. Decisive battle. The Japanese used to talk like that in WWII. Lure the US Navy into the decisive battle. Some of 'em were still talking that way as we took Okinawa. And the Victory Disease of the modern American right doesn't even have the benefit of military competence. It's a gummable mash of victory in WWII, out-tchotkie-ing the Soviet Union, an abiding belief in the ability of technology to subdue whatever chaos they've gotten us into, and an unshakable convinction that the election of Ronald Reagan solved everything.

Well, that and the conviction that when all else fails you can blame the Liberal Media, traitors in Congress, and the public schools. One nice thing about Japanese Victory Disease was that most of its proponents ended up at the bottom of the Pacific.

Tuesday, September 12

Dude, What Are You Smokin'?

Feds: Illicit drug use up for boomers, down for teens
Associated Press
September 8, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The government reported Thursday that 4.4 percent of baby boomers ages 50 to 59 indicated they had used illicit drugs in the past month. It marks the third consecutive yearly increase recorded for that age group by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

All Right! My People!

Okay, you've probably already guessed, but I don't believe there even is such a thing as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Who'd answer it? Does it come with use immunity? Or samples? My guess is that the major research involves scouring old Dragnet scripts for drug lingo, and they have an intern make sure the fake numbers add up to 100%. But if there really is one then one thing is certain: there's a hell of a lot more than 4.4% of boomers smoking dope.

Not that I have any idea, really; I just know that if the government is actually doing a survey they're underreporting the numbers, because the government, for some reason, is really concerned about this shit, likely for the same reason that people who hate sex rarely stop thinking about it.

So I don't give a shit, either way, until I come to this:
Meanwhile, illicit drug use among young teens went down from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.9 percent in 2005.
"Rarely have we seen a story like this where this is such an obvious contrast as one generation goes off stage right, and entering stage left is a generation that learned a lesson somehow and they're doing something very different," said David Murray, special assistant to the director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

David Murray, in case you've forgotten, was last sighted in 2003, when he warned Canada not to legalize pot. Back when the Bush administration was just itchin' to find more countries to democratize.

Okay, so, in fairness, I'm one of the few people in this country who will admit to believing that illicit drug use should be mandatory, just as soon as we figure out what to call them besides "illicit". My argument is fairly simple: I don't believe things can really get much more fucked up, and as such I think having a good time and installing interesting lighting is a reachable standard and one worth pursuing as national policy. Just consider how much better Congress would be if every time Sam Brownback rose to speak two people jumped up on either side and shotgunned him.

Right, that isn't gonna happen even if the Democrats do retake both houses, but in the interim could we just agree to put a cork in Mr. Murray? Just what is the malfunction, man? If the youth of America have found a different "kick" than their elders it looks to be lying to them on surveys then enjoying the resultant credulous media coverage of The Newer New Sobriety or Rainbow Parties. If you're reduced to finding silver linings in the things reported by children aged 12-17 to the most authoritarian adults we can dredge up, and if said linings require that you believe those things have some resemblance to the truth, I suggest a trip to the beach. And then keep going.

Is it really necessary to keep taking shots at boomers, now that most of us are barely ambulatory? Can you even find "Freebird" on the radio anymore? That train left the station twenty-five years ago, Mr. Murray. I know you guys would like to talk about anything but your record, but still; we've been playin' your game since Nixon and people still like to get high. And while I've got no real problem if 12-17 year olds smoke a little weed--it's better for 'em than the licit drugs they can get quite easily--I'd be happy to join in a campaign to discourage it, and discourage them from having sex, both for the same reason: aesthetics. They just don't do it very well. Besides, what I say has about as much effect as...what you have to say.

Saturday, September 9

Friday, September 8

Happy Birthday

Virginia Patterson Hensley
September 8, 1932--March 5, 1963

Is America Ready for Self-Governance?

ITEM: Hard-hitting. Factual. Oooh, look, video!

Last evening my local teevee news led off with a delicious CBS pot-au-feu of the Al Jazeera bin Laden tape, the audiotape of the supposed new leader of the supposed al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the supposed President of the United States saying something or other about Terrism, in that order but edited as a single story.

We could, of course, make that confluence our story--60% of Americans may well still believe that Saddam Hussein planned 9/11, but you'd imagine, or maybe hope is the word, that the informed clotheshorses who report the news would know better--or we might note how nice it is to see bin Laden mentioned in the news once again, and, along with Iraq, become the lead story instead of a footnote, and mention what a coincidence it is that there's an election coming up sometime this fall.

Instead, what struck me was how this was reported as urgent news. "Shocking new video of bin Laden!" was the teaser, like Incredible new footage of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping ladder, coming up at Six! The suicide videos also rated a mention, despite the fact that they were first seen long ago and were merely part of the package Al Jazeera broadcast. We then moved on to the headshot of the new al-Q in Iraq honcho (it's thoughtful of our evil terrorist mastermind enemies to get updated publicity stills as they climb the corporate ladder), who is heard ululating in the background as the translation of his speech runs next to the pic. But didn't al-Qaeda in Iraq already have a new leader?

Then came the segue to Bush, introduced with, "And while all this was going on..." All this? All what? All the editing involved in putting the story together? A five-year-old video and a tape of unknown if not dubious origin? That's "All This"? Sheesh, I'm thinking a lot of people in Baghdad were wishing those were the major stories of their day.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is turning into Iraq, but rates no coverage at all. Time for a new PR firm.

ITEM: The Big Weekend Wrap-Up of the Fourth Anniversary of the Two-Week Lead-In to the Anniversary of 9/11

Desperate Republicans! The Amazing Performing Lapdog Teevee Network! Congress Acting Like It Does Things!

Okay, we spent some time, and by "we" I mean the few honest and rational observers left with a public forum not involving the Internets, asking how it was we came to lose the massive international good will after 9/11. So how is it that no one asks how we squandered the domestic good will? It's gone from being a solemn day of national remembrance to something like Circus of the Stars V: This Time We Starved the Big Cats First. There are a lot of things I don't understand, but right up there is the way modern "conservatives" seem unable to separate genuine values and cheap money-making opportunities, even when it counts the most. They should be the ones screaming the loudest about the ABC mockumentary. That they aren't tells you all you need to know, as if you didn't already know it.

ITEM: Scholastic Replaces 'The Path to 9/11' Classroom Guide With New Discussion Materials Focusing on Critical Thinking and Media Literacy Skills.

"After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic.

Pardon my critical thinking and media literacy skills there, Dick, but shouldn't those high standards have kicked in sometime before you offered the damn thing to the public? Isn't the proper response now the public exposure and firing of the persons responsible, assuming they aren't named Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic? And can't you work "Hero of the Glorious Revolution of 1994" into that title?

Thursday, September 7

You Want a Menu? You Can't Handle a Menu!

Okay, so this morning I sit down with a cuppa and decide I'm going to peruse a few blogs at the bottom of my bookmarks, and up jumps Laurie Byrd:

This Menu Won't Last Long

Glenn Reynolds has some news about Ruby Tuesdays' new menu and I agree with him -- this one will not last long. They have removed all the healthy choices and even removed the nutritional info on the menu. One of his readers pointed out that Applebee's has an excellent Weight Watchers' menu. I had lunch at Applebee's a couple of months ago and had the Steak and Shrimp Skewers and the French Onion soup from the Weight Watchers menu and both were great.

Okay, I am glad that someone saw fit to amplify Glenn's comments--we just can't shed enough light on the problem of shrinking health-food choices among people who get off their butts long enough to get in a car and drive somewhere so they can sit down again and have someone feed them--but...

Ruby Tuesday's? Isn't that like some fifth-tier TGI Friday's? One of those chains routinely located such that, if you were in the parking lot and felt a sudden urge to view grass, or a tree, or anything growing without the aid of a concrete container, you'd have to get back in the car and waste a quarter tank of gas? Are we talking about the same Ruby Tuesday's? The one whose recent teevee ads touted the culinary inspiration of putting onion rings on top of a cheeseburger? Apparently so all the regurgitative elements hit your digestive tract at once?

It's a freakin' fast-food factory. If you're that concerned about being healthy you might start worrying about what you're eating instead of how much, and how many times the cook has washed his hands this month. Mental incapacitation caused by a fast-food joint altering its menu goes a long way towards explaining why these people are still pissing their pants five years later.

I once remarked, only half facetiously, that in a modern-day American Civil War the North wouldn't need to field an army, just find a way to lower the air temperature in Dixie to 37º F and hold it there for three days until the mass surrender was completed. Imagine what easy pickings these people would be if there truly were terrorists lurking behind every mailbox. Sheesh, altering the pick-up hours inside the lid could cause a stampede in select neighborhoods, apparently.

My Day. How's Your's?

It started with the morning paper telling me, in a tiny sidebar, that hospitalizations due to July 4th fireworks injuries (mostly of children) in this, the first year of Indiana's new What The Fuck, Just Go Nuts fireworks law were almost doubled. In newspaperese this is described as injuries being "on the rise". The brief note also quoted the State Department of Health, which cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the data, saying that it would need at least five years of information before any real patterns emerged. Throwing caution to the winds, like so much burning phosphorus, I drew the single conclusion that the same payoffs which reached the State Fire Marshal found their way to the Health Department, and that the contract lasts five years.

Then this evening I'm decompressing from another visit with Mom, aka Crazy Mom, and a Budweiser commercial comes on. I'd gone into the kitchen and forgot to hit the mute button, and I walked in just as the thing ended with the Budweiser Credo. It had been a while since I'd heard it, so let's all experience it together, shall we?

We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age.

I'm guessing that perhaps, seeing as how you have enough technical knowledge to know what B-E-E-R spells, you understand this to be complete bullshit, something on par with it being legal in this country to label anything trapped in a net "Cod", provided it looks as if it might be able to swim. Are they buying extra-fancy rice to puff up their brew now? Replace the "beechwood" stainless-steel "aging" tanks with plutonium? What?

Or are they adding in the salaries of all the various Busches involved? Plus milage? The most expensive thing about a Budweiser is all the advertising they bought to keep reminding you the stuff is for drinking. But none of that involves the cost "to brew and age", unless by that you include the fact that without advertising, marketing, and arm twisting nobody'd use the stuff to shampoo a dog.

Which would still raise the question "So why does Michelob cost more?" But never mind that now, because this comes on the same day I'd watched a second news cycle about the delayed shuttle launch. Now, once again, even if you believe that 95% of the NASA budget should be diverted into something that actually benefits people who don't rely on that figure for their weekly paycheck, the odds are that you look upon NASA more kindly than I. Perhaps the pocket calculator makes your life easier, or you really, really enjoy your TANG. Even so, I think we all might be a little concerned that unless something of theirs actually blows up with Americans inside, all news from NASA is of the Gee Whiz Ain't This Technology Stuff Great variety. What I'd really like to see is a second counter, just below the Mission Clock, ticking off just how much this particular circus is costing us each minute. 'Course it would need to be a much bigger clock.

I'll bet it's even more than Budweiser.

There's a curious lack of curiosity on the part of teevee "reporters" covering the story; I seem to recall that unless NASA ups its shuttle launch rate by something like 400% and keeps it there for the rest of the decade the space station project is kaput. I'd be happy to provide you with the actual details here, except nobody on teevee thought it was any of my business, apparently.

Instead, I heard one hairdo explain that NASA might be forced to consider relaxing its safety rules and permitting a night launch. Now please explain to me how those words got into his mouth if not courtesy NASA's public affairs director and an open bar. Imagine if your surgeon explained to you that they'd decided to relax their safety rules in the interests of getting your surgery finished on time. This (I imagine you replying) does not constitute relaxation! In fact it constitutes ignoring. Ignoring to a degree which can only be described as No You Fucking Aren't.

But then, your surgeon's safety record probably isn't what NASA's is.

I think they need a credo. Maybe "NASA: Nobody Said We Wouldn't Get Our Hair Mussed."

A little while later my Poor Wife came downstairs and we watched enough of Olbermann that I got to see Richard Ben-Viniste call Tom Kean "a Great American." This, in a discussion of why Kean, co-chair of a 9/11 commission which refused to lay a glove on anyone except New York's 911 operators, is now shilling an ABC mockudrama blaming the whole thing on Bill Clinton's Penis. A Great American who now pockets some Hollywood cash for signing off on the idea that Clinton was too preoccupied with Monica Lewinsky to get bin Laden. That would be the same Bill Clinton whose failed attempt to get bin Laden was, at the time, described as an attempt to get the news off Monica Lewinsky.

Great American? Hell, in my book Tom Kean is a veritable NASA of Americans. He is to this Republic what a free press is. He's the fuckin' King of Beers, too. We salute you, Governor. Up until this week that Commission of yours was like a joke without a punchline.

Wednesday, September 6

The Only Show in Town

The more I see doctors the more highly I think of folk healers.

I haven't written about my mother's dementia much, in part because it's grindingly mundane--she doesn't steal cars or knock over convenience stores, which is how I plan to use mine--and in part because it's painful and sad and tough to get much of a lesson from, unless "you need to be patient" is a lesson you'd enjoy hearing over and over, in which case you should take up fishing.

But yesterday was the long-awaitied meeting with the docs at the Center on Aging where she took a three-hour battery of tests two weeks ago. My sister and I had pinned some hopes on their findings soothing the periodic torrents over finances and living arrangements we've been riding out for nearly four months now.

So there's good news and bad news. Only it's the same news.

We're ushered into a conference room with the doctor and a replacement for the vacationing social worker, and immediately I'm pissed because there should be two doctors--a geriatric specialist and a neurologist--and I'm pretty sure I know which one we're getting (the lower-cost-per-billing-hour one) and which one we really need to talk to (the other one). And the, yes, geriatric physician opens with a little patter and a here's-what-I'll-cover speech, then she starts in on Mom's physical ailments, which are not great, really. She's got arthritis; both ankles and one knee trouble her especially, and they prescribe some physical therapy. And here's a handout on Kegel exercises for incontinence....

Okay, let's hold it just a minute. This is the point at which, if I behaved the way the little voices tell me to rather than hiding behind a thin veneer of civility (it's peeling in a few places, BTW) I jump up out of my purple-upholstered conference-room chair and say, in a voice that probably gets the receptionist to dial 911, "This woman is 80 years old! I don't know how long she's been wetting the bed--she never put that in the Xmas cards--but I know it's gone on for a while, and I know she's a product of the American medical factory system, because I'm the one who refills her prescriptions, and because for the last ten years her allopathic adventures, and those of her late husband, in the great gray plains of southern Florida constitute 90% of the conversations we have had in that period, and you tell me that in all that time no one ever fucking mentioned Kegel exercises to her?"

Naturally, I just kept my seat and kept staring at the doc.

Time to move on to the main event--everything's showbiz, ain't it?--her mental diminution. Out comes everyone's copy of a chart and a little soft-shoe about what the doctor who isn't there, but should be, was doing with All Those Tests. And I've got my graph cocked sideways, trying to read with one eye the categories on the bottom of the chart because they've been printed at a 90º angle to the rest of the thing, when the doctor announces that they found neither Alzheimer's nor dementia.

Okay, "stunned" is far to strong a word--for me, not for my sister, for whom it's an understatement--because I understood there could be many another possible explanation. I'm surprised to hear "dementia" fly out the window, because, well, because she's demented. At least in the common sense. And now the doctor's got her hands up, palms out, indicating first where "normal" is located, then where "dementia" falls, and finally the playground in the middle where, she says, Mom is now in residence. We don't know, she says--outnumbering those of us on the opposite side of the table via pronoun--whether she'll slide to the far end of the scale or not. Some do and some don't. In answer to my sister's rather desperate challenge, she tells us that this is a diagnosis made of conjecture, not fact.

My sister's face is, briefly, flashing different colors like a cuttlefish, and she may be developing a tic. And the doctor winds up and lets fly: we think this is all a result of your recent bereavement, we're taking you off the Alzeheimer's medication and putting you on Zoloft, and we're cutting your thyroid medicine in half because that might be part of it.

Ah. That's great news, doc. That's great news, except. I'm thrilled to death you think this is something which might be curable as opposed to something which is not. But I'm thinking that if we bet our respective salaries on the outcome you can shake hands with your new landlord. And the other part is this: I know that the elderly woman to my left here has heard exactly what the dog in that Larsen cartoon hears: Blah blah blah NO ALZHEIMER'S blah blah.

And she did, of course. In fairness, what they did find was moderate-to-severe impairment on almost every component of her cognitive processes, especially so in the matter of managing multi-layered tasks (their examples, tellingly, were driving a car and cooking, neither of which Mom now does, but which are the sort of tasks that might bring a family to that conference room in the first place). But none of that was going to register with Mom. NO ALZHEIMER'S. I don't have that. I told you so.

Let's pause another time. I've used "Alzheimer's" or "dementia" to describe what was going on with my mother, but not in a diagnostic sense, just for ease of explanation. I had to defend myself to her a couple dozen times when she accused me of "saying she has that" (it was always "that"). I had to lecture my sister about the difference between looking up a prescription medication online and understanding what's going on with a patient. I cringed when her lawyer told her she had to start living with the fact. We did not know. Even if we did, what we knew was a word. The popular imagination is always long on imagining. And there was no bigger problem in all that than how my Mom took it. The A-word is about as welcome in retirement communities as a condom dispenser in the Pope's washroom, but it's only one of about 150 forms of dementia, and that's just for starters.

But then NO ALZHEIMER'S. This unleashed a veritable running faucet of improv from Mom, who kept babbling as the doctor went through the rest of the categories on the chart, impervious. It had the makings of a fine comic scene, the doc explaining how the woman next to me was just understandably depressed and anxious, while the subject babbled away about checkbooks and snow shovels. Then the doctor exited so the social worker could go about the real-world tasks of convincing us what we needed to do about it (a five-day-a-week grief counseling marathon Mom nixed), which naturally involved actually trying to talk to the patient now, something which was now next to impossible because she was off in They Won't Let Me Have Credit Cards land. The social worker, I think, finally began to get it, but of course she's just filling-in, and no way is that closing episode gonna get reported back to the MDeities.

Again, don't get me wrong. I trust the judgment. I accept that things are not always worked out on the first attempt, in no small part because we work from the easiest and most likely assumptions. I hope that the change in medication is the answer, and that we get our Mom back some day soon. And I know that the road ahead is just a boulder field and I can't expect anything better. But still, there's this distinct impression that what you get from the medical profession these days is the same thing you get at The Gap, rows of shelves full of ready-to-wears, neatly sized, except that you have to keep trying things on to find something that nearly fits. And so we shall.

Friday, September 1

Happy Birthday

Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard
September 1, 1868 --December 26, 1930