Lameness today, alas. It’s cold and I’m busy so there’s just a bunch of words and then Main Street and then Motels and THAT’S. IT. Okay also a failed TV show. Somedays that’s all I can muster. There’s not even a reward at the end of today’s labors; finished NARCOS, so now I’m looking for something else. There are some nights I give up and just watch “Star Trek.” The original show. It’s like being read “Goodnight Moon” for the 87th time. Comforting.

Turned on the heat today. It felt good, and the house got cozy fast. That’s the word we use now for “not shivering because life has gotten noticeably colder in the last few weeks, almost as if a great chill is settling on the chest of the world, and the thought it so depressing that you come up with warm childhood words of comfort and security to describe what is actually an expense, and hardly optional.”

Cozy. I understand why some people like fall because they can put on warm sweaters; I like sweaters too. And cider? I like cider. Leaves! They’re lovely. When you have a foggy day, and the trees are half green and half turned, and you walk somewhere thinking about a warm drink you’ll have, and perhaps it will rain when you’re in the cafe, but stop when you leave . . . of course we love fall.

But that experience lasts about 72 hours, total. Two weeks later you can’t feel your fingers, and it turns out that pumpkin spice was a transitory balm whose attributes did not implant permanent joy in your heart. Although there’s hope this year; there’s always hope. At Traders Joe tonight I availed myself of Pumpkin Spice Granola, Pumpkin Spice Rolls (with icing) (pumpkin spice icing) and Pumpkin Spice waffles. I told the clerk that I envision the Trader Joe factory as a place with two enormous vats connected to a common spigot; one says MANGO and the other says PUMPKIN SPICE and there’s a guy in a hardhat who’s looking at his watch, and the minute it ticks over to midnight September 15 he swings the handle from one side to the other.




Last week a coworker made the mistake of defending where she lived. A light-hearted celebration of her neighborhood, which I share; I lived there for three years. Back then everyone said the old Uptown was gone, and it had been ruined. Everyone always says that. Anyway, people were always tell her she should live in Northeast, which is arty and cool, and not Uptown, which has too many bars populated by soulless young businesspeople.

I read the comments because I know what sets off the judgmental types, the smug lol stupid you for liking that thing you like people who populate the bottom of most newspaper websites like grubs in a sack of moldy flour.

One comment:

At a time when affordable housing is a real issue, I look forward to the day when everyone has the equal chance to choose the neighborhood in which they live based on want -- and to have the luxury to bemoan that choice based on the superficial perception of others. Until then, I chalk this article up to much ado about a "problem" of privilege.

Yeah. I've heard this goal for many years; the newspaper, in its more Flaming GooGoo days, endorsed it as "Life-Cycle Housing." At whatever stage in your life you're at you should be able to live anywhere you want. Should? You can, if you can afford it, and if you can't, then you live elsewhere. The only solution is to force down selected property values, or have the State buy the properties and subsidize the occupants.

Deadspin, a sports page that has to spasm out social policy whenever possible, had an article about sprawl the other day. You can guess.

The dream of the perfect city is a dream of density. Urban sprawl—the more or less unrestrained outward expansion of low-density new development—leads to horrific traffic and commute times, environmental unsustainability, and a general shittiness of vibe that characterizes bland exurbs from Atlanta to Phoenix. Fighting to prevent urban sprawl is an unmistakable good. In theory, we accomplish that by adding density to existing city areas instead of just moving forever away from city centers with miles of plastic suburban developments.

Well, his dream of a perfect city is a dream of density. Mine is mix of density and SPRAWL! GLORIOUS SPRAWL! This afternoon I drove from my low-density urban area to Southdale, which is the locus of evil for the suburb haters. This is where it all began. The indoor mall. The wide streets. The car-centered lifestyle. True! Very handy. And it's also home to several large dense housing developments. The author would have applauded this; the author would have preferred the entire place was never built in the first place. The fact that people like it and use it and move there is irrelevant: STOP LIKING THOSE THINGS YOU LIKE.

“No one is really thinking about tearing down single-family neighborhoods and building apartment buildings,” Romem told Bloomberg. Well, maybe it’s time to do that? Assuming the macro trend of mass migrations of people all over the world towards cities continues, cities have to get denser, period. Turning existing low density city areas into high density ones is inevitable.

If you zone for big massive blocks in neighborhoods that are currently single-family dwellings, yes - and good luck there when it comes to neighborhood groups that don't want the density. I see it here all the time - neighborhood groups will fight five stores in commercial node because the scale's wrong.

Here's a new project in Stadium Village, by the U. Dense enough?

I like it. In context, it works - the area was once all small-scale, except for a big brick stadium. Houses, two-story commercial structures, dorms, apartment buildings. Then the U started building larger structures, and developers put up a building whose scale surprised everyone.

That would be the building the lower right-hand corner of the picture.


East Side, West Side: "Set in New York City, the show explored issues of urban life, some of them grim." But of course.


The series centers on Scott in the role of Neil Brock, a New York City social worker who worked for the private agency Community Welfare Service, with his secretary, Jane Foster, played by actress Cicely Tyson. Episodes of East Side/West Side covered topics relevant to the inner city, with many controversial issues explored. A typical example came in the first two episodes, when Brock investigated a prostitute and her child ("The Sinner"), followed by a story involving statutory rape (“Age of Consent”).

And you can bet the network loved that. So:

In an effort to open up the number of possible stories, Brock resigned from his job in the latter portion of the 1963–64 season to work for a New York congressman, Charles W. Hanson (Chiles). The characters played by Elizabeth Wilson and Cicely Tyson soon disappeared and Barbara Feldon is introduced as Brock's girlfriend.

Great theme, isn't it? It was by Kenyon Hopkins.




It's in Lower Central Michigan. Five thousand, two hundred souls. Sometimes cities have mottos; this city's website not only doesn't have on, its community news page hasn't been updated since 2007. So perhaps the town was wiped off the map by a plague, and they repopulated it before the Google Cars came through to keep the cover story alive.

Good luck figuring this one out. The steps go up to a back door that is higher than the other back door. The windows are raised high on the first floor, and they are tiny and intentional. The basement windows have been blinded.

I like the old Diet Rite Cola sign, because it reminded me how happy I am now that no one ever offers you a Diet Rite Cola. It's still around, but I don't know anyone who bothers. It's made by RC Cola, and you'd think they'd capitalize on the brand's greater awareness, but perhaps there just isn't any.

Yes, RC has fans, but you have to admit it doesn't have the marketing heft of the Big Two.

Nice job, considering. Interesting windows. An excess of sidewalk suggests one of those let's-save-Main-Street efforts, using the usual tools: trees and bricks.

A ghost on the side: DRY GOODS. CLOTHES.

And flags! You always see flags outside of small-town antique stores.

Three siblings who grew up to be as different as possible:

The building on the right had a big window taken out, obviously, but what did they do to the cornice? Was something lost in a storm, and they hired a local to redo the top? Erg. The building in the middle is wearing a mask that shows its ornate hairdo; the one on the right is the eccentric sister who has too many cats and bumperstickers but everyone loves her anyway. Even though she is so opinionated.

Jeezum Crow, don't do this. Don't.

Brickify the ground floor, plaster the middle but leave the details poking out - it's just embarassing.

The Nion Block?


I'm thinking UNION BLOCK.

To this day the architect probably insists he was doing what the client wanted, and saved what he could.

He saw his kid playing with one of those puzzles where you slide the squares around to make the numbers consecutive, and thought Ah Ha.

I'll bet the house wine is Amontillado:

Can you guess what they sold here?

Farm implements. We know this because of the name:

He was an implement dealer, but also the Superintendent of Utilities.

His name was Charles. I don't know what his son's name was. Hope he didn't have two, and one disgraced the Hunt Name. Banishments like that can be long-lasting, and even if forgotten, the absence still stands as a stone rebuke from the second story of an old building in a small town in south-central Michigan.

Thanks for stopping by! But wait - there's more. See you around.


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