Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 164

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 167

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 170

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 173

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 176

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 178

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 180

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 202

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 206

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 224

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 225

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 227

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.layout.php on line 321

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 54

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/lil58eks/public_html/bleat/wp-content/themes/platformpro/core/library/class.options.metapanel.php on line 47
Wednesday, May 13 | The Bleat.

This is an excellent week. Star Trek on Monday, the Bennett-Prager-Hewitt speech on Tuesday night, prefaced by an hour on the air before a crowded room that didn’t hear a word we said. Best kind of live audience! The illusion of popularity without contrary evidence! It’s like an echo chamber where everyone else just nods: cool. While Hugh was interviewing other guests I sat at the table with all the people who’d paid to sit with the host, and did my best to fill in. Never filled in for a guy who was supposed to be eating steak with people who had paid to watch him eat steak. But they knew he wouldn’t be at the table much, so their dismay at having to deal with me was muted in advance. Met Bill Bennett; fine fellow. Gave Prager grief. Talked with old friends and met a few new ones: capital time. 

Had to leave the hall early. Took this shot on the way out:

 

evening

 

I had a few minutes today to change my phone service – the new phones turned out not to have an answering machine, but merely a Voicemail button. Silly me; oldthink. It’s meant to “interface,” as they say, with the phone company’s voice mail. So I cancelled a service I never use – I think it allowed me to forward auto-warranty pitches directly to the White House – and added voice mail. Then the upselling began. 

The customer service rep asked if I was happy with my cell phone; I said I had an iPhone, and he said well, that’s the end of that question. How about your internet?

Ah. Well: when I signed up for a new ISP, I was stunned at the low-low price, but soon learned it did not include, what’s the word, internet. That was provided by Qwest.  I took the deal, thinking Qwest might offer a lower rate down the road – and they did. Doubled my speed and cut five bucks off the price. There was an amusing moment where the rep started explaining things in very simple terms, and I slung a little lingo to let him know I wasn’t new to the game, son. Whereupon he upped his lingo level slightly past mine. I pretended to follow along. For all I know neither of us knew what we were talking about. 

Big news: in the fall, we get fiber. Two-billion terabytes per nanosecond, or something like that. I said “Wow, I could download a cracked version of Vista in just a few minutes.” 

I wanted to hear the definition of a non-committal customer-assuaging laugh, and I did. Reassured him I wouldn’t. Just kidding. 

Then I fell asleep. Ka-boom, out. I think the word “NAP” is perfect for what it describes, but it should be more flexible; a NAP is a short one, self contained, but a nnnnap is one that takes a while to achieve. A naaaap is perfect; a nnaaaaaap is too long. A nappp is one that requires multiple alarms to get you up. (I set the computer in the next room to beep very, very loudly; it goes off once a minute if not slapped.) As I also said on Twitter, I didn’t know if the nap paid back the night before or was borrowed from the night to come. When I have to get up early to make the NewsBreak huddle, I usually work on 5.5 hours of sleep, so I have to fall unconscious around four to make the rest of the day possible. But now I’m wide staring. Good thing: novel work ahead.

Oh: someone asked if I would repeat my list of 25 summer books. Hewitt sprung this on me today, asked for a reading list. I made it simple: 1 – 12 would be novels and story collections by Steve Saylor, from his historical detective novels set in Rome. Numbers 13-25 would be anything by Michael Connally. 

So: Could the day be any better? Yes: Generalissimo, Hugh’s producer, played Happy Robots (Uniblab Mix) as bumper music today. So a day where you can do TV on the web, have your song played on the radio, talk on the same medium, meet some interesting folk AND upgrade your internet speed is pretty much a winner all around. There’s something else, but it’ll keep until tomorrow. 

Earlier today, waiting to have lunch with HH at his hotel, I wrote the following. 

 

Sitting in a hotel lobby, waiting for a lunch appointment. It’s the Millennium Hotel, but I’ll always think of it as the Holiday Inn. It was built around the time the Nicollet Mall went up, and had a nice swank late-60s vibe for a while. They kept the green-black marble when the rehabbed it, and it’s cut in the stye of the times. I seem to remember more floating staircases with gold handrails, though. Last time I was here I was getting ready to be the Grandmaster of the Holidazzle Christmas parade down the Mall. Natalie came along, waving to the crowd. She’s forgotten it now, I’m sure. Well, fine; she seems to lack my belief that remembering is more important than experiencing. Sometimes I think I’d be content just to remember things that happened to others; saves time and carfare.

 

This is the middle of a very long day. Have a dinner and a speech to attend tonight, so this may be the only chance I get to type something. Have to make due with a photo-loaded Bleat, I guess. Some shots of the Mall in Spring.

 

The obligatory sunken plaza, frequented mostly by smokers and ducks. I call it Craplaza:

craplaza

 

 

I don’t know why this is here; half a block away there’s a block-long sunken park that’s much more inviting. This looks like a version they made for petty criminals. 

 

The building above is an unfortunate piece of 80s glass, ill-suited to its surroundings – looks like a chunk of the IDS Center fell off and was pushed south by glaciers.

solip

The style of architecture might as well be called the Solipsist School; the buildings know only themselves. 

 

The ghastly anti-human YWCA building, with its lovely concrete bunker-fragment contrasting with the Target building:


ywca

 

Perhaps more people in the future will wonder why American architects decided that the land of the free / home of the brave should have buildings that looked like something Tito would approve. 

 

 

Next door, one of the few survivors of the pre-war era in this end of downtown – the old Continental Hotel. The tree next door looks like one of those irritating people who strikes up a conversation and leans close and breathes denture breath and won’t stop talking. 

continental

 

Finally, a statue outside Westminster Church:

 

statue

Sums up my mood today, except I had more clothes on. 

 

LATER: the ever-popular out-of-context ad challenge; Miscreant Round-Up at buzz.mn, and a Mpls update of substantial size.  Here are your links for the authors mentioned above – by all means, offer other recommendations for good smart series in the comments. See you soon.  

 


 

30 Responses to Wednesday, May 13

  1. bgates says:

    A nappp is one that requires multiple alarms to get you up.

    I think that should be the kind old guys with prostate problems have. Because of the excessive ‘p’.

  2. RB says:

    Tuesday comic cover?

  3. crossdotcurve says:

    Ah, Hugh Hewitt. Mr. Hewitt recently posted a conversation he had with someone named John Mark Reynolds on “how to make new young conservatives”:

    http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog/g/343b2913-3e95-4f6f-9165-d9e99aa94bdc

    Turns out, Mr. Reynolds is a young-earth creationist. Scroll down to the “inside this book” section and click on “read the first page”:

    http://www.amazon.com/Three-Creation-Evolution-Porter-Moreland/dp/0310220173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242210860&sr=1-1

    Yes, Mr. Hewitt. That’s the ticket. The kids are clamoring to hear about how the planet is 6000 years old. And those “dinosaur bones” are…um…well…oof. You see Adam and Eve sprung fully formed from the mind of God. Yep. mmm-hmmm.

  4. Janet says:

    There’s a few of us out here who would not have been disappointed to share a steak with you in lieu of Hugh. Believe it or not, James, I was thinking about going to the Bennett-Hewitt-Medved speech here in Philadelphia so I could ask Hugh Hewitt to sign YOUR name in his book. I figured that would be the closest I could get seeing you on a book tour.

    Faithful reader for more years than I care to admit

  5. Greg Zywicki says:

    You know, the bad cars of the mid to late 80′s you can blame on the adoption of computer design tools, as well as the move to unibody construction. I don’t think the architecture people can lay the same claims. I suspect Drugs were involved. Either straight lines were all they could do while high on pot, or they seemed SO AMAZINGLY BRILLIANT! while coked-up.

  6. gingeroni says:

    Great. Now I have another author to check out. :-) I already have 1-8 of Saylor’s work. Guess I need to catch up on what he’s written lately.

  7. exgeeeye says:

    Tsk, James– don’t you know, smokers ARE petty criminals…at least until the Powers get a round tuit about adding it to the ever-growing list of felonies.

  8. Raintree says:

    I work in one of those concrete bunker buildings. Every time I walk up to the main entrance, I feel like I am on the set of Fahrenheit 451 or other dystopian movie.

  9. Mumblix Grumph says:

    Sums up my mood today, except I had more clothes on.

    Er…I hope you also missed out on the hand-poking-out-of-the-kiester aspect of the statue.

  10. John says:

    You can’t say enough bad things about bad architecture – there isn’t time or toner cartridges enough. But the swipe at Tito was, I think, a little unfair. I’m sure it was meant as a generic dictator-with-awful-taste reference. But the actual ex-Yugoslavia doesn’t look that bad. On my very first visit I did something I almost never do, which is take a camera: I had plans to photograph horrible buildings and statuary. How could I go wrong? But I had to abandon the mission. The place looked pretty good!Though they would be unfamiliar to most Americans, the most potently nasty architectural references come from south of the border. Latin America, lacking ecologists, turns over its people-hating to architects. Lucio Costa, one of the designers of Brasilia, was an ardent Communist plus he never even visited the city: ’nuff said.

  11. Duane says:

    I also recommend Stephen Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa novels. Following Gordianus the Finder on his investigations has not only been entertaining, but has offered some interesting insights into Roman life. Sadly politics is not much different today than in ancient Rome, though perhaps we see fewer bloodstained togas these days.

    Speaking of ancient Rome, I also recommend Pompeii and Imperium by Robert Harris. In fact, all of Harris’s books (Fatherland, Enigma, etc) are great reading.

  12. Normie says:

    James, thanks to your previous writings, I decided to try the Roma Sub Rosa series and have happily devoured over half of the set; will probably finish the rest in the next few weeks. Luckily, our local library system has all of them available.

    Saylor cracks me up with his injections of modern detective show elements: During questioning, his subjects are certain of the exact time something occurred because they “had just looked at the sundial” in the garden/stableyard/behind the temple, etc.

    And now here comes Duane to lure me down the path of yet another intriguing author…

  13. huddydrvr says:

    Good series: I have a 60 minute drive each way to work, so have been using my Audible account to purchase audiobooks to make the drive tolerable. A series I enjoyed LISTENING to (but have never cracked a page on) was the “Deep Black” series by Stephen Coonts and Jim DeFelice. (The last book in the series was “coauthored” by a different person, and IMHO, stinks). However, the first 7 books were quite entertaining. Good spy stuff plus lots of gadgets and shooting.

  14. RebeccaH says:

    As it happens, I’m reading Steven Saylor’s Roman Sub Rosa series now. They’re fascinating to say the least. On your recommendation, I’ll have to sample Michael Connally next.

  15. Lileks says:

    Be that as it may, Mr. Hewitt is not a young-earth creationist.

  16. flashman says:

    I especially enjoys the pics of Minneapolis. I usually get there once or twice a year and usually stay at the Hyatt or the Millenium. Haven’t visited yet this year, so it’s nice to see the downtown. I presume you’ve read some of CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake mysteries set during the reign of Henry VIII – they fit right in with the Showtime series.

  17. Nancy says:

    I hope I am wrong but in every image I have found of the statue “Birth of Freedom” the figures appear to be frozen in some sort of post-immolation agony. Sort of Pompeiian after the volcano. Maybe the effect is different in “real life”. I also guessed correctly the era of creation as being the seventies judging by the incredibly accurate and pronounced rendering of the-er-genitalia! I guess my art-school critique would be “good example of technique and mastery of materials.”

  18. Patrick McClure says:

    “Have to make due with a photo-loaded Bleat, I guess.”-J. Lileks, 05/13/09

    Nit pick of the day- it’s “make do”. Of course when a minor misspelling is all we have to complain about it’s a good day.

  19. Glenn says:

    So the Roman Sub Rosa series being mentioned here is similar in concept to the Cadfael series?

  20. DaveInAz says:

    My brother just send me a picture of himself with our fine host, Mr Lileks, taken last night. Cool.

  21. PJ/Maryland says:

    Glenn, the Roman Sub Rosa series is set in first century BC Rome. It’s a bit more urban that the Cadfael series (set in 12th century England), and oddly seems more modern. I don’t know enough to tell if that means both authors are accurately describing their separate milieus, or if Ellis Peters is better at capturing Cadfael’s era than Saylor is. (Or maybe it’s just me.)

    Another historical mystery series I’ve found interesting is Roger the Chapman, a series by Kate Sedley. (Though I thought the most recent, The Dance of Death, quite disappointing.) Roger is a traveling peddler in 15th century England; he lives in Bristol but travels to London in several stories. In some books, he helps the Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), and we see some aspects of politics and the broader world.

  22. JC says:

    It’s Connelly, not Connally.

  23. Baby M says:

    For reading, I’d recommend Eric Flint’s “1632″ series of alternate-universe SF novels and (showing my age) Roger Zelazny’s “Amber” books.

    For your iPod listening pleasure, may I suggest the “Adventures of Ruby” radio dramas from ZBS–especially the first series. Film noir hard-boiled detective in space–with giant moles and death rays!

  24. Aleta says:

    “1632″ YES! YES!! Excellent book and series, including the fan fiction, “The Grantville Gazette.”
    But for Ancient Roman mysteries, I prefer the “SPQR” series by John Maddox Roberts. Good mysteries, excellent recreation of the time, uncomfortably close to events here and now. Start with “The King’s Gambit” and you’ll be hooked.
    BTW, according to John, his SPQR books sell better in Germany than America. Odd.

  25. JMHawkins says:

    I’d suggest the Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brien. Set in the early 1800′s generally aboard a Royal Navy ship, they’re remarkable books. Plot? Who needs a plot when you’ve got great characters. Star Trek fans will probably see a little of the Kirk-Spock relationship in Captain Aubrey and Doctor Maturin too.

    Or any of the Ross MacDonald Lew Archer books. Especially if you’re taking a trip to Southern California.

  26. jimmy says:

    Super Post! We’re all glad when you’re glad…

  27. Mike says:

    I work in this example of solipsistic architecture. The “craplaza” exists for two reasons: to provide work for the maintenance staff, and to leak on the cars below.

  28. Mark E. says:

    Here in DC we’ve just had a flash of rationality with regard to preservation; the city is going to allow the demolition of the Christian Science Church on 16th St.

    http://tinyurl.com/rdb4j6

  29. Shelley says:

    What on earth did you say to Dennis? I would have happily shared a table with you. My husband always says that you would make one hell of a party guest.

    I really need to get on the ball. Whenever Hewitt or Prager are giving a talk, I always manage to miss getting tickets for it. The last talk in L.A. was sold out.

  30. Will Sampson says:

    A few years ago, I was a service rep for a company that involved travelling to a few American cities. Top 3 in terms of buildings:
    1. Philadelphia
    2. Chicago
    3. New York

    I hated Houston… …the buildings that is. And I don’t remember any LA buildings… Funny

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!