I’m at Target, checking out. No bags. No paper bags, just the miserable plastic ones.

“Another no-bag period, eh?” I ask the guest assistant. “What’s the reason this time?”

“I’m guessing they didn’t ship,” he said. Yes, that could be it. I got everything in 9 bags and schlepped them out to the car. Time for supper. I had a sudden interesting in Wendy’s, which I hadn’t visited in years. They changed their buns, made a big deal out of their new artisanal buns. I tried one, and it was stale and bad. But that was years ago. The Wendy’s sized burger would hit the spot.

Drove across the street, parked. Walked to the Wendy’s. The doors were locked. The open sign was on. There were clerks at the counter. But the door was locked. I figured they probably lacked staff, and didn’t have anyone who could do all the dining-room things like . . . hosing it down every three hours? It wasn’t as if they were busy at all.

I drove around to the drive-through, because we now have to eat in our cars, hunched over like savages, instead of sitting at a table like civilized people. The speaker crackled and my order was requested.

I am making none of this up. This is exactly what happened.

“I would like a hamburger,” I said, “and a small fries.”

There was a pause.

“A junior hamburger?”

“What? No. A hamburger.”


“Dave hamburger?” There was a Dave’s combo, named after the founder.

“No. A hamburger. And a small French fries.”

Pause. “Please pull to the second window.”

This I did. The order-taker was leaning out, perplexed.

“What do you want?” She said.

“A hamburger,” I said. “And a small fries.”

“A junior hamburger.”

“I don’t know what that is. Is it for kids? I want a hamburger.”


“Eight hamburgers?”

“One hamburger. A hamburger.”

She went away for a minute then came back, holding up some fingers that added up to - well, you know.

“Eight hamburgers?” She said tentatively.

“Never mind,” I said, and drove off. Fine. McDonald’s it is, then. I parked and walked across the lot.

“Dining room’s closed,” someone heading back to her car said. “Only drive-through.”

Okay. Of course. God, I hope before I die I see the America I used to know return.

Well, there’s a Shake Shack. Overpriced, or overrated? Why not both? I went there, and asked the clerk for a hamburger, ketchup, mustard, onions He made several taps on the screen, and we were good.

When the hamburger arrived it had no ketchup or mustard. Okay. I went to the condiment place, and passed a manager, and I said “I ordered ketchup and mustard, and it arrived pretty dry.”

“We don’t put ketchup or mustard on them,” he said. “You do that.” And he pointed to the pumps and buckets.

Okay. But if that’s the case, why did the clerk take my order and say nothing? If I’d said “one hamburger, with uranium and heroin,” would have have nodded and tapped and let me go on my merry way?

Also, it rained all day, and I got five hours of sleep. Ready to have another run at this whole “normal day” thing on Thursday.



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

View of the Garden of Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Isaac de Moucheron, c. 1725

Says the museum:

Isaac de Moucheron often painted and drew Italian landscapes with monumental classical buildings or ruins. These would generally be more or less symmetrical in construction. He also built up a considerable clientele as a painter of wall hangings. Although De Moucheron lived in Italy from 1694 to 1697, he may have based this later drawing on an engraving of the famous garden by another artist.

The dogs came along on the outing:

Here's little sister, who's found the most delightful collection of skulls:









Our second look. Last week (well, two weeks ago) was . . . unimpressive. Surely I clipped a lot because there was some surprising finds, no? We’ll see. I haven’t opened this folder since I set the pictures aside a year ago.


When your courthouse looks like a 1969 McMansion:

Oh dear

Hey, it’s a design element that says “different and modern!” I don't think the set designers who did sci-fi in the 60s thought of something like this. The columns don't even touch the base.

It's almost Flintstonesque.

Hey tree could you GET OUT OF THE WAY

If you look at another version, when the tree isn’t so leafy, you see “Watt Hairston Memorial.”

Watt? I mean, What? The HAIRSTON genealogy page has two pictures, and in each one he’s standing by a car. Must have liked to drive. Died in 1922 at the age of 39 . . . in an auto accident.

I have the sense Mr. Byrd built it himself, and no, he didn’t need no fancy city architect, he knew what he was doing.

Minor buckarooing to bring it up to modern times.

Sometimes in Planet Coaster, when I’m building a structure, the pieces just refuse to align exactly, and a part sticks up, and it drives me nuts. I’ll tear it down and start again rather than live with something that looks off.

The architect of this structure was not bothered by such a situation.

The ol’ Photoshop click-and-option-drag style. I’d call the style of architecture “extrusionism.”

The little lights tell me this was a club of some sort. Eagles, Elks. Maybe a swank 60s supper-club.

I love it. More downtowns need these. Every downtown needs one.

You really might not want to use a bank that seems to say "it's all we could afford."


Sure, it’s covering up an old building, but it does pop, doesn’t it?

Based on an old postcard, I believe it once looked like this.


A bizarre example of the Elephant-Man-Disease facade style.

Usually they didn’t stick on classical elements like the pediment you see here.

Whole new meaning to “make a deposit”

The building itself is mute; the style of the corner and pillar suggests 40s or 50s, but somehow it looks much older. But not excessively remade.

“It’s a college, so we’ll need, like, columns, somewhere.”

The original building can be imagined if you remove the columns and rethink the color of the brick. The lower floor is not contemporaneous with the second.

From the aforementioned postcard: it's in the back, on the left.

It’s WHEE.

They’re still around. I don’t know if they broadcast out of this place, though. Seems a bit underpowered.

Ah, the Stark Contrast I love so much and dump into the Google Street View site.


“And another fir in a planter . . . here. Just so.”


Finally, an old citizen with an old lamp post.

A lot used to happen here; seems those days have passed.






That'll do! Motels await.



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