I’m planning a run to the outside world. Yes, I have my mask. I got in trouble a while ago for saying I’d worn a mask on a trip downtown - a week ago? Two? The critiques were two-fold: I was taking up valuable supplies, and I was overreacting.

First of all, I have five masks left over from the 2009 flu situation. Second, I went downtown with the assumption that anyone down there would either be a necessary employee still stuck working in the office, or someone who was wandering the street and pursued a lifestyle not characterized by social distancing. I assumed that it was possible the bug would hang in the air for a while, and I might walk through a cloud of the stuff. This may seem like an excess of caution. Well, I am excessively cautious.

But not so much that I stay at home, it seems?

Granted. But this is research; this is documentary stuff for the column. The unreality of the normal world is one of those things that characterizes the Covidian Interval, and you don’t get the full flavor sitting at home. Maybe I’ll just stay in my car. I certainly will cross the street if I see anyone. I will be masked and gloved -

Oh, by the way, when I was masked before downtown? Felt like the weirdo. Now, totally normal. I never bought the “masks don’t work, don’t wear them” line, especially since it was coupled with “they’re needed to prevent the spread among health care workers.” Didn’t make sense. It was a falsehood. It may have been deployed to keep people from hoarding, but it was a falsehood, which is to say, they weren’t telling the truth, which is to say, they were lying.

Do you think they were lying, and if so, whether they use that word to themselves when they did so? I wonder if we shrug off some of these things because we’ve more pressing matters, and last week was a year ago and four weeks was a decade past. Hey, everyone was kinda sorta at sixes and sevens, doesn’t matter, what counts now is the New Rule. Do you know the New Rule? It’s important to know the New Rule.

Under our assent to the New Rule there’s faith, but under that there’s suspicion, and under that there’s resignation: this is what we have to do now.

Personally, I think that if they were lying about what they knew about the contagion and its lethality, the hammer would have come down sooner, all over the place, early in March. The fact that it didn’t suggests not a coverup but the slug-footed pace of bureaucracies and government, even when they’re getting goosed by a cattle prod by people with the facts. Everyone has a favorite person to blame, and when someone blames your fave, you point to their fave.

[CCP laughter intensifies]

We'd like to think this will end when the situation eases, but there are too many people invested in schism, and too many people whose jobs require them to root for division.

Ah, to heck with it. Let's drink! Or find something unrelated to the above that concerns the small pleasures of life, that eventually works its way back to the elephant-on-the-ventilator-in-the-room.


Before the curtain fell I made an expedition occurred at the suburban municipal liquor store.

Seems like months ago.

I’d gone to Infinite Liquor to pick up some Old Grand-Dad BiB, which got a great review on the whiskey subreddit. The store was dead empty. I asked a clerk if this was normal, and she said yes: this is textbook Monday night. Okay so no coronavirus fears, great. They didn’t have the Grand-Dad, so I checked the store next to Cub, or Cufb, since “Cub” stands for “Consumers United for Bargains.” They had it for $25. I said to the clerk I’d read a review that said this was a really good whiskey at a surprising price, and he said there was a guy who used to work at the store who swore by it, said it was one of his favorites.

I nodded, because that was exactly what he said about the Shackleton I bought the week before.

You know, I think he might just quote his mythical former co-worker to anyone who says something about the bottle they want to talk about.

  As for the Shackleton . . . it's a blend.
  Yes, and no. It's not based on the original blend, really, but "the spirit of the expedition," to paraphrase the reviews. Hits you with sherry, then gets a bit peaty. I like it, but I wouldn't have two in a row. For a first of the night, it's a nice break from my Tuesday whiskeys.

His wikipedia entry has this:

In his 1956 address to the British Science Association, Sir Raymond Priestley, one of his contemporaries, said "Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."

It's now my Friday Whisky. Seems apt.






The obligatory stats:

Rawlins is a city in Carbon County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 9,259 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Carbon County. It was named for Union General John Aaron Rawlins, who camped in the locality in 1867.

Rawlins is served by one print newspaper, the Rawlins Daily Times.

Lucky them. Hope it prospers for years and years. Especially considering . . .

The town's two radio stations, KRAL and KIQZ have both been silent for some time. The stations are owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc. Sources connected to the FCC say, "...that any station owned or operated by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting will "not likely" have their licenses renewed once they expire, due to the history of "past violations and cavalier attitude(s) towards following and maintaining" rules and regulations, and that this and other Mt. Rushmore stations could have their broadcasting rights taken away "at almost any moment." In early 2015, it was reported that staff had unexpectedly resigned, and there was difficulty finding new employees.

Therein hangs a tale, I'm sure.

A regrettable renovation on the bottom floor - strange TV-shape panels.

It’s not often the name at the top of the building has its own wikipedia entry.

To wit:

John Eugene Osborne (June 19, 1858 – April 24, 1943) was an American physician, farmer, banker, and politician who served as the 3rd Governor of Wyoming and United States Representative as a Democrat.

Lived through the Civil War, WW1, and WW2.

A handsome structure - could've been less ornate and still rented out. Mr. Osborne didn't need to pop for that top.

More on Osborne:

Uh -


(after) the botched hanging and subsequent execution of George Parrott, also known as Big Nose George, in 1881 . .

His remains then embarked on a strange journey, with part of his skin being made into boots by John Eugene Osborne, the doctor who examined him after his death. Osborne wore the boots to his inaugural ball when he became governor in 1892. Osborne also gave part of George's skull to medical assistant Lillian Heath, who used the skull as a doorstop for many years.

— By Christina Schmidt, "Famous James brother made camp in Big Horn", Sheridan Press

He had a thing for remains, it seems

In 1910 he served as chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. Osborne was appointed Assistant Secretary of State by President Woodrow Wilson and served in his administration from April 21, 1913 until December 14, 1915. ] He was also chairman of the board of the Rawlins National Bank, and engaged in stock raising. In 1913 he suggested that the remains of Christopher Columbus should be placed on a battleship and travel through the Panama Canal as a part of its opening ceremony.

Well, I cannot explain this at all.

The stone between the first and second stories. No clue.

He must have been a local mover / shaker; there’s a street with the same name.

Unfortunately buckaroo’d.

OUMB, but I can’t tell you for sure whether it’s from 1957 or 1997

If I had to say, I’d say the latter.

No, no I wouldn't! The former!

No, the latter - ahh, nuts

Again, it looks older -

But the arch over the door looks like the flabby attempts to do the old style, the sort of thing you saw in the 80s.

If I had to say, I’d say the latter.

No, no I wouldn't! The former!

No, the latter - ahh, nuts

Again, it looks older -

But the arch over the door looks like the flabby attempts to do the old style, the sort of thing you saw in the 80s.

Again, I cannot explain.

The dots over the door indicate glue that kept some panels attached.

Ladies and gentlemen: any guesses?

f you had this, give yourself five points.



The Matrix has a glitch! The video board is going bad!



Good news, my young architect friend! I’ve got tenants for the second floor, but they’re quite stout and need a wide staircase.


What do these new tenants do, sir?

“Something to do with reversing the space-time continuum.”


Man, that’s a handsome facade.

Doesn’t seem to be anyway to get in, though.

Little bricks and Corinthian order: you don’t see that too often.

It’s a bit muddled, but still has its noble bearing.

Hard times


Another pre-modernism building, in that sweet spot between classicism and Art Deco.


The Strand:

At least that was the original name. It was rebranded as the Fox in 1950, and had a 34 year run.

More pictures from cinema treasures, our old friend, here.

These things ended up being community centers after the trains contracted. Youth drop-in centers! Senior activities! And they all had the same damned name, because what else would you call it?

At least that was the original name. It was rebranded as the Fox in 1950, and had a 34 year run.

More pictures from cinema treasures, our old friend, here.

The scientific, imaginative, futuristic architecture of the coming era was applied most reliably to . . .

Bowling alleys.

Something I found long ago - the picture that took me to Rawlins in the first place.


A happy ending!

And we're here after another day, so that's a happy ending as well. Almost meaningless Friday! But only if you don't decide to invest it with some meaning it didn't have before. "End of the work week" seems ancient now. But "First of the two weeks of lockdown" is good, except for the fact that there'll probably be two more.






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