That was a good week. I know, I know - it's not over. But Friday is always the start of the weekend for me, since I start back to work on Sundays. I wrote a lot, which is always determines whether a week was good or lame. (I should write a lot; it's my job.) There was progress on the bathroom; the inspector gave the job the thumbs up, and plumbing was performed to make water come out of the main pipe and through the shower head, which I've always thought was an important part of the whole project. Good to see they heeded my suggestion. So the water will come out of the water in spray form, I take it? Good. Glad to see we're on the same page.

The new grass is not grass, yet; what I planted last week shows no signs of coming to life, even though I gave it new dirt and fertilizer and used the shady blend. (Grass seed is the only product where you are pleased to get something shady.) The dog did not escape, although he wants to; clawed another hole halfway under the fence because there may be bunnies about, and he is driven to find them and contravene all the laws of cute cartoons by biting them in half as they squeal horribly, because he is an animal. I arranged many new sites, finished some stuff due in 2017 (you have no idea how nice it is to have a full hopper - I came across a site I had intended to upload earlier this year, but forgot. Thirty pages!) I had good dreams and good meals and good talks & arguments & laughs with Daughter, who is the only person who regularly puts a knitting needle into my rhetorical balloons, on the spot, with pleasure. Usually preceded with a big sarcastic WELL YOU KNOW.

No, that's not entirely true. Recall the interminable Bleat about the Hy-Vee Experience? I related my findings to Aimee at work, who is a Hy-Vee Enthusiast, and she listened and argued and interrupted me to tell me I was wrong, which was precisely why I had gone to her with these ideas. (She was, if you recall the dark days of the newspaper's collapse and struggles to rise, my co-anchor on the morning TV news show we did.) When I got to the part about the house brands being poorly designed, she said "Okay well that's just crazy." Or something to that effect.

Anyway, Daughter keeps me nimble; we had an interesting argument at dinner over Western Imperialism. We've had it before. The important thing is for the discussion to be just that, and not a lecture: LISTEN LITTLE MISSY, CONQUEST, BRUTALITY AND EXPLOITATION IS THE NORM IN HUMAN HISTORY, NOT SOME ABERRANT BELGIAN INVENTION. NOW GO TO YOUR ROOM. I love the fact that she argues well, and remembers what I have said before to point out inconsistencies. Part of the point is to teach her truths, yes, but also to teach her how to think. Logic, like math, is a skill that informs every aspect of your life.

So. Nothing is perfect but so much is so close.

I wish I could remember that when I have too much time by myself and brood and worry and feel my palms glow with rope-burn from the thread of life passing with increasing speed; there's never a knot to grab and yank. But when I start to think like that I go to the office, where there are people to talk to and the great daily project of the newspaper to join, and I can sit in my cubicle, feel part of something, and sip from airplane miniatures of whiskey until it's time to go home.

Kidding, of course. But in DC I knew people who drank a lot during the day. Lunch, in those fat days when the Washington Post was as thick as a catcher's mitt, could be an hour and a half of imbibing and schmoozing. Lubricating sources. Getting things off the record. It was the culture, and I'm glad I got in on the end of it. Didn't participate, because I hate being tipsy during the daylight hours, let alone at work, but I'd see guys knock back three glasses of scotch, each three fingers deep. And then they'd go on working as if nothing had happened! Because they were high-functioning alcoholics, I guess.

Have I told this story? I'm sure I have. First week in DC. I'm having lunch at the bar at E. E. Wollensky's at 2000 Penn, our building. I swung by there the last time I was in town; different name, but it looks absolutely the same. I was taken out for a schooling in DC modalities by one of our old hands, who asked the waiter for his appetizer. The waiter delivered the aforementioned fishbowl of liquor. When this was done, and we were eating sandwiches, he asked for the main course, which was another glass. I don't have to tell you what dessert was.

If I'd had that much I would not have been able to punch the proper elevator button to get upstairs, and there were only three options.

(Googling to see if he's still alive) (Yay! And still in the business.)

It's not unusual to see your life in blocks defined by where you worked, is it? Everything else is a smear, one emotional aria blending into the next, but jobs are different countries, each with their own customs and tribes and languages. What varies the most is your allegiance. Everyone has a procession. Mine is Valli Restaurant > Minnesota Daily > Ralph & Jerry's > TV Guide > City Pages > Pioneer Press > Newhouse News Service > StarTribune. Onward and upward for the most part, except for that mortifying fall into late-night convenience-store clerkdom after I left college and was convinced that everything was ashes and the future was a caul of ash. I have journals from this period, buried in the basement, and I cannot imagine the delusions I was telling myself to stay sane.

Question for the comments section: job-wise, are you where you thought you'd be? I am exactly where I wanted to be when I started out. I wanted to be the humor columnist for the StarTribune, and here I am. This sort of specificity seems rare. It seems like a natural progression for me, but only because it worked out.

I'm still amazed that it turned out this way. Do I wonder what I might have accomplished if I'd not had this objective, what opportunities might have appeared, what wonderful twists my life might have taken?

Nah. Do you?

For months the new hotel on Hennepin has been shrouded in plastic; I keep looking down the street on my peregrinations downtown, and I see the same damned sight every time.

Then I decided to go down to Hennepin and see if anything had changed. Whoa:

Completely changes the street. It had been a big empty lot for decades since the Andrews went down; now the space has presence again, and the black color and minimalist design says "you can use your phone as your door key!" Maybe.

Elsewhere: as I keep saying, watch this space. We're going to be doing this one from groundbreaking to completion. It's not going to be tall, but it's going to be the whole damned block - mixed use, and varied facades.

It's just amazing how fast they get going, and how quickly things are done.

The cranes, by the way, are for another block-sized project.



Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s, and I'm surprised at how few there were. I think I'm already repeating what I previously played.


Have I played this one?


Listen for the little timpani strike:


Sad rain in the fall.



A real throwback cue here. As far as the dialogue goes, it's true; she only had one. On the other hand . . .


She had many on the air. And he was the last.


From 1960, some sauce recommendations:


Ah. So.



Criminey. Velly hono-ble, ancestors honored

This week's Bob & Ray sketch takes on game shows; people have to run the length of the studio twice, for some reason. Here's the first attempt at the idea, or the second; I don't know. Doesn't matter. Ray is just hilarious here.



Stop That Tune!



Push a buzzy! Next week, a different take on the same skit.




Jan Garber: "The Idol of the Airwaves."




That's what they called him "in his heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, playing jazz in the vein of contemporaries such as Guy Lombardo."




He had a varied career, changing with the times:

Garber played violin with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra after World War I and formed the Garber-Davis Orchestra with pianist Milton Davis from 1921–1924. After parting with Davis, he formed his own orchestra, playing both "sweet" and "hot" 1920s dance music. He was hit hard by the Great Depression, and in the 1930s, he refashioned his ensemble into a big band and recorded a string of successful records for Victor. During World War II, Garber began playing swing jazz, a rather unexpected turn.

He died in 1977, so I'm guessing this was a compilation for fans in their latter years. He made over 750 records, so they had a lot from which to choose.

Oh, er, ahem:

You've been wonderful. If you haven't been wonderful, pledge a buck a month to keep the content coming. BTW, there will be the inevitable fortnight hiatus this summer, but thanks to your response to the campaign there will be daily content anyway. You'll just have to keep yourself from goggling it all up at once.

There are four - FOUR! - pages in 1960s catalogs. What a bounty of riches.



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