I fell on the ice again. Same spot. Slipped on the steps, did a comic waddle to recover, sought purchase on a step befouled by ice, stumbled forward so I didn’t crack my head on the stone, hit the ice on the patio, and arranged a fall, impromptu-style, that assured I landed on the same ankle I’d struck before.

Wife was watching, and actually had time to say “good recovery” while I was falling before I failed in the initial recover and improved the final posture of humiliation.

Bounded up, laughing! Ha ha! That was funny, I am fine, no broken hip, no blood clots forming that will move to my brain in days, no concussion, no joints out of sort. Just another day in Minnesota, where we feel gravity a bit more keenly than other places.

The wouldn’t have happened if I’d been wearing my beach slippers, because they have some tread. Wife and Daughter hate my beach slippers and ridicule me for wearing them, so I bought some Amazon slippers for indoors. (I had not changed to boots with steel-tooth tread to have a small cigar, that was the problem.) The new slippers are okay; at least they have a back. I do not understand the idea of slippers that have no back. Your have to adjust the way you walk to keep them on. I got a pair for Christmas once, and spent months with my toes clenched to keep them on, before I finally went back to beach slippers, and everyone wailed.

“How about no one around here cares particularly what I wear on my feet? It’s doable.” But it was such an affront it spilled out to affect everyone else in the house, and if the doorbell rang I could tell everyone tensed because DAD WAS WEARING BEACH SLIPPERS.

I mean, they’re blue and black; it’s not like they’re hot pink. And they don’t fall off.

This is, for many, the first thing they want from a shoe. Don’t fall off. Don’t seem like you could fall off. Stay right where you are, shoe. Stay right where you are.

If anyone does the falling around here it’ll be me.









I decided to go back to Grumpy Elmer. He's been with us for so long. But something has to be new on the site or I have failed!

Hence the gif.

Last week, you'll recall, we discused the return of FULLY AUTOMATED LUXURY FASCISM in architecture, and a few dissenting voices were noted.

Oy: it got worse.


It's interesting how no one objects to use of the representational style for the Presidential portraits. Why not abstract expressionism?

You know who else hated modern art, don't you?


Goes with saying, as does this:


The only sensible thing would be the demolition of government buildings in the classical style.

It's the only way to be certain. You see a dome, some columns, you know some folk are a-itchin' for genocide.


It's related to this, which doesn't seem related at all but is the same damned thing:


In both cases, it’s objecting to the past - or, to be honest, how you think other people view the past. Some views of the past are permitted, if they are useful means to getting to the anti-past, the wonderful perfect collective future. But the past is a dangerous place, and must be mentioned only to be excoriated.



Unless it’s convenient. I read an attack on the new standards that said it was reminiscent of Augustus using architecture to maintain the illusion that the old Republic was still functioning while he consolidated power into himself, IMPLICATION BEING OBVIOUS RIGHT. Oh please. First of all, the Romans had no other style; it’s not as if there’d been a new anti-Roman, anti-republic architecture he banished and restored. Second, where did the Senate meet pre-Augustus? IIRC, in Pompey’s theater, while the new Curia was being built. (The previous one had been burned down by supporters of Claudius Pulcher.) The Republic was already a husk, and you could say it had been a zombie since Sulla.

The people making the anti-past argument never seem to acknowledge that the current buildings are manifestations of institutional indifference and state power. Let’s take a look at Chehalis, Tennessee.

Why? Because I was listening to a Lum & Abner this morning, as I always do. The old fellows are starting a Uranium company. The sponsor was Alka-Seltzer, and the announcer read a letter from a fellow who was on the bus, had a headache, got off at Chehalis, and went to a drugstore for a remedy. I had to look up the town.

There’s a totally fascist government building. Look at this monstrosity:

Brownshirt central! Computer, enhance:


Ah, the graven images of old leaders, tying the authoritarian state to the Founder mythology.

Now let’s swing across the street and look at the contemporary addition, which sums up the humanistic values of a free, individualistic society:

Real this land is my land stuff, isn’t it?

Here’s the amusing part: it has a classical-type addition. It’s not good.

At least it recognizes the building across the street, and does what it can.

I'd prefer a smarter, more elegant version of this one than an improvement on the 80s style, simply because that style cannot be improved upon.




It’s 1889.

The view from Montana:
I remember when people had an absolute fit because USA Today was putting an ad on the front page.

Dynamite guns!

The Vesuvius was indeed a Dynamite gun cruiser, but that means something other than what you might think.






A dynamite gun is any of a class of artillery pieces that use compressed air to propel an explosive projectile (such as one containing dynamite). Dynamite guns were in use for a brief period from the 1880s to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Because of the instability of early high explosives, it was impractical to fire an explosive-filled shell from a conventional gun. The violent deflagration of the propellant charge and the sudden acceleration of the shell would set off the explosive in the barrel of the weapon. By using compressed air, the dynamite gun was able to accelerate the projectile more gradually through the length of the barrel.

So . . . no dynamite involved, at all? Yes, sort of:

The explosive used in the shells themselves was actually a "desensitized blasting gelatin" composed of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. It was less sensitive to shock than regular dynamite, but still sensitive enough that compressed air, rather than powder, had to be utilized as the propellant.

Bonus fact: “A model of Vesuvius was shown in Alec Baldwin's office on the TV series 30 Rock."

As for the situation in Samoa:

The Samoan Crisis was a standoff between the United States, Germany, and Great Britain from 1887–1889 over control of the Samoan Islands during the Samoan Civil War. The incident involved three United States Navy warships and three German warships, keeping each other at bay over several months in Apia harbour, which was monitored by the British corvette HMS Calliope.

The standoff ended when a cyclone on 15 and 16 March wrecked all six warships in the harbour.

That’ll do it.


The wounded Crown Prince was transported to the nearest castle?



Fake news, you might say.

In late 1888, the 30-year-old crown prince met the 17-year-old Baroness Marie Vetsera, known by the more fashionable Anglophile name Mary, and began an affair with her. On 30 January 1889, he and Vetsera were discovered dead in the lodge as a result of an apparent joint suicide.

Really? Okay, if wikipedia says so, but other stories at the time say Rudolph was shot by Franz Clam-Gallas, who had walked in on Rudolph having sport with Mrs. C-G. He demanded satisfaction, and plugged Rudolph in the woods around 4 PM. The C-G family being quite prominent, it was hushed up and called a suicide - or some theories go.

I know no more than I’ve said, and am taking this from other papers at the time.


The consummate rascal:



The wounded Crown Prince was transported to the nearest castle?


All monsters, reduced:
Old hotels. Fireproof, no doubt.
Is this it?
Can’t find the Pacific; no doubt long gone.
My house is in the Washburn addition, and my daughter went to Washburn High School.



The name is still known, but recedes, and even amongst those who live in the old Washburn holdings, the lore is wan. A local TV / Radio station takes its name from the Washburns, a fact known to about 2% of the people.

Inevitable, I suppose, but still needless.



There you be: we are at Midweek, and from here on it's a cakewalk! Or, if you're in Minnesota, a Cakeslip.




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