It’s official: if I go to the Giant Swede’s house on Sunday to watch the game, I will be breaking . . . the law? The edict? The pronouncement?

“Social gatherings” are now banned. I assume three people sitting in a room falls into the “Social (other)” category, which is responsible for 3% of the “outbreaks.” (I put the word in quotes not to indicate sarcasm, but because that’s the chart’s term. Eleven “outbreaks” in the state resulting in 120 cases. There’s also a “Social Gathering” category with many more cases, and I assume they mean house parties.

Bars and restaurants are responsible for half the outbreaks, but I suspect the “bar” part is the big driver, not the places where people sit nicely spaced and don’t have to yell because the music is set at 110 decibels because PARTY. I always hated that aspect of bars. It’s as if they’re reminding you that no one is here to think or converse.

Well, I hav a column to do about that, so I'll say no more here. In fact I will say no more period, since I have five columns to do this week and I've only done two, and must do two tonight. Holiday deadlines, always a pleasure.

Good thing there's about nine miles of stuff below the fold, and motels after that. NO COMPLAINING, NOW.

UPDATE: I have banged out two columns. Whoa! However do you do it! You ask. Simple: sit and write. If you don’t have a thesis, doesn’t matter. Type and one shall emerge. When you have a thesis, seize upon it as gospel, and talk it up for 750 words. End with a whip-crack snap of passive-aggressive snark, and Bob’s Your Uncle.

I don’t know why I say that, since it’s British slang. Said it the other day at the Apple Store when we were trying to do the laptop exchange. It was hideously complicated, because the original sale of the laptop involved a trade-in, Apple Cash accumulated from using the card, and the Apple Card itself. A manager periodically appeared to enter Secret Codes into the hand-held terminals, allowing things to proceed. I had suggested giving me an Apple Gift Card for whole thing, saying “the charge back is all in one place, Bob’s your Uncle” when I realized that the Apple Associate’s name tag said Bob. I mean, I’m sure he knew the phrase, but if he had stabbed some codes into the hand-held POS device, given me a cup of gold coins and said “Jim’s Your Second Cousin” I would’ve had some questions.








“The street derives its name from William H. and Caleb O. Halsted, Philadelphia bankers who made large investments in Chicago real estate through William B. Ogden, Chicago's first Mayor. The street ran through their property, and they ceded valuable rights to the city.”

Perhaps clear the decks for the rest of the day, because this one is long.I just couldn’t stop. There was so much.

Doesn’t seem like it at first, you might think.

So what? It’s the lettering. The modern style of the building, the lettering - this is high mid-century chic.

It is, shall we say, an outlier.

Some buildings look as if they’re begging you to let them collapse.

As the glaciers receded, they revealed the ancient forms that had been buried for centuries:

A bit later:

There was a time when this looked unusual. Now we're used to it.

don’t know what makes people choose that type of facade. As I’ve called it before, it’s the Elephant Man’s Disease style of bricks.

Seems popular with the storefront churches:

“Did you check to see if everyone was out of the second floor before you bricked up the door?”

“Ahh, they can get out the window.”


But that window used to be plate glass, showing nice things to entice the customers.

I get the feeling that people around these parts are serious about religion, don’t you?

A sign of what this modest retail strip looked like in the 20s; lots of small, compact buildings with minor “historical” touches that anchored them in the culture, somehow.


An old man, his friends gone:

Off-the-shelf Prairie-style ornamentation


The right-hand corner suggests the 30s. What was behind the big glass window?


Like a Roman ruin in a recently excavated archeological site, or something that survived the fall and was put to other use by the locals.

Ghost sign.


Gleaming white for the new era of prosperity, with those cartouches to show they’d spent a few bucks on this one.



The problem, if there is one, and there is, arises from the lightness of the ground floor, which seems insufficient to carry the weight of the heavily-ornamented second.

Here’s a building that wished it had such a problem.

More off-the-shelf decoration, because you were expected to add beauty when you built something.

Back to the storefront churches, which are oddly uninviting.

This was once a building of considerable elegance:

A lone detail to suggest what it all was, once.


Remember: this was an ordinary street in a big city. It wasn’t the main drag, the high-society hotspot. When you built something in the flush times, you made it special.


Probably visual gibberish to someone born in 2001.

There are so many.

You get the sense that the taller building should have another wing, but that’s not possible.


It’s a retrofit. An old store bricked up, with a pediment added after it had a new purpose. I think.

Finally, one of the reasons for all the churches:


That'll do: post-war Motels await.





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