It is still cold and windy, and flakes fly. But not for long.

I went walking around downtown after lunch, and headed in a direction different from my usual stroll. The foot traffic at the IDS Center was robust. The mood seemed decisively better than I’ve felt in a long time, and it carried over to other buildings. Noted some coming-soon storefront signs. It’s still hammered and reeling, but so much better.

And yet the long year of the shutdown seems like it created the standard for normal, and this is not yet the correct state. It made me realize how accustomed I’d become to wandering alone and masked through the warrens and habitrails. But now the mask mandate on planes is lifted!

Good news, right?

Not on Twitter, where you’d think they’re grabbing people off the street, ripping off their scuba gear and shoving them in a plane lav with someone who’s gusting COVID from every pore. To be fair, some people heard about the removal of the mandate while in the air - flight attendants made announcements, it seems - and hooted and cheered and took off their masks.


  Just pretend they're all taking a sip of water.
  Enraged in my N95 is as fine an encapsulation of a certain personality as you'll hope to find.
  Sensible advice, expected response. Being on a plane without wearing a mask is the equivalent of drunk driving.

I know, I know, my mask protects you, your mask protects me. If you are wearing a mask, the virus cannot pass through it. But if you are not wearing a mask, the virus can float over to where I am, and pass through my mask.

You might have heard about the wonders of modern aviation's air filtration systems? Well:


It is hard to imagine the process by which someone who is wearing the tightest possible mask is worried about catching COVID while taxiing.

I have the suspicion that these people would be placated by the sight of fellow travelers all wearing an inefficatious "surgical" mask, or even a cloth one. It is an immediate visual reassurance, and permits the mind to relax. The sight of naked faces provokes a sluice of fear.

It's different if one is truly immunocompromised, but it is not sociopathic to say that their situation does not require 200 people to change their behavior. Or is it? It's just a mask. Everyone wear it while we taxi. Or get kicked off the flight. It's just a mask!

Some people do not understand how they are loathed for a great wide variety of reasons, because they love them, for one.














I watched the Jimmy Savile documentary, which is about the general inability of the British population to realize that there was something wrong with this fellow. Here he is in one of his later, more sober incarnations:

You have to google around to get pictures of him in his manic peak, looking like an Ichabod version of Marty Feldman, except oddly dead and unreachabke. He was a lecher and abuser of children, and was insulated from consequencs for a variety of reasons. One of the things that occurs throughout the doc is his repeated joke about what he's been up to, and he mentions something salacious, then says "and my case comes up next Thursday.” Over and over.

Unspoken in the documentary is the reason his preposterous comments might have been met with laughter: It would have been unacceptable for a grown man to joke about abusing young girls on a radio show in 1938, but it was funny in 1972, because no one wanted to be a square. It’s the Austin Powers Effect: oooh, kinky. It’s the frisson of naughtiness that showed you’d shaken off the bourgeoise notions. The people on the shows who laughed may have found his persona creepy - the laugh doesn’t reach their eyes - but getting scoldy about a man saying “my case comes up next Thursday” and he’s obviously talking about sexual assault, well, lighten up, luv. Oooh, kinky.

I can’t say how this struck Brits to learn this; don’t know. It’s not like finding out that Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers was an abuser. He was off in so many ways.

Related: Netflix had a documentary on a happy, popular, talented American family:

I was keen to watch it, since the first stirrings of my interest in pop music, that phase you always have as a ten-year-old who really really can’t wait to be cool like your 12-year-old cousin, coincided with “The Rain, the Park, and Other Things.” Strip away all the lore about the family band and their trajectory, it’s the height of late-hippie happy-pop. So let’s learn about them!

Oh, crap

Ahhhh, damn

Abusive controlling dad, a few damaged kids, family tragedy, drugs. And you think why does it always have to seem to turn out like this? Surely it doesn’t. Oh hey look, here's a pro-Cowsills interview with Waddy Wachtel, the great session guitarist! Why is he wearing dark shades? Wonder what he's been up to . . .

Oh, crap.

Uou look at the stuff that flowed through the tube, and consider what you now know, and cringe: it was all a ruse.

And then you think of the section in the Savile doc concerning his funeral, and the pomp and institutional religiosity, and you consider that no one in the higher echelon believes anything, beyond the gestures and rote words that draw a magic velvet rope around their authority.

That’s both a horrible thing to consider. And perhaps a necessary place to start. But you can't end there. Even though I will, here. For the moment.



It’s 1962.

In almost all instances, I’d rather look at an ad from 1962 than 1969, and I’ll bet this the opposite of what most people would say if asked. Although I can’t imagine why you would. Why? Because most people who don’t think about these things are culturally programed to go for 1969, because we’re supposed to revere these Days of Grooviness, or something.


It’s not cooking if you’re just pouring glop out of a small container into a bigger container.

The Chef had a touch of Captain Kangaroo about him in ’62.

If you didn’t know the context, this might be confusing.

The context is “a long series of ads about things women did in their dreams without wearing a blouse.” One of the more interesting campaigns, endlessly surreal. Message: you can do anything in this bra! But only if you are unconscious.

The apex of civilization: lie in bed in a photogenically tousled state and talk to someone on the other side of town, or the state, or the country.

Order one! Your friends will burn with envy. He must be doing really well. They have a phone in the bedroom.


Whatever she’s thinking about, it’s not hair. It might be murder.

Yes, it’s murder.


It’s medicated! Whatever that means!

If you’ve ever wondered what the stuff is:

Noxzema contains camphor, menthol, phenol and eucalyptus, among other ingredients.

The original formula for Noxzema was invented by Dr. Francis J. Townsend (1875-?), a physician/druggist by 1900, in Snow Hill, Maryland; by 1910, in Berlin, Maryland; and by 1920, in Ocean City, Maryland. The formula was called "Townsend R22" and referred to commonly as “no-eczema".

It was for men, too, which led to one of the greatest ads of the era. Shave with brusque confidence, men! Not a nick in a can!


f you’re wondering, yes, this was a woman’s mag. The number of things you could do to your head is exhausting to contemplate.

I wonder when women stopped carrying compacts. I wonder why I even know that word.



I’m sure he wasn’t a big fan of all shades of red:

He was born in Paris as Oleg Aleksandrovich Loiewski, the elder son of Countess Marguerite Cassini and her husband Count Alexander Loiewski, a Russian diplomat, thereby obtaining the title of Count.[3] His maternal grandfather had been the Russian ambassador to the United States during the administrations of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Count Arthur Cassini signed the Treaty ending the war between Japan and China. His mother's family claimed Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini as an ancestor.

In 1918, the Russian Revolution caused the Loiewski family to flee for their lives, leaving behind their wealth, lands, and homes. As a young child, Oleg saw his cousin shot to death. The family reached Denmark and next moved to Switzerland. The Greek Royal family invited them to Greece, but, while traveling through Italy, revolution began in Greece as well. They got off the train in Florence, eventually settling there.

Dip into his bio at random, and you get this:

Cassini competed professionally in the sport of harness racing. In 1985 he earned a professional harness racer license and won races at the Meadowlands Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, Freehold Raceway, Monticello Raceway, and Roosevelt Raceway

After his divorce from Gene Tierney, Cassini dated and was engaged to Grace Kelly. Susanna Moore claims that she was raped by Cassini.

Had a brother named Igor.

Quite the life. Died in 2006.

You have to wonder: if all the other cigarettes are harsh and hot, why the hell did anyone smoke them? Wouldn’t people take one drag, make a face, and say “this is awful, no one’s going to want these.”

As for the photography, why do I think she’s about to say “Love That Joker!”



That will do! Now it's time to check in with Sam Spade. Again and again, the choice of men who throw glass bottles at criminals' heads.







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