That's how the day felt, in a way. But how, exactly? A club that expected more people but gave up trying to police who enters? A broken robotic jump-rope machine? An ordinary door through which we all must pass, with varying degrees of trepidation?

Or, is it possible that I just didn't take a picture today I could've used?


That was taken two weeks ago. The wall has since been decorated.

They're not kidding.

What sort of modernization are they doing, though? How can an escalator be not modern?

If it's original, it's probably in need of new parts, since the building is - gulp - 41 years old. (I find this impossible to believe.) They redid all the elevators, so they show up quicker - the old software was running on greenscreen 386 computers, so yes, they needed a boost. But escalators go around and around. How can they be improved upon?

Telling how I assume that "modernization" means "improved."

The oldest escalator I ever rode was in New York City, in Macy's: wooden steps. As far as I know, they're still there. The escalator that made the most impression on me was the Woolwoorth Escalator in Fargo, because we'd never seen such a thing. You had the standard youthful terror of being caught in those metal teeth. You learned how to hop off with drama. The coolest detail was the ridged metal handrail, which was like grasping a living thing, a cybernetic serpent.

Come the cooler times, I'll enter the skyway system in the 333 Building, where the escalators are rather discretely located. I go up: day is beginning. I go down: off to home. The ones in my building, I take a dozen time a day, and they have no meaning. The strange ones in the 701 building -

Let me just stop right here before I suddenly decide to do a total account of downtown escalators. They're not that important.

Until they stop, that is.

You can always walk up one that's dead, but the steps are taller than you'd prefer. It's as if they think okay, you take me for granted. Here's my true nature. Here's what I could make you do every day.

The new elevators in the taller tower in our complex have news screens. Headline feeds. No one looks at them, because they have their phones, and heads must be bent in honor of the Screen. I say all this as a prelude to announcing my own specialness, of course: I read the headlines. They're usually not something that's on my news feeds, because they're not tailored to ME. You learn things when you poke through the swirling irridescent hues of the bubble.

Ordinary day, obviously. Filed a column, worked out, listened to a podcast, listened to an old radio show, took a nap, made "street tacos," I guess, and finalized the design for the Nineties site. Took me forever to land on a typeface, because the Nineties is all over the place and the usual cliches do not work well for banners or navigation. My eventual choice was an ah-ha moment. (You'll have to wait.)

I'm sixty pages in. The good part: there's lots of video left over from the 90s. Bad: not so many magazines. I pity anyone who tries to do a website on the print ads of the 2020s or so. Another once-robust aspect of American culture, expiring before our eyes.

Oh: I did discover something.

I was finishing up a Here to There for next year - next November, to be specific - and checked the paper’s comics pages, just to see if there was anything unusual I hadn’t seen before. There was not. I did a few days, then skipped ahead 10 years to see how the composition of the page has changed:

What the hell is going on here?

I think it’s a gruesome murder scene, and the boys snuck in to see it, and they’re still gawking, but no one seems interested in getting them out. It’s bizarre to modern eyes.

Out Our Way started in 1922 and ran for 55 years. Seems stuck in the 20s and 30s in many ways. I clicked back a day to see if there was some set-up for this panel, knowing absolutely that there was not, and hello:

H. R. Williams, or J. R.?

Hadn’t I just seen that? In 1947?

I had. But. This ran in 1957, the year the cartoonist died. I think they were using old strips until they found a replacement.

Except when you superimpose . . .

I wonder what the explanation might be.

And now, our final look back at . . .

The Temptation of St. Hilarion!

Dude, this aescetic regimen really isn't improving your vitality:

He's like one of the creatures in the movie Prometheus.

The temptations are just . . . overwhelming:

Hilarion lived in the wilds.

He finally built a hut of reeds and sedges at the site of modern-day Deir al-Balah, in which he lived for four years. Afterwards, he constructed a tiny low-ceilinged cell, "a tomb rather than a house",[3] where he slept on a bed of rushes, and recited the Bible or sang hymns. He never washed his clothes, changed them only when they fell apart, and shaved his hair only once a year. He was once visited by robbers, but they left him alone when they learned that he did not fear death (and had nothing worth stealing, anyway).

Saint Jerome described Hilarion's diet as a half a pint of lentils moistened with cold water, and after three years he switched to dry bread with salt and water. Eventually, perceiving his sight to grow dim and his body to be subject to an itching with an unnatural roughness, he added a little oil to this diet.

In time, a monastery grew around his cell, which was so beset by visitors, especially females, that Hilarion fled.

Hilarion lived a life of hardship and simplicity in the desert, where he also experienced spiritual dryness that included temptations to despair. Beset by carnal thoughts, he fasted even more. He was "so wasted that his bones scarcely held together" (Jerome).

Spiritual dryness sounds like something you can cure with an over-the-counter balm, or perhaps a prescription. If you suffer from spiritual dryness, as your doctor if Lentinol could be for you.

A great subject for paintings that give the viewer oooh-la-la imagery in a pious context.

This one’s more hallucinogenic.

As for our artist: Dom Louis Papety.

He was born in Marseille. His father was a soap maker.

I swear they’re always a soap maker.

He spent the years from 1837 to 1842 at the Villa Medicis. One of his teachers, Ingres, said that "...he was already a master when he touched a brush”.

Ingres? High praise.

Papety became a close friend of François Sabatier-Ungher, an art critic who was interested in antiquities. Together, they took a trip to Greece in 1846.

He got cholera on one of his trips. He recovered a bit, but . . .

The disease ultimately proved to be fatal and he died in Marseille in 1849, aged only thirty-four. This was after the Second Cholera Pandemic had reached France, so his funeral was unattended. His remaining works were sold at an auction.

I like some of his work - it has a mid-20th century look, somehow.




It’s 1922. A second look at the paper we saw before the Hiatal / Journey entries.

Papers often had a second “front” page that mimicked the first, but had stories of lesser import.

Like the kerfuffle over smokeless trolleys.

“The jazzy cigaret.”

  Because he stole the hat from a guy with an alarmingly large skull?

(I didn’t find the answer.)

(I really didn’t look, guess I should.)

I can’t find it! But in the want ads . . .

Oil? Pshaw. No one makes money in oil.


Julian Petroleum was started by Courtney Chauncey ("C.C.") Julian in 1923. C.C. Julian had been successful the previous year in drilling for oil in Santa Fe Springs, California. The company sought out investors with colorful advertising such as: "Widows and Orphans, This Is No Investment for You! ... My appeal is addressed to people who can legitimately afford to take a chance."

Sounds up-and-up. But:

However, the California Corporations Commission began investigating the company for fraudulent sales promotions.

In 1925, C.C. Julian sold his interest in the company for $500,000 to Sheridan C. (S.C.) Lewis and Jacob Berman (alias Jack Bennett). The following year the company merged with California-Eastern Oil Company. An audit revealed the company had issued 4,200,000 unauthorized shares of stock and on May 5, 1927, the Los Angeles Stock Exchange halted trading in Julian Petroleum. The company had created financial pools from 400 prominent local businessmen, including Cecil B. DeMille and Louis B. Mayer, to support the over-issuance of stock.

Now it gets good. Note that the Wikipedia entry calls the company “Julian Pete,” which seems a bit slangy.

S.C. Lewis, Jacob Berman and stockbroker Ed Rosenberg were acquitted in May 1928 on charges involving the Julian Pete fraud. However, District Attorney Asa Keyes was charged with accepting about $100,000 in bribes from Julian Petroleum officials in connection with the acquittal of the accused officials. He was found guilty in February 1929 and sentenced to one to 14 years in prison.

What about CC?

C.C. Julian faced charges in 1931 in Oklahoma of conspiracy to defraud investors of $3.5 million. He then jumped bail and fled to Shanghai, China, where he committed suicide in March 1934.

He poisoned himself.


  I know! What they did to Jimmy Cox was just awful!

Wait, what did they do? Well, if it’s the one I’m thinking of, the people gave him a historic drubbing in the 1920 presidential campaign. His running mate? FDR.

But Jimmy had the last laugh. He concentrated on his business.

Yes, that Cox.


She churned these out by the dozen:

Helen May Rowland (1875–1950) was an American journalist and humorist. For many years she wrote a column in the New York World called "Reflections of a Bachelor Girl".

It would seem she got married after all.

The Express had some second-tier comics, about which I know nothing. Nice dog work here.

So let’s learn something . . . wow.

Cap Stubbs and Tippie is a syndicated newspaper comic strip created by the cartoonist Edwina Dumm that ran for 48 years, from August 21, 1918, to September 3, 1966.

Edwina was one of the first syndicated female cartoonists, and did editorial work as well. I have to know more about her; a brief survey of her work shows quite a talent. I mean, this is full of cliches - that damned old war-bird Mars with his broom-helmet, and Mr. World - but those were the conventions of the day.


  And here he is. Cool customer. He’d shot his dad after being told to get off his lazy ass and work for the summer.

Another paper gave it a big write up, made it a Heart story, and even told us where he lived.



Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do. Now off to Europe, to view some 1960s hotel brochures. See you around.



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