Today is Daughter's last day of High School.

She's happy. And also the enormity of everything is hitting her like a rain of sledgehammers.

The other day We went to get the Yellow Fever shot, because Daughter is going to a country crawling with disease and crime.

Oh, I’m kidding. Oh, she texted me this:

Ha ha Dad you worry too much

The shot was done at one of those places that will set you up for wherever you’re going, and help you Not Get Malaria. Since the nation is low on homemade Yellow Fever vaccine, we’ve had to import from France, and this means I had to read and sign a long form about how the vaccine was from France. It had all the possible symptoms, which included fatigue, slight shakiness, minor death (consult a physician if death occurs) and my favorite, Sense of Dread.

On this we riffed: hell, how will we know the vaccine’s to blame? That’s like every day. Turns out that some people report imminent fear, right before they start to feel really crappy, and this has been ascribed to the vaccine. The form also said that if you go to the hospital after the shot because you feel bad, you should tell the physician that you had the shot.

Who thinks “that’s not relevant information. She just had live yellow fever pumped into her bloodstream, sure, but what’s the doc gonna do with that know-how.”

When it was done we drove home talking about going. I wanted to know if she had that strange feeling of premature disconnection - you’re here, but you’re already in the mindset of being past this, elsewhere, looking at it with a strange sort of detachment. She does, but she can turn it on and off. I noted how odd all of this will look, and how it might be something of a weight to see it and feel as if nothing had changed. When in fact it felt as if everything had. But obviously hadn’t.

She said her friends in the program now, preparing to return, were depressed about leaving. And I suppose that’s what you want: it was such a grand adventure, and you bonded so much with the place and the people, that you don’t want to go back to the old and boring.

Stopped at Trader’s Joe; she stayed in the car while I went in. (Of course.) (After a certain age you can’t make them come with anymore.) I left the car running for the AC - it was hot - but locked the doors.

“It’s a Trader Joe’s parking lot,” she said. “No one’s going to carjack me.”

Well, you say that now. I was in the store before I realized I was still wearing my prescription sunglasses, so I had to explain to the clerk I wasn’t trying to be cool. I mean, I was, but that intention stopped at the door. Went back to the car and rapped my knuckles hard on the glass, which startled the holy hell out of her.


“What? It’s a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Hah, I have turned your withering criticism against you.”

What I didn't want to say was that it was just an old instinct, this being-mindful-of-carjacking.

It was so ordinary and so nice, and it was eventually spoiled when we had an argument about Animism.

And now, the Thursday entry from the Dept. of Misc.

Let's just repeat what I said last week: That's actually what the feature was called in the 1922 movie magazine. Why hadn't you heard of them? Because they were all working in Mexico.


Keep in mind that the front page of newpapers just six years before had been full of Pancho Villa and banditry. Mexico had a rep.

If it wasn't bad enough that it had no good theaters, the movies weren't in English!


Eugenia Zuffoli, described as a "celebrated beauty." Also a picture actress.

She was Italian. From the sound of her bio, she didn't spend a second in Mexico.

Is that a pineapple in your hat, or are you just glad to see us?

We met Senorita Conesa last week.

Elvira Ortez, "famous for her vampire roles."

IMDB has her as Ortiz, and I don't know if they meant vampire-vampire, or just a vamp. One of her movies has Muerte in the title, so either's possible.

Emma Padilla, the "Mexican Mary Pickford."

Wikipedia begs to differ: "She was noted for her resemblance to, and copying the mannerisms of, Italian film star Pina Menichelli, particularly in La luz (1917), which was essentially a copy of the successful Italian film Il Fuoco (1915) starring Menichelli."

About her the internet says more:

On the death of her first husband, who had always refused to annul their marriage, Menichelli married Baron Carlo D'Amato, founder of Rinascimento Film, in 1924.  Menichelli retired from public life and refused all contact with film historians.  Menichelli also destroyed all the documents and photographs relating to her film career which were in her possession.

Menichelli died in Milan on 29 August 1984.

As ever, these things leave me wanting to know so much more - as well as realizing how much you don't know about other times and cultures. You can't; you weren't there; it's not yours.

But there's so much of it.




A typical American midwestern city; 14,000 souls. Named after the German town. Founded in 1829 - anything left from those days? Let’s see.

This is a relief, a good sign: prosperous painted lady next to a old friend - although the building on the left looks like someone squished in their seat when a heavy-set person sat down next to them.

Some regrettable brick on the bottom floor, but it keeps the building from being frozen in time. Looks as if it’s in use, which is preferable to being perfect and empty.

Whoa: wonder what went down for this.


Maybe there was a fire, then nothing for decades. This swoopy thing is hard to date; I’d say 1975 - 1980.

You know what it was, or is. By now you have to know.

The OUB, or Obligatory Ugly Bank. Sorta kinda has columns, as a bank should, but it's the barest hint. The end of a two-milennia tradition, ending before your eyes.

I’d bet $5 this was a department store.

I’d bet $2.50 it had a metal front, too. With big script letters.

No, it doesn’t fit in - and that’s what makes the block interesting.

Everything else is late 19th-century skinny-window architecture; here comes a big tall proud slab of Rome.

Boarded up windows: the sign of the American small-town downtown. Even when the building is still in use. It’s just peculiar how many building owners said “no access to light and air, that’s what this structure needs.”


Nice frame for the Google Car.

Another example of retrofitted windows. I’m sure they wanted modern windows to practical reasons, but c'mon.

Lop off the onion dome! Board up half the windows! There, the old gal’s ready for 1965.


Buckaroo’d and then some, with those scary scar-tissue slats in the windows:


The third floor of the building on the right looks as if it’s stuffed with ancient junk and mummified hobos.


The third floor of the building on the left had a big window that let light stream in to glorify the interior - artist’s studio? Dance school? Must have been lovely on a twilight summer evening.

The NBA used to meet on the third floor:

Look at the ground floor’s attempt to make the building more inviting. One guy said “I’m putting up some ersatz Byzantine stuff all the way around; want to go in with me?” and the other said “I’m putting up a some fake stones and then my name will go over that, and that’s the end of the discussion”

Some day those buildings might be saved. But imagine living in this town in the 40s: even then, these buildings would look archaic.

Your occasional reminder that trees accomplish nothing.

"We can do so much with bricks now!”

Yes, fine; why didn’t you, then? This looks like a Minecraft castle.

Boo, a ghost:

A remnant of a furniture store. Watch the original building go down here, if you wish.


The Civic Glory around which the rest of the downtown revolves.

These always seem to look better than the businesses that fed them.


There you have it. Motels await, and I'll see you tomorrow. Friday!

Heavily qualified hoorah!


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