Here's a challenge. Name the street and crosstreet:



The "Claridge" had something by one of America's greatest illustrators. Kleenex was touted by a cartoon character named . . .

A Lemon Toothpick to anyone who can figure this out without Googling.The answer will be revealed tomorrow, along with the reason I'm posing the questions.



Had a guest dog last week. Dog-in-law, maybe. My wife’s sister was out of town and needed someone to amuse the pooch, so I drove over, schlepped the kennel into the car, and grunted it up the tunnel. Last time I checked Pippa was a puppy; now it’s a dense wad of muscle and enthusiasm, alert to my every move, and wary of the moment when I drop the mask and go all Alpha.

Which I have done before. When Pippa’s been over here before I have been the Stern Master when she decided to bark her head off - the glowering posture, the glaring eye contact, the Vulcan grip on the neck, the hot breath in the face. Look away. Look away, Dixieland. She’d relent and go submissive, but it was contrary to her nature, you could tell.

You have won this round. But I shall return.

Pippa is a floppy curly dog, so you can’t read her. I’m used to a dog with short hair and bright eyes and pointy ears; Jasper always seemed to be reading me for clues and signals. Looking at this dog is like interrogating a mop.

But we reached an agreement. She could follow me around as long as there was not the expectation of constant interaction. She went up to my studio while I worked and sat, waiting, patient. The moment I got up, well, HEY FUN TIME THROW SOMETHING, but I have a rule: I throw it, you get it - and if you don’t bring it back, we’re done. I’m not going to chase you. As it happened she was more interested in getting a rise out of Jasper, who had as much interest in her as a 104-year-old man might have in Miley Cyrus doing jumping jacks while wearing a snowmobile suit.

Replaced Pippa in her home, got daughter from school. Wife comes home to take daughter to hayride. Everyone coming and going. I have a radio interview at 8 PM. Pizza’s out of the oven at 6:20. Time to hit the stores for provisioning beforehand.

Fifteen minute window for dog walk -

if he wants it.

He does. He hoovers up the food in the dish, a rich glistening disgusting slab of Moist dog food I bought for the occasional treat. I pick him up and take him down the stairs, because stairs are hard. Walking is hard. Standing is hard.

And I think, again, am I blind?

It’s obvious to my neighbor, who remarked about his infirmity. The idea that you have to carry your dog down the stairs ought to be your first clue and your last.

So we get to the bottom of the southside steps; he looks east, looks west. Heads east. We walk slow. He’s hesitant on curbs because curbs are a challenge. I guide him to a driveway, the easy slope, and see someone up the block walking a new dog - it’s leaping and straining the leash and bursting with doggish love for the world and every wonderful stinky thing in it. The owner bends down and points a finger and says something - like speaking Latin to a jet engine.

We walk on. One leg in front of the other. We cross an intersection, and because this neighborhood has its rules and assumptions, dogs and kids and joggers trump cars. If you don’t understand that, you’re not local, and I have no problem taking my time as we cross the street. If you needed to be somewhere at 42 MPH you wouldn’t be here.

A car comes. Slows. Jasper makes his way across the street. Eventually.

I wave an apology.

The driver rolls down the window. “I was just admiring your dog,” she says.

“He’s old,” I say.

“You’re Jim.”

“Yes! James.

“My brother was in your high school class,” she says, and gives me a name. Ping: oh, sure.

Jasper is standing on the corner, looking around through cloudy eyes. He’s older than I was when I was in high school.

When we get back he heads inside and checks the bowl for food, finds one of his soft mats, plops down - but looks up every time someone walks past. He’ll get up and walk out once or twice before the night’s done.

Saturday my wife took him for a walk down to the creek; he walked for an hour. Slowly, but man, an hour. She’s not dragging him on.

He’s going where he wants to go.

UPDATE: Wife took him on an hour-and-a-half walk Sunday morning. He lead the way.


Well, another weekend of hand-crafting websites I think are obscure and little-visited, until I go looking for information on the pictures and find my scans on other sites. And, in one instance, finding my copy on other sites. Ah well. Saturday was the Fall Postcard Show, and I declined to look through the New York bins because I ran out of money almost right away, laid low by a box marked MOTELS that had great stuff for a dollar a card. I bought 45 cards, which is the summer 2014 allotment.

Friday and Saturday night I reworked vast swaths of a section of - a site that was put up before Google Street View changed the way we expect to see the world outside our door. I redid 100 pages before calling it quits. Did 85 on Sunday. Just a backwater site, but man, it pains me to google something, and have one of the first ten results be my site c. 2000.




For Halloween Week, now upon us, I watched a Universal Monster movie:

It’s remarkable to consider the life of this woman:

It’s a minor role, a thankless role, something of a cliche: the sweetheart who loves the scientist despite his madness, and wants him to get better so he won’t be so madly scientifically mad and kill people. She’s just terribly worried.

Sixty-four years later she’d appear in the 4th highest-grossing movies of all time. Sixty-four years. Ladies and gentleman: that's Old Rose from "Titanic." But you probably knew that.

One of the things that's a requirement in a Universal Monster Movie: villagers. In this case they're picturesque, superstitious, ignorant, loveable archetypes with great expressive faces:

But none hold a candle to everyone's favorite imperious hysteric:

H. G. Wells had problems with the movie, but he approved of Una O'Connor. Then again, H.G. was a strange fellow.

Since this is Halloween Week, it seems apt to interrupt this Black and White World to remind you that Orson Welles and H.G. Wells sat down for a chat in the early 40s. You may have an image of him in your mind from "Time After Time."

Anyway. It was Claude Raines’ first big role; originally Karloff was cast, but there were salary disputes. Raines has the haughty amoral intellectual voice director Whale wanted, although his he-he-he! madness scenes seem a bit strained today.

Still, it's good and creepy - when he's swaddled.

A few great James Whale shots - it's not too stylzed, but when he can get one in, he'll do it:

This policeman, in fine Monty Python tradtion, actually says "What's all this."

Well, it's this, or the lack thereof:

The special effects must have been just delightful for the time. The ending finally gives us the Invisible Man . . . and Claude Raines gets all of 15 seconds of screen time,

It was Claude Raines’ first big role; originally Karloff was cast, but there were salary disputes. Raines has the haughty amoral intellectual voice director Whale wanted, although his he-he-he! madness scenes seem a bit strained today. There’s a scene where he rampages through the village knocking over bikes and throwing hats in the creek, and he narrates the mayhem. To modern ears it sounds like a studio recording overlaid on the action, which of course it was. But there’s one scene that must have made modern audiences laugh.

Unless you know the politics and policies of the early Depression years, this means nothing. Remember:

Work blog around 12:30 and Tumblr as well. See you around!



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