Thursday! My second favorite day of the week. The order goes: Friday, Thursday, Monday, Wednesday, Sunday, Saturday, Tuesday. The weekend ranks low because it’s a time of duty without structure. Thursday’s even better when I have my Friday work done, which I do, except for one piece I can write standing on my head.

That’s a line from 40s slang, usually said by someone young scoffing at a jail sentence: A year in stir? I can do that standing on my head. No, actually, you can’t - aside from the circulatory issues, you will be required to move around for meals and exercise. If anyone had done a year standing on his head we would have had a gritty black-and-white movie about this person, humanizing him, bringing to national attention the plight of prison conditions. When I was young I saw “The Birdman of Alcatraz” and was moved to wonder why decent, scientifically-inclined men like Burt Lancaster had to go to jail.

Of course, the Birdman was Robert Stroud.

By the time he was 18, he had become a pimp in the Alaska Territory. In January 1909, he shot and killed a bartender who had attacked one of his prostitutes, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in the federal penitentiary on Puget Sound's McNeil Island. Stroud gained a reputation as an extremely dangerous inmate who frequently had confrontations with fellow inmates and staff, and in 1916, he killed a guard.

After that he seemed to shape up, and spent 42 years in solitary. He loved birds, because he was unable to love people, or perhaps himself.

Anyway, it’s Thursday, and I hope you like it too.



Re: the recent burger-chain complaint: sometimes I get lost in burger-chain reveries on Wikipedia and elsewhere - accounts of bygone chains that had their time, turned out some commercials, spread logos across the land, and fell to the pitiless scythe of changing tastes. The other day while researching a town for Main Street I got rabbitholed into the story . . . of Sandy’s.


The mascot was a Scottish lass, which went up against those other Scots, the McDonalds. They were actually sued by Kroc et al for getting a bit too close to the Scottish Rite of burger distribution.

There was one in the Dinkytown Dome . . .




Obviously not when this picture was taken. But there was an eatery in the same spot:




It’s been gone for almost 40 years, and I still think of it when I pass, even though I couldn’t have eaten there more than a few times.

The building's still there.



By the way, if you zoom . . .



This sign drives me crazy, because I don't know if the font choice is intention.

Do you know why I say that? What's special about this typeface? TO THE COMMENTS, ROBIN


Anyway. Sandy's. Interesting progression of ads. The first clip has two radio ads.


The second ad takes advantage of the “funny” songs that narrated some fictitious event by dropping in bits from popular songs.

The first one has lots of Scottishness, but this one? Hmm. Let’s see if we can run this parody without the lawyers getting upset about ripping off Jimmy Dean:


Hey kid get your butt off the counter:


Oh, that’s just so painfully 70s. I was that kid. That music was everywhere. Things were yellow. The buns were dry.

Another approach: let’s go upscale! It’s like a fern bar, without ferns, where women on their lunch hour cast glances at the guys who handle marketing for that computer-parts company up the road.



Burger Queen! Gone. Henry’s: another of the 15 cent chains that made a fine small hot hamburger: gone.

Or were they fine? You suspect that the product was interchangeable, and more bun than burger. I find McDonald’s mostly inedible nowadays - it can be good enough if you get one fresh, but it’s never a wow! experience. Burger King struck me as chemically-infused plastic at some point, and I can’t; just can’t. Here’s the thing: there are times when I don’t want a good hamburger. I want two good hamburgers.

I don’t want three, or I’d be at White Castle, drunk. Those are nasty things, and I say that as someone who has a box of frozen sliders in the fridge at all times for an occasional quick lunch that culminates in regret and self-loathing, but is salvaged in the end by ketchup, Colman’s mustard, and pepper. You wonder: were they always this horrid? How could a chain burgeon so with food that made you hate yourself - and how could it spawn a duplicate like White Tower?

Everyone has forgotten White Tower, but it fed millions. If it had survived, would it have the same mood and tone as White Castle today, proud and unashamed? You know what you’re in for. You request this without shame or reservation. All the options in the world, and this - this! is what you choose. We not only don't judge, we salute you. Here, look upon our slightly self-aware posters to reassure yourself that this is something normal people eat with vestigial self-awareness.

But what if Sandy’s was really good? What if it was the best? One of these places, after all, had to be better than McDonald’s. It only stands to reason. Sandy’s was eventually bought by Hardee’s, which was the RC Cola to the Coke and Pepsi of McD and BK. You always felt a bit weird going there - like any chain, it had its proprietary lingo, and you felt as if there was a big shared Hardee’s culture to which you didn’t belong. Maybe no one did. Maybe there was a reason for that.

You went back to McDonald’s because everyone belonged there. Everyone knew what it was.

Remember a year or so ago, I went to King Leo’s in Fargo? I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. This was the coolest store in town, an awesome burger joint with unique architecture - crispy fries and thin burgers like everyone else. The new place looked like the old one, except recreated by aliens who had observed it through telescopes, and the burgers were modern and hefty. NO NO NO. No. Thin and small. I should want to buy them by the sack, as the old adage had it.

At least - I think - the kitchen staff had pointy paper hats with the company logo printed on the side.

But it’s not enough.


Grayce Scott!



Harlem Stock Company, eh? There's a story about which I can't find any details - the Harlem Renaissance, with Black actors doing big shows, wouldn't start up for a few years.

"Leading Woman." Five credits listed; no biographical information.




Part two of our look at this town, which was going about minding its own business until Google showed up to drive around one afternoon and define it for the internet to judge.

Well, not the internet; just me.

Let me guess: senior housing now?



No, as it turns out. From their website:

The Bondi Brother sold their dry good store to Kline’s Department Stores in 1927 and with those proceeds, constructed the Bondi Building in 1928. Then and now, Galesburg history is written  with our tenants having shared in our success and "they represent the finest professions with their own successes...the continuing tradition."

Well, good for them. It's been modernized, obviously - the ground and top floors were once much more interesting.




A sign scar's visible on the right; I'll bet each had a sign once, in the Heyday.



And I'll bet there are brick facades slumbering since 1960 under those panels. Would it be better to strip them off and reveal them - or are these kinds of rehabs valuable in their own right as a testament to the postwar Heyday?



From the proud days of Modern Newspaper Offfices:



The Register-Mail is an American daily newspaper published in Galesburg, Illinois. The paper was owned by the Pritchard family from 1896 to 1989, when it was sold to the Journal Star. In 1996, Copley Press bought both papers for $174.5 million. In 2007, GateHouse Media bought Copley's Illinois and Ohio papers

For a lot less, I'd wager. Circ: 10K.


Not, you suspect, what Mr. Foots had in mind.



I'm assuming it was Mr. Foots.


The all-knowing Google is mute on both men.



Sigh, and yet, yay:



Nice piece of 30s classicism, and it must have looked even better when the windows were, you know, windows.

Closed now, says the newspaper - and it notes that the building was originally a Gamble's Department Store. That would be the wonderfully named Gamble-Skogmo, a Minneapolis concern that ran a variety of businesses - into the ground, eventually.


A touch of Northern Europe:



I'm intrigued by the facade on the left; that's no style I've seen anywhere. Looks like a monster's maw from an 80s video game.



Oddly satisfying accidental composition:



The openings on the ground floor must have been from the child labor days.


Sigh, no yay



It moved to the Mall, of course, and then, of course, it closed. Newspaper article at the time:

“These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail -- at the store, online and in the home,” Reifs wrote.

What better way to serve your customers than shut the doors and sell off all the stock?


Here's a venerable block:



I can't tell what it says. Or . . . can I? I can. Bernstein's Bargain Store. Originally the Chicago Bargain Store, if you're curious; now an Antique Mall.


We end with some regrettable Buckaroo Revival, in a most unusual place:



But there's much more; it's quite a well-preserved Modwestern downtown, and like so many others seems built for a larger population.

Have a look around to see what I missed . . .



. . . and give my regards to Galesburg.


That'll do; see you around.


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