Seen at a gas station today. Liberty, perhaps, to go overboard on typefaces:

Hahahahah! I didn’t have to have my wisdom teeth out after all!

Well, not exactly. I did. Years ago. Glad they’re out. But it turns out that the primary factor for the bright sparkly discomfort was the item dislodged during the excavation. I’m sitting in another dentist’s chair today, my regular dentist being on vacation, waiting to have the veneer reattached. She looks at it, and says:

“I think there’s some tooth on this.”

Oh you don’t say. Really?

“Did you have a root canal?” she asks. I said it’s possible; I’m not there when these things happen . . . oh, right, I did. Well, a small crown had been applied, and it had come off, and would now need to be replaced with a larger crown. But there aren’t any nerve endings hanging out, so as long as I don’t chew ice cubes 24/7 it won’t be much of a problem until it’s fixed. One damned thing after the other. The best part about all this? What once was a big Thing of Dread, i.e., the chair, the light, the pointy parts, the probing, all that stuff – is now just Oh Whatever. I do know this: today was the first day in a long time I woke without any toothal annoyance. To celebrate the fact, a Diner which attempts to locate the four existing songs that have to do with teeth. There are only four. I found them.

The day began with a gas explosion in the neighborhood, and since I was in the vicinity I went to shoot video for the paper in case I could get close. They had someone heading to the scene, but it never hurts to have a second unit. Couldn’t get close: everything was blocked off, police cars at every intersection, so I had to settle for footage of the closed highway. And I got screen credit!

That’s just a few seconds of my work; I edited it down to a loose 24 seconds, to use as cover in case they had an interview with a State Patrolperson describing how they had to shut down the highway. Yes, I shot the hell out of that empty freeway. Pan from busy street to patrol-car blocking the exit; tight shot on the highway sign with fast zoom out to the road to fix the location; pan down from a neutral location – i.e., the sky – in case the shot was coming out of a cross-dissolve; then I held the tripod in my hand and walked along the sidewalk, shooting over the rail, so there would be camera movement, not just zoom – or – pan movement.

Ran home, edited, sent it off, then returned to blogging. Noted that my piece on the organization behind the “Friday” video was climbing up the paper’s “most-viewed” charts, which was sweet. Thought: at the end of the day, I will have written a popular blogpost that got a lot of hits, helped out with a video, filed a column, done a radio interview, confabulated a Diner, and written some novel. The key to satisfaction: not just work, but diversity of work.

Something I noted embedded in the wall of the dentist’s office building:

Rauenhorst. There’s a story. It was one of the local development companies that surfed the booms, opened up branches in other cities, and eventually took the hit, as this story relates. I’ve always associated the name – Opus Rauenhorst was how I remember it from the 80s – with a pair of underrated office towers downtown, but they’ve done much more. Unlike some companies that flame and expire, they built things. I wonder if the patriarch ever drives past the 1966 Pentagon Office Plaza and smiles, because it’s still there. Before the last crash there were plans to raze it and build a new senior community, but I believe that’s done. The complex will get another ten years. It occupies a curious niche in architectural design; it’s almost Californian. It was one of the first things I saw as a child when I came to Minneapolis on a trip, but I don’t remember it.

Perhaps because it hadn’t been built, I just realized.

1966? I don’t know exactly when I first came here, when we made the first pilgrimage to Southdale, driving down Highway Ten in the pre-freeway days. I’ll have to ask my Dad. We stayed at the Hojo. Perhaps the Pentagon hadn’t been built yet. Which means that we drove by an empty lot where, decades later, I’d be sitting in a chair with my mouth open, iPad in my lap, thinking: great, I need a new crown. There’s just no way anyone can predict that. There’s no way it would occur to anyone: this spot in another city far from home is where my child will have a dental exam in 40 years.

Multiply that sort of randomness times 6 billion people, and you begin to sense the difficulty of speaking confidently about the future.

Anyway. MP3 Diner, here. Hello, what’s that? Why, a 70s update: more Fun on Ice. Have a grand weekend, and I’ll see you around.


50 Responses to The Pentagon Papers

  1. Cory says:

    “I have seen the future and it is much like the present, only longer.”
    – Dan Quisenberry

  2. Bob Lipton says:

    Elmer Fudd meets Percy Dovetonsils!


  3. Mxymaster says:

    Thought for a split second on the Capades that our host had crossed a line by writing about the “flaming hobo.” FLOATING, DAMMIT. DON’T SUE

  4. rbj says:

    Dang it, I’ve got nothing. Nothing to comment on. well, at least it was finally warm yesterday. Actually had the windows open (a bit) overnight. Welcome spring!

  5. Kurt says:

    I was sitting in the dentist’s chair yesterday for a routine cleaning. They did the annual x-rays with a new digital machine…half the radiation and the images pop up on the monitor seconds after they’re taken. Then they use the ultrasonic plaque thingy which cuts the pointy scraping down to mere minutes. A few years back they were using a machine that sandblasted plaque with baking soda instead of the gritty polishing wheel. I always preferred that (no gag reflex), but I guess it was too messy.

    And while I’ve never really had dentist anxiety I’m amazed at how comfortable the whole process is. I mean…for a dentist.

    And at the end they still floss. I always figure they’re doing it for show…to demonstrate how IMPORTANT IT IS TO FLOSS. All that high-tech gear and at the end they still pass a string between the teeth.

  6. SeanF says:

    “What once was a big Thing of Dread, i.e., the chair, the light, the pointy parts, the probing, all that stuff – is now just Oh Whatever.”

    I can relate. I didn’t go to the dentist for years, because I was just utterly terrified. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got a phobia. Then I broke a tooth – on a slice of pizza – and figured I was going to have to go.

    Found a place that not only does the sedation for the heavy stuff, but even gives me the happy pills for the simple semiannual cleanings.

    Now I actually look forward to the dental visits – a morning off of work, and I’m *very* relaxed. :)

  7. The MCP says:

    The “diner” link leads to a 1-1/2 minute clip titled “introducing Lola.” The vocalist assures us (repeatedly) that her name *is*, indeed, Lola, but seems to have very little to say on the subject of teeth…

  8. RPD says:

    Soules and Steese, there’s a ballad in there somewhere.

    I looked on Google maps, didn’t see any buildings that looked pentagonal. Ah well.

  9. Diner!

    Ice Follies… That is a lot of brown and orange.

  10. efurman says:

    throughout the video a F****** add kept popping up and covering the bottom of it. REALLY annoying. Thanks Star Tribune. I’ll be avoiding anymore videos from your paper. As if the opening add wasn’t bad enough. I know, not your fault James. Not blaming you.

  11. Lars Walker says:

    I have hated many songs in my time, but I have hated none with the white-hot loathing with which I hate “Muskrat Love.”

  12. MikeH says:

    Roller Boogie clip, it just hurts my inner soul. And I like to believe that I don’t have one.

    Though I lived through the 70′s myself, I thankfully never EVER went to one of these horror shows on ice. I watched enough Donny and Marie to never wanting to see this live. When my kids get older I am really going to have a difficult time explaining the decade.

  13. Eric says:

    The Pentagon Park office complex will get another ten years…hopefully the architect got twenty with no parole.

    Better than much of the suburban speculative glass boxes that followed it, but still a monument to that awkward era of concrete brutality.

  14. RebeccaH says:

    I had my wisdom teeth out years ago too. Then, years later, a supernumary descended, and I had to have that one pulled, to great agony. Consider the unfairness of having five wisdom teeth.

  15. Al Federber says:

    What in architecture is “Californian” style?

  16. speaking of odd coincidences that no one could of guessed over 40 years earlier. People who like movie connection might like this one.

    I recently watched “The Boston Strangler” from 1969 (Netflix on demand). In it veteran supporting actor Jeff Corey played a defense attorney. James Brolin had a small part as a police detective. That same year Corey played Tom Chaney in “True Grit”. 40 years later James Brolin’s son would play the same part in the Cohen Bros re-make.

  17. @The MCP, that’s strange, I got the Diner OK. Using Firefox on WinXP (T1 line at work, don’t tell a soul).

    As for the 70′s the intro page, “Welcome to Hell” sums it up for me too. I get cold sweats and tachycardia just thinking about clicking through…

  18. I was also thinking that James Brolin in 1969 had no idea that he would one day marry Barbra Streisand.

    (ok why does “Brolin” come up underlined and “Barbra” gets a pass?)

  19. winterhawk says:

    Okay, those muskrats are nightmare fuel. I think it’s the tiny little human hands.

    And thanks a lot for dredging that song up out of the pit of my memory. Really. I’m embarrassed to admit that somewhere in the depths of my storage locker resides the Captain and Tennille album that it came from.

  20. JamesS says:

    Al Federber says:

    What in architecture is “Californian” style?

    I think it’s like the family home in The Incredibles. After I saw that movie, I wanted to live in that house.

  21. swschrad says:

    Muskrat Love. channel 647.

  22. re: Soules gets iced

    What happened to the poodles? :(

  23. metaphizzle says:

    Thought for a split second on the Capades that our host had crossed a line by writing about the “flaming hobo.”

    Any relation to the Burning Wino?

  24. Californian in style he asked? Well, the Googie style comes to mind for one. Although it can’t be said that stucco was invented in CA, it certainly is pervasive enough in points South here to qualify. I know, other warm climes in the Great Southwest have it too, but tile roofs and desert colored stucco always meant CA to me. Even before I moved here 30+ years ago.

  25. metaphizzle says:

    I think it’s like the family home in The Incredibles. After I saw that movie, I wanted to live in that house.

    The Parr’s house was Googie style.

  26. While “Muskrat Love” does indeed rank as a musical abomination, right down there with “Billy Don’t be a Hero” by The Heywoods and Michael Jackson’s ode-to-a-murderous-rodent “Ben,” ya gotta admit Ms. Tenille was easy on the eyes.

  27. hpoulter says:

    @The MCP:

    I don’t know why, but those downloads tend to stall and have to be restarted (can’t be mac’s fault – they just work). Newer browsers have a download manager that can stop and restart. I find it works better for me, for some reason, to create my own little htm file and past the latest Diner URL into it. If you get a Diner and it is only a few minutes long, you got an incomplete download.

  28. fizzbin says:

    Re: “What happened to the poodles?”… We found that with the right sauce, they were quite tasty :)

  29. shesnailie says:

    _@_v – gotta love that tasty 70s song ‘timothy’ by the people who let you wash it down with ‘piña colada’…

  30. fizzbin says:

    Bouys oh Bouys, shesnailie, you have weird tastes. I don’t always drink mexicans, but when I do, I prefer Margaritas. Stay hungry, my friends.

  31. sad bear is sad for poodles and trainer Soules so I re-wrote ending to make me happy for the weekend:

    When it became dark, Steese went to Soules’ trailer. ?He entered and pulled out all the nightlights in order to make the trailer completely dark. ? While removing the VCR, “Steese stirred me from my sleep, I was then struck in the head with a heavy object. ? I ran into the bathroom and shut the door.” ? Steese then obtained a knife from the kitchen, and rushed toward the bathroom. “I then made two quick whistles and the three poodles, Pepe, Claudette, and Yvette where alerted and attacked Steese, tearing at him in the neck and leg area, ripping at him and he was quiet, he fell to the ground.” ? During the interview, Risenhoover asked Soules how many pieces the poodle left of Steese, to which Soules replied, “I don’t know. ? Maybe 100, whatever they did not eat.”


  32. Ken Paulson says:

    James, you have to consider your listeners when doing podcasts. When I heard you trying to speak this morning on my way to work, you made me look like an idiot. It’s hard enough laughing uncontrollably in a crowd of people who are all laughing at the same thing. Being the only one on the street doubled over in hilarity is, ummm… problematic. And the hits just kept on coming.
    Keep it up, though. My dignity is cheap.

  33. swschrad says:

    @bgbear: poodles were bred by the French as hunting dogs. their previous dogs didn’t pick up enough burrs for soup.

    somebody crossed a (standard) poodle with a Peugot, and got a squish in the road.

    eventually somebody got another cross that succeeded, and we got the more familiar smaller toy poodle. they hunt beloved family members.

  34. Paul says:

    My gosh, those muskrats are frightening, and it’s those “rodents of unusual size” hands that are the creepiest. Re the hideous song, this is one rare example where the original ‘artists’ of the song, the pop group America, are delighted that everyone associates this drek with another group, who changed a banal and uninteresting ditty into a terrifying cover. I think it’s the muskrat squeaks about 2/3 of the way through the C&T version that completely sells the horror.

    And sorry, but Tennille was only easy on the eyes to highway engineers who dreamed of tunnels on an interstate. Her mouth was gigantic, her hair of the 70s mushroom style that would have been at home in OGH’s ’73 Sears catalog.

  35. America’s version was also a cover of Willis Alan Ramsey’s “Muskrat Candlelight”.

    Ramsey seems like a real life “Bad” Blake minus the extra booze.

  36. wiredog says:

    Weird fact ‘o’ the day: Toni Tenille of the Captain and Tenille did backup vocals on The Wall by Pink Floyd.

  37. browniejr says:

    Another weird fact: The Captain’s father is Carmen Dragon, band leader for the band on the old radio program that featured The Bickersons…

    For ear worm songs, nothing beats “Patches” for me- groan every time I hear it.

  38. DryOwlTacos says:

    Oh, I quite liked “Muskrat Love”…the first 9,472 times I heard it in its first week out. Could have sworn it was earlier than 1977, though.

    Did you see the carved calves on that “seemingly awkward spastic”? Holy shamoley, anyone who says figure skating is for sissies (in spite of what the guy is wearing)…

  39. Pencilpal says:

    “What happened to the poodles?” he sniffed doggedly.
    Well they couldn’t very well run away and join the circus, could they. Probably signed with the Follies Bergerbil.

  40. @Her mouth was gigantic, her hair of the 70s mushroom style that would have been at home in OGH’s ’73 Sears catalog.

    Yes, but hair can be loosened to fall a fetching way, and as far as a gigantic mouth … ahem.

  41. nixmom says:

    “There’s no way it would occur to anyone: this spot in another city far from home is where my child will have a dental exam in 40 years.”

    When I was a child, and would go to the grocery with my mother, we passed by a cute little subdivision. I loved it. The houses were well-kept, the trees were huge…there was just something about it that called to me and I would anticipate that part of the trip every single week.

    Fast forward from the mid-70s to the early 90s. Newly minted husband and I bought our first house. It wasn’t until months later, as we approached the neighborhood from a certain direction, that I realized the winding streets and giant oaks looked awfully familiar.

    Yep. We bought a house in That Neighborhood. I was so unbelievably was as if a childhood dream I didn’t realize I’d had, came true.

    We’ve been there 20 years (this May) and I still love it.

  42. GardenStater says:

    Oh, John Robinson, you cad. (And I agree.)

    This story goes back at least 20 years:

    My wife and I went to the wedding of two good friends. A good friend of the couple flew in from Chicago–they weren’t even sure he’d make it. He stepped up in front of the wedding band, and took the microphone. He said something along the lines of “Donna and Tony, all your friends are so happy to see you married and honored to be here. As a special gift, I’ve prepared a song that celebrates the love the two of you share, and I think that all of us dream of having such a wonderful relationship.”

    The band started playing, and he performed a note-perfect, totally serious version of “Muskrat Love.”

    Brought the house down. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

  43. shesnailie says:

    _@_v – yeee! just got me a pair of muskrat gloves!

  44. Um, doesn’t that “joys of youth” guy look about, well, lets say 39 in Jack Benny years?

  45. Brian Lutz says:

    I’ve had a few of those moments before. A notable one is that a few years ago, I noticed as I passed through downtown Bellevue on 405 that they had started building a rather odd looking building with some sort of big stair-step effect on top ot it that gave an impression mostly that someone was smoking something at the time they designed it.

    Ultimately, I thought nothing of it, until two years later when I suddenly found myself living in the place. I still think it looks rather odd, but it’s a pretty nice place, and you can’t beat the view.

  46. PickyPicky says:

    Bad as “Muskrat Love” or “Ben” or even “Patches” were, no song, from the Big Bang to the Heat Death of the Universe, will ever be 0.000001% as nauseating as Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey.”

    If the world ends in 2012, that song will be the reason.

  47. browniejr says:

    PickyPicky: just for you…(gotta agree- truly nauseating!)

  48. jamcool says:

    Bad as “Muskrat Love” or “Ben” or even “Patches” were, no song, from the Big Bang to the Heat Death of the Universe, will ever be 0.000001% as nauseating as Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey.”

    Well there’s “Timothy”, the only pop song about cannibalism.

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