I hate everyone.

I hate the person who decided to block off an entire block on the busiest street leading out of downtown, and I hate the assistant who said “let’s narrow all the traffic down to one lane so they have to merge before turning left onto this busy clogged cross-street.

I hate the drivers who made it impossible for any traffic to proceed at the next intersection because they drove into the box and stayed there through three lights so no one could move, and I hate them even more for looking as if they didn’t care instead of getting out of the car and giving me all of their money

I hate the buses that came out of Allina Commons a few blocks later, two of them one after the other, into a street that wasn’t moving at all, and couldn’t make the turn, and had to perform some sort of dance to align with the lanes, costing everyone three cycles of the lights. All buses must be scrapped immediately

I hate the person in front of me who turned into the right hand lane at the last moment and then didn’t turn right on red while I was sitting there with my blinker on

I hate more the family about whom I learned many things a few blocks later: they have not taught their child to look both ways, and they do not believe a puppy should be on a leash, and dad can double-park and pop the hood and start futzing around with the engine, and of course the dog is curious and trots across the street right in front of a car that’s trying to get around the truck, and the driver doesn’t see the dog and it’s six inches from being struck when I lay on my horn and then DAD GIVES ME THE FINGER and the sister of the kid who’s now walking into traffic gives me the stink eye

And I hate the school buses that all pulled away on Nicollet at the same time making it impossible for anyone to get through the light and turn right before the 2018 election, although some say it’s already begun, what with candidates paying visits to Iowa

I feel better.

Not really. I have a headache. I hate headaches.

Cultural literacy these days is defined rather narrowly. Most of the past up to 2000 isn't relevant at all, or relevant only inasmuch as it proves critiques about contemporary society. Someone in my Twitter feed retweeted this, thinking it clever:



Where do we start.

First of all, it's not a political cartoon. It's "Bringing Up Father," aka Maggie and Jiggs.

Second, that's not the original dialogue.

  Here's what the text looked like in the original strip.

So what? you say. Whoever doctored it made a point about how the rich think they got their money through their own efforts, when they were really exploiting the worker. But you couldn't have chosen a worse comic to make this point. Jiggs was rich because he won the lottery, and was constantly trying to shake off his nouveau-riche class expectations so he could hang out with is lower-class friends.

This is literally a click away if you google the strip, but the Manic Socratic didn't seem to be too curious about where it came from.



  Here's the theme from the only surviving episode of the radio show. Note the reference to Dinty Moore: before it was a Hormel brand, it was a character. And a sandwich.


Does it matter to know these things? Not that much, for most. Is it better to know these things? Of course.

Something I took out of a recent column, for space:

The nostalgia police will always be keen to infer your sins and omissions, but usually carve out for themselves a space in which the past can be indulged uncritically, providing it had a counter-narrative.

It was an idea I wanted to develop, but it was a humor column first and foremost - as opposed to those that are humorous second and foremost, of course - and so I let it slide, but it was one of those things that came to me as I was writing. The Nostalgia Police are very interested in why you like a particular era, and have ears alert for suggestions that you do not apprehend the totality of the zeitgeist you’re admiring. You’d best issue a rote note about the bad things. It’s not enough, and it won’t satisfy anyone, and in fact will probably make your case worse: you recognize these horrible things in the past but still sugarcoat and whitewash so you can dream of a day when the tail finned cars cruised Main with proto-rock on the radio and neon reflecting the wet pavement of an early-evening summer storm? Really?

It’s like admiring French architecture from the early 18th century and having to say “of course, the entire system was oligarchical and disenfranchised the masses” en route to making a point about rococo stonework. It goes without saying, but nothing today must go without saying; it must be said, so someone can take offense.

Yes, I get letters. Some people enjoy the nostalgia on the site but eventually reach a horrifying conclusion: I like this stuff. I may snark and evince mock horror or make fun from a contemporary perspective, but it’s pure solipsistic idiocy to condemn the past because it’s not as enlightened as the residents of, say, 2009 thought themselves to be. We may be judged harshly in the future. Does that mean they’re right? Being all future-y and such?

OTOH, I have to be careful; the past is not a statue, it’s a ghost in a funhouse mirror room - sometimes you see it, sometimes you mistake it for yourself, and vice versa. The older I get the more I see certain events and memories in the past defining great chunks of time, whole swaths of moods - and that’s ridiculous. I only see them as placid or fulfilled because the general narrative played out well and I forgot the worries of the day. Then I think: just because those worries were bootless doesn’t mean today’s worries aren’t. On the contrary. Law of average. Some concern or nagging hypochondriacal idea scrapes at my neck when I walk from the car to the office, waiting for the world of work to put a soft pillow over the internal narration. But I won’t remember that I was worried when I think back on 2017. I’ll probably say “I probably was” but it’ll be a safe place, because it’s the past.

And the past has always felt like a safe place.

For some reason I am listening to all of Peg Lynch’s radio show The Couple Next Door again, this time getting the music cues by episode without caring whether they’re dupes. The eventual end will be a massive site that goes from Ep 001 to Ep 756 with all the cues, just because. I was surprised to find when I started listening to the show: four years ago. Peg was still alive. The Trip to Becket was a year away. Three years later I’d drive her daughter to Peg’s final resting site, then a few months later we’d be toasting her memory in England. It was all very much alive and immediate for a while - and now, the second time through, it seems a bit remote, and sometimes when I listen to the show I almost feel as if I’m commanding the dead to sit up and perform.

The emotions I have towards the Nostalgic Past are fast approaching the point of having one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat. It’ll be the dock in the end. It has to be. The dock leads back to the living; the boat goes where all the boats go.


There's always a box full of Portfolios. Usually a dollar a throw. For a while, the dealers said, you couldn't give them away. Now people want them. "When I started," said one dealer, "no one wanted chromes." (Those would be the ones that look like photographs.) "They didn't want linens. Just photos."

No one wanted to collect these? Really?

They're so much fun. Everything else was sepia shots of shacks and trains.

The design isn't always first-rate, but it's idiosyncratic. Holiday! Vacation! Oranges!

And there's pictures inside, too. More of those some day - but for now, if you wish, there's a whole site in Misc devoted to portfolios.

Oh, one more. The back of the Houston card:

This deserves to be played full screen. Loud.

More here. And more demolition shots here.




Please be over soon

I know that's a stupid thing to say, since I'm the one in control of this feature. Bear with me.

When last we saw Not Zorro At All, she was blown into chunks of flesh which hung from the branches for half a mile around. Right?

Nope! Saved by a sheet. Fast reflexes, too. Some people would be dazed, with their ears ringing. Not Not Zorro.

We should note that guys in the audience who had a dominatrix jones must have loved this. Except for the last few seconds.


That's not a scream, that's Rodan getting nut-punched by Godzilla.

This week's cliffhanger to keep you wondering however she will escape from the things? Turns out the guy who just went over had a podner.

Turnabout, and so on.

That'll do. That was a lot! It's always a lot. I must be mad.



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