I looked at what I wrote earlier, and it’s downbeat and too familiar. So let’s talk about late 50s suburban banks, and the pang of longing.

When I visited that Obligatory Ugly Modern Bank in the burbs a while ago, I saw a picture on the wall of their original Southdale outpost. The stripped-down modern suburban financial experience. No more stuffy columns! Recessed lighting and acoustical tile and blonde-wood desks and sleek tapered pens on chains. Blue walls with a white marble stripe and a gold screen around the window.

There's something a bit haunting about this.

I mean, you could write a McCall's short story around that.

Her hat bag says "Powers," by the way.

Powers didn't have a store at Southdale.

Is it still there? Yes and no.

The marble strip can still be viewed . . .

. . . And I think that's what still remains.

I have great fondness for this place. Obviously. (I forgot I had a site about it until I was looking at the links just now at the bottom of the Southdale wikipedia page.) I was there as a kindergartener, and remember nothing; I would visit it in college, but it wasn't my mall. It was the mall you attained. I would take Daughter there on lazy afternoons to ride the quarter-a-throw amusements, wander through the stores, have a hamburger. We went to all the Pixar movies there. (It's where I saw movies for the last 25 years, really.)

The surrounding area is thriving. Southdale is not. I'm tired of watching things fade around here, to be frank, but that was the very subject I wished to avoid.


Overall, I’m pleased - but that’s because I’m not looking at YouTube of other people’s parks.

Remember the gondola? The idea, stolen entirely from the State Fair, was a diagonal transport that took people from one corner to the other. The monorail goes all the way around, stopping at Lost Land and Pirate Cove; the Monorail goes from the unpopulated-as-of-yet lower left-hand quadrant to Lost Land. The experience part is the passage over the mountain, past the big animatronic sacrificial site, then down to the ground.

You just know this guy is in academics.

The worst part of the game continues to be staff management. People are always quitting. They bitch constantly about their jobs, even though the information panels say their workload is LOW or MEDIUM, and I doubled everyone’s pay above the baseline. I need more Staff Buildings, I guess - places where they can relax and complain and learn new skills so they can quit and get better jobs. Ungrateful bastards, the lot of them.


Vandals destroy the picnic tables I set out.

I don't know what's the matter with people.


I found a slider that let me reduce the amount of vandalism. I am not playing this as a challenge. I do not want to spend my time replacing benches.

  More guest thoughts. The number of people obsessed with the Light Line 1 cost benefit is alarming, and indicates some imbalance in my transportation costs. Like I care.


Also, there was no trash where she was. I dedicated one of the Ole Johnson janitor clones to that particular stretch.


It’s as if we went back 80 years to the cliche of the Scandinavian janitor. That used to be common in movies. Some old immigrant with a ya-sure-you-betcha accent, stooped, pushing a broom around. The Mechanic is Italian, which is interesting. For a European game, perhaps not surprising.

Italians = good with machines is not something we naturally assume over here, but perhaps in Europe, because . . . cars? I don’t know.

Next week: Yee-Hah Land, where everybody's got a toothache.

This one . . . I don’t know.

It’s called “The underside of the candlestick.”

The series was called “The right kind.” Literal translation. Actual meaning, perhaps, a sarcastic swipe at the upper class.

What is he doing?

Look you two he’s totally smashed oh wait you have one on your head

Perhaps it's things the idle, useless class did for fun. A depiction of a game.









Easton, PA: this is where they shot the movie we saw, or at least examined a bit, on Monday.

A good sign: it may have had its ground floor overhauled . . .

. . . but the upper floors haven’t suffered window closure.

Seventies civic building with those big protruding smoked-glass windows, looking as if they’ll stomp down and mash the pitiful insects who scurry in to do their business.


From the early days of parking garages: one floor, noble decoration in terra-cotta.


Again, a mixed bag: post-war renovation with thin, irregular, rust / pastel stone, slanted window displays - and careful preservation of the upper floors.

I don’t know why they had to do that. It made every building look at odds with itself.

A sure sign a town is an important place: one of these beasts.

But . . .

Hotel or office? You can tell by the windows. There’s no tiny window for the bathroom. They’re spaced for offices.

Originally the First National Bank.

OUMB, stretched-out version:


Do you get the feeling that it wasn’t built like this? The original facade was different? You’d be right.


The monument in Centre Square, which is not French, and is round.

Some history of it all, here, if you’re interested.

Easton National Bank: perfect.

Never occurred to OUMB designers to take their cues from these structures.

This doesn’t look at that special . . .

But peer closer:

It’s the little touches that define an era.


“Block up all of the windows! The sun will ruin all my dough!”



I hate sad things like this. You can tell it’s been untouched for a long time, based on the dreaded Coachman’s Lanterns fo the 50s and 60s.

You could turn your chair around, lean forward, and hand something to a guy on the other side of the building:

Its original name. It’s just dripping with ornamentation.


Again, sigh.

It’s not the most elegant design, but it’s interesting. And at the time, a reassurance: Easton is up-to-date! All the latest styles and modes make it here.

Same idea, bad outcome.

It’s like something out of between-the-wars Germany:

Maybe it was.

Now this, you know, was a hotel.

It’s the ballroom windows that always give it away.


I should stop here, and just let you explore. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here.


That'll suffice; see you tomorrow.



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