Hello there, it’s your host, a man of low aesthetics. Or so an email today said, based on a reading of my dance-on-the-grave piece about this miserable "earth-sheltered" building. Well, "low aesthetics" is literally a matter of opinion, except I’m right. There’s a reason cities aren’t characterized by underground buildings and Hobbit-houses with dirt-berms. There’s a reason we are inspired by the confidence upward sweep of Rockefeller Center, and are not clamoring to live in a yurt heaped with peat.

The letter also accused me of wanting to praise the building’s environmental awareness but doing it poorly - I didn’t quite understand the point, but it’s amusing because I had no intention of praising the building’s environmental awareness. All their fears and desire to huddle in holes had to do with false notions of scarcity.

One of the buildings often mentioned in the Underground Building Phase is Williamson Hall at the U of M. I have no idea why people aren’t instinctively drawn with overwhelming love and warmth by this place:

The irregular vertical lines are extruded concrete, oozing out from the wooden frames. If you rub up against them with your bare skin it can draw blood.

I'm partial to buildings that don't make me reach for the antibiotic ointment, but then again I'm a man of low aesthetics.

This will have to be short today, because it is a SIX PIECE WEEK. Yes. Six pieces. Which means one every day, mixed, kneaded, baked, sliced, and wrapped. Since nothing makes you less likely to have six ideas like having to have six ideas, I’m just blasting ahead with every idea that has a jot of potential, and that means the pieces are practically automatic writing.

Also called psychography, automatic writing is a claimed psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. Practitioners engage in automatic writing by holding a writing instrument and allowing alleged spirits to manipulate the practitioner's hand.

I mean, that’s most of my stuff anyway. You start writing and the ideas follow. You don’t wait for the right words to start. You push the red detonator just to get things started. The"spirits" are all the preceding days in which you put pen to paper.

I also have damnable foot pain, and it is causing me to walk in a wonky fashion, which screws up the back and makes the mood uniformly churlish. And I have to write a speech which looks less interesting the more I get into it. All in all, a miserable interval, but it will pass and be completely forgotten.

If I may give you something else to read, here’s a piece I did for an online site about Main Streets. They liked it, and perhaps so will you.




It’s 1922.

Not that Newark.


Now is the time for a thing we don’t have but looks as though we should.

Dynamite last sentence there, champ. Pro tip: investigate the power of "question marks."


Crackerjack proofreading here, pal


Win a priz! No strigs attached.

Doesn’t look as if a theater was actually built until 1929.



Included: visible gasoline pump.

It wasn’t a private garage. He sold cars. Here it is. Doesn’t look like a dealership at all, but that’s because they bricked up the showroom windows. They brought the cars out the opening in the middle.

Euphemisms ahoy:

What were the local lads doing, or saying? And how did the police discourage them? A hard look, or a swing of the billy?

A reminder that the car age was coincident with these implements of hard, hard labor.


  I think the term “radical” is used sarcastically here.

Here’s Don Gelabert. He doesn’t have a wikipedia entry. Seems an oversight.

Finally: the sort of rah-rah our small town filler that took up unsold ad space. Good advice!

I’m sure it was seen by the sour as a liturgy for Babbits.

Cease to be a chronic knocker. True today as it was then.


Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do - see you around! Some Fifties interiors await.



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