Augh, such a world.

At least the world that comes through my phone. I was leaving the office today, walking through the lobby of the adjacent building, noting what a nice place this was. It's not perfect; the lobby art is depressing, and the empty coffee shop - a casualty of lockdowns - is a sad reminder. But the polished doors slide open when you approach; happy music plays in the warm skyway as you walk over the street. It's all nice. All that this requires is for people to be decent - not to drop litter, not to scream as they talk, not to harass others, not to vandalize. Just exist. It's not hard.

The older I get the more the simple civil things seem incredibly important, and the loss of things we took for granted, like people not being homicidal maniacs on the highway, seem keenly obvious.

I had my head examined today. People said I should. Well, the people at the optometrist’s office. I have to go in for some tests to see if I have glaucoma, and hence take drops. Okay. Everything else was good, and for the second appointment in a row the distinction between “better” and “worse” seemed obvious, meaning I’ll probably get a correct prescription. I just want to say “crank ‘em up as sharp as they’ll go, and if I see thought walls with the new glasses we can dial it back a bit.” Now I have to get new glasses, though - but that’s not as expensive as it used to be.

Before: 1 foot of wire, with plastic pieces, $427, without undercoating and optional trim package

Now: $29

Amazing what happens when competitors enter a market bigfooted by one company. There were still people in the Target shop trying on frames, as if they didn’t know. No, because they don’t know. I wanted to shout “Go online! They’re gouging you here! We don’t have to take it anymore! And everything here is boring and nearly identical except for the useless branding engraved on the inside of the bow! You know, the bow! The part that connects the glasses to your ears! Yes, that’s the word. Well, technically, it’s ‘temples,’ but I’ve always said bow. I don’t know why. Some people call them arms, which is a bit creepy; I don’t want to think that - what? Why are you pushing me towards the door?

After I order the glasses tonight I will unsubscribe from the place where I get them, because they send me at least a text a day. It’s a bad strategy. So many “deals” you never know if you’re getting the best one, and eventually you conclude they all add up to the same thing.

Should I go for a Bold New Look? I don’t know. I like the clear plastic lens, my old 80s look, and rather low-impact. I also have a pair of sharp brown frames for those Sober Important Days, and some days I absolutely hate them. Thing is, no ever notices one way or the other. I always notice when people with whom I’m in regular contact have a significant change to their eyewear, but perhaps I’m just so gosh-dang special. Most don’t. Except for that woman at the bar in Cancun who said, out of nowhere, that she liked my glasses, and I go into some tequila-enhanced routine, and the next thing you know she and her husband are over at our little corner of the canal-side bar and she’s making plans with wife to play tennis while I talk about Television (the band) with the hub. Nice folk. Best of friends by week’s end. Never saw them again. Wouldn’t recognize them if I did, which is odd, considering it was all started with eyewear.

  How do we get from here . . .
  To there?

There’s so much here.

Bentley was a Red traitor:

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley (January 1, 1908 – December 3, 1963) was an American NKVD spymaster, who was recruited from within the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). She served the Soviet Union as the primary handler of multiple highly placed moles within both the United States Federal Government and the Office of Strategic Services from 1938 to 1945.

Then, a change of heart:

After being rendered bereft by the 1943 death of her lover, NKVD New York City station chief Jacob Golos, a heartbroken Bentley defected by contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and debriefing about her own espionage activities.

Anyway, she became “disillusioned” when she realized that the head of the CPUSA was just a puppet, although “Bentley's biographers suggest that her objections were not ideological, but were related more to a lifelong dislike of being given orders and a sense that the reassignments of her contacts left her with no meaningful role.”

The press would describe her as the Blonde Secret Weapson and the femme fatale and generally try to va-va-voom her up.

She was also drinking a lot. She started an affair with someone who she feared was either an FBI or NKVD agent, and when the lover suggested she go to Moscow, she said she was afraid she’d be executed. Nice group of friends you got there, lady.

One of the groups she supervised was the Perlo Group.

Victor Perlo headed the Perlo group. Perlo was originally allegedly a member of the Ware group before World War II. After receiving a master's degree in mathematics from Columbia University in 1933, Perlo worked at a number of New Deal government agencies among a group of economists known as "Harry Hopkins' bright young men."

But of course.

During World War II, Perlo served in several capacities, working first as chief of the Aviation Section of the War Production Board, then in the Office of Price Administration, and later for the Treasury Department. Perlo left the government in 1947. Perlo also worked for the Brookings Institution and wrote American Imperialism.

But of course he did. He had been a member of the Ware Group, founded “under the auspices” of a Hungarian Marxist.

And so forth, and so forth. The bios and links, provide a frank testament to the amount of Red spying that went on during WW2, and after. The idea that the “Red Scare” was groundless was a fiction conjured up to discredit the anti-communists.

But there’s more on this little corner of the page. There’s Joe Adonis, a Lucioano associate:

In the early 1920s, Doto started calling himself "Joe Adonis" (Adonis was the Greek god of beauty and desire). It is uncertain as to what inspired his nickname. One story states that Adonis received this nickname from a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl who was dating him. Another story says that Adonis adopted the name after reading a magazine article on Greek mythology.

Extremely vain, Adonis spent a great deal of time in personal grooming.

He would eventually relocate to Italy, but that didn’t end well:

In June 1971, the Italian government forced Adonis to leave his Milan residence and move to Serra de' Conti, a small town near the Adriatic Sea. Adonis was one of 115 suspected mobsters relocated to Serra de' Conti after the assassination in May of Pietro Scaglione, the public prosecutor of Palermo, Sicily.

In late November 1971, Italian police forces transported Adonis to a small hillside shack near Ancona, Italy, for interrogation. During the lengthy questioning and some abusive treatment, Adonis suffered a heart attack. He was taken to a regional hospital in Ancona, where he died several days later on November 26, 1971.

Sounds like he kept a hand in the business despite being advised not to do so.

And then there’s Olsen and Johnson. I think their star had dimmed quite a lot by this point. Hellzapoppin was 1938.

Their final Broadway show was the 1950 production Pardon Our French, introducing their "discovery," French singer Denise Darcel. Unlike the previous Olsen and Johnson hits, Pardon Our French ran only three months, closing on January 6, 1951.


In 1950, Darcel had a Vaudeville act, which was panned by at least one reviewer. About Darcel's performance 5 May 1950, at the Strand in New York, the Billboard review said: "Denise Darcel showed her well-stacked chassis ... but her heavily accented English sounded like so much gibberish; it got laughs instead of attention. ... her singing is inadequate, her over-use of hands and arms is clumsy and she shows herself completely at a loss in handling hecklers.”

She did TV, too. "A review in Billboard described her as ‘Gallic to the point of unintelligibility.’”

And heeeeere she is! And as Faye says: “We’d better have a Pepsi-cola.”

One more thing: the Pepsi picture I used from the start was taken from an ad that probably irked the Reds and their ilk for a variety of reason. Sorry, it's true.












We’re in Jasper, a place we visited yesterday in the Clippings feature, right?

No. That was Jasper Gah. This is Jasper AL.

“The good news is, our contingency fees add up to ensure solvency for the next five years.”


And we all know what this was.

The existence of the pump apron suggests they didn’t bring the tanks up. Didn’t have to.


Interesting survivor. I mean the little vase, but the sign, too.

Otherwise no one would remember -


That’s the building next door.

Built for the ages, those little stone things.


“Ol’ Bob, he’s got that, what, ACDC? I swear the architect did this just to give him the fits.”

Not saying Ken’s got something of a god complex, but


“I know you’re finished with the design and the building’s almost finished, but I’m the developer, and I want a little more rentable space on the right.”

“And I don’t care how much it bothers ol’ Bob.”


The dreaded metal sheet roof and an 80s rehab. I think it’s 80s. The style wasn’t too popular, but it did give an old building a new look.

To put it kindly.

“We want a park, but not one anyone can actually use.”


They all had one.

Hope those were defused.


A fine 30s Courthouse, no?

Odd choice of stone for the lower area, though; detracted from the severe modernism of the structure. But that’s a small carp.

Another old citizen that got the 80s upgrade on the lower floors.

Not as abrupt as the other one; almost blends. Almost.

J. J. & C. D. L - must have cost too much to carve Johannes Jingleheimerschmitt and Caldwell Deliterious Lowensteinenmann

A block bereft.

Rehabs like this make the building look like an old man whose pants are hitched up to his sternum.

The landscaping . . . helps.

I love oddly shaped buildings on small lots. They have such character.

But this one is like a beloved dog stuffed and mounted with an empty expression.

OUMB galore:

Every town needs one.

Or two!

Could be a runaway from a 1963 World’s Fair. No, too small. It’s a model of a pavilion from same.

Oh God

We’ve never encountered an M. C. Escher OUMB before, have we?

Ahh, that’s better. A nice cool glass of water after that last one.

What are we going for here, the Acropolis look?

If Zeus was a bricklayer.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm bumping up against the pointless self-imposed limit that makes me break them into two segments sometimes.



Now two ways to chip in!

That will suffice, I hope. Motels await.




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