Phone rang while I was doing a podcast; didn’t pick up. Checked it 45 minutes later: the school. Uh oh. Daughter had a sore throat that morning, but I’d chalked it up to dry house - she had no fever, no other symptoms. It would have helped if she’d said the night before “Ben at the bus stop had strep and was coughing on everyone.” That would have helped a lot.

So I picked her up and went straight to Target, where they did a test. Bing: strep. She was all pumped because this meant that delicious antibiotic stuff; it was so good you could put it on ice cream. Then the doctor said he was 50-50 about sending her to the ER, because there was a curious sound she was making occasionally, something he called “a strider.” She has a Lord of the Rings character lodged in her throat?

Natalie asked what they would do at the ER, and I said “probably a neckectomy. That’s where they just remove your neck and sew your head on your shoulders.” I said this to make her laugh and take her mind off what the doctor had just said, which was “injectable antibiotics.” Didn’t want SHOT FEAR floating over everything.

Decided against the ER since A) her temp was normal, glands normal, and the strider-sound was rare. But I’d keep an ear out and an eye on, as they don’t say. We wandered around Target while the medicine was being prepared. Shared a pizza for lunch. Her spirits were high - it takes a lot to knock her down. By the way: total cost of the visit, the diagnosis swab, the use of the room with its whizbang machines, and medicines: $110. That’s not what I paid, of course. The idea that I would pay what it actually cost seems preposterous.

Don't have any more Times Square proposal pictures, but speaking of architecture: I was queuing up some stuff for Lint - it’s back now, after an absence, because it fell into the category of “a thing I was sick of having to think about for more than one second,” and I came across this.



It’s not that I didn’t know I had it - I’d come across it before, filed it away with the requisite tags, and wondered whether anyone would care. But it reminded me of something I have in a folder of beer advertising items:




It’s the same woman. You’ll have to trust me on this. This is her, too:


It’s called “The Eternal Question,” and while I knew the work I had no idea it was the same girl as the tray. Gibson was famed for his portrayal of female beauty, and I think it’s possible to say he established a cultural archetype as no one had before - mass media distributed his work all over the country, and gentlemen in barbershops from Maine to Los Angeles could open up whatever spicy mag sat on the table and raise his eyebrows appraisingly. It’s the picture of affluence and civilizational confidence, and very American. They would seem overstuffed and fussy soon enough, run out of town by brassy flappers, but for a while, the Gibson Girl was the thing.

You ask: what was that about architecture at the top? Simple. That’s Evelyn Nesbit on the tray. That’s Evelyn Nesbit in the glasses, teaching ceramics. You probably know the story: she was married to a psychopathic nutwad named Harry Thaw, who was outraged that she’d had an affair with Stanford White, the greatest architect of his time, and one of the finest in American history. Harry liked to inject himself with special concoctions of morphine, heroin, and cocaine, and had a stint as a laudanum fiend as well. I’m sure he drank. Gallons. Alas for those around him, he had a vast fortune and an iron constitution, which kept him from flaming out and sparing everyone the difficulties of being in his general vicinity. One night he found Stanford White in a theater - one designed by White, by the way - and shot him in the head. He pled insanity. Was in an out of sanitariums for various things, but hung on another forty years or so.

His tombstone says:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and charity. But the greatest of these is charity.

He left Nesbit $10,000 in his will. He was worth a million.

By the way, if you’re thinking “say, isn’t that faith, hope and love? And the greatest is love? Corinthians, and all that,” you’re right. Charity in this context has another meaning, and refers to the Christian definition of the old Greek concept of agape, more or less. (The phrase “more or less” is meant to paper over the innumerable theological and linguistic objections a reader may have, and insulate myself from criticism by the use of an exculpatory evasion.)

Last question: when I wrote “Maine to Los Angeles,” I heard in my head the old pronunciation of the city’s name. Los Angle -lees. Hard G. You hear this in old movies, into the 50s. I wonder when it changed. Someone had to be the last person to ever call it “Los Angle-ees.” And he never knew it.

The answer to that series of IF teasers? Of course - and there's a Nesbit twist, too. Go HERE, and I'll see you around.











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