That's the escalator from work. The escalator to work is next to it. This image makes it look like the steps up a ceremonial pyramic built by highly advanced Meso-American Civilizations. Even more so, now that the fine old 80s fountain is gone, replaced by a wall of jungle foilage.

Why, you might ask, am I doing pictures, instead of the old retro art? A break. Also, an experiment: can I find five images a week along my well-worth paths? Of course!

Whether they're any good is another matter.

Got a haircut today, and had the best conversation with a stylist I've ever had. Cheerful, chatty, curious. We started talking about travel, and got around to London, where she had gone to college. I talked about how I enjoyed the museums with my daughter, how the last time we went to the Tate -

"The Tate, or the Tate Modern?"

"The Good Tate. The Only Tate.""

My favorite was the National Portrait Gallery, which had the Holbein "Ambassadors," painting, it had this skull -"

"The trompe l'oiel skull you have to get down on your knees to see."

"Yes! Because they speculate that it was hung at the top of the stairs so you'd see it for just a few steps as you went up."

"And it has the table with all the gadgets, because they were tech bros."

"But one of them looks realistic, and the other is not as life-like. I did a paper on it. It's like he didn't show up for all the sittings so Holbein had to go with what he had."

At which point we're at the cash register and I've paid and got my receipt, and I'm sure everyone else waiting in line wanted us to shut the hell up already.

Then, family evening: nephew in town for a conference. He's employed by a gas station chain, selecting locations for new stores. As you might imagine, this is a subject on which I'm keen, for all sorts of reasons. It reminds you how the very idea of the gas station has changed.

I've been researching old Texaco ads this week, as it happens. A reminder how the corner store has changed: No milk, no jerky, no baked goods. I love how the inspector rubs his fingers when checking the soap; my first thought was "gritty, as our standards demand."


(Source. I'm hosting it here because it embeds too small.)

Those clean restrooms were a Texaco selling point: the bathrooms were "Registered," subject to stringent standards. It was said of my dad that if there were three people in line for the bathroom, he was in the middle. Too bad the toilet paper was that oddly laminated stuff, but I gather that was standard in commercial establishments. You wanted something soft, go home.

My dad did try to offer food, before the rise of the Convenience Store. He put in some vending machines that sold cold sandwiches, heated by an early version of the microwave that probably brought birds down for miles around. It didn't last, but he did - long enough to see people stop off at the station for their evening meals from the buffet table inside.





It’s 1962.

Arguses, led:

We forget how often this used to happen. To be honest, I wonder how many people just thought “nope, never” despite all the reassurances.


A Civil Aeronautics Board investigation determined that a manufacturing defect in the autopilot system led to an uncommanded rudder control system input, causing the accident. A number of notable people died in the crash. It was the fifth fatal Boeing 707 accident, and at the time, the deadliest.

Among the victims:

George T. Felbeck, retired president of Union Carbide and former operations manager of Oak Ridge, Tennessee's uranium enrichment plant, traveling the day after he retired.

W. Alton Jones, multimillionaire, former president and chairman of Cities Service Company and close personal friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower: Jones was found to be carrying $55,690 in cash, including a rare $10,000 bill.

How did he get one of those? They were only used to move funds between Federal Reserve banks.

There would be four crashes in 1962. Half as many as 1961.


You don’t hear a lot about Enos.



Enos was selected for his Project Mercury flight only three days before launch. Two months prior, NASA launched Mercury-Atlas 4 on September 13, 1961, to conduct an identical mission with a "crewman simulator" on board. Enos flew into space aboard Mercury-Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. He completed his first orbit in 1 hour and 28.5 minutes.

Enos was scheduled to complete three orbits, but the mission was aborted after two due to two issues: capsule overheating and a malfunctioning "avoidance conditioning" test subjecting the primate to 76 electrical shocks.

Well, if we can’t shock the monkey, bring him down. Enos died of dysentery in November. Or so the story goes.

  Skip Manhattan just give me that countryside, eh. A reminder not to glamorize farm life.

Horrible tragedy. John died in 2013. From his obit:

John, now with 3 little ones, continued ranching. On April 15 1964, two families were blended when John married Nancy (Edgeley) Davis. They, as a family now of eight, continued ranching. They became a family of 9 in 1966, and in 1968 they leased the ranch and moved to Port Orchard, WA.

Then he went to work at a naval station. Was a fan of Gunsmoke.

This seems to have been a local column, reporting on . . . military guys, I guess.

Here’s the wikipedia version of the story told in the column. Easier to read.

On October 25, First Lieutenant Conger shot down three A6M Zeros during a dogfight. Conger then pursued a fourth Zero, piloted by flying ace Petty Officer Second Class Shiro Ishikawa. Expending the last of his ammunition and determined to knock the plane out of the sky, Conger attempted to use his propeller to chop the tail rudder off Ishikawa's plane. Conger, misjudging the distance between his and Ishikawa's plane, rammed into it and ripped the entire tail off. Both planes then began falling out of the sky, and both pilots bailed out and parachuted into the sea.

A Marine rescue boat picked Lieutenant Conger up out of the water, and Conger convinced the Marines not to shoot Ishikawa. Conger reached his hand out to pull Ishikawa aboard the boat, but Ishikawa attempted to shoot Conger with his Nambu pistol. When the waterlogged pistol misfired, Conger threw himself backward and injured his back. Ishikawa then attempted to shoot himself and the pistol misfired again. Conger hit Ishikawa over the head with a gas can and pulled him into the boat.

In April 1990, Conger met with Ishikawa at the National Museum of the Pacific War at Fredericksburg, Texas. Ishikawa thanked Conger for saving his life 48 years earlier at Guadalcanal, which allowed him to raise a family.


Perhaps you got it right away, and saw what you were supposed to see: a space capsule.

Maybe if Herblock had stuck another label on it, the idea would have been more instantly obvious.

  Well jeez, that’s weird.

This may have been the only time Kearns was described as lovable. I mean, maybe he was, but his radio characters weren’t. They could be all sorts of things, but cuddly doesn’t come to mind.

The details:

In the last episode that aired before Kearns' death, episode 89 entitled "Where There's a Will", the story dealt with Mr. Wilson making out a will and explaining that Dennis would inherit his gold watch when he dies. The last episode Kearns filmed was titled "The Man Next Door", episode 100, and shown on May 6, 1962, three months after his death. There were references to George being 'back east' in subsequent shows.

The Rat Pack movie no one seems to talk about:

It’s Gunga Din. They had to pay for the rights.

If you're a certain age, you know who drew that.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! Except it doesn't, I guess, because there's more at the Fifties link.



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