Back downtown on Wedesday, to walk, and look, and cross the street, and not walk in anyone's trail . . . and feel normal. It was warm and sunny. It felt like the end of the beginning of the middle of the middle.

No one at the office. But there was a janitor - with a mask, of course - wandering around with a watering can, taking care of the few plants.

The garbage bins were in the main hallway now. They've been moved. At the start of all this, they put small garbage bags in the hallway of the bathroom.

They appeared one day without explanation, and none was needed: you would open the door with a tissued hand, enter the passageway to the main hall, open that door with a tissued hand, then turn and toss the contaminated tissue.

“Boy, wonder how long we’ll have to do this! Ha ha”

“Oh, two weeks.”

“Think it’ll be over then?”

“No, we’ll be banned from working anywhere but home.”

“Ha! That sounds okay, I could use some chill time working in my sweats.”

“Trust me, ‘chills’ and ‘sweats’ are things you will not want.”

“Why do you know this? Are you from the future?”


“What’s going to happen?”

“You ever see 2010, where the apparition of Dave Bowman appears on a TV set and says something’s going to happen, and his ex-wife, well, his widow, says ‘what?’”


“Doesn’t it seem strange now to look at that movie and they’re all using cathode-ray tube TVs? Nevermind how they got the whole ‘USSR is still a thing’ wrong.”

“Yeah, right, okay, what’s going to happen?”

“So Dave Bowman smiles and says ‘something wonderful.’”

“Right, now I remember.”

“Well, this is going to be your 180-degree, not-Dave-Bowman-reassurance type situation. Although to be honest I didn’t think the whole two-suns thing was necessarily wonderful. Maybe Dave Bowman isn’t the expert here either way.”

“So how does the future turn out?”

“I don’t know, I’m in the middle of it.”

“What? What the hell is the point of coming from the future in the middle of the crapstorm? You couldn’t wait and come back with some advice and reassurances?”

“Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. How about I come back again, but yesterday, when it’s all done?”

“No, I already know you didn’t come back yesterday. Come back tomorrow. No, wait - why don’t you go away now then come back right away? No reason I have to wait until tomorrow. I’ll be up all night worrying that if you don’t come back tomorrow it’ll mean no one survived.”

“Or, I just forgot.”

“Can you set a reminder or something on your phone?”

“Yeah, I suppose I could.”

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few minutes, then.”


(A minute passes)

(Time traveller reappears, with long hair and a paunch)

“I don’t have much time, I have some stuff to do. Totally forgot I was going to do this until I got the reminder. Here.”

(Hands over a roll of toilet paper, vanishes.)


(seven seconds pass)

(Time traveller reappears, with longer hair, now gaunt)


(Time traveller takes back the roll of toilet paper)








Land O’!

Really, it’s named after that. “. . . a place in Egypt given to the Hebrews by the pharaoh of Joseph, and the land from which they later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. It was located in the eastern Delta of the Nile, lower Egypt."

That’s an impressive piece of civic architecture . . .

. . . and a sign of great prosperity and cultural confidence.

Building on the second from right: “Those other guys on my right are just too loud"

Building on the right “Stop whispering, I can hardly hear you”

A little early, but we’d best get the OUMB out of the way.


Looks like someone went through the window to make a deposit.

People said that the party needed to have a fresh public impression:

It was a newspaper, of course. It was published from 1837 to 1918. Why they put the year 1907 up there makes no sense - makes the paper look dated.

What I love is the tiny model industrial shed perched atop.

Absolutely perfect - undisturbed, well-maintained.

Same as it always was.

After they bricked up the fiends, the townsfolk would gather around the windows to watch them suffer and beg for release

Please, make us a door

Sorry, no

Restored, preserved: revered.

We love the old signs, and the times they suggest.

Yet we never come up with a modern equivalent.

Odd place for a bank, being midblock, and odd style, being midblck and rusticated.

The building on the left is rather frightening.

Now that’s a bank.

Rote and uninspired - Ionic column usually look too frugal - but perhaps it reassured people that they didn’t waste money on Corinthian fripperies.

“Hoping to avoid the Democrat’s fate since 1942”

Looks like the brother next door got the same odd framed update.

Faded attempt at modernity, perhaps done on the cheap.


The classics abide.

The building was constructed as part of a block of retail stores by Charles A. Harper during 1888. In this particular building he had “a first class boot and shoe establishment” according to newspaper accounts at the time.




The Central Block, 1882.

Evidence of a downtown refresh - the brick crosswalk, the planters. And of course the trees.


That stone . . . not wise.

But if it’s any consolation, the facade was never very interesting.

A small miracle, given what usually happens to these venerable citizens. Perhaps it had half a century behind a screen.

As I always say, I'd rather have neon signs than trees.

It’s the three stages of building desecration and rehabilitation.

They could bring it all back, if they wished.

I’m guessing the entrance was in the back.

Can’t explain the rakish angle of that door. Pity they had to paint the left side, but at least we can see what it was when first built.

Proud little thing, and a boon to any town.

That will suffice for today; see you tomorrow for another meaningless Friday!





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