Red Road, in case you're interested, because it's February, and the banner art for Feb is always red. Will it be green next month? It's entirely possible, because I'm just that predictable.

Just got back from the Post Office, where I mailed my passport renewal. Had to have a new picture taken, which felt like submitting the Dorian Grey attic portrait. I look like a war criminal.

The music in the Post Office was loud, and the clerk in a sunny mood; everyone who came in got a big hello and a stream of patter. How Minnesotan! Well, no, she was from Texas. The first song on the radio I didn’t know, but the second I did.

“Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Cairnes,” I said. “It had a sound effect we had never heard on the radio before. Electronic clapping. Caught everyone’s ears, you had to hear that again.”

“Where is it? Don’t hear it.”

“Second verse, not same as the - nevermind, it’s coming up.” And when it did, I clapped, and I wanted to say “actually, if the video is to be taken as gospel, I should be slapping you,” but I did not.

You know what I mean, right?

Ahhh, maybe I was punchy from the week. Why is no one ever slappy? I think that would describe a state of extreme peeved irritation: stop slapping me! Punchy, you’re weaving. Slappy, you’re outraged. Unless you’re the unlikely recipient in a Dan Duryea movie, then you cower. From all accounts he was a nice guy, but played sleazy too well, and once he’d crossed the line in a movie and slapped a dame, he was, I understand, expected to do it again the next time.

That's a lot to get out of a simple trip to the post office, but these Bleats aren't going to pad themselves.

Hey, here's something exciting! Cheese redesign!

This is the Old Cheese:

Over-designed logo, but it didn't seem so at the time. Swooshhy banner. Lots of text. This was about four years beyond the expiration date, design wise.

Meet the New Cheese:

It's so much more real and honest and down-to-earth, because it looks like they let the intern letter the name!

Also, little bird on the barn, saying something cute and only 12% ironic. No one uses "goodness" sincerely but if you have a bird - sorry, a birb say it, then it's okay! Gone the line about "since 1926," because who cares.

It's cleaner, and more . . . winsome. I like it, even though the "amateur lettering that reminds you of a coffee shop where the baristas had a lot of time and got creative with chalk" thing is overused, and will mark this era like few other tics of graphic design.

Who cares? you ask. Hey: these are the small things that make up a culture.

The best news in a long time: they've finally improved the ugly corner of the ugly City Center and made it less ugly.

They have to do the rest of the building. They have to. I beg them.

The Nicollet Hotel Block site just barely raising itself above ground level. It's a whole block, so this stage is sloooowwww.

I haven't shown you any casualties, since most of the new construction has been going up on empty blocks. There's one site down by the convention center that's been boarded up for some time, and I wonder when it's going down.

No one will miss it, but they should - it's one of the few little 50s structures left downtown.

It doesn't look closed, but it is.

Finally: weekly progress on the new Public Service building.


From my vast collection of things with almost no monetary value whatsover, I bring you this week's entry.


The term for stuff like this is "michelangiolesca."

As in "It certainly looks like his stuff, but I'll be damned if I can find this guy in any of his paintings. But I'm sure it's somewhere."

Date: 1961.


If it's 1961, we can reasonably assume the person whose DNA is on the back of this stamp lived through the era of Mussolini.


Mounted-fish-related scrapes afoot:

You know what the problem is, but you can't quite define it? Solution is here.






Hello, ever-y-body! Hello.

Let's drop in on our old new friend, the homespun philosopher dealing plain truths and extrapolating all sorts of things from things like . . . weeds?




Mr. Devil Grass got him to thinkin'




I've snipped a bit; I think you get the idea.




He was . . .  

an Italian-American tenor and actor who enjoyed success in the United States and internationally after gaining notice in Britain in the early 1960s. In 1962, RCA Victor signed him to a seven-year contract and in October of that year Franchi appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed at Carnegie Hall. Sol Hurok managed Franchi's initial American concert tour.

Franchi became a headliner in Las Vegas, and starred in concerts and cabarets on several continents. His earliest ambitions and studies had been directed toward an operatic career, but he instead found his niche in popular and romantic music.

Had a fine career until a brain tumor took him out at the age of 64.








1973: Ads are different now. Lively, silly, a bit absurd - and as you can tell from the announcer's voice, quite self-aware. (Because it's that guy.)

That'll do, right? No! A bonus of Chain Store Age today to fill out the edition.




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