Not in the mood for Christmas. Yet. I'm thinking ahead, though - at Traders Joe I picked up the annual batch of STROOPENWAFFELS, which is either a carmel-waffle-cookie thing or a German special forces unit, and some Peppermint-chocolate covered pretzels crisps, which I recall as underwhelming. But it's a tradition!

I went to the Mall for an errand, and saw the decorations. Eh. Not yet. Nothing clicks. The song on the way in was "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree," which has almost no redeeming qualities beyond familiarity. One can, perhaps rock in a semi-circle in proximity to the tree, but it would have to be centrally located for one to rock around it. They usually follow a "rockin'" song with something wistful and full of Warm Feelings, so they played the skating song from the Charlie Brown special. I swear I fight that every year: NO, YOU WILL NOT DEMAND THOSE EMOTIONS OF ME. NOT NOW.

I walked out with haste, only to be followed by the song outside, because the speakers were playing it. FEEL THE FEEINGS!


Anyway. Friday already. Hope you had a good week. I did. It helped to go the office every day. On Wednesday the fellow who sits in the adjacent veal pen showed up, and we talked about movies and TV and travel and strange museums, as in the olden times. Made me realize that the only people I ever see on a regular basis are family members, and while that's fine, you do need to be among people who see you through a different prism.

Anyway. Detritus? I have some.

I’ve been working through another batch of Chain Store Age, and found something that seems indicative of a big shift. Something that explains a lot of the anti-automation sentiment that pops up in Twilight Zone eps or cartoons or sci-fi stories.

It’s this.

So what? you say. We’ll get to that. First, this guy.

I know the artist drew for Mad; I recognize that smile, somehow.

Everyone’s coming to marvel at the new era. Look, Bob - cold drinks!

So why is this slightly ominous? Chain Store Age, in the early 60s, started to deal with the subject of Vending, as it was known. They talked up its virtues and advantages, depicted nice public spaces where people sat around enjoying the products provided by Vending. But you have to realize what it replaced. From this to that.

While restaurants would’t be going away - soon, at least - a cost-conscious drug store manager could swap out the counter for a Vending array, and save lots of money. What would be lost? Well, everything. Freshness, aromas, conviviality, human interaction. Instead of placing an order for someone to cook, you clattered coins into a box that spat out a prefab sandwich. Instead of fresh-brewed coffee, you got hot brackish swill in a paper cup. Where once there was a cafe, there was now an inscrutable wall of machinery.

This wasn’t entirely new - Automats and Horn & Hardarts and others had been vending for years, but there was always a human on the other side of the little doors and slots.

This was the rise of the robots, and everyone could see where this was going.

They weren’t entirely right, but they weren’t entirely wrong to worry.

That phrase above really seems like it's from another era. Oh, we got the overhaul, all right.

Anyway. The view from the skyway, which now includes a new skyway.

The glass is up on the grand entrance, and the personality of the lower floors is starting to emerge.

The weekly sweep:

On the other side of town, the Larking's up a floor. Which is good, because that's what happens when you pay a lot of guys to build something.

When finished, it wil complete a series of residential towers that added everything except the feeling of a residential neighborhood. No shops, no drug stories, no grocery outlets. Yet.

It beats parking lots. 


There's a phone at the shore?


Solution is here.






It's our last visit with the wandering philosopher.

Have you ever thought about the tool that creates the grooves in soft metal?





Have you ever failed, because of some other loser?




The Great Architect! This is straight-up MASONRY!




Well, we've had a time, and nevermore shall we meet.




There's never any good reason not to make some time for Jimmy.



Always makes me smile, this guy.






1945 Xmas ad. Whatever are they selling? The suspense is mounting.


And we're done with another week! Thank you for your visits, and I hope they've been worth your time. Now go to the bathroom.



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