Wednesday is the provisioning day. I hit all the stores, plan the next weeks’ drinks meals, stock up on the sales. There are days when I am annoyingly outgoing and days when I am a crab scuttling in a shell. The latter is usually do to the vast weight of the ages: I have been coming to this Target since forever ago, so much as changed, so many joys have come and gone, the best is behind me - oh look, that entree is $2 off, so there’s that.

Routine and ritual are helpful - every train gets where it needs to go because the rails are sunk deep and solid - but sometimes they feel like the walls of a cattle chute. The amusing thing is thinking how the stores have changed - Lundsenbirely’s was torn down and rebuilt. Target was torn down and rebuilt. The Cufb was rehabbed. The highway I take was torn down and reconfigured. Tall towers have risen in the neighborhood; the streets have been designed to wind instead of go straight, with roundabouts. A big Restoration Hardware store, looking like a Planet Coaster building using the Classic and Spooky DLC, occupies a former parking lot. One of the boring 80s banks will be leveled soon. The change has been constant, and dynamic. It’s all the better for it.

But it’s somehow still the same. Live long enough anywhere, and you can, if you wish, see things in layers. What was here before that. Traders Joe and Comprehensive Intoxicants occupy a smaller structure next to a needless but apparently required big-box fourplex. It used to be . . . Circuit City.

It only takes a second, and the jingle’s recalled from the memory banks. Welcome to Circuit City. Where service is state of the art. Ah, the 90s:

I can attest to the truth of that. In the early 90s, living in DC, I bought a new TV at Circuit City: a huge, immense, top-of-the-line Sony 27”. I had no way to get it home, so the salesman delivered it. That’s service. The first thing I watched was ST: TNG, and I marveled: what a huge picture! So sharp! It’s a new world!

Then I moved back to Mpls, where Circuit City wasn’t a big player - yet. I was amused when they made a play for the market, because no one knew who they were, and no one cared. I knew! Because I had lived elsewhere, and was wise to the ways of the world. When it shuttered in the wake of the panic of the early Oughts, it felt like a bad, bad sign. The building was dark for years.

Now it’s not, and I want to tell the clerks “where we are checking out right now used to be the approximate location of a failed chain of electronic retailers. In fact the liquor department was where you returned items and pled your case.” But they were zygotes when the store closed.

Anyway. It was a good provisioning errand, except for the empty shelves here and there. You want to say “it’s the end of the day, they’ll restock overnight.” You wonder if there’s another toilet-paper run, if we’ll see off-brands from Egypt popping up in six months again, because the buyers had to switch it up. The health section seems to have odd gaps - did everyone have a headache and buy out all the ibuprofen? Plenty of fresh meat, but everything is more expensive - you have baseline prices in your head, and everything is 15 - 20% more.

Everyone’s used to it. But everyone knows. The only people who don’t think it’s important are the people who have other people do these things for them.

My questions for anyone seeking political office would be this: describe your grocery store visits over the last year. In detail. What brands? Do you use self-checkout? Do you bag? What’s the non-sale price of orange juice? What’s the median cost of a 12-pack of soda, averaged out over sale and non-sale weeks?

Sorry, busy meeting with community leaders to fix things!

Yeah well everyone has a job. How much is a box of spaghetti?


Sur le boulevard, Jean Béraud.

I suspect this is a friend from school, dressed up in a richer man's clothes:

She suspects she's being followed by Faceless Lincoln:

Says the Web Gallery of Art:

Working during La Belle Époque, Jean Béraud was a skilled documenter of Parisian daily life, which by then had become a spectacle of display. While his Impressionist contemporaries were moving out into the country to study the changing effects of the landscape during the late nineteenth century, Béraud remained rooted in Paris, studying the city life and its people.

After Baron Haussmann's reorganization and expansion of the Parisian boulevards during the mid-century, which created the Paris recognizable today, the great expanses of space constructed encouraged people to mill about the city, bringing every member of society out from inside their homes. The life of Paris was now found along the boulevards. No longer were residents traveling in a labyrinthine maze of small, medieval streets. Now fashionably dressed men and women spent their afternoons walking through the park, or strolled along the fashionable boulevards where they could now window shop and indulge their senses. Cafes became major gathering places for both the upper echelon of society and the modern artists seeking refuge from this display of pomp. Béraud had ample subject matter since Paris had become a world of “flaneurs,” or an idle stroller, and the leisurely activity of aimless wandering became a hobby for the most cultured of individuals. He began to document these, and many other images, during his prolific career.

Sue me, but I color corrected it.









It’s a rare three-week visit, another look at the damage done to New Ken.

I wouldn’t have headed back, except last week’s entry didn’t have this.

I know, I know how could we ha ve survived without that. But look at it. The different types of bricks make for a mystery I'll never solve, but you can see the bones of the old building, with its broad windows.

Was there a previous view? There was.

Ah yes. The modernization of downtown. Look at those groovy light fixtures. It's a city on the move!


I looked elsewhere, and found blocks and blocks of damage. Thanks to the Google cars, there’s a record of what was there before fire or progress or infirmity took the structure.

This one survived:


Off-the-shelf ornamentation, but it's nice. The gap on the top was the architect's choice, I think.

What in the wide world of sports is this


Let's go back in time:

I have no clue. Older signs say it was a social club.

I've never seen a configuration like that.

Down the block, the old Italian meeting hall:

Now it's the Sons of Now Open Knead:

The insignia of the old order have been removed.

Another example of the high groovy light fixtures:

Hey, here's a nice old terra-cotta structure. The windows are covered up, but it must have been a proud store:

Ah well

In its last days it was . . .

There's a great little corner bar: let's stop on for a bump.


Too late.

Well, let's turn around, and see if there's anything we can do in this building . . . .

Ah, we blinked, and it's gone.

This one seems to have survived.

  I suppose everyone knew what this meant.

Doesn't look as if Penn is a going concern anymore:


To say the least.


How many teens got their prom tux here?

We wave the wand, and poof: like it never existed.


Looks like the Formal Wear place had two shops downtown:

And they both had to go.


I hate to say it, but we're not done here yet.


  That will  have to do. Now hit the road.





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