That's what we needed today. It got cold and wet. This nice fire burns in the lobby of a nearby building; they recently redid the space to include the newly-popular Spontaneous Collaboration Pods, where people meet with laptops and do important company work that syngergistically optimizes brand stickiness. Or at least they might, if there was anyone around.

"Nice dank October day," I said to the manager at Lobby Pizza, and he said yes, good for business. How so?

"It's nice, people think, I'm not going to go in, I'll 'work' at, you know, the lake. It's lousy, they think I might as well go to the office."

Me, I'd feel cut off from life itself if I didn't go here every work day.

There are six buildings in that picture, and I can tell you stories about every one of them. They're all old friends.

They turned on the fireplace in my lobby, and the Muzak is back. It's literally Muzak. Well, no, I don't know that; it might not come from the Muzak corporation, but it's easy-listening stuff. It's old easy-listening stuff. Like, dentist's waiting room in 1966. I like it fine.

Speaking of non-engaging musical soma: I listened to 37 minutes of hold music today. I made a mistake on the reservation. For some reason the stored data for my wife had the wrong birthday. You cannot go in to the system and change this yourself; you have to contact Delta.

The problem is that Delta does not really want to be contacted.

If you call the number, you are warned that we are experiencing high call volume, and have not adjusted staffing levels at all; why would we? At least that’s what they should say. I was on hold longer than the actual length of the flight I was calling to change, it seemed. At least the hold music was unobtrusive. Meandering jazz. It made me wonder how much demand there is these days for smooth jazz - you know, the stuff secretaries put on the stereo in 1983 when someone was coming over for dinner for the third date. I was listening to some Pat Metheny the other day, and wondered: is this stuff just over?

I mean, it seems to be over for Pat Metheny, inasmuch as I don’t hear him doing this type of music any more, so perhaps that’s a clue.

Anyway. Eventually I gave up on Delta, because my earbuds ran out of juice.  I used the message option in the app, which is what they really want you to do. I entered all the info as I was coming back into the building. A security guard said hello and called me by name, which took me aback a bit - I didn't know him, but, well, this is the StarTribune building, so. Maybe I did know him. His face was covered.

"How are you?" he asked.

"It's a dark damp day," I said. "But great."

He looked concerned, then said "Oh. Damp," emphasis on the P.

No one answers the phone, people have masks over their mouths. It's as if we're all getting used to less and less human contact.

At Comprehensive Intoxicants tonight I was looking for something on the shelf by the checkout, and the clerk said "did you find it?"

"Ixnay," I said.

"Ixnay," he said. "I don't know what that means."

He was in his early 20s. "Nix, in Pig Latin."

"I don't know what nix is."

"To negate, to say no, to cancel."


"American vernacular, although I guess not any more."

"Nix," he said, chewing it over.

"Make a cool name for an adult beverage. Nix your cares with Ixnay." I could suddenly see the label. Couldn't be bold sans-serif, that would seem to blunt and honest. Something with a script? No, the typefaces they use for Scotch whiskys. Now I was convinced it was one of those islands known for a particular flavor of whisky. Peat, hint of smoke, note of fish. From the Isle of Ixnay.

No, it would be Ichsnay. Not Icchsnay; that looks too close to Ecch, the 60s / 70s term of disgust. (Which the clerk would not have known, but would have probably understood instinctively if he heard it.)

So now that I've willed it into existence, here it is.


Good for a cold, wet night.


Louis Béroud, again, and the 1889 Expo, again. The rotunda of the Galerie Des Machines.

The military man appears to be regarding the painter, or perhaps you, with interest.

Strike a oose, there's nothing to it.

What's going on here?

It goes without saying that it was all demolished. No, that's not fair. Paris did better than most cities. Perhaps because it had recently torn down everything and reconstructed the city along a new idea.








Five thousand eighth undred souls in the 2010 census. Its original name was "Farmersville." The wikipedia page doesn't explain the current name, but I gather it's a nod to the Italian city. Well, le's wander around and see what remains.

Ah, the old planter-based urban renewal scheme.

Let's see if it's worked.

“I’m not sure people will expect up-to-date products when the facade has rusticated stone. Can you make the ground floor bland to the point of belonging to no particular era, at the expense of the building’s visual integrity?”


You don’t know if the original paid off so well he made the addition a bit more ornate, or if the original cost so much he had to scrimp on the addition.


Some poor buildings look like they’re peering through the bars of a jail cell.


“Took ‘em a few decades but they finally figured out why the second store wasn’t renting.”

Those second-floor windows were a strong commitment to the belief no one would put up something next door.



When the Google Matrix glitches and starts plastering random images in Street View pictures:

Whew, wouldn’t want anyone to ID them and harass them


Nice. But what’s at the top?

The lost work of men whose reasons are also forgotten.


Report 34534 to home planet: I have not yet been detected


What is it with Milan and three-window / two-window tandems?


Like most signs of the era, it would look jarring if it wasn’t faded.

For some reason . . .

I have its bygone view. And now we know what the old sign said: Boy’s and Men’s.

Yeah, I enjoyed the Bicentennial too, but I didn’t rush out and buy an Uncle Sam suit.

Color seems to be Milan’s thing, and to be honest it’s fun.


Old married couple; she saw the younger folks getting all colorful, and thought it would be fun, for a change.

Hubby, he’s always been a stick in the mud.

You know, I might be reading too much into things, but I don’t think that was always a hardware store.

Cinematreasures has . . . nothing.

Something was here. Gee, wonder what it was?

That’s nice. It really is.

Sad, but better than forgetting.

I’m crouching now, just in anticipation


Mid-century OUMB, although it seems somewhat ashamed of itself, and wears bland style-free clothing that gives few hints of its original soul.

Not that its original soul was a loud or large thing.




  That will have to do. Motels await.




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