Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going to Ground

Traveling, with dodgy internet.  I think I'm going to ground for a couple of days, or maybe weeks.  Look for me in two weeks, or maybe three, or maybe less.  Meanwhile, I leave you with fa (supposed) factoid, and some questions.  The factoid, if it is one: I am advised that among the grave goods found with the mummies of Egyption pharaohs, we find contraceptives.  This prompts at least three questions:
  • Why do you need contraceptives in the afterlife?  Are they afraid of too many little pharaohs running around?
  • What does an ancient Egyptian contraceptive look like?
  • Why would a pharaoh need a contraceptive anyway?
Okay, maybe it is an Egyptian Urban Myth,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ivan Channels the Late Molly Ivins

“Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be 
president of the United States, please pay attention.”

Dutch Social Capital: A Footnote

I'm savoring an anomaly about social capital.  The subject is the Dutch, again, and their notable reputation for probity: strong social capital like this has to be built into the tradition, you have to start a long time ago, not so?

Fine, but here's the thing.   So much of the modern Dutch identity is tied up, at least for an older generation with the resistance to the Nazis in World War II.m  And here's the real thing: it turns out the success of the resistance (if it was as a success) owes its success to one of the most massive financial frauds in modern history.

Here's the deal, as laid out in an exhibit at the Dutch Resistance Museum here in Amsterdam.  Turns out there was a banker named Wally van Hall,   By the Museum's account, van Hall was co-creator of something called the "National Assistance Fund," in truth the "Bank of the Resistance."  Through an extensive network of ground-level operatives, the bank funneled some 83 million guilders to resistance fighters during the war.

A fair amount of the work might be described as simply "underground."  But the core of the operation was a caper that would do Alec Guiness proud.  As I get it, here's the deal: the Dutch National Bank was in the hands of the Nazis.  The resistance bankers created fake Dutch Treasury bonds.  They then traded the fake bonds for real bonds and turned the real bonds into cash.  By this means, it is said, the resistance succeeded in liberating some 51 million guilders, the Nazis apparently all unknowing.   Here's a somewhat more detailed narrative, albeit unsourced.

By several accounts, the scheme was the brainchild not of Wally but of his older brother, Gijsbert van Hall, apparently a more experienced banker than Wally (and thus more adept at the logistics of fraud)?   Sadly, Wally was captured by the Nazis and murdered  just a few months before the end of the war.  Gijsbert lived on for another twenty-plus years--and here is where the story really starts to give you the yimyams.  Apparently Gijsbert returned to his career in (above-ground) banking after the war, but then moved into politics, scandalizing his banking colleagues by joining up with Labor.  He went to be mayor of Amsterdam--where he met the unhappy fate of presiding over the Provo revolution and attendant disturbances.  The higher-ups finally removed him from office, a discredited old man who, so it appears, could not cope with or even understand the young.

Of such stuff is the Dutch posture of rectitude constructed.  Go figure.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dutch Courage

Kudos to Anonymous for urging me to visit the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, which I probably would have ignored without his advice. It's a remarkable collection of documents and artifacts, made the more remarkable by its evenhandedness in addressing not merely resistance but also collaboration and the art of just getting along.   Say what you like about the Dutch (and they're not perfect), you've got to admire people who are willing to address their own past so clear-sightedly (or translated: where the right political forces can engineer a project of this sort in the teeth of inevitable opposition).

One item that is notably absent from the enterprise at hand: Anne Frank, whose own hideout across town has probably done at least as much for Dutch tourism as sex and drugs.  She gets no more than an incidental mention here.  I think this is as it should be.  Hers is an extraordinary story (and I have not the slightest doubt that the canonical version is in large measure true).  But she was only one of some 110,000 who went to the camps; one of only perhaps 25,000 who hid out.   It would be impudent to let her dominate here as well.

And there is another angle, although I am not quite sure how it plays out.  My guess is that the respectable Dutch have--well, I wouldn't say "gloried in her demise," but certainly profited from her affecting narrative, because it does so much to cast the whole story of Hollanders under the Nazis in  a sympathetic light.  There were indeed many brave Dutch people who shielded and otherwise protected Jews from the Nazis, and otherwise worked to resist the occupation.  But as you might expect from any country under such unspeakable stress, there were others who did not acquit themselves so well. The messier version of the story is, well, messier. But it does more honor to the truth, and thereby to history itself.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Time, Gentlemen, Please

Last orders:  The Dutch will reclassify high-potency cannabis as a hard drug, thereby putting the skids under every "coffee shop" (heh!) in town.  Worse, they'll put limits on purchase by tourists (which pretty much kicks a hole in the Chez Buce theory that the tourist industry runs on vice).

Link, and thanks, Joel.

Words to Live By

Most of the three million Miles Davis tribute albums are lame.



Back when I felt entitled to have an opinion about this sort of thing, I thought Frans Brüggen to be the best recorder player in the world. Perhaps better, the only one worth taking seriously as a musician, rather than merely a master of technique. I don't recall that I ever saw him live but I had a stack of his records (i.e., LPs). His style was absolutely distinctive: I don't know anyone else whose playing is so inward, almost as if he didn't know that (or care whether) there was anyone else in earshot.

At the time--this would have been the 70s--I thought he must be a specialized taste: an obscure instrument, normally reserved for kindergarten students, from a small country, seemingly indifferent to his public. But it seems like I needn't have bothered: it seems that Brüggen has always been a force to conjure with on his own turf,  not merely as a performer but also as a conductor. The "Orchestra of the 18th Century," which he co-founded in 1981, has built itself an honorable place in its distinctive repertoire.

I actually wasn't thinking of much of this when I bought tickets for a performance here this afternoon at Amsterdam Concertgebouw. I mean, who knew that "Orkest van de Achttiende Eeuw" meant "Orchestra of the 18th Century," and that the man himself would take the chair.

So, a special occasion, dampened by the observation that he looks frighteningly frail. If I count right he is just 76 and that's not old, now is it? He was always slender; now he is more slender. He sat down to conduct. He left the congratulatory bouquet on the stage, as if he couldn't coordinate the departure of both the flowers and himself.

But there was nothing wrong with his conducting, which seemed has disciplined and arresting as ever. And if Brüggen is nearing the end of his career, he offered as pendant a woman who seems to be somewhere near the apex of hers. That would be Mary-Ellen Nesi, a Cypro-Canadian mezzo whose plummy mezzo carried off a Telemann cantata with such conviction you pretty much forgot it was Telemann.

Afterthought: A glance at the Orchestra's website convinces me I must be getting carried away here. They seem to have a full concert card and a recording program--everything you would expect from musicians at the top of their game. I don't know, maybe there are other conductors; maybe he has a clone. But is it such a big deal if he can't pick up the flowers?

Tall Dutch

Tacitius in his Germania says you'd better watch out for those Germans--those dudes are tall.  Well now he would say that, wouldn't he?  He's Italian.  But lately I learn that the Dutch (maybe Tacitus would have thought them German) are now the tallest people in the world, with an average height for all adults of a bit over six feet (All?  Men and women together?).   Good diet, they say, lots of cheese; good child care and relatively equal income distribution (the Netherlands Gini index, on not-quite-up-to-date data; comes in at about 31, versus the US (and world average) number of 41.

Walking the streets of Amsterdam, I'd have to agree that there are plenty of tall Dutch.  Yet there don't seem to be quite as many as you would expect, given the data.   Maybe the point is not that there are so many really tall Dutch as that there aren't that many short ones.

Also: people remark on how the increased height is a fairly new phenomenon, that military recruitment records (in particular) confirm that the Dutch were shorter as Century ago, and hey, isn't that true of all of us?  Yet again, the really tall people you see around here don't seem to be concentrated among the very young.  An awful lot of the six-plusses that I  see look to be pretty close to my age.  But as Groucho said, who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Den Haag

Queen Wilhelmina has a trick (has a trick)
Of eating oysters off a stick (off a stick);
Her gown is low but not too ti-i-ight
And them that slips, she gets at night (gets at night).

Excepting only Washington, DC, I suspect The Hague imports more law professors than any other city in the world.  Also war criminals, although I am not sure they warehouse them in the same place.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Vincent in Context

I'd never been to Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum until yesterday. I't say it's worth the trip, though perhaps not for reasons they tell you in the guide book.

Thing is, it is not a parade of Vincent's greatest hits. There are a few hits here, but a lot of the show-stoppers are in other places. What it does offer are two rather different inducements. One, it is an overview of an entire career. And two, it does an exemplary job of putting him in context--the context of those he was influenced by and (to a lesser extent) those he influenced.

Career: one kind of good museum show is the one that shows you the whole career arc from start to finish. You can't do that with novels (how long would it take you to read all of Dickens? Of Henry James?). I suppose you might do it in a way with music but it might be s stretch. With an artist, you can see him as he develops, makes false starts, imitates (better, "responds to") others, finally finds his way--and then, perhaps, evolves, although in the case of Van Gogh, of course, he died before he had a chance to do much evolving (apparently he thought he was burnt out but we'll never know). In the present case, I'm surprised to find out how much "Van Gogh before Van Gogh" there is. Almost everything we remember of Van Gogh comes from a year or two at the end of his life. His entire artistic life lasts only about 10 years. It turns out that during the early period, he painted a lot. You'd have to grant that not much of it is memorable in the way the famous stuff is. But it is still fascinating to watch him as he tries pointillism, tries Toulouse-Lautrec, tried (especially) Japanese print technique and suchlike. Recall Beckett's rule: fail again, fail better.

Influence: the museum offers an impressive collection of work that Van Gogh would have seen and by which he was clearly impressed. Toulouse, Seurat, Pissaro and suchlike. Again these aren't the ones that bring in the crowds but it doesn't matter. They're still better than almost anybody else and in any event, it is interesting to see how they fit. There's a smaller but still instructive display suggesting Van Gogh's own influence after his tragically short career: Fauvism, German Expressionism and suchlike. One can only wish they had more.

In short, this is a museum with a plan, well-articulated and well-executed. If there is some kind of prize for curating, I'd say these guys deserve it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Annals of Health Care: an Amsterdam GP

A couple of days ago here in Amsterdam, we came through one those medical Euromoments that American tourists love to tell about back  home. We have nothing to add to the conventional wisdom but I'll tell the story anyway. Plot spoiler, it ends well.

Anyway, Mrs. Buce came home from a day on the town experiencing those symptoms you know are probably nothing, but could be something awful. A brief Google inquiry proved equivocal, so we made a  phone call to the lady who had delivered our apartment keys.  Oh, she said, there is a doctor right next door. I mean  literally.  Next door.

We popped on over--this was about twenty to five in the afternoon and sure enough, there was a little doctor-symbol.  We opened the door into a long narrow hallway.  We could see a light behind an open door at the back. There were two empty chairs.  Almost out of sight in a recess at the top of a stairway was a woman seated behind a little tea-table with an Apple laptop.  After about three questions, she said--well, the doctor can see you in a few minutes but he has to make a couple of phone calls first.  Do you have insurance?  Tourists?  Well, you'll have to pay now but we'll give you a receipt to take home.

Sure enough, after about five minutes, a slender little man in levis and open shirt popped out from behind the lighted doorway.   Indian, I'd guess, though more from the name on his card than from appearance.  He took us back to a largeish, mostly empty, room, where he seated himself behind another Apple laptop.  I say "mostly empty:" actually, there were bits of apparatus in various corners that looked like they might be diagnostic equipment. There were some shelves with piles of papers that might have been document unfiled since the Great Tulip Mania.

Mrs. B gave her her account.  The doctor (he is a doctor, yes?) responded quickly that he didn't think it was anything to worry about.  He took one brief look at the trouble spot and said--no, probably nothing.  But if it gets worse, you can come back.  And let me give you the address of an all-night first-aid center.  Most of the conversation was reassurance; he did indulge himself with some not-so-sly digs at the excesses of  US medicine. And he fielded a couple of phone calls from (as he said) the hospital, reporting on patients he had seen earlier in the day.  His Iphone ringtone is the quacking duck.

And then he typed a bit on his laptop and printed us on a receipt and sent us off.  The girl at the desk took our money? Visa?  No, but there is an ATM in the street if you need it.  And we were on our way.

I know, I know. The point is the total non-eventness of this event.  And the low overhead: one front-desk person, but no nurse, no nurse practitioner, no physician's assistant--and most of all, no biller. Here, I suppose I echo Paul Krugman's point about as defining feature of American medicine, i.e., the amount of time and money we spend establishing liability for (i.e., "getting out of") paying claims.  Had we had a local card, I suppose the young woman would have slipped it into a card-reader and that would have been that.   There is also--I am more tentative here--the question of malpractice.  Is it so that the doctor can be casual because he doesn't have to worry about being sued?   Anyway, the story is that there isn't any story and that's the story.  And the ringtone duck.

Dutch Manners

We've committed a predictable number of rookie traveller errors in Holland over the past few days. No surprise there; the interesting part is the reaction of those who encounter us. On at least four occasions, somebody has intervened with a quick fix that solved out problem. Nothing flashy. Just slam, bam, thank you ma'am and we're done.

Item, the bus driver told us out pass wouldn't work on his bus. But then he said--that's all right, it's only four stops, come ahead (the bus was only half full).  Item, we picked up the "expensive" plate in the self-service restaurant when the cheaper was all we needed.  The server insisted that we dump our food off the expensive plate and onto a cheaper. Item, the guard at the museum door signed his name to the top of the ticket so we could slip out for an otherwise unauthorized lunch break. Item, another guard trotted back to get us a map so we wouldn't have to recross out through security.

Call it kindness, hospitality, blah blah and you're right. But it's more than that: it's simple pragmatism.  In each case, our benefactor saw something that would help us at no cost to him (her)  and so they went ahead and did it.  Once again, we seem to be in a country where people just want to make things work.  I'm particularly impressed with the bus driver who obviously did not worry for a moment that he might get in trouble with a supervisor for breaking a bureaucratic rule.

There' also the matter of attitude: others have remarked that the Dutch have a strong streak of egalitarianism, in the sense of  "you're no better than I am" (stories about their universally negative response to the seeming pretensions of the Pope are part of the folklore).    So the help, when it arrives, is no-nonsense and direct. The server who told us to change planes seemed almost to be scolding us.  Of course she wasn't; she was doing us a favor.  Translated, the Dutch are not servile. What a relief.  Servile gives me the creeps.

In this respect --"you're no better than I am"--I can think of a surprising comparison.  Surprising to me anyway: that would be the Israelis.  That's another country where, in my experience, you son'r want to show too much attitude, but if you don't, then things will work out pretty well.

Another, related, Israeli/Dutch comparison: the food.  No, no, the Israelis don't do cheese, and the Dutch don't do salad for breakfast.  But in each place it seems to me that the food is (a) usually better than adequate; and (b) rarely outstanding.  Not too much show.

But I do like salad for breakfast.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cultural Chauvinism Note

I'm still in Amsterdam, still in the shadow of the Westerkerk.  And earshot: they've got a carillon, and it plays night and day: this the church whose bells Ann Frank wrote that she liked to listen to before the Nazis carted them away for the war effort  (for a downloadable ringtone version, go here).  Folks in Holland seem to be proud of their carillons: I've heard several so far, and there's even a cute little display at the Amstrerdam History Museum where you get to sample them by pressing buttons.  The Westerkerk varies the program on a pattern I have not yet discerned (or no pattern at all).  They do seem to repeat and so far, no St. Louis Blues.

I don't mind it, and perhaps I even like it though I wonder what it might be like after a year or so.  I grew up within earshot of the bell on a country church that tolled the hours, though it was a couple of miles away and pretty faint (the church is still there), I wonder about the bells?).  I suppose I thought that was okay, though I suppose that it was mostly just part of the background noise.

But I have to confess, in  Muslim country, when I get waked by the muezzin, I get annoyed: why can't they just shut up and let me sleep?  Is this pure cultural chauvinism?  Or well-grounded musical taste?

Update: For a more nuanced view, go here.

Am I Old Fashioned or What? Kindle Pricing

Folks at Digitopoly, channeling Matt Yglesias, are exploring a(n alleged) puzzle in pricing: should Amazon sell Kindles cheap and charge a lot for content?  Or vice versa?

Now I know I'
m a codger.  Nobody seems to be conceptualizing in terms of what I thought was the ancient maxim, i.e., "give away the pipes, sell the bubbles."   Or is this maxim so discredited that no one need speak of it any more?

Footnote:  This new blog is getting more buzz than any introduction I remember (I'm a fan). I wonder how it will look in a month?

Ancient History Note: The Provos

You remember the Provos?  I always liked the Provos.  They were the Dutch anarchists who anticipated the Yippies: they made protest fun.  The Provos were the guys--this would have been '64-'65--who manipulated the cops into busting them for marijuana, only to find dog food. Or to get themselves arrested for leafleting with blank paper (the ultimate anarchist protest!) .  Formally, they lasted just two or three years, and people will say they accomplished zip but I don't agree: I suspect they had a lot to do with reshuffling the deck of Netherlandish politics in ways that resonate still today.

But here's the thng: apparently some of them are still around.  Well: Robert Jasper Grootveld, who painted "K" (for cancer) on cigarette billboards?     He  died a couple of years back (of lung disease).  But his partner-in-theatre Roel van Duijn is still active: he's held public office as a green; he offers advice on macrobiotics and heartbreak; he's coming out with an autobiography.  Perhaps the most interesting is Luud Schemmelpenninck, who gets credit as the father of the "white bycicle."    You remember the white bicycle?  Evidently the provos declared they would paint their bicycles white and dedicate them to public use.  The City Council slapped on an ordinance  saying it was illegal to have a bicycle without a lock. So the provos put on locks--all of which took the same key (or maybe they put on combination looks, and painted the combintion on the side--same diff).,  Schemmelpennick evidently went on to a distinguished career as a sort of an urban designer.  He is in some sense the grandfather of the variety of car-sharing schemes that have grown up over the past few years.

There are others.  It's nice to know they are still alive, but in an odd way, the very fact that they're still around is a jarring reminder of how much Dutch politics and social life have changed over the last 45  years.  After Pym Fortuin. after Theo van Gogh, after Geert Wilders, it is hard to imagine anything as beguiling and unaffected as a white bicycle.

Followup:  Considering this and related issues, Mrs. B offers an acerb insight into why the  Dutch, whatever their second thoughts, will not give up on such 60s legacies ad dope and prostitution: there's too much money in it.  Now you've got the who complex of tourism-related business-hotels, restaurants and suchlike--so heavily invested in the vice game, you just can't expect it to just go away. Like Frank Zappa said about why there would never be atomic war: too much real estate.

There's a helpful catalog of weblinks on the Provos at the bottom of the Wiki page.  Oddly enough, the English-language version is more extensive than the Dutch.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Something Else I just Learned

I suppose you knew, but I just found it out.  Anyway, do you know what the "dam" stands for in "Amsterdam"?  Stands for "dam."  Like Clark Gable told Vivian Leigh: "Frankly my dear, I'm going to build a dam."

So, "dam on the Amstel," a dammed-up river of beer.  No wonder it is so popular with tourists.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Rule #1: Don't Bet the Pension

Mr. Kluge also agreed to pay her close to $1 million a year for life, those people said. But as the banks closed in, she sold off the rights to future payments for just $5 million,
Link, chronicling the bankruptcy of Patricia Kluge, widow of the late zillionaire.  H/T, Rebekah, and count no man fortunate until he is dead.

Dust Thou Art...

Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Sc.1

Sarcerdotal Amsterdam

Having spent most of Saturday knocking about the neighborhood of Amsterdam's sex shops and weed joints, we thought it only fair that we give over Sunday to divine worship.  In truth, the transaction wasn't all  that sharp.  For one thing, our association with religion is about as detached as our association with the sex shops.  In each case, we're observers; in the case of the the churches, it's the music.

As if to complete the connection, if it's church music you want  Amsterdam, one of the best places to keep your eye on is the Oude Kerk which is ensconced smack dab in a semi-circle of brothels.  I don't really know whether the Kerk is Oude enough to precede the brothels  (I do know some of the girls looked like--oh, cut that out).  The point  is the music was wonderful: a choral evensong with selections from Gibbons and Poulenc and others, presented by an organist and a choir which, with a membership of about as dozen,  checked in at a bit more than half the number of the audience.  The church itself is worth a side-trip (in tourist-talk): a chronological mess, begun by the Catholics, later taken over and expanded by the Protestants, now functioning as some sort of joint entity, like the World-Telegraph and Sun (I'd love to know who put up the rood-screen).

In the morning, we betook ourselves to as rather different venue. But "betook" is too strong a word: for the moment we have fetched up in an apartment that is virtually in the side yard of the Wester Kerk, which I believe I read somewhere claims to have been the largest Protestant Church before St. Paul's in London. Compared to the Oude Kerke, this was a different sort of operation entirely.  Instead of 20-odd congregants, there were a couple of hundred, and they weren't all old and beaten-down, as you might more likely find in the tourist-destination churches of Western Europe: these folks liked like locals with jobs and lives and suchlike, who just wanted to come to church.  Only one non-white face: might have been Indonesian.

Music--the organ again--was the big draw here, and it didn't disappoint, but I have to say a word about the preacher: a sixtyish woman who (per the website) has held forth here since 1995.  The whole affair was carried off in Dutch (I assume!) but I must say, the lady's got style: she speaks with a kind of bluff, understated irony and she has the gestures and modulation that make her fun to hear even if you can't understand a word she is saying.  I bet she aced homiletics in Divinity School.  The website says she is the author of a book on Mary mother of Jesus titled, if you believe Google Translate,  A Maid in Elevated Stands.  Maybe "elevated stands" are what you need to make your way through the streets of this swampy city in rainy weather.

Amsterdam Bicycles

I come from bicycle country so there shouldn't be anything new about a community that moves on two wheels, but it seems that there are styles and styles of the velocipedic life, and Amsterdam is not Palookaville.

One: Bikes here are more modest. Lots of three-speeds and one-speeds. And they look as if they spend a lot of their time out in the wind and the rain--which is to say, pretty much like the people.

Two: they've all got those little old fashioned ding-ding bells. Makes perfect sense in the environment. Palookaville bikes are mostly whirling along the open road where they compete with cars, and what car would ever hear a ding-ding bell? But the Amsterdam bikes have to power their way through crowds of the pedestrians. The bell is a courtesy: you better step aside or I willl mow you down.

Three: no helmets. I should think a head injury would be just as calamitous here as at home; maybe the pace and the shape of the crowd is such that you're just not going to fall on your head.

Update--Dutch:  Run the entry above through Google Translate from Dutch, and you come up with: I come from there so Country Bicycle Should not be anything new about a community That Moves on Two Wheels, but it Seems That there are styles and styles of the velocipedic life, and Amsterdam is not Palookaville. One: Bikes here are more modest. Lots of three-speeds and one-speeds. And They Look As If They spend a lot of Their Time Out in the wind and the rain - which is to say, pretty much like the people. Two: They've all got Those little old fashioned ding-ding bells. Makes perfect sense in the environment. Palookaville bikes are mostly along the open road where whirling They compete with cars, and what car would ever hear a bell ding-ding? But the Amsterdam bikes have power to Their way through crowds of the Pedestrians. The bell is a courtesy you better step aside or I willl mow you down. Three: no helmets. Should I think a head injury would be just as calamitous as here at home, maybe the pace and the shape of the crowd That you're just not Such is going to fall on your head. 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Ah, Problem Solved

Happily, the baggage has arrived.  And compliments to my friend Nancy who says she can't bear to believe that her underwear is having more fun than she is.

Report from Sex Central

Rambling through the old sex bazaar in Amsterdam makes me remember a doctor I knew who treated young people in those days: he it was who told me they were coming upon diseases that didn't have Greek names because they had been eradicated (we thought) before medicine had acquired a Greek vocabulary.  The whole neighborhood has a bit of that same flavor these days: something out of time, or simply behind the times, or too stuck in time while the whole world has moved to a whole new sexual vocabulary, such as to make the Amsterdam scene almost a museum curiosity.  Same with the coffee shops (heh!) that radiate blue smoke and blue music (not quite blues music) left over from a time when a marijuana brownie was something you whispered to your friends about.

The crowd, too, seems--well, not quite perfunctory, but does seem to lack the urgency and spirit of adventure that might have dominated in another time. One thinks of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls saying "I came to shoot crap; let's shoot crap."  The real novelty to me is the great proliferation of "Argentine" (really?) beef.  How many steers have died, I wonder, to keep up the morale of a city so long ruled by other forms of pink flesh?

Photo Finish

Kodak going bankrupt.

Film at 11.

Afterthought: years ago I visited the Kodak facility in Rochester NY.  They had battalions of guys in white coats who spent all day  underground developing your film.  "We hire people who are comfortable working alone," the tour guide said. I wonder if the guys are still down there, and will somebody tell them to leave?

H/T Wichita Bureau, home writing headlines.