Legacies

EnidBuzz posted a ‘memory’ picture of two ladies dressed up in silly style, riding banana bikes to work. Both worked at Sears, and they were doing the annual Crazy Day in 1968.

Commenters had positive memories of the ladies and Sears. This one wins:

I worked at Sears back in 1976 and knew Lucille, she was a hoot.

Think of this in terms of legacies. Hoot is unquestionably a positive legacy.

Try some other legacies:

I worked at Sears back in 1976 and knew Marie, she always told the truth.

I worked at Sears back in 1976 and knew Darlene, she always obeyed the boss.

I worked at Sears back in 1976 and knew Pearl, she rigorously enforced all OSHA and Diversity regulations.

Those legacies are absurd and impossible.

Hoot beats Troot.

Ready when needed

It’s always a pleasant surprise when a needed bit of memory pops up after LONG storage.

I’m already grumpy from loss of sleep due to the psychopathic thunderstorms last night. Random yellow and red blobs on radar, sometimes missing, sometimes fading, sometimes suddenly growing, and ALWAYS coming from unexpected directions. Every time you think Okay, now we’re clear, now I can try going to slBANG CRASH FLASH!

This morning I was trying to listen to this podcast on economics because the participants sounded realistic. It’s inside Twitter, so I couldn’t access it fully to download it. More grumpy. All of the participants are on Substack, but none of them have provided the podcast there. More grumpy. So I just settled down to listen online.

Their first question was “Are we in a recession?” Time to shout at the screen.

MOST OF THIS FUCKING COUNTRY HAS BEEN IN A FUCKING RECESSION FOR 40 FUCKING YEARS! YOU ECONOMOIDS ONLY MEASURE THE DOW, NOT THE COUNTRY! THE DOW IS THE RECIPROCAL OF THE COUNTRY! DO YOU HEAR ME? THE RECIPROCAL, NOT THE ADDITIVE INVERSE…..

Wait. Additive inverse is a term I haven’t read or heard or thought about in the SAME 40 years. I use the math concept often in programming (Y = 1-X) but I never think of the words. Nevertheless, the words were sitting somewhere in my language storage, ready to SHOUT when needed.

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Admittedly, the above sentence is not likely to be SHOUTED in a protest…..

Interurbans lasted longer

Spending the afternoon in another Enid history FB page. One of the aerial photos seems to show the Big Horn that I wrote about a few years ago.

Most of the pics are purely local and personal interest. This one is interesting in a broader historical sense.

It shows a two-car train at the Frisco station. Interesting arrangement, a compromise between full-fledged train and interurban tram. The first car is 1/3 locomotive and 2/3 baggage. The second car is for passengers. All clean and shiny. The baggage section is carrying farm products, milk cans and sacks of grain.

One commenter mentioned that she took this train regularly to Lucien. (I’m guessing the terminus might have been Perry?) The route is among the Frisco interurbans mentioned in this 1915 description of Enid transportation.

She called it the Doodlebug, which was a common term for a yard locomotive. Judging by the Chevy next to the station, the date appears to be late ’30s, well past the golden age of interurbans.

Instant sale

For ten years I’d been walking and watching one vacant apartment building in the neighborhood. The renovation process was LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG at the start and fast at the finish. Five years of occasional activity, followed by five months of real work.

They rented the apts on 11/25/21. Then they immediately started building two new houses across the street. The start was superfast: both houses dried in after just one month. Since January they’ve been working steadily on the interiors, and now they’ve finished. A good example of 80/20. The supposedly hard part was done fast, the supposedly easy part took a lot longer.

Yesterday they were digging up the street and yard to connect the sewers.

Today both houses are occupied! Cars in the driveway, curtains in the windows, packing boxes in the garage.

The apts were never listed on Zillow, just a For Rent sign in the yard. The houses weren’t listed either, and Zillow hasn’t updated its map to include them. Maybe they were commissioned in advance, not built on spec?

Salty genes

This is a WONDERFUL story. A British church found an 1897 letter stuck between parts of a pew while remodeling. The letter sounded like a last-moment plea for salvation by a hopeless boy. He signed his name W. Elliott, so historians were able to trace the rest of the story. Elliott was orphaned when his father, a wealthy sea captain, went down with the ship. He was in an orphanage when he wrote the note.

He didn’t fail or die; he joined his sister in America, followed in his father’s footsteps, and served in the US Navy in both WW1 and WW2. He married twice and died in 1968, after a long and relatively prosperous life.

The story rings a bell with me because I found a hidden document in a similar place a few years ago. Not a dramatic note, just some 1938 junk mail that proved the Official Negative Family Story about Grandpa was wrong. He was also a WW1 Navy man, and the Navy training created the rest of his relatively prosperous career.

Cancelling is hardly new

Among the scattered preserves of OTR is one 1954 Mutual news broadcast by Frank Edwards, at KFWB in Los Angeles.

Edwards made a point of NOT insulting the audience. He was clearly trying to tell the truth as he saw it, and understood that normal people are also capable of seeing the truth.

In discussing unemployment stats, he mentioned that the official unemployment was considerably lower than real unemployment because a huge number of job seekers are automatically dropped from the rolls every week. “But you already knew that.”

Public health officials were distributing gamma globulin to help in the fight against polio, “though no evidence shows that gamma globulin helps. Well, if it doesn’t help against polio, it does help the company that sells the compound.”

Can you imagine a modern newsman saying that about muzzles and lockdowns and mRNA “vaccines”? Not even worth asking.

I wasn’t familiar with Edwards, so looked him up. His Mutual news was sponsored by AFL, and he was fired in 1954 because he was giving too much positive attention to CIO.

Broadcast Magazine tells a more detailed story. Reading between the lines: George Meany of AFL simply disliked Edwards, and made some sudden contract changes, knowing Edwards couldn’t go along with the changes.***

Edwards moved to local stations and focused more on scientific oddities like flying saucers, continuing to tell the truth as he saw it.

Was this his last network broadcast? That would explain why it was preserved. It includes a positive item about AFL and no mentions of CIO, so this wasn’t the immediate trigger.

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See also Don Hollenbeck, another truth-loving newsman who was lethally cancelled by Deepstate in the same year. Edwards was lucky to be fired by a sponsor, not killed by CIA. Radio was a fast-moving business at that time, and sudden firings were common. Edwards regained his balance and found his niche.

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** Footnote: Gamma globulin did work to some extent, and there was evidence, but the evidence was not “scientific” because good parents who wanted their kids to be healthy messed up the “scientific” trials. In hindsight Edwards was wrong about this, but the facts were not publicly available in 1954. His conclusion was valid from available facts.

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*** Footnote 2: Edwards later said that Meany wasn’t the culprit. The Air Force was pissed at Edwards for the UFO stuff, and they extorted Meany by threatening to move defense contracts to non-union companies.

When industries submerge

This British Youtuber covers some of the same old tech areas that I cover, with the same general attitude. He doesn’t go as far back in time, but he goes much deeper than I do.

In this clip he tells about the mysterious re-emergence of tape cassettes in recent years. How did they get underway so fast when old became new again? The answer is surprising.

Prisons.

For the usual arbitrary reasons, prisons only allowed cassettes for many years. No 8-track, no CDs, no digital formats. And they only allowed clear cassettes in clear players, so the guards wouldn’t have to use Xrays to watch for contraband.

When cassettes lost popularity, the cassette makers realized they had a literal captive audience, so they served it. When retro became fashionable again, the assembly lines were still running, so there was no need to set up new facilities.

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‘Second life’ stories are always fascinating. Several good cars were kicked out of US by planned obsolescence, then lived a long second life in Russia or Argentina or Brazil. Coherers were replaced by crystal detectors in 1910, but returned for an encore in computer memories.

The 10-year flip

I started daily walks in Dec 2011, always centered on one place in the neighborhood. My intention was to ‘pray’ the old building into better shape. It took exactly ten years. I’ve been tracking it in the blog at important change points….

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Some of the notes, sorted by date:

Dec 2011: The only apartment building in the neighborhood is a two-story wood structure, possibly a WW2 barracks extensively remodeled. It’s been decaying for a long time and fully abandoned for a couple years.

May 2017: This building has been vacant for 20 years, and was squatted and vandalized in the last 5 years. Now it’s for sale. Zillow’s advertisement is more of an avertissement:

Approximately 8 units in disrepair. Needs to be redeveloped if building is to remain multi unit zone. Buyer to complete any and all of their own investigation as to codes and condition. The 8 unit may not be Grandfathered in. Owner to verify.

In other words, you’re basically buying the lot and the zoning, but you can’t count on the zoning to stay multi. Doesn’t sound like a good deal for $150k, but this year I’m sure it will get snapped up. The building may be savable. The shingles have crumbled with age but the roof looks intact and straight, miraculously unhurt by the windstorms in recent years.

A few days later, Zillow no longer shows the for-sale indication for the apt, and it doesn’t even show the Zestimate. All houses not currently for sale have a Zestimate, and all give a basic set of Zinformation when you Zclick. Not this one. It has become a Zunproperty.

June 15, 2017: MAJOR ACTION, comparatively speaking. A little barbecue grill that has been sitting at one corner of the building for 20 years has been moved out to the curb. The two old trucks at the back of the property (one a ’61 Chevy panel truck) are gone. The manhole for the water meter is uncovered.

July 9, 2017: Looks like the action indication was false. The barbecue grill is back where it was, and squatters have opened the doors again.

Aug 27, 2017: Getting worse. All the first-floor windows are boarded, and now for the first time a couple of the upstairs windows have been broken FORCEFULLY. Looks like someone heaved a brick from the ground, which takes serious strength and intent.

Oct 4, 2017: Looks like the city dysgovernment has purchased the property.

Sept 2018: Still vacant. It was apparently sold back in January 2018, but the new owner hasn’t done anything new. Squatters are still in control.

Feb 2019: The squatters FINALLY forced police attention by lighting a fire in the garage. After that, the owner FINALLY boarded up every opening on the house.

Mar 9, 2019: Now a PECULIAR thing has happened. The roof has been tarped neatly with tape around the edges. There’s a temporary chain-link fence around the entire property, with a sign that says DANGER CONSTRUCTION ZONE.

Mar 16, 2019: I think they’re RENOVATING instead of tearing down. They’ve unboarded the windows and I can see drywall and insulation stacked inside. They took off the tarp and they’re reshingling the roof.

April 8, 2019: Roof is done, and now they’re clearing out the interior. Looks like they plan to leave it as apts, not open it into a single residence.

July 25, 2019: Real action again. The big dumpster is gone, indicating that stripping is done. They’ve pulled out all the windowframes, and they’ve removed the old circuit breaker box.

Oct 15, 2019: The windows and doors have been out for three months. Windblown snow and rain is covering the bare subfloor. What was the point of fixing the roof if they’re just going to let the whole thing flood and rot anyway?

Mar 11, 2020: A year after the previous start of action, another apparent start of action. Contractors with trailers have opened the fence and started doing something. Will they finish the teardown or finish the renovation? Not clear yet.

Jun 12, 2020: They’re working somewhat steadily. They’ve cased all the window and door openings, reframed interior walls, and pulled up old driveways and sidewalks. Formerly the bldg had 4 apts downstairs and 4 up. Now it looks like they’re intending 3 down and 1 up.

Sept 3, 2020: After another 3-month gap, action suddenly started again. Now they’re rewiring and replumbing.

Sept 11, 2020: WINDOWS!

Oct 10, 2020: DOORS! After many years partly open, and more than one year wide open, the building is finally dried in.

Dec 26, 2020: Now the siding is done. They’re still finishing off outside details, and seem to be working inside occasionally.

May 22, 2021: They’ve finished everything except the foundation. New windows, new doors, new siding, inner walls rearranged and drywalled, HVAC, electric. Today they’re back at work, doing something utterly absurd. They’re replacing the new outer doors with DIFFERENT new outer doors, which look the same to my eyes. Probably forced by the utterly insane city zoning board, which exists for the sole purpose of impoverishing the poor and enriching the rich. This city was actively engaged in destroying its own people LONG before the “virus” genocide.

Oct 2, 2021: After another long gap they returned to action. They added a patio on the back side, and now they’ve taken down the security fence. Still no fix on the foundation, and there are still doors and pieces stacked inside.

Oct 23, 2021: Looks like they’re finally FINISHING, all at once. They’ve cleared and landscaped the ground, wired up the porch lamps, turned on the power, and they’re actually closing up the foundation!

Oct 30, 2021: Now that they’re about finished, they’re suddenly starting a NEW project. The house across the street from the apt, a fairly nice ’30s Cape, has been vacant for a year. The developers are renovating it, and today they are digging foundations for two brand new houses next to it. Looks like they’ve subdivided the large lot of this house into three lots, and also subdivided the apt’s lot into three lots.

Nov 27, 2021: FOR RENT sign.

Dec 1, 2021: First tenant.

Dec 6, 2021: The first tenant has put up a Christmas tree! The old building is happy now. Houses and humans want to be used, and this house was abandoned and unused for 20 years.

Dec 14, 2021: Second tenant moved in, and one of the new houses across the street is already framed up. They’re moving much faster on this new project, literally weeks instead of years!

Dec 22, 2021: Both new houses are framed and sheathed.

Jan 16, 2022: Both new houses are dried in, all windows and doors in, roofs shingled. Weather doesn’t slow down these contractors. The architects have done a good job of matching the nice ’60s houses on the next block. These will fit in perfectly.

June 25, 2022: Both new houses finished and occupied. The interior took a lot longer than the exterior, five months of steady work. Yesterday they were digging up the street to connect the sewers. Today both houses have cars in the driveway and curtains in the windows. The renovated Cape Cod doesn’t seem to be occupied yet.

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Exactly ten years of walking and watching, and about five years of simulated action-like substance. If the genuine construction had been condensed into a steady full-time job, it would have taken about six weeks.