I'd planned to return today, but it seems I've decided to make the longest Hiatal Sequence in Bleat history.

I saw an article about the loneliest city in the California desert. Amboy. Had to look at the Google Street View.

That's a hell of a sign in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

It's a vacation day, so we'll break . . . except for some commercials and name-that-town, and comments so you may chat if you've the time.

Across the street, the post office - and a church in the distance with a tiny cross.

Remarkable: a modern sign, a flying-shape ultra-modern cafe, and an old bungalow-style motels.

It's Wes Anderson's Asteroid City!

The idea that people would put this outpost of modernity in the middle of nowhere is so marvelously American.

There was a school.

There isn't a school anymore.

This stretch of road has ghost towns, one after the other. Eventually you'll come to Ludlow.

Online reviews say you get your keys at the modern gas station across the street. The Google Street View says this location has a "Historic Gas Station," but I don't know if that's it. Some pictures show a Philips 66, but there's nothing there now. It would be amusing of the station shown above is "historic," since that's a basic 60s / 70s Texaco.

Again, a 60s modern restaurant!

All kitsched up inside, but that's okay.

Down a dirt road, last traveled by the Google car in 2008:

Every inch of Route 66 is haunted.

One more thing: in Yermo, another sunblasted desert town:

It's historic.


The first Del Taco restaurant was opened by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California, east of Barstow, on September 16, 1964,  under the name "Casa Del Taco". On the first day of business, Del Taco made $169 (the equivalent of $1,660 in 2023.)

There are over 600 today.



Robert Hall clothes. You can tell they’re in an elevator because the up-down indicator is in a totally normal and logical place:

The interior here is the epitome of early 70s luxury. Her tone indicates that the audience - sophisticates - are expected to look down at Robert Hall as a cheap place for men’s wear, not a store where a wealthy woman who lives among ferns would shop.

And that was indeed the case.

Robert Hall Clothes, Inc., popularly known as Robert Hall, was an American retailer that flourished circa 1938–1977. Based in Connecticut, its warehouse-like stores were mostly concentrated in the New York, Chicago and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. According to a Time magazine story in 1949, the corporate name was an invention. The founder and head was garment merchant Jacob Schwab, who "plucked the name out of the air.”

This wasn't about getting the well-off to shop at Robert Hall, of course. It was about making the middle-class feel better about shopping at Robert Hall.

Now we move down a notch to the average middle-class family:

Last one. A clothing store ad with no clothing shown. As the wikipedia entry says:

The company also operated outlets of Robert Hall Village, where Robert Hall clothing was sold alongside other merchandise in stores of approximately 120,000 ft² in what's considered one of the forerunners of the discount superstore concept. Non-clothing retail areas were leased to other companies.

And how’d that go?

In July 1977, after losing more than $100 million in three years, the company entered bankruptcy proceedings. In summer 1977, all 367 Robert Hall stores were sold for $35 million.

In 1982, Jacob Schwab died at the age of 90 in Manhattan.

He lived long enough to see it rise and fall - and he was probably glad he hadn't given it his name.

We conclude with this week's Hiatal Contest:

A 1924 newspaper contest that went on forever.

I couldn't find the answer key, so we're going to be on our own.