There is an attraction in visiting abandoned places like the “town” of Pea Green mentioned in a previous post, isn’t there? There are no signs of vitality but look, there are the things that actual people actually used, lying about and rusting. Check out those tattered curtains fluttering in the windows, bleached to the point where their original coloration is obscured. Men and women once pulled those same curtains back to look at someone passing on the road.

So-called “ghost towns” are on nearly every tourist map, playing to the fascination that so many of us seem to share. But it goes beyond that , there is a sense of longing that goes along with it, of wishing to be there when those curtains were new and share that life, those friends.

There is a word for this … anemoia. A longing for a time and/or a place where we’ve never been. Not the “good old days” we experienced, but some that occurred perhaps before we were even born. Interesting that there is a word for it, even though it is rather a new one as words go.

My recent wanderings brought me to a website with the most appealing title that a person of a melancholic nature could ever want – The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world

Dictionary of Obscure

The last “ghost town” that I visited was St. Elmo, which is about an hour’s drive up from Buena Vista CO. While there is a functioning “general store” in town, for the most part you can walk about and indulge in whatever faux reveries suit you. Your musings will not likely be contradicted since there are none of the original inhabitants around to interfere.

Whenever I find myself wandering in my mind down little-used streets, there will be a moment when I remember that I am looking at that scene through golden filters, because it was also a time when a “strep throat” was likely to be fatal, when life expectancies were very much shorter, and when there were even fewer certainties than today.

The Ghosts of Highway 20, by Lucinda Williams


From The New Yorker



The Oscar ceremonies came and went this week, without any help from me. I wasn’t able to find a channel to view them, which is one problem that comes with “cutting the cord.”

Although there are times when you can sign up for a new streaming service, watch a show, and then cancel it, one grows weary of these tawdry exchanges.

Once last year I did just that and suddenly the service threw up a notice saying: “No no no you don’t, you cheapskate! You did that last year and then you took your chips and ran. No more freebies for you!”

So we missed the show this year.

It seems that this year it was payback time for Asians in the cinematic arts. Perhaps not, but it looks a bit that way. It’s almost become a ritual to acknowledge some group each year which has been grievously ignored in the past.

When as a child I was taught that the US was a “melting pot,” I pictured something like a creamed soup, where all the ingredients were completely mixed to a homogeneous fare thee well. But I think that we’re actually more like pancake batter, and we know that the instructions always say “mix together, but not too much. Some lumps should remain visible.”


This week we have had put before us once again the unlovely spectacle of banks failing, with all of the attendant social harm that expands outward from the collapse. I have a small suggestion that might prevent recurrences.

First pass regulations that treat such failure as a crime, rather than an embarrassment, and that hold the CEO of the institution personally responsible.

Second, make the penalties for failure consistent with the harm that is done, especially to the smaller folk of the world, whose businesses, jobs, and lives are put at risk, while the CEOs often skate away with their fortunes intact.

Thirdly, upon the elevation of the CEO to their new post, that this model be placed on the top of their desk to remind them of what is actually at stake for them should they blow it.

If this doesn’t work, there are others who have less dramatic solutions to propose, as in the article How to Make This the Last Banking Bailout.


A Dick Guindon cartoon


Finally, a little advice for everyone who exchanges usernames and passwords to streaming services with another friend or relative to avoid paying for their own subscription. The common refrain overheard is “I can watch five streaming services, but I’m only paying for one of them.”

There is a word for what they are doing and that word is stealing. Which makes them thieves. Their petty crimes, taken along with all of the others who are doing the same thing, eventually raises the costs for all who pay their bills honestly.

The advice? If one is going to make oneself into a crook, for goodness’ sake don’t do it for a paltry $9.00 a month. Why sell one’s integrity for so little? Get out there and embezzle something. Take up purse-snatching. Whatever.


2 thoughts on “Anemoia

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