Oh, my day was fine. It usually is. Tra la la. But news from other quarters dimmed the usual mood, and

And I’ve been staring at the page for ten minutes and writing and rewriting and trying not to sound coy, or building up interest in something I may never talk about,and wondering why I have to mention it at all if I can’t mention it.

There’s lots of stuff I can’t mention, and never do; you know that. The confessional tone of a blog doesn’t fool anyone. We select the joys and sorrows to share, just as you should in person. The small things we spin into great billowing sheets we drape over the Big Private Things, and hope the interesting pattern is a sufficient distraction.

So the top of the fold, she’s light. However, lest you think man, he’s just getting lazy and letting the fields go fallow, here’s what we have on the site, today, for free:

There is the StarTribune column, which you may like.

There are five additions to the Permanent Collection of Impermanent Art.

There are a batch of music cues below, and I’ll skip the usual introduction down there because I’ll do it here. I was watching a trailer for a game today, and it had sprightly commercial music from the 50s, used - as always, these days - to indicate the opposite of what it was intended to communicate. Like the Muzak in the grocery store, it was not meant to trick, fool, anesthetize, or make people zone out like a robot whose program is looping, so they could Conform to some command from the soulless controllers of commercial culture. They were intended to make you feel better. Or intrigued, or amused, or something that propelled your daily narrative. Nowadays we’re trained to hear these sounds and laugh, because we’re not fooled. We have their number.

We’re reading too much into it. You can do this for fun, as with the Permanent artworks; I ascribe all sorts of preposterous interpretations to the ads, mostly as a goof on people who might actually concoct a dissertation titled “Frozen Out: Gendered Perceptions in Refrigerator Ads.” I like divorcing cultural images and sounds from their context and having sport with them. As Freud said to Duchamp in a querulous tone, sometimes a pipe is really a pipe.

Sometimes the cheerful chatter of library music was meant to elevate a few seconds of life, give it a spin and a tune; sometimes the strings lazily playing overhead on the speakers in the produce aisle were intended to provide emotional resonance to a humdrum act. As if there’s something wrong with that. As much as I love the Cars, I really don’t need to hear “Let’s Go” at the grocery store - which I do, from time to time - because it makes me wonder whether this is all some carefully designed plan aimed at the store’s core demo, to make them feel as if the culture of their youth is timeless and vital and heck, so are they! Also because Rik Ocasik’s love-object is 17. Dude.

To be fair, Trader Joe’s sometimes plays 30s and 40s pop music. And to be honest and old, it was grand to be young when this was in the air. That guitar solo. Remember those?


Tonight, as opposed to previous ones? So you read a manual, or something, I guess. Anyway, pure pop for now people, as a man once called it; you can date it by the polka dots - unironic appropriation of the past - and the synth tones and drum-machine rhythm. I can’t say pop today is any less engaging, although little I hear when my daughter commandeers the radio has the ingenious economical construction and obvious musicianship. Everything arrives stillborn in swaddling clothes provided by the producer. I can’t say we were all happy in the 80s, because we had romantic strife and the tsuris of one’s twenties and, y’know, NUCLEAR WAR ANY DAY, but

But anything I say next would be a conclusion I had no intention of reaching when I started typing, so never mind. I think my generation turned against the happy sprightly sounds of the commercial landscape because we associated it with our parents and figured they didn’t get it, just like they really didn’t get us, or anything else that was happening. It was the sound of their complacent unquestioning acceptance.

Now I hear all these clips and I hear the ad hoc symphony of the mid-century experience. The reason we like Don Draper is because he sums up something true: nothing touches our genuine emotions like well-crafted artifice.

I. Am. Babbling. So here’s a flower taken with the new camera:


That’s a detail of a picture which, if printed, would be 15 inches wide. Which camera did I get?

Does it matter? No. Does it matter that it's pretty? Why yes.





Well, will you look at this: The summer version of Ethel and Albert is gently moved aside for the return of "December Pride," and everyone celebrates by throwing Mjolner through the fourth wall.



Now, some music cues. They keep coming. They just keep coming.

First, something charming. Tape's rolling, but they're not on the air.





After 70 of these - seventy! - I can still pick out something I haven’t heard before. Even though it's almost like everything else, it isn't:




Busy happy homework ends with shiny pans and time to relax before the kids come home from school!




More of that life-is-good stuff..




Busyness, with a little touch of quacking to indicate affectionate pomposity, perhaps.




Jaunty delight in the world.




Wouldn’t be a week without a life-in-the-sophisticated-city snippet:




Imagine you’re labeling these to make it easier for producers: which mood does this describe? Irritation with birds w/ sudden tiny Frankenstein, then uneasy conclusion?




Ditto this; quality is bad because the tape was sped up to chipmunk levels and I had to futz with it.




And we’re OFF! And then we’re NOT! And then we ARE!




The end of this would make an excellent text alert from someone you like:




The producer leans over to the guy who has the files for the music library, and says “This one takes place in a fair. You got anything for a fair?” The library guy gives him a look over the top of his glasses.




You need more? We got more.





It’s National Put Bounce in the Baby Month!



Go to StarTribune.com and scroll down for the column link. Visit the Permanent Collection! Enjoy the other things in disparate places, and I'll see you on Monday


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