100 degrees, and no A/C. Turns out the things don’t run forever. Our unit is 23 years old, and according to some online research, they usually last about fifteen years. We’ve used it a few times this year, and when I turned on the switch the fans came on, so I figured it worked. Didn’t get too cool, but I thought that was because it was taking a while to get up to speed, or something equally non-technical and ignorant. On Sunday night I went outside to make sure the blades were spinning. The blades were not spinning.

So one emergency visit later, I learn there’s a coolant leak. As in, it has no coolant. The guy offers to fill it up and add some leak stopper, but notes that the warranty on that fix ends the moment he drives away. Then he does some other jiggering, and says actually, no, I’m not low on coolant at all. I’m probably going to need a new coil in the attic portion of the system (which I didn’t know I had) and they don’t do that. Since it’s old he recommends getting a new one. A whole new system.

“So what was that about being low on coolant?”

“It tricked me,” he said, followed by some stuff about high pressure and low pressure that I dimly understood, which is to say not at all.

This afternoon a different guy from a different company came by, and said I was completely out of coolant. So was that the problem? Well yes and no. If you’re out of coolant, then you have a leak. We can do a leak check for $500, and then replace the coil for a sum that will always be, in my mind, the price of a car when I first became aware of what cars cost.

They have an installation window open on Tuesday, so the guy can come by, do an estimate, and have it in by nightfall. Great! <man_in barrel_with_suspenders.jpg>

In the meantime we sweat and sit outside, which is better. Slight breeze. Wife is bunking in the basement. I’m less bothered by high heat. I pity Birch, who’s miserable. He got some doggy ice cream. I put ice cubes in his water. Tonight I decided to put him in the car and drive around for half an hour with the AC blasting. Best time he’d had all day, except . . .

I had to get him in the car in the first place. I mention “car?” And he’s excited. Bounds downstairs, flies through the tunnel - then stops, dead. Wife’s car is gone. That means my car. That means the vet.

It took some convincing to get him in, but off we went, flying down the highway, cool at last.








Well, this one certainly has an unexpected conclusion.

As you may have come to suspect by now, your host is somewhat interested in the cultural impact of Dragnet. There are two phases: the groundbreaking influence of the radio show, and the reactionary nature of its revival in the late 60s. As a period piece, the color TV shows are fascinating. We’re not here to discuss or debate either. It’s just the peculiar moments or bits of inadvertent documentary I love, and wish to share.

Okay: there’s lots of shots of driving around LA. It’s hard to find many of the locations - we seen indistinguishable stretches of streets with gas stations with bygone brands. But now and then . . . Friday gives us the name of a building or an address.


Looks like your standard decline-and-fall story.

But look what the most recent Google drive-by shows:

It was a famous jewelry center. It has a substantial and detailed Wikipedia page.

Now and then they drive past something that makes me wonder if I can find it.

Ehhh, piece of cake.

Great 40s Vitrolite rehab.

Okay, I’m kidding. I didn’t find this building by looking for it. The shot had the documentarian’s friend: The movie theater!

It's the Oriental, so . . .

Then there’s the stagey moments, the backlot shots. I love this moment. “Cue the people walking from right to left . . . and action!”

Then there’s the stable of radio actors who appear in the TV version. The original had about five actors, I swear.

Ralph Moody. The voice is instantly recognizable if you know the old radio shows. A rare well-shot show, lighted with care; we'll see another example in a bit.

I was listening to this while doing something else, heard a few tell-tale sounds in the voice, and thought: is that him?


It was. (Answer at the bottom of the page.)

What comes across in almost every episode are the lost opportunities. How the hard grim 50s version was turned into something static and didactic. Now and then you see a shot that makes you think: oh, they knew what was possible.

It just wasn’t necessary to provide it.

Oh: the source of the voice? It's at the end of this remarkable cultural artifact. Look at that cast. The hits just keep coming, as they say.




It’s 1916.

Your mouth will feel Spring-Fresh when you smoke unfiltered tobacco named after a lusty ruminant!

No one seems to be talking to anyone else. They’re all just sitting there in silence, being rich horsey people in the country. Maybe it's too hot. The dog seems to think so.


Yes, it’s that Gibson.

I owned one, once; great guitar. Founded by Orville Gibson, who would die two years after this ad ran.

Odd aside in his wiki page:

His company, with the help of instrument designer and sound engineer Lloyd Loar produced the Gibson F-5 mandolin, which Sparks said was acknowledged "to be the finest flat-back mandolin ever produced." Loar also designed the L-5 guitar. Among the changes that Loar introduced was the f-hole instead of a round or oval sound-hole, another violin-family feature imported to the mandolin. The mandolins are treasured by bluegrass musicians, but produce opposite feelings of admiration or contempt among the classical musicians they were designed for.

I SAID for the DEAF

It’s listed under “quack ads” in most internet locales. No idea what it did. Other ads say it helped with “head noises” as well, so if you’ve ringing or clicking, here you go. Thousands sold! None returned, out of shame.

“Wry Neck.”

Wry Neck is Torticollis. “Wry neck, or torticollis, is a painfully twisted and tilted neck. The top of the head generally tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other side. This condition can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired. It can also be the result of damage to the neck muscles or blood supply."

The Sanitarium is a vacant lot now. At least I think so; the block numbers go from 700 to 900 without stopping at 800. It may have been consumed by a black hole.


DePree San-Tox! Say it three times and your skin clears up. Mind you, iy's PER-OXIDIZED. Can any other cream make that claim?

Here’s their smallish “factory.” I can’t find it now; web searches point to a different, larger facility.

Charming ad, and quite modern:

he Mallers Building still stands, and it’s a Jeweler’s Center now.

It wasn’t exactly the most imaginative structure.


Finally: a company that’s still around.

The motion picture age opened up so many advertising opportunities. Same with cars. Of course your eyes are tired! You lkive a fast, modern life, driving at exciting speed and seeing thrilling photoplays! Never in history have eyes been asked to do so much!

Considering everything you’ve seen in these ads, this was . . . rich.

"Every advertisement in Photoplay is guaranteed." You can trust them absolutely - why, Wilson himself is looking with imperious importance at the new TRUTH logo.



That'll do. Best wishes for a cooler Tuesday. Now go meet FABULOUS FAB, the housewife's friend.





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