Family’s still out of town, and I have discovered I can’t cook. Last night I got some cheap on-sale cube steak - yeah, I know, that was my problem in the first place, but I figured I could cook it up with Stuff and chop it up, put it on a bun, add some sauce, and it would be okay. It was like eating a Sunday paper that had a picture of a cow somewhere in the sports section. Gave up after two bites - neither of which consented to be chewed - and gave the rest to the dog over two nights.

He loved it.

So I’m just trying to keep busy - tomorrow I start some big house projects so the place is clean and organized when they get back. The first few days they’re gone I just sit around and do nothing of consequence. I can watch TV without headphones at night! O what joy.

Anyway. Vacation week, sort of, so Bleatage is light, as I warned.

I believe I have found an error in a new biography, but it’s impossible to tell. As for the subject - well, ever since I learned about the fellow’s actual life, I’ve made it a mission to tell everyone. Who’s the author?

He didn’t like museums or the theatre, preferring films (The Dog as Thief, Abducted by a Bedouin) and nightclubs full of prostitutes. On holidays he led river-swimming expeditions, hiked for days and zoomed around on a motorbike with his girlfriend . . . it feels odd to think of him reading his work to friends and howling with “uncontrollable” laughter, or to imagine him pottering in the vegetable garden and chopping wood on his sister’s farm.

I can’t find “Abducted by a Bedouin” on imdb, and apologize to anyone who came here looking for more information. As for “The Dog as Thief,” it was made in 1905.


He shows us Kafka at an air show with Brod, identifying the two men in a miraculously surviving photo from the backs of their heads alone, and at the Folies-Bergère in Paris, where they watched an English actor who did “an amazingly realistic imitation of a dog, and a clown acrobat named Humpsti-Bumpsti.” Passages like this don’t tell us who Kafka was, but they show us what it was like to be around him.

I thought I’d have more luck with Humpsti-Bumpsti. The first few hits refer to a dance of the same name. Then there’s a passage from a book:


Plural? Another entry from a Dutch circus dictionary says: "A song in which comic acrobats fall on the most impossible ways and make the craziest jumps."

An LA paper:" Piplfax & Panlo, European clowns, will in “Humpsti-Bumpsti,” make a lot of rollicking fun," and another paper lists


I wonder, then, if the act was derived from the original acrobat, or whether the author conflated the act with the performer’s name.

No bios on Piplfax & Panlo, either. The internet isn’t as stocked as we’d like to think.

Oh, and it was a book about Kafka.

Finally, something that's rather remarkable for 1930 - or not, if you consider that people with imagination can predict these things without much effort. Of course this will happen. Of course.


And that's exactly what happened.





I don't know what happened here. Well, no, I do; the latter half of the 20th century happened. Three thousand souls - and growing; it increased 4.0 over the last ten years.

Wikipedia: "The city was settled by the Choctaw and named in 1867 by a Baptist missionary for Chief Atoka, whose name means 'ball groudn'" in English."

Okay. More from the site, which lacks the usual dispassionate tone:

Despite being strategically located at the intersection of two major highways (especially U.S. 69, a major transportation artery in the region), Atoka is struggling to create a town attractive to both new business and new residents. Even though the town has experienced an economic upturn in the past few years, it still lacks the main thing that ensures economic prosperity and attracts new residents: well-paying jobs.[citation needed]

Let's take a look.

The Chamber of Commerce. Really.

If you've been following this feature for a while, you know what this used to be. Obviously, a gas station, yes - but the brand. This one gives you a rather obvious hint.

The architect hated his client. He was the kind of guy who lined up his pencils just so on his desk. Placed his desk so it was exactly lined up with the windows. Always had the blinds drawn up evenly. A man who liked order. He was cruel to the architect through the whole process.

"Why can't you put the windows in now?"

"I'm waiting. It'll be the last thing I do."

The architect left a note before he left town: "enjoy the view"

This one's been through a lot, and it doesn't seem like it wants to talk about it.


The first-floor rehab, I'll bet, for for a nice store that sold nice things.

Now, tanning.

The American Association for the Prevention of Windows must have had a branch in town:

That's a damned tall door.


The shock never wears off:

I can't make out the word on the stone. The entire building seems horrified to the point of speechlessness.

Just as the P told you the gas station was a Pure, so did this building make permanent its original purpose:

Where did the icon originate? Not even Chevy is sure.


Ghost ad from long ago. A bank with a Porpoise!


Here's the Titan of Finance:


Locals say the ghost of a banker can still be seen in the upstairs window, but I think that's bunk.

A typical downtown three-story structure, with a typical fate.


"What? Use the same color brick? Why the hell would we do that?"

If you look closely, you'll come to the same conclusion: those were the original doors.

Cruel prank: pull the fire alarm, and stand across the street and watch everyone try to get out.

Again, Wikipedia:

However, there is a beacon of hope for Atoka in the future. For the past several years, economic growth has been steadily moving northward along U.S. 75 from Dallas, Texas. Two towns located to the south of Atoka, Durant, Oklahoma, and Sherman, Texas, are experiencing tremendous economic and population growth. As this wave of development gradually moves north, the next town in line is the city of Atoka. If the growth continues, it is possible that Atoka could begin to see the type of expansion currently underway across the Red River to the south.

Oh, it's possible.



The last of the motels! No more until next May; restaurants are next.



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