Ahh, there it is. Just can't let this one go.

Hot, steamy, sweaty, soupy day, even into the night. The crescent moon in its summer home, crickets hyperventilating. Pure August! It was National Night Out, so the neighbors gathered at the intersection as is our custom, broiling in the 92 degree heat, catching up on how we’ve been, where we’ve gone. Wife made an excellent bean salad, but an unfortunate moment in its creation dumped “how do you remove jalapeño juice from face” and “how long does jalapeno burning last” into my search history, along with “yellow parakeet,” which was later, but unrelated.

“Grab some vodka, put it on a paper towel, wipe it off,” I said, reading the first search result. “But not the good vodka.” This may have seemed insensitive, but c’mon. This is like making a mixed fruity drink with 12-year old MacAllan. The second answer was dish soap, which worked, I guess, and I’m glad; the answer to “how long does burning last” was “up to several days.” Seems a bit much.

You still have to marvel at the early humans who split open a pepper, felt the burn, perhaps rubbed their eyes and cried out, then concluded that this object should be put in their mouths and chewed. But I’m glad they did.

So the salad went over nicely, paired as it was with Fritos Scoops. Whoever invented those created a new dipping paradigm. Previously, the viscosity of the dip would snap the Frito right in twain. Now it could withstand not only the dipping action, but rise from the swamp with a bucketload of sauce or sundered peppers. Changed everything.

One of the neighbors brought cookies, which always has the effect of stopping whatever grazing you’re doing. Once you have the cookie, you can’t go back to wings.

Previous years we’ve grilled, but not this time. One year a fire truck came by for the kids. One year it was inside, which was a strange Night Out. Last year’s New People didn’t show - out of town, perhaps, they’re very friendly, lots of kids - but we did get this year’s New Young People, and I had to inform them that they will be “the people who moved into the Johnson house” for the next 17 years or so. All in all, a fine chat, and it left me starving. Went home and ate some popcorn chicken that had been in the fridge for a very long time; tasted like dense cotton balls in broth. Birch finished off the ones I didn’t want. He was so worried when we went, and ecstatic when we returned.

He doesn’t like anyone to be gone, ever. He doesn’t know why anyone should be gone and he doesn’t go along to make sure everything’s okay. The pandemic rewired him, hard, to the tiniest synapse.














Twitter had a handy reminder that everything can be sacrificed to appease the Climate Gods. First, the Offending Tweet:

The actual existence of paintings hung on a wall in a museum privileges a particular culture that is absolutely inessential, and because it is inessential, it is a diversion, and because it is a diversion it is the enemy. What’s more, the paintings are in buildings that use energy and do not house the unhoused. At the end of the day they close and expel people, which is violence.

When you think about how normal it is to have a big building full of art that not only centers the European standards, but makes the fallacious case for the exponentially increasing sophistication of European visual skill (centering realism otherizes indiginous ways of depicting the natural world, and is thus violence) and seems to insist that a Caravaggio is somehow betmore accomplished than a handprint on a French cave . . . it’s enough to make you feel dead inside. People can’t eat paintings. The paintings, by their very existence, constitute harm.

Note: come the day, everything that does not empower the people in charge of the Good Things will be harm. And all harms will be maximum harms. Power and position will be achieved by denouncing those who do not understand how maximum the harm really is. Once power and position are achieved, you can get the museum to lend you the painting for your dining room.

At least the Italian version of this respected the bodily autonomy of the art: (Guardian story, can't link without fubaring my code for some reason)

Environmental protesters have glued themselves to the glass protecting Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera which is on display at an art gallery in Florence.

The activists, from the climate activist group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation), said the protest was the first in “a new season of actions” targeting museums. It appeared inspired by Just Stop Oil activists in the UK who recently conducted a similar campaign of protests in art galleries.

So the painting wasn't damaged. A banner was unfurled, which seems odd; the poor can't eat banners.

It was Ethical Gluing:

The group said they had consulted with art restoration experts to find a way to glue themselves to the painting without damaging it. “In the same way that we defend our artistic heritage, we should be dedicated to the care and protection of the planet that we share with the rest of the world,” a statement on the group’s website said.

"Consulted with art restoration experts." I wonder if there was some expert in charge of repairing damage to old masters who suggested Elmer's Glue, since it would be the easiest to fix, and good luck storming the palace! With you all the way. You'd think someone in charge of restoring art work would dress them down and pick up a fireplace poker and chase the vandals into heavy traffic.

But this thing about defending "our artistic heritage" is highly problematic, given all the things it Centers and Reinforces and Privileges. It'll be interesting to see if they attack non-Western art, and if they don't, whether anyone asks why. Is it because they don't want to disrepect it? Or rather because, in their own colonialist mindset, they don't believe that damaging that artwork would draw the same attention and concern?

The group is partly funded by the Climate Emergency Fund, whose rich donors include the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, and the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty. From a NYT profile:

She said she has redirected the bulk of her philanthropic giving, which has for years provided housing support for the homeless, paid for AIDS research and supported parks and green spaces, to climate issues. “As long as our energies are focused on all of these other issues, as pressing as they are, we’re not looking at the most pressing issue of all,” she said.

So . . . we could house the homeless, but why not pay people to glue their hands to priceless artwork? is a moral calculation that makes absolute and utter sense to some.




It’s 1958, and we’re in Lock Haven PA.

Dense design. It’s like the news is forming sedimentary layers.


Get right on that, lads, you’ll find a solution in no time

Also note the use of “Soviet” as shorthand for the USSR. Also, Hoffa connected to the Mob? YOU DON’T SAY



Absolutely a different era. There was also an editorial praising the problem, emphasizing how it was wise to teach gun safety to as many lads as possible.

City boys on one day, county boys on another. Because . . . I don’t know, cultural differences?



The story:


Peter Weinberger was born in June 1956. On July 4, when Peter was approximately 32 days old, his mother, Betty Weinberger, placed him in a carriage covered with mosquito netting on the patio of their Nassau house and left him unattended for approximately 10 minutes. She returned to find that someone had pulled open the netting, taken Peter, and left a ransom note on notebook paper in green ink. The note read, in part:

Attention, I'm sorry this had to happen, but I am in bad need of money, & couldn't get it any other way. Don't tell anyone or go to the police about this, because I am watching you closely. I am scared stiff, & will kill the baby at your first wrong move. Just put $2000 in small bills in a brown envelope. . . . If everything goes smooth, I will bring the baby back leave him on the same corner "Safe Happy" at exactly 12 noon. No excuses, I can't wait! Your baby sitter.

They tried to ID’d LaMarca by comparing the handwriting in the note to signatures in the public record. Long shot, but it worked.

At first, during questioning, LaMarca denied knowing anything about the kidnapping. When confronted with the evidence of his handwriting matching the ransom notes, LaMarca attempted to blame the kidnapping on an unknown third party, stating that he had written the notes in jest and that his friends must have taken them from a trash can to frame him for the kidnapping.

Oh, but there’s more.

Vincent LaMarca is an American former police detective in Long Beach, New York.

When Vincent was 11, his father, Angelo LaMarca, was executed for the murder of Peter Weinberger, the result of a botched kidnapping; Angelo had stolen Weinberger from a bassinet on the porch of the baby's home, panicked, and ditched the child near a freeway exit where he died of suffocation in a honeysuckle patch.

His family was 'adopted' by the local police department, and LaMarca eventually ended up joining the same police force that had captured and helped in the prosecution of his father.

In 1990, his son, Joey (who he hadn't seen in years), murdered a drug dealer, James Winston, whom he was trying to rob, later claiming that murder was in his genes.

His story was adapted to the film City by the Sea, in which he was portrayed by Robert De Niro.


Perhaps I’m in a thick mood today, but . . . What?

This might help:

Adams was forced to resign in 1958, when a House subcommittee revealed Adams had accepted an expensive vicuña overcoat and oriental rug from Bernard Goldfine, a Boston textile manufacturer who was being investigated for Federal Trade Commission violations. Goldfine, who had business with the federal government, was cited for contempt of Congress when he refused to answer questions regarding his relationship with Adams. The story was first reported to the public by muckraking journalist Jack Anderson.


  He’d been sentenced to a prison term, a fine, and revocation of his passport, so this was good news.

Another post-war boomer-kid strip. Who did it?

V. T. G. Smith? No. V + G Smith. Virginia and George. The strip ran until the early 90s. This site says they had 12 children and 160 grandkids, which seems . . . substantial. A website devoted to their work says they had only 11. And hence, only 44 grandchildren. And only 118 great grandchildren.

George died 2012, six years after Virginia.





That will do - cigarette ads await.






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