The picture above is a new hallway in an old building. I'm doing an article about the remodeling, and trying to find ways to say something nice, because I think it's a missed opportunity and, also, ugly as hell, if hell had been redecorated in 1973. It probably was.

More on this later, as I attempt to pad out Friday with lots of unrelated things of minor consequence.

I hope your weekend looks the way you want it to look; we’re due for rain and 60s, which makes for a nice autumnal patch. Daughter mentioned today that it didn’t feel very Halloweeny yet, and I said that’s because it’s fargin’ October 5, and also because she’s older. The magic has been drained from your life by your relentless course around the sun, child. Have a good day, and also, why, in my day, we didn’t get Halloweeny until late afternoon on the day itself, so don’t come to me with your boo-hoo can’t-get-the-feeling mopery about not feeling Halloweeny. We went to Target yesterday and walked past the displays, but you had to get home. For what? (mocking, whiny voice) Homework. You could have lingered and gotten into the mood, but (mocking, whiny voice) I have so much homework.


Nah, I don’t feel it either. Nor should we. It’s still green. It’s still bright. The sun is heading down fast at seven like it heard the cops are looking for it, but it’s still green.



Oh, you want some dog? Here's some dog.



He's fitting in fine.


A little lanky for a pure lab? I suspect so, but don't know. He's more comfortable taking walks, although cars still spook him - something I ascribe to being tiny and cold and alone by the roadside as the monsters roared past. I've no idea if that's what his early days were like, but you imagine all sorts of tragic backstories.





Yesterday’s food-kit piece was prompted by a lonnnng piece linked by Digg. If you don’t know Digg, it’s . . . it’s not what it used to be. It began as a place to share stories, like Fark or later Reddit; users had input over whether a story was voted up to the surface or buried. It was sold and ruined. It came back a few years ago in a few form, and I find it interesting - sometimes for the links and videos, but often for the worldview it doesn’t seem to know it describes.

I’ve no idea how big the staff is; three would seem to be enough, apart from the IT department. The design is settled; there are no fancy sliders or iframes; the page looks the same from day to day, except for the graphics that accompany the story.

Gannet recently sunk “a seven-figure sum” into the site, supposedly to mine its past content. Digg still lets users “digg” a story to approve it. On the front page right now, most of the stories have . . . five digs. Or six. Or four.

Not to brag, but yes to brag: if you look at the content you get here each week for free, it’s substantial. It may be boring to some - I’m sure some of it is of no interest to you at all - but it’s always been my goal to show you a bunch of stuff that interests me in the hopes you’ll see why, and perhaps put the random knowledge to good use. If you’ve read the Main Streets section, you might feel as if you know a bit more about small town architectural vernacular, how the towns grew, what happened to them. (Assuming you didn’t know, which I don’t.) We’re submersed in advertising all day long, so some knowledge of its history is helpful. And so on. Dog stories, the weekly Thursday Thumbsucker, Ephemera, music, pre-TV mass media - I do it all with a staff of Me, in my spare time, so the idea that organizations would have more than two people to write synopses for stories they didn’t write is incomprehensible.

But I don’t think they have a lot of people. There’s a common tone in these subheads, a sensibility that seems young, educated, and ill-informed. I screen cap from time to time. Example one:



Race driver? Say no more.

Guaranteed that this writer, upon discovering Steve McQueen, will not only pronounce him “badass” but find some proto-modern quality that makes him an Anti-Hero for Our Time, because everything has to relate to our time.


  It’s not that they don’t tell us, it’s that we’re rarely in a position to ask, and even if we were, we wouldn’t. The story links to the NYT, which depends on the demographic of The Rich to justify the ad rates in the glossy Sunday magazine. But it’s the subhead that speaks to the presumed audience for Digg: ha ha eat the rich ‘cause they suck and everyone else would then be better.

Oh, 40 Diggs for thoughtcrime. You can say they’re just linking, but there are a hundred variants of this idea they would never touch - and if they did, the subhead would disavow the story.

You should go to jail if you say you disagree with this certain set of scientific extrapolations. You should go to jail.

  Oh FFS no, they didn’t. I haven’t gotten around to this New Yorker piece yet, and now I want to read it. Just for its certain fiskability. They died young from dental abscesses and tigers ate them. They had no art and no comprehension of the vast world beyond. But you suspect the presumed audience of Digg is intrigued, because simpler = better, you know. Plus, modern society sucks.

Did I mention that the site took seven figures from a major media corporation recently? But you can trust its employees to keep it real, and fight capitalism like any sensible person who realizes that oligarchical collectivism is the surest path to equality.




It's almost like . . . intellectual insularity is bad



Something different this week, in advance of a story I'm doing for the paper next week. The TCF atrium, one of the deadest, darkest, most depressing 70s spaces downtown, has been remodeled. What it was:


Ugh. All that brick. Those 70s arches. The fountain that didn’t work anymore. Once a restaurant brought some life and noise to the place, but it was gone for years.

And now, the new version:


Better, but not by much.



It's almost entirely stairs now. See, people can sit on the steps and have impromptu collaborations!

They didn't collaborate much before.






Gildersleeve season 6. The show is mature, in a rut, but no one's completely bored with it . . . yet.

Here's music for one ep, showing how the composer used the same elements to distinguish scenes and moods.


Why, it's city music - transitioning to domestic-bliss music.



Why, it's an entirely different kind of city music.




Same ep. Now the "busy" theme is broken up and rearranged.





. . . and now the opening notes are reused for something a bit more tranquil.





AD: One hell of a bluesy shave ad.




What, is he haunting the place?



1969. Who was he, you ask? Well:

"He scored dozens of hits between the late-1930s and mid-1950s. He was married to actress and dancer Cyd Charisse for 60 years until her death in 2008."


That alone would earn a fellow a place in history.


That'll do; see you around! Thanks for dropping by.


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