Grey day, rainy day, warm enough with an undercurrent of something that doesn’t quite say fall, but makes you want to stay inside and get things done. Organize. Sort. Toss.

The weekly look at the construction across the street from work. It’s coming right along:

The odd thing: at 2:30 in the afternoon, there’s just three guys visible on the site. The other site -

. . . is completely deserted. C’mon! This thing isn’t going to build itself!

Over at the Stadium site:

That's about 2/3rds of the site. Almost.

At Target the other day with Daughter, we saw this:

She scoffed: way to be Gendered, she said, or something like that. I was surprised. Not a term we use around the house. Something she picked up at school. Well, it is gendered, I suppose. I suspect it will attract those girls who are already riding through post-toddler-hood on the Pink Princess rails. We had that phase. Neither of us ever brought up Pink or Princesses. There was a Barbie phase, but it somehow happened. The preferences of peers, an ad, or something that just clicked for a while until it didn’t. The moment something more interesting came along - Pokemon, for example - all that princess stuff was dropped like a hot tiara.

I’m not one of those people who worry that little girls aren’t playing with dump trucks or having sword fights in the same proportion as boys, but pink princess Goldfish seems rather excessive. Of course, they’ll be vampires and Frankensteins in a month, elves after that, and then RADICAL SKATERZ! for a while. A kaleidoscope of identities in snack form.

At one point it was sufficient to show a single Goldfish cracker with a face and something of a determined expression of defiance swimming against the tide of faceless crackers in his school. Up the Establishment! Now there’s backstories and websites, none of which the kids care about. What matters is the spark of identification in the store when the package is seen, and the parent acquiesces to the acquisition of the item. Everything after that is just carbs. In a year or two it’s possible Daughter would want the Pink Princess Goldfish just to show everyone at lunch how she is consuming gendered snacks in total defiance of the stated sex-role identification assumptions.


There’s a new Netflix series I’m supposed to want to watch, a BBC import called “Happy Valley.” It’s a crime drama and I assumed the name was intended to be a neon sign blinking IRONY! on and off. I googled it, and found a review: “Happy Valley is set in one of the Yorkshire valleys in Northern England, and the title is meant extremely ironically.” Ah: extremely ironically. The headline says that if I like “The Fall” and “Prime Suspect,” I will like those shows, so I will watch it app. But:

Happy Valley, like Broadchurch and The Fall (also from the U.K.) as well as The Killing and The Bridge (two Scandinavian shows)—not to mention the mother of them all, Prime Suspect—suggests just how much story can still be found in the life of a middle-aged, female law enforcement official, a less played-out counterpart to the grizzled, seen-it-all-detective.

No doubt. But it’s a rather safe choice. It’s still seen as breaking the mold, you suspect. As if no one’s done it since Prime Suspect. As if there wasn’t a Prime Suspect. I listened to a BBC radio drama for a while about a tough no-nonsense brilliant policewomen person, and it was miserable. I mean the character was miserable - personal relationships in shambles, which is supposed to be the fault of Everything Else (except when it’s because she’s a No-Nonsense person whose job takes a toll), no family (although for all I know a happy sister entered the plot later, if only to show how much one has to sacrifice to be “happy”), nothing but the job, which was frustrating because she was the only one who was really any good and all the men were tossers. Okay.

Looking through the Slate TV page, I saw this: “OUTLANDER It’s a great feminist adventure. I wish it was a little more of a cheesy romance.”

In the series, as the books, married British nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) touches a sacred monolith and falls back in time from the postwar 1940s to the Scottish Highlands of the 1700s, when the Scottish clans are just a few short years from a final faceoff with the British.

In the run-up to the show’s premiere, there has been some debate about whether it can appeal not just to women, but to men.

If it’s not too talkative, perhaps. I don’t watch “Game of Thrones” - perhaps I will some day, but I watched the first episode and thought “I just don’t like any of these people or anything they’re doing.” - but the attraction for some might be the way disputes work their way through intrigue and end with swordplay. If I can infer the general drift of the plots from some of the shows my wife endures when she sits down on Friday night and watches the 1.5 hours of TV she allows herself a week, the stories consist of Conflict, expressed through dialogue, that ends with the antagonists Not Talking To Each Other for a while.

The show would not be interesting to men if there was more cheesy romance; it would be interesting if it incorporated a male point of view written without cringing, or projection of some idealized concept that men have no interest in being judged against.

Anyway, my only point is this: you suspect the only reason “Sherlock” got approved was because it was one of the few male characters you could resurrect without apology.

This may be why I am enjoying “The Last Ship,” which does not seem to regard strong characters of either sex as an anomaly, something to be applauded, or something that detracts from the opposite sex.

UPDATE: I did watch “Happy Valley,” and I liked it. That’s tomorrow’s tendentious entry. Tf you looked at it as an example of what messages men are supposed to receive from the story, it's fascinating. But now I'm going to hold my fire and watch another one. I expect I'l make something of an idiot of myself tomorrow. Just don't want it to be a total one.


Back to Nebraska, where they do small towns right. Somehow that fits. Our town today has 30,00 souls.

The curse of the 70s / early 80s renovations: diagonal wood. Diagonal stained wood. Diagonal painted wood slapped over a building for no reason whatsoever.

Mosey on down to the corner, and the view is the same as it was 50 years ago. Minus the damned diagonal wood, of course.

This one made me think: where have I seen that before?


Here's a Minneapolis version:

So it was a Starbucks? No, it was a Rexall. I think it's possible that it was a 60s Rexall before it was rehabbed into its current form.

Annnnd who cares, you say. Well, this entire feature is about the pleasures of reading streetscapes, and detecting patterns and ideas you never think much about, but are there for a reason.

Acros the sctreet, a nice 60s bank. A bit too much sign, but I think it was always like that.

Did a bomb go off and take out a store during the difficult Milinery War of 1937?

The hideous shingle-infection wasn't checked when it took over the awning, adn now appears to be moving up the side of the algae-slathered Masonic Temple:

You may wonder why this could possibly be interesting, or worthy of a screengrab, let alone posting on the internet:

Ignore the building on the corner. Poor thing. You can only guess. No, it's the litte structure in between, the one with the old neon sign. The Coney Island Lunch Room.

The town's history page has a small shot of its original facade, which was classically-detailed stone or terra-cotta.

The Chamber of Commerce is going for that painted-backdrop effect, I guess:


Winner of the Most Brutal Rehabbing of 1967; this is like one of those crime scenes where the detective says "The victim knew the killer. Nothing else explains this level of violence."

Post-war rehab, with the storefronts angled in for extra value. One of the panels came off. Don't think you can call the factory and have them send a replacement.

Is there a ghost ad? There is a ghost ad.

Is there a theater? Is there ever:

Opened as the Lyda in 1911; coverted to the Grand twenty years later. More here.


There's so much more. Take a tour - starting at the Empire. A theater? This one? The mysteries never end.

View Larger Map


See you hither and yon and about.


blog comments powered by Disqus