It’s funny, in a not-at-all ha-ha way, but I have been writing these little screedish things on current events, and they are made irrelevant daily by super-new extra-panics that supersede the previous freak-out. So if I don’t weigh in promptly, well, a big department.


I had a friend once, and miss her dearly - cut me off over a political disagreement - whose father had a friend from the Old Country. English was not her first language, and she heard the phrase “I beg your pardon” as “a big department.” Say it with a New York Lower-East-Side accent, I guess. Well, a big department.

(ten minutes of googling to see what the old friend is up to, wondering if I should try to send an email, whether the response would be happy hatchet-burying or a stern series of evaluations that fountain out like lava bottled up for ten years)

(careful excavation and examination of things I probably did wrong)

Ah, to hell with it. I’ll send an email. I’ve read so much batshite stuff the last few weeks I am quite sure she would be a spirited, exceptionally intelligent, and amusing spokesperson for views contrary to my own, and it would be good to argue again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Dang, I did not expect that. Criminey Joseph, I did not expect to think of that.

I love (by which I mean hate) the “sponsored links” that appear on sites of low repute. Like mine! Some actual stories:

He transformed his Belly with One Thing.

Shag carpeting? A shop-vac? Anything you can imagine will be more interesting than what they’re selling, which is probably a pill made from beets and beaver thyroids.

There are 7 types of Irish Last Names - which one is yours?

O’Nunivem, I suspect.

We Can Guess Your Education Level with Only 10 Questions. Well, bully for you. There were actually 50 questions, and apparently I have a master’s degree because I know that Freud was the father of psychotherapy. (The page with the question had a picture of Freud.) The site served up 200 ads while I took the test. I didn’t see any of them.

3 signs your dog may be unhappy.

This one I clicked on, but it was a video for homeopathic dog medication. I don’t think Birch is unhappy by any definition, except when he thinks there will be food and there isn’t food. Of course, he always wants food; when he’s most insistent he does this snapping thing with his mouth. But if you give him any food he switches from THERE IS NO FOOD RIGHT NOW to FOOD WAS HAD, I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE and that shuts off something. He is not unhappy about the rabbits, since they are plentiful and he is happy to stalk them; he is unhappy about the one who lives in the tree outside the fence, but it’s not sadness, just frustration. He is not unhappy about anything except going to the Room in the Back at the vet, because that’s where the happy friendly routine gets dropped and Burly McTitegrip holds him for the bad stuff.

I know he looked unhappy in that picture the other day, but he was just looking down at a bug.

Anyway, it’s a column night, and I started a column on the “sponsored links” thing because I had nothing else in the tank, but I got another idea so I kept writing it for here instead of there.

AND NOW, from the Dept. of Misc., our Thursday feature: cartoonists you've never heard about. This is from the Strib in the late 40s. From Walt Wetterberg's 1994 obit:

Born Jan. 30, 1910, in Arlington, S.D., Wetterberg attended the University of Montana for two years before returning to South Dakota to farm. He sold his first cartoons to the national farming magazine Successful Farming. After that his gag cartoons were published in more than 20 magazines. He served in the Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. He moved to Rochester in 1950. He was a member of the Christian Science Society.

There's some of his stuff on the Google, but I don't see this. I think they're uncollected.

I've assembled about 30, and will have a site up for the fellow in 2020. You laugh. I'm serious.


I've so much stuff to add I've defered some smaller projects into the next decade.

He set himself up for a long run with the idea - archetypes! Everyone will recognize those.

But how long could he keep it up? We'll find out . . . eventually.




The second installment of Ft. Smith. Last week we saw a smallish town with few buildings of distinction. Had you heard about it before? Perhaps as a reference in a Lum & Abner - the big town you went to maybe once a year, if that.

Well, I saved the other stuff for the second installment. Tiny and sad it isn’t.

I wonder who made this:

Actually, I am confused. A building discussed last week was the Friedman-Mincer building. Friedman-Wegman or Wecman brings up . . . nothing.

It’s an interesting building - note the way the visual elements get thinner and more numerous as it rises, but the building still seems utterly solid on top.

The College / Government style of architecture left these cubic turds all over the country.

Next door, a Moderne / Deco "jewelbox," as they always say:


A bit too crammed for the width, but who cares?

Now THIS is a city intersection:

I’m a fan of both styles. The building on the left has all the gravitas a good-sized downtown bank can muster; the building on the right has modernist flair with period colors and some interesting details on the roof that pitch it post-1965, and before the meretricious elements of 70s design set in.

It’s just a beaut.


A rather bleak and blunt example of 20s Hotel design. It was the Ward Hotel.


Tempting to say the top portion was added on later, but that would presume the architects built the original three story base with sufficient foundation to accommodate the addition. Perhaps they did.

The corner from above. Every city over 20,000 needs an intersection like this, preferably with all four corners occupied.


Sorry I’m late - what did I miss?


A good sign of a burgeoning downtown:

According to a brief, incomplete study of some local newspapers, residential demand is up downtown. It’s having a minor renaissance.

This includes stripping the old facades, perhaps:


What it was.

Too bad the original sign's gone.

I never lived there, or saw what it was, but you know it had a big script sign.

In a few years they may regret this, since people will want offices here and coffee shops and small stores that sell soy wax candles:


Old buildings downtown have three phases: glass, brick, glass. If they're lucky.

Finally: the Government, here to Impress You and help you. But mostly Impress You.

Oh, one more thing: In memorium.


Nice little burg.


There you have it! A substantial bit of Bleatage, no? Far less tomorrow, but there will be a Diner. See you then. I think I forgot to update the Motel link last week, so here's . . . six!



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