There’s a taco place I visit in the skyway once a year. The purpose of this visit, I always remember after I’m done, is to remind myself why I only visit once a year. It’s terrible. It’s not Taco Bell; they are dependable in all ways, and provide an array of hot sauces that have the same effect on the menu item as defibrillator paddles on an inert body. No matter what you get, you can douse it in Diablo sauce, and you have something that makes an impression. No, I mean Taco John’s. I don’t remember them being awful when I was growing up in Fargo, when it was one of a few places you could get a taco. There was one by the church. (It’s still there!) The tacos fulfilled the two requisites: they were crunchy, and they had spice. As much as the local traffic could bear, anyway.

The tacos I get at Taco John’s are advertised as crunchy; this distinguishes them from the soft-shell, which aren’t shells at all. They are soggy. The meat is some awful cow-paste studded with the occasional BB-shot sized piece of hamburger. They have two sauces, Mild and Hot, which are “meaningless” and “somewhat better maybe I guess.” The staff was very friendly, though. The guy who gave me the bag said that one of the taco shells had cracked, so he added an extra one. Thanks! When I got back to my desk I realized after the first bite I had made the annual mistake, and now I had three lousy tacos instead of two.

There are 400 Taco John’s in the country. I do not understand how there can be two. There should be one, preserved for all time as an example to all, an instructive lesson, a cautionary story. It should be put on a flatbed truck and moved around the country, and it should give out free tacos to all, so that people may sample the product and nod, sagely: ah, thank you for the warning. Should ever I see one of these in my neighborhood, I will know better than to go there.

I think the last time I ate at a Taco John's was in Fargo. The store was large and deserted and seemed less than clean. The staff was chattering among themselves and played the radio loud. The thing I bought fell apart right away, dumping out a mass of ingredients glued together with sour cream.

Stop back in a year when I repeat this episode and wonder why I never learn.








NOT A REVIEW. An account of the things that occur and make you hit pause, or look up and actor, or recall something else.

I enjoyed “Night Sky,” an Amazon Prime series about two old people on a farm who have a dimensional portal in their shed.

What works, right away, are the actors: J. K. Simmons, as a rural old man of fortitude and stoic ways, and Cissy Spacek, his wife. They could be discussing multi-level marketing and you’d watch. It moves, though, and it does so at a stately pace that brings you into the rhythms of the aged, and by the time the first ep is done you’ve forgotten that it opened with two folks in La-Z-Boys in a chamber looking at an alien world.

Again, this is not a review. It’s about the details. The second ep does a cliched whip-snap record scratch and throws us into Argentina, where everyone is speaking Argentinian! What, do I have to read subtitles now? Turns out there’s another portal on a llama ranch. But it’s not about that. It’s about . . . this.

  It’s just a moment. It’s on the radio. It’s in the background. But it’s IT.

It’s the drums. I know that riff, and along with the bass progression, it can only be one song. Let us now consult the all-knowing google, and learn what’s going on here . . .

And so:

The singer - or the video director - is riffing off Bob Dylan, with the cards. Costello was compared to Dylan in the early days, mostly because of the wordplay, and maybe a persistent and mysterious persona.

It’s just interesting to think that someone in 30, 40 years will hear the original, or the remake, or a new remake, and perk right up because of the drums. A contribution to culture we can ascribe to Pete Thomas, who came up with that riff.

The album, of which I had been unaware, is Spanish Model. Covers of all the songs. - or rather adds new vocals to the original tracks. Interesting to think that the singers probably wouldn't be born for two decades after the songs were first released.

A brief sampling suggests that the songs were best left as they were.



It’s 1966.

And, having thought of it, he may wish that was what he was eating.

What is The Man actually eating? He does not know. It matters not; what counts is the illusion his mind creates.

Ah, the hardy, traditional, flinty, resourceful Vermont Farmer, with his archaic stove. He knows things.

And if he dumps his own bacon for this, well, you know it must be better. His own recipe and careful application of skills and know-how just can’t match up.

You have the assurance of an archetype.


I’ve seen this bull in many ads, and he always looks as if he is completely confused by what he is doing. He has a slight grasp on the situation but finds it baffling. He does not understand how he is able to grasp the pistols, let alone fire them.

The Space Mate wasn’t too bulky, and that was a boon. No worries about it falling out of the window into the flowerbed.

Really: a boon. These things made life so much better.

The early days:

They’d been around locally for about four years. The logo would change in 1968, and hasn’t changed since.

The waning days of the Age of Hats. This one made your head look like a piece of fruit.

The store was huge; took up and entire block.

This . . . was surprising.

Not because of the Wienermobile, but because of Krogers. I had no idea they were in the Minneapolis market, and had such a presence. Seven stores!

I think there’s a better way to put this.

Perhaps someone thought this was a good way of saying “captivating”?



That'll do. New section of Quasicomics today. Guess what I found today in the To Do bin? 125 more. Sigh. It never ends.




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