Column night, and also have to work on a piece of art for the paper. This is something new. I came up with an idea for the art for my next architecture piece, and said I would mock it up to show them the idea. Turns out they liked it, and so: years of Photoshop work pay off with something in a real newspaper. From video to music to photography to art, I’ve been able to apply every single hobby to my job. Which is why I love my job.
And I like where I work. (Warning: this is all pretty dull)
I took a walk through a neighborhood of downtown I don’t visit much. No reason - atriums, office towers, with cafes for the people who work in the area. I’d bet that everyone who works downtown has a three-block radius for their lunch and coffee preferences, and anything beyond that feels as if it’s foreign territory. When you’re in your skyway area, it’s home base; the people feel like fellow citizens. Six, seven blocks away, who knows what they’re laughing about? This is the Oracle Tower, buddy; we have jokes you wouldn’t understand. Now run along back to your skyways where they’re laughing about accountancy. Oh that’s right no one laughs about that.
Took the walk because I wanted to get up and move after lunch, because it’s that or fall asleep from a sugar crash (someone brought cupcakes.) Headed west and only took routes less traveled, just to keep my mental map fresh. This meant taking a left at Peace Coffee - makes sense, I suppose - and going down the secret staircase to the lobby of the Kimpton hotel, then walking towards Orchestra Hall in the sun until I got to the Broccoli Building. (Not its name, but we used to call it that because of its shape.) Then I let instinct take me east, and noticed the walls are up around the atrium of the TCF Bank building.
It was the deadest, most unhappy spot downtown - a three-story mausoleum done in dark brown brick, with a fountain that didn’t work anymore. There used to be chairs and tables, but the indigent camped; there used to be a cafe, but it withered and vanished. The floors had a circular pattern favored by 70s architects. They’ve taken it out.
And now I miss them.
The atrium will be brighter and lively when it’s finished, I’m sure, but the 70s flooring I will miss - simply because it anchors the place to its time.
Across the street, they’re redoing the exterior of a boring building to make it more attractive:
I think they ruined the original office block with modernization, and this is an attempt to open it up a bit. The corner’s been cut and there will be a big wide metal line going around the corner, as if to say “this is a fun place to work with a brew pub and foosball. Please start an internet business here k thnx” The rest of the building will still be just as dull. I mean, look at those horizontal bands, pushing the building down; they couldn’t make the thing more earthbound if they’d placed enormous downward-pointing arrows on the roof.
None of this means anything, except that I’m glad I have a city where I can walk around. I see the suburban office towers standing in the middle of a parking lot with nothing around but two-story office parks and a gas station, and I think I would soon have the mood of the character in the Police song, “Synchronicity.” (Cliches aside, and it’s full of them, it’s not a bad piece.)
Anyway. I don't know why I got on this, but this is what life is like in a cold city with elevated tunnels. The view from my office of the skyway I take to my car:
And this is the view from down there up to the location where I took the picture.
And now you know where I go and what it looks like. Isn't your life so much better now?
No, didn't think so. But there you go.
This week's feature is "The Friendliest Corner," where people ask for pen pals. "Miss Morris," who did not exist, was the go-between. You wrote to the others through the magazine. Let's see what people wanted in 1937.
Again with the oodles:
Keddie has some stories about California:
I enjoy housework. Well, so do I, if it's minor cleaning; vacuuming and floor-washing is a chore. Housework was a bit more involved in 1937.
Fancywork is embroidery.
These people sound so hopelessly dull. No doubt they were edited for clarity, but there's a uniformity of tone that makes them all sound the same - pimply, unattractive, sitting in an underheated room staring at a picture tacked up to cover a crack in the plaster.
We are at present studying the rampage of evil brought to you by . . .
What have we this week?
Well, he would, wouldn't he.
Ella Neal, in case I haven't mentioned it. Amusing side note:
Mysterious Doctor Satan was originally planned as a Superman serial for Republic, but the license National Comics provided to the Fleischer Studios to make their Superman cartoon series was exclusive and therefore prevented other film companies from using the character at the time, even in a non-animated production. The script was subsequently reworked with a new character standing in for Superman. The Copperhead's love interest, Lois, had only her surname changed between these drafts, while his secret identity, down to the surname, mimicked Batman.
What, BOB Wayne? Yeah.
Anyway. If you remember, she was about to be poisoned by this Rube Goldberg scheme Mysteriously Ineffectual Dr. Satan rigged up, but we know what’ll happen. She’s too cute to die.
Dr. Satan has forced Good Dr. Scott to build a remote control for his army of Roberts, as he calls them sometimes, and in the dead of night one of the monsters is taken to the bank to do its evil work.
They got this going for them: they really blend in.
It’s a smart movie; they haven't used the Roberts much, so they have some dramatic power. As much as a big can of soup without a table as dramatic power, anyway.
A rare interesting shot in a serial:
Unfortunately for the guard, he’s allergic to sparklers:
The cops show up, kill a hench, but the other hench and the Robert get away. Bob Wayne, who is secretly the Copperhead, decides to go to Ferndale to investigate.
The Robert is used to steal more Tunginite, the unobtanium element used to create the remote controls. Bob goes up with his friend Speed, who hasn’t had much to do in this serial. We see the perils of fist fighting in a CHEMICAL DEPOT:
Could that be . . . foreshadowing? Well, yes. The Robert slugs the Copperhead and knocks him to the floor. And so:
You're not supposed to see the revelation of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, but for once, there it is.
That'll do! See you around.
A new site, long promised, starts today; hotels from a century ago.