On errands, as usual for Wednesday. Choir has started up for Daughter again, so I do the provisionings while she’s warbling away. Traders Joe: check. Remembered not to get the Butter Chicken frozen entree, because that’s all I’d been getting, and we have three. A horrible imbalance. Passed on the Mac and Cheese ravioli, because child is not a child, but an autonomous individual who has unilaterally dispensed with Friday Pizza Night to Hang Out with Peers, meaning an unending series of frozen divots consumed in silence with the newspaper. Well, as the French say, the more things change, the more things change.

No, that’s not it. To be frank I always found that maxim a bit wanting. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, they were certainly saying that in Paris in 1943.

Infinite Hooch for supplies; another brand of bourbon to try, and no doubt something that comes from the same wide spigot as the rest. The label was better than most. There’s the Sipping Gentleman style, with serifs and an uncluttered design; there’s the “here’s what Matt Dillon would have bought if they’d had Adobe Illustrator and all these awesome fonts” style that’s supposed to make me think it’s honest frontier liquor with a unique American flavor that hearkens back to the time when a man could just shoot his horse if the mood took him and not fill out any paperwork. Then there are some really ugly ones which do not conform to the BBQ Label Principle- i.e., the more venerable the brand the more hideous the label. (I make an exception for Stubb’s.)

Then Target, which I don’t have any feeling for any more. They fired Dale, the guy in the wheelchair. That place was his life, and I know that’s not high on the list of factors when managers consider an employee’s usefulness, but they just took the heart out of the place and it’s just a store now. Can’t say that the firing was a sign of the company losing its way, because of course it hasn’t, but it caps a few years of watching them drift and get all the little things wrong.

Then Cub, where prices are prole-tastic and the general mood is “let’s make this fast.” While checking out I put a bottle in a bag, and the self-serve scale didn’t read it, and I didn’t see this before I’d taken the bag off the scale. Of course that screwed everything up. A manager would need to approve, since I’d already skipped bagging one item. For all they knew I was taking low-price UPCs and using them on big slabs of meat. The manager beeped the magic code without looking at anything.

“I did bag it,” I said.

“It doesn’t read it if it’s on the floor,” he said, pointing to my bag.

“I know. I put it in the bag before I removed the bag.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said.

OH NO SIR IT MATTERS. Yes, it does. It particularly matters if you think I am so stupid I put the item in the bag while it was on the floor and expected the scale to know it. Don’t you tell me it doesn’t matter. My honor as a self-bagger has been called into question and I demand satisfaction!

But he was already gone and I was staring hard into empty air.

It does matter, i said, much like Galileo leaving the meeting with the Pope and and muttering “it does move” under his breath. Was that the quote? Yet move it doth. Or something. Probably apocryphal. Don’t think there was a scribe at his sleeve taking down his sotto voce utterances.

This is a nifty story: an old Los Angeles cafeteria comes back to life. The Clifton had a kitschy interior - fake trees, faux tiki (although that’s probably redundant), waterfalls. Other locations went full googie. It was renovated and ruined. The exterior was covered up with modern metal panels; the interiors were stripped and painted battleship grey, just to remind the patrons that the era of exuberant American restaurant theatricality had been replaced by the featureless ennui of minimalism. It may have deadened the soul and felt like a cold thumb on a weak heart, but at least it was a clean break with the past! Oh boo, you awful past.

Warning: the article notes that the founder of the cafeteria was quite religious, and even had a chapel in the place. It is fair to assume he might not have been on the proper side of things as they are understood today, and your enjoyment of the rehabbed building may suffer as you contemplate these errors. In the future cellphones will have a little app that pops on when you encounter retrograde emanations of the past, and Whoopi Goldberg explains sadly that this was the way things were.

Anyway: here’s a little 12 second thing I made from Google Street View.

Another story here.

Today's Tiny Lies update: The McCleary Treatment will clear up those "treacherous rectal troubles." And we meet our old friend Operator No. 38.


Over 42,000 appointments! In 1938, that was 96% of all the new jobs.




Post Offices: they don't make them like they used to.


They couldn't if they wanted to. They can only make these.

Population: 2,775 or so. "It was once known as the Banana Capital of the World because 70% of imported bananas to the U.S. used to be shipped there." An odd place for such a banana hub, but here's why: "The United Fruit Co, now Chiquita, began shipping bananas from South America by ship to New Orleans. The bananas were loaded onto railcars on top of 162 pound blocks of ice for the trip north. Fulton had the only ice house on the route north to Chicago. The bananas were re-iced with blocks from the Fulton Ice Plant, now closed."

Let's see what yellow money did for the town.

I've never seen an awning that was so reflective.

At least the windows weren't bricked. They look as if there could have been much more window, but no doubt there was a structural reason for it looking as it did. Makes you wonder how much of the upper part was just facade, just for show.


It's like two inanimate objects waiting for the bus.

The sidewalk speaks to some sort of "urban renewal" idea; they always think patterned sidewalks are the key.

It's impossible to buid in this style and not have a certain amount of modern solidity and ever-permanent futurism.

Lots of steps for such a narrow door, though.


This one never had many pretentions. It was a building. People worked here. Rent was paid. The rain ran down the sloped roof like it was supposed to. What more do you need?

Office of someone, according to the Ghost Sign. Possibly banana related.



A charmless structure with some stories to tell: that sign must have said something else before it became home to two emblems for the Masons.

The brick indicates something changed, but I'll be switched if I can tell you what it is.


It's like it was renovated by the firm that specialized in removal of any humanizing detail.

The library.


Scoff all you want and snicker that most small towns had a nice Carnegie, but they had a library.

Now, if I had to guess, I'd say this was once some type of train depot. It's right by the tracks. It looks like those robbers who wear a nylon over their faces.


Also by the tracks: the building, perhaps, where the fruit was iced.

Sic transit gloria banana.


The work week's almost done. The Bleat's done entirely - but of course there are motels awaiting you. Enjoy, and I'll see you around.



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