Sitting outside and regretting it. Skeeters. After the rains of this week, they rose in clouds to roam the land, skeletonizing small children and squirrels, leaving behind sacks of skin sucked dry. My wife bought some all-natural repellant whose labels assures you it doesn’t contain all these mean nasty chemicals, which is your guarantee that it won’t work at all. Seriously: I sprayed every inch of exposed skin with this stuff, and I am a Golden Corral buffet for these bugs right now.

Seriously: the bottle says it repels mosquitos for 2 hours. I put it on and a minute later I’m bitten right where I applied it. Oh, are you sure? Perhaps that’s a half-inch-square patch that didn’t get sufficient dosage. So the skeeters are able to use the scent to navigate to exposed areas? I want the repellent to make them turn away in horror, filled with dread like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange,” revolted to the point of vomiting by the thought of their proboscis alighting on a human. And I want Wendy Carlos music playing while it happens.

There’s a little bit of Wendy Carlos in the Diner phone book travel music, you know. Left over from an aborted podcast series I wrote but couldn’t do because I lack other people. It’ll make a great TV series some day when the tools are available - and by tools I mean a vast collection of rooms and streets you can use for animation, off the shelf, convincing CGI humans, and filters that make your voice sound completely different. Then we can produce high-quality series at home, and most of them will be amazingly bad. Just imagine the fanfic.

Well, what have we in Detritus today?

The Construction feature has fallen on fallow times, because the big projects I covered (don’t you love that? Covered. Like it was a beat) are done, and I didn’t make daily or even weekly jaunts past some of the larger apartment projects downtown.

I sensed your disappointment and fidgety need for updates, though. On a recent swing down Washington Avenue, I was startled to see one of the new projects was much, much bigger than I’d thought.

The small windows on the angled side make no sense whatsoever.

Just a few years ago:

The corner now:

Just a few years ago:

The Traders Joe on the site will be opening soon.

No one saw this coming, ever, in the tired old days when the street was just a blank ache.

Watch this space:

It’s the next Friday Construction feature. It isn’t tall but it’s big.

The other day I was driving home, and realized that this building had to have been a movie theater:

Sure enough:

Credit: Chris1982

Something like that makes a neighborhood a neighborhood, and its absence takes away something that just opens a vein. But here's what really caught my eye.

If you know how to read a building - or, like me, just think you do - you can figure this out. The windows are from the 30s, a little piece of Streamline Moderne that modernized an older building. The stone around it? Postwar. Then they bricked up the window.

Put it all together and you have a standard Minneapolis neighborhood, working class, with a movie theater and a sleek cafe / bar where people went to spend a little and enjoy the evening.

Hats and skirts, smokes and gum-chewers, cars with big round fenders, Cagney on the marquee.

Just the shape of the window brings it all back.



Mumps Lawson is quite casual when it's time to interrogate the horsey set:

Everyone's story is just ridiculous to Lance. You can imagine he just got so tired of people who put so little thought into it. Solution here.

Also, the plot is credited to Florence Michaud, who lived here. If Census records can be belived, she was about 19 when she submitted this.

You know she clipped it out and put it in a scrapbook.



It's the latest installment of radio's fabulous fabulist, Bill Stern.


Part two really pegs the BS meter, doesn't it?



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. Let's pick on the glandular case.


. . . until someone said "I don't know, isn't that 'Satisfaction' by the Stones, man?"




1946. You're going to need coffee for this one.



And now, the rest of the story.

Was there a Lise? There was.

Lise Meitner (/7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner and Otto Hahn led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron; the results were published in early 1939.  Meitner and Otto Frisch understood that the fission process, which splits the atomic nucleus of uranium into two smaller nuclei, must be accompanied by an enormous release of energy. Nuclear fission is the process exploited by nuclear reactors to generate heat and, subsequently, electricity.  This process is also the basis of the nuclear weapons that were developed in the U.S. during World War II and used against Japan in 1945.

Bill Stern said her sweetheart "Joseph" gave her money to go to school, because she couldn't afford it. Well:

Meitner's earliest research began at age 8, when she kept a notebook of her records underneath her pillow. She was particularly drawn to math and science, and first studied colors of an oil slick, thin films, and reflected light. Women were not allowed to attend public institutions of higher education in Vienna around 1900, but Meitner was able to achieve a private education in physics in part because of her supportive parents, and she completed in 1901 with an "externe Matura" examination at the Akademisches Gymnasium.

Meitner studied physics and went on to become the second woman to obtain a doctoral degree in physics at the University of Vienna in 1905 (her dissertation was on "heat conduction in an inhomogeneous body").

It's a sports story because the boyfriend was a soccer player.

Then he died, but she still kept on keeping score. Flash forward to 1938, when Lise was arrested by the Gestapo and questioned about her soccer-scoring notebook! "She is an eccentric old fool, but she is harmless!" said her friend.

Actually, she was "head of the physics department of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry." I don't think that would have eluded the Gestapo.

The whole story was . . . BS.


Whew! Oh, right: I promised a Diner. And here you are.


Diner 2018 E14.




Somehow I feel as if this week has been lacking. I'll try to be better next week, and as ever, I thank you for your patronage.




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