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Arkansas Kansas Oklahoma 232

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, from the perspective of urban sociologists and planners, at least, major discount retailers such as Walmart have thrived on the destruction of commercial activity in traditional town centers.  No doubt my assertion borders on exaggeration, but it would have to, considering I’ve cribbed Jane Austen’s famous (and equally …Read more…

MONTAGE: Curbing destruction by rethreading the button.

I’m back from a lengthy time away from Afghanistan and have been trying to plug away at another blog article that incorporates infrastructure from several different countries, as well as the implications on American energy efficiency. But, as is often the case, a shortage of good, specific photos has become my Achilles’ heel. I will …Read more…

Vestigial Judaism, Part III: Urbanization Along the Cotton Belt.

The first two parts of this lengthy exploration of southern Judaica attempted to re-acquaint the readers with what in this day and age may defy typical expectations: Jewish enclaves in small towns throughout the rural Deep South. From approximately 1850 to 1950, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama—as well as the other southern states—immigrants from Germany, …Read more…

The cruel hand of improvement takes a swipe.

I have made a real attempt in this blog to hide my dislike for the word “progressive”—the truth is, I explicitly try to avoid using it whenever possible. When I have let it slide, I nearly always find myself framing the word with those irritating, ironic quotes, as though there’s a current of mockery underlying …Read more…

Rolling back the pages of mega-retail history.

I’ve referred several times in the past to a labelscar without acknowledging that the term is hardly part of everyday idiom. A popular retail website/blog might share the name, but that doesn’t mean it has more than niche appeal. But it also isn’t particularly tough to figure out. It usually involves little more than the …Read more…

These lumps are always benign.

This blog post may be the closest I ever get to a real-time narrative. It’s not purely real-time, of course, any more than this is an online journal. But everything that this blog features occurred within the past few days, and fortunately I was able to document it photographically as I was experiencing it, including …Read more…