Thanks to all for this very interesting and informative discussion. I am particularly interested in the comments about "miracle in a can" oil additives that actually work.
When I took the car to the shop a veteran mechanic looked it over and told me that the occasional billows of smoke emitted from the road pipe of the crank exhaust were not excessive and that he did not think that a compression test was warranted because the engine runs very smoothly. He suggested that the pistons and/or cylinders had probably become worn and somewhat tapered and that this and carbon build up caused by low speed travel had probably cause the rings to become clogged and not as effective as they should be -resulting in blow-by.
The car never emits a blue cloud from the exhaust pipe when I drive it - it just emits a moderate billow of smoke from the crank exhaust road pipe when I come to a stop at a red light - it dissipates fairly quickly- but it is embarrassing and does leave a burning oil smell that lingers and is not pleasant for passengers or bystanders. however, when I start the car in the garage and let it warm up for a few minutes, it leaves a patch of dry, black soot on the garage pad. The soot is dry and thick, similar in thickness and texture to what you would get from a wood burning fire - it really is amazing that the car doesn't emit a blue cloud - considering the amount of soot that it produces. I asked the mechanic if this indicated that the fuel mixture was too rich - but when he inspected the tailpipe he observed that the soot had curled back at the circumference of the end of the pipe - like a very faint mushroom head - and this lead him to conclude that it was definitely oil that was producing the soot. As to the rate of oil consumption - it is unnoticeable in normal city driving - but the oil appears pitch black on the dipstick shortly after it is changed
Local guys here have recommended that I use a fuel additive called "Rislone" and then Drive the car at 60 MPH for a couple of hours to see if that solves my problems. Now that the roads are ice covered here and will be until April at least, I will probably have to wait till then to try this out.