Went on Wednesday errands with daughter; at one point she said “I wish I had wings.”

She is not five, so I don’t say “that’s a great idea, hon! What a creative little imagineer you are.” I said “That would be a greater bother than you think. For one thing, you’d have to get all your clothes tailored for holes. You would suffer social faux pas from dropping feathers everywhere. And if you were on a plane and it was going down, everyone would be staring daggers as you tried to open the emergency door.”

“Maybe not. Maybe they would be happy I survived.” Said partially in jest, not because she thinks the best of everyone.

“More likely they’d be hanging on to your leg, and then you couldn’t fly and you’d have to kick them off.” Pause. “It’s a metaphor for life.”

“That’s so deep.”

I should also report with parental pride that for the 30th time at Target, I asked her if she wanted the almonds or cashews, knowing the answer, and when she stated her preference I said “Gesundheit.”

Remember the endless tale of the backyard low-voltage lights? The rejiggering, the testing, the cussing, the burning sensation in the muscles from crouching, the wonderment over the narrow aperture of the lamps and the depth of the hole into which you were expected to put your fingers and fit a bulb into two tiny slots? Perhaps not. I didn't mention most of that, except for the rejiggering and the testing and cussing.

I did not at any point jigger, so I'm unsure how I could rejigger. I am also not sure whether dismantling everything i had done constituted unjiggering. But I went back to Home Depot for more lights, which I call the Goethe Department, and finished my plan.

Looks stupid.

I put three pathway lights along the back pathway. Trouble is, it doesn't read as a pathway at night, so the lights just look like . . . well, radioactive mushrooms in a forest. They will be moved to the side of the house, so no trouble. I put in three pathway lights under the bushes on the side of the house and redid the bulbs on a strand that hangs over a branch arching over the back stairs. Very nice except half the sockets are shot, so I'll have to replace it. Moved the backyard transformer to the front - remember him? Mr. Big Honking 600W transformer with a shot circuit? Turns out it has two - and adjusted everything to get the perfect effect:


Yes, the tree trucks are bathed in light; the branches of other trees are lit from beneath. The fence is washed with light. It's as good as it's ever been, and I managed to do it without complete revulsion when I replaced a light on a lamp impaled in an ant colony.

Oh how they swarmed. Ants and more ants and say there, here's some more, all over your hand as you try to fix the connection. Shake your hand all you want, the ants aren't flying off. You can rub your hand, but then you have ant paste everywhere, and I don't like killing ants. I despise insects completely but make an exception for ants, because A) they are not big; if ants were the size of cats or squirrels I don't think many people would leave the house for weeks on end. I mean, imagine a wall of foot-long ants trying to get into your house because they detected sugar. B) they are social and industrious, qualities I admire when the end result is not invasion and conquest.

It's not as if I can blame them. They were going about their lives when I pulled up the light, and then PROTECT THE QUEEN! chemicals flooded their world, along with a good amount of oh-crap-what-the-hell in the worker class.

Anyway, it all looks nice. Of course, I have to go back for more. Lights, not ants.

A new pointless feature! Rather than load this thing up with a million pictures after I've gone to the antique store, I'll dole them out a few at a time. Aren't you grateful. The store is . . .

I had no idea there was a London, Canada. Over 350K people. I also had no idea wafers could be dainty; I wonder if they changed the packaging when the word was taken up by the Femine Hygeine industry to describe the condition of being, well, not undainty.

From the inside lid of a metal storage box / seating unit, a look in to the childhood tropes of 1955:

What's Dad doing with his metal box? Relaxing and smoking, of course:

Mom? Primping on her cold hard metal cube:


Those damned things were all over the house. Couldn't walk around without tripping on one.




Another Main Street detour to a place that's seen better days. Did you enjoy Detroit? Then you're going to love . . .

Another battered, emptied post-industrial wasteland.

The Palace, as you probably suspect with weary resignation, has supporters who hope to restore it. Well. It's been closed for forty-three years.


When the Miss USA pageant was held in Gary in 2002, Donald Trump renovated the front of the theater. Sheets of plywood covering the windows were painted to depict a false interior, and an external marquee was mounted, declaring 'Jackson Five Tonite'.

Plastic signs reading 'Jackson Five Forever' were placed on both sides of the marquee after the death of Michael Jackson. Both signs have since been lost to the wind.

If you'd like to take a detour, here's some photos and history. It's trashed.

The end of the retail-office portion of the theater block:

Built in 1925. It's on the shortlist for demolition, but there's lots to tear down in Gary.

I've never seen a building that had a chunk bitten out of it.

There's nothing left of value to steal. Doesn't mean there's nothing in there.


If crime and despair could erode stone like wind and water, that might explain the sidewalk:

Yelp reports that it is closed. Really?

The name on the sign below - Vance's? A coffee shop, a bar - who knows. A place for businessmen traveling through, suitcase and samples case in hand. Maybe the fellow who delivered the movies to the Palace stayed here for a nap or a bite.

In the end, I'll bet they rented by the hour.

A hopping nightclub in the 70s, I'll bet.

Looks bruised and hungover now. BTW, I'm certain that was a 1910-1920s era building. The beam you see exposed, the pole - that thing has seen a lot of life. Or did before they blindfolded it.

The odd thing is that you don't know if these were all taken on Sunday or the middle of the week. You can't tell if WIGS is still open for business. You suspect not.

I'd love to get upstairs. You know the valuables are gone, as I said about the Palace, but it's the other stuff I'm interested in.

This one doesn't look entirely dead:


. . . so it's probably involved in social work.

On the other hand, I think this location has closed for business.

All that terra-cott. That wasn't cheap.


I can make out Plymouth; don't know the other names. Safe to say the warranties on the cars they sold have expired.

People used to mill around here, enjoying the sun before heading back in. Maybe have a Coke and a smoke. Take a look at the paper, read the scores, see what's playing downtown tonight.

Scoured to death, it seems.

Well, at least there's a church . . .


Burned and abandoned. Interior shots here. So: is there an old grand hotel now converted to a home for seniors who can look out and remember when everything was better? Of course.


There's a big old office tower as well. I wouldn't try the door.

Because it might be open. Because you might want to go in.

Google has changed their maps, or rather made the old classic version unreachable. The new pictures are hideous and distorted, and this segment will end in a month or so unless I can find cities they haven't switched over. They turned everything into distorted panoramic pictures. Brilliant.



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