The banner this week, a perfect old summer image, was taken from the Motel site, of course. Rather the Motel site from 2020, so yes, next year you will grind your teeth and say the lazy bastard’s just recycling stuff, now. You should be happy there will be a Motel site in 2020; it’s not easy to find a hundred new cards a year. At some point I’ll run out of motels.

Or will I? It seems as if there were a million of these places, now mostly gone, wrecked, paved over, pools filled, or they’re still around and have descended into bug-ridden meth caves. That’s the bad news, obviously. The good news is that the roadside hostel provides more than these places ever could. Wifi and widescreens, whereas once there was maybe in-room radio and a hot set on a cart. Interesting soaps and shampoos instead of a thin bar of Palmolive. Your phone in your pocket can summon all sorts of food, if you have the app. A hot breakfast in the morning before you load up the kids and head off.

And here’s the place where I say but we’ve lost something, I suppose, but I can’t muster it now. We lost the signs, which I lament. We lost the expectation of an outdoor pool for the kids to splash around in, having Desultory Vacation Water Fun, then burning their feet on the concrete. We lost the great old cars, heavy and deadly; we lost the sense of being out there, disconnected, when the radio pulled in only static. But mostly these pictures make me think of being 8 or 10 and loving the everything about the motel experience when you’re a kid. And we’ve all lost being 8 or 10.

No one’s loss is quite the same, though. I’m glad I got to be that kid in the pool on vacation in a world of roadside attractions and one-story hotels with buzzing signs and exotic destinations where CBS WAS ON CHANNEL 5 HERE, IT’S LIKE ANOTHER COUNTRY.

I started the motel site almost 20 years ago, and it feels as close as it did then, and just as remote.


That was a brisk week. Perhaps it was the disarray. Mother-in-law is in town painting and staining, and also we bundled up the rugs in the living room and dining room for cleaning. Birch, having had puppy “accidents” on them, was no doubt drawn to a powerful signal scent we cannot detect, although for a while I took to asking visitors if they were struck by a note of urine and vomit when entering. Welcome to my home! Smells like a subway tunnel, no?

Well, you want to make sure.

Then he did it again for some reason - out of spite, my wife says, because he didn’t get to go with her when she took a car trip Sunday. (Doubt_X.gif) This persuaded him to do it again, and that was our signal to get the rugs done. Then the aforementioned loss of the sofa and end table. They went out on the boulevard today, and someone came by . . . took the end tables. Left the sofa.

It’s so forlorn out on the boulevard, it just kills me. But the new sofa M-i-L bought arrived, and it’s lovely. The room is less cramped. Now we have to keep Birch off the sofa. He knows not to get up on the other one.

“We can put something over it,” my wife said.

“We’ve become plastic protector people? It’s come to this? Plastic sheets all the time except when company comes over? Are we going to get TV dinner trays and learn canasta as well?”

Everything’s a mess, Daughter’s out, dog is fine - no longer licking his hot spot down to the bone, which is good. I got some salve. Oh, they can be such a bother, but when you wake from a nap and the dog burrows into you and sighs and stretches, you know it’s worth it. Sometimes I wonder if he is the reincarnated Scout, trying to make up for his mistake.

That was his kennel name, after all.

Anyway, when I got home from work there was something on the table.

Is there anything about this that tells you what it is?

When I turned it over I saw a link to the Apple Store to get the app.

WTH is this?

It's a sofa-protection kit.

"Where do you work?"

The Uniters!

"What do you do? Stitch together sundered relationships? Find common ground on contentious political issues? Marriage counselors?"

We keep sofas fresh and new!

"Is there . . . a great societal divide about that matter?"

We're the Uniters!

So I wrote a ton for work and I have a ton next week as well, thanks to Holiday Deadlines. A good productive weekend looms: hot and wet, the perfect time to tackle the basement storage closet and get rid of stuff. For years I have been winnowing down legacy cables - can’t throw ‘em! Might need ‘em! WON’T EVER NEED THEM. I have some old HDMI cables from the days when those things were so expensive you thought the wires were coated with ambergris; they’re thick as a baby’s wrist. Innumerable RCA jacks. So many power adaptors. Out. Out!

That’ll cover about 5% of the stuff I need to dump.

But the matchbooks! The bins and bins of matchbooks! The old albums, the ephemera - O fire, kindle in some corner and relieve me from these things. WHAT? You say. And lose history?

Eh, I’ve scanned it.

Kidding. Sort of. BTW, I’m not in ScanPhase anymore. I’ve stopped scanning. It’s all I can do to cut up and resize and lay out and write what I’ve already scanned.


It’s been a while since we checked to see if BuzzFeed is still as stupid as ever . . .

I’m sure this is fun if you’re 13 or 14, but it’s pathetic if you are an adult. I’m sorry, the proper term is grown-ass adult.

Note: if you say grown-ass adult you are not one.

Here's what happens when you give the quiz-making tools to the audience:


Maybe . . . what you need, or want?

The quiz is based on detailed, scientific questions, like this.


The success of this website will mystify people some day.

Why do companies want to show that they’re composed of fragile, easily-disturbed children?

No, it’s not serious - I hope - but it’s unbecoming a serious news organization. It’s just a busted link, for GOD’S SAKE

Me in 1967: boy when we get computers it’ll be great I can talk to people on the moon and my tricorder will tell me when there’s something I really need to know

Me today:

Finally: I'm thinking of doing a regular Friday feature on Podcast Art. It's an interesting genre. This one made me feel perky with irritation:

For one thing, I didn't like the podcast. The narrator irked me, as they often do, and the substance of it - well, did you know that Levittown harbored a racist past! Uh yeah. But it's the title of the thing and that got-damned font that just seemed so unearned. You're 26, you don't get to snark Nice Try! and stop bringing back those shitey-shite Seventies fonts.

This was interesting, though. The podcast is good - Joe Nocera, of all people, talking about a guy in his neighborhood who manipulated a well-off patient to hand over money and influence. No murders, no fakey cliffhangers. Good story from a fine journalist.

  The art is so, so, very very 1960s in a way that's difficult to put into words. It just is.


It's the album art of the Twenty-Twenties.


Finally: glass going up at great pace now.

Next week we're going to start on a HUGE project. This was just an entr'acte.

Oh just a casual jaunt up to Alaska

Solution is here.



Welcome back to the Blue Note Cafe, where Casey, Ethelbert the Bartender, and Tony Marvin the pitchmaster ignore the gentle piano playing, as did most of the patrons.


Tony, you sound like you're talking into a big glass bowl.






A rather wordy title - but it explains the bustling old-man music. He's spry and eccentric!




2019 returns to the bins, and the records dumped back into the world when someone dies and the kids give the contents of Mom and Dad's entertainment system to the Goodwill.


Its 1960. Men are fascinated by women playing the songs of the Roaring Twenties on a Lowrey Organ. Honey, I'm all dressed up and feeling wild - play me something craaaazy.



When you were too old for Rock, but didn't want to listen to the big band stuff, this was your game.







That'll do! Thanks for the visits; hope this week was better than the last one. Bleat+ and Recipe Cards are up. See you around.



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