Column night, so you have leavings and scraps and things that have been cooking for weeks. No apologies, and if you’re annoyed, you’re not alone; everything annoys someone. This morning, for example, I was annoyed at myself, because when I dropped the phrase “always something there to annoy me” twice into yesterday’s Bleat it was intentional, and I forgot to follow up. Had to do with the Burt Bacharach song, which I first came to know in 1983 in a calamitous herky-jerky piece of electro-pop by “Naked Eyes.” One hit. Too bad: the album had some other tunes I liked even more.

My reason for bringing it up was twofold:

The song was on the radio, and I wondered A) if I’d ever written here about the reason the song sounded the way it did. The producer made the song, and if you knew his previous work - obscure to mainstream audiences - it made perfect sense. No, I was certain I had written about it here. B) I listened to the song from start to finish, which is something I haven’t done for years. Because you know a song so well you stop listening to the entire thing. This has to happen. Years have to pass until you can hear it with fresh ears again. Like old friends, sometimes you have to forget everything except what they meant to you.

Surely I’m not the only one who hears certain songs and albums and remembers apartments. Walkmans changed things; you could take your music anywhere, and the idea of sitting down to an album was swept away. Yes, children: sitting down to listen to an album. And doing nothing else.

Looking at the sleeve, perhaps. Reading the credits. It was always a struggle when the sleeve was blank white, and you had nothing to look at; you suspected that the record company didn't care, and was suggesting you might not, either.


Piece in the news about food deserts, where access to grocery stories is limited in poor areas. There is a website that tells you whether or not you live in one. Called up my old neighborhood in Fargo:


Looks bad. That’s a lot of terrain. I know there are at least two grocery stores in the neighborhood, which is one more than we had growing up. A Piggly Wiggly was opened up the street in a mall that failed, one of the odd untold stories of Fargo. I don’t even remember what it was called. Northgate? Northtown? Googling . . . ah CRAP, I hate it when the first useful link goes to; never trust that guy. There was also another grocery store almost directly across from Super Valu, probably a Red Owl; both succumbed to the brand loyalty of the Super Valu, if you can imagine that. The new was powerless against entrenched habits. The old mall, which was a low-slung tan brick structure, sprouted apartment buildings:

The other turned into a health-care center. Anyway: One was obviously enough. They tried again in a development on the site of the old Starlite theater, and I think it’s still going. It’s right on the edge of the big green desert. But here’s the thing about that desert.

It’s the airport.

And the rest of the space is either undeveloped or college dorms.

One more thing about Bioshock Infinite, which has nothing to do with the game - aside from its sneaky way of dropping anachronistic pop culture references into the past here and there. The closing credits.


A larger city today. And so we find ourselves in . . .

There’s some interesting stuff in Peoria. There has to be. It can’t be as dull as it seems on Google.

There appears to be a Decaying Industrial Zone on the edge of downtown. I’m guessing Meyer Furnace isn’t a going concern.

But it was, once. Here's a 1920s catalog of their Weir Furnace line, the proud flagship of the Meyer company.

As a kid I was fascinated by the Steel logo, because I couldn't make sense of it. It was in ads! It was on football helmets! What was it?

Nice color scheme for a wreck, though. Elsewhere: hard to make sense of the lower floor. Some things were taken out and some things put in and and no one worried much about the end result. Did it leak? Could anyone break in? All right, then.

More bricks in place of glass:

If you knew nothing of earth you might assume there was a plague of light-sensitivity, or perhaps a human mutation that made people so horrible to behold everyone bricked up the windows so they wouldn't have to gaze on the ceaseless parade of nightmares.

Speaking of which:

There used to be buildings like this downtown Minneapolis. In the 60s. A few in recent times as well, but the revitalization of the center city has turned the small old commercial structures into useful places. I hope this happens to Peioria. Because this . . . this is defeat.

As is this:

Bright spots? Downtown has some tall towers and tidy buildings, but works of architectural distinction seem remarkably rare.

This is actually one of the better ones.


Modern style and modern hue. Think I'm doing the town a disservice? Take a stroll.


Short work blog today, and the conclusion of the old Nicollet Avenue site in the updates panel. Enjoy! Have a fine day.



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