Outside, night, warm, crickets, planes. I’ll keep noting these attributes as long as they prevail,because one by one they’ll fall away, leaving just the night.

Spent a long part of the day on a two-lane highway. At least it seemed like a long part. As I tweeted out earlier - and I say that only to note that I am repeating myself, not to sound as if I did something special (oh, you tweeted?? Tell me more!) - the first ten miles have a happy mood: ah the bucolic country, the rolling fields. This is real America

After 90 minutes: my next car will have sidewinder missiles

I understand that folks in these parts have a long way to go and hence this somehow translates to no particular urgency in getting there, but after sitting behind the poky and the plodding you start to gnaw at your knuckles. The trucks I understand: they’re probably under orders not to exceed the speed limit by so much as a mile, but when you have a lumber truck following a garbage truck following a tractor that’s half on the shoulder, it gets sloooowwwww. And then you have the citizens who are absolutely going to drive a little bit below the limit, something that makes me assume they are driving without a license, or got 15 tickets.

The road took me through a southernish-westernish city that’s not too far from the Cities, but probably far enough so no one ever goes in. Especially since it’s descended into a hellish crimescape, as I’d heard earlier in the day. (More on that later.) They are nice places to live. Crime’s low, schools are good, the cost of living is lower, and they have a Target. It’s good to see these places, and be reminded that outside of your own little urban bubble, people have different ways of looking at things. Out here, the CVS is right across from the Target. Back home, it’s a block to the north, and the McDonald’s is on the other side of the street.

It all blends together, these suburban areas, which is why the downtowns are so much more interesting. If I’d had the time I would have investigated, but you know how it is: if you linger and dawdle, that guy you passed 16 miles back will be ahead of you. The one who pulled out in front from a parking lot, forcing your car’s sensors to brake and yank the reins on the motor, and then he poked two miles below the limit while you made the universal hand gesture of disbelieve and said, out loud, you got in front of me, as if this obligates him to go faster.


I took the two-lane because the other road had hideous construction, and the other option also had hideous construction. Better to move, however slowly, than to sit in a lane that is not moving, with no way to escape.

Was there ever a passenger train that served this part of the state? Yes. The Soo Line ran through. Can’t find a train station, although I’m sure it went through the usual stages: popular, then shabby, then closed, then opened as a senior or youth center, then a history center, then closed for COVID so no one got sick walking in an enclosed space with other human beings, and now open but with limited hours because they can’t find anyone to staff it.

Anyway, I had texts from Natalie read by the car to punctuate the trip, as we talked about the Queen. She broke the news before the BBC World Service on the satellite channel. When I tuned to the Beeb they were playing a pre-recorded show about taxes and energy bills, as if no one in the booth said “to hell with that, pull it and play some Vaughn Williams or Walton. Bloody well now.”

There’ll always be an England, but it won’t be hers, you think. Whatever that means.

Why was I driving? That’s Monday.


Just the facts Ma'am. No, that's what they call her.

Well, it's obviously one of those two-bullet guns, right?

Solution is here.



As I paw through the scant remainders of the OTR audio clip bins, I find something I may have posted before: one of the few Minneapolis references in Lum & Abner. Possibly the only one. (Warning: starts a bit blurry and loud.)


My question to you: what does this have to do with John Philip Sousa?

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922.

You can see why Whiteman was popular. There's just something different about his stuff. Jaunty, crisp, pleasent. And: cliched "Oriental" pentatonic riffs!




1979: Troubled by sluicing innards?






Next week: road trip!




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