Sorry, but no. The evening was spent at daughter's theater performance, and it's column night. I have bits and pieces, but nothing coheres into a long, satisfying Bleat. For this you will forgive me? No? How about some neon?


It's right outside the theater, which was housed in an old fire station. I even have a matchbook from long ago, with an Indian Maiden telling you that you will GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR. Okay. That's usually the arrangement, but nevermind. The neighborhood has come up since I lived in Southeast - what was once grimy and gritty and had the sad sag of destitution now looks much better. There's a Denny's, for heaven's sake. Here I thought they were required by law to be in the suburbs. Who's ever seen an inner-city Denny's?

The kids were energetic and passionate about Social Justice and the ills of the land, as high schoolers are wont to be. These days, anyway. There was a sequence about America 101 where the kids said what they were grateful for - the dullard says "McDonalds, Second Amendment, I dunno" and then it was a lesson on racism and then a sequence about how Islam is peace. What did I have for supper tonight? Tongue. Mine.


If I ever merited a biography - something that would require me to actually do something in the next few years - it would note that the end of 2015 "saw an amazing burst of productivity." Why, I MCd an orchestra concert, narrated a piece for another orchestra, gave a speech in Washington, finished a novel rewrite, wrote four magazine columns, hosted a half-dozen podcasts and started a new one, began two regular features at the paper on etymology and architecture, wrote three pieces about the upcoming Star Wars movie as well as assorted features for the newspaper, and added over 150 pages to the website while laying out and writing several dozen new sites for 2016. All true. And I still feel like I sit around with my thumb up my nose most of the day, probably because I do, aside from bursts of work. Yet all that happens.

Let me tell you what that wouldn't include. I have a LILEKS.COM TO COME folder. It has two subfolders: 2015, and 2016. There are 30 - 40 folders in each. In the morning while the coffee kicks in I prowl through 2015 to promote the ideas to the updates bin, or decide that they're just not going to happen. Today I came across a folder nested in "TO DO," and it was called . . . 2014. It had 47 folders.

Some of the sites were long-planned updates and revisions that I still want to do. I'd see a folder name and wince: LAFFCARDS. I know what that is: I bought a stack of "gag" cards guys would hand out for a ribald larf, and I scanned them all. 35 cards destined for the Stagland overhaul. Okay, move that to 2016. Then I saw one that gave me a pang: DISTANTCITY. It hurt, because I knew there was an old folder with that name I trashed by mistake a long, long time ago, and I'd tried to find new material to compensate for the loss. What do you think it's about?

Confession: there's just no reason for this site to exist, except that it deals with something that bothers me. It's such a minor site I don't want to roll it out as an update. I just want to get it off my chest. Here.


We end with this stamp:

There's something about this that says "Zombie Christmas," no?



It's an odd downtown, cut in twain by the railway. Right down the middle of the street.

There almost isn't enough here for an entry, but isn't it the towns that don't have a lot that really deserve a closer look? Not sure what I mean by that. Anyway: this seems to be the most prominent citizen in town. Of course the upper windows are blocked. The closed door on the ground floor sugguests that there are no longer rooms and offices above. The ground floor was modernized in a way that somehow made it look much smaller.

Let's move to the left a bit:

Yet you suspect everything is on the ground floor.

One small tree, a hope for the future! A brood of bushes. As you can tell, it's an odd view; it would be from across the stret, but it's too far. Is the Google car inside the store across the street? No: the railway, remember.

Oh, the conflicting emotions Frank Lloyd Wright would have.

I wonder if Wright's influence was intentional, or whether the ordinary borin forms of 70s architecture could, by accident, be shuffled into something that looks as if it should have water falling from one of the shelves.

Because this weekly feature is more or less an endless precession of questionable awning decisions:


One of those examples where the building misaligned something before the Google camera could do it.


You can hear the dog bark and the cicada drone and the train whistle far away. Hot summer day. And once again . . . someone had to brick up that damned window.

Was this a speciality? Did men go from town to town, knocking on doors, asking if they had any windows they'd like sealed forever, so the sun never touched the floorboards again?

More clone-stamp tool architectre, with the ugly roof and punch-card windows of the late 60s- / early 70s.

Nothing that was fun or fashionable happened in there. Nothing but office supplies and stamps and rubber bands and paperclips and cigarette smoke and the smell of the coffee pot.

Another gem from the early-mid 70s:

Back from the street, like a good suburban corporate office building. That wonderful skin-disease brickwork. There were a lot of these in Fargo when I was growing up, and no one minded; at least they were building something, and heck, it had an elevator.


The ancient emblem of the Sperry-Hutchinson clan still clings to the wall:

Remarkably good shape, but don't try to redeem anything there. The stamps are irredeemable.

Finally, the Terms of Service Theater:

It doesn't look like a theater at all. Looks like a garage. What's around the corner, to the left?

Don't ask me. I'm not from those parts. I can't possibly explain.


And there you have today's diversions. Hope they kept you interested. See you tomorrow. Two new restaurants, and yes I am doling them out more parsimoniously than usual. A limited supply this go-round.



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