It’s minus two at the moment. It did reach 12 today. The windshield wipers make the most horrid screech, because it’s too cold to shoot washer fluid, so the wipers go back and forth dry three times, shrieking like the damned. Well, not the long damned, but the newly damned. If you’re still screeching like that after a few centuries you need to dial back the drama.

That concludes today’s Bleat! Now, on to the canned features.

Kidding. Almost. From now on Thursdays will have a big canned feature; that’s where I pile the Misc, instead of doling it out. I doubt anyone cares either way; humor me.

If I had to say something more, it would concern coming home after work, and finding Daughter - who now has flaming red hair, thanks to a salon gift certificate and an imaginative interpretation by the stylist of her request - singing “if I were a rich man.” I asked her how she knew that song, and she said c’mon, it’s by Gwen Stefani.

No it’s not. It’s Tevye.

Well maybe it is by she sang it too.

Really? This? I called up “Fiddler on the Roof” on YouTube, and she laughed as Topol spoke to God, or the cameraman in the barn rafters. “That’s not it,” she said. Then he started to sing.

“Oh wait.”

Tevye does the deedle needle didle didle dum bit, and she says okay it is the same song. She calls up the Gwen Stefani version, which seems thin and petty. I was tempted to enter Dad Mode and talk about how the movie version really softened the character - Tevye had something of an edge in other versions, and I have one from the Smithsonian Lost Treasures if you’d like to see it, and also Tool was a brand of smoker’s toothpaste - but thought better of it.

So I just gave her the hydrogen peroxide. She had texted me at work, asking if I might go to Walgreens and get some so she can lighten the hues of her dye job and look a little less like a Brave cosplayer, and I’d said sure. I didn’t know where to find it, though, so I asked a guy in short sleeves in his middle 30s with a company badge on his belt if he knew where the hydrogen peroxide was.

“I don’t work here,” he said with evident annoyance. I apologized, and wondered exactly why I had thought that he did. But I knew, and he knew, that he looked like a drug store manager. Careworn, underpaid, pasty, with a small badge of authority that only brought grief. I found the chemicals and went to the counter, where the most amazingly mellow, and stoned, clerk helped me out. He was wearing fingerless gloves that had the Star Wars Rebellion logo. He went through every possible nice thing to wish a customer - have a great day, stay warm, thank you, come by again, and I was still saying “thanks” and “you too” as I left the place. I almost expected him to follow me. No seriously I want you to be the person you want to be. It’s in your power.

All of the above was my takeaway from Wednesday, not Trump vs. Bannon, because they were things that happened between people I met. Oh, it’s entertaining, and I suppose I’m resigned to viewing politics now entirely through the lens of Twitter bitchery that screams like the freshly damned every time I open the app; for the most part I can’t even, because I know at some point I will have to even, and I want to have some reserves left.

Wouldn't you like happy times, all year long? Of course - and here's how. Candy! It's energy food!
I must have edited out February because . . . well, I don't know. Here's a bygone bar for March:

They had quite the Scientific Slogan there: CANDY . . . enriched with dextrose.

Are you getting enough dextrose in your diet?

April, the blessed time when rabbits wake and begin to suck eggs:

Refreshing treats for May, when the warm breezes of spring fill you with the desire to stop that wallpaper job before you even get started:

No one had a happy June when they took a tumble on their bikes and the stick of their sucker went through the back of their throat. Thus: the SAF-T-POP was born!

I think they might have oversold this one:

It's sugar water. It's a miracle only if you drink it and discover it's wine.

The question arises: did brothers and sisters ever go to school holding hands?

Behold: the early days of Fun Size.

There's your Fun Candy year, all spelled out! Note: some of these candies are no longer made, so fun will not happen.



Let me reset the table here, and remind you what this feature is all about. It’s about taking up space on the Internet with captioned pictures, thereby giving you something to snack on. But more than that, it’s a way to fill up the page so it seems like a substantial contribution to the daily flow of information.

Let me reset the resetting, since I appear to be stuck in some ridiculously “honest” mode. Like all other below-the-fold features, it started as a one-off; I had an old grocery store ad, and looked up the address. I saw a picturesque old town that had gone to seed - boarded up buildings, empty windows, tired old architecture that told the story of 20th century styles. Having boundless nostalgia for small towns and their little commercial centers, I thought this would be an interesting thing to explore. In short: what happened? What’s left? How many downtowns got hit with the retail neutron bomb, and how many boomers drive down these streets and think of the times they went shopping with Mom for school clothes, or bought candy at the Woolworth, or got a goldfish at the pet store?

This stuff makes me angry, and sad. It’s not a reaction I expect you to share; touring one broken-down (or trending up) small town after the other may seem like a strange and obsessive thing to do, like a parade of wrecked cars.

Let’s start with an old postcard.

Here’s the scene today.

The building on the right is occupied by the same firm: a furniture store. The rest of the block has suffered, obviously. Let’s zoom in:

VFW. Now square that picture with this:

VFW. Huh? Well, google away, and you find that the building - which looks like a 1950s structure - is actually the 1908 New Bjiou. And it’s falling apart.

Now let’s look across the street. Wow:

The Electric Building. Watch this.

All those bulbs must have looked fantastic.


Let’s turn around the corner and check another postcard view . . .

The building on the right, down the street, from another angle:

t looks the same. That has to be a rehab; we had the same colored panels in Minneapolis on the old Penneys store. But what was it? It’s so oddly proportioned. The second floor seems to indicate double-height space.

It didn’t age well, this style. It has nice green marble pasted on the bottom floor, the same kind as we have here on the NWL building. It’s falling off in spots.

A regrettable offshoot of Buckaroo Revival: the full enwoodening of facades.

Bollards keep people from running into the building if they've had a few.

I . . . OOF! International Order of Friends, of course. 1919, the hopeful year.

Strange ground floor, but the upstairs? Imagine what that meeting room was like.

The town has a row of ugly banks. This is a classic of the genre, let's say.

They loved those recessed windows, the architects of the day.

The people who worked inside, probably less so.

What a strange, bizarre little building. A church now - but was it once a movie theater?

Yes. Warner Brothers Theater.

Behold, the Crother-Wodding Block!

From Pinterest, an old picture of a much more interesting street:

The Pinterest caption says it's the home of "the legend of Billy Ghol and the Ladies of Aberdeen."


William "Billy" Gohl (February 6, 1873 – March 3, 1927) was an American serial killer who, while working as a union official, murdered sailors passing through Aberdeen, Washington. He murdered for an unknown period of time and was a suspect in dozens of murders until his capture in 1910. Spared from the death penalty by a request for leniency by the jury, he was sentenced to life in prison at Walla Walla State Penitentiary where he died in 1927.

Sailors arriving in the port of Aberdeen would usually visit the Sailor's Union building soon after disembarking. There they could collect their mail and, if they wished, set some money aside in savings.  Gohl would usually be on duty, alone. Typically Gohl would ask if the sailors had any family or friends in the area. Then he would turn the conversation to the topic of money and valuables. If the sailor was just passing through, and would not be missed by anyone in the area, and had more than a trivial amount of cash or valuables on hand, Gohl would choose him as his next victim.

He'd shoot them and dump them in the river.

About the Ladies, I don't know.

Trees and low deep awnings: I suppose the latter helped with the rain, but they still the street look as if it has its cap brim pulled low over its eyes.

When I saw this vista, I wondered what the building in the foreground had looked like; surely it was brick, and they covered it with wood for some reason.

Then I thought: what's the abandoned structure in the background, behind the vacant lot that no doubt once held some buildings? Yes, I thought it exactly like that.

Well. There it is. The abandoned hotel.

The Morck.

The deets:

That's not upside down.

Here's the good news:

The Morck was originally built in 1924 as a grand gathering place for the people of Aberdeen and Grays Harbor. Virtually all events of significance were staged here for its first fifty years and this icon’s renovation has long been contemplated as a symbol of Aberdeen’s return to the prominence that it enjoyed during the early-to-mid twentieth century.

Today we are in the final phases of a campaign to raise the $23 million dollars needed for a top-to bottom renovation that will deliver an 85-room boutique hotel to the heart of Aberdeen’s historic downtown prior to the beginning of Summer 2018. 

That's from the hotel's website. And that's not all the good news. It's one of those towns that seems determined to bring it back and push it all forward.

Take a brief flight. Chances are you'll recognize some of the buildings, too - because now you know a bit more about a place you'd never thought about before.

Speaking for myself, anyway.

Oh: one more thing.


Since Thursday seems to be Roadside day, we return to the fascinating world of Restaurant Postcards. The site's been redone, which was boring and exhausiting, and now has a clickable list of all the locations, which was even more boring and exhausting. But I like the end result.


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