I don’t believe in weather karma. Just because it’s unseasonably nice today doesn’t mean we’ll get paid back with extra days of bone-deep cold. But we will pay in another sense: despair when the truth is made plain. The Truth of November is permanent discomfort. Mild, usually. But still cold. Let me put it this way: imagine you’ve been dragged to the opera, which you hate. It’s four hours long, not counting the overture. Before the overture even starts, the opera company’s manager comes out on stage to talk about the work and describe some upcoming concerts, and when he’s done with that, you think the program, which you wish was over, might begin.
The first week of November is the “as long as I’m up here, I’d like to thank” portion of the speech. Usually. So far we’ve had two days in the high sixties, and it’s just glorious. It doesn’t seem like November at all, but it will, and then the trees will be empty and the sky will be a sheet of lead. We’ll have to reset and reconfigure.
That’s fine. It’s been a glorious year.
Did you know about Pushkinfall? I didn’t. How I got there was quite a journey, though. I've decided to spend our Thursdays on things that lead to other surprising things, and this is the latest installment. Won’t you come with me and retrace my steps?
We start with a 1935 Sunday Quasicomic.
It’s time to meet out Boy Detective, Bobby! He’s Runko-riffic.
What? Runko Magician?
Well, I assume we’ll find out.
Mom is big on collective punishment, and she does not believe the lies of her children:
The brother didn’t eat them. He wonders if Bobby did. Unless he did eat them, and he’s playing innocent. How many possible suspects could there be in the house?
Interesting: he blames the cookies, not the person who stole them. As if the existence, or in this case non-existence of the cookies is the problem here.
Meanwhile, Bobby’s centered on the real object of their ire, the VILLAIN.
That was fast:
The unveiling of the criminal in the drawing room usually results in the villain pulling a gun and threatening everyone, so this could end poorly.
I hate to say it, but this strains credulity.
This only works if Bobby had Dad’s prints on file - or, if he had both his and his brother’s on file, and was able to rule out his sibling and assume that his mother hadn’t done it.
Dad’s pretty cheerful about it. Would he have stayed quiet and let the kids take the rap?
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT RUNKO
There’s absolutely nothing about it on the Web.
Not unless you search for the name of the company. One of the images that turns up is related to my old New York memory, the pointless COST REVS graffiti artists. We’ve been over this before. This picture has REVS on the side of . . . .the Runkel Brothers Chocolate Factory.
One brother died in 1918; the other ten years later. From this page:
Never venturing too far into candies, Runkel added to its core line a malt-flavored chocolate syrup under the Runko brand, which sponsored a half-hour radio program on CBS affiliate WOR – a male singing group called the Runko Quartet.
That leads us to this: a Runkel wrapper. Look at that wrapping!
It’s from a site of old chocolate wrappers, through which one may trace the decline of this humble bit of commercial art. This is what the web used to be. Still is, of course, but sites like this - clunky design, undersized graphics, overly prominent background images, a labor of love to share an interest with anyone who might share it - are rare.
In those days you didn’t go looking for something you already liked. You got on the internet and went to Yahoo and looked for new sites to find something you didn’t know you liked. Yet.
Anyway, under the Ukraine section, I found this. I hope he doesn’t mind. A detail:
That’s Pushkin, right? It’s not a scene from a story, because, well, there he is. He’s listening to a woman. She has . . . a handkerchief?
Note: “Factory was nationalized in 1918 and named ROSA LUXEMBOURG in 1922.”
Humorless fascists. Nothing outside the state or party or ideology.
The demolition of monuments to Alexander Pushkin in Ukraine started during the Russo-Ukrainian War. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine it has become a widespread phenomenon and dubbed by Ukrainians as Pushkinopad (Пушкінопад), a pun literally translated as "Pushkinfall", with the coinage of "-пад" being akin to English words suffixed with "fall" as in "waterfall", "snowfall", etc. This wave of dismantling is connected with the process of derussification in Ukraine.
I had no idea.