General and specific blahs persist, and a certain amount of numbness has set in. I have to cattle-prod myself to do anything. Went grocery shopping in the evening, as usual for Wednesday, and since I had to go to CUfB store, you’re wondering what offense was perpetrated on my delicate sensibilities this time. It was in the bread aisle. The packages were sticky. It appeared as if a Coke had detonated somewhere on the shelf, and the loafs stuck together slightly, and left your hands feeling tacky.

Okay, I confess: they weren’t loaves, but packages of bagels. I hated to say that because people get indignant if you buy the wrong kind of bagel. Get the ones in the cooler! Okay, I will. No! Get the ones in the bakery aisle! Okay, yes, that sounds better than refridgerated. No, don’t get those, they come from some soulless institutional bakery! Go to the fresh bakery counter! Okay, that’s over there, but I suppose I could make a trip. No, don’t get those! Go to a store that makes good bagels! Okay, well, there’s an Einstein Bros. down the street, I could stop there. No, don’t do that! Franchise bagels suck! Go to a deli, and mrphghrhpmrhphs

Sorry, but I had to stick a bagel in your mouth. Now sputter incoherently while I buy whipped cream cheese.


The store depressed me, but I arrived pre-depressed for its convenience. I had visited Traders Joe and Infinite Intoxicants before, and had a merry time there; you can always banter at Traders Joe, and now and then the hooch-store clerks show a spark of personality. Not often, though. It’s strange: next door all the clerks are brimming with chat and brio; next door, they are, for the most part, subdued. It can’t be the nature of the job - at the Traders Joe liquor store, where I bought some wine, the clerk was quite chatty.

I bought a box of wine, and put it on the counter. “The lowly, but dependable, box of wine,” I said.

“It’s not bad!” she said.

“It’s a lousy paint thinner,” I said, “so that should mean something.”

“It’s what I served at my wedding,” she said. Good for her. Everyone’s a wine snob for the first glass, a great forgiver of deficiencies for the second, and past caring on the third.

When I got to CUfB, though, all the fight went out of me.

It’s not the weather, really. I think it's Wednesday and the occasional recognition that my days of being useful have diminished a great deal since my Dad job was put in the cryogenic tank.

According to Jezebel - no, I don’t visit that site, I saw a link - this is the Good Winter, because all the social obligations are done and you can be alone.

Does sound like something happy people would say? I don’t mean “happy” in the cliched sense - grinning, bubbly, everything is awesome, basic, problem-free. I mean someone who’s not bristling with resentments and ankle-deep in cat hair.



I mentioned I had cleaned out my studio. Then put it back together. The last step to setting up the room was hooking up the Xbox, since I have a simple resolution: waste time playing games. I need to find a game I can wander around in, doing things. Something where there’s redness, and also death, but the promise of redemption. No idea what, but I’ll find that game.

Had to sign in, of course. Can’t just play a game. The Xbox has never been used for games; bought it for 4K disks. But I have a Microsoft account.

Doesn’t everyone? I am always surprised to find I have a Microsoft account. Turns out I have many. There’s the work account. There’s another account I had to use for Skype - oh right, that’s Microsoft. What’s my password? Get out the pw manager, find it, type it in . . . no. Doesn’t work. Try the other one. Doesn’t work. Okay, reset it, even though this will probably echo down through everything else, and in six months I’ll find I have no access to Microsoft One OnCloud Office 365Look, or whatever service I use once a year, or daily.

So. Annoying. Why can’t I have one ID I use for everything, so I can be tracked constantly and served up custom ads?

Patience, lad, give it a few years.

So I had to reset my password, which meant going to the computer to access gmail, which mean using 2-step ID to enter a number from my phone. Just to sign on. To play a game. It’s like having a 20-minute interview with police to play a pinball machine.

Once I was in I realized I was using the default name and avatar assigned to me by Xbox On High, so this needed to be customized, as well as the background color. It was a nice reminder why I never felt comfortable playing consoles: I have no idea what button on the console does what. Okay this worked before to enter a submenu, let’s try it. NO NO DON’T SHUT DOWN DAMMIT

Okay, log on, enter the 6 digit code . . . what is that again? Right. Okay I’m in. Now enter password. Why? What was the code for? Okay. I’m in. Now let’s try Y and hope that highlights the proper option . . . oh dammit Y makes the machine blink, smoke, and utter the word ILLOGICAL in a metallic voice. Press right trigger! Depress left toggle! And so on. Eventually I changed my name - they had assigned me CandyCredits9382394523 or something - and my avatar, but I still feel estranged from the entire platform. It is my vow and my goal to play this damn thing, and use VR and write about it, and the only way I will become fluent in the buttons will be to use them all the time. Until the controller feels as natural in my hand as the phone.

I can do this, guys. I can.








I was here years ago - many, many years ago, I realize with a small sigh - to do a story on the town for the paper. A weekend getaway! There wasn’t much to get away to, but it was a nice place. It’s known for something quite important to Minnesotans, but we’ll get to that.


Let's imagine the pride of the man who had this one built. “Well, there it is - the most economical yet handsome commercial building in our fine fair town. I expect it’ll be known for years for its uniqueness, and special, simple perfection."


“Why, surely no other - OH HELL MERRICK NO YOU DIDN’T"


"I told my architect not to sell to that got-damned Merrick"

This one literally seems to be whistling past the graveyard.


Cruel Bucarooism, and what the hell is going on with that little pointy part and peculiar balustrade?



He built it? I guess a man could make a nice living doing simple, illustrative diagrams.

“I can’t get around it, Mr. Neal. The middle wall is a load-bearing wall.”

“Can’t you just bring the bricks forward so the facade is flush?”

Architect falls silent, fumes internally, wondering why didn’t think of that.

“No, sir, would weaken the building. Fatally, I fear.”

No one’s ever seen them without their helmets:

A prime example of an awning uniting two different buildings.

Some buildings just look horribly hung over.

The Delta Rhythm Boys were an American vocal group active for over 50 years from 1934 to 1987.

I mention that because it's in the placeholder copy, and now and then throughout the year you're going to see it, because I forgot to remove it. Our little runing joke.

Look at that lovely little building - a touch of style and grace filtered through the machine-era aesthetic of Art Deco.


Stuck wearing a shingled hat.

“And here’s the Captain of our chapter to explain how we spent too much of the stone budget on the fish fry.”



“Work on that door, Johnson; we’re only hiring hobbits now, and I don’t want them to feel self-conscious when they see a big door.”

Another view:






A banker named F. H. Davis who purchased the Post in 1931 and sold it to father-son B.A. Johnson and M.A. Johnson.

Then in 1937 banker Davis bought the Register from Palmer and sold that also to the Johnsons.

The sales included the newspaper building. If you look at where Blue Earth Graphics is now located, it says "Post - Johnson-Davis" on the building.

Doesn’t explain why both names are chiseled on the front.

That’s it. No bank, no movie theater. But there is a Supervalu - a brand that disappeared from most grocery-story signs decades ago.


But they have the Colossus of Peas. That's what we Minnesotans know, and love.

Drive around; take a look.


That'll do - see you tomorrow. Main Street Overkill Thursday continues on the weekly update, below.





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