It has snowed. This isn’t unusual, except that it is - at least this year. We’re a bit annoyed by it, but you cannot complain. The day began with deep blue skies, and then grew worried and depressed. Antidote: sugar.

So much sugar. There was Wife’s gift this morning of some fresh Abdullah peanut-butter chocolates, 65 calories per. Well that’ll supplant the post-lunch ration of licorice. At work: bowls of foil-wrapped Kisses, and Ghirardelli squares. In the lobby:



More or less. That’s a small portion of the eventual bounty. Lots of pre-made heart-shaped cookies, presumably stale in the way you expect mass-produced cookies to be; lots of colored buttercream frosting tubes in varying colors that may or may not be connected to flavors but probably aren’t, and sprinkles. Don’t know if they had those silver BBs that turn soft cookie pleasures into molar-cracking pain.

At noon the atrium was filled with women maybe making cookies to take home for their SOs and probably making Galentine cookies.

The video displays in the lobby were all set to pink and red and white. In short, everyone, from our office to the building's amenity coordinator, was doing their best to make coming in worth it and fun. Sure enough, there was life in the skyways, and lots of people in the atrium.

And there'll be no one tomorrow.

A lot of discourse on Twitter today about Russian subways, since Tucker Carlson - one of the most substantially disappointing individuals of the 21st century - lauded them for being grand and nice. I too wish ours were nicer, although as we noted here last December the new station at Grand Central is fantastic.

I have scant experience with Russian subways, but I do have some. St. Petersburg. Ancient cars, Soviet-era, 50s, with a burly aesthetic that has its merits. The statuary in the subway was standard-issue Socialist Realist stuff, guys with guns, children holding out sheafs of wheat, noble Mothers scanning the Horizon for wreckers and kulaks. Here and there, the remnants of the old order.

I’ve always had a visceral reaction to the Hammer and Sickle, since childhood. Of course, growing up, it was the terrifying symbol of the Enemy, but it was more visually disturbing than the swastika. The latter stood for evil. The hammer and sickle embody pain and violence. Yes yes I know, that’s not the intention. The scythe for agriculture, the hammer for industry. But one looks like it will whisk off your head and the other looks as if it will bash in your brains. Sharp and pointy makes for bad national symbols. And no, the beak of an eagle does not count.

Going through the files to find that picture, I came across some other sights I’ll never forget. The upscale and very Western shopping mall . . .

. . . and the grocery store a few blocks away for people who didn’t have the money for the grocery store in the mall. Welcome to meat market, what can I tell you we’re out of?

I don't know what that rail is for, except perhaps to keep people from getting too close.

Beautiful architecture, most of it pre-dating the rise of the collectivists.



I'm glad I visited, and walked among the glories of the Hermitage on a bright midnight with my daughter. Glad she had the experience. Won't ever happen again, and that's fine.

One more thing: the difference between the atmosphere in Russia and, say, Estonia or Latvia was immediate and remarkable. One had an ambient heaviness in almost all things. The free Baltic states felt like a deep clean breath.


Our weekly recap of a Wikipedia peregrination. Expect no conclusion or revelations, but if you've been with us since this started next year, you know . . . sometimes we learn interesting things.

Not much today, alas.

  So! How do we get from here . . .
  . . . to there?

For reasons I cannot possibly recall I was looking at old computers. A nostalgic itch from time to time. Tvery computer has an exhaustive wikipedia entry written by the completists, the collectors, the greybeards, the nerd historians.

Externally, the design of the Deskpro 386's case is identical to that of its predecessors, the original 8088-equipped Deskpro and the 80286-equipped Deskpro 286.

Yeah, you could say that. In a way they were all identical. Everywhere you went, every office, had the desktop box and the clunky CRT on top, the same beige keyboard (now marred and muddied with human by-products) and the same beige mouse (whose cord was often marred and muddied as well; how did that happen?) How could there possibly be brand loyalty with such an interchangeable commodity?

But there was. For a while me and the Giant Swede were big fans of a brand called Leading Edge. Very 80s name.

The Model D was an immediate success, selling 100,000 units in its first year of production. It sold well for several years, until a dispute with dealers forced Leading Edge into bankruptcy in 1989.

That’s not explained in greater detail. You have to go to the company’s wikipedia page:

In October, 1995, Daewoo sold the company to Manuhold Investment AG, a Swiss electronics company. Leading Edge had sold 185,000 of its PC clones in the United States in 1994, but in 1995 sales fell from 90,000 in the first half to almost none in the second half. By 1997 the company was defunct.

Ah, Daewoo. A brand I’ve forgotten. Huge company; huge bust. Corruption scandal, billions lost, part of the 1997 Asian Financial Meltdown. Wikipedia has a picture of its HQ. It's not a good building, but the color makes it interesting.

This page has its history. (Can’t copy.) Tallest building in the nation when it went up in 1970. Now it has a constantly-changing “digital mural” on the face.

In the company history:

While Samsung and LG cut back in the midst of the economic crisis, Daewoo took on 40% more debt.

Yeah. Unwise. LG, by the way, is not only an enormous chaebol, it’s family run!

Koo Bon-moo died of a brain tumor on 20 May 2018.

In July 2018, it was announced that Koo Kwang-mo, the nephew and adopted son of Koo Bon-moo, will be the new CEO of LG. Koo Bon-moo adopted his nephew in 2004, after losing his only son in 1994, citing "a family tradition of male-only succession".

Not something you see in American corporate culture. What was the last time the son took over a company? Edsel?

No, Henry Ford II took over for Edsel when he died young. Hold on, William Clay Ford Jr. is still executive chairman . . . hold on, well, it seems like the family still holds some of the reins the company. Didn’t know that.

Anyway: Leading Edge. Compaq. Daewoo. All these names we expected would stick around, and ha ha to the oldsters like Ford. Is there such a thing as an unkillable brand? Is it because they didn't license the name to be used in 2001: A Space Odyssey or Blade Runner?








Almost 3,000 souls. Not saying the city government is particularly robust, but the town's website, linked by its Wikipedia page, now hosts a Phillippine gambling site. Someone may want to do something about that.


As usual, we start on the outskirts of downtown, which can be an auspicious introduction . . .


. . . or not. Turn to the right . . .

A staple of rural communities. Turn to the right again . . .

Ah, that’s better.

The brick is often begging to be seen again.

Why did they take out the glass? Who wants less light?

Not to sound like those irritating clickbait engagement-farming tweets, but what do you think its original use might have been?

Down the block:

And all together now. Surely a garage. Note how the driveways go to the smaller entrances.

No one's driving a car out of that space in the middle-right.

The building on the left is an addition, of course, and perhaps done within a decade or two of the original construction.

But there’s no need to slather frosting on the cornice. Times are tight.

No one’s fooled; you just didn’t want to do it.


The front of the building shows it’s changed not a whit . . .

. . . except for ADA compliance.

Odd little thing. Doesn’t look as if it’s been altered in any way. It was always that peculiar.

Long, long gone.

Too many "fashion" search returns in Google for "Pixie." The truth, as usual, might be ten pages deep.

No one would ever mistake a laundromat for an old gas station.

It would be amusing if it was an old Ty-Dol station.


Oh, those tiny small town movie houses.


Opened February 7, 1916 as the Mission Theatre, with just under 400 seats. It remains in operation on Main Street in Clayton. It has had the same owners for two decades, who saved the theater from certain doom. The Mission style exterior, and the interior, with its Art Deco style touches, has been painstakingly restored and refurbished over the years, including all new projection equipment.

Originally, in the basement of the Luna Theater was a grand ballroom, the Mission Ballroom, which later was converted into a long-gone roller rink.

The Google camera has blurred out the moon face on the marquee. It was neon, originally. And it winked.

Well, someone got a haircut.

Or the storefront was occupied for a while by someone who was an ardent Jacobin.

Ancient sign, still doing the Lord’s work:


There’s another folder for Clayton. Worse? Better? We’ll find out next week.

That'll do! This year's Urban Studies updates continues, with . . . more Google Street View, but with additional pretentiousness.


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