Guess what? It snowed! The gazebo roof is laden again, so it’s another trip up on the ladder to knock it off. If I had a son in high school I’d watch him do it while periodically leaning out the window and shouting “Knock it off out there,” because that would be so funny. Other notes on the cold and snow: the dog’s preferred area for relieving himself is about 3 feet from the door; to hell with all that poking around in the woods to find the right spot. (They aren’t really woods, but it’s the dense part of the backyard with shrubs and trees.) (So, the woods.)

We’re between snow emergencies, so no one knows where to park. The streets are much narrower - at least two feet of the pavement is occupied by hard-pack. Ice lurks beneath everything. Even though it stopped snowing around noon, the winds whipped up the drifts on the top of the skyways, so a constant scrim of translucent pain fluttered from above in the middle of every block.

At least it’s pretty. On the way home from work I put on some Harold Budd - an album he did with Robin Guthrie. It was perfect.

I won’t embed. As I said yesterday, I slide over embedded videos most of the time. Sometimes I resent them. They’re like the friend who insists you have to listen to this awesome track right now, even though you’re not in the mood k thanks maybe later.

Here, if you wish. This is the music to which I listen on airplanes.






If you spend time in a bubble - and both sides have them, big bubbles, with little bubbles that hang on the edge of the big bubbles, worrying about vaccines and chemtrails and plastic straws - then you think that stating your bubble’s tenets forthrightly is refreshing! and honest! It brings a sharp zingy zest to the debate, right? I mean, everyone knows the Jews spread a lot of money around, and that’s why people support a messy multi-ethnic democracy with liberal values over a theocratic undemocratic monoculuture that celebrates pizza-parlor bombers. Everyone knows that, right?

It’s the same with the New Green Deal - everyone knows that we can just give people all these things and retrofit every house and make trains work, if we wanted to, but there are retrograde forces outside the bubble. They don’t want it, because they are science deniers who take money from petrochemical companies and want to give money to the rich.

I should make a confession here: I have taken money from a petrochemical company. Or, as I called it, “my parents.” The GND would eliminate our family business, providing it produced sustainable replacements for lubricants and fuels, which is to say it will not eliminate our family business, at all. But assume the wand is waved and Glinda the Good Witch makes these things possible.

One of the things we sell is avgas, which fuels small planes. These are used for a variety of tasks. Do you know what purposes they serve every day? No? But you don’t think they should do those things? Okay.

Another thing we sell is diesel for trains, and this should buy us a little good will; trains are holy. But trains are thirsty. Every night the long thundering line comes in from the West, bearing goods that have come over the sea. The containers are loaded on to trains and hauled across the mountains and the plains, and the goods within are disbursed for sale. It takes quite a few horsepower to drag them to the point where we refuel them.

Electrifying the entire route is possible, and preposterously expensive.

When you multiply out the power for just one freight train to many trains over long distances, you’d need a huge amount of power.  For example, you’d need 1,500 MW to go the 2,000 miles between Chicago to Los Angeles, equal to three large conventional power plants (FRA). So with 160,000 miles of tracks, you’d need the equivalent of 240 power plants.  Of course, some of this power already exists, but it’s likely new power plants, over-sized substations, transmission lines, and so on would be need to be built since railway electrification load is one of the most difficult for an electric utility to cope with.

The article cited estimates the cost to electrify the entire freight system at a trillion dollars.

Whoa - that sounds ridiculous. A TREEEELION dollars? Why?

$125 to $250 billion to replace 25,000 locomotives with $5 million all-electric locomotives (SCAG 2012) or $10 million dollar ALP-45DP dual-mode locomotives (Pernicka) if not more, since these passenger locomotives aren’t powerful enough to haul freight trains.

Then $800b based on the cost of electrifying other routes, with the understanding that the wires have to be twice as high as passengr rail, because of the size of the rolling stock.

The price does not include the additional generating capacity. Which would seem to be an essential part of the deal.

Get this:

Diesel-electric locomotives have their own 40% or higher energy efficient diesel engine power station on board (USDOE) instead of hooking up to an external electric distribution system. This is far less cumbersome and expensive than overhead wires or a third rail (James, Smil), and gives diesel-electric locomotives an overall efficiency of 30%.

Conversely, electric locomotives are getting their electricity from inefficient power plants, with a 35.6% average efficiency, plus another 6% loss over transmission and distribution lines. By the time the energy gets to the train wheels, you’ve lost 75 percent of the energy, giving electric locomotives an overall efficiency of 25%.

But we only have 12 years. So let’s ban fossil fuels by 2029, embark on a crash program to electrify the freight train network, and power it all with wind and solar. Also, we need high-speed rail to connect everything to everything.

So we don't do anything?

No, we do some things. We just don't do that. In the next ten years.

We're told it's the equivalent of WW2 / Moon shot statement: ban fossil fuels by 2029. Everything else will follow.

And if it doesn’t?

You can’t run a nationwide train system without dependable power. So there has to be an additional load - a huge additional load - on the baseline current demand. This is on top of the increased demand from all houses and commercial structure in the nation, which have been forcibly converted from natural gas to electricity. Also, the nuclear plants have been taken off line. It’s all wind and solar.

We can do it! WW2! Moon shot!

If you raise objections or questions, you’re doubting the Anerican can-do spirit. You’re consigning millions to die in the climate debacle - burning, drowning, starving, dead by war, the scenarios vary. But it’s like saying “we can move half of Earth’s population to Uranus by 2039, which will reduce the pressures on the biosphere.” If someone says “uh - actually - we can’t.”

REALLY? DO WE NOT DREAM BIG DREAMS? We’ve sent a probe to the planet. We have rockets. We can print enough money to invent faster rockets and bigger ships. Why do you want the Earth to die?

It’s . . . - not a question of that, and it’s not a matter of scaling up the tech we have. Science is not like a pot of parched dirt that automatically produces huge flowering plants if you pour enough money-water on it.

It worked for the Moon Shot! That’s what this is! We don’t have fast enough rockets because we haven’t spent enough money! We need to spend more money!

Money does not cause technologically breakthroughs to occur spontaneously, like primogeniture. Let’s say’s 1895, and a guy thinks he knows how we can fly. He has a design.

There is no amount of money that will make that work. I am silly enough to think that Trek-tech will someday bear out, and that future FTL travel will be delayed because of Anomalous Multiverse Turbulence that prevents the warp bubble from attaining the necessary stability, but I don’t think I’m a science denier to say it’s unlikely to happen by 2025.

It is, however, more likely that someone will make a theoretical breakthrough by 2025 that eventually leads to warp travel than someone invents and implements an energy-generating / storage / transmission infrastructure capable of powering the entire nation’s energy needs by 2029.

Here’s the thing about that “Moon Shot” analogy. It suggests that we’re trying to do something we hadn’t done before - a bold, audacious idea that results in all sorts of new tech and possibilities. Rewrites our notion of the possible. But it’s not a good analogy. What they are proposing is replacing a regular series of daily voyages to the Moon powered by traditional fuels with a doubled number of daily trips to the Moon powered by lizard burps.

We already have a system in place that lets people go where they want when they want, and live in places that suit their needs and preferences, based on their own resources. The “Moon Shot” is intended to change the means by which that is accomplished, and perhaps - juuuuust maybe - do a little social engineering along the way.

BREAKING: Local bloggers are tweeting out dismay tonight because Amy Klobuchar said she was not in favor of reducing air travel.

This may destroy her in the primaries.





The most delightful thing I've discovered lately: how many small papers have been preserved. The most depression thing: how many have vanished.

We’re in Delphos in wartime. The front page isn’t the wonder of graphic arts they’d become in the 21st century, so we'll skip that. It's just a block. On to the items that caught my eye:

Let’s back the attack, as they said in ads and jingles and songs and movies and every other possible means to drum up money for the next push:

What did it accomplish?

Fourth War Loan Drive – 32 days, from January 18 through February 15, 1944. The initial goal was $14 billion, and the drive was targeted towards farmers and women. A Quiz Kids radio broadcast from Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh raised $5 million. Kate Smith again proved a popular draw, raising $101 million during a February 1 broadcast. Final sales were $16.7 billion ($232.2 billion today), with nearly 70 million separate bonds sold.

There would be four more. Both of the radio shows mentioned appear to be lost, but who knows if they’ll turn up some day. Old Time Radio collectors can be an odd bunch, sitting on tapes forever, secretly pleased they had something someone else didn’t.

The Syria Mosque, by the way, wasn't.

Syria Mosque was a 3,700-seat   performance venue located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Constructed in 1911 and dedicated on October 26, 1916,  the building was originally built as a "mystical" shrine for the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the Shriners) and designed by Huehl, Schmidt & Holmes architectural firm of Chicago.  It was recognized as one of the best examples of "exotic revival architecture"

Despite community efforts to have Syria Mosque designated a historic landmark, the building was demolished August 27, 1991.

Of course.


Provate Trentman! We knew he came home after the war; elementary googling shows that he still lives there, in the house where the 1940 census had him as a 17-year old.

The other name shows up in a lawsuit about a business partnership. Also in Delphos.


You know, no one set about to put these unnervingly complete portraits of people’s lives on the internet. It just happened. One source, then another, then someone digitizes all the newspapers, and bingo: google calls them up in a trice, and there you are.

This one’s tough.

I can find ads - the earlier ones are for Grothouse and Weger, but ol’ Grotty must have unsolved partnerships, as Abner used to say, or died. The ads ran without the address of the store, because I guess everyone knew.

This one’s potent.

Let’s give the “bee” the “bird” - the new catchphrase is “Busy as the Capitol.” Okay. What was the old catchphrase, though?

The plot of "True to Life: radio writer moves in with Real American Family to get situations and dialogue.

As for the other movies: "Gildy Falls into a Web of Woo!" Everyone knows he’s called Gildy. Well, by Judge Hooker, anyway. “The Falcon and the Coeds” was another hour-long programmer from the interminable series. He was originally named Falcon - Gay Falcon, in fact - but when the stories made the leap to the movies, they renamed him and made “Falcon” an alias. George Sanders played him, and the character was intended as a suave sort of international crime-fighter a la The Saint. Sanders got bored of the role, and the Falcon job was handed over to the character’s brother, played by Tom Conway, who played Sherlock Holmes on the radio after Rathbone got tired of the role.

Who was also Sanders’ brother.

I wonder if he had, as they said, a complex from all that.

As for Weigel's grocery, this was where it was.

Google Street View. No, you say. That can't be right. But it is, and I'll show you the proof in a bit.

What, you say, you can find the grocery store, but not the theater? Patience.

The gossip's mainstay, the tattletale's Tribune, the waggy-tongue guide to who did what:

"At the conclusion of the bridge games, Mrs. Hubert Spieles was high."

A column aimed at women, and few had their own names. Mrs. Leo Odenweller - that's not the name she knew for all the years she lived before marriage. But whatever her original name was, poof! Gone in public now.

A little googling turns up the mister's obit in '61. He was a "Respected business leader" who ran a clothing store. Looks like his wife's maiden name was Mae Deftling; the copy's blurry.

You'll note that Rose Wrocklage kept her own name - perhaps becuse her husband, who was 24 years older, had kicked in '32. Her maiden name was Fetzer. The obit for their daughter, who died in 2002 at the ate of 93, said " The Wrocklage family was one of the founding families of Delphos in the 1800s."

None of this is particularly important to us here, but I thought the shades should have a moment to get a bit solid for a moment or two.

The comics!

“Big Sister,” completely forgotten today, ran from 1928 to 1972, one of those grandma strips that just staggered on forever. By the way, they found the fortune in the wall, but it took until Feb. 2.

Another staple:

The Old Home Town, by Stanley; lots of inf on the artist here. Ed Wurgler’s attribute was “Lazy.”

Two points. One, I knew the grocery store used to stand on that small plot because this site has a picture.

Two, the site is the Delphos Herald. Not all papers have gone the way of the many.

Now that you know Delphos a little . . . we'll visit it tomorrow for Main Street.

That'll do; enjoy the update, and I'll see you around.



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