Was it three weeks ago the temps were 20 below? It was eighty degrees warmer than that today. I’ll take it. The dog is now sitting outside on the sofa in the gazebo, looking out into the dark, as if winter never happened. It hasn’t been 60 since October.

We’re having a seminar at work tomorrow on data preservation. How to make sure our news carries forward into the future;. This, as they say, is relevant to my interests; I’m going just to see if there’s anything I haven’t anticipated or forgotten. Doubtful we’ll be given a bulletproof solution, since no one who gives a talk on the matter would be so ignorant as to say we can absolutely save all our work by this one simple trick (do this nightly), as the ads say.

If anyone is foolish enough to suggest this, I can wander over to the library and fish out from the drawers an item I found today.

It has two clasps so you never need worry that the information contained within will fly out, lost forever!


Each Momentous Occasion gets one piece of microfilm. I’m sure this was a great idea at the time, and someone spent a whole year on it. He had a team, and they worked with another team, and everyone had a celebration when it was over and the product was shipped.

“I just want to say we’ve truly accomplished something over the past year,” said the Team Leader at the party, after cries of Speech! Speech! “The Collection of Great Events will not only be an invaluable resource in the decades to come, it will remind people that the New York Times was there to report on it all - part of the fabric, the weave and woof of American life. The Collection will be in every public library by the end of the year, and I’d like to thank the company for their public-spirited donation to assure that all citizens may have access to this invaluable record.”

As far as I can tell not one of the pieces of film was ever removed until I pulled one out; they’re all nestled perfectly straight.

We don’t have a machine to read the film.

No one would do it anyway; it’s online.

To my astonishment I found something in the library I’d never seen, and I thought I’d seen every fragile thing in the archives. A copy of a paper from 1921. It even had a Briggs cartoon, a “Great and Glorious Feelin’” number.


It’s 99 years old, and quite fragile. But with care I could open it up and read every story.

Hey, let's have a Dept. of Misc. for no particular reason.

One of those "human interest" columns in a mass-circulation mag - in this case, The American. August 1938.

  Good for you, sir!
  I thought it might be the same guy who was the voice of Robbie the Robot, but no.

Also a habitue of swank clubs and author of a book on hooch. Went bust in the crash, but clawed his way back.

Whatever happened to the models? This.

  How droll! Google - any help?
  Why yes.
  After the war, back to the old trade.

Ran in the family, it seems.

I don't know why I felt like passing that along, except that it's a peek into a life and livelihood the likes of which we don't see today.

"Circus Vet" isn't a booming trade.









Surprise! It's the town we got to know a bit during the Clippings feature yesterday. To bring you back up to speed, let's go to Wikipedia for the usual prosaic self:

"Gatesville is a city in and the county seat of Coryell County, Texas, United States. The population was 15,751 at the 2010 census. The city has five of the eight prisons and state jails for women operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice."

Gatesville, indeed.

Okay, let's begin. A rare example of a town that has quite a few then / now comparisons.

How rare? I’ve no idea, I just said that to make it sound interesting.

Day care? I don’t know. When downtowns empty out the window are often used for happy slogans about the wonderful place it is; this looks like “Together we can make Gatesville Beautiful.” Suggesting it isn’t.


2011: we’ll match any price from those guys at Northside.

The downtown’s arrayed around a courtyard. Some context:

There seemed to be a general agreement that no one would go high on this side.

Peculiar facade. Don’t know if the stars are to hold the walls together - they fasten to the end of metal rods - or if because, well, Texas. Could be both!

Sic transit, etc


In this case, stars because it’s Texas.

That store’s been empty a long, long time.

“Freedom” isn’t the first word that comes to mind.

Whether it’s two buildings yoked by one awning, I can’t say, but I doubt it; the windows are different. The one on the corner is an elderly resident, that’s for sure; at least the top floor has some dignity.

Here comes the future, surveying the ruins of the past:

That favorite late 60s / 70s touch, the Overwhelming Mansard with variegated brick. Looked sufficiently up-to-date for a while, but no one’s ever bringing this style back.

Bonus for yee-hah Western letters.




A closer shot.


What the hell did they do to that poor old thing?

Two years later, the screen is coming down. Perhaps a rehab is in the works, and the block will be brought back to its old glory?


Perhaps not.


Architectural vitiligo.



This was cool, once. No, really.



Before they painted it - and I’m sure they painted it - the ladder-thing must have been a different color. Look at that 60s space-age portal over the door.

Hey, I forgot, there’s a previous version . . . yes!

Leaird’s: a venerable name in local retailing?

Yes: Seems to be the only store standing.

From their website:

In the summer of 1898, Byron Leaird got off the Cotton Belt train and walked around the Gatesville town square. The new Courthouse was just completed and the place was booming with business. Leaird was in the grain business in Houston, but the doctor told him to move to a dryer climate due to his wife’s health. Leaird and his wife moved to Gatesville and rented a building on the West side of the square and started a mercantile business.


Annnnnd here it is. You recall this from Tuesday’s Clippings. The pride of Gatesville, the Chateau Ville.

All that hoopla, forgotten. Reviews say it’s a Travelodge now, and is a decent place to stay - although one review said a lot of oil workers stay there, and while they’re nice, they’re LOUD.

Well, they’re oil workers.

Once upon a time:

Once a year, the sun enters the window and falls upon a map of Egypt:

Mebbe I will, and mebbe I won’t.

Finally: the courthouse.

Designed by W. C. Dodson, who fought for the South, and lived to see the start of the First World War.

It’s a young country.


That'll do - see you tomorrow.





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