I was informed today that a certain crypto is Exploding, and I inferred that this was good. I was not enticed to get in and start “investing,” though. A few google searches on the term seemed to suggest that many are Exploding, and the trick is finding out which one will explode before the detonation commences, then get out.
Sounds like investing in real estate that has dynamite built into its walls.
This particular crypto was named after a dog, but is not Doge. I think people fled from Doge into Shiba, but I can’t say for sure. How many of them got burned when Squid collapsed, who knows. I know that the people who spend all day on these things, and are convinced that Blockchain will save the world, regard people like me with dismissive waves, and I get that. I mean, I get that I don’t get it. I know that tangible money really isn’t.
But I still have affection for the old coins that had heft and presence. You fell overboard with a pocket full of those, they’d take you to the bottom.
I declined some change the other day, though, partly because I didn’t want the person selling me the postcard to give me a discount - it’s just 50 cents - but partly because I look at coins and think what am I going to do with these? Into the coffee can, of course, then some day I put them in rolls - oh, out of rolls, off to the bank, get the rolls, stuff them in, crimp the ends, take them to the bank. It’s like going to buy a new axle for the wagon by walking six miles into town holding the piglet I’ll trade.
I’ll tell you what the crypto doesn’t have, and will never have: Beauty. Banknotes are lovely things. Or at least were, when there were standards and a similarity across different currencies, which suggested a broad cultural homogeneity, and also the fact that they were all designed by the American Banknote Conpany, whcih seemed to be the United Fruit of southern hemisphere money. Okay, mostly the second. But still. I redid the Curious Lucre section earlier this year (Lord knows when I’ll post it - don’t want to spend a 500+ page update too quickly) and I learned a lot just researching the names of the blank staring men on the front and the Proud National Symbol of Something on the back. And I admired the artistry, the feel of the paper, the speculation about the people through whose hands it had passed.
Whenever something internetty and incorporeal replaces something from the physical world, it peels away the things irrelevant to frictionless ease, gives you a simulacrum you behold through the portal in your hand, and abandons entirely all the ineffable irrelevancies that made the previous experience much more human. The aesthetics of the money. The scent of a department store. The serendipity of a book store. The generational vibe of a record store, or, when it comes to listening to music, the appreciation of the album art, the act of placing the medium into the machine, the physical act of turning it up.
Now if I want my music louder, I tap a key, or use a slider, neither of which compares to grasping a knob and turning it to the right. A small thing? Of course. But the loss of all the small things is cumulative, and eventually feels almost . . . total. What was the cliche? Don’t sweat the small stuff! PS it’s all small stuff.
You could say it's a generational matter, I suppose - old details are always being replaced. But we're not replacing them at all, just filling up all the vacant spaces with memes.
Here's more. I bought a 1906 souvenir book of Minneapolis. One page had pictures of the theaters of the city, including the ol' You-knee-Q:
Doesn't look much like a theater, does it? I'm interested in the store called TOOZES, myself, but what's the chance we'll ever learn anything about that.
No, really. I haven't searched. What? You depend on me to try, at least? Sigh; okay.
Well, I'll be a monkey's monocle.
Tooze’s business career was one without parallel in the commercial life of Minneapolis....He came to the Twin Cities at the age of 18 and worked at such jobs as waiter at the Nicollet Hotel and bell boy at the St. Louis Hotel until he started his first saloon, the Mint, on Washington Ave No. with a capital of just $225. In 1896, at age of 27, he opened the Tooze Wine Co. at 301 S. 3rd.
At his death he owned the Rogers Hotel and Cafe, 25-29 So. 4th, the Unique Theater, 520 Hennepin Ave., the Empress Theater on Wabasha in St. Paul, a delicatessen and restaurant, 516-518 Hennepin, the Chamber of Commerce Cafe at 4th, extensive property in northern Minnesota, Mexico mining property and a chicken ranch at Mound....In between he had owned seven other saloons and restaurants.
I'd never paid the name a second's attention before this.
Another tiny picture still abounds with detail:
Ah, the old Bijou, gone now these 60 years. The interior was remodeled in the 20s and 30s, and I'm more interested in that. I think its vogue passed swiftly, and by the end - it closed in 1959 - the seats were filled with dozing men reeking of drink.
The Minnesota Historical Society has a playbill, with the 1898 logo. If you're curious.
I wonder if they sold that to all the Bijous in the country. Is the fellow on the right from some version of Faust?