Voted on Tuesday in the New Style of Things, which assumes the choking omniscience of the Covidian Miasma. Instead of walking up to a desk and showing my ID, which seems to be what I recall, I had to stand six feet away from the desk where the registration records are stored.

“Do you want me to flip you my ID from here?” I said, deciding against adding “Oddjob-style.”

“No, we don’t need that,” he said.

Since when?

In my head, there’s a routine. I show my ID, they let me vote. But I am mistaken, since at some point it was decided it would sufficient to say who I was, and where I lived. What would stop me from voting as my neighbor in the morning, and myself at night? Oh but they’d recognize you, it’s not like you’re wearing a mask -


After I was verified, I signed a piece of paper, then gave the piece of paper to another guy, who gave me my ballot. A scant ballot. Did what I had to do, left. Took two minutes. I did not get a sticker, for the same reason I did not take a balloon that said FROM MY DOCTOR FOR BEING GOOD when I was 12. Those always seem a little smug. You - you voted? My gosh! That’s like amazing, I heard there were like lines and crocodiles and biting ants at the polling place.











I realize it is an admissions of sentiments beyond the parameters of contemporary discussion, but I wish the governments of certain cities were willing to maintain order, and protect life and property.

Yes, I went there, as they say. I said it! Oooh! Massed intake of breath in shock. Property?

Yes. Homes. Property. Museums.


Like this. Look at all that “property” - are you saying it’s worth defending? Well, yes, but only after everything has been protected, if you must. Property is more valuable than lives.

Okay. Burn down Chicago. The whole thing. It’s just property. And what do the lives do then? Where do they sleep? Where do they eat? What structures and systems exists to house and feed them? Of course, no, they don’t want to burn it down. They just want to own it, because they will do All the Good Things with it. The fact that there are glittering stores on the Michigan Mile in the first place is a manifestation of inequity, so these things must be redistributed, and then they will be replaced with food stalls that give away healthy produce from the communal farms, and storefronts that trade art for things like dental work.

Who thinks like this? The ideological whip holders, the privileged 1%, perhaps, but not the foot soldiers enjoying the chaos. They will end up with some consumer goods, a bricked phone, awesome pictures for social media, tales to tell, a burnishing of the meaningless credentials they use to make themselves feel like good people. (All the people involved in the rioting and looting would be angry if you called them bad people. There’s no deficit of self-esteem in that whoopin’ hootin’ crowd: these stores are all full of L’Oreal, and they deserve it!)

There were two ideas that took a catastrophic hit in 2020:

1. Public officials are competent to manage the unforeseen, especially the unforeseen things everyone with half an imagination could foresee, particularly if "foreseeing" was baked into their job description, and

2. American cities have roared back from their post-60s slump, and have become dynamic once more.

I know everyone is calling the cities “over,” which seems an exaggeration. But previous hits to the idea of the city were incremental. Disorder increased, residents and businesses trickled out. Combine it with the sudden collapse of the Office Imperative, and whoa: all of a sudden no one has to go in to the office.

And some say that’s the way it’s going to be. Why go to a 70-story skyscraper when you can work at home in your pajamas?

Because it’s a 70-story skyscraper? A lot of people proclaiming the death of the office have never spent more than half a year working from home. Oh, it’s great. I love it. But it lacks so much - co-workers, for one. The give-and-take, the office conversations, the sense of belonging to a shared enterprise. The views! The sense of connection and pride you get when you look out the window at a forest of towers. The sense of a place, a concentrated place, where things are done. The sense that home is a refuge.

I go to the office now to get a faint hint of those things, and it’s almost, barely, fractionally sufficient. Never been a 9-5 guy, because that’s not how I work, but I’ve never felt so random and atomized as I have the last few months. Not because I don’t like being at home, but because there’s this haunting knowledge that there is nothing downtown.

No one is obliged to go downtown. No one is required to stay in the city. No one can be kept for moving out to a place that feels safe. No one has to sacrifice their happiness for the Ideal of the Good City. But. I talked to a storeowner today who was red-faced with fury over what’s going on in Minneapolis, how they feel completely alone, how the property taxes - which are unreal for a small commercial building - are apparently meant for everything except public order.

All I'm saying is this: imagine if the riots and looting had been stopped, at once, and all the public leaders and opinion makers repudiated every stich of the intellectual quilt behind the defenders of disorder.

Imagine a world in which the major newspaper didn't respond with fashion layouts of the clothes prefered by people who light public buildings on fire.

Sorry, bad-lyric-Lennon-song reference here, but imagine that? It's not easy. I can't.




It’s 1897 in Washington. Washington Kansas, that is.

Interesting front page: you can tell what is, and isn’t news.

  Terry V. Powderly will be keeping a keen eye for those miserable anarchists.

Curious how that turned out?


The Supposed Spanish Anarchist Arrived on the Umbria and Now Can't Be Found.

M. Planas, believed to be the anarchist who was expelled from France, arrived as a second cabin passenger on the Cunard liner Umbria, which docked at the foot of Clarkson street, New York, yesterday afternoon. Notwithstanding the fact that the authorities, federal, state and local, knew of the enforced departure of the Spanish anarchist to this country and despite the presence of a corps of immigration and customs inspectors and Tederai and local detectives on the dock, Planas landed without being troubled in the slightest and evaded all the trained watchers and walked calmly and undisturbedly out to the street.

Damned anarchists.

  I suppose that’s one way to find out it’s over.

Curious why we would care?

Edward Langtry (1847–1896) married Emilie Charlotte Le Breton on the island of Jersey in 1874. She later took to the stage as actress Lillie Langtry, and became involved in a relationship with Edward, Prince of Wales. Langtry and his wife eventually separated and she obtained a divorce in 1897. Langtry died from a brain haemorrhage in the same year after a fall during a steamer crossing from Belfast to Liverpool.

Lillie was a sensation. Edward is a footnote.

“As the Powder Mill Blows Up”

Here's a bizarre note: the day after I saw this in my stack of things to write about, Daughter drew . . . this.

News from all over:

Morrowville today does not appear to be a going concern.



The paper’s editorials confined themselves to parable wisdom.

I think maybe she knew about the chigger.


Beat the Typewriter trust!

Never heard of it? It was the Apple computer of its day:

The Blickensderfer Typewriter was invented by George Canfield Blickensderfer (1850–1917) and patented on August 4, 1891. Two models were initially unveiled to the public at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Model 1 and the Model 5.

His machines were originally intended to compete with larger Remington, Hammond and Yost typewriters, and were the first truly portable, full-keyboard typewriters. The design also enabled the typist to see the typed work at a time when most typewriters were understrike machines that concealed the writing.

When Blickensderfer unveiled his small Model 5 at the 1893 World's Fair, a stripped-down version of his larger more complex Model 1 machine, these revolutionary features attracted huge crowds and a full order book – many of them from Britain, Germany and France, whose business machine markets were more highly developed than the United States.

Remington bought the company in 1926. The Typewriter Combine won.

Now WHY would we tell you our prices?

The fact that the name sounds a lot like Fletcher’s is purely coincidental, you might think, sarcastically. Well.

Actually, it’s quite a complex story, this Fletcher / Pitcher. Too bad they sounded alike.


That'll do! Let's go back to the 80s now and watch some hand-selected commercials.



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