It has been a peerless week. Not a trace of fall during the day. Everything green, although the grass is wanting. The night temps have portents, though; the cold announces itself with the sort of brusque contempt you associate with a Prussian military officer. But still the crickets sing.

I went on errands the other day, mood buoyed by this extension of summer, and realized I wasn’t even close to the Fall Switch. There were pumpkins at Traders Joe; might as well have had Valentines. Meant nothing. There’s a point when something alters in you, and you suddenly think about soup and roasted things, but it seems far away now. Good. I used to like it, because it was bound up in the rituals of Fall and School and the parade of holidays to come, things you could enjoy with your child. Gel-cling icons to put on the window, leaves first, then snowflakes and trees and holly. Wonder if she remembers that. Probably not. But it surely made things special then, didn’t it?

Didn’t it?

I’m sure it did. I’m sure on my deathbed everyone will crowd around and say “we didn’t mention it at the time, but we were always pretty sure it was no coincidence that you bought the seasonally-patterned Bounty towels to add a subtle ongoing, temporally-aware aesthetic to the kitchen.”

Sorry, I’m just a bit bored. Been at the office for several hours, trying to do this and that, and nothing’s coming. Then again, I’m not really trying. I’d better start trying. Back in a bit.


And there, that was easy. I had a column in my head, and it was half done, but everything I’d written was lame, and I knew it. All placeholder words. When I took another run at it I had a different approach, and the whole thing just fell out of my fingers. Now I need 250 words clean-up, and that’ll be tonight. There! I’ve justified my trip to the office.

Say, you ask, you being someone I made up because no one would really ask this, how’s that Neon City in Planet Coaster going?

Well, thanks for asking! I started over, of course, and decided to build MIAMI.

WHY NOT. There are many pre-made “Art Deco” hotels, although most are ugly and overlit. You have to go inside the building and remove the excess lights, like picking flies out of a huge mound of rice. The style is easily done, though. I ended up making a public area like the Cancun resort, sort of, and a custom coaster, and a building that dazzles with all sorts of effects.

It’s a train set, like I say. You go down in the basement and putter around for a while, glueing little trees in place. Once in a while you put on your special engineer cap and turn it on, see all the parts move and the lights come on. Like this guy!

He didn't do a lot of acting - this is from a Dragnet ep - but when he did, he seemed to make a point of flashing his large gums and small teeth.

That's the designer of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues under hte Sea and the  Proteus in Fantastic Voyage, the co-designer of Disneyland, the assistant set designer for Casablanca, and the art designer for Willy Wonka. And he played with trains so give me a break here.


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

Fantasy landscape with St Charles Borromeo, Henry Ferguson, c. 1700 - c. 1720

The museum says:

Ferguson, who was born in Holland but spent much of his life in France, specialised in painting sculpture and ruins. This elaborate fantasy is based on the French classicising landscape tradition, and includes the figure of St Charles Borromeo indicating an oversized antique sarcophagus which bears a relief of Christ’s nativity. It is clearly allegorical, but the exact meaning is obscure.

Yeah, I’ll say. It seems to be about people asking for something. Everyone’s asking for something.

Borromeo was a Counter-Reformation leader, and was quite down on the black arts and its practitioners.

Though the Diet of Ilanz of 1524 and 1526 had proclaimed freedom of worship in the Republic of the Three Leagues, Borromeo repressed Protestantism in the Swiss valleys.

The Catholic Encyclopedia relates: "In November [1583] he began a visitation as Apostolic visitor of all the cantons of Switzerland and the Grisons. He began in the Mesoleina Valley; here not only was their heresy to be fought, but also witchcraft and sorcery, and at Roveredo it was discovered that "the provost or rector, was the foremost in sorceries."

During his pastoral visit to the region, 150 people were arrested for practicing witchcraft. Eleven women and the provost were condemned by the civil authorities to be burned alive.

I'll bet they were glad to see the back of him. Everyone's just hanging around the town carrying on as usual, and then this guy shows up, and there's almost a dozen locals in cinders before he gets on his horse and trots off.

Perhaps he's gesturing in the painting to indicate frustration: I'd like to burn it, but it just won't catch.








We’ve a two-week look at Missoula, and as usual, I don’t know why I started where I started. But I did, so here we go.

Well, yes:

Wasn’t always so, I’ll bet.


Government buildings of the era never hide their indifference:

At first I though ti was a rehab, but I don't think so. The rhythm of the windows suggests not.

The side. It's realy hard to date.

Looks like they pumped concrete in the window until it filled the whole building:

A piece of an older, more interesting world.

This, I’ll guess, was a failed downtown mall project. Could be a rehab, but it looks as if it has ground-floor parking, and the blank walls are typical for such projects.


A darker breed of Elks up here, it seems.

Was it always an Elks lodge? You’d think there’d be older signage if it was. Googling . . . This site says: “For many years also housing the Missoula Mercantile implement store, it has served the Elks since its construction.”

Odd look for an implement store.

If you’re going to build a parking ramp downtown, this is how you do it. Bright and strange and cheerful.

The site before:

Let’s reacquaint ourselves with this corner . . .

Then turn to the right.

A rehab? Possibly.. The ground floor windows have that awful 60s / 70s slanting-inward framing.

Poof! And a new neighbor.


You may be surprised, but I like it. Every downtown needs buildings from every era, and something from the post-International Style period of Confusion is a relic of an era, a piece of the past embodied and preserved.

Which is the whole point of this feature, now that I think about it. The way architecture carries the past, or what’s left, into the immediate present.

Holy Hannah, these guys could build:

I mean, that’s in their bones, I suppose, although no actual masonry was done by most of the members.

Even the glass remains.


When you want to make a statement of tired acceptance, and disappointment:

The International Style facade is fine. It’s the featureless service core that did these things in.


Seems like an insufficient amount of clock for the space.

But ah hah, what we learn when we turn the corner. That wasn’t a rehab job. That was the original design, right?

Looks as if the upstairs was a fancy place - a meeting room, or a banking hall. More likely the former.

That’s it for this batch; if I broke it up into two, there must be some really good stuff coming.



That'll do - now hit the road and check in. See you around.




blog comments powered by Disqus