A few weeks ago I noted something that was . . . unbelievable in this day, this age. How I ordered pizza from my phone and it took 31 minutes. How it soured my mood - yea, my faith in our times. But I got over it, as one must, and the next day went to the grocery store for Samples Bonanza. Not their term - Lundsandbyerly’s called it the Grilling Kick-Off or something, and had nice graphics no doubt created last December, when the team that had done the Holiday Graphics Package turned their yearning eyes to clement times.
The first thing I saw when I walked in? A place of hamburger slices. There is nothing that gladdens your heart like free wedges of hamburgers, so I had one. There was also corn, hot and buttered. Over there: steak.
“That’s delicious,” I said to the lady who was handing out free steak because it is America. “That’s a great rub.”
“I do the grilling,”she said with a certain air of defiance; I could tell she meant that she did the grilling at home, possibly because her husband wasn’t any good at it, and while she didn’t mind, it would nice if he could do that one thing now and then, but just as wel he didn't, since she did it better.
“You know your way around a steak,” I agreed. She gave a little snort and said it wasn’t rocket science but some people just don’t know. I agreed and said the rub would probably be good on shoe leather.
“I’ve made a few of those in my time,” she said, suddenly admitting to having burned the meat.
“We all have,” I said, since this had suddenly taken a confessional turn. I thanked her and moved along to Raw Tuna with Mango, which was probably good but I associate raw fish with intestinal parasites so I dumped it when I got around the corner.
No samples in Bakery, but lots of free cheese. One was a Gouda with a goaty kick at the end. No. Moved to a table staffed by a sarcastic looking woman in an apron who told me she was head of marketing for the company, which possibly meant she did not consider wearing an apron in a grocery store when she got her MBA, but here she was.
“That’s interesting,” I said upon finishing the gouda. “It’s clumpy.”
“That’s because it’s real cheese,” she almost barked. With a sardonic grin. While looking off to the side. “It’s not that, that -“
“Stuff extruded from a big nozzle?”
At the other cheese demonstration counter the person handing out samples said she was the Cheese Custodian or Aging Agent or something, I can’t remember. She was the one who put the cheese into the caves.
“And then . . . what?” I asked.
“Cheese is a living thing,” she said, and I wish people would stop saying that. “It’s like a baby. You have to take care of it.”
“Well, except you don’t chop up the 16-month old baby and wrap it in plastic and sell it,” I said. “The analogy only goes so far.”
“No,” she said. “You’re right about that.”
Having brought chopped-up babies into the story I felt compelled to buy some cheese now. I rung up at self-serv and left the store. Phone rang.
“James Lileks,” I said.
“Oh - James Lileks?”
“Yes. What can I do for you.”
“Well Mr. Lileks I am calling from the Mayor Betsy Hodges campaign. How are you?”
“I am standing in the rain outside of a suburban Byerly’s.” I felt as if I should have prefaced that line with “Diane.” I told him kindly that he was better off spending his time with someone in need of persuading, and that he was lucky to be indoors on a wet day doing something he believed in. He thanked me with guileless, youthful enthusiasm and we parted.
I went to Kowalski’s, which was also having a Sample Bonanza. I didn’t like much of anything. Spinach Dip? No. Sounds like a 40s insult or a Popeye dance. There was some steak; it was cold. There was some Kolbi-sauced chicken, and it was cold as well. I felt a brief twitch of annoyance: if you’re going to go to the trouble of giving me free food, would it kill you to warm it up?
Bought a few things I needed and went home, happy.
It’s good to get out of the house and meet people.
I hope you find this as interesting as I do.
Probably not, though.
I was looking at a motel across the street for the Motel Postcard section - the 2018 version - and saw this. Vincennes, Indiana.
Faded and battered. But once no doubt modern and clean and prosperous, right? Rewind the Google Street View:
In tiny letters hardly anyone could see: (Someone) for Mayor.
I swung to the left . . .
I figured there was a story here. And there was.
The Executive Inn was part of a chain, and if you google around you find various videos of the Inns being demolished. They had a big square atrium with hanging plants, and I gather it was one swank joint. For Executives! And locals when they wanted a Big Night Out. It's emblematic of a particular time - no great style outside, but when you got one of these it was a sign your town had arrived. It was the place to meet Business People from out of town, or have an anniversary dinner - or later, just hit the bar.
As for this iteration: A brief news story about the inspection, here. It didn't go well. It hadn't been going well for a while.
The owners fought it.
And then the camera crews got inside to see it before it was demolished. Time to sell the beds.
The Gateway to Vincennes! It's going to be . . . a gas station?
Every town of a certain size had a story like this. Or will.
More of Robert Pilgrim's "Believe it or Not"-type feature. Except it's all about food.
This guy is my spirit animal except for the animal part:
But what kind of hot sauce? You might think Tabasco. Something tells me it was Crystal.
Please be over soon
Honestly, the Executive Inn story is a better serial.
Tired of a dame being the hero of this thing? You’re in luck!
So now we can have fistfights. Unfortunately, it’s a Western, and that means no ray guns or flying soldiers or science-stuff interfering with the Allies, and so on. But if you remember how things went last week, they can drop a million pounds of rock on our stalwarts. How’d that go?
And then some other stuff happens and the deed to the mine and the statehood petition are in peril and the audience is sitting there munching popcorn thinking “did I see this last week? No. I think I saw the first one. I don’t know what’s going on. Is there going to be a cartoon? Yeah of course there’s always a cartoon. Okay there’s a fight looks like something’s going on. I think I'll smoke."
Well, at the end, the Guy Who Was Black Whip For a While is having a punchfest with one of the outlaws, while the Gal Who Was Black Whip But Not Zorro is laid out cold after a punch. And so:
Okay, hold on, whoa, wait: did you see the boots twitch? Zorro’s dead.
And it’s not Zorro.
A new site! Broadcast logos, starting with 1949. Good graphic arts from the local level. Hope you enjoy it.