This uninspiring week - Bleatwise, anyway - comes to a conclusion with the utterly boring remark about the picture above: it’s the hotel portion of that downtown building complex whose construction I detailed from pit to finish. It’s the best building of the low-rise structures. Yesterday’s banner was the same joint.

I’ve done architecture this week because the natural world looks green and ordinary. Somewhere around July we take the green for granted. Somewhere around the first week of September we realize we shouldn't. But yet we do.

See what I mean about uninspiring? This is just autopilot stuff. Hmm . . . oh, right, that old standby: customer-service interaction. Had some fun with AT&T today, trying to unlock Daughter’s phone I've been trying to do this for weeks so she can get a local SIM card; right now she has a spare data plan and uses the phone only on wifi. At noon I got a text message:

Her phone had been turned off because the bill was too high.

Oh no

How much


I’ve been submitting unlock req uests every other day or so, and heard nothing back. I will have to call them, I would think, then I'd do something else. Well, this was a good spur.

The bill was enormous. I've told her to use wifi only, but apparently she was uploading hour-long HD movies to her Instagram, or something.

The helpful person on the other end of the line got it reduced to almost nothing, restored the phone, and put through the unlock. It took a while, but she was very good, and at the end I asked if there would be an email survey or some place where I could give her credit for her work. She genuinely sounded happy, and said just hearing those words was enough, and “gave (her) wings.”

I could hear it in her voice: she meant it. Which makes you realize, again, how much people in her job probably have to endure, and why it’s always a good idea to be as nice as possible to the person who A) did not cause your problem, and B) is helping you fix it. Unless they sound bored and surly, which I had happen with SimpliSafe about six times before I got a guy who took the technical problem like an engineer, keen to solve the mystery. That guy’s smile I could hear over the phone.

Anyway, yeah, yeah, muh civility, as I keep hearing. Not today! Not anymore! The rules have changed and the gloves are off!

It's bad and it's never been this bad.

Life magazine, 1971.

By the way, here’s where Daughter is.

Most of the ads are the usual ones you see in these Shocking Vintage Ad collections, and the author has the usual scoldy humorlessness about the past - did you know sex roles were different than today? They were! Things were bad! The copy just writes itself.

My only question is how long it'll take for the author to be fooled by a fake. This was number two.

That’s not a current map. Obviously. Wikipedia says it was the first planned city in Brazil - meaning, they laid it out from the start, using the European models of diagonal boulevards. I don’t know if the map is oriented to the north, because when I call up the city on Google, the park and the main traffic circle seem flipped. Doesn’t matter. It’s a bit careworn, by my lights -

But there you have it, old and new, rich and not-so-much. Daughter finds it fascinating, and I’ll take her word for it. I'd like to visit, but that's not permitted.

The other day she sent a sound file via the texting program, asking if I was around -- she said she needed an answer to a question fairly soon. I thought it was probably something dire or legal or legally dire or whatever, since she hadn’t sent one of these before.

Nothing big. She had a grammar question, and used the voice-text option for some reason. Perhaps just thinking I'd like to hear her voice, as if she was asking a question from down the hall.

I've stopped expecting that, or shouting anything down to her room from mine. Everything went in the box and the box went on the shelf.

I’ve heard from people who went off to Europe after college and couldn’t check in with their folks for weeks, relying on letters sent to American Express offices. Nowadays I presume nearly instantaneous global communication. I mean, it’s astonishing. I say a few words into the message app, and it goes up and lands precisely where it should. None of this “I can’t contact the Enterprise, there’s an ion storm.”

I’m not kidding when I say this is a comfort almost beyond measure, enjoyed by absolutely no one in the history of the species, until our modern era.

Seems a shame to spend it shouting at strangers.



Lance, do you feel like a girl today? Do you?

Well, below me down. Solution here.



Yo ho: The Wonder Bread Show! With Jack Haley. We have the theme, and an ad, and something else.


Number 3 is included to show what qualified as "funny" in the olden days.


This site says "The Wonder Show -- so named because its sponsor was Wonder Bread -- was broadcast over CBS Radio Network for 26 weeks, airing Friday evenings, 7:30-8PM. The program premiered October 14, 1938, and ran through April 7, 1939."

Not a long run. Wonder if Haley had anything else on his plate in '39.

Instead of the swank old sounds of Goodwill albums, this year we're going to share bad 1960s pop music. The second- and third-tier tunes.

1970. I remember when everything seemed to sound like this. The instrumentation, the arrangements. It began with one group or one producer, then others copied it. To diminishing effect.


There she goes, her nose in the air! I'd hope so, or she'd asphyxiate.




That'll do! See you on Monday.

Oh, look what's back! It never ends. Today it's a re-upped site from long, long ago.



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