Here’s a surprise: it rained today. Dark drizzle, spatters, general clamminess everywhere. There’s a certain kind of rain that makes an umbrella useless - just walking makes you wet, because the rain isn’t falling. It’s just everywhere.

I really have nothing to report, and it’s a column night. I think the most significant thing I did was upgrade to the new OS on computer and phone, and most everything works. Most of it. The new OS has “dark mode,” which is the new thing in interfaces, I guess. Don’t like it. No sir, I don’t. Reminds me of those days when the Mac SE would go haywire and reverse the screen, or I’d install some extension that let you sweat your interface and make it uglier.

What depresses me slightly is the realization that some mission-critical software is about to be left behind; I can just tell. I have no problem upgrading, except that the software I use for the website is a subscription app. You pay every month. You don’t pay, it doesn’t work.

Oh how I hate that. The curse of modern times: you don’t own anything. But say, isn’t that the blessing? You just rent everything! When you don’t need it, you don’t have to possess it.

Hey, where did all my movies, books, music, and personal photos go?



Now, the Dept. of Miscellany presents . . .

Our annual round-up of Halloween designs has some classics . . . and some new innovations.

And by "innovations" I mean cross-species mascots more unnerving than they might have intended.

It's a bird-wolf. A bird-wolf with hands.

Otherwise, classic iconography. The obligatory Victorian house, which is the standard for all ectoplasmically-infested domiciles. An empty tree. Birds. (Not wolf-birds.) No pumpkins, but "Spooky Marshmallows." The green ones are supposed to be Frankenstein's Monster, of course. They have been enlarged to show texture, because that's what people want to know before they commit to a cereal. What's the texture? The texture I can't see with the naked eye?

Terror level: 9, due to bird-wolf

In the same genre:

It's a different house, in case kids compared and complained.

At least the tiger doesn't turn into a wolf, which would have been something of a leap. Same Same Spooky Marshmallows. No pumpkin.

Terror level: 3

Here we have a pumpkin, implied:

A cat with some sort of snicker-stabby claw arms; that's new. A zombie coming from the earth. Ithat's insufficiently spooky, there's ghosts who look like someone really let go a rank toot, and bats.

Terror level: 5

I don't know what's worse: suspecting that these are the same as last year . . .

Or knowing that I have the last few years archived somewhere.

(Update: same as the 2016 product.)

Terror level: 2


If you want pumpkins, you have to go to the Pumpkin-Spice genre.

I've made my peace with Pumpkin Spice. You know why?

It tastes okay. All these choices! You ought to be grateful you live in a country with Pumpkin Spice Motor Oil.

I am. New package, by the way.


Here's what Quaker did to their other cereals. They've made it much more . . . medicinal. All those attributes clutter up the box, but on the other hand: it's swooshless.


The swooshy ribbons are leaving the shelves, one by one.



Cordele, as you’ll see, is a city of contrasts! You know, like any other city.

"Cordele is a city in Crisp County, Georgia, United States. The population was 11,147 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Crisp County.

"Cordele calls itself the Watermelon Capital of the World."

Wonder if anyone else does. You can call yourself anything. Nno one’s obligated to agree.

Eleven thousand seems like a small amount of people for a downtown like this:

A street like that suggests the population was bigger once, but no: the city’s at its peak population today.

Ah, that explains it! They had all the secret money.

Built in 1907. The Masonic order may have supplied the carvings, off the shelf.

“Say, does this building have central heat, or fireplaces for each room?


“Now why would you ask that.”

Odd building - the metal part looks tacked on, which I suppose it is, and the corner doesn’t look as if it was ever used as an entrance.

Bricked-up windows, a facade that falls apart - a downtown can survive a few of the former, but the latter, left for years, depresses the spirit.



The heart is not gladdened by this, either -

- but at least it has a certain stoic consistency.


What does a palimpsest ghost sign like this tell you?


That there was nothing next door.

If I recall my reason for taking these next shots, they’re meant to show different times, according to the Google street view visits. The early pictures were always blurry and gloomy:


Fire? Did they just fall down? No; something made of brick will stand until it’s shoved.

Looks like a postwar renovation of an old commercial block:



Nothing will be built there.

I think I might be able to guess what the right half of the building looked like:

Not sure that entrance is deep enough. Was there room for anything else but a counter and a door to the stock room?

It’s just painful.


Is it all like that?

Wait until next week.

Our cavalcade of bygone roadside America continues with the motels. Hey, almost Friday! How the heck did that happen.



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