Curses, foiled again

It had started out as a very promising year at the Reno chapter of the Association to Eliminate Interesting Old building Units (AEIOU), but there was word of a setback.

“Dammit,” cursed chapter president Lou Sypher as he slammed the phone down, “the university just put off wasting the planetarium for a couple of years! Those milksops caved in to all the whining and moaning.”

Sypher was steamed. Last month he had heard the Fleischmann Planetarium was to be razed in June and that news had dislodged more than a few corks at the AEIOU office. “We’ve had the planetarium at the top of our hit list for years,” he said. “We want that baby down.”

So AEIOU is not a big fan of hyperbolic paraboloids?

“Hyper-whattie parab-a-hoolas? What’s wrong with a damn square? You gotta problem with a square? You show me somebody with a problem with a square and I’ll show you somebody wearing sandals. A nice, simple box with straight lines and sharp, tight corners; that’s our plan for a new planetarium. It wouldn’t have to be a square. A rectangle would work just fine. Something along the lines of a smaller, darker Lowe’s.”

Before the planetarium story hit the streets, AEIOU was involved with the turmoil that has surrounded another local landmark.

“We think we are very, very close to achieving our objectives with the Liberty Belle,” said Sypher. Just then, the phone rang. The news again was disappointing. The owners of the Belle had refused the RSCVA’s million-dollar offer, and the RSCVA had announced that it wouldn’t pursue condemnation of the property, resigning itself to the status quo.

“Curses,” bellowed Sypher. “Foiled again!”

What is AEIOU’s beef with the Belle?

“Well, nothing against the restaurant. Remember, our targets are buildings, not businesses. What gets our thong all crammed up into a real deep crevasse is this ramshackle old joint, all gunked up with wagons, blocking the view of the grandest boxoid building in all of Northern Nevada. The sooner the Belle comes down, the sooner visitors to Reno will be able to see and appreciate one of the biggest doggone boxes in all the West.”

For a while, in early January, Sypher and his staff dared to dream that a humongous AEIOU fantasy might come true. “To see both the Space Place and the Liberty Belle eat pavement in the same year, well, just talking about it makes my nostrils twitch.”

The all-time high point in AEIOU’s history? “That’s easy,” cackled Sypher. “That would have to be the Mapes. What a video. I watch it at least once a week.”

As for the future, AEIOU has one other target in its sights. "That would be the Pioneer Theater," said Sypher. "To one day implode that damn dumb dome and then see something like maybe a Rite-Aid or a parking garage go up in its place, well, I do believe that could be about as good as it gets."