There's a bit less here today than the previous days, because - well, hold on, there's a reason, and let me just say this softly so it doesn't surprise or unnerve anyone.
Because I have less to say.
Not that I always have something to say, but sometimes it takes a long time to prove the point. It's just been a busy evening and it's a column night BLAH de BLAH et cetera, and a piece on the shooting and the aftermath is still in the works. Every day there's a new variant on the blame-anything-but-the-shooter idea, with one central idea: this is just the worst country ever. There's the United States, and then there's the rest of the world, where human nature and history is an unbroken string of nobility, compassion, and tolerance. Whatever was bad, we did it worse; whatever was good, we sought to kill. Whatever we accomplished was stolen or overshadowed by our sins.
The darker your view, the more you're enlightened.
(record scratch sound)
Recommended on Netflix to me for some reason: "Twisted (bleeping) Sister," a "Rockumentary" about the glitter-glam hair band known for a couple of songs that figured prominently in the middle-80s panic about rock lyrics. At the time, to me, they were a joke - the makeup and frizzy follicles and faux-teen-rebellion foisted on the MTV audience by guys who seemed to be almost a bit close to sorta too old for this. But we all found Dee Snider's Congressional appearance impressive, inasmuch as he was an articulate man with evident self-possession.
If the documentary had included that, it would have been awesome dude!!! If it had detailed the period in which the band hit the apex and stumbled down towards the trough of the inevitable nadir before finding the Inevitable Redemption in some reunion and revival tour, it would have been awesome dude!!A full-spectrum accounting. But no: it's only the early days of the band, when they were the undisputed leader of the tri-state club scene - an accolade that does not stir the blood for those who were not there.
What sets the doc apart is the amount of footage they had of the band in performance in these crappy venues, and the lucid amused commentary of the lead singer and guitarist. It really does capture an era. The Homeric nature of their journey is undermined by one theme repeated through all the old smeary videos:
The music was horrible.
It's just awful. If there was one song with one hook that said "here's a unique talent in its larval stage," that would be great - but no. Noise and more noise and shrieking trebly ear-bleed noise on top of bowel-loosening bass. The experience was what mattered - the happy drunken pummeling and auto-concussive head-shaking - but the idea that this was great music is contradicted by every single clip.
To be fair, no one really says it's great music. Just that they were an awesome band, which I suppose is a different thing entirely.
Odds and Ends brings you . . .
The last of the Father's Day Swank ads. Most of these tiebar /cufflink combos would be cool today.
Most. Not all.
Son, let me tell you about all the tail I got in the Pacific theater. It taught me a few things.
"For those vacation trips." Because unless Dad had the Griswold spirit, who would have insisted that they go to the Black Hils or Itasca or Reptile Gardens? There was something about preparing for the voyage and piloting the craft that brought out something different in Dad - all the same authority, but underscored with jocularity. Thanks for making it happen!
Here's some two-fifty cufflinks.
Centra-East Texas? East-Central? Don't know which they use, or whether they use either. Five thousand six hundred souls. Wikipedia says "the city's motto is "Giddings Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality".
So let's do just that, then.
You either know what this is, right away, or you don't.
The corner booth was the best, if you could get it. A view of two sides of the world! But you'd probably be looking at your pizza.
Yes, it used to be a Pizza Hut.
"The city itself was founded in 1871 when the Houston and Texas Central Railway came to the area. It probably took its name from local magnate Jabez Deming Giddings, who was instrumental in bringing the railway to the area.
He had come to the area from Pennsylvania in 1838 to claim the land bounty of his brother Giles A. Giddings, killed at the Battle of San Jacinto."
Doesn't look as if there's a lot of commerce connected to the old iron road.
On the left: the obligatory Buckaroo Revival shingled overhang. Because. Because they had to.
Downtown: the loss of a building seemed to reveal something very old:
Bull Durham advertising represents the most expansive, revolutionary advertising campaign of its time. The Blackwell Company spent more money to advertise Bull Durham than any other company on any product.
Large advertising campaigns at the time were considered to be extremely risky and fruitless in meriting more sales. Bull Durham ads proved this theory wrong, however, as the various campaigns became some of the most successful of the time and paved the way to modern day advertising.
And brought color and cosmopolitan flavors to the smallest and remote of towns.
"Mister Potter? The railroad called, and the front of your buildin' arrived. They said they can send some men over to nail it to the front."
They were thin back then, those banks - but at least they were two stories tall. Better to be tall than wide.
Tall was strong; tall was secure.
The awning spoils the buildings - it's like a sword caught at the moment it slices into a victim.
I say that as someone who's never felt like he was burning up because the sun was blasting through the window and there was no escape until October.
The overhang leaves the second story cut off from everything else, a different realm for different activities. Law, sleeping, tooth extraction.
Dentists were often on the second floor. I wonder why. To increase your fear as you walked up the street? No, that wouldn't be it. Perhaps that's just because professional people were upstairs.
Upstairs was for people who had a sheepskin.
Sometimes you get a raw look at something that probably looked like this in '64:
Does the pole remember what its signs once said? No, of course not. It couldn't see what was on the sign.
Also, it's a pole.
This looks boring and ordinary, I suppose - but think about it. Take a good look.
This was a little piece of the modern world come to the Texas flat lands. The flat brick expanse unpunctuated by windows or decorative patterns; the metal overhang; the angled windows. They were leaning into the Jet Age. Those broad panes made the entire lower floor visible from the outside, opened up the corner.
This was a sign the town was up-to-date.
Says its historical marker: "Designed by J. R. Goron along lines similar to New York State Capitol."
<pacepicante>Neew York State Capitol? Git a rope</pacepicante>
Doesn't look a damned thing like it, but in 1899, who'd know?
Oh, er, ahem:
Thank you for reading. Tomorrow: more words and pictures in various combinations, familiar yet somehow new.
Oh - Motel Postcards, of course.