Today’s big gala addition to the site, intended to help you while away the hours at home, will be linked at the bottom of the page. It’s not the final version of the site, but I had to get it up. One of those things no one else is going to do.

I suppose a lot of this site consists of things no one else will do, and for good reason.

Daughter at the moment is on a conference call with college chums, part of a film organization. Interesting how the video-phone-call generation was averse to the medium until now. Perhaps - just, perhaps - they just didn’t want to talk to the grups. I understand. I hate the things, myself; when we saw our future with people chatting into video phones, we never considered what a chore it would be. We also didn’t expect our children would be using it to discuss a global pandemic.

We thought it possible, but we didn’t really expect it.

But there she is, simultaneously talking with - get this - a friend in Norway, a friend in Brazil, and a friend in Taiwan. From the sound of it, the situations are similar, except mask usage in Taiwan is much higher, and Brazil is sorta kinda making it up as they go along. That could be a collegiate’s perspective. Norway is bearing up. They’re all bearing up.

Resilient crew, this generation. I wonder why. Supposedly they’re the snowflakes, but what if that’s just the greaseless wheels who infest the online world with their incessant squealing? What if the kids are alright?

NOTE: I HATE THAT PHRASE. It’s a cliche that’s been sitting on the hotplate since 19-fargin’-65. It hand-waves away any legitimate concerns and gathers a multitude into a platitude.

Anyway. She’s had her first year of college cut short, lost all the opportunities that required her presence, and left stuff sitting in an abandoned dorm that will probably end up being 12 stories worth of moldy coffee-cups abandoned at the last moment. And she’s okay.

I ventured out downtown today, keeping safe distance from everything and touching nothing. Went to the office to get some things. It’s empty.

Everyone’s working remotely, which is quite the accomplishment. The IDS center was a ghost town -

Except for this fellow waiting to sell someone a doughnut.


I walked through the Northstar Center food court, and saw the owner of a small hot dog stand sitting in his business, alone; no customers. Bought some gift certificates. Walked to the spot where I take pictures of weekly construction, thinking about who will fill these buildings when they’re done - no, don’t go down there. Spirits up!

The toll of pessimistic thinking is hard to avoid, especially if you open up Twitter and doomsurf (not my word) for a while. I’m just done with people who begin any tweet with WOW or those who say “Must read, absolutely terrifying.”

You know what? Nnnnnno.

Twitter has quickly become the equivalent of the ham-radio broadcasts in post-apocalyptic movies.

Went to the grocery store to find yeast, and found it. I always feel as if I’ve sealed my fate by going to the grocery store. That’s it, that was the time, you got it. Or gave it. But I move fast, use wipes to open doors, lather up during the shopping experience, use self-checkout. The depletion is far less than earlier in the week. Produce bountiful; bagged lettuce now back in stock. Canned beans still a hot item.

Conjecture: the cheap soup, like the Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, is out because people are unsure whether they’ll really need it, and they don’t want to pop for the more expensive soups. OR, they figure that if they do get to the soup-slurping point, the brand won’t matter. OR, they are making economic calculations that say times are going to be tight for quite a while, and the days of fancy soup are over.

OR, all of the above.

Not leaving tomorrow. Have to leave Friday. Meanwhile, wife goes to work - no one in the office except her and her boss.

The afternoons are the worst. I think. But it will be green soon, and that will help.

Sorry this isn’t more upbeat, but the original text was an entry considering “hey, what if I die from this? Could happen. ” Not today.


    This stuff is utterly mediocre.

It’s one of those whiskeys that provides absolutely no distinctive impression at all, except for a few notes that make you think “I suppose I can drink this, but I wish I didn't have to.”

The backstory, which cannot be copied, is here. Couple guys who ran a pub, bot into the business - or so the website says; I'm generally suspiciousn of any story that gives a brand some great long-standing stature. But it seems true, based on what I see elsewhere.

On the Grants Scale: 5.

What is the Grants Scale? Something I made up. Grants is the third largest selling whiskey in the world, at least in 2010.

Mr. Grant, back in the day, founded a distillery named Glenfiddich - so there’s some quality in the marrow of the brand. I expect a lot of people who are whiskey snobs don’t like Grants, but they never had the experience I had the first time I had one. I had been on a train from New York for most of the day, and was now at the airport waiting to board. Was tending two high school students. They were chatting away and doing the phone thing, so I went to the nearby bar for a drink, and Grants was on the menu. Never had one. It was the most delicious thing I had ever had, and I’m sure a lot of that was the day, the trip, the smooth, collegial, mass-market taste of the hooch. But it really worked nicely with ice. I’ve had a bottle in the shelf ever since.

Anyway, the label! We’re here to talk about the label.

It has the style of the era filtered through a century of drift. It’s not entirely unlike the labels of the era, except that it’s cleaner, and also a bit more cluttered. In short, it looks like the original redone for modern visual palates - historical, but given a refresh because someone bought a venerable small distillery and is introducing it to a wider audience, BUT the price point says it has to stand out.

Give it a slogan that sounds like something they've been saying in pubs for ages! Even though they haven't.








A town of 33,000 souls, give or take. Wikipedia:

"Founded in 1829, it was named after President Andrew Jackson. By the late 19th century, it had developed as a railroad hub and was known as the crossroads of Michigan. By 1910 it had strong manufacturing of a variety of automobiles and parts and was also a center of corset manufacturing into the 1920s. As an industrial city, it attracted numerous migrants from the American South, both white and black, and European immigrants who were seeking better economic opportunity.

"The first state prison was built here. By 1882 it had developed as the largest walled prison in the world, containing both factory facilities and farmland."

There's a distinction.

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.


Seriously, two bad ideas right there - but at least the tall one honestly expresses its era, as opposed to the one that expresses its era with ersatz gimcrack stylings.
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

Seriously, two bad ideas right there - but at least the tall one honestly expresses its era, as opposed to the one that expresses its era with ersatz gimcrack stylings.
Turn around, and it’s quite heartening

That’s lovely, and the trees add something instead of taking it away.

Opened in 1930, the last of the town’s big movie houses. (Gee, wonder why.) Now renovated and open for business.

Cinema Treasure photos, here.

It’s as if they couldn’t bring themselves to take this off.

Shame stayed their hands.

The look of a prosperous place:

Someone had the cornice shaved, though. Probably after a chunk or two fell off.

Uh -

I can’t imagine how that was economically viable, but it was. Tallest building in town when it went up in ’26.

But not for long.

Built for the Union and Peoples’ Bank.

They went bust before they could move in.

You know what this was.


The Hayes Hotel is named for the founder of Hayes Wheel Company, later Kelsey-Hayes Company, which became the largest wheel manufacturer in the world.

Fantastic post-abandonment pictures here. Its current status - about to be renovated? Possibly not? - seems unclear.


Beautiful perfect old variety store.

If it wasn’t a Woolworth, I’ll eat my hat.

Nice grouping:

Civic building? Court? US Mail? No:

The old building for the Citizen-Patriot. It’s a Bible verse, by the way.

It doesn't look like the style of building that would have something ornate between the third-floor windows and the cornice. But surely there was something there.


P. L. FOX. Original windows.

Eloquence, indeed.


The little windows suggest a hotel - the bathroom? Let us google . . . Ah!

It was the Otswego.

Finally - aside from Portfolios, which this week consists of the entire portfolio, not some drib-drab drip-drip-drip updating of 3 cards per week, because who knows what next week will bring - there's this.





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