I'm here:


Sitting backstage, listening to the William Tell Overture. The middle concert of the season, which means a red tie. So it’s been for years; the red tie means it’s the salute-the-teachers concert, so if I have any doubt where I am in the course of the year and what I’m supposed to say, I just check the tie.

These are much easier to do than the Orchestra Hall performances. The smaller venue just takes all the pressure off - not that I had to do anything but introduce this and make a few quips, but there was something about addressing the great hall and three tiers of seats that puts a little sluice in your spine.

I think I’ve been doing this for . . . 16 years? Seventeen? Good Lord. And not concert has gone by where I didn’t print off the notes the night before and not think “I’m going to run out of ink. I didn’t check the ink. You fool. You EEEdiot. But the printer came through; it groaned and rattled and spat out the pages

Ordinary weekend, except for a knock on the door on Saturday. Postman. Small package, rather heavy. Didn’t recognize the sender, but as soon as I opened it the origin was obvious. A very nice wooden box with the ashes of Jasper. Stops you for a moment, it does. The crude reduction. I expected something finer, more easily returned to the woods, cast upon the waters. Which I’m sure is illegal, so. But no: you pour it out and it would sit there. The surprising thing about remains is that they remain.

We’ll wait until spring to distribute them.

I can’t imagine using the box for anything else.

Another thing to go under the stairs, to use the term that pops up in my head when I set aside items for the family archives. The history of the family, everything I’ve ever written, all the discs with pictures, the remnants of our days. Under the stairs, in the small room the first kid who lived here had as a secret clubhouse, a hundred years ago. His descendants had him tell his tales to a cassette recorder, which they transcribed and mailed to the house for those who came later.

It’s under the stairs too.

Well, I’m up in a minute now; time to walk around the string section to the mike and say a few things and walk off stage again. Then it’s home to not watch the Olympics. Let me be clear about one thing:

If you enjoy the Olympics, and are bound up in the drama, the personalties, the triumph of skill and the agony of defeat, then I’m happy for you, because you must be enjoy this a lot.

Hold on, that can’t be right. I don’t like it and have no interest; oughtn’t I compile a list of reasons that YOU’RE DOING LIFE WRONG or something? Studies show that 37% of all emotion expended on the internet concerns the strenuous correction of people who enjoy something the author does not.

I did pause while walking past the opening ceremony, which had a rather . . . fanciful interpretation of Soviet history. I know, I know: what are they supposed to do, bring out people in drab clothes to trudge drunkenly through the snow to get to a store that’s out of bread, and then have more dancers come out and shoot them? I don’t know: imagine if, oh, Germany had the Olympics, and decided to do 100 years of choreographed history, complete with enormous floating swastikas and cheerful youth doing synchronized exercises. Hey, it wasn’t grim all the time, you know. People had a grand time for a while.

On Friday while waiting for daughter to conclude piano lessons I read up on the Furher Museum, probably from a Digg link tossed in to reach the annual Nazi quota. (Every aggregator tosses in Nazis now and then; good for business.) Couldn’t find any pictures that gave me a feel for the plan, and that’s a pity: there should be big sites devoted to fascist architecture, with CGI reconstructions and walkthroughs. Civilizations speak through their buildings, and they say things they may not intend to speak openly. There are few things in architecture as dead and inert as monumental Fascist architecture

And now, some more Faces of Judge Judy:

Does she look like she'd poison cats? She was accused of poisoning cats. The accuser:

If you had to imagine a supernatural creature who came to Earth to avenge the death of poisoned cats, that might be close.

You have about six minutes to glean the character of the contestants, and while you may be surprised by the alacrity with which JJ gleans the essence of their nature, it's rare I disagree. This was almost one of those. Cruella The Recontructed may look unnervingly synthetic, and the dynamics of the relationship between the neighbors was doubtless more complex than the brief depositions could reveal, but let's just say you made a mental note to cross the street in either case.

You feel bad for the guy. On one hand, it was good he thought to buy a dress shirt before he made the trip to LA to appear on national TV. On the other hand, there was no one in his life to suggest he iron it.

Or he showed up for court in T-shirt they couldn't use, and the talent wrangler sighed a gust of exasperation and threw him something from the locker marked EMERGENCY SHIRTS.




Usually there’s a noir or a musical here, and the backstreets of some grim locale are plumbed, researched, displayed in their underwhelming antiseptic modern incarnation. Not today. Have I run out of movies? Hah! Nay. You’ll recall a few weeks ago I ran pictures from one of the “Route 66” episodes set in Minneapolis; this birthed a site about the Sheraton-Ritz hotel. I watched the other episode, and was . . . stunned. Literally! Blurred vision, disorientation, a subdural hematoma, the whole works.

This one took a while:

It was almost impossible to find; I couldn't get an obvious orientation. But: the light-colored facade above the bus could only be the First National Bank, and once I compared the rhythm of the facade of the building on the left to the old Pillsbury building, voila.

View Larger Map

More or less. I'll check the reverse directories at work for "The Office" and see what comes up. But that was the least of it. This is what made me sit up and gasp:


And I mean it. I sat up and made audible sounds of astonishment. It's the most famous lost statue of Minneapolis. Not only does the show have crisp close-ups . . . but the water moves.

It's Scherzo. Not lost, exactly - but it's been in private hands for decades, and as far as I know its location is a mystery.

I need to find her.

I know this seems like a rather thin entry into Black & World. That's because this is a teaser for a site forty pages long, with a final poignant video. Here it is: Route 66 / Mpls 63. Guest star in the City of Lakes: Derek Flint.

Usual usual here and there; see you around.





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