It's ugly, but I love it. The full explanation tomorrow.
Last night I was finishing up the work, half watching a Dragnet (until I heard a distinctive voice, but that’s for later) and taking pleasure in another column under the belt. I checked a folder of Sites to Do, because now and then when I have a spare 15 minutes I’ll bang out copy for something you may never, ever see. But you could! Today I finished a site about a 1963 Sears office furniture catalog and a 20-page about 190s European hotel brochures. Anyway, I saw a folder marked 1947Fathersday and my heart . . . it sank.
I had promised my editor a Sunday column about a 1947 pamphlet for Father’s Day, with skits and songs and poems. It was 12:17. Well, what did Anthony Burgess do when he was walking to the post office to mail a manuscript, and some Roman street crooks sped up on a Vespa and snatched away the package? He went back to his apartment and wrote the book again.
The story is very Burgessian, either in its casual display of ability, or perhaps its BS. I don’t know. He wrote at such a pace that he could do a thing, and I understand the imperative to redo it before the book fell out of your head. You suspect that the story was the same and almost every word was different.
So I banged it out in 30 minutes, and guaranteed a good Tuesday.
And Tuesday was hot. High nineties. So? It’s summer; it happens. The air conditioner did its work, and the power did not go out. We’ve been told to expect rolling blackouts this summer, because things are creaky and demand is high and climate change. Also:
Extreme weather is causing increasing challenges for power grids across the United States, and officials are concerned that record heat and drought could result in rotating blackouts in several regions in the western half of the country.
In addition to the shutdown of coal and nuclear plants over the past year, the Midwest's summer generating capacity is threatened by planned maintenance and forced outages, as well as seasonal factors like low wind conditions.
It seems to me as if this could have been prevented. But how? I know, I know, that’s the baffler. How. You just don’t know where to start.
I’m sure they’ll be carefully calibrated to ruin frozen ice cream, but not frozen meat. You can’t complain if your little luxuries are ruined for the sake of . . .
What is it all for the sake of, again? It’s not for us as we actually exist, it’s for future hypothetical us, I guess.
So it's a problem. The arguments about nearly every problem we face seem like this:
X is a problem, and affects everyone on a personal level. X is making life worse than it used to be, and everyone recognizes it. Here is the short-term solution to alleviate the problem, and the long-term steps to ensure X does not happen again.
No, we can’t do that.
The outcome is incorrect.
But if X does not happen again, or does not happen as often with such severity, isn’t that the desired outcome?
No. Because it uses System Y to meet those goals, and keeps System Y in place. We need System Q.
But System Q will not solve the short-term problems, and will not, in fact, prevent the problems from re-occurring.
What matters above all is replacing System X with System Q.
But System X is embedded into the way we live our lives and the economy of our society.
They will have to change.
Mind you, I think we need wide-spread institutional reform, but that’s not swapping X for Q. It’s rebuilding X. (Six minutes of writing and cutting and rewriting and rethinking) How, I’ve no idea. But it starts with casting off the modern pieties. I was in a conversation today about bikes, and how gas prices are making people bike more - an ablest perspective, of course - and how some people are buying “cargo bikes” that let them transport more stuff. How some people are just ditching the car entirely, and the whole family bikes! To school, to work. If your perspective is The City, with its bike lanes and relatively short distances, yes, that seems like a cool thing, and surely the future! If your perspective (spreads arms wide to encompass the entirely of the Metro area) is larger, it is unworkable and impractical, and might be embraced by one percent of the population. People are not going to Costco on cargo bikes.
Well, they shouldn’t go in the first place; they don’t need anything there. They should walk to the local store and buy something.
No, the local store is expensive for buying bulk, and money’s tight. Costco is a reasonable option for some things, just like the neighborhood store.
They will just take it all back to a house that’s bigger than it needs to be in a suburb that shouldn’t exist in the first place.
But it does, and it’s not going away.
We need a transit system that will take people where they want to go.
We already have one; it’s called cars and roads. You want everyone in the suburbs to take the bus to Costco. It’s not going to happen.
That’s because (boilerplate history lesson about how advertising convinced people they wanted cars - total head-job, still a miracle how they accomplished that - and boilerplate about the racist foundations of freeways and suburbs)
And so forth. I wonder if we’d had better cheaper electric cars ten years ago, and lots of people had switched over. Say, 50% of the cars were electric. A) Would we still get lectures about the evils of personal transportation and the suburbs they enable, and B) Would they have decommissioned power plants to stop climate change? Yes to both, I suspect. Yes to the first because “single family zoning” is hated, suburban spaces are hated, low-density is hated, all on general principle because they do not conform to the most perfect example of human habitation, Amsterdam. (And I like Amsterdam.) Yes to the second because power generation is a moral issue now, and sacrifices must be made. Complaining about rolling blackouts is pure privilege: it assumes you have some right to constant power at the expense of The Planet. Blaming the blackouts on hot weather is also useful for justifying the elimination of dependable sources of power, since they are causing the temperatures to rise.
So what happens when you want to go somewhere in your electric car, and it’s not charged? Or you want to charge it, but you can’t, because you’ve driven too much and the state, or the state-regulated companies, have placed limits on your ability to go where you want, when you want?
I know, I know. Listen to yourself, you say. “Your ability to go where you want, when you want.” Gettin' a little Ultra-MAGA there, aren't you, sport.
I guess we’re all supposed to know who Peaches is.
Quite the innovation in front page design: all pix, grabbing your attention with images rather than a wall of text.
Long Beach, set on its ear by a woof-woof gander:
Herein lies a tale, my friends.
Peaches Browning (born Frances Belle Heenan; June 23, 1910 – August 23, 1956), was an American actress. She was married to New York City real estate developer Edward West "Daddy" Browning (1875 – 1934). Their story became one of the most sensational "scandals" of the Roaring Twenties. It is often cited in journalism history texts as an example of the excesses of tabloid newspapers during the era.
Browning and Heenan met at a sorority dance on the evening of March 5, 1926, at the Hotel McAlpin and immediately began a very public courtship, despite the difference in their ages. Browning was 51, Heenan was 15. Browning, who reveled in publicity, paraded Heenan in front of the paparazzi cameras as he lavished her with expensive gifts (spending $1000 a day on shopping trips) and took her to New York's finest restaurants in his distinctive peacock blue Rolls Royce automobile.
On April 10, 1926, mere weeks after they met, Peaches and "Daddy" were wed in the village of Cold Springs, New York, far from media scrutiny. Both Peaches' father and her mother gave their permission for the marriage, which took place in part to thwart a campaign by Vincent Pisarra of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to halt the May/December relationship.
It lasted until October. Among her allegations in the divorce proceedings:
Among the notable aspects of the case were Peaches' allegations of odd behavior by her husband, including the fact that he kept a honking African goose in their bedroom.
The judge ruled for Daddy, and she got bupkis. Thirty years later she slipped in the bathroom, and died.
Except . . . where’s the dog?
So Vito married Vita?
The last sentence makes no sense.
The Sheik of sheiks.
It’s a reference, of course, to Valentino, made in jest. Harold, the great lover.
Eddie was 19 at the time. He would go on to a long career, with lots of TV. Did a Mannix ep! Died in 1990.
When they made a Harold Teen movie in 1928, they went with Arthur Lake. You know, Dagwood.
I have the feeling we’re going to do a year on this fellow. Gaar Williams. He was quite good.
Never made it as high as some of the boys in the cartoon game; 49 papers, at the time of his death in 1935.
Oh, put a sock in it, Curran:
||Radio, the early days. They reviewed church services.
The name at the bottom of the column would go on to join the American vernacular, but it’s forgotten today. Bowes was managing director of the Capitol, and it seems he was doing radio shows well in advance of his invention of the Amateur Hour.
As for the Capitol, well . . . I could look at this picture for hours.
She was an Englishwoman who’d written a SHOCKING play about her life.
See, she married a 56-year old Earl of Cathcart, but soon ran off with the Earl of Travel. Cathcart divorced her in 1922; Craven went back to his wife in 1925. She had no means of support, so she wrote a play about all these comings and goings. No one in London would touch it, so she took it to Broadway. And then:
It was an uneventful voyage until the ship arrived in New York.. As a result of her status as a divorced woman, immigration authorities decided that the countess violated an immigration law against admitting someone guilty of "moral turpitude." Vera protested loudly enough to be heard by waiting reporters. Soon everyone from women's rights groups to gossip columnists were defending Vera. And when it was discovered that her former lover Lord Craven was in New York, there were demands that, if Vera was guilty, then he was guilty and should be immediately sent to Canada.
“I sentence you to be forced to live in Canada!”
The play was eventually performed. It was a dud.
That will do; now drown your sorrows in some liquor ads in the 50s section. See you around.