Who's the servant?

He's one of those actors that fall into the "That Guy" category - you recognize him, at least if you watched TV and movies at a certain time. How he got work in this liquor ad I'll never know.

There is not a jot of Christmas mood around the house yet. No dire reasons. In fact I blame a good thing: it's warm. It was in the mid-40s today, with rain. You want the storms to smother the world, the everygreen boughs to groan with the load of snow, the lights to twinkle in a cold world like the promise of . . . higher electrical bills but also festive spirits, and so on. Nothing. It's like the Xmas we went to Arizona and it poured for three days. I don't know how anyone gets into the mood unless there's snow. The blow-up shivering snowman the neighbors have doesn't do it. The lack of swirling flakes in the streetlights, the absence of crunch when you walk the dog - it's horrible! And by that I mean "wonderful," because it'll come. It'll come hard and mean and cruel.

We've had brown Christmases in recent memory. A few where the snow was pathetically sparse, just the foam on a madman's lips. It bothered me then because I wanted Daughter to have a White Christmas, to have those memories. Like everything else you do to create the Perfect Memories, you wonder what sticks, what takes, what they remember; I was in the grocery store tonight and saw something seasonal I would have bought ten years ago to make Everything Special. I always tried to find things that were seasonal, so even the most ordinary things in the house (napkins, Ziploc bags) were part of the excitement. You do that for a decade and find out years later the main thing they remember is when you said a bad word because the lights didn't work.

There was a nice Christmas moment in the lobby today, as the security guard reached for his walkie-talkie as we spoke. That was fun. There was a string quartet playing carols. I filmed it as I went up the escalator, just a few moments of peace and beauty. Got the big nix from the security guard. I went over and showed my press badge and said I was doing a story on downtown office buildings and how they celebrate Christmas, but that meant but squat; I would have to CLEAR IT with the 17th FLOOR. I understand; it's not a public space. But. Dude.

And so I said: Does this apply to the rotunda area over there? Our building?

You would have to get permission.

For one of our events?

You would have to get permission.

I would have to get permission to shoot video for the StarTribune in the rotunda area of the StarTribune building?

You would have to

Right. Got it. I get this all the time. I get this from security guards who come out and ask why I am taking pictures of the building, and I want to say "because I am a terrorist, obviously, and have decided the best way to assemble my nefarious schemes is to stand out here and take pictures of the building which I can use later to show that the building has a white facade with vertical windows." I can't tell you how many times I get the fish-eye while snapping pictures of Downtown East's construction.

Anyone who is taking a picture of something other than themselves is suspicious.

OKAY WELL TAKE THIS. It's not only Downtown East, it's part of the JAIL. So I can plan a BREAK-OUT.


The apartments have topped off. From this perspective you wouldn't know there's a broad wide park on the other side. The way DTE has walled itself off somewhat is a bit of a problem, as we'll see in 2016 as the final phase of buildings goes up. But overall it's good.

A few blocks away, the Sexton is about to lose a ghost sign:

I wrote a piece about this for the paper's website for tomorrow, the first of a weekly architecture series. I'm so glad I moved to Variety. My workload has increased 4X. For heaven's sake I wrote three Star Wars pieces for print alone. Finally! Assingments galore!. I'll have 16 pieces in the print edition this month alone.




As usual for Friday, the Music Cues. We're coming to the end of the Couple Next Door cues. I plan up uploading the lot to the Internet Archive, in case anyone wants to sift through them some day.

CND Cue #601 Again, the miniature-martial music. Fit for fleas on parade.


CND Cue #602 Familiar, but not. Will there be wah-wah?

Now, something that caught me by surprise. All these years of listening to this old show while I do the morning work, and wham. It's from 1948, at the end of a Lum & Abner show. I've written before of my love of this gentle, timeless comedy, vast swatches of which survived. Day in, day out, the ebb and flow of life in the Jot 'Em Down Store in Pine Ridge. And then this.

This must have stung.

Abner was right, I think.

The change in format was disastrous, but that's for another day. Another year, to be specific; the upgraded and expanded LISTEN section in 2016 will have lots of little radio bits you'll enjoy. If you've enjoyed this feature so far, that is.

Finally, the Ad. It's the familiar voices of the Jack Kriesler Singers, as I like to call them. No idea who they really were.

Give her Yardley.

Speaking of Lum & Abner's replacements:

Yes, it's Raymond Scott, the fellow beloved for his Warner Brothers scores and his invention of the timeless "Powerhouse."

Clyde Burke is known to some as the singer of this song.

That's about as much biographical information as I can provide.


That'll do it - see you in the usual places!



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