Yesterday and today's Bleat banners were taken at the Baker Building. It was rehabbed a few years ago. It used to have lots of shops.

It doesn't have them anymore.

Today I noticed the new fencing around the 333, which of course is my building's rival. (It's not, but I like to think of things in those terms, as if they growl at each other and square off in a constant rivalry over which is better and has more amenities.) My building has acres of glass just begging for the Bolshie brick; not boarded up at all. The 333 took this approach.

That'll hold 'em.

Saw a guy come out of the 333 into the skyways without a mask. Had an expression that said nope, no more with that. Went I entered the lobby there was a young woman on the phone outside of the closed coffee shop, laughing away. She wasn't wearing a mask, either. I haven't seen two examples of conspicuous indoor masklessness since this all began. In the morning I had passed a fellow so swaddled up he looked like something from Mad Max, as if he was protecting himself against the sun and the gritty wind. He's normal; the other two aren't. Fences and boards are normal; my building is an outlier.

On the other side of the Gummint Center, there's the Thrivent building, which is taking no chances:

"There, we secured all the glass. What? What do you mean, we've hardly started? All the windows are - oh."

Well, I wish I had more to report, but there's little to say about life outside these days, and less to say about life inside. Had a nice text chat with Daughter about her monologue, which will be performed in class tomorrow.  Made a clumsy Italian meal with things that did not go together visually, and probably violated some culinary law. Slices of sausage with ravioli? Vito, get the knucks.

Speaking of which: the other day the paper ran an ad for a spirits store / Italian deli. Full page! The prices were really good - I mean, $11.44 for the 12 pack that's $15.99 everywhere else. So I drove there. Twenty-one minutes away, which is no small distance, and part of that was on the ridiculous 35-E freeway, which has a 45 MPH speed limit to placate the people who didn't want it coming through at all. The place was small, crowded, and smelled fantastic. I ended up buying homemade pizzas and Italian hot dishes. At checkout I found a manager and told him I had seen the ad in the StarTribune and that's why I was here, so that was a good decision, buying that ad! Also, the fact that I work there is completely irrelevant.

I'll report back on the pizza. It would be amusing if you bought something an truly authentic Italian deli, a hole-in-the-wall that had served the neighborhood for generations, and discovered the food was awful because they stuck to Mama's recipes, and she was just a horrible cook.










I’ll leave it to all the recappers and Marvel deet-nerds to uncover everything about Wandavision, but I will say this: it’s one of the best commentaries on media and TV culture I’ve seen. It inhabits its eras without effort, then brings to the surface something jarring and real that jerks the inhabitants out of the sitcom hallucination. The tone shift between the decades is interesting, though - the first ep, set in the 50s, had a freeze-dried, stylized quality that seemed impenetrable - remote, set aside, an artifact. Subsequent decades seemed less stable, and that was intentional; we’re supposed to intuit Wanda’s inability to maintain the enforced hallucination before we understand what’s going on. But it also has the effect of making the 50s / 60s versions embodiments of a bygone culture, past, gone, over.

Because it is.

The 70s shots are familiar to me, intensely; perhaps dim to those who saw reruns, an internet reference to those who saw a clip on a YouTube show about the Bradys.

This was not how most things looked, but it was how the TV places looked, and some motel lobbies, and maybe a house you saw in a magazine.

This is as much 60s as 70s, and perhaps more so. Sitcoms with their static sets dragged one decade's ideas into the other.

The product design is on point, and a reminder: this isn’t real

It’s quite good. And I hope it does not go on past one season. Or, if they feel compelled to do another, I hope they explore decades of the early 20th century without the interference of an outside story involving SWORD. Just Wanda and Vision in the 20s, living a creamy B&W high society life in the 30s, acting out a Middletons life in 40s wartime.

That would mean they would have to do the 20s eps as Silents, and that’s probably a deal-killer. But if Disney really wanted to do something brave, they’d do three eps as silent movies. A comedy, a romance, a western. The artistic challenge would be easily met. The audience would learn something. They could teach us about those old dim gauzy movies, because right now the audience will watch Wanda and Vision in anything.



It’s 1921. What delights could the consumer possess a hundred years ago?

Lots of smokes today, because it’s taken from a Cigar sellers industry mag.

Well, that’s one way to meet the health concerns head on:



Get back one of these! Let someone else go around to the front and burn his lips. The cigar was named after a governor of New York, and was one of the nation’s most popular brands.

The last factory was surprisingly small; you can take a tour, here.

Otto started making cigars in the basement, and obviously they caught on. Well, all cigars catch on, unless they’re wet.

His name survives as a historic district, composed of his factories and warehouses.

Some of those bastards will sell you a bad cigar if you just ask for a Garcia!

"Julius Klorfein" is such a 20s name.

I see this style of art all over the 20s - one guy, or a style cranked out by correspondence schools, or just the way everyone did things?

The text of the ad. It’s peculiar to modern eyes. A bit much.

Oh, they "let you know," all right. AN unfiltered Chesterfield will take off the top of your head if it’s been a while.

More: they did a lot of these. No French styles welcome, I take it. Had enough of that after the war.

Here you go:

The 20s spanned those archaic images you saw above and this up-to-date style here. And it’s only 1921!


That'll do; our weekly visit with Mr. Williams awaits.



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