A lovely warm day of the sort only January can provide: a thaw, grey skies, and the comfort of temporary solace. We're due to skid back down to seven above in a day or two. The dog has a new jacket so he can go outside without expiring, and I look forward to struggling with that. It's a good thing people don't react to coats like dogs; if you put a jacket on your child and they started biting it, you'd worry. With dogs, you're just annoyed. CAN'T YOU INTUIT THE REASON FOR THIS?

No, of course not. Just as he couldn't intuit the reason no one was happy with him when he woke at 5 AM to rid himself of all the bread and flour and sugar he'd eaten, and was so pleased by the result he wanted to stay up and play. When I did not want to toss anything he stood at the top of the stairs, a vantage point from which he could see nothing but the dark beyond the window, and barked at phantoms.

Then again, no one was murdered by ghosts last night, so he's doing his job. I'd say "earning his keep" but that loaf of bread was $4.99.

These look interesting:

I’ll try them, if only because it’s not often you get a chance to drink something that has “Zesty Blood” in its name. It’s interesting that they’re cancelling the old flavors, the Lime and Lemon versions, and I think I know why: they’re horrible. I don’t know when my tastes changed, or when they changed the recipe (switched to Splenda at some point, I think) but one day I realized that the taste of the stuff was wretched. Not entirely unlike furniture polish.

What of Cherry Vanilla? What of Vanilla Zero? What of Cherry Vanilla Zero? Do those exist? I don’t know.

USA Today quotes an exec:

“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, said in a statement. “We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences.”

So it’s the Millennials’ fault, eh. Well, if ever there’s a demographic that will respond to words like “a contemporized portfolio,” it’s them.


Well, as promised, all of the Misc I usually doled out over the week is now dumped in one big bolus of ephemeral, inconsequential stuff on Thursday. So let's get cracking.


Miss Morris does not exist! But she will help you, like a spirit summoned from the moist realm of the young and romantically bereft.

This one sets the tone for this week's examples:

A he-man woman hater, perhaps? That used to be a thing.

Radio singer. Broad minded. Snap to it, chaps.

Hubba; hubba:

And an address. And a phone number. And perhaps a man of means would like to visit an artist in her sinful atelier.

Every sailor's nightmare:

Oh whew, she's not looking for guys to write her, thinks the swabby.

Her hobby is collecting love poems. People called anything a hobby back then. What's your hobby? I cut pictures out of movie magazines and put them in scrapbooks. That's not a hobby. That's idolatry coupled with busywork. Sez you, mister. Why I never.


Well, that'll keep the postal inspectors on high alert.

Miss Roberta wants confidences:

What sort of friendly confidences? She seems to be going into a lot of details about her hair. Maybe her letters were all about hair. My hair was sweaty after dancing! But not as wet as after I was swimming. I dried my hair whiie motoring expressively!

Bobby's hoping you get the hint:

His special hobby.

How about it, fellows?

On the other side of the ledger:

I'm starting to wonder if the majority of letters to the friendliest corner were trolling for lavender companionship. I mean, 16 to 30?

The column concludes:

Internet aliases, the early years.




This isn’t a Main Street in the usual sense, but I just want to clear out the stuff I set aside. As it turns out, Google went back to the street since I snapped these screenshots, and a lesson is learned.

Nothing stays the same. Things get better. Things get worse. Cities are dynamic organisms. Cliches are written.

Old man on a crutch:

It’s suffered the raft of abuses - the upstairs windows were blinded, the ground-floor window covered up, the glass over the doorway leading upstairs replaced long ago. But then there’s that glass on the left side that looks new, as if someone still cares.

That seems to be the message for a lot of this patch of town.

This one took a haircut:

No doubt there was once ornamentation on the top, and the ground floor was glass, and it looked like a nice street - but that was then, a long time ago.

Do you have any Schwarzes?

Well, we have A. Schwarz.

Current street view shows it covered in scaffolding for a renovation.


Now we come to the block that got my attention. This is 2009.

The camera caught two workers. Waiting for business . . .

. . . making the chili. You can see the apron around his waist.

FF a few years . . .

The Big Kahuna is gone, and Chili is no longer served. Then . . .

I mistook this for complete shuttering of the block, but I was wrong. The doors have been moved, the shop-window indents removed. Because . . .

t’s been rehabbed! But note how the small shops are gone, subsumed in a larger space. This is regrettable; the small shops add a different type of life to the street. The shop-window indents give you something to look at if you want to linger. This looks like it will be an office for a tech start-up. Great! But boring.

Now let’s go to the end of the block.

Ah. It’s apparent that the theater and the office block were one project, typical for the time.

The Ramova?


Cinema Treasures:

Like the smaller Music Box Theater, which seats about half as many as the 1,500-seat Ramova Theater, both were designed in Atmospheric style inside, their auditoriums built to resemble Spanish-courtyards. On the deep blue ceiling of the Ramova Theater, “stars” glittered before each movie, and through the archways along the side walls were scenes of the Spanish countryside. Like the Music Box’s lobby, the blue sky with stars motif also continued into the ceiling. Faux-marble and gilded plasterwork were also in abundance, even more so than at the Music Box Theater.

The architect was Meyer O. Nathan, and I presume he did the whole block. Did he do the ornamentation, or was that off-the-shelf from some terra-cotta company that could configure your Spanish motifs to any size the architect preferred?


Chicago Mag notes that the chairs are gone:

What remains is a grid of ankle-breaking holes punched through the concrete floor, originally created to allow the flow of hot air to warm guests. Shuttered for more than 20 years, the structure is currently owned by the city, which has thus far spared it from the wrecking ball.


After the show, pie and coffee at the Bridgeport, which is the neighborhood’s name.

When places like these go, the last links are snapped.



That'll do; see you tomorrow. Restaurants have returned! Oh, wait, I said that last week.


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