I did nothing, and hence have nothing to report. Oh, I did some things - there are rote Wednesday site chores to prepare for next week, one of which resulted in a truly magnificent discovery you’ll see below - and I drove somewhere to get something. Then I drove back. Mostly I thought “the third day of a cold, that’s the worst. It moves into your head and settles down, vexes the eyes, enblockens the ears, makes you leak and sneeze. BUT! Hail the Zinc! It would be worse without it, and it will be shorter because of it.

Have to keep telling myself that.

Outside there is no relief, no surcease. Six below this morning. A high of ZERO on Thursday, with a low of minus 18, but that doesn’t include the astonishing effect of the wind, which makes it about 30 below at times. The news today said the wind was picking up snow from the previous dumps and whipping it into blizzard-like conditions on the roads, which is like the old line about a second nuclear strike just making the rubble bounce. You have to understand that the snow is frozen solid into a hard mass, like extruded foam; if you slip and fall and smack your head into a snowdrift it does not yield. It is possible to get a concussion by coming in contact with precipitation.

Wife is walking around with haunted hollow eyes; daughter goes off in the morning like someone who’s been in the trenches of the Great War for four years and is being sent, once more, over the top. We are told that the temps will approach normal next week, but after that it’s back into the clutches of the Polar Vortex, which everyone now imagines as the Abominable Snowman’s bluish rectum.

Me? Why, be of good cheer, I say. I would rather have this now than blizzards in May, which is what we had last year - a sundering of the contract that left everyone scarred for the duration of the miserable run of 2013. Of course there’s no guarantee we won’t have that, but the world turns and tilts on its axis and rolls in its orbit; this is all a press conference to denounce a bill that has already passed.

You may say: you are a sick man. Correct. It would be easy to despair, especially when you have the chills and can do your work from home without heading out to spread the grippe. Speaking of which: I was listening tonight to a BBC series on the Black Plague, perhaps to remind myself “could be worse,” possibly to learn more. Haven’t, so far. Ghastly time. I remember standing before some large piece of art in some European church that had been converted to a museum - but I repeat myself - and noting the prevalence of skeletons in the tableau. Rotten figures, mouths agape. There were madrigal singers in the next room performing period music; lovely and lilting, the strange harmonies and olde instruments conjuring up the aural vernacular of a distant time. When you looked down you saw that the floor was covered with names and dates: stones laid over dead nobles. You look back at the painting, and see how the empty sockets of the skulls are looking at nowhere in particular and you in specific.

It was a bright day outside; it was sunny during the Plague, too. I’m sure there were the days in spring when the world was beautiful and the flowers were coming up and the fields were green.

It’s amazing civilization survived at all. That belief in God survived. Then again, the Wikipedia entry on the Plague noted that the mortality rate among monks and other cloistered folk was quite high, because they tended to the sick others cast out - even though some said that one could catch the Great Mortality simply by looking at a sufferer.

Anyway, forgive me for this entire week. Just not up to much. Except what follows below.


Say hello to Pauls Valley, OK. Why? I was looking for a place on a matchbook, and ended up discovering yet another small town with its charms and tragedies. Stick with me; there's a marvelous sight at the end. Here's the classiic 1950s downtown - an old building modernized with a flat awning.

View Larger Map

It really gives you that "Last Picture Show" vibe. Speaking of which:

View Larger Map

For heaven's sake, give it some dignity. Take off the marquee. And if you're going to keep the marquee, use a typestyle other than Mistral

An old couple, still holding hands after decades together:

View Larger Map

The modernization style whose popularity roughly spanned the period of the first two "Planet of the Apes" movies. From the location and size, it looks like it could have been an old bank building.

View Larger Map

Also from the early seventies, the featureless brick arcade - grafted here on top of something that looks like a concrete building from the 30s or early 40s. Take a close-up look - there were facades in Warsaw that looked better after the war.

View Larger Map

Now some stills. I hope Google doesn't mind. A gorgeous Roman Temple:

View Larger Map

Small town bank architecture at its best: thin and imposing.

Old signage? There's this . . .

This is a big one, but it made me smile. Find the ananachronism:

That's the mid-to-late 70s logo for Magnavox. Who? What? C'mon, it's still around - but I'll admit the brand doesn't have the same allure it did once. Let's all fall in love, with a tragic tint, to Television again:

This one surprised me - not just for the spokesman, but the style. The date says 1981, and it's more 80s than I remember 1981. If you know what I mean. I don't. My head's all stuffed up.

On we go. Talk about a hardy survivor:

There's much more - heck, just pan right on the picture above and see something that looks like the ruins in a backwater Roman town. But what made me linger in the first place was something else. I was looking for information on a matchbook for a restaurant named Field's. Not only are they still around, there's a website with information about its early years. How they set up shop on a busy intersection. How they added a gas station.

That they did. That they did:

This is America.



Updates on the right - restaurant interiors! Also, See you around.


blog comments powered by Disqus