If you've had enough Soviet bus stops, have some American rest areas. Says the review: "For some, driving through America has always held a certain level of romanticism: the memories it conjures, long childhood hours spent with family, and the inevitable rest area where legs were stretched and sandwiches were devoured. The sad reality, as photographer Ryann Ford discovered, is the rest stop's imminent disappearance from the American landscape."

Hmm. About the author: "He studied journalism at the University of the Arts in London. A recent transplant to Washington, D.C., he not only looks forward to exploring the city, but also hopes to call it home in the future."

He might want to get out of town from time to time. Some kitschy rest areas may be fading away, but the inevitable area for stretching and devouring are still around on the freeways, and some are quite lovely. They're not campy in the sense some fans of old roadside culture might appreciate, but on the other hand you're probably not going to wait in line for an odorous bathroom that has that bothersome gritty soap.

In related news from the same site: photographs of lonely buildings. The artist's explanation:

"These buildings and their environs demonstrate how socially influenced investment cycles affect the visible aspects of our built environment, urban neighborhoods, and community relationships.”

So, photographs of lonely buildings: Related: this piece on Southdale architect Victor Gruen makes a connection previously unknown to your author.

"Though Victor Gruen is credited with being the 'father of the mall,' he owes a lot to the North Korean Communists for helping him get his temples of consumerism off the ground. He owes the Commies (and so do you, if you like going to the mall) because as Gruen himself would later admit, his earliest design for the proposed Eastland Center was terrible. Had the Korean War not put the brakes on all nonessential construction projects, Eastland might have been built as Gruen originally designed it, before he could develop his ideas further."

I don't think the Reds had anything to do with it. The article goes on to make the same mistake every - single - story about Southdale repeats: it's surrounded by sterile horror Gruen would have hated.

"With 10 acres of shopping surrounded by 70 acres of parking, Southdale was a huge development in its day. Even so, it was intended as merely a retail hub for a much larger planned community, spread out over the 463-acre plot acquired by Dayton’s. Just as the Dayton’s and Donaldson’s department stores served as anchors for the Southdale mall, the mall itself would one day serve as the retail anchor for this much larger development, which as Gruen designed it, would include apartment buildings, single-family homes, schools, office buildings, a hospital, landscaped parks with walking paths, and a lake.

"The idea was to build the Southdale Center mall first. Then, if it was a success, Dayton’s would use the profits to develop the rest of the 463 acres in accordance with Gruen’s plan. And Southdale was a success: Though Dayton’s downtown flagship store did lose some business to the mall when it opened in the fall of 1956, the company’s overall sales rose 60 percent, and the other stores in the mall also flourished.

"But the profits generated by the mall were never used to bring the rest of Gruen’s plan to fruition. Ironically, it was the very success of the mall that doomed the rest of the plan."

Yet that's how it all turned out. It f they'd gone with Gruen's plan, it would have been ripped up years ago, because people tired of the lifeless formal 60s Master Plan style.

Hope you're reading this outside; for November, this is just remarkable weather. Temps are usually between 34 and 46, and we're at 50. Ahhh.