Browsing the paper online today, and hello: local poet has his poem read (with music) at the inauguration on Friday. More to the point, my old poetry teacher at the U from the days when I thought I would be a poet. As a career.

Really. I did. Why not? The teacher had made a career out of it. And there was that other older fellow who sat in the corner of the cafe every day glowering at manuscripts, editing the poetry magazine he published (a quarterly, but usually an annual), indulging my literary banter with an amused sneer. They were poets! And grown-ups, too!

The latter detested the former, and heaped scorn on my teacher - something I now suspect came from raw furious jealousy. As I published more and more and started to make my name, conversation became less frequent, and one day a light remark made him threaten to punch me. Never spoke again. I stopped going to the cafe. He did what he did, whatever that was; one day I looked him up on Google and found he’d gone to prison for trying to solicit a youngster. Last year he perished.

Anyway: I called up my old teacher to congratulate him, and we had a lovely chat, as the English say. (Which he was, originally; been here half a century.) I told him how much his classes had meant, and what do you know, here we are after all these years, making our way with the trade we loved. He said he’d followed me and read every column.

I forgot to tell him that Sunday’s has a poem. He’ll probably wince at one of the rhymes and perhaps send a note about the inconsistent meter at the end. I would be delighted if he did.

Did you see this? Gah:

Nineteen stories, and one of the tallest buildings in Tehran. The comments, as you might expect, are insane. A half-century-old building catches fire and falls down, and you know of course it was an inside job. Mossad! CIA! Everything about the way this building fell down disproves the official account of 9/11, don't you know.

It was the Plasco Building, named after a company run by this fellow:

Habib (Habibollah) Elghanian was a prominent Iranian Jewish businessman and philanthropist who served as the president of the Tehran Jewish Society and acted as the symbolic head of the Iranian Jewish community in the 1970s.

He was arrested and sentenced to death by an Islamic revolutionary tribunal shortly after the Islamic revolution for charges including "corruption", "contacts with Israel and Zionism", and "friendship with the enemies of God", and was executed. He was the first Jew and businessman to be executed by the Islamic government.

The first.

Now the detail that sounds conspiratorial and entirely plausible:

In the aftermath of the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear facilities, there was speculation by security researchers working for Symantec that a number found in the Stuxnet code - "19790509" - which was used as a marker to identify computers that should not be affected, was a reference to his execution date; however, researchers also warned against using this possible connection to draw any conclusions as to Stuxnet's origin.

Like the mark on the door so the angel of death passes over.

Yes it does, and if there's a standing banner I must be serious about doing this regularly. By "this" I mean emptying out the folder of screengrabs and saved images. What fun!

From a 1940 Saturday Evening Post article on an enormous Bronx housing project, Parkchester. The buildings were decorated with cheerful art to Enoble the Spirits of the residents; this one's called "The Gossips."

There are "500 terra cotta statuettes and 600 plaques such as bullfighters, animal figurines, soldiers, mermaids and native American chiefs created by sculptor Joseph Kiselewski." A Minnesotan, I might add. It was a private project, built by MetLife. Gargantuan. Over 170 buildings over eight stories. Let's look at one of the bedrooms:

Tight quarters, but people were glad to live there: it was new. It wasn't falling apart. Things worked. The kitchen:

From the project's website:

Middle-class America on the eve of the war.

It was whites-only; now it's 3 % white. You can find more pictures of the bas-reliefs here.

The picture from which the banner was taken: a cold day downtown.

The plumes of white were snow blown about by a godless wind. It was about 20 below this day, which is why we like our skyways. I know, I know - we sbould be down on the street being Vibrant, and Bustling and Mingling. But we prefer the city on the second floor, because we're just horrible urbanists.

Here's a little bonus to put things in context: a tiny flyover that show the surrounding area.

Another week, another floor - or two. By next week the building on the left will be completely enclosed; by Valentine's day, glassed.

A bit more context. Once the structure on the bottom right was as high as anything went around this part of twon.

Work has also begun on a new apartment complex in Downtown East; I'll start boring you with that next week.





For a while the lessons about the show and its place in 40s pop culture will take a break, since there's not that much to be said. Back to the cues. Last week we listened to the beginning, which had the main theme, an ad, and a standing introduction followed by a custom piece of music. Quite the production. Today, the end of the show - which was equally generous.

The first season ended like this:


  It quoted the opening theme, then went into the second theme.

  But then they went with this - a more conventional stinger to wrap it up before the last Kraft ad.


  After the last ad, the main theme - and then a last vignette, like on TV sitcoms that give you one last joke before the show ends. Except this time they really took their time getting to the last bit.


William Randolph, eh? We'll learn more about him in the days to come.


  One more short cue from Season 1 (I think.) Brassy and cheerful.



This week's ad: Pabst-ett! From 1942.

It's how Pabst survived Prohibition.

Beer, cheese, eh, what's the dif



In te wake of "The Sting," there was a lot of this:

Written by Tom Turpin.

Turpin was a large man, six feet tall and 300 pounds ; his piano had to be raised on blocks so that he could play it standing up, otherwise his stomach would get in the way. In addition to his saloon-keeping duties and his ragtime composition, he controlled (with his brother Charles) a theater, gambling houses, dance halls, and sporting houses. He served as a deputy constable and was one of the first politically powerful African-Americans in St. Louis. His influence on local music earned him the title "Father of St. Louis Ragtime."



"A Ragtime Nightmare."

I'll bet he banged it out with a bit more gusto.


  New this year: end-of-show aphorisms. And so we end the week.

Text at the bottom goes here, along with predictable signoff. Note to self: REPLACE THIS COPY with something pertinent! Or just say thanks to everyone for coming around; see you Monda.y



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