A few weeks ago Daughter’s backpack got a stuck zipper on the back pocket. It was difficult to remove the 46 pound book in the back, but she could pull out some notebooks and some paper and stuff in a scarf or a hat. This morning she noted that something in that pocket smelled awful, and I agreed: like someone had dumped old cottage cheese into the pocket and let it sit for a week. I say that as someone who has always been instinctively disgusted by cottage cheese. The name doesn’t help. A cottage is a dwelling, but a small, rustic sort, perhaps with farm animals outside. It is not something you eat. The look of it doesn’t help: I have no direct experience with albino barf, but that’s a pretty good contender for how I’d describe the stuff. It has diet connotations from childhood; magazine ads aimed at women who were reducing always had cottage cheese heaped on a piece of iceberg lettuce, and perhaps a hamburger patty. Everything about it said unfortunate texture and penance.

For all I know it’s pretty good. I just finished watching a documentary about Borden Cottage Cheese for the upcoming Industrial Color site, and it made a good case for the stuff before ruing it with a picture of Elsie’s immobile, grinning, and apparently severed head.

Anyway. the backpack smelled. When she got back from school I fixed the zipper with a few judicious snips, emptied the back pocket, and set about swabbing it with hot water and soap. Still the aroma persisted. This was when I found a pocket within the pocket.

And within that pocket was a lunch bag that has been AWOL for two months, maybe three.

And within that bag was a small plastic container that answers the question: what form will sliced turkey breast assume after nine weeks without refrigeration?


Dumped it in the trash, put the lunchbag in the trash, took the trash bag to the trash can, and if i could have called in the garbage men to come right there and take it directly to the incinerator I would have, but they don’t come until tomorrow. Just knowing it’s out there is unnerving. Because now it’s frozen. If it goes in the landfill it will be eternal.

Yes, I told her I would be blogging about this. That's her punishment.


Took the dog for a brief walk. Brief because it was cold. Walk because he likes it. Dog because I have one. Took isn’t the right word; accompanied. Leaving the den to survey the territory. I know he would have wanted a longer one, but after a while I think dogs leave JOY MODE and enter in WALK MODE and for all they know they’ve been doing this for quite a while. When we got back home he had to sniff the driveway, which is a very Dog Thing to do. Hang on, chief. Need to smell the driveway. There were boots from the snow-removal service, and those guys had been stepping in some interesting things. Or so I gather. As I stood there a large cloud that had been hanging in front of the sun as if trying to pick a fight moved along, and I not only saw the sun, I felt it. A reminder of how much I miss the actual physical sensation of experiencing a star.

Then the tornado sirens sounded. Scout does not howl with them, as Jasper did sometimes. He was interested. When I howled he was slightly concerned. Then he did something Jasper never did: swiveled around to note how the sound was coming from everywhere, all directions.

But it wasn’t motion, and it wasn’t a smell. It was just a sound, and then it stopped. So: CHEW MODE.

Or, if he couldn’t find anything to chew, go wreck the sofa in the sun porch. Three cushions utterly destroyed. Have to recover them all.

A video replaces English words in logos with Chinese words. Do you recognize them? Site says:

‘Chinatown’ pushes viewers to ask themselves what it means to see,
hear, and become fully aware. ‘Chinatown’ also demonstrates our strangeness to 1.35 billion people in the world, when you can’t read Chinese.

I may be remiss in not asking myself what it means to see, since I have assumed it means letting my optic nerve process information derived from photons bouncing off external objects. I have been likewise cavalier about “hearing,” since I take the word to mean “interpreting the meanings of soundwaves.” It is nice that the artist allows us to be “aware,” but the fact that he wants us to be “fully aware” means that my awareness needle doesn’t spend all its time in the red.

There is not a piece of modern art that has ever successfully pushed anyone to ask anything, aside from “what is this?” It can present an opportunity to consider new information or perspectives, but if you can be pushed to ask what it means by, say, a sack of liposuctioned fat sitting in a glass-walled cooler, you probably arrived with your opinions pre-formed - about the art, about whatever cultural messages you parrot back in the hopes you get a gold star for having the proper reaction.




A little judicious filtering, and hey! That Instagrammy Vintage art the kids love. Did I say that last week? Probably. Still fits.

Don't you wonder what else was on the sign?

Probably not a word. A picture. A mascot. Something that got ruined and couldn't be fixed.

"Hey, we need something that says 'historical district.' What can we do?"

Yes. Yes there was a time when that brick was a good idea, and the clash between the bottom and the top earned a shrug. Perhaps everyone had stiff necks, and no one ever looked up.

Ooooh, baby:

A classic post-war renovation, right down to the stone and the indented entrance. Completely intact!

Well, almost.

Probably can't get a replacement piece for that any more.

Tiny little storefronts. Apparently Shear Magic used super-industrial military grade adhesive for its name:

Guns and a barber shop! Anyone from Dodge City n 1885 would understand.

Another classic little late 50s / early 60s renovation, with the stone - it came in big sheets; those aren't individual rocks - andthe angled store windows. Probably sold shoes or dresses or shirts or TV; now it's a cafe that stays alive feeding lawyers at lunch.

Favorite touch: the cinder block to prop open the door.


Another building with an internal wood-flood on the second floor:

What goes on up there? The world may never know. Take a stroll and see if you can find something you like.


Yes, short work; it's a column night. But there's a great old hotel - well, no a rather featureless sort-of-old hotel - in the Fargo Update. The F-M.

It didn't stand for Fargo-Moorehead, but everyone thought it did. So it did.


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