I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was okay. Strange. Went down to the office on Saturday, and someone was yelling at City Hall through a microphone, the sound bouncing back between the rusticated stone of the old building and the utterly indifferent stone of the Government Center. It sounded like lunacy from another dimension, leaking into the empty air of a Saturday afternoon.
I put in some grass seed, planning for the future. I made hamburgers. I sent a cute dog picture to Daughter. Rote and normal. Everything seems normal. Why, it seems completely normal to write the following sentence:
This is the week in which my city might burn. Then again, it might not.
Hyberbolic, perhaps. By “burn” I mean property damage and looting in various areas. I don’t think an unpopular verdict would necessarily mean an assault on downtown office buildings. The targets are symbolic, but unsatisfying, if your intention is the liberation of property. All these buildings have are desks and chairs and copiers and monitors. The rich storehouse of goods downtown is the Target store, and while I’ve no doubt that the Wrong Verdict would mean some people feel it is meet and right to strip the place of electronics and apparel, well . . . as the old avant grade says to the new, it’s been done.
Likewise, Uptown. The retail has been diminished. The Apple Store is gone, so that’s out. There is a small Target, which would yield some TVs and apparel, and there could be some amusement in trashing the place to indicate your contempt for capitalism. (Also, the company would be obligated to repair and replenish the store immediately, as a goodwill gesture) A gas station rebuilt after the last riot was hit a few weeks ago, because the revolution requires cigarettes; it would be bad if it were destroyed again, along with the recently-reopened drug store. But a lot of bad things happen these days.
It seems completely normal to write the following sentence:
I hope the rioters spare the drug store where I am scheduled to get my pandemic inoculation.
Not something I would have anticipated writing a few years ago. The pandemic part wouldn’t have surprised me ( the bird flu is coming! - me, over and over 15 years ago)- but the anticipation of riots would be surprising. We don’t do that here.
Ah, but we do. So: the opportunistic cohort that regards the Wrong Verdict as a socially-sanctioned rationale for accumulation, and the ideological cohort (much smaller) that regards the Wrong Verdict as an opportunity to advance the revolution may be wondering if there are better targets this time. Burning down the Lake Street Target: been there, done that. What else might be harvested and burned?
Lake of the Isles is a very, very rich neighborhood. Blocks and blocks of beautiful old homes. When I lived in Uptown, in an apartment, I was between Isles and Calhoun. Being young and without property of my own, I regarded Calhoun as my lake. It had the beaches and the social vibe. Isles was more sedate, and had no beaches. I should note that no house is on the shore - the city fathers decreed that the Lakes would be available to all. Shoreline, then sidewalk, then parkway, then sidewalk, then house. This pattern means that everyone can drive and walk around the lakes, visit the shore.
THIS JUST IN as I write. NOTIFICATION! from my phone: a group of people has blocked a downtown street - at midnight! - with their cars. The notification has this tweet in response:
||She’s in Boston, but has strong opinions about abolishing the police in Minneapolis. And people say we're losing a sense of national purpose!
Anyway. Lake of the Isles. What a marvelous opportunity it presents, no? Nice homes, compliant people, doubtful anyone has guns - why would they? If you wanted to send a message to the oppressors, you’d go there, take stuff, and burn the houses. They have it coming, or they wouldn’t be living in these nice houses.
Apparently it was deleted or set to private or something, and there was a long Facebook explication that put it in context, etc. Point is, the author was identified == Her website says she will employ a "radical vision and moral clarity.”
Having spoken the proper words, she'll probably win.
This week's entry is by Sid Hoff:
People always have signs like that hanging in the parlor.'
OBVIOUSLY LEW AYRES
We have to get two in this month, so let's get to it.
All you need to know if you’re coming in late:
As noted last month, they loved "Radio Control" in the 30s and 40s. Very high tech.
Remind me again who this is?
Why the telescope in the background?
Because SCIENCE! Well, Dick and the other G-man went off a bridge to certain death.
Oh that’s a big surprise.
Back at the office, it’s another plan to sabotage our national defense by the crackerjack brainiac, Pa Stark:
Ah! That’s the telescope! The high-tech lab dusts the notes for fingerprints, and of course Pa Stark comes up. Dr. Worthing says “we can’t move the lens, it would take a week, it’s too huge," so he plans to pay off the crooks in the name of science.
Here's the doc:
John P. Wade was born on June 30, 1876 in Madison, Indiana, USA as John Patrick Wade. He was an actor, known for The Third Degree (1919), The Open Door (1919) and Maniac (1934). He died on July 14, 1949 in Hollywood, California, USA.
As a teen he could have gone to the Columbian exposition.
Well, the crooks take the money, so Tracy heads back to “guard the lens,” which is the Palomar Frickin’ Observatory. But Pa Stark has a plan!
What is he, eight?
We learn he’s going to destroy the lens unless they pay. By some stroke of fate a structural engineer happens to be examining the building:
Just then the guy who delivered the money, was held by the gang, and escaped, runs up to Tracy, gets shot in the back by the gang. Sit’s hats-on-fistfight time:
Tracy finds the underground container with the dynamite - but it’s set to a timer!
That was one brisk and efficient episode, wasn’t it?
That will suffice! Now, as ever, the Matchbooks.