Friday night, of course, is pizza night. It may come from an outside source, sometimes chosen for speed, sometimes for novelty. It may be baked in the oven at home, on a stone, and in this case yes it’s frozen. There are many fine options. I am partial to Connie’s, which leans on its fine sauce, and dusts well the underside of the crust. There’s always the Lotza Mozza, so named for reason you might expect - but it’s really not overly cheesed, and has a rambunctious sauce that makes up for the wet-newspaper crust.

Now and then I’ll buy something on sale, and learn my lesson: turns out that venerable local pizza place I’ve loved since I got here could not translate its products into the cryogenic format. I speak of Green Mill, which was the ur pizza in town in the late 70s. They had a bustling operation on Hennepin; I remember another branch on the other side of Lake Calhoun. Both are gone. Do they even exist anymore? Did this byword for dependable pizza just . . . vanish?

No; whew. But they’re mostly outstate now, or suburban. Interesting: I’ll bet the smaller towns see them as that pizza place from The Cities, and regard it as an upscale pie. Anyway: there’s always Jack’s, which is to say there’s never Jack’s - cheap, rote ingredients on a crust with the character of a manhole cover. Torino’s Party Pizza, a college staple, is now regarded as something that’s technically pizza, but a miserable iteration of the Platonic ideal. It began in the early years of pizza, built a rep, and I’m sure the thing you can buy today for a buck and change has nothing to do with the original’s cracker crust and cups-o’grease pepperoni.

I turned on the oven, set a timer for ten minutes to let it get up to the proper temp, and went back to my studio to while away some time. What to do? Ten minutes. Well, I’d downloaded some 1922 newspaper pages; ten minutes was enough to snip and resize some interesting comics. For example: this Beck fellow. It’s as if he had no style of his own whatsoever, and made a point of looking like Briggs, with a little Webster thrown in. It’s utterly unoriginal.

Not only is the style unoriginal, it’s another car strip. Gasoline Alley was the only one that survived, because King drew human stories and charming little moments out of his characters. These guys were just doing gags. Imagine if the 80s comic pages were full of Personal Computer Comics, all in the same style, making lame jokes about RAM.

One of the pages I downloaded had an amusing anti-Klan editorial, and a serialized story by Jacque Futrelle. This I had to read. When I was a kid I bought a Scholastic book called “The Thinking Machine,” and yes, I am repeating myself. I’ve mentioned this before. Early 20th century “detective” stories, with one knockout tale that ignited my imagination. Around the time I read the story I watched “A Night to Remember,” and when I learned that Futrelle went down with the Titanic, and probably had Thinking Machine stories with him when he died . . . well.

So I found all the parts of the serial, and found another, and downloaded it - and hey, what’s this? The Dec 1922 paper had a series of articles about life in 2023. Well, let’s find all of those. That will be a great feature for next year -

Oh right pizza

I went down to the kitchen, removed the pizza from the box, opened the oven door -

No heat flowed out. The interior was cold.

Had I not turned it on? No; it was on. It just wasn’t heating. Well, let’s try this setting, maybe I made an error. (I had not.) Let’s trip the circuit breaker and see it if resets. (It did not.)

Then the display said "hey you want to see all the lights I got? I got a lot of them."


Brand new. It worked last week and now it does not. I ended up getting out the toaster oven and sawing the damned frozen pizza in half to make it fit.

One-ply world.

Tomorrow: oh the fun I had at the appliance store, Part 3,092



And now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen, Frans Hals, c. 1622

Says the museum:

His happy, smiling pair sits comfortably close to each other. Posing a couple together in this way was highly unusual at the time. It may have been prompted by the sitters’ friendship with the painter and the occasion for the commission – their marriage in April 1622. The painting thus contains references to love and devotion, such as the garden of love at right, and at left an eryngium thistle, known in Dutch as 'mannentrouw’, or male fidelity.

Of course, the eryngium thistle; I leave one on my wife's chair all the time to remind me of my fidelity.

Close-up of the lace, looking like some electron microscopy of a tiny snowflake:

I wonder how difficult it was to keep these things from getting dented or ruined.

I always love the idyllic backgrounds. The imaginary buildings and statuary, the romantic ruins, the people just standing around.

"Yes, we keep our very short servants in the upstairs quarters; why do you ask?









Hah: "Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Old-time German residents often referred to Fredericksburg as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses."

Even better:

The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. Fredericksburg shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, which had been established by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels the previous year.

Well, there's a story. We'll get to that one of these days.

Ol’ Fredtown. Let’s take a stroll.

Completely intact:





Missouri native Albert Lee Patton (1851-1934), trained as a tinsmith, moved to Fredericksburg in the early 1870s. In 1897 he constructed this two-story native limestone building adjacent to the east side of his general mercantile and hardware store. The ground floor housed the Citizens Bank until it closed in 1932 and the second floor area was used as a residence by Patton, his wife Emma (Wahrmund), and their five children.

It’s a B&B now.



Texas-sized porch, son, I say a Texas-sized porch


Ewwww. OUMB:

It’s close to being Not Entirely Bad, but closer to being Mostly, Mostly Bad.

When the severe styles of the time and the desire for economy are confluent trends:

It’s boring, but it says CIVIC STRUCTURE.

I’m starting to think there might be a balcony culture in this fine Texas town.


As tight as they get. Look at that thing. Such self-possession . . .

. . . and pride, of course.

If I had to say, I’d say Bank.

And an unusual one, at that. Needs a bit more on the top, though. Not much. Just a bit.



An old bank, if you’d wondered:



Wonder when it went bust.


Yes, it’s one building, not two built at different times.

And a former Woolie's. I’d stake my reputation on it. Whatever reputation I have.

Didn’t do a good job of hiding its original purpose, did they?

Opened in 1922, and was in “continuous operation” until 2000.


Don’t know why I snipped this one, unless it’s to suggest that it was a warehouse or commercial structure that’s probably a boo-teek hostel now.


Sociologists speculated that the town was settled by people who had been displaced by floods, and had been so traumatized by the event they vowed to construct an entirely new society on the second floor.


More of the “trees really highlight urban vitality” argument.



What a strange, bizarre, wonderful building.

It was the White Elephant saloon.

More here.

Let us end with this . . . this thing. “I still can’t see the sea from my bedroom!”

(Two weeks later)







That'll do! More Main Streets, in postcard form, await.




blog comments powered by Disqus