We’ve concluded the tale of last week’s journey across Minnesota and the revelations of family, but there’s one more picture, and it’s the banner above: Downtown Royalton. Highway Ten is broad at this point, and the intersection’s just an irritation - a light that lasts too long, and gives you time to take in the decay. Across the street, an elevator; down the road, more businesses of a modern sort, big billboards, the old tourist-trap of Treasure City. But this block - well. It used to have an antique store, and I used to stop there. It’s closed, all the Grandma detritus from the old houses and farms dispersed to God knows where. The town is more than this, but one day this will fall; one day this may burn; one day there will be nothing.

People will pause at the light, and wonder why they have to stop.

I am an arcing, sparking, leaping, severed power line on the lawn at the moment, mood-wise, and this is a personal failing: one should be even-tempered and repress the irritation. Marcus Aurelius probably had something to say along those lines. The reasons are entirely trivial, but the reasons were a lance in a caldera, and whoosh! out comes tons of compressed magma. Glad it’s Friday, with the attendant pleasures. I may finish Star Wars: Last Jedi.

Except I don’t care.

This is unnerving, really. It’s the first Star Wars movie I didn’t see in the theater. Started watching it last weekend, when I had the house to myself, and it just laid there like a cold pancake - which I ascribed to mood, or lateness of the hour, or something. But I just didn’t care. Now, I’ve never been the guy who was totally into Star Wars and read all the books and can explain the Kessel Run Thing and can rattle off the name of six Hutts, but I’ve been there since the start - and this was the first time I saw the words - long ago, far away - felt the crash of the logo and theme, and was suffused with a grey cloud of meh.

Maybe it’s the weather. Gah. April:

What’s up in Detritus this week? Oh, let’s go thump the empty watermelons at BuzzFeed again.

“REAL URBANIST HOURS WHO UP,” replied Eldred, posting a “heart” reaction. It was late at night, during midterms. Jonathan Marty, then a sophomore at New York University majoring in urban studies, chimed in: “tbh where are all of the jane jacobs/robert moses meme groups??”

Within days, “New Urbanist Memes For Transit-Oriented Teens” was born.

Oh joy

Okay. First of all, stop talking like Black people. Second, tbh doesn’t work here - “where are all of the jane jacobs / robert moses meme groups??” doesn’t need to be prefaced by “to be honest.” Not that anyone elected me txt-speak sheriff. Third, it’s nice that the kids today are interested in urban planning, since, as the warning goes, urban planning is interested in them - where they should live and how they should get around. If many of them grow up to enter the field, I hope they find it satisfying.

Anyway: I joined the group. There's lots of enthusiasm for trains, and almost no love for buses, which are far superior to trains except they’re not as cool. Trains are cool! Buses are declasse. If you take a bus, replace the tires with metal wheels, put it in a track that can’t be altered once its laid (without significant expense) and put electrical wires overhead, then the bus is cool, but if the bus is capable of independent locomotion, forget it.

I find myself at odds with allies over urban density, because I’m in favor of it, conditionally. Downtown, yes: densify all you want. But if your goal is to penalize car usage and make it impossible to drive downtown, then you’re ageist and ableist who wants poor old ladies with gammy legs to stand outside in the cold waiting for a bus instead of driving to work, and you need to check your health and youth privilege. You’re also callous about the working poor who have two jobs and can’t rely on a bus to get them across town in time. You hate the poor, and wish they would die. Your valid ideas are irrelevant b/c I have feelings tbh, smdh at you.

Am I doing this right? I’ve been studying the masters from afar for years.

Elsewhere in the Enthusiasms of Youth:


One of the accomplishments of the OMG school of female writing is the use of “obsessed” to indicate “a mild, fleeting interest soon replaced by another fluttery butterfly OH LOOK I AM NOW OBSESSED WITH CIDER VINEGAR ARMPIT DOUCHE ROUTINES. No, child, you’re not obsessed. Let’s see how she writes when not aping the Buzzfeed stylebook:

Meghan comes from America. Her parents are American. I'm generalizing here, but I think it's fair to say that lots of Americans don't know shit about Britain because once we revolted, we were like, byeeeee we have our own problems (and also we only care about ourselves).

Casual cuss because it’s edgy? Check. Transcription of uptalk Valley Girl? chatter? Totally; check. Historical ignorance? Check! Obligatory swipe at Americans because we’re the worst amirite? Check.

And that is why I am completely obsessed with Meghan Markle's dad doing some light reading to learn about Britain, the country that his daughter will at the least be a prominant figure of, and at the most, literally become like, queen (if a bunch of people die first).

She actually wrote, and was presumably compensated for, the phrase “of, and at the most, literally become like,”

Commentors noted that she will would not be the Queen. The article was changed:

And that is why I am completely obsessed with Meghan Markle's dad doing some light reading to learn about Britain, the country where his daughter will, at the least, be a prominent figure and, at the most, literally become, like, the queen or something (if a bunch of people die first)!

There’s also a picture of Hadrian’s Wall, which the author references as a picture of “pretty green hills,” which suggests the whole thing is performance art. What else has the author brought to the world?

Yes, it's a schtick. Has to be.



I charge you with being . . . poorly drawn!

The defense would have this tossed out in a second, once it got Lawson on the stand and asked him if he's sat at the desk and touched anything.

Solution here.



Once again, the uncollected music of a great modern composer, who did some chamber pieces for a short-lived radio show.


I can't say it's all brilliant stuff, but like I say: as far as I know, they've never been collected together like this.

But he was really phoning it in.

Instead of the swank old sounds of Goodwill albums, this year we're going to share bad 1960s pop music. The second- and third-tier tunes.

1969. Okay, it's not bad, but . . . it's so rote.


Can you imagine every wanting to hear it again?




Oh Lord no the terrifying hell-train speaks again



Ta da. The week is done. Tune in Monday for calmer words. I hope.


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