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Wednesday Wonder Cabinet for Independence Day
June 30, 2010 - 1:02am

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Andrew Jackson seems to be thinking: I’m not sure I can hold up under the weight. Warren G. Harding seems to say: It tickles me pink to be in office. Franklin D. Roosevelt swears: I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new meal for the American people. Lyndon B. Johnson drawls: I got scars worse than this thing has; lemme show you. And William Jefferson Clinton smiles smiles smiles: You know what I’d like to do with this thing, baby?

The Presidential Ham, a website honoring all 44 presidents of the United States by portraying them holding hams is the work of a “biophysicist, patent agent, [and] oil painter in Portland, Oregon.” Anyone this devoted to his art deserves our support; buy a few postcards of the original 11 x 13" oils to send your own pork barrel legislator.

If you don’t care for ham or American presidents, opt for Saddam Hussein with an apple pie.

***

I know it sounds too good to be true, Rory, but at the start of June I made a public appearance in a run-down mall that had been hailed by developers a few years earlier as the salvation of that community. The building had that funny smell—mildew, toilet, and spoiled soft serve—of the near-abandoned, there were too few lights on, and giant Ficus trees dropped all their leaves on the heads of the few shoppers walking the halls that day. I thought of it again when I saw this article in the Austin (TX) American-Statesman, sent to me by my old friend Captain Appetite, who works for IBM down there.

Austin Community College (ACC) has bought a Dillard’s department store building in the 39-year old Highland Mall to use as a business and administrative center, continuing ed classrooms, conference center, and offices. The mall had become a “retail ‘ghost town,’” and ACC saw an opportunity “as it strives to serve a growing student body and a widening tax district.” Four more locations are planned.

It’s very American: Community is excited to get a mall. Mall struggles when Super Target comes to town because of mall traffic. Economy goes bad, putting people out of work and dooming the mall. Mall blights the community. Community college moves into mall to train people for new jobs so they can shop as they wish.

***

Sarah Lohman offers a revolutionary menu in a piece written for Edible Queens magazine. Eat the monarchy, my colonial ancestors always said.

 

 

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