Photo from New Year’s Eve

Here is a picture that I took on New Year’s Eve. It almost looks like an impressionist painting. The guy in front (Mike) kind of looks like a zombie. Creepy.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this book for Christmas. I didn’t ask for it, I just got it. I guess my cousin Lillian knows more about me than I thought she did. Anyway, I was excited. Especially at the title. I’m a semi-big Kennedy assassination buff. All assassinated presidents, actually.

I like Stephen King. I haven’t read all of his stuff, but what I have read, I’ve liked. I haven’t decided if I liked this better than “The Stand”, or not. I think it’s a tie.

I was never bored with it and it really held my interest. I’ve read most of the other reviews. A majority of the reviewers really liked the ending and thought that it worked well.I was a little let down. I guess that it was the most logical ending. Bittersweet. Nostalgic and somewhat dreamy. But, I guess I wanted it to be different.(SPOILER COMING UP, SO HIDE YOUR EYES IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING!!!…LAST WARNING!) Here’s the thing. I wanted George to stay in the past. I guess because of the nostalgia thing. IDK. Anyway, I guess I’ll have to settle for bittersweet.

I liked the concept. The whole Oswald thing was fascinating. I must admit, however, that since I’m one of those people who believes that the assassination was a conspiracy, the whole Oswald acting alone angle made it more difficult for me. I mean, the book was really good and all that, but it was kind of like alternate history on top of made up history. Also the whole Hillary Clinton being president thing made me LOL. REALLY? Couldn’t it have been someone else Stephen? Anyone but her.

View all my reviews

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Bob

WOW! I can’t believe that this year is almost over.

Really Bob? That’s the first line of your blog post? Who are you – Miss America writing in her blog a week before she is supposed to give up her crown?

Okay other cynic self, how would you start the post?

Yo, Beeee-otches! 2011 is about to bite the dust and Bob didn’t do crap this year!

Well, I’m not saying that. It’s a tad bit too negative, and besides, I did plenty this year.

Oh really? Like What?

Ummm, well… I went to the Reel to Real exhibit at the Arkansas History Museum and saw the Gone With the Wind and Civil War exhibit.

BFD! Anybody can do that. All you have to do is walk around and look at stuff. Besides, don’t you live in a state that was part of the side that DIDN’T win the Civil War? Loser!

I wasn’t even born yet, so technically, I’m not the loser. Propinquity, that’s all it is.

Stop using big words and show me pictures!

Big Deal, a typewriter! So what.

Hey, not just any typewriter. It’s the typewriter that Sidney Howard used to write the Gone With the Wind screenplay.

So what. NEXT!

Okay, how about Vivien Leigh’s and Sidney Howard’s Oscars. That’s kind of cool.

Did you add that text to that picture?

Yeah.

Well, it’s lame. Plus, you forgot the apostrophe after the h in ‘Leighs’. This picture is boring. YAWN!

I don’t think I like you.

Shut up and tell me what else you did.

Well, I had my picture taken with Justin Bieber when I was in the mall. That’s kind of exciting.

Exciting? It is nothing of the sort! I have 2 things to say about that picture. One – you are not a 12 year old girl, and two – THAT’S NOT JUSTIN BIEBER. IT’S A CARDBOARD CUTOUT!

Sure, it’s a cutout, but…

But, nothing. What you SHOULD have done was stolen the damn thing from the store and taken it with you around the world and had it photographed next to famous landmarks. Or at least drawn a mustache on it.

I don’t have enough money to travel around the world.

Not my problem.

Besides, it had one of those electronic ankle bracelets on it so that people wouldn’t steal it.

Again, not my problem. You’re boring me. What else did you do?

Well, I made this painting with the Jackson Pollock app that I have on my iphone.

Hmmmm, I don’t like it. It sucks. NEXT!

I went to St. Louis.

Yawn.

Twice.

Double yawn. NEXT!

I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Well, I suppose that I can’t really say anything bad about that. Except… well,  you’re not wearing pink, so it kind of makes you look like a poseur.

Don’t you have anything nice to say?

No, not really. Although, you DID manage to make it through the year without any major maladies, so I guess that’s something…barely. Anyway, I really haven’t seen anything impressive, so, I think we’re done here.

Wait! There is one other thing.

What?

I lost over 50 lbs. this past year.

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Bravo!

Haunted by an Abandoned Department Store

It’s been one week since I fell flat on my face in front of the Gus Blass Department Store. Physically I recovered okay, I think. My left knee still hurts if I kneel on it, but the gash on my left hand no longer hurts and seems to be healing nicely. My glasses are still broken.

It was such a strange fall. It happened so fast. It was over in what appeared to be a microsecond. Most events like that usually happen in slow motion, so I was somewhat confused that this one didn’t. One minute I’m walking along the 300 block of Main Street, looking up at the seven story Blass Building, trying to figure out which part of the facade is actually terra cotta. and in the blink of an eye – BAMMMM! – flat on my face.

Right before I fell, in addition to trying to discern the terra cotta, I was humming the song Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto. Birthday Party by The Pixies Three had been stuck in my head for about a week, driving me absolutely bonkers, so I was trying to get rid of it by replacing it with something else. Sukiyaki must be in the neuron right next to the Pixies Three Birthday Party neuron stored in my ibrain’s playlist because that’s the song that popped up next.

The thing that’s odd about humming that Sukiyaki song right before the fall is that the original title of Sukiyaki  is Ue o Muite Arukō, which translates into English as I shall walk looking up. Strangely enough, that is exactly what I was doing at the time; walking and looking up (cue Twilight Zone theme song). I don’t think there are any lyrics in the song about falling and busting your ass, but hey, let’s just add a little extra drama to the tune.

Now, according to Alice on The Brady Bunch, via Aunt Jenny (played by Imogene Coca), sukiyaki means ‘roasted rake’. I’m not exactly sure what the literal translation is, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with walking or looking up or whatever else they are doing in the song. So why, when the song became popular in the U.S. in the early 60s, was it retitled Sukiyaki? I guess they figured that sukiyaki was the only Japanese word that Americans knew or could relate to back then. By today’s ostensibly politically correct standards that would be considered racist. It’s kind of like some big Japanese music mogul releasing Moon River in Japan and retitling it ‘Beef Stew’. It makes no sense.

Ever since I took that bizarre fall (which I just can’t seem to quit talking about), I’ve been having some horrible nightmares about it. Nightmares involving the Blass Building, mannequins, zombies and an airplane. The mannequins in the nightmares aren’t your regular mannequins. They’re those creepy department store mannequins from the 50s and 60s. You know the type. Missing fingers, chipped faces and those aberrant, slightly too far apart, slightly off-centered, Tom Selleckesque eyes. Parts of the dream/nightmare are reminiscent of that ‘After Hours’ episode of The Twilight Zone. Anne Francis locked in a department store as the mannequins come to life. However, my department store dummies aren’t quite as nice as Annes turned out to be. Mine are trying to kill me.

Also in the dream, as I stated, there are zombies. I think the zombies make an appearance because the Blass Building is about a block away from the Citizen’s Area Transit (CAT) bus terminal. If you’ve ever been there then you know how much it resembles a scene from a zombie movie.

As far as the airplane…well, the only reason that I can think of it showing up in my dream is that Kyu Sakimoto, the guy who sang Sukiyaki, was killed in a plane crash. Now, it wasn’t just any plane crash. It was Japan Airlines Flight 123 that crashed on Osutaka Ridge in 1985. It is currently the deadliest single-aircraft accident in history. All 15 crew members and 505 out of the 509 passengers died.

Just about every building in the 300 block of Main Street is listed in the NRHP (National Register of Historic Places). And, if you want my personal opinion, they’re all haunted. The Blass Building, the Taylor Building, The Fulk Building… all of them. Haunted. Ghosts roaming the floors in every single one of them.

The Fulk Building, which is on the opposite end of the block from the Blass Building is probably the creepiest. It’s architectural style is gothic. It’s not totally abandoned though. There is a Military Surplus Store on the bottom floor. Sometimes they put this scary looking cartoonish mannequin out front to try to draw people in. Ummmm, no… Plus, there are those freaky mannequins in the storefront display window.

The Taylor Building, which is right next to the Fulk Building was built in the Late Victorian and Romanesque style of architecture in 1900. It is currently home to a liquor store.

I’ve never actually been in there, but I plan on going in one day and buying a bottle of booze. Maybe some tequila. Or a bottle of cheap wine.

So, in closing let me just say that, if you’re ever in Little Rock, make sure you visit the 300 block of Main Street. Walk around the block a couple of times. Walk through the alley behind the buildings (it’s scary). Look through the dusty windows of the first floor on the Blass Building and see if there are any mannequins walking around. Go to Bennett’s Military Supply and see if that cartoonish Military mannequin (which I’ve named Gus) is out that day. See if you can find the spot on the corner where I fell down. Some of the blood may still be there. Just check it out and see if you get a sense of the block being haunted. And make sure you hum Sukiyaki while you’re doing it.

 

Why I Prefer Doing Things Alone

With the exception of sex and driving in the car pool lane, I pretty much like doing things on my own. Going to the movies, eating out in restaurants, going to art museums, etc. Maybe I’m a tad bit narcissistic – okay fine, more than a tad – but it always seems like the other person, or persons, screws up the experience for me. They talk during the movie, they criticise the art I like, or they complain about the food. I never complain about the food. I don’t have too. The other person usually does it for me.

Them: I don’t think they got your order right.
Me: How would you know? You were texting your BFF and totally ignoring me when I ordered.
Them: Well, it just looks wrong.

I’m not one of those complainer people. I figure that if I’m lucky enough to have the means to even go out to a restaurant that I should be grateful. A lot of people don’t even have enough food to eat on a daily basis. I’m lucky that I do. Unfortuately, a majority of the people that I hang with don’t share that philosophy. They equate being grateful with weakness or letting people walk all over you.

Another reason that I prefer doing things on my own is that, in addition to being complainers and criticizers, most of the people that I do things with are those itinerary/list people. I hate lists. Nothing spoils an adventure more than a list. With lists, especially those accompanied with times, there is no plan B.

I keep everything in my head. And I always have back-up plans. A through Double Z. If this happens then I’ll do that. If that happens then I’ll do this. Written down itinerary/list people usually just have Plan A. That’s it. A snag or a snafu and they’re screwed.

Oh no, traffic is backed up. Let me honk incessantly at these other cars. They are screwing up my plan. I am going to be late for no. 7 on my list. My day is ruined.

It’s not that I’m not organized. I am, somewhat. But, you can be TOO organized. Organized to the point of it screwing everything up. I like to keep things more Bohemian.

I suppose that I should seek out people who are more like me. You know, the freer, less organized types. The ones who don’t have a coronary if the movie starts 5 minutes late, or don’t have a cow if a few regular fries get mixed in with their curly fries. But. for some odd reason – probably some psychological childhood trauma thing that I’m not even aware of – I surround myself with those ‘complainer/I have a time limit’ people. Shruggs shoulders

I guess you could say that most of my freinds, acquaintances and family members are this:

And I’m this:

I can’t help it. That’s how I roll.

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in Little Rock w/stats

1. Metropolitan Tower

Alternative Name: TCBY Tower, Capitol Tower
Building Type: Skyscraper
Building Status: Existing
Facade Material: Aluminum
Facade System: Curtain Wall
Architectural Style: Modernism

Main Address: 425 West Capitol Avenue
Height: 546.01 feet
Floors (above ground): 40
Construction Start: 1984
Construction End: 1986
Parking Places: 954

Facts

  • This building was renamed the Metropolitan National Bank Tower in August of 2003.
  • This is the tallest building in Arkansas.

 

2. Regions Center

Alernative Name: First National Bank Building, Regions Bank, First Commercial Bank Building
Building Type: Skyscraper
Facade Material: aluminum, glass
Facade System: curtain wall
Architectural Style: Modernism

Main Address: 400 West Capitol Avenue
Height: 454.01 feet
Floors (above ground): 30
Construction end: 1975

Architect: Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson

400 Capitol, or Regions Center, is a 30-story, Class A office building totaling approximately 534,000 square feet in the heart of downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Located at the corner of Capitol Street and Broadway Avenue, the tower provides tenants with panoramic views of the State Capitol, Federal Courthouse and Arkansas River. 400 Capitol is situated on an entire 2-acre city block, with land that slopes approximately 10 degrees, offering unique storefront appeal while allowing street access to both the first and second floors. The building is leased to numerous tenants, including Regions Bank and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
 

3. Bank of America Plaza

Alternative Name:Worthen Bank & Trust Building
Building Type: Skyscraper
Facade Material: concrete
Architectural Style: Modernism

Main Address: 200 West Capitol Avenue
Height: 375 feet
Floors (above ground): 23
Construction: 1970
Elevators: 8
Parking places: 359
 
 


4. Stephens Building

Building Type:Skyscraper
Facade Material: Glass
Facade System: Curtain wall
Architectural Style: Modernism

Main Address: 111 Center Street
Height: 364.99 feet
Floors (above ground): 35
Construction end: 1985

Architect: Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson Architects

Facts

  • The Stephens Building is sheathed in reflective glass and has a stepped-back crown.

 

5. One Union National Plaza

Alternative Name: Union National Bank Building
Building Type: Skyscraper
Facade Material: aluminum, glass, granite
Facade System: Curtain Wall
Architectural Style: International Style

Main Address: 124 West Capitol Avenue
Height: 331 feet
Floors (above ground): 22
Construction: 1968

Main usage: Commercial Office
Side Usage: Governmental Office

 

6. Tower Building

Building Type: High-rise Building
Facade Material: Aluminum, Glass
Facade System: Curtain Wall
Architectural Style: International Style

Main Address: 323 Center Street
Height (tip): 351.05 feet
Height (architectural and roof): 300 feet
Floors (above ground): 18
Construction end: 1960

 

7. 300 Third Tower

Building Type: High-rise Building
Architectural Style: Modernism
Main Usage: residential condominium
Side Usage: Mercantile, parking

Main Address: 300 East Third Street
Height: 218 feet
Floors (above ground): 18
Construction start: 2005
Construction end: 2007
Parking Places: 175

 

8. The Peabody Little Rock

Alternative Name: Arkansas Excelsior Hotel
Building Type: High-rise Building
Facade Material: brick, glass
Facade System: Curtain Wall
Architectural Style: Modernism

Main Address: 200 West Markham Street
Height (tip): 217 feet
Height (main roof): 198 feet
Height (top floor): 187 feet
Floors (above ground): 19
Floors (below ground): 1
Construction start: 1981
Construction end: 1982

Facts

  • The Peabody Little Rock is sheathed in mirrored glass. Its 417 rooms surround a 20-story atrium.
  • Rests on the site once occupied by the Hotel Marion.
  • The height listed is from the Le Harpe Boulevard entrance, which is 19′-4″ lower than the front entrance along Markham Street. The difference in elevation comes from the fact that the hotel sits on a sloping river bluff.

 

9. Donaghey Building

Building Type: High-rise Building
Structural System: Rigid Frame
Structural Material: Concrete
Facade Material: Brick
Facade System: Applied Masonry
Architectural Style: Neo-classicism

Main Address: 10 East 7th Street
Height (architectural): 195 feet
Height (main roof): 165 feet
Floors (above ground): 14
Construction start: 1925
Construction end: 1926
Elevators: 5

Architect: Hunter McDonnell

Facts

  • The Donaghey Building was Arkansas’ tallest building when completed in 1926.

 

10. First Security Center

Alternative Name: Courtyard by Marriott
Building Type: High-rise Building
Architectural Style: Postmodern

Main Address: 521 President Clinton Avenue
Height: 190 feet
Floors (above ground): 14
Construction start: 2002
Construction end: November 2004

Facts

  • A Courtyard by Marriott Hotel occupies floors 1 through 6. Office space is located on floors 8 through 10. There are 24 condominiums on floors 11 through 14.
  • The Courtyard by Marriott opened for business on October 29, 2004.
  • First Security Bancorp held a grand opening ceremony on Thursday, November 4, 2004 for the First Security Center.

Black and White Photos of Little Rock

These pictures were taken on two separate days. One of the days was nice and bright and sunny. The other day was very misty and foggy and wet.

Foggy Day Pics


Is that Juliet’s Balcony?
It said not to loiter but I did anyway. It said I would be prosecuted but I trespassed anyway. Once again, I trespassed. How about deciding on a color.
The following picture kind of looks like the profile of Jesus, especially if you look at it from a certain angle (tilt the computer about 75 degrees to the left).

The Coolest Facade Around

The Fulk Building was built in 1900. The building was designed by an unknown architect with Romanesque Revival details. The building is now used as a military surplus store.

  Fulk Building
Designer Unknown
Location Little Rock, Arkansas
Date 1900
Building Type Commerce/Trade
Construction System Brick, Limestone, Brick
Architectural Style Gothic
Street Address 300 Main St.

The back side of the Fulk Building

Wounded in Action or Gus Blass Department Store and surrounding area

This morning while I was downtown I decided to take some pictures of the Gus Blass Department Store and the surrounding area. As I was walking down the street I tripped on the curb right in front of the Blass building. I fell onto the concrete pavement. I broke my glasses, scraped my face, scraped both knees and got a big gaping gash on my left hand. I got blood on my camera, my cell phone and my brand new sweater.
I decided not to let it stop me. I walked around and took pictures even though it hurt like hell. So, now I am doing this blog post because there is no way that I am going to go through all of that and not get something productive out of it.
I took all of the pictures in the post except for that one of Dillard.


Gus Blass Department Store
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places since November 13, 1986

Gus Blass Department Store
Designer Mann, George R.
Location  Little Rock, Arkansas
Date 1912
Building Type Commerce/Trade
Construction System Concrete, Concrete, Terra Cotta, Brick, Copper
Architectural Style Sullivanesque
Street Address 318–324 Main St.

 
The Gus Blass Company Department Store was founded by Gus Blass and Max Heiman near Little Rock’s eastern steamboat landing in 1871, and within a few years occupied several storefronts on the 300 block of Main Street, including 307-309-311, which held its wholesale operation. Fire swept the block sometime after 1900.

The extant building at 310-324 Main Street was designed in the style of Lewis Sullivan by architect George R. Mann and constructed in 1912-1913. It is considered one of the city’s first true skyscrapers. A fire damaged the facade in 1916. A Candy Kitchen operated inside the building. The even side of the 300 block of Main also held a U.S. Post Office, the Rose Building, and the offices of optometrist Ralph Hannah.

Gus Blass died in 1919 and control of the store fell to his son Julian Blass. Julian Blass remained president until his death in 1939. Thereupon Noland Blass Sr. became store president, retiring in 1950. In that year Hugo Heiman became president of the company. When Heiman became board chairman in 1960, Julian Blass Jr. became store president.

In 1959 or 1960 two Philander Smith College students, Thomas B. Robinson and Frank James Lupper, staged a sit-in demonstration in the mezzanine tearoom, the department store’s segregated lunch counter.

William Dillard

The stores in Little Rock and Pine Bluff were purchased in February 1964 by William T. Dillard and a group of investors, including Raymond Rebsamen, C. Hamilton Moses, Dave Grunsfest, Jack East Sr., Paul M. Leird, John Collins, Leonard F. Levy, E. Ray Kemp, Jack East Jr., W. H. Bransford, Gus Blass II, C. A. Woolsey, Robert M. Goff, Phillip G. Back, and Max A. Heiman. Chairman Hugo Heiman resigned under the terms of the sale.

Violating a longstanding agreement among downtown businessmen, Dillard opened a Blass branch store in the new Park Plaza Mall on University Avenue.

The store chain was renamed Pfeifer-Blass in 1967 in a merger with nearby department store Pfeifer’s. Six Arkansas stores would eventually operate under the hyphenated name.

Dillard closed the downtown Blass location in August 1972. Local newspapers decried the event as signaling the end of downtown shopping in the city. McCain Mall opened in suburban North Little Rock one week after the closing of the Blass store.

The 300 block of South Main Street is the most intact remnant of the early 20th century commercial area of downtown Little Rock. In 1986 the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program submitted a nomination for the Little Rock Main Street Multiple Resource Area. Under this MRA eleven properties in the boundaries were listed on the National Register, including four on the 300 block of S. Main. With the recent loss of an entire S. Main Street city block of viable and diverse architecture and the late 20th century remodeling of several others in the 600 block, the preservation community determined that what remains of that fabric should be recognized. The Main Street Commercial Historic District contains examples of early 20th century architecture with early 21st century noncontributing alterations. The period of significance spans 1900-1955. The period of significance of the MRA extended to 1935 because it was written in 1985. However, the examples of mid-20th century architecture found in the boundaries of the Main Street Commercial Historic District retain enough integrity to convey the story of Main Street’s growth and ongoing history.

The block of S. Main Street included in this historic district begins on the north side at E. Third and S. Main streets and continues south to the intersection of E. Fourth and S. Main streets. The east and west boundaries are the alleys that run behind the structures. It consists of eleven resources, four of which are individually listed under the Little Rock Main Street Multiple Resource Area. Four buildings are noncontributing due to modern alterations and one site is a noncontributing parking lot. The resources exhibit typical commercial configurations with a presentation of contiguous storefront entries and recessed display windows fronting on a sidewalk.

 The Main Street Commercial Historic District is only one example of several stages of commercial development in Little Rock’s historic core. Whatever the structural status of the buildings, together they continue to evoke the story of Little Rock’s merchant families, the social and cultural needs of their customers and trends in architecture and city planning. The district is being nominated under Criteria A and C as an example of the development of commerce in downtown Little Rock from 1900 to 1955, and for its collection of Romanesque, Sullivanesque, Neoclassical, Italianate, International and Standard 20th Century Commercial architecture.