The oddest thing happened Monday afternoon - something so peculiarly fortuitous I marvel at the timing, and so illustrative of why I live here. In the morning I got a note about an inaccuracy in a recent column, which made me groan and wince. The fact was from another news outlet, which I’d trusted because, well, it was another news outlet. A correction would be needed, but I decided I would make the correction in the column, since it always strikes me as weasely to say something in a prominent space and retract it in a little space elsewhere.

In the afternoon I walked over to the new building, just to start the process of familiarizing myself with what it will be like to work there. Oh my. Lobby fireplace and coffee bar, lots of sofas, clean and white - but surprisingly small hustle and/or bustle for a 50 story tower. But en route to the building I thought I heard a honk, and I turned to see a small car had pulled over. Didn’t think it was for me but then again it might be; who knows? It was: in fact, it was the former Mayor, whom I’ve known for many years.

Now. He had been part of the negotiations on the very thing I’d mischaracterized. We chatted and caught up a bit and he told me how much he really enjoyed my architecture columns in the paper, and it was what I was meant to do, how he’d been reading my architecture stuff since the college days. (He used to work at the paper before politics.) I mentioned that I’d gotten something wrong, and then - well, I'll leave that for later, but the thing in question was something he had worked on. Anyway just wanted to say good work see you around, have a great March, so long.

He drove away and I stood there feeling much, much better about things But If I had tarried for four seconds on my way out the building or not turned around when I heard a beep, I would have missed him.

That’s twice this year a few seconds made a great difference - once at the grocery store, where I didn’t pause three extra seconds and hence didn’t get killed when the car ran the red light, and once today when a few seconds meant the Mayor spotted me and wanted to talk about recent pieces in the paper.

I think it’s the “Mayor” part that makes it a bit more impressive than it probably is. Makes me feel all front-pagey.

Reading Kasparov's despairing piece on Russia in the Wall Street Journal today, I was reminded of something I came across last week - and clipped, because it just seemed so remarkable. Give it a read.

No. It's not.

This appeared in a story about the glories of Russia - the cover story of Life Magazine, March 29th, 1943.

Odd words for a man who delivered 140,000,000 people into a brutal and utterly competent tyranny.



And now . . .

Drawing the natural connection between WW2 comedy-dramas and the water-proof resiliance of Hinde & Dauch boxes.

The audience may have wondered what the hell was happening here.

Because there is an audience for the box advertisement





As close as we'll get to the old Weekly Borden updates: Elsie teaching a class for models who some day may need to know their way around cheese.

Never occured to me, but is her physique capable of handling all her weight on two legs? One of these days, isn't it possible they would splinter and she would fall, lowing in anquish?

Would she have to be shot? I mean, she speaks, and is gainfully employed, but would they set her leg or just send for the guy with the big heavy hammer?

Here's what she's teaching:


I never knew it looked quite like that and was consumed in such inapologetic quantities.

One damned nifty piece of furniture.

Kentucky Tavern always had nice domestic tableaus that spelled relaxation, and a book and a pack of smokes was usually part of it. Along with a generous ration of whisky, of course. But this is the most remarkable table of them all: It lit up the glass from the inside, illuminating that ring as well as the star. That's the most 40s table ever designed.

And here's the most 40s representation of the God of Internal Heating Systems, preparing to bless the Home of Tomorrow:

It's an ad for Minneapolis Honeywell, as it was (sigh) once known. I love that house, even though I'll bet the people who lived there found themselves more than once standing at the window and wishing they saw an actual view, rather than a blur of diffused color coming through the glass blocks.


Now we whip ahead to the 50s to familiarize ourselves with the Stokely can livery. Commmmmence familiarizing!


Stokely Van Camp's, you'll note - and perhaps you'll think there's a story there. There's always a story. Van Camp was a Civil-War era bean canner, and in 1933 the business was bought by the Van Camp brothers, noted for entombing tomatoes in tins. The combined firm would eventually invent Gatorade, but of course it was sold and split and passed along, as they all are. Van Camps makes beans still; Stokely was sold to Seneca, which still has the brand - although I've never seen it in stores.

Then again, I haven't been looking.

Hello, Sixties - with the new magic convenience foods everyone's talking about! And grudgingly eating!

The corn was the worst.

Maybe it's just because I'm hungry and dinner is an hour away, but that looks good to me right now - no doubt because I can't see any of the items, and can only imagine them in their idea state.

Which might have been the intention.

You might think Beech-Nut decided it would be fun and profitable to go up against the Life Savers beheamoth:


Except that Life Savers merged with Beech-Nut in 1956. Same company. so was this marketed as an alternative for people who, for some reason, had ill-will or indifference towards Life Savers, or wanted to position themselves as an outsider - or perhaps just to keep the SOUR line distinct?

The world may never know. Oh - sorry. Wrong hard-sugar connundrum.


Finally, a big sparkling glass of NOPE:

I love the floor display; such things existed, and had their moment in the store gathering marks and scuffs before carted off to the landfill.

But that clown.

Anyway. Mary Hartline was the hostess of SUPER CIRCUS! Her bio is studded with interesting bits:

Upon graduating from high school, with the encouragement of (producer Harold) Stokes, Mary moved to Chicago with the intent to become a model. In 1946, she was cast in ABC radio's Teen Town. The cast of this show, produced by Harold Stokes, included Dick York as the mayor of a town inhabited only by teenagers. While appearing on this show, Mary was stricken with a severe case of polio, but quickly recovered. Soon thereafter, the twenty-one year old Mary married the forty-two year old Stokes.

Hmmm. Super Circus was local at first, but ABC picked it up. It featured . . . :

Mary as the band leader, the circus clowns Cliffy, Scampy, and Nicky, as well as Mike Wallace playing the circus barker peddling Peter Pan Peanut Butter.

So the clown is either Cliffy, Scampy, or Nicky.

Since we live in a time of magic, here you go. It's Cliffy.

That's courtesy of this clip, from the inexhaustible vaults of

That'll do; more tomorrow, of course. Of course!



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