Ah, Friday. Same damn things! Piano pizza evening web-work while watching a black-and-white movie then downstairs for some ice cream and a recent movie!

No. Nope. The bonds of habit, they have been snipped. Recently I’ve started doing Friday work throughout the week, here and there; next week’s updates are all resized and laid out and mostly written. I will not go shopping on Saturday afternoon because I did it earlier in the week. Tuesday, to be exact. That’s correct. I shopped for next week’s dinners last Tuesday, in the evening. Target Cub Trader Joe’s Package Store for some spirits. It was a package store I’d never visited before, but I’d passed it weekly: nothing fancy. Old neon sign from the day when the strip was called the Miracle Mile. I was the only customer; the lady behind the counter was on the phone, and didn’t even look up when I entered. Said something about the neighborhood - I remember in DC when I’d enter a liquor store or a convenience store, and got an immediate scan for Threat Assessment from someone behind an inch of plastic.

“Hold on,” she said. “I have a customer.” She put the phone down. “My daughter,” she said. “She’s getting married.” She rang up my purchase. “She’s in another city, but they’re having the wedding here, in June, and I got something in the mail I thought she should take care of. But she already has!” She smiled. I handed over my card. We chatted for a while about the innumerable details of wedding preparation. I told her I hoped it all went just fine, and left.

I’ll never drive by again without wondering how the wedding went.

I’m reasonable sure the woman was the owner of the store, probably with her husband, and soon enough they’ll sell because it was time, and someone would take it over and make some changes. Clean out the things they no longer saw. It’ll still feel like a liquor store. They always feel slightly . . . what’s the word? Abashed? Shame-soaked? Every transaction has an element of averted eyes and sideways looks. Hello, these are the intoxificating spirits I prefer; I hope you don’t presume anything about my economic status or consumption patterns based on the price or the cheapness of the graphics on the label.

It’s hard to get it right. There’s an upscale store I pass that has a big boutique cheese-and-meat adjunct, and the fine design of the architecture and the logo says “damn right Jameson’s is always $24.99.” The bourbons are rated by the staff, who have consulted Bourbon Enthusiast Quarterly, and have made a nice hand-lettered sign informing us that Coyote Steam Single-Batch got a 92 rating in the last issue. Okay then. What’s that? It has notes of cinnamon and leather? That’s great if I want to drink a liquified saddle worn by someone farting a french-toast breakfast.

Well, I was going somewhere with this, but my wife couldn't sleep, so we sat around the kitchen table and caught up for an hour. I think I was leading up to talking about routine disruption some more, but who cares. I'll talk about that more on Monday.

EVERY Monday.

And now, stuff I wrote earlier.

I was paging through a 1927 McCalls I bought a year or so ago, as is my wont, and came across an illustration of a Lost City explorers were exploring, as was their wont. You think of guys in white pith helmets with small mustaches hacking through the jungle, one comely female in the party - usually the Professor’s daughter - and a rakish adventurer type who’s there to help the expedition find the Golden Orb of Ramadar, or something. The team would have lots of Native Bearers, who wore only shorts, and usually a member of the local culture who spoke English very well - too well, in fact, and that made him the object of suspicion. Often he was in league with the ancient order that protected the Golden Orb of Ramadar, which would be okay except that it was worshiped by a death-cult that killed its victims with a rare, undetectable poison made from a plant that grew only in the shadow of Mount Plutdavise.

Anyway, I stopped, stunned:


Uh . . . okay, you say. And so? No, this is big. I don’t mean to flatter myself, but what the hell. DAMN, I’M GOOD. I recognized the style right away, wondered could it be him? Checked the credits: indeed.

It’s entirely possible that this is the only example of this particular illustration on the web. And if it’s not on the web, you know, it might as well not exist. That would be nice. Think of it: a famous artist, revered for his unmistakable style and his enormous impact on architecture, and this has been lost since 1927. Here’s some more.




Want to guess who it is? Put your guesses in the comments. The answer is below, but you’ll have to highlight it to see it.

Answer on the line below this one:

Hugh Ferris.


It was a fine day, considering that daughter is still dealing with Strep, and stayed home, destroying her perfect attendance record. I tried to console her with the truth: it just means you showed up, it doesn't mean you did anything. Hitler had a perfect attendance record! Well, no, but, uh, don't worry about it. Yes we were proud when you got the award for perfect attendance. No we weren't lying about how it was a good thing. It's just - hey, you want lunch? Wouldn't lunch be great about now?

Spent part of the day trying to track down a few people for an interview, and didn't get a call back from a PR person for a small company you'd think would be dying for some exposure. I don't know what else would get in the way of calling me back, exactly. Not ME me, but the paper. It seems sometimes as if PR people think that sending out email is about all it takes these days; if they had any idea how much graymail we get at the newspaper they would try something different. I got a huge email about someone I should write about because she did something or other, and of course it was for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, and included a picture, and assured me that she’d been on GVTV’s “Porkloin Wars” or some such show, and the San Mercury Jose News said about her last performance “play enjoyed by all,” and her new book “Rewoked Cliche Colon: Tagline” had been praised by Dave Barry, who praised it for its “sequentially numbered pages.”

UNsubscribe. UNsubscribe. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, attempting to wrest control of my email from the forces of darkness.

SPEAKING OF WHICH: go HERE. Thank me later.

It's Main Streets Friday. This is not a detail from one of the cards; but it'll get you in the mood. Phoenix, once upon a time:



It was a chain, I thnk. I see references to the store in other cities, so perhaps it was a liquidation outfit. (Phoenician females may think: LAST CHANCE! Like that.)

So Main Streets is HERE: five more classic examples. Have a grand weekend!











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