The dog is wary of me lately, and I can't blame him. It's the ear drops. He'll be sitting outside on his chair, snoozing, and suddenly I pull up his ear and squirt cold fluid down them: hey, man, what? What? I will earn his faith again, but for now it's disheartening. I'm trying to cure you. Your head is full of gunk. But you've no idea what I'm doing, because you can't make the connection. You don't even know what connection could be made.

I feel bad, because how can you not? There's nothing as dismaying as losing your dog's trust. He'd forgotten it by the end of the day, but there was an incident that tells me the anxiety is still there. When the bottle comes out he runs away. He knows what it means. Tonight I had to take daughter to choir, and since I knew my wife would be home in five minutes I left the taco meat in the skillet on the stove. (Burner off, of course.) It was not impossible that Scout would be curious about those smells, so I took out the medicine bottle and put it on the edge of the stove, like a warning a primitive tribe would stick on a tree branch.

When my wife got home, she said, she found the bottle on the floor, and wondered how it got there. He'd poked his nose up, and OH NO EVIL BOTTLE and that was the end of that.


Said goodbye to a co-worker today - Vineeta the Video Reporter. Just a joy to work with, and the sunniest person you'd want to be around. It wasn't entirely apt, since she's not a blowhard going off to be a quizzzzmaster, but as I walked up to the gathering, I thought of something, and I did it.



Worked on Ted; didn't work on her. Didn't expect it would. Of course I had to explain it later, because no one remembers the Mary Tyler Moore show anymore, and any references to its classic lines or situations fall on stony ears.

No one knows what happens if you leave Veal Prince Orloff in the oven too long. Do you?

Bonus: how did that episode relate to a recent entry in the Pinball Hall of Fame series? Man, if you can nail that, you are the Perfect Bleat Reader. Claim your prize at the door.

Anyway, I wish I hadn't explained to her later. Maybe she would have come across the episode some day and realized: hey. That was a callback. Note: this would never happen. In order for the bit to work, A) it would have to be a famous line along the lines of "Play it, Sam" (which you couldn't use because people think it's "Play it again, Sam," and if you use the correct quote people think you're a dope who got it wrong,) or B) it would have to be current.

Quoting one word from a Seventies sitcom doesn't quite meet those standards.

Why did Lou want Ted to stay? Because in the end he would miss the big idiot. Not quite convincing. They were on the cusp of signing Warren Jessup, the best anchor in town, who wanted to move to WJM and make his mark. But Mary and Lou realize they will miss him and kinda like him.

Why wouldn't they? He was a silly puffed-up man, and yes he was cheap and vain. But he was a decent fellow. I've said this before, but Ted's the real hero of the show. Lou was a grumpy curmudgeon wounded by divorce. Murray was a pill, his sarcasm masking the fact that he knew exactly how small his skill-set really was, which is why he was working at the low-rated station; Mary couldn't keep a boyfriend for more than two episodes, which may have been a clue to something in her personality we never saw on the show.

Ted, on the other hand, got married, stayed married, adopted a Vietnamese orphan, was utterly enthusiastic about life in general, and kept his job. There are times you fear you're really Ted, and then there are times you think: could be worse.



Last entry. The point-person artist really got angular here, down to the unnatural faces that stared out like creatures from another world, descended from cubist owls:

I prefer the stylings of this machine:


A 1967 Williams table. Made me think: have I done any Williams tables? Or was it all Gottlieb and Bally? Anyway, the backplate had a "bagatelle" feature, which some liked; "poor sound" was a common complaint, since it didn't have too many bells.

The control room featured a guy who did his jobs on his nees, it seems. Also a drafting board for last-minute changes in the rocket's design.






Middle America, right here. "The largest city in northwestern Kansas, it is the economic and cultural center of the region." It's a college down, and has a population of 20.5K. I think I chose this because it's mentioned now and then in Gunsmoke.

Let's take a look. Here's the historical society:


A Carnegie Library? Seems not; they had one, but it was torn down. Unusual style, echoed in the new library.

A gorgeous old gas station; like Post Offices, it was the way the new styles were introduced into small towns far, far away from the big cities that gave them birth and girth.


Imagine going back in time and telling the owner that some day it would be selling raw fish.

There was a time between, oh, 1967 and 1976 when this was regarded not only as an improvement, but a boon to the street and the mood of the citizenry.


And what better to go with a start metal modern facade than Cooper Black typeface from the 20s.



Looks like it was waiting for an enormous giant finger to come down and make the protrusions go CLICK

One of those honesty, sober, decent little buildings that seems to have lost not a jot of its original character and intentions:



I include this lest this feature seem like an endless parade of decreptitude.

Whoa: No one was going to use Mr. W's building for something else, were they?



The local historical preservation documents note that it had a "common circa 1961 turquoise facade" that once included the second story. Also: "around 1937, the lower section of the facade was covered with black glass or marble tiles." Each had their own merits.

From the owner's Find-a-grave page:

In 1898, Anthony Aloysius Wiesner borrowed $500 from his grandfather, Andreas Schafer, to open a department store in Hays. His first day of business ended with gross sales of $2.00. At one time Wiesner's Department store was the largest department store in western Kansas.


A.A. Wiesner was an ambitious, hard-working "no nonsense" person. He had a success and integrity philosophy and was respected by the community for it although a few may have judged their particular contacts with him as somewhat "hard-nosed."


A. A Wiesner never lost interest in the business and in his ninetieth year made a trip to the store each day where he could be found at his desk meeting his friends and consulting with his son Joe Wiesner, general manager of the store."

I know the type.

It made it until 1991, then closed.

The same historical document notes the shingled-awning style, and uses a term coined by Patrick H. Zollner, a Kansas architectural historian. Ready?



"Buckaroo Revival." I love that and will use it from now on.

Yeah, me 'n' my Pa remodelled this one. You like it?



You can tell the second story . . . wall-thing had beveled edges, like a picture frame.

Now why did I choose this one . . .



Perhaps because it bears such strange scars. Obviously it got a rehab, with the thin brick of the pre-groovry era and a sign that covered up the windows over the display windows. It's gone - but we see that the facade used to be black. Painted? A rehab from another era?

I know why I got this one: signage and glass blocks, a golden American era.




I know the name has a long historical backstory, New York connections and all that, but it still brings to mind something near the spittoons everyone puts their dirty shoes on.

It's that crazy old eccentric couple everyone always sees around town and wonders what their story's all about:


Well, as long as they're happy. The one on the right is the Basgall building, built in 1917 for the "J.B. Basgall Grocery and Queensware." Which is . .. what?

It's pottery.

I didn't see this coming: hello, 1950.



It's not showing movies. It's an "event center" right now, with a website that lists the last "Upcoming Event" as an "Urban Metal Show," in January.

Of 2012.

This page describes it as " a two-story Art Deco" theater, because no one knows what that term means. Designed by Samuel W. Bihr, Jr.



He died relatively young, at 57, but left a few fine buildings. Even if he'd only done this one, that would be enough to earn a tipped hat.




From the slit-window bunker school, something whose purpose might have been obscure until you look at the back.

A gull-wing canopy and a big window angled out: a drive-through bank, no doubt.

Buildings like this were a sign that a town was on the way up.


That will do; see you thither / yon. A few restaurants- only two weeks until this year's batch concludes. And then what?

Oh, you know what.


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