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Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson’s birth place, was once one of the most thriving cities in America. It was a steel town and its fortunes rose with the steel boom that made our cities’ skylines what they are today. After a decade of prosperity, with rising competition and falling profits, US Steel, the town’s main plant, began laying off workers.

Families left town and then more lay offs. The downtown area now looks like this.

Pictured here is the interior of the Palace Theater (facade pictured up top).  I had to crawl in through a hole in the alley way and the whole place was almost pitch black. I took this with a 30 second shutter.

I went in alone and I honestly have never had that many chills. My heart pounding was the only thing that seemed louder than the pigeon flying over head.

A few blocks away, the City Methodist Church, once housed 4,000 parishioners.

DSC_0118

Now, God is taking his house back.

It’s important to give yourself a good spook every now and then and remember how transient our time here is. If, in a few decades our strongest structures are this far down the line toward rubble, imagine how our triumphant cities would look if untouched for hundreds or even thousands of years. What will there be left of us in a few millennia?

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J'♡ Paris.  Indiana is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in Paris.

J'♡ Paris. Indiana is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in Paris.

On the three minute ride to the train station today, I used all 28 speeds on my bike.  The 17th was wholly useless.

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I like the sentence ______ is the death of art and plugging in everything I see.  The sidewalk is the death of art.  The newspaper is the death of art.  Pizza Hut is the death of art.

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I don’t like to wear pants when I watch movies.  I have a feeling that much of the world population is with me on this.  This is the most plausible explanation I have found for why they keep movie theaters so cold all year round.

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First night of spring and the downstairs neighbor knocks on my door.  Can’t sleep, he tells me and I ask why.  “When I was eleven, or maybe twelve,” he says, and I think here we go and boil some water for tea.

“How long ago was that?” I ask him.

“1924,” he says.  “I took the train alone that year for the first time.  Marseille-Lyon-Paris.”

He tells me that he didn’t know why he took it, but that he did.  It isn’t that he didn’t remember why he took it, he tells me, but just at the time, he decided he was good and ready to take the train.  

“When I got here, I went walking,” he says, “over to the theater.”

I pour the water over some herbs from the window sill.

“But the gate surrounding it was tall and it was night and everything was closed.  No one was on the street so I tried to climb right on over.” he tells me and then stops.  He traces old blistered fingers on my table.  Either the wood catches his skin or the inverse, neither are smooth.  His eyes narrow.

“The gate was sharp,” he tells me, “the top of it.  I got one leg over fine,” he says, “to the other side.”  I pour him a cup.  “And the other got caught, stabbed right through my pants.

Arrowhead,” he says.

Flipped him right over, he tells me.  And there he was, suspended, upside down facing the lights of the city as the night fell deep, the scent of the tree above, a distant radio from the corner shop, and far off, dice players, he assumed are in uniform, speaking arabic.

“It was 85 years ago,” he tells me, “and I still know who won,” as he sips his tea.

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