Except for the big dead downtown mall, I was saying.

Now, the second part of the New Ulm trip. Why did I break it up? Because I had big TV Tuesday in the pipeline, that's why, and besides, who cares. Anyway, I left off with an observation about small town enclosd malls suffering uniform fates: bad.

My heart sank when I saw it. And then my heart sank more when I saw it locked, because there’s nothing like a big dead retail graveyard in the middle of downtown to depress everyone.

News from 2013:

NEW ULM — The Marktplatz Mall’s three-year-long legal battle gained another twist in its increasingly bizarre story with two arrests of one of its owners this week.

Randy Danielson, owner of the southern mall portion, was arrested Nov. 1 for failing to appear at his Oct. 29 court hearing over charges he stole scaffolding and a ladder from Ted Javert, the northern side’s mall manager.

It was a mall with two owners, and I gather there were . . . disputes. One story mentions a wall put up to mark the property line, so one side could heat his side without heating the hated enemy.

Google reviews:

This place is an absolute joke. Conditions of the building are terrible. Absolutely filthy. Once there were 3 different bowel movements found in the hallway. The building isn't heated causing its customers discomfort. The hallways were falling apart with no concern to clean up. Water pipes broke and mild can be smelled thru the facility. The owner is very unprofessional. Witnessed him cursing out a patron in front of kids and other adults. Swearing in front of them and kicking children out of the room that is rented out for a service that he has agreed upon. Cops came and he couldn't even show authority the respect needed to handle the situation. New ulm is such a beautiful town but this "mall" is like the slums.

It is a beautiful town. Time is passing incredibly slowly, though. Every time I look at my watch I expect an hour to have passed, and it’s been 20 minutes. I’m sitting here right now:


Big old retail space nicely renovated, with the obligatory art on the wall and the exposed brick and pressed tin roof. There are a few students tapping away, a group of chic & well-put together ladies of a certain age by the fireplace, and one strange hairy man in his 30s who is gesturing in an odd fashion to no one in particular. A small town eccentric, probably born here, never to leave, living in his parents’ house, which will fall into utter chaos once they die.

It’s a small enough town so everyone probably recognizes him, and big enough so only a few know the story.

He just belched “YO” for some reason


Oh to hell with staying over night, there’s nothing to do. I’m having dinner at 5:30 because you have to eat and get to bed before it’s nine, don’t you know, so I’m going to have my plant burger and hit the road.

Yes, plant burger! Because the magazine piece will be all over the fact that A) you can get a plant-based burger a 100 miles outside of town, and B) they will put cheese and bacon on it. Yes.

I brought my good camera, and I call it my “good camera” because it has a long lens and I can twist the lens to zoom, but really, the camera in my phone - well, here’s my glamour shot of the espresso choco martini:


LATER The plant burger was incredible. It was impossibly good. Why, in fact it’s called the Impossible Burger.

Last thing: Herrman.


He was a German who whupped the Romans, and stands on a cupola guarded by lions . . .

. . . overlooking the quiet valley.

Sunset followed, and I followed the yellow line home.






We return to the utterly generic story of . . .


Uh - that’s the entire plot of this thing, isn’t it?

Dr. Layton is not Dr. Layton; he’s under the control of the Monster, Purple (as he was known in the phone book.) It was a pretty cool trap, and just the sort of thing gangsters build in their apartment buildings.

They made telephone mouthpieces extra strong in those days.

Craig Foster goes back to talk to Dr. Layton - Dr. Uncle Scientist, as we know him - to show him the piece of paper he found in the apartment building. It’s blank - but when you rub pencil shavings on it, you see the name of Benjamin, the inventor of the Atmospheric Stabilizer!

So he saw a blank piece of paper, and picked it up because it might have secret writing. Yep.

Back at the lair, Purple tells his henchman that he screwed up the assignment, and Foster is still alive, and he knows about Benjamin. You fool! You’re useless. And so:

Oh for heaven’s sake. MARSha, no doubt. So Purps and his hunch go out to the field to await MARSha, and Purps says “that is projectile X-7. Inferior to the jet plane we are building, but adequate for a one-way voyage.” You get a good sense of the top-flight Martian space transportation technology here:


Meanwhile, at Dr. Benjamin’s lab, he declines protection, because “he is used to working with death at his elbow.” Okay, Dr. Drama. But he demonstrates a disintegrator he built into his doorway:



Just a little security feature he whipped up in his spare time and declined to give to the military, I guess. Well, Dr. Deathdoor has a young female assistant . . .

. . . . and we know where this is going:

This makes good dramatic sense; we’re tired of Purps pulling the old vape-and-body-switch routine. You do wonder why she’s Marsha, and he’s PURPLE MONSTER. She is also Purple, right? Why not PURPLE MARSHER or something. Or PURPLE MONSTRESS?

Anyway, so Purplish Marsha gets the information, tells Purpls she has the deets, but her keen Martian intelligence and undercover skills temporarily fail her; she doesn’t notice the professor coming back from lunch.

He runs out of the building and goes to a phone booth, right? Nah.

Layton hears the shot, and drives over. Two hench are present, and you know where this is going: Chekov’s rule about showing disintegrating doorframes.


That'll do; some insider ads await you in the Sixties section.


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