I have no time for this. No time! Sorry! My action-packed whirlwind life simply cannot make space for these meandering mewlings about small and silly things. Although I will note that I had a hot dog for lunch, and pleased the owner of the place by asking for "Sport Peppers."

"You know the right name," he said.

"What else do people call them?"

"Those green things."

I like calling them Sport Peppers, because it conjures up some jaunty lingo, the sort of thing you'd say to a guy who's fishing a red hot out of the drink. Put some of those peppers on, Sport. It also reminds me of the name of the pimp from "Taxi Driver," unfortunately.

It was an excellent hot dog, being a Vienna, on a soft bun with poppy seeds. Just a quick lunch in the skyway, but it's been a while since I had a quick lunch in the skyway. I think the last time was my first day at the paper in 1997. I had time on my hands and went to eat lunch in a deli with the rest of the Noon Crowd, feeling all big-league because I was working downtown. But then I stopped. The Strib building was only three blocks from the end of the skyway system, but the area in between was like a DMZ. There was some psychological resistance to going outside and heading towards the core. No more. And so I sat at a small table, watching people pass by, watching the queue at the hot dog stand, and I felt deeply grateful. It's like being let out of prison. It's like rejoining the world. Ran into an old editor for whom I wrote in the 80s, and he asked what it was like.

"Like moving from the Bastille to Versailles."

Without the bloody revolution part, of course. Without the march on the palace demanding bread and jobs. The idea that she said "let them eat cake" has been discredited, right? Right. The wikipedia article notes that the phrase is actually a reworking of "let them eat meat," something a Chinese emperor said when he learned the peasants had no rice. Emperor Hui of Jin, whose rule straddled the 3rd and 4th centuries. Died from eating poisoned bread, which somehow brings it all full circle. His wikipedia bio is nothing but pointless dynastic infighting and war, which makes for dreary reading. Makes you glad the US is a relatively young nation. There are no stories of court battles in Virginia in 843, when the regent of the Vice-President gained favor with the General of the Western Cavalry and married the daughter of the Secretary of Corn and so on and so on.

Anyway, I have no time! Sorry. Column night. Maybe more if I finish it early or get enough of it under my belt. Note: I am not wearing a belt.

I suppose I could repeat what I wrote on the work blog. In fact that's just what I'm going to do.

I don’t know if it’s a generational distinction or just individual preference, but when I watch TV I want to watch it on TV. On the big set in the warm room with the comfortable furniture My daughter is platform agnostic, and would just as soon watch a show on her phone or computer. I’m not averse to either, but I don’t see the point. When I want to watch a program, I want to watch it, not glance it or pause and fiddle with Twitter or otherwise fritter away my attention span. The days of turning on the TV to see what’s on, like lowering yourself into a tepid bath for a soak, are long past. I want to watch This Thing. And last night, that thing was Louie, season 4.

Neil Justin, our TV critic, alerted me to the Season 4 reruns on FX’s website. I’d seen the first three seasons on Netflix, and the fourth was starting up tomorrow. So let’s catch up, shall we?

Step one: call up the website on my phone so I can throw the picture to the Apple TV via Airplay. Oh, clever! It’s all upside down. If you turn your phone around it goes upside down again, but then it rights itself. Because Louie’s life is like that! Problem: can’t be done. The website says I need the app. That’s great because I’m always looking for more apps to load on my phone, hog space, bug with review requests, ask for my location, and other botherations of modern life.

Downloaded the app, found the Louie Season 4. The picture is upside down! Ha ha. Wait for it to turn itself around. Click play.

Sorry! First you have to enter your content provider. Find DirecTV in the list. Click.

It asks for your DirecTV password. Everybody who remembers your content provider’s password off the top of your head, raise your hand. Showing all fingers, please. Right. So: call up password manager on the computer, get the login credentials, enter them, go back to the Louie screen, find the ep - they’re all out of order - and click play.

Sorry, your package does not include this channel. Really. So FXonDemand or FXNow or whatever it’s called is so gosh-darned special it’s in the premium tier, or the tier right between Lots of Channels and Oh Lord So Many Channels Plus Starz or something.

Well, maybe it’s on iTunes at a reasonable price. Huh: $33.99. I balk, because I’d watched 3 seasons on Netflix for the price of Netflux, and while I enjoyed the show, in retrospect I wouldn’t have paid $125 for the batch. That’s the price of all six Star Wars movies on iTunes now, in HD. The SW price is ridiculous, but the Louie show consists of a big schlumpy guy walking around New York having Situations, and there’s not one large space-battle. I’d pay $15 for the lot.

This is where some people all of a sudden say “to hell with it, I’ll torrent.” It’s thievery, of course, and the people who say “I’d pay $15 but I don’t have that option so I’ll steal it” think it's defensible or don't care one way or the other.

So I gave up and went to bed. This morning I learned the show is available for streaming, free, on Amazon Prime. So what's the cost of the show? The price of a sliver of Amazon Prime, the price of a portion of the 3rd Gold Family Plus Package that lets me see TV content on an app, the $34 Apple wants, or the infinitesimal price I will pay should it run on Netflix some day? The answer: all of the above.

It does make you nostalgic for the day when all the TV came free and you had three options and nothing repeated until July. But not really. Those days wouldn't have a show like Louie.

(PS Yes, yes, TV wasn't free. The companies baked the price of advertising into their goods and services. But you know what I mean.)


I think she found a new prince, little mouse.




It's a chancy place. And it makes a man watchful, and wishing there was something to watch.

Yes, it's that Dodge City. The place of Gunsmoke lore. Look in vain for the Long Branch - it burned down long ago, and the reconstructed version is over at the museum.

Would Matt Dillon recognize the place? Let's wander around and see what's here.

You ever see those pictures where the guy's really old, but he's rich, and he has a vacuous younger boyfriend?

The "modern" addition hails from the worst of the 60s. If the bay window was just flat boxy glass it would work. The ersatz "historical" style does not, shall we say, class it up.

Tudor satanists have taken over the ol' Cochran place, Mister Dillon!

Never a good idea to Jeckyll & Hyde a building, but when you add shingles - man oughta be hosswhipped for that.


The tan brick on top is just a wall with nothing behind it.


This shot explains why. The previous Google Street View showed a metal facade across the block, which suggests a department store. Googling around, I'd say it was Eckles' - seems to fit the size and dimensions of the small image I saw on an eBay listing for a letterhead. Of all things.




Have you seen these men? They're wanted for being blurry in public:

The fellow on the left is a founding father and philanthropist, Franklin "Fearless Frank" F. Pheffenphaler. (Kidding. George Hoover. But the text does say founder and charitable soul.)

Okay, okay, I'll say it. They got the hell out of Dodge:

Not a Woolworth's. Possibly a Penney's. If I had to guess, I'd say a local store - clothing or sports, perhaps; windows seem too big for a jewelry store.

As I say every week: sigh. Or as I sigh every week: say.

You wonder if the owner was around long enough to see it. How it must have griped him to drive past and remember. It's enough to make a fellow almost glad to end up in the home, where the windows just show you nice trees.


He's stayin' down the Dodge House, Mister Dillon - and I swear he's played by the same actor who voices all the young punk gunfighters.

You'll note the Spanish in red-pink letters. The new businesses are almost all Spanish-language. The dance hall is the Latino Disco.

At the height of prosperity, someone always brings out the Corinthian order. Whenever they start slapping this on a bank, the bust was just a few years away.

I exaggerate, which is one way of saying "I made all that up," but it's probably true. Doric for the lean times, Ionic for the confident years, Corinthian when everyone's feeling all fat and imperial.

I read an account somewhere that said the bg radio station used to be in this building. Also an IOOF, although whether the Odd Fellows had moved out by the 30s, when the facade was redone, I couldn't tell you.

But radio and newspaper in the same building? Downtown must have been a lively place in the heyday, but they all were, if the city had the necessary mass of stores and cafes and people. The farm people came to town on Saturday. Everyone went downtown for a movie or a malt or to buy a frock or a washtub. Everyone bought the paper and everyone listened to that fellow on the radio.

It's all the same now and it's all entirely different.

Finally, a remnant. They know how!



Or perhaps it's just apt to say they did.

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There, that should hold the little bastards. Oh, is this thing on? Okay - well, off to work, and I'll see you around here and there. Something fun tomorrow: an explanation of why the "Spanish Inquisition" sketch ended with that particular piece of music.


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