Rote fine day. Wrote, did the gym, filed a column. Went home, took a nap, and woke to a series of texts from Natalie about a job interview. Delighted and proud and hopeful - to get something right out of college, that’s the ticket. I spent, what, half a year as a convenience store clerk at Ralph & Jerry’s?

The worst. Oh, it was a fun place to work, better than any other such place in town and probably the state and perhaps the nation, given the peculiar circumstances: close to college, so you get that demographic, as well as dropouts and other college malcontents working there, with the occasional guy who’s just doing this until he does something else. Late-night mood, since were open until 2. Store motto: "Serving you hand and foot while charging you an arm and a leg."

I mean, it was a culture center. Said so right on the matchbooks.

But good for her. She did over a year in the restaurant trenches, as well as retail the Uptown Target (since closed, alas) so it’s time to move up and prosper.

Better yet, it’s a job in her field that takes advantage of all of her skill sets. Writing, video, drawing, design.

I mean, given the ongoing interests of this website, is it not just perfect that she ends up in advertising?

We return now to this week's account of . . .

The International Style abounds in Chicago. The gummint buildings in particular love it. The Mies-designed John C. Kluczynski Federal Building:

It has no choice but to reflect and contain what it replaced, like it's haunted by an implacable ghost.

This Wikipedia image gives it all that technocratic romance, a place where IBM computers whirr and men in polyester shirts figure things out.

The Flamingo statue - you know, all those red flamingos - seems to be a bit ominous, like some creature stalking you through the empty streets.

I like the style, but a city is better off with a little, rather than a lot.











The County Seat, population 8,520 souls.

I get a bad feeling when I open up a folder named for an obscure town in Texas or Oklahoma. I worry that it’s all going to be depressing and vacant.

Well, let’s begin.

Oh! Well, that’s not bad.

Repurposed streetlights, obviously; those weren’t the original plinths. Looks as if they were war booty from some conflict against the Munchkins.

Sign’s showing some wear, but it’s still a going concern. At least when the Google cars came through.


Old garage? That’s what the indentations usually suggest. Doesn’t look quite right for that, though. The building seems to predate the automotive era.

Magic wand - select - copy pattern - replace into selected area


Someone went all swank ’n’ space-age with this rehab:

Another look. That’s wild.

Print shop now! Because folks need lots of printing done.

I don’t know why I snapped this. Perhaps to give you a sense of context, how the downtown appears.

  A rare act of time eroding the name block?

Or just a bad picture? I went back, zoomed in; it’s the PATRICK building. In case you were taking notes.

The loss of a store sign reveals the color it was painted, long ago.

“For rent.”

I’m sure it was well-received at the time. Brought a lift to the old Main Street.

Now it looks as if they punished the old building for something, and took away its window privileges.

The side reveals a palimpsest that gives us the story of the original inhabitants.

I know an OUMB when I see one.

Of course it’s a 70s / 80s civic building. Library? City Hall? Doesn’t matter; the building has no interest in telling you.

More Munchkin conflict booty.

Finally: another ghost sign, a palimpsest worn away to unreadability.

My fears weren’t completely born out.

Could’ve been worse.


Now two ways to chip in!

That will do. Now: Motels begin!



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