Smile Politely

A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine: Miscellaneous Musings

Howdy readers! There’s no unifying theme for the column this month, just a classic B/F/L. Let’s jump right in!

Glenn Poor’s TV Repair Center

If you’ve driven down Springfield Avenue on the Urbana side of the world, you’ve surely noticed the Glen Poor’s TV Repair building. How could you not notice? The building proudly stands alone and appears to exist outside of the normal passage of time, having remained unchanged since 1992 if not earlier.

Full disclosure; I love this building. It is my two favorite colors: brown and beige. Also, maybe I’m too young for my own good, but I think there’s something whimsical about it being a TV repair shop. In my mind that’s nearly as whimsical as being an umbrella repair shop, a grandfather clock repair shop, a chimney sweep company, a blacksmith that specializes in forging spears for fairies, or a beeper store. Of course, Glenn Poor’s shouldn’t seem that surreal to me. In this age of rampant consumption and throwaway electronics, we all should be paying a visit to Glenn Poor’s when our TV is “on the fritz.” Instead we toss our tellies in the dumpster and spend a tremendous amount of money on a new TV that comes with shoddy 3D glasses and insufferably slow versions of Netflix and Hulu. Our electronic waste is killing the planet people. 

Anyhow, back to the building. I think the brown racing stripes are very dapper.

There’s a cool neon sign on the roof, though I don’t think it lights up anymore. Tragic.

There’s a beefy satellite dish too. I hope it is still fully functional unlike the sign.

Almost all the windows are covered. Which makes sense really. TV repair is a dark and ancient art, you don’t want any hooligan off the street looking in and learning some of Glenn’s dangerous secrets.

Gosh, and here I’ve been cleaning my own VCR all these years. Could have been having a professional do it for a very reasonable rate!

I love how they use the husks of real, actual televisions for their signage.

In back of the shop I was hoping to find piles of long-dead TV skeletons and bits, but of course, Glenn Poor’s wouldn’t be so wasteful.

5 out of 5 stars. The perfect building for what it contains.


Yeah, it’s summertime, and it’s been a particularly hot June. We’ve already had multiple of those special sort of days where you walk outside into 90 degree heat, 140% humidity, and immediately every sweat gland on your body shifts into overdrive. You’re drenched in your own salty fluids before you can even close the door behind you.

I have a confession to make though dear readers. Sweaty days are one of the reasons I love summer here. You see, I sweat all the goddamn time regardless what the weather is like. It can be negative four degrees fahrenheit out, with a gentle breeze to boot, and I’ll still have soaked pits and a layer of frozen perspiration on my brow. This makes me abnormal for sure, though I know there are other sweaters like me out there. But in the summer, everyone is a sweater! Walking down the street, seeing everyone else around me with stains under their arms and a healthy sheen on their skin makes me feel like I actually belong in this world.

Make no mistake readers, I’d stop sweating completely given the option.

The Men’s Room at The Bread Company

It should be clear by now that I’m a sucker for a themed bathroom. So, when I heard that the men’s room at The Bread Company in Urbana was deep sea diver themed I just had to check it out.

This restroom definitely is olde-timey-deep-sea-diver-themed, but you can really only tell that because of three large photographs hung around. Without those pictures it would just have more of a… rustic cave feel? The doors and mirror frame are all bare wood, which I sorta like the look of.

I especially like how the door to the restroom has had a modern automatic door-closer mechanism tacked on.

The fixtures all seemed clean and well-maintained, though one urinal was out of order when I visited.

Honestly, if this was a slightly less-reputable establishment, somebody would have already peed on that out of order sign.

I appreciate the old-timey deep sea diver theme. It’s unique and kinda cool, but it simply hasn’t been taken far enough! I won’t be truly happy with this bathroom until the sink is made out of an antique diving helmet. Failing that, I guess some more brass things (faucet, urinal, etc.) would be a good start. Also, maybe like some fish mural or something? The walls are so bare except for the three dang diver pics.

That’s all for me folks. Stay sweaty out there!

Photos by Tom Ackerman

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