We had friends over for drinks on Saturday, so I had to whip up a QR code and a menu. Right?

In the olden days I imagine it was easy to have people over for drinks, since the options were few. Scotch? A splash? Coming up. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the marketing boys were pushing vodka as the new drink, just to see what happened when the stylish fellow in the social circle asked if they had any Smirnoff.

“Any what? Oh, you mean a Moscow Mule. Nah, I don’t have any ginger beer, sorry.”

“It’s supposed to be served in a copper mug.”

“So I heard. They got Esquire down at the barber shop.” (sotto voce) “I saw an ad for it in Playboy, too. Problem is it was that Woody Allen guy.”

“He’s amusing!”

“Yeah, but do you think he gets any, looking like he does? With the hair and all? And the glasses? We went to see that Casino Royal movie, and we thought it was going to be James Bond, and it turns out it’s a comedy and he’s in it. I don’t know, wife thinks he’s cute, that mothering thing - hey, you see that?”


“That fly on the wall. It’s listening to us. And it’s taking notes.”

Anyway. I swung by Complete and Totally Utter Spirits to stock up, and get, you know, bar things. Bitters. Vermouth. I’ve had no call for them around these parts because I am a simple man who is content with a Scotch and a splash, and hold the splash. I knew one of the guests liked tequila, and had reached that envious point in a man’s life when he considering starting his own line of the stuff. Ergo, anything I get is probably pre-judged and insufficient.

Anyway. I decided to make a menu. If you ask "what would you like?" you often get the simplest response. If you do the guy thing and throw open the cabinet and say "what do you want?" your friend might want the high-end stuff, but think "he didn't offer that specifically, so I'll go with the item that's between high-end and plastic bottle with a handle." If you make a menu, you're obviously offering everything.

A menu meant a logo, so let's open Photoshop . . . there. Use the elegant compact sans-serif you see on hotel bar menus . . . done. Now, for the modern touch, it will be accessible by QR code, because we live in wretched times where menus have gone away and are not coming back.

So now I’m testing out my menu on mobile to make sure it formats correctly, thinking “The hell you’re going to ask for white wine or a beer, not after all the work I put into this.”

UPDATE: Menu was a hit. Just like restaurants! How did you do that? Shucks, t’warn’t nuthin’. Y’ jist wrangle up a menu in the Neutra Font, usin’ a consistent 40pt / 25 pt format for yer headers an’ yer items, drop in a dingbat, option-drag it to separate the types of drinks, save to JPG with a 10 quality so’s you don’t get no artifactin’, upload it to yer server there, copy the URL, go a custom QR code generat’r an’ drop in the address, then open up the QR code - she’s gonna be a PNG, so’s you’ll have to take care you don’t use PNG as the format for the file yer creatin’, then resize it a tad, drop in the header graphic from the menu, give the whole thing a 1 px stroke so’s you have some clean lines to cut, then print it out and mount it in a plastic stand.

Mind you, this is just muscle memory for me, but Chinese if you don’t do this on a regular basis, which just goes to show that what looks like Magic and Expertise to one person is, well, nuthin’ for someone else.

Apply that across everything everyone else does, and you realize how many skills you don’t have.

Conversation was sparkling and informative. Our guests live downtown, and related an incident on the 4th when they were coming home from a long day dealing with a familial medical situation. A block from the house they were stopped by protestors on bikes and forbidden to proceed. Whereupon two black-clad men with AR-15s appeared and told them they could go no further, because a BLM march was due to pass through. They were “security,” you see. Before you get sarcastic and say “Second Amendment, right?” This is not that. This is illegal. Self-appointed “security” cannot brandish AR-15s and tell you that you may not go to your home.

They had stories of what it’s like to live downtown now, and if I could sum it up, it would be this: SUDDENLY CRAZY. Emboldened lawlessness. A year ago: living in a beautiful neighborhood with spectacular views, access to parks and restaurants, peaceable dog walks after dark. Now: Carjackings, fireworks, madmen muttering outside the front door, a spiky sense that anything outside of a block or two radius is questionable. These are long-time downtown residents.

It should be noted that they did not gentrify anything and drive out residents; the area was utterly depopulated until the condos were built in the husks of the old industrial buildings. They pay a huge amount of taxes. And they feel as if no one has their back, because no one does.

It’s not that no one can fight the disorder. It’s that there aren’t enough resources, and disorder is something they’re expected to accept.

It took 20 years to build up this part of the city, and three months to spoil it.



A classic noir, unseen for decades, underappreciated, now regarded as a minor masterpiece!


They don’t have to be that to be good. Sometimes a black-and-white story of betrayal and greed is just that, and doesn’t rise above its asperations, and is perfectly enjoyable anyway. Not everything has to be an undiscovered noir classic.

Although . . .

It has the vocabulary.

A restless man in a cheap rented room. He takes the wedding ring off a sleeping woman, and leaves town for . . .

We know this place, don’t we? Noir central. Unlike Bunker Hill, this still exists.

Soon we meet an attractive secretary, who works for a nice guy who likes her a lot, and you can't blame him.

She really pops. Faye Emerson. IMDB:

Synonymous with chic, the ever-fashionable Faye Emerson certainly qualified as one of the "first ladies" of TV glamor. Bedecked in sweeping, rather low-cut gowns and expensive, dangling jewelry, she was a highly poised and stylish presence on the small screen during its exciting "Golden Age". An enduring presence throughout the 1950s, she could have lasted much longer in her field of work had she so desired.

What . . . what did she desire?

Big career with an interesting detour:

At this juncture, Faye was probably better known as Mrs. Elliott Roosevelt, the fourth child of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, whom she married in 1944. Her husband was a war hero and author and the couple lived in the White House for a spell (FDR died in 1945).

Faye abruptly abandoned the Hollywood scene after her marriage and the couple instead became major figures in the New York social scene. Sometime after the war Elliott and Faye entered the Soviet Union as journalists where they interviewed Joseph Stalin for a national publication.

This is the first time in the history of Black and White World where the female lead sat down with Uncle Joe.

Well, the shady guy comes to town . . .

And boards with the Nice Smart Girl, and she falls in love with him. We can’t quite see why, today; he doesn’t look all that appealing.

Zachary Scott. Something of a boho free-spirit, I gather. From his imdb bio:

In 1951 he was arrested at a bar in Louisiana for violating segregation laws. He was in a black establishment drinking alcohol with African-Americans. he protested in court that he was invited to the bar by black men in uniform and that he was proud to drink with US soldiers.

He was arrested in the summer of 1961 in Hawaii for public intoxication. He was doing a hula dance outside a bar when he was arrested.

Lived at the Dakota; brain tumor took him out at age 51.

Anyway. The bad guy woos the good girl, then sets his sights on her younger sister.

Everyone’s in a mood, shall we say. Our nice secretary decides . . . well, you tell me whether she has his guy's number.

I won’t spoil anything, in case it comes along and you want to see it. There’s not a surprise in the entire movie, really. I’ve heard the story more times than I can count. Still enjoyed it, mostly for her -


- and because I’m a sucker for these unsung, lost-classic, unknown classic noirs.

That'll do; matchbooks await.



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