Errands today! It used to be fun. Now it's a festival of wincing. I went to CUfB. CUB, as it’s called around here, but that stood for Consumers United for Bargains, so CUfB. They had some massive deals. Everyday price, $7.99! Sale price, $7.89!

Really. The tag even said “Your savings: 10 cents.”

Every little bit helps, etc. But it was the price of a bag of frozen meatballs that said it all. I used to buy it when it went from $6.99 to $4.99 or $5.49, the usual range of sale prices. This would happen about ten days a month. Now: the base price is $10.99. The sale price is $6.99. Bang. Just like that.

We’re accustomed now to good local ads. High quality photos, well-selected typefaces, professional layouts. Thank computers, of course. We have design studios packed into our slender laptops. But before this era, it was all done by hand. The work of the 30s and 40s has a uniform style; it’s clean and attractive, for the most part. Look at the Los Angeles Times from the Depression years: one fantastic ad after the other.

Something changed in the late 50s. A new style of clip art. The old fussy cuts of the 20s, with their big-head caricatures, were gone; the sleek moderne machine-age cuts of the later 20s and 30s were outdated. We had the rise of the Potato Man - a round body, a smallish head with an outsized nose, spindly arms. Things looked scratchier, less polished; it was a dashed-off aesthetic. Intentionally sloppy. UPA-animation style. At the same time, there was a new crop of realistic cuts, intended to connote class and quality.

By the Seventies, the art of the local ad was at an absolute nadir. Local print shops and newspapers did the work, and it seems they handed it off to people who lacked the skill the job used to require. Local ads were bad.

Local restaurant ads might have been the worst. I found a page from the mid 70. Let us revisit those days together, and return to the age when stuff looked bad, because it was the 70s. This is from a Kennebunkport paper.


That's how the headline looked. Exquisite spacing and design.

You can understand an amateur mucking about without knowing what they were doing, but this was the work of people involved in composition every day. You'd think they'd learn something.

I was interested in the ads, since they remind us of the 70s, the era of clipart, bad design, and so forth. We're going to save the worst for last.

From the "let my wife's friend design the logo" era of promotoion:

There were ferns. You know there were ferns.

There was a lot of this, too. Was it really Greek food? You'd have to take a chance.


What, you want "For Your Dining Pleasure" printed straight next time? FINE


"What will set us apart from the other places? Arbitrary capitalization isn't enough."


"How about a drunken mascot? No - not drunk, just entertainingly insane, like, he's crazy for salad."


Not oceanfront dining at Joseph's. Oceanfront dining WITH.

The Bushes probably ate there a lot, before it became impossible to do so because of the lookie-loos . . . unless there weren't any. Some  strange forcefield kept those people out. Only the people whose bodies were attuned to the Kennebunkport frequencies could pass through. And what was that frequency? Where's Kenneth? He knows.

Desserts by . . .  by what?

Hurrah from 11:40 to 2:30?

It's a hotel restaurant buffet, but you know the locals piled in as well.

At first I read this as Beef and Beef:

The address today is a 7-11.

And now, the nadir of design.

I don't think it's necessary to humiliate this one, because it's almost genius in its conception and execution.



And now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

The last few weeks we've seen the exploits of the DeWitt brothers, big power players whose works and glories were celebrated by the best painters of the day.

Well: The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers, Jan de Baen (attributed to), c. 1672 - c. 1675

Says the museum:

The ultimate humiliation: the nude, flayed corpses of Johan and Cornelis de Witt on public display in the Groene Zoodje, the execution ground on the Vijverberg in the middle of The Hague. On 20 August 1672 they were assassinated by their political opponents. Johan had been the most powerful man in the Republic for close to twenty years, steadfastly supported by his brother Cornelis. But they were held responsible for everything that went wrong in the year 1672, known as the ‘Year of Disaster’.








Twenty-thousand souls, more than double since 1970. Wikipedia: "Stephenville is among several communities that call themselves the 'Cowboy Capital of the World'."Well, one of them has to be.

I’m sure they had a reason for this.

The sign says “Slim Pickins Outfitters,” so I think they’re inhabiting the old Rexall store. With maximum respect.


“Well, at first we welcomed Mr. Magneto to the congregation with open arms, but I think he’s gotten a bit more influence than people first expected."


I can’t tell you why, exactly, but . . .

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a rehab. It’s as if it was something else and can’t quite convince you otherwise.

How “national” was it, really?

Fine old citizen, even though I’m not a fan of over-rusticated stone. It looks like the perfect backdrop for an old photograph of mustachioed men in suits, celebratingn the bank's opening.


Poor fellow on the right. Smothered with a rehab. Although maybe “stoned to death” would be more apt.

Dang, you hate to see it.

Dang, you love to see it.

The plaque says it was the Dawson Saloon.


G, in this case. (Obligatory Ugly Government Building.)


The lights around the columns produced a textured effect that makes my skin crawl, for some reason.

But it’s in great shape. Fantastic Corinthian capitals. You popped for those when you were really flush.

The old man and his wife:


I’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Perhaps a very young architect. Or a very young one. Or one who had Ideas about the way things should look.

You can paint it over and over and change the colors, depending on the fashion.

Or, you could not paint it at all. Just a thought.



So . . . were the windows always there?


Partners in time:

  Theo Bauer . . .
  Jake Wilson.



2018, the most depressing apartment building in Texas:

And now, inexplicably browned:

Around the corner, a big modern church:

Someone was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, but not overly so




I don’t know what it was, but it isn’t that anymore

Yes, it's a Sullivan. 1912. He should have been doing big, soaring things. Instead he did small-town banks and office buildings.


Romanesque courthouse, and quite the showoff:






That'll do! The last of this year's Restaurants await.




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