One of the things they tell kids who are going on exchange: don’t text home very much. The other thing they tell parents: don’t text your kid very much. At the last orientation one of the kids joked that you probably shouldn’t go five months without saying hello to your parents, but don’t use it as a security blanket.

She didn’t use that term, since I think that fell out of the vernacular when Peanuts ceased to be popular, or at least a common cultural reference. Can’t remember what she did say. A lot of what was said was just a welter of BBs on the tin roof of my brain; it’s like everyone is talking about a trip to Mars, and oh also I know the kids are actually going to Mars.

This is the last normal week, I think. It’ll all accelerate after this. The rush to get things tied up, make the preparations, schedule the various goodbyes, pack, plan, all of that - it’ll consume the last fortnight. But this all feels normal. We got up in the AM and went to the orthodontist’s to check the invisiline progress, and I was glancing through the magazines in the rack by the door while daughter made some appointment for a retainer fitting. One seemed amusing - an industry trade journal for orthodontists. Big smiling guy on the cover.

One of the stories: leadership lessons from L. Ron Hubbard


Now, I don’t think the place is owned by a Scientologist, but I’m damned sure curious to find out. It’s more likely they subscribed, or got it free, and didn’t do due diligence. But there’s no way in hell a legit Orthodontist trade mag just happens to have some advice from friendly genius L. Ron.

We laughed about it on the way home. And then I went to work and had the usual experience of going through all the normal motions of normal life, punctuated with a few hyper texts about visa issues - the electrical thrum that runs underneath everything - concluding with questions about dinner. It’s always pasta on this day; any special requests?


Pesto it is.

And in my head plays the same damned piece of music. It’s from “Peggy Sue Got Married,” and I used it in the video I made about bringing Daughter home from the hospital; it unstrings my bow every time, partly because it’s John Barry, but also because the scene under which is plays is so powerful. It’s one of my favorite movies. Woman goes to high school reunion, passes out, wakes up in 1960. She’s her grown self, back in senior year in high school, returning home.

In context.

I’ve known for years I would use that for the video that bookends the first, and I can’t do it. I can’t make it. I have all the raw material sitting in folders and I just cannot bear to do it.

It’s not that I don’t want to look back at the passage of time; I don’t mind that. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. It’s the ending. It’s the saying goodbye.

These days I feel as if I could say goodbye to anything, but not to Daughter. But it’s the one thing I’m bound to lose.

AND NOW, HE SAYS WITH UNNATURAL CHEER! From the Dept. of Misc., our Thursday feature:

Sunbeam ads!

Why? Because. I don't know. It's what we do here. I'm bound by the iron bands of tradition and habit. Having something substantial for Thursday in the Misc. department takes the pressure off, because Wednesday's a column day.

ANYWAY. The company's still around, but my recent experience with Sunbeam indicates that the rock-solid dependability of the products has not followed the brand into the 21st century.

My mom had this iron. It worked for thirty years.

Oh, the embarassment over "who's next." Make four at once! The humiliation is over! Social ostracization is a thing of the past when you have a four-waffle machine.

We had one of these, I think - I remember waiting for the red light. The fact that it had a new-type over-flow rim didn't matter to me. Nor did I expect the waffles to be "piping hot," because I'm pretty sure they weren't. Here's one definition of the word:

In Scotland, ceremonial dishes of food are often brought to the table to the accompaniment of bagpipes, i.e. they are 'piped in'. This could easily be imagined to be the origin of 'piping hot'. It isn't though. Nor does the phrase derive from food being 'piped aboard' ships. The derivation of this little phrase is the sizzling, whistling sound made by steam escaping from very hot food, which is similar to the sound of high-pitched musical pipes.

The article goes on to say:

Chaucer had also used the phrase, in language less accessible to us, but much earlier. This is from The Miller's Tale, circa 1390:

He sente hir pyment meeth and spiced ale
And wafres pipyng hoot out of the glede.

[He sent her sweetened wine and well-spiced ale
And waffles piping hot out of the fire]

These waffles have Chaucerian roots!

I had no idea that the secret of delicious coffee making was agitation; I thought that was the obvious end-product.

Set it! Forget it! No Watching! No Guesswork! THERE IS NO DILUTION.


Now that you're enjoying the Sunbeam Mixmaster, give him a shaver! Doesn't quite follow, but what the heck. If you're wondering what continuous-round shaving surface means, I'm not sure it matters; what counts is the pleasure you get when you're grinding this sucker into your skin in the morning.

Looks like Guy #1 used it on his head and became Guy #2, with more girning:

Love the container - never used, I'm sure; guys never get around to putting the thing back into the box. Why would you? It's a thing of beauty. Don't care how loud it is; don't care that it's corded - I just love the way the thing looks.


Belief was apparently challenged, if not just staggered, by this product.

I can see why: we don't have toasters today that have this level of automation. Every toaster I've ever seen requires the lever to be depressed. No longer does bread lower itself and turn on the current. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU AMERICA

Note that the toast neither pops nor bangs.



The Dalles: the reason for the name will be revealed next week, in part two. There’s a lot for a burg of 13,000 souls.



That’s nice, isn’t it? Classic small town view. Except the street is a one-way. I’d guess it wasn’t always so.

Another old citizen Buckaruined by the shingles and the bad 70s brick:


A fine piece of pre-war modernism (or maybe a few years after the war), but if you look closely you can see some 60s rock grafted on the ground floor..

The arcade was a nice idea, but the trees seem confused and vaguely hostile.

A. M Williams?

Ah, that helps - turns out it’s an ancient building, remodeled in 1938. Here’s the original.

Frozen in Time: Hotpoint and IOOF.

You know what those are, right? The latter is particularly essential for studying these downtowns. Masons, Elks, Oofers.

This was perfect mid-century renovation: the sign, yes, but the bricks, the planters, the seats - smart shoppers must have loved it.




Before that, something else; that faux "Deco" lettering wasn't original.


Looks the same as the facade above, but it’s one square taller. The sign’s original, although I’m not sure about the store’s name. Likely so, because they mixed-and-matched modern design with old-timey things like lanterns and western fonts. It wasn’t a good idea.


From the era of bars that shut out the world to the maximum extent possible . . .

. . . and the era of boarding houses for very thin people, it seems.

Holy Crow:


Wonder what happened in there, eh? Entertaining diversions, perhaps?

From an earlier view:


It does not seem to be a going concern.



The news earlier this year that the J.C. Penney store in downtown The Dalles was closing hit employees and customers alike fairly hard, and when the store finally locks its doors at the end of July, it will truly be the end of an era.

The Penney’s store at 212 E. Second St. has been a mainstay of the downtown area since 1914, more than a century ago.

But in February, Penney’s corporate office announced that it was closing 138 stores across the nation in an effort to build the company’s profitability.

Here’s a beaut to end our first visit:



Went up in 1929. More pictures here on Cinema Treasures - the interior looks original, and careworn - but apparently it’s being renovated, and will be filled again some day soon.


Tomorrow's Friday? How did that happen? Oh: the world turned around and ticked off another day. Dang. I wish it would just knock that off.

New motels await your perusal. See you around.


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