It was a modular hotel. You could buy a small cube for a stay for $70. Or you could put several cubes together for more room, at a greater cost. The place advertised custom-made conference rooms, and of course Internet Everywhere.
The peculiar thing about the hotel? It was underground. In fact it was so deep underground you had to take an escalator down to reach it. Where the tunnel’s wall joined the ceiling was an animation of the wireless speed you were getting, although it wasn’t clear if it was an actual representation of current speeds
It’s certainly better than on the plane, I said to Jerry Seinfeld. “The internet on the plane was so slow” - and here I paused, but he didn’t say anything - “so slow the bits barely made it out of the pipe and were unable to penetrate the membrane of my cornea.” I was surprised to hear that the hotel’s sound for arriving trains - it had a subway, of course, connecting it to the airport - was the Jetsons Doorbell, just like my phone.
Which was ringing. I woke and looked at the phone and thought “that was a bad business model. putting cube hotel rooms underground. What expense.
I almost wrote an Apology Column for the Strib - one of those pieces where customer complaints are addressed with blatant insincerity. Nothing’s happening; dog days; slow news, so why not address the mailbag?
Always a lazy thing to do. Glad I didn’t. But there were two complaints that stuck out.
Got a few barks from New Yorkers, who thought I was unfair to New Yorkers in a column about New Yorkers. Suggested they were a bit rude and full of themselves. But the real sin was criticizing their pizza, about which they are preposterously defensive. It would be one thing if they said “hey, this is how we like it. You don’t like it, walk in front of a bus, for all I care.” But no. When it comes to New York pizza, you are required to say something like this:
Since the circle was first discovered by proto-humans using their finger to draw the sun in the dirt, no round food has equalled the New York pizza. Every Italian restaurant in actual Italy is run by a man who sits in the back every night and weeps because his pizza is based on an ancient Naples recipe instead of Joe’s All-Nite 99-Cent Slice. This leathery triangle of cheese and grease that’s been sitting under the lamps since Guiliani announced his run for Mayor? It will be brought back to life by sticking it in this oven here for a minute, and the experience of standing at a sticky Formica counter shoving a folded wedge into your face hole is the summit of the human gustatory experience. Put some pepper flakes on it.
Some of the responses attacked Minnesota Pizza, with its Saltine-cracker crust. That would be valid if this was 1962. There is no Minnesota Pizza, really; we have every possible variation. You can tell your phone “tandoori shrimp goat cheese pizza delivery” and it will give you ten options. In the old days, sure: bad, but great. The cheese was thin and greasy and tangy; the sauce was scant, and the pepperonis curled up into little cups, each of which had a reservoir of oil. We had Pinky’s Pizza, a Fargo staple until everyone went mad for Pizza Hut when it opened two branches. Man, THAT was Pizza!
And thus were our expectations revised: no more the cracker-crust; hello and huzzah to something slightly less crisp. I worked at the southside Pizza Hut and this cured me of Pizza Hut for a very long time. To this day, I can’t. I imagine the scrawny cook in the back pounding the white wad of dough like it was a guy who sold him oregano instead of weed.
He was also a fan of tasty music, that being defined as Steely-Dan type stuff that was well-mixed. He praised “Smoke From a Distant Fire” by the Sanford-Townsend Band for this very reason. Your eyes have a MIST like the smoke from a DIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . ant fire.
The other complain had to do with a suggestion that I put ketchup on hot dogs, one of those things that channels my inner John Wick. I will never not put ketchup on my hot dogs. Because I like it. I do not care if someone who regards the only proper venue for hot dog consumption to be a baseball stadium, where you chomp on a tube of minced noses and anuses, drinking warm flat beer. You gotta have mustard only! Painted on with a brush from a tub by a guy who has flies orbiting his head! It’s classic!
I don’t care if someone doesn’t want ketchup. I don’t even care if someone wants pineapple on their pizza; that’s how much of a hard-core Go-Galt Randian Objectivist I can be when it comes to these matters.
Why are there no mustard pizzas? I’m not saying I want one; I hew close to what I know I want, and I don’t sully the perfection of pepperoni (spicy, greasy ) and sausage (sage, fennel, grease) with bacon, which always seems like a guy who was invited to a party and thinks everyone’s going to love him. Pizza with bacon is trying too hard. Pizza with Canadian bacon, sure, if you like, but it’s like inviting your pastor to your grooms’ night out.
I wrote something about streetcars, how we all love them but they made no economic sense towards the end, given the city’s control over their fares, the condition of the rolling stock, the advantages of buses. You get letters when you suggest that buses were an improvement, at least in the eyes of the people at the time. Let’s see: brand new; flexible routes; didn’t require a lattice of wires overhead; didn't block traffic when they stopped, but could pull over. I love streetcars, and if there was one that ran up Nicollet to downtown I’d take it every day. No one likes buses now because we associate them with - well, every experience we had on a bus. Somehow streetcars would be better, though. Everyone knows that.
Perhaps what people miss is the presumption of decorum: people behaved on streetcars. But that has more to do with the mores of the era, the culture of the town, than the means by which the vehicle was propelled.
Anyway, that’s just a few complaints. Note: these are all minor, meaningless quarrels, and we have far more in common than we might think. If you disagree with me it doesn’t mean you’re stupid or bad; it means your interrogation of the issue has led you to different conclusions. Everyone agrees with everyone about something.
But what’s the fun in that.
From the back of men's mags & general interest low-brow fiction.
Smut! Send now. Instant disappointment.
Bulco racy comics! Girls like it too, you hope, desperately hoping this one might be the kind of girl who likes to look at spicy pictures. You know, a regular gal, not one of those prim numbers at the office who wouldn’t look at you unless you were one of the salesmen who come in and sit on the edge of the desk and say things you wish you could say.
Pignose McLaffalot sez: ha ha! Clear illustrations. You can see everything!
If you’re pickle-snouted, go for these - clear illustrations, like the previous ad, but good clear illustrations as you like it.
Who wants to be that pervy guy?
No more serials for a while - just some light entertainment from the world of Drive-In pre-show rolls.
There’s a certain style that ruled from, oh, 58 to 65, let’s say. It’s this, and I love it. Straightforward, completely unironic, a shade ridiculous to modern eyes. Famous Italian Recipes? They got the pizza from that book? Oh man that’s for me
Yes, you may expel breath in the fashion that generally signals sexual approval
That'll do; see you around!