Column night, so scant stuff up top - good thing I jotted some nonsense down earlier, so I wouldn’t have to write nonsense later. Also, a programming note: Th Portfolios - which I hope you’ve enjoyed; I think the Venice CA stuff is fascinating - ends today, and we proceed on to . . .

. . . to what?

There is a pattern to these things, you know. I’d intended to follow the usual path - Main Street postcards, then Restaurants. But not this year. Trust me, it’s not as if I don’t have the material. I do.

Anyway, next week we’ll have a late start on my favorite update series of them all. It will mark the 20th year of the series, too; I remember sitting in a room in New York City in 2000, working on the pages, kicking myself for naming the individual html files by the subject name instead of a numerical sequence. Linking was miserable.

It’s more poignant this year, for two reasons. 1, the industry will be suffering as travel sags, and 2. With each passing year, the number of people who have first-hand memories of these places diminishes. It’s hardly like losing the veterans of WW2, but when everyone who remembers a thing is gone, it’s like an item that was carried around in the pocket gets put on a shelf, forever. And then the misunderstandings begin.

Anyway, it’s Motels. A hundred cards, starting next Thursday.

I love the cartoons of Roz Chast, and was interested in her bookshelf. Everyone these days is interested in everyone’s bookshelves, which appear in the background on Zoom calls. This was from an Instagram post.

I'm sure a lot of the comments may have said "BIRB!" which is how you spell "bird" on the internet if youfollow along with these things because you think it marks you as a member of a particular culture. Why yes I am the sort of person who calls a snake a "snek," although danger noodle will suffice. SMOL BIRB! Gah.

Anyway. It’s always fun when you recognize books. Why, this person whose art I admire is just like me, inasmuch as we have a fleeting, essentially meaningless intersection in the form of some books that haven’t been cracked for thirty years!

This one hit home, because I had forgotten one, and have nostalgia for the other:

The book to the right of the spineless volume is a particular issue of Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter,” which I read in college. The McInerney book - still, to this day, the only book I ever threw across the room in irritation - was of course a big hit, the must read, but what I miss is the imprint: Vintage Contemporaries.

It was your guarantee of a cool, interesting read. A few were stinkers. The latter releases seemed to strain for effect - okay, right, eat the rich, whatever - but the imprint, at its height, gathered disparate tomes together into a graphic style that said interesting new stuff. It was so high-80s, and I miss it.

Then there’s this:

I can tell you the rough publication date by the typeface choice, which was all over the early 70s, usually associated with Philip Roth. I always hated that typeface.

The other book was the most influential book of my early reading years, inasmuch as I thought: can I do that?

I could, and I did it better, but I never got her money or fame. And that’s perfectly okay, because I have written literally hundreds more pieces than she has, and in the aggregate, I made more people laugh than Fran Lebowitz. I mean, she wrote a second book, which was lame, and then she quit, and is now a style icon, I guess.




  Popular comedian and writer. It's described thus: "Everyday Decisions is a weekly podcast with Comedy Central where Jo talks to people about the choices they made throughout the last 24 hours of their day.
  My choice was "not to finish the podcast"

As I might have mentioned, this is one of my favorites. in this one - Ep 161, and it's a loooong story - they're trying to stump a musician whose friends say he can identify whether music is from Star Wars or not. He turns out he knows all the John Williams score, but . . .

  OR THIS! I mean, if you're a musician, and know your Williams, how can you not know Williams' source material and inspirational predecessors?

This one I recommend.

I find most fictional podcasts a bit amateurish. Many, like this one, rely on the narrator talking into a tape recorder. This one has "found footage" from a 1950s PI. It's basically "The Black Dahlia" case, an audio noir. I enjoyed it completely.












You know what they say: as Falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls. Over 100 thousand souls. Fun tourist note: "A flood in 1886 destroyed the original falls on the Wichita River for which the city was named. After nearly 100 years of visitors wanting to visit the nonexistent falls, the city built an artificial waterfall beside the river in Lucy Park. 

A hundred years, and no one got the memo?

I dropped in at random, and was thrown back to the mythical Arabia of the late 60s!


This was not a popular style. It’s possible that the building originally had a purpose related to the style; it’s possible they were just trying this out to see if it worked.

It didn’t.

It's not a welcoming place, is it?


We’ll hit you with the OUMB off the top, and it’s a chunky little fellow, isn’t it?

Yes, definitely the wrong era for a building boom.



That overhang was a hallmark of the era. I don’t know what mood it was supposed to provide. Certainly not anything elevated.


Google Filgo, and you’ll learn about the building built by G. W. Filgo. The more I read, the more I was confused; this seems to describe a much bigger building.



This is the 1929 building. The little blue one was around the corner.

Whew! Figured that one out!

Always nice when we come across a theater early on in the wanderings; suggests they might be more than one.

Built in 1908; hasn’t shown a movie since 1980. “It is still open and operating as a performing arts center.”

Interesting quilted front. Hey, that sign looks interesting - let’s see!


Now you know why I’m not always a big enthusiast about downtown trees.

Those eyebrows overhangs . . .

. . . and the busted bricks above to betray its true face.

No comment.

You'll see two identical entrances, if you look for them.


What a peculiar facade, in every possible way.

The windows are usually a giveaway for a certain store. Do you know which one?

That’s my suspicion, anyway. No, I didn’t say what it was.

One third interesting . . .

. . . two thirds wretched.

Here I can’t say if the tree detract, or help salve the wound.

I like the glass-and-steel part, but the brick doesn’t work, and the base is too small.

Why didn’t the architect at the time realize how puny the base would look?

You can see why I want to do a second visit to the city:

It has to get better. Does it? We’ll see next week.

That'll do; Friday awaits. See you around.






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