(Note: there was a Bleat yesterda;. I forgot to upload the index page. Sorry! You can always adjust the date in the URL to the week and day of the week. So Wednesday would be 23.html.)

Rote day, and a perfect one. Can’t find a thing wrong with it, mostly because I’ve already memory-holed the two bad things that happened. I mean, they happened; it’s annoying; people are annoying; random things are annoying. But there’s no use crying over spilled milk, unless it went into the keyboard of your laptop. Then you can make some wailing sounds, which might not technically be considered crying in the “sobbing bereft child who does not understand the quantity of milk that remains available,” but fall into the “Cry out” category. Or course there’s the thing where you cry havoc, when you are letting slip the dogs of war, and so I imagine one could cry havoc when the milk is spilled, because there was a lot of crazy things going on. Or you could cry havoc in the process of flailing about in a bloody state of war lust, and thus you would be technically crying over spilled milk, along with other manifestations of disorder.

Anyway, no milk was involved at all, so I shouldn’t even have brought it up. I did spill a bit of coffee when I went up to the office kitchen to fill the urn. Talked to a co-worker who came in rarely, and found himself unable to use the automated cash register. We have a row of snacks available for purchase, as they say on the plane, and you have an account with the cash register. It reads your thumbprint and charges your account, providing you’ve deposited money in advance. He had run out of money, and didn’t feel like topping it off, so he used a card.

The voice for the machine is quite stern and choppy. When it tells you there isn’t enough money you feel abashed, as you failed somehow. It stopped recognizing my thumb a long time ago, and I’m convinced it owes me two dollars, but I can’t prove it.

We looked at the coolers, which are half empty. There used to be lots of sandwiches and things to eat, regularly stocked. Not any more.

“I wonder when the sandwiches will come back,” I said.

He doubted they would. The days of sandwiches had passed. Maybe if enough people came back to the office, but that didn’t seem likely.

I made the coffee, which consists of pouring out the stuff I made yesterday, and grinding new beans. I think I told you this exciting story a while ago, how there are two beans, Northwest and Cafe Java. Well. I mistakenly hit the right grinder, which meant I put Cafe Java beans in the Northwest basket. I’m surprised the place didn’t go to full red-alert lockdown.

When the coffee was done I drew my cup, spilled a little putting the lid on, and went back to my desk to peck away at the column. By “peck” I mean write a bunch of stuff quickly, then decide whether to leave the rest for later when I might be a better writer, or do it now, and then get lazy and think “that one’s done” and find myself spackling all the holes on Thursday morning.

That’s an easy one to answer! Stop, do something else. So I worked on another piece due in a week or so, then went to sit outside for a while. Someone looked lost and needed directions, so I sent them to the proper place. It’s just odd when people show you an address on their phone and can’t seem to figure out how to do the whole map thing. Last week I encountered someone who seemed unclear on every possible detail involved in getting from here to there, including but not limited to the order in which she would first advance - left foot or right? Or hop? I ended up walking her two blocks through the skyway, after which I pointed out the destination, and I still don’t think she made it. Probably fell down an elevator shaft somehow.

It was just odd. The people I can’t stand are the ones who, upon receiving detailed and helpful advice complete with landmarks where they should turn, combined with the pointing out of the landmark which is over there and 50 stories tall, just wander off without a thank-you. If you say “You’re welcome” they might be confused. Why are you saying that, I didn’t say thank you.

Then I went back upstairs and finished something and read something, and decided to leave a bit early, get a jump on the traffic. Did my usual LeMans run down the ramp that connects downtown to the freeway - it’s usually empty, had has two nice curves you can take fast and really feel the road. Went to Target, since the piece on which I was working required some details of the store shelves - what’s empty this week in our diminished version of America - and listened to one of the best Johnny Dollar five-parters ever made. No murder, no one gets hit on the head, no sarcastic colorful side-kick, no femme-fatale. It’s not even a mystery, really. The fifth episode has the best work Bob Bailey ever did, I think, and it’s why he was the greatest of all the radio detectives.

And after he’d ended his run with the character, I think he crawled inside the bottle. But he sobered up and spent his last productive years in a rehab center helping others, before ending in a rest home for a decade. I searched newspapers.com for an obit. AP ran it.

Looks like one paper picked it up.



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

Holy Crow. The Allegory of the Power of Louis XIV.

This site says:

King Louis XIV, in Romanontue, tramples a monster while the personification of immortality crown and peace takes him to him. An angel with a flag indicates arms equipment, tied to a palm tree. The text on the rolled cloth shows the main points from a philosophical tractate of J.B. Colbert De Croissy.

Romanontue: I don't know. I think the Colbert mentioned is this fellow, who had a remarkable career.

One huge piece of suck-uppery. And you had a lot of reading to do:

That's just the top. That huge sheet on the bottom would take you all day. Endless extolling of virtue and powers.

Demons: trampled

He had the favor of putti with smart, clever expressions:

At the bottom: dude with a lap full of vermin! Or lion cubs?

It's by this guy, a master engraver, after a work by Charles Le Brun.

Which I can't find.









One of the southwest Minnesota towns. The south of the state has a culture of its own, and it's a good place.

Thirteen thousand souls. Let's take a tour.

A nice contrast between the aesthetic values of the past and the benighted present, alas.

You suspect its backdrop was once more noble.

The stone and the wood, you should know by now, hail from different eras.

Angled wood is the worst.

I repeat: the wood is the worst.

Looks as if they turned an auto dealership into a stable.

It was always unadorned.

B. C. Ford wasn’t going to spend any money he didn’t have to spend.

Automobile results clog any google search.

Tantalizing, and inscrutable:

Probably not Studebacker.


Well, it least it has columns. But it's a big beige bore, right on Main.

"Do we need a fountain out front to soften the impression?"

"Nah, just fill it with gravel."

A musical corner: PIANOS and ORGANS on the sign above.

I don’t know who the musician is. I checked the list of "notable people" and there's no one known for his work on a flugelhorn.

Murals in small town downtowns often suggest a current lack of something, not an abundance.

Sounds like a vaudeville name in a blackface revue.


Now there’s a Masonic Temple. A lot for a small town, and a sturdy design.

From the Egyptian phase of Masonic architecture. Going back to their roots, you could say. It's all disrecpected by the rehab that altered the windows, but it could be worse.

Poor thing.

Well, it was a hotel sign, we know that, so then building once served as the bustling hostel. But the city never grew big enough to require one of those classic 20s hotels, I gather.

From the local paper:

When it was first built, the Marshall Hotel was called the Hotel Brantman, after original owner P.J. Brantman. Brantman was the proprietor of Pete’s Cafe and Bakery in Marshall, and according to a 1926 story in the News Messenger of Lyon County, Brantman also opened restaurants in Canby, Minneota and Tracy.

The Hotel Brantman had 60 rooms, plus a dining room and cafe on the ground floor. More than 250 reservations were made to attend the hotel’s grand opening banquet on Sept. 22, 1926. Reports from the News Messenger described the hotel’s “rich and luxurious” furnishings, and amenities like a taxi service and hot and cold softened water.

The hotel changed its name to the Hotel Marshall in 1932.

Yeah, I could’ve guessed that:


Bizarre rehab: you usually don’t see this much faux-historicism in the post-war era.

You expect the shutters to fly open and "small world after all" robots to emerge, yelling a song.

“At noon the brothers liked to open the windows, stick out their rears and moon the town. They were eccentric in that way."


gAain, I will stake my rep on it: two buildings.

The name on the one on the right: BANK OF MARSHALL

It’s like they stuck an outhouse out the old window:

Taht poor thing on the left. I don't think the tin windows and Home Depot door were part of the rehab; the angle and the stone suggests a nice big window. Probably altered for office conversion.

Fine old bank, if a bit cheap.

Brick wasn’t usually used during the Faux Roman style, at least not for banks. Educational buildings, yes. Banks, stone or glass.

Fantastic old commercial block, veteran of the entire previous century:


Built in three phases, I’d say. The one on the corner first, then the next in, and finally the rest - the brick is a slightly different hue.

I imagine lots of crusty old farmers in their city suits and hats doing business here.


No, the top doesn’t match the bottom at all, but a downtown needs an occasional shot of the New like this.


Nothing else downtown was built in this style, it seems, and thus perhaps nothing else in that era was built, at all.

Finally: a reminder of what much of downtown must have looked like.


A brighter place.




That'll do! Motels await.




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