I had intended to head out on Monday, but the office gym was closed, and any trip to the ‘burbs to gather supplies would run into post-Christmas traffic. So no. I had three pieces to file, so best to stay home in the warm house with the dog and keep him company.

What's the picture above? A sign of a bygone age, and a good one. It's the back hallway of the 333 Building. The building is the finest example of post-modernism in town, an 80s version of the classic 20s structures. Marble lobby, metal accents, frosted glass. It was a great sign of the times when it was announced, and a sad sign of the times when the second half of the project was cancelled.

I remember thinking, foolishly, that we had finally worked our way back to the classic forms, the styles that endure, and thus it would be going forth.

Hah, hah.

One of the ideas I had for next year: Ugly Architecture. I thought it would fit on Fridays, or perhaps Thursdays, what with the whole “urban studies / built environment / roadside” theme of the day. (That is the theme, you know. Main streets, motels, etc.) But nah. Don’t have enough. So let’s have a fire sale here and deal with some true atrocities.

This is the famous blue blob:

It’s an act of colossal contempt, for the site, the culture, the people who must live with such a thing. It appeals to those who hate the accumulated accomplishments of Western Civ, and want it punished and humiliated and replaced with anti-human shapes that stir revulsion.

Google description: “Riverside contemporary art museum in amorphous blue building, with cutting-edge exhibitions.”

Oh I’m sure of that.

Next, a destination in a nightmare. Whimsical, though! Witty! Why, it plays with convention and established norms.

Why not pile all our buildings up like this? So fun! No.

The Antwerp Port House a few years after alien colonization:

Sometimes they incorporate the old building in order to fully humiliate it, but in this case it is sufficient to straddle it, as if mounting it for mating.

Another example of the alien-colonization style:

It’s the architectural equivalent of someone in a movie who gets a parasite attached to their skin and starts screaming GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME

More on Thursday.



It’s 1951.

Gorham Buttercup sounds like a machine is trying to learn how to converse, inventing random sounds that sound like names or superlatives.

The cutlery brings a permanent feeling of worth. I always associated that stuff with grandparents’ house, or meals where everything was on fancy plates and there was a separate tray for radishes and celery.

“When your best beau shows up.” So she’s not married?

No, of course she's married. This is Cosmo, after all, and it's 1951. Of course she's married.


It’s the mild soap! They were always eager to tell you the soap was mild, suggesting that half the bars on the market were made of caustic lye.

Has to be a Sunblom, no?


I think this is a fascinating piece of work. Then again, I’m writing this with only 4 1/2 hours of sleep, and I’m starting to fade. But. The way it goes from text to her eyes to the set to the angle of the gaze of the women on the TV, bringing it all full circle - and then there’s the background, and the fact that the stylish woman - who is there why, exactly? - is superimposed on it, and why is she looking at us?

New technology framed in old styles, to soften the disruption of the new medium.

She was a Canadian figure skater. Meaning, she skated on Canadian figures. She was also known as “Canada’s Sweetheart,” although she had individual admirers besides collective Ines.


In other words, get hammered in the afternoon!

Potluck and wine: it’s the way they do things in the Golden state.

“Wine, to make your dinner something to remember.” Also, Wine, to say things over dinner you’d wish everyone forgot. But it's not like it wasn't true. Some things need to be said. If they don't invite us back, fine. I'm sick of them. I'm sick of the whole lot.

Lullabies you to sleep, but also has a backup buzzer to jar you harshly back to the trials of the conscious life:

Also operates your bed lamp and heating pad. Quite the device, and not cheap.


Six authors, two of whom are remembered today:

Mignon Eberhart wrote from the 20s through the 80s, and had one of the longest careers of any mystery writers. Known as “America’s Agatha Christie.” Unread today, it seems. One of her early characters was a “nurse detective,” which sounds apt for the age. Nine movies were made from her books.

Mary Reinhart was also known as “America’s Agatha Christie.”

The phrase "The butler did it" came from Rinehart's novel The Door, in which the butler actually did murder someone, although that exact phrase does not appear in the work. Tim Kelly adapted Rinehart's play into a musical, The Butler Did It, Singing. This play includes five lead female roles and five lead male roles.

Anthony Gilbert was actually Lucy Malleson, sometimes known as “Britain’s Agatha Christie.” Kidding. But she was British. Sold well enough, but never an A-lister.

Stuart Palmer created Hildegarde Wilders, whom we met last year in some programmers. Or was it the year before?




Comic Sins this week adds a few old DC covers. Superboy. Really stupid stuff. But endearing. Note: this subsite was added to lileks.com ten years ago. I've six more weeks of updates in reserves, just in case.

Just in case of what, I don't know.



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