I was going to give you a Department of Misc today that asked canny, celeb-obssessed teens of the 40s to identify their favorite swoonable stars by their ankles, but we'll wait on that one. Yes, next week: test your ANKLE IQ!

Why not today? Because Bela Laren is hogging all the visual space this week, and I feel guilty if the word-picture balance looks lazy. Lots of pictures are fine, if you add comment - otherwise it's just . . . an internet thing with pictures.

I was supposed to write something last night, but I got bored of whatever was rattling around my head, or the moment had passed, or the futility of weighing in overwhelmed the need to put down a marker so I can point to where I was on that particular issue. So I started looking around for a British cop show, “Line of Fire,” which had been praised by someone whose tweet was retweeted by someone I follow but do not know. Ah, there it is on Amazon.

Ah, there it is on Amazon with a subscription to Acorn, for only More Fargin’ Money.99 per month. I thought, well, I recently signed up for Hulu for some reason; maybe I could dump Hulu and get Acorn, and isn’t this just the a la carte world we wanted anyway? EXCEPT NO, but except yes. Went to Hulu on the off chance they had Acorn included, and they didn’t - but they had 5 seasons of the show, no extra cost.

A bag of hurt, as Steve Jobs once said about HD optical storage media. Oh, and Apple will have a streaming service too, although I’ll probably get 3 months free if I use the Apple Credit Card, which will probably . . . not exist? As the uptalk youth say? When asserting something of which they are not entirely confident, or don’t wish to seem authoritative? Maybe you’ll be able to get one, but the trend is away from Actual Plastic, and so the little demonstrative act of slapping down branded plastic will be denied, and all those people who would otherwise admire me greatly and say “who is that fascinating man with the strange, largely featureless plastic card?” Will be denied the opportunity.

Anyway. I three-quarter-watched the show, which started strong but still had the hallmarks of TV made a few years ago. Seems twisty and morally murky, and I thought “yes, I will watch more of these in the months to come” while cleaning out my email box. I’m getting to you! Honest to God! My Sanebox subscription lapsed, and things that had been neatly diverted into spam and mailing-list folders now swamp the regular inbox, and I have to go through and unsubscribe.

Sorry to see you go! Can you tell us why?

1. The emails are too frequent

2. I never signed up for this

3. I signed up for it but man, I was so drunk that night

4. The material is no longer relevant to my interests

5. The material is still relevant to my interests and I find that unutterably depressing

6. I want to reinforce your growing suspicion that these fall on deaf ears, each one, and it’s all a meaningless exercise propped up by useless internal metrics about engagement, when in fact it’s just noise aimed at the bleeding ears of people who have come to regard anything that appears in their inbox as an another flurry of fists on the oaken door they have shut to get some peace in this mad, desperate world

Remember this feature? We never met Bela Lanan himself. We never will.

This was a daily feature, with the solution on Saturday. We'll do it the way they did it then - one entry per day, with the expectation that you'll be following the story.

Wait - so he was unhappy that they'd fix his car?









It’s one of those towns that looks as if it should have many more people than it does, based on the size of the downtown. And it was: 36,000 people in 1930. Peak was 40K in 1940; it’s 25K now.

Sometimes the first picture in the folder stands as a warning, or a portent:


Let’s zoom out:

Perhaps the globes from 1927 are on back order. Well, let’s wander around town and see what there is to see.

This looks like a trap:

“Put ‘doorway to savings’ and they’ll be lured inside!”

It has a nice classical style, but it’s all wrong - like something done in the 50s when the bank president couldn’t let go of the old style, but knew he had to change with the times.

Oh God no don’t drink and design after six hours of Tetris

Really, it’s as if the building looks like it wants to pat you on the head and crush you because it doesn’t know its own strength.

What is this, the OUMB Capitol of the Midwest?

Ah, I see: it’s grafted on a fine older building, and at least has the decency to use the same hues.


Our previous century, defined


That’s quite the wedding cake.

Restraint was not an option. We don’t think of 1874 as being particularly flamboyant, because didn’t everyone wear six layers of wools and husbands never saw their wives’ ankles? It came out in other ways.


New or rehab, that’s a nice addition to downtown. Really: we’re tired of it, but at the time, that looked crisp and fresh.



We’re used to windows being human-scaled, so the ones on top look like they’re floor to ceiling. Evidently not, and they’re huge.


Annnd . . . what's up with that fire escape?

Say, I hear the Google cars are comin’ to town. Can you put out some cones to frame my archaic sales pitch?

Calculators. Adding machines.

I just like the way it looks.


White marble with striations was super-classy for a while; the glass hue is a different touch.

Sweet Martha’s Cookies, how many banks does a town need

More evidence of gradual vampirism; they had to brick up the windows and build a dark building with aggregate sides to keep out the deadly sun


There’s always that one guy.


The building look like it should house the Lincoln Museum, since it seems to be wearing a stovepipe hat.

The metal screen on the left doesn’t seem to be part of a particularly enthusiast post-war rehab.


The one on the right seems vaguely ashamed by the classical first floor.

What, we may ask, was the purpose of the space between the two doors?



The saddest shot of the tour


No, that’s not a mysterious building at all, and certainly wasn’t constructed by men who worshipped the old Egyptian gods and built a pyramid in the meeting hall upstairs

Study of a cornice loss in three acts

Every family has that last child who just went her own mad way



That'll do; see you tomorrow.





blog comments powered by Disqus