I pull up at the gas station - the one that often has shady teens standing near the bus shelter, yelling and goofing. It’s close to the high school. We’re not talking about the valedictorian demographic here, and today’s example is typical. As I get out to fuel, I notice that one of them is smoking a cigarette, about four feet from the pump. I could ask him to back up but this might be taken as aggressive behavior: who am I to tell him to move, man?

So I get back in my car and decide to use the gas station up the street, even though it’s harder to get out and back on the path to the freeway. The Smoking Teen stares at me with a dull, sullen look. I roll down the window.

“I’m not fueling up when you’re smoking next to the pump,” I say. “You may want to back up a bit.”

He stares at me and says - and I quote -


He can’t even muster an interrogative inflection.

“I said, there are combustible vapors in this area, and you are carrying a lit object that might well ignite them,” I consider saying, since my plain words were obviously incomprehensible to a mind such as his, occupying a lofty plane of contemplation. But I just repeat myself. One of the other teens, a skinny ginger, laughs and says “hey man you’re smoking by a gas pump!” as if their location was a sudden revelation. They’re all stoned. Good luck in life, fellas.

I drive to the other station and get out, and remember one of the other reasons I don’t go there often. It has a TV screen that plays celebrity news and sports. Nothing makes you feel stupider than watching TV on a gas pump. You can’t help it. Even if you don’t watch, you hear it. You’re standing alone in the cold and a TV is yelling at you.

The graphic on the screen says “Thanks for making us the #1 gas station entertainment network.”

There are others?

There are ratings?

It’s GSTV. One of their tweets (of course they’re on Twitter) linked to a study on digital advertising, which noted a study:

It found that only 35% of digital display ads received any views at all. And, of those, only 9% of ads received more than a second’s worth of attention. Only 4% of ads, meanwhile, received more than 2 seconds of engagement.

Right. Because they suck, and we don’t want them. Because they always arrive when we are looking for something else. They’re someone who jumps in your path and starts talking about air freshener. That’s why GSTV believes it has a niche: you can’t leave their programing. You can’t stop it. You can’t hit X or Skip Ad in 4 seconds, because you are a captive audience.

These people would put screens in an MRI machine and sell ads.

So how do you get people to spend more time looking at ads? It would help if you could set what you want to see, globally, and make the ads so short people know they won’t be wasting their time, and they will be entertained.

This is four seconds.


Makes you want to watch it five times to get every little nuance. That’s the key: the consumer wants to see the ad and plays it again. People would pay attention when the ad was due because they didn’t want to miss it.

There. I figured out internet advertising you are welcome

This was tweeted out by someone (sorry, can't find the tweet right now) the other day; he said he couldn't name him, even though he was familiar.

Indeed he was, and I started looking through every single Star Trek ep looking for him, because I saw him in a Starfleet uniform, being grim,

I showed it to a friend at work, who instantly took to the internet to see which Star Trek Episode he was in.

You can see him in that one Star Trek episode, right? Think of it: the bright saturated colors, which probably meant season 2. It'll nag you for a while, until you get it.

This concludes today's episode of "Things You're Certain Are True But Actually Aren't."


Again, it's Deja Vu: I swear I did this corner, this building.

Even the name of the movie is familiar - but is that just because I've walked past it on the ship for years?


Married Before Breakfast with Robert Young - that pegs the picture at 1937. Somehow my googling identified the building as the Grand Opera House, aka Pike's Opera House. at 8th and 23rd. So we can see it today - as well as the scar left on a neighbor when it was razed in 1960 after 92 years.

It was replaced by somethng smaller, which seems so unNewYorkish:

Here's an interesting tale: plutocrats James Fisk and Jay Gould bought the theater a year after it was built, and renamed it the Grand. Alas:

At the time when Fisk and Gould's failed attempt to corner the market in gold resulted in "Black Friday", September 1869, Fisk barricaded himself in his second-floor premises at the opera house, which served as headquarters for his Erie Railway. When he was shot by his partner, Edward S. Stokes, Fisk's body lay in state in the grand lobby.

Oh, those were the days.

As much of a close-up as I can muster.

A million lives in the Naked City; these are three of them. Untold.

This vexed me: why did nothing come up for Era House?

The Opera House was bought by RKO and converted into a modern theater, opening in 1938. They'd just lopped off some of the sign.

I swear I've done this before. Maybe I did, and never told you.

Found the original photo: here. It's an Abbott.




Back to the blurry highlights of "Red Ryder," dumped in your lap with no regard for story or context. Because there isn't any.

But if you'd like to know what's going on - a not entirely unreasonable desire - I can help.

So last time we met, we saw the bad sweaty guy (who is French, or at least speaks with a French accent) raise his gun butt to hit our hero hard in the head while they road an out-of-control buckboard. That was the last cliffhanger we saw.

The director apparently reshot this one twice, because the first attempt wasn't stagey and fakey enough:

Another rule of serials I've discovered: guns are only to be used at long distance. Close up, you use them to hit people.

Now. About that stampede. The obligatory stampede. These is the cliffhanger:

All this "Red" stuff makes you think everyone's humoring him by calling him that name. So the good guys are shooting at the Good Guy.

Looks like they repeat a few yards of film, too.

Did they shoot him in the kidney? Tune to next week's exciting episode, Leap for Life!


Another Gallery update - this time it's the beginning of the Buns of Your Betters, a 1930s Bisquick book. Behind the scenes I've been redesigning the entire Gallery, repairing past bad decisions, so you might want to give it a look. Or not! Your choice, and we'll see you around.



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