Now I begin a three-day period of bachelorhood; family is off to Chicago to show Rotario the Town That Toddles. What does that mean? If you hit all the top returns on Google, no one seems to know. There’s speculation the word went from its “unsteady gait” meaning to “stroll,” since Thackeray used the word thus in 1848, but others say no, it’s just alliteration.

Go down the page and you’ll find a perfectly cromulent explanation: in 1921 - 22, “The Toddle” was a dance, and spawned a dance craze. I swent looking on for stuff so I didn't swipe the linked site's material.


"Hey, Bob, go over to the college and get some quotes on the dance."

"Can I make them up?"

"Sure, I don't care."


Some papers were reporting in October that the dance had been “put in the shade” by a new step, reminding you that newspapers no longer report on dance crazes, because there aren’t any. However, another usage popped up: Toddle Top.


Hold on, African Golf?

It's an old slang term for craps.

So the word toddle had a vogue.

don’t know if the usages arose simultaneously without any connection, or whether people applied one to the other, but perhaps that device, with its gambling connection, was baked into the word along with the dance connotation. Something salacious and slightly illegal.



A clue to the quantity of toddling can be found in one of those doggeral columns papers had in the old days:

Would we be able to know this without newspapers?

Would we be able to find out the information in five minutes without the internet? Of course not. I still can't take it for granted.

Anyway, I’m on my own. Me and the dog. Pizza and canned chili and playing music loud. But not too loud. I have neighbors and a sense that the social compact is crucial, and more important, passive-aggressive Minnesota Nice means I will not complain when the neighbor’s music is too loud, I will just silently judge them and think better of myself for the times I was mindful of the hour. (Note: none of this is relevant the next time I have a party outside)








Isn’t that a handsome vista? You can tell when its period of prime posperity occuredm just by the height, the brick, and the trim.

That period does not extend to the current date. Much of what you see is approaching its 100th anniversary.


The streets:

Looks prosperous!

Once upon a time, that is. Let's take a closer look.

An absolute classic, still serving the same function - it’s like a rip in time deposited it here.

The Streamline Moderne was such a romantic, technocratic style whose modernism and optimism was the visual style of the 30s - a more radical decade than the popular narrative of “ten years of bread lines” would have.

Odd to see a faded sign from an immediately familiar logo . . .

. . . that isn’t Coke.

Oh no, oh no

It’s like the building was purposely designed to make you feel off balance. It just doesn’t resolve. You expect the parts to move up and down like pistons.

Maybe this isn’t a town devoted to symmetry

A church now, which explains the rather low-key billboard.

The Orpheum, once; Cinematreasures, as usual, comes through with the photos.

More evidence for the argument that Google Street View is inadvertent art.

The Coal Exchange Building.

It says something about the local economy - or coal - that the building sold last year for $500,000.

A bit off-the-shelf, but it’s still handsome.

I had to adjust this one for perspective. It’s The Richard. Can you tell it was built in two phases? That’s my guess. If not, they really made some curious decisions.

Last I read, a church had bought it.

This makes downtown feel like it has a toothache.

That’s one skinny ‘scraper.

You could hand something to someone on the other side of the building by scooting back a few feet in your chair.

I promise, sir! Additions are my speciality. No one will ever know that it wasn't part of the original design in the first place.

Whatever grand purpose it originally had seems not in evidence today. But even in its glory days . . .

Did they think that staircase was sufficient for such grandeur?

If there's anything that blights a town more than the OUMB, it's the OML, or Outdated Modern Library.

"It's based on an old ship idea! You know, the Noah's Ark of learning!"

Why did I choose this? Not for the Google car, or the hint of the original look of the windows.

It's that stone on the bottom, and the pathetic attempt and making it look more "up to date." Either skin it or leave it alone.

Any guesses?

Why yes, it is a government building.

So's this.

What changed?


That'll do, A trip down Motel Lane awaits. Note: I have never called it that, and will not do so again.





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