The quantity of phishing texts and emails we’re getting seems to have leaped up in the last few days. Amazon says someone tried to use my wife’s account on the Audible app in Jakarta. Amazon just told me that there was a sign-in from IL, US, tap to respond. Google it and you have a mass of people whose confusion resembles the passengers of the Titanic one hour after the berg strike. When you go to Amazon forums where Amazon staff answer questions, the people who are supposed to know what’s real and what isn’t are vague and indistinct.

It’s infuriating. My instincts tell me to never, ever click on anything, so I don’t.


  For example: I got this the other day.

Oh no my account was charged! Uh huh. I googled the number, and up comes some site that hands out “free virtual phone numbers” you can use to “verify your accounts on almost websites.” The FAQ says it’s used to help you secure yourself for scammers, and notes that all uses of a particular number are recorded and displayed. Indeed they are! The page for the number I got shows a list of messages, and most are scams.

I can figure this stuff out; most of us can. But a lot of people don’t, and I suppose they’re the marks. The people who think “oh this is bad I’ve been hacked” and click, and lord knows what happens then. Maybe one in a thousand generates bank information.

In the bunco eps of old Dragnet radio shows, the crooks had to scour obit notices then go door to door and pass off cheap monogrammed goods as something ordered by the grieving survivors. They had no remorse, of course, but at least we had the satisfaction of listening to Friday give one of his patented verbal beat-downs, followed by the results of their trial. THE SLAMMER. LONG TIME IN Q.

We all know that none of these crooks will ever be held responsible.

Okay, no more, I’m doing a column on this.

Our weekly example of the happy pasttime of our era: clicking and clicking with no objective in mind. Where do we start? Where do we go? And how . . .

  . . . do we get from here . . .
  . . . to there?

This was posted on Twitter by someone who likes to gift the world with retro cheesiness or “glamor” photos. Lots of Betty Page.

This is interesting for its obvious pointiness, of course. I wondered: how long will it take to find out where this was?

About a minute.

There are two obvious hints: HARTFORD THEATER, and the name of the establishment on the right. It’s obvious: Lyman. You see part of another letter, so you fill in Abe Lyman, bandleader. Did he open a restaurant? He did.

But the Hartford Theater is more challenging, because you can’t find a theater in Hartford that looks like that. You can, if you wish, consult the various websites that collect and preserve the histories of various shows, and when you google MASK AND GOWN you get a play, or you can plug it into and narrow the date to the 50s, and you should get something. I can’t remember which I did, to be honest, but when I got the proper search result I was surprised: the theater had another word before Hartford, and of course it had to be . . . Huntington. The Offbeat Millionaire.

He’s mostly forgotten now. In the 50s and 60s he was a staggeringly wealthy man about town, an art critic and collector, movie and stage producer, yachtsman, and so on. Inherited part of something called the Atlantic & Pacific company, aka A&P, the grocery chain. He built the Huntington Hartford theater to bring legit NYC plays to Los Angeles, but soon tired of the coast and its supposed philistinism. Went back to New York and built a museum for his collection, an anti-modern modern art palace that would eschew the Abstract Expressionists and concentrate on more deserving talents.

  The museum turned out to be famous for its polarizing design. The Lollipop Building.

The museum failed, eventually. Hartford had other pastimes, like developing an island into a resort, something that was later sold to Merv Griffith for $400 million. (!) I’ve floated past it. Looks nice.

The museum sat empty for a while, a cenotaph to the Kennedy-era career of Edward Durell Stone, its architect. It was remodeled a few years later and the result is absolutely hideous.

  I'd like to think the H is a nod to ol' HH himself, but probably not.

Anyway. The theater still stands, but it’s been renamed.

The Ricardo Montalban theater. And that’s how we got from there to Khan. But while we're here, let's compare . . .

That means she was standing here. (Turn around.)

Whose star?

Her we remember. Mr. HH, for all his money and philanthropy, we do not.











Twenty-three thousand souls. Notable people from the town seem to fall into two categories: "Country singer" and "football player."

Time traveller: “I’d like my building to be designed like a Klingon Bird of Prey at rest.”

Architect: “I don’t know what that means.”

Time traveller: (sighs, gets out a pen and starts drawing)

It’s one of those buildings whose walls imply its bygone neighbors.

Effin’ New Bank:

Proof that just using the old motifs doesn’t automatically work. But it’s better than a 70s OUMB.

Absolute standard issue 20s commercial structure.

Nothing special, but every town is better for having one. Did it get an extra floor? I think so.


“We were all surprised when renovating revealed the existence of many skeletons between the first and second floor. Seems it was built as a murder house.”



The classic post-war angled rehab, with the classic thin brick

The door looks as if the bank only serves people under four feet.

Crisp as the day it was built.

From the golden age of recessed windows. Note: it was not a golden age.

Another beautiful post-war shop window.

Will it ever again be populated by mannikins wearing the latest styles?

We all know the answer to that.


Another standard-issue civic building, with a nice array of Doric columns.

Nothing more I can say about it, except that's remarkable how well these buildings age. Not physically, but visually. They are eternal.


Unusual window crown moldings, if that’s the term here. Almost too heavy, but it works.

Ah, the signs of downtown revitalization. The good ol’ brick planter and seating.

Nah, we didn’t hire a designer. Knew a guy who said he could do it. Looks fine.


Needs a bit more space between those Romanesque tubes and the windows, if you ask me, but glad it was made, and glad it survived.

The Fellows were doing okay to afford this.

Hope they had some cash left over for the whole mutual-aid thing.

C’mon, someone reglaze this guy.


Now why would they do that.

Looks like it could be an an old theater. But nothing comes back on cinematreasures, unless it was the Rex.

This was a theater: the Imperial.

The roof collapsed long ago. The facade has been carefully and respectfully maintained.

It’s always a sign of optimism and confidence when they build a parking ramp downtown. They rarely look good, but this one . . ..

. . . it’s not bad. It has presence, and the details give it a bit of interest.


No, it’s Bishop’s. Or was. Been vacant since the cars started rolling past in 2007.

have the horrible feeling we’ve been here before.

Something about this seems familiar, and it’s not just because I have a dim memory of snapping the grabs in the first place. It’s the odd configuration of the bottom floor.

Checking . . . whew. No, we haven’t been here before.

This might be familiar because we’ve seen it in other towns. The mail-order piece of Paris that made everyone feel as if the town was a bit more sophisticated now.

Well, it was.

A great year, topping off a great boom decade! Boy, can’t wait to see what the 30s will bring.

Not the first time we've seen this, though. That bit of European grace you could order from the catalogue.


Now two ways to chip in!

That will do. Some accidental art on Streetview awaits, if you wish.




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