Went down to Hennepin today to shoot a picture of the building where the Casablanca Bar stood. I can’t believe it’s still there. And still a bar, too. (City’s most long-standing and storied gay bar, as it happens.) Took a walk past Block E, the carbuncle they built to replace an old block of bars and stores and interesting places that no longer fit in the city’s conception of itself as a Clean, Forward-Looking Metropolis. It had “vibrancy” and pedestrian traffic galore, but they were the wrong kind of people; bums, porn hounds, drifters. There were two old movie theaters on the block - one was jacked up and moved, the other knocked down. A ten-story office building: kaboom. Up in its place went “entertainment retail,” with bars and movie theaters and an ice-cream store!!! and a place where you could buy cookies!! and there was a Borders bookstore where people could wander around and look at books. Borders was one of the first to go. Everything else except for some bars has left, and the movie theater - one of the big draws when it was announced - will be closing soon. I hate it. Big ugly chunk o’ fail. At least the city was only on the hook for $39 mil.

Took some old routes to get back to the office - up the escalator tucked behind doors off the ground-floor arcade by the old Dayton’s store. It used to lead up to the old Radisson hotel; they knocked that one down too, but built another, and reopened the escalator. There’s a skyway that goes across the street when you turn left; it replaced another skyway that was removed when they blew up the Radisson annex across the street, and replaced it with another hotel. So all these things are in the same place; they’re just different. No one who moved here recently would know.

The hotel abuts another failed downtown retail complex called “City Center.” It’s not all failed; a few stores at the skyway crossroads look prosperous. But the three story atrium was once full of stores with a huge food court on the third level, and that’s walled in and converted to offices. Again, you’d never know. It looks so bright and modern now:

 


 

One of my favorite skyways. I hadn't noticed that they'd begun to enforce a standardized Carpet Profile.

 

 

Then back outside to the blocks where downtown runs out of ideas and the history's been razed, and there's just the StarTribune building and the Armory at the end of downtown, waiting for the swinging ball. If ever the Strib gets torn down - say, they build a stadium on the site - I will sit across the street and watch and document and scowl. And then laugh. It's one of those things I thought would be around forever. But we know better by now.

 

Something I forgot to post from last week’s “Tony Rome” watching:

 

If you’re my age, you picture him in a loincloth, making a certain sound. It was his trademark.

Wikipedia is amusing:

Ross's personal life was as noisy and troubled as his screen characters. According to fellow nightclub comedian Hank Garrett, Ross was "married eight times and they were all ex-hookers. It was cheaper to marry them than keep visiting them."[1] Co-workers also complained that Ross was continually vulgar, even cursing around children. Imogene Coca, who played Ross's caveman wife in the sitcom "It's About Time," hated working with Ross and referred to him as "that awful man.”


Amusing bio here at Beware of the Blog, called “The King of Slobs.” Apparently everyone who worked with him hated working with him. He’s uncredited in the movie, but everyone would have known who he was. He doesn’t make his trademark utterance, though.

By the way, you want post-modern? Here you go. In the second Tony Rome movie, which is worse than the first except that it has Raquel Welch, there's a wonderful small role played by a big, big man:

 



Dan Blocker. He seems to wander in now and then from a much better movie. Audiences knew him already, of course, which is what makes this litlte clip so po-mo. The detective has tracked down the big man in his hiding place. He's watching TV.

 

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"Hey." I can't get enough of that.

 

Yesterday’s Bleat may not have been seen, since I forgot to upload the redirect page. These things happen. I got caught up in a scene in the novel, and many things were learned - usually I write a scene to the end, but the previous night I’d stopped, stalled, and one of the characters said she wanted to go home. But I don’t want you to go home, I thought, because you were going to say something important to the story. But I don’t feel like it, the character said from the empty white space below her last remark. I’m tired and bored with this.

When I returned a day later she was all refreshed, and the scene unspooled nicely. The way the novel has rewritten everything I thought it would be has heartening, since the original intention had too much Murder Mystery Novel Nonsense in it. I can’t write cheap potboilers about maniacal killers because I don’t believe in them. They don’t exist. The madman with a torture chamber at his country home, which he visits when he needs a break from his demanding life as a Captain of Industry or a brilliant eye surgeon - pshaw. They don’t exist. But you need a sequence of crimes to keep the reader interested; can’t just knock off someone in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book searching for the answer, because the mystery has to deepen. Right? But the reasons have to be plausible. It’s easy to come up with serial killers, because the motivation is built right into the boogeyman. The sort of person who kills three or four people is probably stupid, empty, predictable. They make for bad boogeymen.

It’s an odd feeling to get 50,000 words into a story, look at the guy you’ve been setting up to take the fall, and realize “you know, I don’t think he did this.”

I mean, criminey. Then what.

The “then what” is driving me through the last 20K words of this one. Since the last 10K consists of the ol’ Triple Punch, aka the Cascading Revelations, I’m in good shape.

In the meantime, because I am an idiot with ADD, I have been working like mad on a cheap fast book for the iBook program, a $2.99 special that works out to a penny a page, or two cents a gag. There’s just no reason I can’t put out two or three picture books a year.

New Comics today; do I have to say that, or is the menu on the right enough?


Oh: today's hint. The answer on Thursday!

 

Also, note: I appreciate the feedback on the FUBAR'd RSS link. I have spent some time attempting to make it work. As of now, it does not, and I will be Got-damt if I know why. The feed omits the key word "Bleat," fior reasons unknown. Give me a few days.

Argh.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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