Hazy and toxic today, thanks to the Canadian fires. Most unhealthy air in the country, according to the EPA. We're number one! It's a nasty plastic smell, like someone detonated a nuclear bomb over a mile-wide block of LEGO. I can only imagine what the poor dog smells.

At work I had a nice conversation with one of the new interns, who's specializing in Opinion Journalism. Editorial-page work. I taught her how to make coffee in the 13th Floor Kitchen (I saw 13th Floor Kitchen at First Av in 1995) and gave the only advice I could without getting into the weeds: avoid intellectual jargon whose meaning is assumed to be generally agreed upon. No more specific than that. Another time, perhaps.

What do I mean specifically, though? Well:

On the way to work today I noticed that the misguided tagger was back. Now, they're all misguided, and wrong, and should be arrested and made to scrub the things they have defaced, but I'm one of those tiresome types who doesnt regard illiterate scribbles as a sign of zesty vitality.

Let's look at a particular corner near the core city. For many years:

Then someone bought it and announced plans for an apartment building! "Affordable," too. I put the term in quotes because all apartments are affordable. No one builds unaffordable apartments. If they do, they lose money. "Affordable" means "attainable for lower-income workers / state-subsidized rent." It's jargon that everyone understands means "good!" but avoids specifics to massage attitudes about the specifics.

Anyway. Before the

They broke ground, built the foundation, built a concrete thumb that was the start of the stairs, I think, and then went out of business.

It was like that for a long time. Then someone stepped in and finished it.

Better, right? It's not a great building, but it's better than a vacant lot.

Well, someone's been writing on the corner windows, which have enticements suggesting people might want to live here.

His objection?

"Ads on your home." Or a reference to the great revolutionary, Adson Urhome.

I'm sure it's a protest against Capitalism. Except it's not even an ad, really.

They scrub it off. He does it again.

  How do we get from the here . . .
  To there?

We’ve talked about the disturbing nature of the Newport ads before, how everyone is caught in a world of pain making Sex Grimace Faces. It wasn’t until I spied an ad on a vintage subreddit (a place of constant misinformation and ignorance, as expected) that I realized there was another campaign that had its unsettling moments.

Benson and Hedges.

Let’s start from least to worst. This ad is meant to stop you cold, because the situation doesn’t have any possible innocent explanation. Obviously, the sex worker they hired for the night just woke up while everyone is having brunch, and he’s trying to find all his clothes.


Oh look, he knows one of them! Guess they’re a couple, and they live there. Right! Because women love it when they throw a brunch for friends and hubby just wanders out half-naked in the middle of it all.

In this tableau of despair, the man on the right has humiliated his colleague to the point of tears and collapse, and he’s not going to stop. He’s going to demand that everyone look at the guy and consider how pathetic he is.

This is the ad that stood out, for obvious reasons.

We've no idea what's being celebrated here. It's possible she has unknowingly joined a cult that made her "captain" and thus subject to a series of bizarre rites to appease an ancient god of seas and storms.

The drowned are joining the party.

As for the brand, it’s named after its founders.

A Royal Warrant was issued to the British company in 1878, after the required five years of supply to the Royal Family. This was the brand of cigarettes preferred by King George VI, who was famed for his heavy cigarette smoking. The royal warrant was revoked in 1999 due to a "lack of demand in the royal households”. The Warrant seal, which had previously been on the flip lid of the box, was removed.

In the 1980s, the company's products were advertised in a series of posters and cinema films which featured the gold pack in various surreal juxtapositions and transformations, devoid of words and people.

You don’t say.

This ad is interesting.

Did you catch the name of the hotel? Backwards? HOTEL CHANCE, which would be the HOTEL CHANCELLOR in Los Angeles.

We can go inside, if we wish.

And that’s how we get from here to there.











We saw the paper yesterday. Now let's visit the town!

God’s Shuttlecraft:

Really, it looks like a big alien bug that landed and folded its wings.

“I got an idea, Clem - let’s make the roofline a chart that notes the town’s population over the years."

It’s like they had to make a downtown very quickly out of scrap:

“Sorry to see you went out of business, Hank.”

“What? I didn’t.”

“But your store’s windows are all boarded up.”

“Yes. Doesn’t mean I’m out of business.”

“But - why?”

“A man can do what he damned well likes, and if he’s sick of glass, that’s his business.”

“Well, if Hank’s doing it, maybe I should too.”

Here’s a story on the joint. If you’re wondering, yes - it was a movie theater. The Unique, opened in 1914.

Uh oh. The gauzy, Vaseline-lens early picture can only mean one thing.


One of my favorites. It’s rare you see people in these shots.



Aside from the trans dimensional warping on the glass, which happened when they fired up the supercollider at the college a few hundred miles away, it’s still in good shape.

Severe, but it gets the idea across.

Looks like the blocked it up with particle board:

Do any of the people who do this ever regret the decision, and wince years later when they go downtown? Or are they just to dad-gummed practical to care?

“Windows with air conditioning units will be supplied upon request.”


Okay, maybe “The Rusty Razor” isn’t the best name, what with the tetanus connotations. And did they leave out plastic Halloween pumpkins so long they turned blue?

Don’t think so; there was a sheaf of corn on the bench in #8, so this could be October. Unseasonably warm, too.

The top of the building has the original owner’s name, but you have to read Morse Code.

So close. If only the windows on top were still glazed. Or perhaps that was the floor where the little people were enslaved, and they were always blocked.

Absolutely standard-issue small town post-war municipal structure. Large or small, same thing.


Now I have a headache

Obviously two stages of construction. Or not? The door to upstairs is square in the middle. But I think it was inserted when they built the Tribune Block. This picture shows different colored bricks, as well as noting something interesting.

Why the Z?


Proud details for the local paper, here to serve all with neither fear nor favor, no doubt. How’s it doing today?


What’s that on the facade?

Anita Clothing? Plumbing? Whatever it was, it had distinction.

“We’ll just keep driving and see if there’s a motel in the next town over.”

Hey, the town's still standing. That's something.


Now two ways to chip in!

That will suffice, I hope. Motels await!




blog comments powered by Disqus