Another from my Richard Estes series up there, except that I didn't paint them, like he did. A not insignificant distinction. It's not my favorite, and has no composition in this version - I could crop, but I just like the chaos on one side and the relative calm on the other. That's how it looked without manipulation, and when you think about it, the ability of the brain to look at that sight and process everything without breaking a sweat is remarkable.

It dropped forty degrees in the course of the day. Warm and humid, then the winds came while I was washing the windows. It had to be done, since a muddy rain a fortnight ago sullied the glass, and this was the last possible moment I could get it clean. Otherwise we're looking through a sheet of dirt for the next five months.

Traders Joe, as my French former brother-in-law used to call it, around 7:30 PM. The music on the speakers overhead kicks into ZZ Top’s “Stages,” from the height of their unlikely but completely deserved MTV popularity era. Halfway through the song it faded down, replaced by some anodyne spa music - misty synths, a little pan flute. Tranquilizing gas/ The clerk asked me how I was tonight.

“Fine, but I want to know who turned down the ZZ Top,” I said.

“The Z . . Z . . . what?”

I gave him the always-handy Walter-Matthau-At-The-End-of-The-Taking-of-Pelham-Movie look.

"The Top. Ahh, you kids today! It’s your cultural heritage!”

“What was it?”

“Chugging blues bar band that rode clever videos and catchy riffs to popular success in the 80s, went synth without sacrificing their cred.”

“Oh! Well I’ll have to check that out. Anyway I didn’t change the music.”

“I didn’t think you did. Are they trying to wind everything down?”

“Yeesssss, when it gets late the music gets chill.”

I figured as much. Obviously it’s on a strict pre-determined schedule, because they cut the Top right in half to get to the soothing sounds. I'm sure it's scientifically determined. Possibly managed from a central computer at the main HQ, far away. Perhaps it's what Colossus ended up doing.


Next to Target, to get one thing. They didn't have it. This meant I had to go to Cub, which I'm trying not to do. As I mentioned before, what was once the downmarket-but-cheap experience is now more expensive. Great move, guys. Well, let's pick up the coffee I like. They didn't have it. They did have a sale on low-carb ice-cream, which is probably horrible, but one can hope. To get the coupon, you had to use your phone to look at a QR code, which sent you to their website, where you logged in.

FER THE LOVVA MIKE, you have to be kidding me. Maybe it's on their app? Oh, I'm logged out of that. The webpage doesn't load for some reason. I mentioned this to the harried self-checkout guest-facilitator, and she just took off a dollar, explaining that their computers were not talking to the home computer tonight. She waved her hand in a vague gestures of "things are amiss in the ether."

I bade her to stay, because I was about to buy one (1) jalapeno, and the scale refuses to believe that anyone buys one (1) jalapeno. ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED. She has to enter a number and reassure the scale that everything's okay.

Back to the car, wincing in the wind, thinking: this is it, now. This is the start of the long haul. But I knew that when I was in the spirits wing of Traders Joe. My grocery bag had a seasonal motif - a picture of houses heaped with snow, with the phrase " . . . and everything nice" on the side. You can just cut and dice all the cliches as you like. You can put just "Believe" or "Joy" in the proper festive font and you're good. The bag was not enough to confirm the holiday mood, but I saw a display of Glugwine. Or Gluhwien, whatever. It's red. It's meant to be served hot, as it has been pre-mulled for your convenience. The label has an illustration of people in a European village wearing long scarves and looking merry, and it has the look of something made in 1947.

Bought it. Why? Because I think we had it last year, and no one went blind from it, and it made the house smell like the holidays. So I've set aside, and - get this - I'm looking forward to it.

Ergo The Season has probably began. BELIEVE WONDER JOY 'TIS!


The Stadium apartments are now in the enjoyable stage. No longer a concrete stump, no longer earthbound, but picking up momentum and lifting off.

Something else I noted today, or rather remembered: you become accustomed to new buildings quickly, and forget what things once looked like. This was about six years ago:

And today.

All for the better.

Lance zeroes in on something a lesser cop might not have noted:

Don't you wonder whether Mr. Burgess was a butcher?

Solution is here.



I’m not a fan of Inner Sanctum, but I’ll listen to it when it comes on. The host segments are the most entertaining parts - very bad puns, but great over-the-top delivery. The style of the ghoulish host with the knowing leer was perfected by Raymond Johnson, whom we’ll hear in a minute.

Here’s the odd thing: the show was repackaged for Armed Forces Radio for no good reason. Instead of just playing the Inner Sanctum, which the lads in uniform presumably knew, they recast it as the Mystery Playhouse. Various stars introduced the show, including Howard Duff, and often began with the phrase “hello, creeps.” It’s an off-putting line, at least to modern ears. I’m not a creep, and I don’t want to hang around them.

This one is introduced by Peter Lorre. Who introduces Raymond. Who introduces the play, starring . . . Peter Lorre.

It seems so unnecessary.


The next week, Lorre wasn’t available, so instead of just playing the damned Inner Sanctum, they brought in someone else. Ah, but who? Who of the SIX PEOPLE WHO DID ALL OF RADIO would it be? Here he is, standing in for the guy who wasn't the announcer, but who introduced the guy who was.


I don’t think anyone ever got much of a shiver out of “The Man in Black.” Kearns brought no particular malice or menace to the role, and besides, Suspense didn’t need an introductory character. They’d drop it eventually.

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922.

More from Whiteman, who ruled the charts.


Hot Lips. That's rather naughty.


1954: wouldn't you rather drive a Plymouth? No, that's not right






Thanks for stopping by! See you on Monday - but first, more Bygone People to peruse.




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