I could give you a parade of empty skyway storefronts today, but let’s save that merry tour for tomorrow. The daily walk around downtown took a different direction today, and you know what? I wasn’t beaten, robbed, cracked on the skull, harassed, followed, or anything else. Some people seem to think that downtown is a MADHOUSE OF CRIME - and while I do get the occasional report on my paranoia app, it’s A) not always right, and B) not always downtown, and C) par for the course.

The city is, however, bracing for disorder. For some reason there is an expectation that insurrectionists and rioters will attempt to disrupt the lawful carrying-out of the institutional processes of the government, and they’ve erected quite a barrier around the Gummint Center.

It's like a DMZ.

City Hall:


You might also read that downtown is Boarded Up, which suggests a grim expanse of raw plywood where once windows glittered in the sun, but that’s also not true. However. The building across from the Gummint Center, the former Pillsbury Center (as it will always be to me) is really brightening up the area with this new Ingress-Egress Facilitation Configuration:

Quick, try to avoid the big Stomping Pistons!

Really, who are they expecting? A spontaneous burst of zeal, or something organized? If it’s the latter, I assume they are crawling Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for messages and threats, as well as installing cameras to capture the images of people who commit violence, so they can be apprehended afterwards.

I will still continue to go to the office through all of this. It will be amusing, in a not-at-all-amusing sort of way, if something happens and the only reporter close to the event is Me, up in the tower, dictating a story from the window of the 12th floor.



Okay. I SWEAR this will pay off, and soon.

Before we get to the update, let us enjoy this lady who got caught on the wrong side of the gates, and is doing her best not to seem conspicuous:

That was the old park.

I started over. I knew enough now to do better, so all the old mistakes were best abandoned instead of reworked or ignored. Time for an entirely new set of mistakes!

First thing I did was build a small wall of mountains in the upper quandrant, where I will put a “Lost World” theme park. Laid out the main pathways.

Then I put in the monorail, and here I did something that looked fun: I ran it over a gorge, tunneled, came out of the tunnel, and looped back to the main station.

There’s a big, and I mean big pre-made water ride that fits with the Pirate theme, and I thought I could put it into the craggy, uneven area by the sea. Put lots of Pirate stuff in there. It’ll be great!

And here my troubles began.

Getting the path down from the monorail was a mess. Getting the path around the big water ride was a mess. Getting the path from the water ride looked ridiculous:

The entrances and exits are set waaaay up, so I didn’t have to do a lot of stairs - the visitors will climb any number of stairs without complaint, but I like to keep these things reasonable. So I blew it up, turned the water ride around, and laid out the rides for Pirate Cove.

On the lower right, a big coaster on the bluff, which looks great and has a fantastic view. It also had a kludgy path problem, as you see - but that’s going to be really cool when I start to add palms and signs and lights. There’s also a gorge with water now, because I pulled the terrain down. The monorail stop is also cleaner, and I added a seating area where people can enjoy the view.

But it’s a long way to the Pirate Cove entrance, and so far it's the only way in.

So far, that is. Next week: the Great Gondola Catastrophe.


This week's utterly random selection from the Museum of Paris website. Really: I just click and save, so I'm not pulling out big impressive pieces. It's the little pieces that flesh out a collection.

Derame and his new creations at the Rambuteau Follies.

I’m thinking . . . puppets?

We're going to be seeing a lot of these posters. It's remarkable they survived. They give you a sense of the era the Fine Art doesn't. The paintings one might see in a museum; these were plastered all over the neighborhood.








Five thousand souls. One of the original 13 counties in Texas. As for the name . . . it's located on the absolute east-most part of the state. But it's in the center of the county.

<Dr. Smith voice> Oh the Payne

The Payne the payne the payne </dr. smith voice>

Recent news:

Members of the community and Shelby County ambassadors turned out for a new member ribbon cutting at Payne & Payne Home N’ Suchlike on Friday, September 15, 2017 to celebrate with new owners Josh and Lacie Payne.

Chamber Ambassador president Andi Foster congratulated the Paynes on their new venture and thanked them for being a valued chamber member. Foster then invited Lacie Payne to share the history of the building and the new business, “The hardware store, Payne & Payne Hardware N’ Suchlike, started in 1915, it did close in 1996.” Payne & Payne was a hardware store and a gift registry and was owned by Vance and Billie Sue Payne.

According to the story, the facade has been repainted. I’m not sure that was a good idea.

“Aren’t you worried people will think we’re just a Ners Undry?

Odd decision to clutter up the sign like that, unless you assumed everyone knew who you were and what you did.

<dr. smith voice> Oh the pain </dr. smith voice>

Buckaroo treatment and the absolute wrong brick took away the building’s sense of composition and self-possession.

<dr. smith voice> You must be referring to my brother.</dr. smith voice>

I don’t know why I clipped this, except to note that it has a profusion of extraneous names. Windham's Ivan Smith Furniture.


But not that U. A nice example of the modern embassy.

Nearly every government building from the 70s and early 80s should be razed:

Again with the small windows. Energy-saving! And people don’t really like to look out the window anyway, or, if they do, they don’t want anyone else to be standing next to them, looking out as well.

A reminder of the age that was erased to build this new crap.


Believe it or not, I’d like to know the history behind this.

One project built all at once? Two office blocks and a low-slung commercial strip? Seems likely. Also possible that the space on the right became available and the fellow who owned the building on the left though he’d tie it all together.

Whoa! There’s an old pile.

A gloomy thing, thick and forbidding to modern eyes, but probably solid and prosperous to the people at the time. Or maybe they thought it looked like a baronial mansion built for the governing class, and resented it.

This one’s hard to place, time-wise. Whatever I said for certain would be accompanied by a small nagging doubt.



The Rio:

2014, Cinema Treasures: “We are the owners of the Rio Theatre in Center, Tx. and it has never been closed since 1926. It is one of the oldest single screen continuous running theatres in the state of Texas. We take great pride in that fact and strive to be always friendly, maintain cleanliness and keep prices down for our customers.”

Closed in 2020 due to COVID, as if this writing.

Uh -

Yes, by all means, dump your cell and go back to folding paper maps.

“Dammit, John, people told you that the place had to have a door, no wonder you’re broke."

C’mon, kiddies, all the way to the back. The building can’t hurt you. It’s not going to eat you. That’d be silly.



Finally: Yes.


That will do! I hope. More Main Streets await. The last batch for the year. Next? Restaurants!




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