Your host has just concluded a multi-city tour of the Peg Lynch Show, which was a highly-compressed version of “Stan and Ollie” mixed with “Waiting for Guffman.” Of course the most pressing issue is a lengthy complaint about the accommodations. I mean I shouldn't complain and it's not as if I expect four-star rooms everywhere I lay my hat, but -

It's like this. When I was a kid, “Kahler” had a certain cachet - they ran the nice motel on the south side of Fargo. It was the upscale motel with the woody restaurant and out-of-town rep - your town was someplace if you got a Kahler. This rep resulted from the old grand hotel in Rochester by the Mayo Clinic - home to presidents and kings! Who were really sick!

That . . . was then.

It was 15 degrees outside when I showed up at the hotel. I turned up the heat in my room, and heard nothing from the vent. No warmth wafted out. The thermostat gave an exhausted sigh, and that was it.

Four and a half hours later I returned, and it was freezing cold. I turned up the heat to 95 degrees. The thermostat sighed again: what will take for you to get the point? Ten minutes later when I noted the thick drape was moving slightly, as if there was a small child on the ledge behind it, waiting to scare me. I pulled back the drape and discovered something interesting for a Grand Hotel on a day when 15 was the high temp:

The window was open.

Housekeeping had left the window open. I should also note that the clock’s time had not fallen back with the usual November adjustment. It’s possible no one has stayed here for a week. The window’s been open that long.

As I said, a Grand Hotel. But it’s not aesthetically interesting enough to be in the Grand Hotel section. It’s the Kahler. Siri pronounces it the Koller, and I mentally append the vowel: the Hotel Cholera.

The recent reviews are lethal, even if you factor out the usual why-I’ve-never-been-so-insulted-in-my-life huffy-snooty dowager types who are never happy. It’s under renovation, which means dust everywhere. Ceilings are ripped open, wire hanging down. My room’s just . . . a room, alas.


Let me tell you about the bathroom. It is unchanged since 1954.

The maintenance man insisted I was in the old 1920s wing. Absolutely positive this wasn't the 1950s wing.

I was in the part of the hotel you see on the bottom third.

Pretty sure that's the 50s wing.

Let’s see if the public areas are any better.

If the dimensions seem a bit small for a grand ballroom, that’s because it was originally a restaurant.

Then there’s this: a mezzanine room untouched, it seems, since 1954.

The hotel might have lost some money short term if they shut down while they rehabbed, but recent reviews indicate that people who stay here will never come back, because the brand’s poison now. Everyone mentioned that it smelled peculiar, like moist old people.

But it’s right next to the Mayo Clinic, so it'll just rake in the lucre no matter what.

Oh: Astrid’s tub was clogged, and they came to fix it three times, and eventually left a tub full of standing water with caustic drain-cleaning chemicals.

View from the parking ramp's nice, though.

The next day I woke and looked out the window:

The early 70 was not a good time to build a hospital. Or anything.

I took a look at the subterranean shopping area, because I'd heard was a "tile-lined" reminder of the hotel's 1920s elegance. I think I took a wrong turn.

I should note that Rochester had been pounded by an early snowstorm, and there were drifts everywhere, with January-quality ice floes in the streets. It was like waking up to learn you'd lost two months.

Tomorrow: the shows.





Returning to the ancient sci-fi show, Tales of Tomorrow. This ep:

As usual, it’s the ancillary stuff that intrigues us. Well, me.


Masland Carpets. The host reads a religious inspirational passage from the house organ, the Shuttle, just to elevate our souls a bit and perhaps sell some carpet. There’s a story on the Shuttle magazine here.

Now, off to our show. We’re in a house on an island, where a Scientist is conducting Experiments! He has a machine:


He’s angry and frustrated, because everyone else got rich on his ideas and he’s broke. But he’s a genius! He vents to his sister, who came to stay. In a few minutes her kids show up, and start playing with his device. You know what it does?

It replays a conversation that happened a few minutes before. He’s invented a Time Voice Machine. It picks up anything ever said anywhere.

He gives a demonstration.


(Yes, that’s Holst in the background, again.)


And then:


Now. What do you think he picked up?

That was my first thought, too.

At this point I thought the show might take a very ingenious turn: what if she heard something that didn't comport with the received story?

What would they do with that information?

Break - for a black and white carpet commercial!

“It’s woven with brilliantly colored strands of Saran plastic.”

Oh that’s great for bare feet and dropped cigarettes.

As for the rest of it, I could recap . . . but why, when you can watch it and find out what they were hearing?

By the way, the show has two future Star Trek actors. The Embittered Scientist is Arnold Moss, who’d show up as Kodos the Executioner in “Conscience of a King.”

Spot the other, and reveal him / her in the comments.

That'll do, I hope; see you around.




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