Okay, today there really isn’t anything. Well, anything much. We have the Church Shakedown Dinner and it’s a column night. But there’s Lint and the Strib blog - did a piece on the Jolly Green Giant in advertising. He didn’t wear pants. Just a dress. One stiff wind, and hello Niblets. Also, motels - this time from Minnesota, and a few are actually in my neighborhood.

The comments are harsh. I love the comments sections on motels. You can expect odd spelling - “I HAD A HURRIBLE EXPERENCE!!!” - and peculiar complaints - “Fair They ran out of PAPER CUPS” - and attributes that may not be useful, such as “Close to a sick relative.”

I found those on a motel promo page that has perhaps the saddest picture you will see on the internet today:

That is hell.

You are either at a seminar or “retreat” from the low-paying job you hate or undergoing some “orientation” for a new job whose company promises great wealth, yet doesn’t seem to have an office of its own.

One of the nearby motels you’ll find in today’s page is the Metro Inn, and the website has the strangest motto I’ve ever seen:


If no one involved in the enterprise noticed that QUIET is the preferred spelling, you can imagine the attention to detail that attends other aspects of the establishment. Let me quote some more:

Our motel has 35 spacious and clean rooms with a variety of additional amenities cable TV with show Time, In-room refrigerators and Microwaves. We provide homely atmospher for our customer by alowing their pets stay with them in the room.

Homely and quite? What a deal. But that's only for their customer. If there's more than one, things change.

The other hotel is the Aqua City, whose location can be accurately described as “Halfway between the tire store and the cemetery.” It’s rated 43rd out of 50 motels in Minneapolis - possibly because the bottom seven have no reviews at all. So it’s the worst. The neighborhood, it’s safe to say, would like them replaced. Preferably by four-story apartment blocks that have nice shops on the ground floor that will empty out after two years and be replaced by a real estate office and perhaps an H & R Block firm that springs to life once a year.

In case you wonder why I’m interested in motels at all, it’s complex. The signs are magnificent, a true American art form. The diversity of the styles before everything was chained, and we had to stay in a place that had a Mission and a Signature Look and all the other things no one cares about. (Holiday Inns get a pass from me; a good 60s HI was a lovely thing all around, from the audacious glory of the Big Sign to the crisp modernism of the structures.) Nostalgia from childhood trips: when I was very young we came to Minneapolis, stayed at the most incredible thing I'd ever seen: a Howard Johnson. (Link goes to my site devoted to the actual HoJo where we stayed.)

Nostalgia, as well, for my aforementioned job as a seed salesman down south. I was on the road for two and a half months. I stayed in a motel every night. I think I had a $20 per diem for lodging and meals, so five-to-eight bucks was the price range. That bought a cot in a small joint on the edge of town, with scratchy towels and Palmolive soap, a TV that brought in two channels with all the enthusiasm of a dog bringing in a wet newspaper. I remember a few: I remember buying a six pack, putting it in the sink, covering it with ice I bought at the gas station, letting it chill, then sitting back to watch “I, Claudius” on the Public TV station in Tupelo, MS. It was on its first run, and I chased the show all over the south, always trying to land in a town on Friday night that pulled in a PBS channel. It was the sort of thing you do when you’re young. I was terribly lonely. I had a trucker tan on my left arm. I drove around listening to “Skylab’s Falling!” on the AM radio channel. One motel to the next, one town to the next, driving to tiny grocery stores to pick up Northrup King seed racks and sell them the next year’s orders. I was a Seed Man. I got the commercial rate. To open up the door and feel the cool air pour out: ahh. Labor’s done. Test the bed, turn on the bathroom light, set up the pictures, get a Nehi from the cooler humming down the breezeway, sit outside and watch the highway: the traveling life.

After a while it’s all you know.




Explain to me how this is different from . . .

Ald. Joe Moreno apparently has changed his mind about Chick-fil-A.
Nearly two months after the First Ward alderman discussed blocking the fast-food chain over "homophobic" public comments from its president, Moreno said this week he would allow a Logan Square location after all.

The about-face comes from a franchise agreement not to donate money to organizations that oppose gay marriage and to include in company documents a statement of respect for all sexual orientations, he told the Chicago Tribune.

. . . a government official saying you can open up your business if you don’t give to a conservative Catholic Church anymore. Explain to me why that's any concern of the state at all.


Oh, did I mention there's a book? See you around.













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