I don't know what this thing is. A Moth Fly, perhaps. Looks as if it evolved to blend in with the bark. They've been around for a week annoying everyone. There's slobber all over the back door because Birch keeps trying to trap one against the glass.

Well, spent an hour tonight at the local church basement listening to a debate between the sitting City Council member and her opponant, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America party or whatever it's called. Rough translation of her remarks:

If I'm going to have to listen to someone dribble out Bolshie boilerplate from 1917, at least have some verve and some rabble-igniting style to complete the cliche, but this candidate mumbled, rambled, trailed off, and sometimes declined to answer the question because she couldn't figure out how to use her spare intellectial tool-set on this particular problem. And given that her standard response to everything was "the workers must take control of the political process," you wonder why she couldn't adapt it to a simple query about, oh, the political process.

Honest to Bog, she started out by decrying the parasitical Capitalist System and how it has to go - including the police, of course. The police just enforce the rules of the Capitalists, so the Workers must replace them with their own agents who follow the values of the Workers. (see also, Kulaks, death to.) Her standard response to questions, inasmuch as they responded at all, was to repeat that the existing order must be overthrown, so there really wasn't any point to saying how she'd work in the existing system.

The incumbent did not actually debate, choosing to let the non-responsive responses just evaporate like dry flatulence, but she did say some interesting things. One: when asked about crime, she was awfully concerned about it, and went quickly to the need for more programs to assist Troubled Youth at Risk. Two, when asked about seniors who worry they will be driven out of their homes by rising property taxes, she said she was instrumental in forming a committee that will look at government programs to see if they're a good expenditure of public dollars.

Which is one way of saying they've never done this before. Also, we're supposed to believe that cutting a duplicative program here or there will result in lower taxes. Pull my other leg. BUT her next question was about global warming, and she knows we're all very concerned about it, so we need to increase the fees we pay on our energy bill to ensure an equitable approach that targets vulnerable communities and helps them transition from gas to electric.

But no one's coming for your gas stove or heater, moron.

She was also big on Affordable Housing, another euphemism. All the housing in our neighborhood is affordable, as evidenced by the 0% vacancy rate. What she means is affordable for people who cannot afford the market rate.

There's no non-left/liberal candidate running, because there's no point to trying.



So: another account of an internet peregrination, as we go . . .

  How do we get from the here . . .

To there? Or rather, him? Mr. Radio?



This week’s prompt, again, was a Quasicomic. Well, not exactly a Quasi, but an ad that fell into the same general category of “ads below the real comics.” Hey kids - launch a jet from your knuckle!

Kellogs backed the wrong horse.

The Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk (previously designated the XP-87) was a prototype American all-weather jet fighter-interceptor, and the company's last aircraft project. Designed as a replacement for the World War II–era propeller-driven P-61 Black Widow night/interceptor aircraft, the XF-87 lost in government procurement competition to the Northrop F-89 Scorpion.

The Northrop F-89 Scorpion was an American all-weather, twin-engined interceptor aircraft built during the 1950s, the first jet-powered aircraft designed for that role from the outset to enter service. Though its straight wings limited its performance, it was among the first United States Air Force (USAF) jet fighters equipped with guided missiles and notably the first combat aircraft armed with air-to-air nuclear weapons (the unguided Genie rocket).

The Genie, you say. Well:

The Douglas AIR-2 Genie was an unguided air-to-air rocket with a 1.5 kt nuclear warhead. It was deployed by the United States Air Force and Canada during the Cold War. Production ended in 1962 after over 3,000 were made, with some related training and test derivatives being produced later. The then top-secret project had various code names, such as Bird Dog, Ding Dong, and High Card.

Brings a whole new meaning to Ding Dong Ditch, eh? “Unguided air-to-air nuclear missile” is a category of weapon I had not previously considered. So you fired it at the other guy and made like hell in the other direction? I guess. It was designed to take out massed bomber fleets of Soviet craft on a one-way nuclear run on the continental US.

The Canadians had some, as did the Brits. The UK version was carried by the English Electric Lightning, a great name that made me curious. Well, named so because it was made by English Electric. Dig this:

The English Electric Company Limited (EE) was a British industrial manufacturer formed after the armistice of World War I by amalgamating five businesses which, during the war, had been making munitions, armaments and aeroplanes.

It initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers, railway locomotives and traction equipment, diesel motors and steam turbines. Its activities were later expanded to include consumer electronics, nuclear reactors, guided missiles, military aircraft and mainframe computers.

Computers, eh? That’s from their acquisition of the Marconi Company. So there’s a twisty line from the radio pioneer to computers. Wonder if there’s anything interesting in the references section of their wikipedia page . . . huh.

GEC-Marconi scientist deaths conspiracy theory

The GEC-Marconi scientist deaths conspiracy theory claims that between 1982 and 1990 a number of British-based GEC-Marconi scientists and engineers who worked on the Sting Ray torpedo project and United States Strategic Defense Initiative-related projects died under mysterious circumstances.

The first deaths to gain widespread attention and be linked to the theory came in 1986-1987. In just about a year, six different scientists died in mysterious circumstances, three of whom had worked for the Marconi company, a subsidiary of the defence group General Electric Company. Most deaths were ruled suicides or accidents.

One died after driving his car, which had been packed full of petrol containers, into a building.

A bit suspicious.

Another tied a rope to his neck and a tree and then drove off in a car.

Seems a tad complicated.

A third died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage. No links were found between them.

Proponents of the conspiracy theory link the deaths like a James Bond-esque set of assassinations, variably blaming the Soviet spy agency KGB, American spies, or even British spies.

A story from the era, here.

Some say there were more. A link to a story that said 20 scientists dies 404s, but this remains, and begins thus:

The story began in March 1982 with the death of senior computer scientist Dr. Keith Bowden, then a contractor for GEC Marconi — Britain’s major high-tech defence company.

One night after attending a social function in London, Bowden drove his car across a dual carriageway and plunged off a bridge, down an embankment and into an abandoned rail yard. He died instantly.

The police said Bowden was drunk and was driving too fast, but his wife and solicitor believed otherwise. Friends who were with Bowden that night denied he had been drinking.

Bowden’s solicitor hired an accident investigator to examine the wreck. Somebody had swapped the normally pristine tires on Bowden’s Rover with a set that were worn and old.

Another guy who jumped off a bridge had another detail: “Dajibhai was found with his pants around his ankles and a needle-sized puncture wound on his buttock.”

Well, that sounds KGBish. Another, not covered in the AP story:

Alistair Beckham, 50, was a computer engineer who it’s believed was working on top secret pilot programs for America’s Strategic Defence Initiative. After some light Sunday afternoon gardening, Beckham retired to his shed, attached wires to his chest, pushed them into a power socket and, with a handkerchief jammed in his mouth, hit the power.

Beckham’s wife was entirely unconvinced her husband committed suicide. Beckham was highly secretive about his work and just hours after his death men from the Ministry of Defence arrived at the scene and took away several documents and files from Beckham’s home.

In similar but even more gruesome fashion, Marconi director John Ferry, 60, jammed stripped wires into his own tooth fillings and electrocuted himself.

It doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that the KGB was attempting to cripple the SDI.

Anyway, that's how we get from the toy to the grim world of Spy vs. Spy assassinations. Maybe.

By the way:

  It looked like this. Got this from an auction site.

It went here.

This might have been him.













Thirty-three thousand souls. If you're interested, the Wikipedia entry on "20th Century Economic Decline" is a wild ride.

It’s another two-folder run, so let’s see if it’s Great and Even More Great, aka Greater, or Bad then Good, or one long smear. Remember, I haven’t looked at these since I set them aside many months ago.

That’s interesting. Unchanged, except perhaps for paint, since its 30s / 40s rehab, or construction. All the Vitrolite’s there.

Practically unchanged.

I do suspect it was painted, at some point

And judging from the upper windows, painted a lot.

Standard 50s rehab, with the cornce left on as a warning to others.

It looks junky now.

Okay, wrap your brain around this sequence.

Nothing in the lot for a while, someone paints the sign, then the one-story building goes up, the rest of the sign fades? Or was it two stories? Original sign intact because it was covered by construction?

Another rehab, turned into a variety store. I’d suspect a chain, although not Woolworths.

Wrong color for a Woolworth.

Okay, well, these guys have the local furniture market sewn up, it seems.

Modern windows as caregivers for an old, weary entrance.

New construction, probably. Proud entrance with lots of display cases; wouldn’t be surprised if it had been a jewelry store.


Let someone else have a crack at the furniture market, okay?

“That’ll teach ‘em” - someone from Lighthouse, probably

Unfortunate Buckaroo awning on a nice pre-war modern building.

Ah, inclusive lofts

Something was there, once.

I’ve never seen the stone up top accommodate a painted sign.


Nice! Inasmuch as it tries to have some historical resonance.


There’s something about this image I love, even though it’s sad. What it suggests of a previously interesting time, complete with some local colorful person who came out on the balcony every morning in his robe and boxers, stretched and yawned, scratched himself, and went back in. You could set your watch by him.

I think we’re getting the correct impression of the health of downtown.


Alarm boxes on the right, silent for decades.

Someone’s not spending a lot on drapes.

Once a year they crack a window to let the smell out

Ah. Later. Could be a rehab in progress, but, well, you know.

A sign that things might be better on our second trip? We’ll see next week.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do; motels await.



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