I didn’t mention where we went to Father’s Day dinner. Perkins, of course.

It’s not a tradition. Three years ago - three? Gah - we went to a different Perkins, and it was just the wrong place. It smelled like old people and there was no one but old people staring silently at their food, and the staff was all snippy and cold and young, and it felt like a place that had hung a Perkins sign out front to attract old people who had wandered away from an assisted living facility. We fled and went to Big Bowl.

This time we went to the Prototype Perkins, along the highway. That latter aspect doesn’t nail it down, I know, but the former does. There was a plan to upgrade Perkins to a vaguely East-Coast-Seaside-Town type of place, with wooden boats and old-money geegaws. Hard to describe, except that it has a lighthouse.

By the way, that’s a Google Streetview picture. Here’s the map:


Does that look odd?

It’s because they’ve started charging for embeds. I discovered this yesterday when I put in an embed of a Publix that had a finned exterior. It was reversed, and there was a box that asked if I was the owner of the website.

Huh. That’s when I discovered that you have to give a credit card and create an account to get an API. All the old embeds seem to be grandfathered in. The new ones - well, I got my API, and we’ll see if the traffic exceeds the credits you get for smaller sites like this one.

Anyway. I wanted the Patty Melt. That’s all. It’s usually delicious. For a while it went away, although if you ordered it they’d give you one. Now it’s back, but because this is America the amount of meat has been doubled. It has two patties, which means the name isn’t entirely accurate. I asked if I could have one patty, and she said she didn’t know how that would be possible. I had an instant Five Easy Pieces moment, and said “you could make it the normal way, then remove one of the patties. Or don’t put the patty on the grill in the first place.”

Sure, she said, but she wouldn’t know how to ring it up.

“There’s no code for it!” I said, thinking of the people who do data entry for hospitals. “Of course.” At that point I was put off by all that meat, and went for the sriracha burger. Which was quite good.

We had some time to kill, and since there’s nothing to do at Southdale on a Sunday night, we went to the Galleria, where there’s also nothing to do but it’s a nicer mall. The old brown floors just ain’t what they used to be: the 70s bones of the complex have been erased over time, and now faux grey weathered wood gives the place a brighter look. All the stores are expensive, and make me wonder: are there this many rich people? Apparently so. Daughter was delighted to see that Creative Kidstuff was still there; had vague memories of Pottery Barn Kids, where we bought some furniture and toys that were of little interest since they were wood and simple and designed primarily to put on a shelf in the kid’s room so people who visited knew you were Pottery Barn types, or at least parents who wanted their children to have authentic experiences.

There was a huge crystal ball by one store. Too good to pass up.

By the way, I didn’t praise the soundtrack in sufficient detail yesterday. The best way to describe it: if John Barry and Neil Hefti had a kid and it was raised by Henry Mancini. Or some combination like that. Listen to this: it reminded me of Hefti, a lot, even though Mancini also used those flutes at 1:00 in that range, arranged like that. It just feels more like Hefti.

What struck me today as I listened to this driving home was that it’s still possible to make music like this to be enjoyed as it is, not in some self-aware retro-vintage setting. It doesn’t feel bygone. It feels, for once, timeless - and that’s probably my own reaction, since I associate that particular style with an era that’s done and dead and six feet under.

Which it is.




The latest bingeable thing on Netflix was “The Staircase,” and I’m not here to tell you whether or not I think he was guilty. Except hell yeah he was guilty, for GOD’S SAKE

Sorry. No, it’s something else. I’d heard of this before, but hadn’t quite remembered the title. In the back of my head there was a note to watch some French doc about a guy accused of murder; it was usually referenced when people brought up other mult-ep true-crime shows. I went into the Staircase having misheard “three new episodes” as “three episodes,” and hence thought it would be a brief experience.

Towards the end of the third ep, there’s a huge HUGELY major development in the case, and I thought: now this is economical storytelling. This is how you do it. Don’t drag the damned thing out for a year, just three and done. This development will slam-dunk the story and we’ll be free to go back to the main Netflix menu, browse for ten minutes, and end up watching something else . . .

. . . except nothing looks good. Oh Hitler’s Hairdresser, 90 minutes. How an iconic style enabled the rise of evil. Never before told. Eh. Maybe. Hey, here’s that series I heard about. The Rain. There’s rain, and it’s bad rain, and everyone’s dead except for a Plucky Band of Survivors. Let’s check it out.

(55 minutes later)

Okay, that’s stupid. Whew. Relieves me of any obligation to watch anything more. Let’s go to bed.

But as the third ep of “Staircase” got closer to the end, I realized they weren’t wrapping up the show. Were there . . . more episodes? OH LORD THERE’S 37 hours of this.

Almost. So I binged, which for me means two per night. I can’t recommend it, because you end up reading reddit forums for hours afterwards, studying other views of the crime, and there’s no resolution. Perhaps it’s just up to you to decide whether he did it. I’ll say this: the series uses mournful music to announce its sympathies, and puts the murderer in the center of all these scenes one might think are intended to humanize him, but could also be construed as a way to give him enough rope. I heard one huge contradiction, and the falsehood and the truth were uttered with the same confidence and bonhomie.

But I had an instant distrust of the fellow from the start: he struck me as one of those smart men of Talent and Culture and Self-Regard, a writerly writer complete with pipe and unruly eyebrows, who’s been putting forth a constructed persona for his entire adult life, and has inhabited this self-conception so long it’s his actual nature.

Uh - isn’t that all of us?

You make a good point. Aren’t we all authentically inauthentic, and in our inauthenticity, authentically ourselves? Deep, man. But what I sensed was someone who would be endlessly generous if he sensed you bought into the story, and brittle and contemptuous if he sensed he couldn’t play you. The minute I learned he’d lied about his war record, that was it. The real him was behind the eyes, coiled, compounding justifications, suppressing the bad stuff, retroactively rewriting his story, revising and editing so the internal narrative always made him the good guy.

Perhaps that’s the fascination - this guy is like everyone else, in a sense, except the normal ordinary mental bookwork we do to go forward is used to deal with horrible self-knowledge. Maybe. If he did it.

I don’t know. There’s no right way to react when you’re unjustly accused of murder. There’s no right way to react when you’re justly accused of murder. But if you are a Great Man of significant accomplishments, and you do a horrible thing, don’t you . . . owe it to the world to convince yourself you didn’t?






It’s 1896.

Like Petra, the home office was carved from rock in ancient times:

This was one of the four buildings in Newark, demolished - of course! - in 1956. They looked bigger than anything twice as large made of glass or covered with sheets of stone.

Hurry, before the appropriation is exhausted:





Does it seem like a scam? Well, let's take a look at this item from The Bookseller and Newsman, in which the accusations are made quite forthrightly.

Except I don’t know what the swindle was.



Millions did until millions didn’t:

If you're wondering what happened tp Pearline World HQ, of course it’s housing now.

A lovely pre-Raphaelite ad:

It reminds you that the modern standard of beauty was once the old standard, too - I mean, if this was beautiful, and it was, what explains all the other pictures of women who were also supposed to be beautiful but look remarkably homely to modern eyes?

Cyclists, take note:

Googling around for info, I found obits. There was an aged Mrs. Bosworth who died in her 90s a few years back in the town; Bertie was her husband, and you’d like to think that he was the son of the man who made this - and that there are generations ongoing to have one of great-grandpa’s tools in the back of the drawer.

Less and less likely as the years go on, even, you fear, among the Bosworths.

That’s the one, said the top-hatted rake, fresh from a night of carving up prostitutes:

History, from this site on restoring pipes:

John R Surbrug, born in Switzerland of a Swiss father and Ohio mo`ther, had a small tobacco shop in New York City. After his death in the 1880s, his young son John Willard Surbrug (born in NYC in 1859) took over the store. Incorporating the business in 1895, John W. expanded into the cigarette market and prospered greatly. After buying a cigarette competitor name Khedivial, Surbrug’s business in turn was acquired by the Tobacco Products Company (TBC) in 1912.

More at the link.

Makes Lame Horses ride again, and coughing horses stop coughing! Or, turns men into horses:


The Electropoise was a fake medical instrument patented] and sold in the United States of America by Hercules Sanche, who also invented and sold other later fake instruments later termed as “electroquackery" such as the "Oxydonor" to remedy a range of ailments

N.C. Morse, a physician, tried investigating the instrument and wrote: I have had it sawed into sections and alas, like the goose that laid the golden egg of fable fame, there is nothing in the carcass! Another physician named Harding wrote in 1930 that the pricing of such devices helped in selling the remedy which may have had a placebo effect. The advertisement was clever in claiming that it enhanced the body's natural healing ability. The Electropoise, it claimed:

... is a thermal instrument with an electrical force simulating the nervous current, and evidently acting through trophic nerves. When the polarizer is placed in cold water or upon ice, and the plate attached to wrist or ankle or over other parts of the body as may be required, the warmth of the body upon the plate at once brings this thermal influence into action. The effects are a generally distributed and accelerated circulation, with stimulated nutritive function in every tissue. The respiration deepened and more oxygen absorbed. The secretions of stomach, liver, and all the digestive organs are increased...

$25 was a lot of hay back then. Wonder if that's how Bojack's family made their money.


Tuesday, the Slough of Despair. Bear your burdens with stoic strength, and we'll see you tomorrow.


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