You know what would make a jack-dandy Bleat? An account of being stuck in a parking ramp for an hour. Unfortunately, A) it ate up into writing time, and B) I decided it would be a fine newspaper column, because I was mad about something and that means something must be done.


Probably not. But I wrote it up and this means column day is already taken care of. Hurrah.

Question: did Hurrah and Hooray ever coexist in the vernacular? Did one overtake the other, and why? I prefer Hurrah; it has more of a doughboys-and-decoration-day vibe. The sort of word you’d say when someone brought the bunting. Oh, you have bunting? Hurrah!

Anyway: was downtown for the Viva City concert, a Minneapolis school project; daughter was in the orchestra. Any parent wants to ask: how long was it? An hour. There was an appearance by local rapper / writer Dessa, who probably did not number “rapping with parents” among her favorite gigs. Dropped daughter off an hour ahead of time, and since I’d already parked in the ramp, I went to a local hotel and read by the fireplace.

It was nice to read by the fire, except that it’s the end of April. Needling sleet outside; flurries; ceaseless rain; yet the world gets greener, like a party someone’s been planning oh months before the Nazis decided to invade. The hotel was full of conventioneers with badge and bluff hearty why-you-old-dog meetings in the lobby, everyone half-schnockered by reception wine, probably dreading the brown drone of tomorrow’s conferences, but tonight we make merry. There’s a pleasure to these events - the quiet professionalism of the hotel staff, the ennobling surroundings, the new vistas outside your window, the pleasure you take in just being somewhere new. Almost visited the older hotel across the street, just to see if it had a hundred people milling around, big badges slung around their necks, but I remembered that it had been renovated.

This was a big mistake. Oh, I’m sure it’s fine. But the old interior was a slick piece of Mad-Men era perfection - white marble, floating staircases with thin railings, 1962 in all its severe chic. The man who built it put his name on a cornerstone, and I noted today that it says it was BVILT in the year 1962. By Martin Capp. He sold houses, too. In fact:


But that’s another site to come.

Anyway, I walked past his cornerstone to the park that has the stone eagles that once adorned the old Convention Center, past the bells of ships once named Minneapolis, past the Wesley Church, thinking of A) the fact that I need to update that site, and B) my friend Wesley the filmmaker took a self portrait of himself by the enormous WESLEY sign that stood over the entrance of the church’s office-building annex. In the 20s, for some reason, churches built big office buildings next door. Well, everyone was building them; why not get in on the action? Thanks to the boom of the 20s every city in America has marvelous architecture, and while most of it’s historical in ornamentation, the shift to more abstract forms was coming along by the end of the 20s. If the crash had held out for five more years, every city would have an enormous sleek stone spire.

Busts have their own timetables, though. The Wesley office building went down for the Convention Center, but I still know it was there.

All that history I just described: constant companions on a two-block walk. The sort of thing you don’t get when you’re new in town and don’t have a slab of plastic around your neck with your name. The weight of history can be a caul or a quilt, but I prefer to live someplace where too many things have already happened. Every day there’s a lesson and a reminder.

Had to laugh when I sat down in the hall to watch the concert. A month or so ago I was in a truck on an obstacle course where the choir bleachers were raised. The auto show. No sign of it now, of course, no remnant whatsoever.

But I took pictures. I always take pictures.




As we continue with Captain America, a note: the videos in these posts are short. Very short. So:

Your recap, in case you missed one, or haven't been to the theater in six weeks, and have no idea what's going on:

And from the look on his face, it was AWESOME!

I needn’t mention that he jumped out of the truck before it exploded.

Professor Dodge, Scientist, has decided to leave the country because he tired of living under the threat of death from the Scarab. He wants the crown jewels before he leaves, in order to finance the expedition. (In this world people make reservations to leave on a ship the next day, then sell a half-million dollars worth of stones in the afternoon to pay for the trip. . He calls Malorodoro, forgetting of course that he’s the Scarab. (He was hypnotized before.)

Special Agent M-32, working at the behest of the Scarab, sneaks in and steals the jewels back right under the nose of the District Attorney, aka Captain America, who of course is on hand to witness the transfer of jewels, having absolutely nothing better to do.

At this point no one really seems to care where this has been, or where it is going. It began with fantastical inventions that could cause buildings to collapse or burn through bank vaults, and now it’s jewel-heist caper. Not even a caper.

The man who killed the Professor - yes, he died from a blackjack to the noggin - got into a trunk, which was taken away by the movers who came for Professor’s luggage. Because people always call Mayflower when they’re headed to the pier for a long trip abroad. The trunk was checked for fingerprints, and the came back to Lefty Harper. There’s our first clue!

Crap. Maybe not. But his car had a service station receipt. That’s our second clue!

Yes, always ask the gas station attendant for information, because if there’s one thing that sticks out in their line of work, it’s men in cars.

Yes, ma’am, that’s where they made lightweight boxes that are stacked neatly so they can be knocked over during the climatic fistfight.

Well, lucky break. So the boss of the Fiber Box Company said that the dead man worked there for a while, but quit. The DA, who has not shot or punched anyone yet today, doesn’t believe this silly story about a guy working at a factory and quitting, so he has her tap the phone so he can listen in while she’s beaten for information.

Now it goes full Perils of Pauline on us, as we meet the BLADE OF DEATH.

It has a dial that indicates how far it’s gone up, because serials need machines with dials.


That's some quality calibration there, boys. Not worry; Cap show up, and it’s a fist-o-palooza.


The blade goes back up, and Cap is no doubt wishing he had his gun this time so he could just pop this guy. Because while they're knocking over the carefully stacked prop boxes:


Tune in next week.


Strib blog in short form in the morn; Tumblr, of course. See you around!




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