It is a night of heavy writing - big words like “ballast” and “anchor” and “avoirdupois” and “Margaret Dumont” - so you will forgive that bane of the lazy writer, the Antique Store Findings Bleat. Well, this lazy writer.

While I am writing, in case you care, I am ripping the last of the DVDs, freeing myself from the tyranny of physical media. You may ask: what if your computer crashes and you lose everything? Ha ha! He don’t know me very well, do he. My backups range from multiple copies to printouts of the binary code. Remember that scene from “Titanic”? This should bring it back:


That’s the code used to reproduce one hair on Kate Winslet’s head, but you get the idea. Anyway, if I lose it, I lose it. Now we’re at the point of archiving things Once Seen Which May Possibly Not Be Seen Again. I find myself revisiting everything every five years or so, though. Passions and interests go in cycles. Every half-decade I get suddenly interested in Chaplin again, and am convinced of his genius, the latter movies notwithstanding.

But here’s something I’m pretty sure I’ll never watch again:

The Sopranos. Not because I didn’t like it; I did. But there’s no point in watching it again, is there? This season, Carmella moves out! Next season, Tony sleeps in the garage! Also, whacking. I don’t care about Christopher’s stupid movie ambitions. I don’t care about Umberto Sottobosso making a play, or the Feds moving in, or Dr. Husky-Voice asking Tony if he has issues with the fact that Uncle J is losing bowel control, which is symbolic of how things have changed because in the old days, those guys, they were stand-up guys, they had absolute mastery over their movements, y'know? And now for guys like me, it seems the days of bein' able to hold it are over.

It’s not that it wasn’t good. It was a great ride. But I never want to spend time with his children again. I don’t care about his miserable old uncle. You had to be there. I was there. I’m not going back.



Went to Hunt and Gather on the usual archeological expedition, and found a few matchbooks. One of them came with stationery for the hotel:



The tall tower is not the hotel. That’s the LeVeque tower, built at the end of the 20s by an insurance company. The cost of the structure and Old Man Depression ruined the firm. The premiums built the tower, and the people who paid in - well, sorry, pal.

Pardon my ignorance about Ohio, but I find it remarkable that Columbus had a 47-story structure from the 20s. Three cities, each starting with C, each with a very tall old building.


The simple majesty of a bowling pin label:



Have you ever considered the complexity and ingenuity of the automatic pin setter? I grew up with these, and thought nothing of them; they were just one of the helpful robots you encountered in daily life, like the doors that opened automatically at the grocery store. I loved getting a glimpse of pins moving around in the background on their way to be reset; it was a window into a vast machine behind the lanes. The Brunswick logo changed to a strange B, but I always preferred the crisp authority of the AMF logo - perhaps because that’s what they had at Red River Lanes. We went there after Thanksgiving one year; I was young, and hence thought it was the height of cleverness and hilarity when I got a turkey. On Thanksgiving! Hah.

The bowling alley always smelled like hamburgers and cigarettes. A lot of places smelled like hamburger and cigarettes back then, like the basement of the department store where they had the lunch counter, or the basement of the drugstore where they had the lunch counter, or the Woolworths, where they had a lunch counter. Nothing much smells like this anymore.

Picture frames used to come with celebrities, it seems:



“Yeah, it’s pathetic, but it’s a gig.”

You find old patterns on the floor of Hunt and Gather - fragments left from old dumps, laid down like rugs. This is some linoleum from the “keep adding motifs until there isn’t any room” school. A little Mondriany Broadway-Boogie-Woogie:



Designs from the past weren't always tasteful. Makes you wonder how many ugly patterns have vanished entirely because no one thought anyone would want to see such a thing again. Burn it! Douse with kerosene and burn it!


Someone’s entire collection of tiny hand-painted Presidents. Collect ‘em all! Daub them! Line ‘em up and pretend they’re arguing the applications of the Commerce Clause, I guess:



TR laid out one of them, possibly for impugning his war record, or calling into question the wisdom of his South American voyage, considering the toll it took on his health.




They had huge rolls of waxed paper for bread. Who knows where they’ve rested all these years. Perfect condition. Tastee:



. . . and the oddly tautological slogan:



Mad-Men era tray tables:



The humble beauty of an old label, from the realistic style of product design. . .




. . . and the cheaptastic dregs of a 70s-era peanut butter, complete with crude towhead in a cap no child ever wore.



Outside, a big sign dedicated to people who like to ruin comment threads by being the inaugural poster, and saying nothing:



One of these days I'm going to film the place, so you get a better sense of it. You really won't believe it. But that's later! Back to work - enjoy your day, and I'll see you around.










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