Saturday afternoon, after a magnificent nap, I went to Menards to get bulbs Home Depot did not have. Figured I would stop off at Verdi's for gyros, and here my troubles began. I do not expect prompt delivery of the order, but was a bit dismayed by the number of people sitting slumped in their chairs with numbers on sticks. To the counter guy:

I will have three gyros. The first is meat and cucumber sauce only. The second and third have meat, cucumber sauce, hummus, and tabouli.

Okay - that's . . . .one. Gyro?


With cucumber sauce. You want that on the side? In a cup?

No, pour it on. (As usual, I'm thinking.)

Okay . . . sorry, I'm new, I'm trying to figure out how to add humus.

I think: push the button marked "hummus," maybe. He gets the manager, and she explains it's extra. Fine. So is the tabouli. Fine. Hope the meat's included.

She says: you can get the build-your-own and choose five extras.

Oh. Right. I remember this. Instead of saying .59 for each extra ingredient, they jacked up the price to the Build-Your-Own model, with five choices. But I only want two. it's like, well, you can buy a cheese pizza for $7.99, or a Build-Your-Own for $12.99 that has five toppings. But I only want two! Hmm, that's going to be a problem.

She says she can order me a side of hummus with pita bread for $1.59, and I want to Nicholson her offer with a request to hold the bread, but then she makes a command decision and gives me the hummus for .59. Okay. But the tabouli -

Nevermind the tabouli. Let's pretend tabouli never happened. We will speak no more of tabouli.

So the guy rings up my order: two gyros with hummus on the side.

"And one with just meat and cucumber sauce."

"Oh, right, right, I forgot about that." I pay. A man walks up and notes he's been waiting for 30 minutes for his order, and, well, he's kinda curious.

More people come in. The people who are sitting around with numbers are still sitting around with numbers. There are four people in the kitchen.

Time passes. I get up to date on the Kathmandu earthquake. What was once synonymous with the Ends of the Earth is now a place where people tweet pictures via wifi. The man who waited 30 minutes gets his food, but he comes back and says there aren't any fries. More fries are ordered.

Five minutes later he is given his fries, with apologies, and with an admirable calmness the man observes the proffered fries and notes that he had requested the Greek Fries. The manager returns to the kitchen. She has my pity, but on the other hand she also has my pita. Five minutes later I hear her talking to someone in the kitchen about gyros, and she says "did you put the tabouli on the side?"

"No tabouli," I say from my chair. She looks up. You're sure? "Yes. Just . . . if I could just have them."

Because it has been 26 minutes, and that seems like a long time for something that you shave off a wad of meat and put in a piece of folded bread.

A few minutes later she gives the bags and apologizes and gives me a $15 gift card, and that's nice and I thank her but i don't want to go through this again. Every time I go there something is wrong. When they first opened they messed up every order for weeks on end. The last few times it takes 20 minutes to get a fargin' gyro, and yes there's a sign that says "don't let our counter service fool you - your order is cooked fresh, and that takes time!" But as I said in a tweet, unless I hear a lamb bleating as i walk in the door I think a staff of four can whip up three gyros in ten minutes.

Drove home. Daughter's meat-and-sauce-only gyro had lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. The others had hummus in the sandwich, with cucumber sauce on the side.

Sunday: Orchestra Hall! Seven seconds:

The chorale was for Verdi's Requium. They were adults. The orchestra was a high school orchestra.

In the evening we went to Betty Danger's Country Club, which is set up like a demimonde parody of the exclusive clubs. Tattooed staff with obligatory nose rings, men in vintage preppy gear, a riot of chintz and patterned wallpaper. In short, what people think a country club must look like, with the dials turned up to 11. As it happens I was in an actual country club last week, and not only did it look nothing like this place, it was almost indistinguishable from a very nice hotel's public spaces. But in order to deride something to your own satisfaction it is necessary to mischaracterize it. Because you know what it would really be if it was given its reins.

Like many country clubs, it has one of these.

Daughter brought two friends, and they had a wonderful time: you can get a beverage and snacks before you ride the "vertical patio." We left at just the right time . . .

That's the Iran-Iraq War Memorial. Well, no, it's a bridge. A lovely end to a perfect weekend, except for the gyros. And the fact that the dog ran away again. (We found him.)





No more Inner Sanctums to put Lon Chaney through the paces. Let's pause between big serious B&W entries and veer somewhat into Main Street territory with an educational film.

Yes, the question on every kid's lips.

There's really only three things I want out of these. Interior shots, machinery, and inadvertent documentary. This one has the last item aplenty, and opens with a shot of the American Main Street.

A fine early 20s structure. What are the chances I could find it on Google Earth without a clue about the location?


Or rather goodbye. Just rips the heart of a place when they lose good simple commercial structures like that.

Around the corner . . .

Some things maintain.

But enough of that; let's look in on the Johnsons, where Junior no doubt is asking his father What Is Business?

Two things: the wallpaper . . .

And the table. The modern table around which the Family would gather in the morning for communual ignoring by Pop, who was worried about the situation in Berlin.

You can tell they're a real family because there's Wheaties!

There's LOTS of Wheaties!

I know that brand of coffee, but not off the top of my head. I mean the name in the script; obviously it's MANOR HOUSE - which seems to be back, if you trust this page. I don't know. Brush Script font doesn't say they spent a lot on the package.

Anyway, here's how I know where it is.

Ah, but which Evanston? If you knew nothing about Evanstons or where they might be, this would help:

But why would it help? Some of you may know, and if you don't, there's no reason you should. Let's say you can't google the name of the theater. Yes, let's pretend we live in a world where you can't google the name of the theater. What other hints does the sign have?

That's right! OBVIOUSLY it's Illinois.

Okay, folks: how do I know that?

That's it for today! See you tomorrow.



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