Another column day, so I'll be brief.

I would like a break. It’s not that it’s difficult to come up with ideas - that being the hardest part of the job, and the most unrewarding - it’s that it would be nice to have a week where no ideas were required. The writing part is easy, once the idea’s in hand. You sit down, and start typing, whether you have a line or not. Eventually you will have something, and once you have something, it’s a matter of adding more something, until it is time to stop moving your fingers.

So I walked around downtown, sifting ideas, discarding things, putting some in the bin marked BLEAT or NR or RICOCHET or STUPID or OBVIOUS or HACKWORK. Enjoyed the weather. Someone said to me today that this feels like August, and that’s so - but that it also felt like August psychologically. She noted that people were in a bad mood. That I haven’t noticed. The drive-through guy was surly as hell the other day but I don’t chalk that up to premature August mindset; he was just a sour person. Or was being sour for reasons one can never guess, since we are not privy to the psychodramas and stories of the back of the house of a McDonald’s. I will note this: I was sternly corrected the other day when I asked for 2 packets of pepper when I was handed the meal. I was told I should request those when I order. I have changed my behavior accordingly. They never put the pepper envelopes in the bag. Or they give me 32.

Oh, you didn’t think you’d get off that easy. No. The park continues. The fourth section, LostLand, is done. This is the “jungle” section, which has ruins and stepped pyramids and toppled statues and torches, and so forth.

It’s a pretty standard park. Sunset view here; full screen is best.


The real attraction is down in the valley. I pulled the terrain down, filled it with water, and built a water ride - a boat that chugs along like the low-thrill Disney version. And here my troubles began. I had a big attraction, one of the pre-made rides. You shoot down a tunnel backwards, ride up to the top of a tower, to backwards. So: what if I covered the ride with a temple?

What if I used the animatronics to have an Indiana-Jones type approach a fallen idol, and get blasted back by fire?

The temple I built was just . . . awful.

But I learned something: use video screens to simulate an interior. Use triggers to light up the interior as the boat passes.

And so. (Again, full screen is best.)

I’m not worried about the park not being perfect in every detail. I like the fact that it’s mine, and this single digital file on my computer is the only place where this obsessively detailed world exists.

A rather bleak and mysterious photo.

What’s the name? “Reinstallment of the guillotine.” (Google translate says “surrender” for “remise.” Don’t ask me.)

It’s dated 1901.


Joseph-Ignace Guillotin 28 May 1738 – 26 March 1814) was a French physician, politician and freemason who proposed on 10 October 1789 the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France, as a less painful method of execution than existing methods. Although he did not invent the guillotine and opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it.

Some think he was executed by the National Razor, but that was another doctor named Guillotin.









Almsost six thousand hundred souls. Wikipedia says it's known as "the "Kaolin Capital of the World" due to its abundance of kaolin." It has a weekly newspaper that's been published since 1870.

I suppose it doesn’t matter where we start, but I do wonder why I started here. Because it’s every small town building in every small town?

Ah. This is why.

Faint as it is, we know.

What was going on in the world when that was fresh and new? Is there anyone left in town who marks their own life against the condition of something they’ve seen all their days?

The loss of one building exposes the lie of another.

Not really a lie; more of a genial ruse for the sake of all.

Remember, I snipped these long ago, and am seeing them now for the first time in months.

When I see something like this - a corner building of no distinction - I brace myself for what comes next. Because it’s usually this.

The sign says “Future Home of Paul F. Thiele Park.”

At passing, Mr. Thiele was the most revered leader in the kaolin industry. Mr. Thiele was born on August 5, 1914 in Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Engineering, Mr. Thiele established the Thiele Kaolin Company. Since its founding in 1946, Thiele Kaolin has grown to be one of the world's largest kaolin mining and processing companies. Upon his passing, Mr. Thiele served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thiele Kaolin.


It’s a big operation on the edge of town. You get the sense that if it closes, it takes the town with it.

Interesting. Sometimes you realize that the oldest building wasn’t the first. The structure on the left probably dates from the 20s; we still see evidence of its predecessor.

How old are those shutters?

I, too, had a bad sunburn as a kid

The Pasttime:

Rode hard and put up wet, judging from the photos.


The theater one time was owned by one of my cousin’s uncle Willard Renfroe. My cousin related a story about when “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was playing. One night during the first show several boys left the emergency exit open and went home and got several chainsaws. During the second showing at a suspenseful time the boys started the saws and ran throughout the theater putting the patrons in a frenzy.

The Buckaroo Revival spared no town:


Someone had money and wanted everyone to know it:

The items on the pole might have confused the people who knew this sign when it was fresh.

What the palimpsest says now, I can’t tell. Aside from SHOPPE.

Finally, I have only one thing to say:


That'll suffice; see you tomorrow.



blog comments powered by Disqus