I walked down this staircase today with a slightly heavy heart. The space is unchanged since it was built, except for the removal of a beautiful fountain that trickled water from the beak of a golden bird three stories above. There was a retaurant up there once, Azul, I think. Fine civilized place. The stores are mostly empty now. There's a convenience store. A salad place. A guy who repairs cracked phone screens. It was once high fashion and jewelry and books and cosmetics.

I'd just turned in a piece for the Strib magazine about the building that used to stand here, and the fire that took it down. After I filed I went to the bank in the building that rose from the ashes - the most beautiful throwback skyscraper in town - and was chatting with the teller about what used to be here, and how those lights up there were rescued from the fire and restored. She didn't know this and was interested to learn more.

"There were," I said, "115 teller cages on the main banking floor." She was amused by that, because now there are six, and no more than two are ever staffed.

As for the glass-block staircase: You could say it's timeless, and parts of it are, but it also has the Stamp of the Eighties, and that can be tough to preserve.

Case in point: this NYT story on a "Tacky" lobby some are trying to save. I recognized it right away. My shot from 2022:

It's not great. But it's unique and a sign of its times. Early 80s styles fall into an unfortunate space, familiar but devalued because we are used to them.

I remember my awe when this building went up, and I have the same feeling every day I see it.

But enough of that. For no reason at all let's look at something I clipped a week or two ago. Just Askin’! It's sorta bank-related.

These Vox Populi things were once a staple of papers, and for some reason they don’t do them anymore. Matter of space, I suppose, although the papers of the 70s and 80s were reasonably thick. Maybe the vogue passed. Maybe they ran out of questions.

So, are you guys saving enough?


Who wants to tell him that he doesn’t get the money?

Unless he’s referring to a policy he took out on his wife.

  And he couldn’t be happier about it!

The Alden, by the way:


“So could you loan me bus fare? I’m far from home and tired and - wait, where are you going?”

The address, by the way, is a frat house at the U. Maybe she worked there.


You hope it’s not a literal sock. Eww.

Was that an expression that meant the bank?

Is this where we got “sock it away”?


We salute you, Dudd: thanks for investing in America!

Another resident of the Alden.


I wish papers still did this, but that's what Twitter is for, I guess.

And now, our new Friday feature. Extracts from the Dream Diary . . . illustrated by Artificial Intelligence.

I was at a resort, having a nice time, when suddenly we heard a great chorus of alarm. We looked up and saw an army racing over the crest of a dune, shouting, and we immediately presumed that these were troops on our side, running to warm us of a greater army behind them. We all took shelter.

It’s unclear how things went, but it turned out that fleeing army was just luring them into the resort, where they dispatched them. One incident I saw was played like a promo for a 70s or 80s TV show with comedic action heroes, in cowboy hats and boots, quipping and punching. (I even saw it as a spotlight item in TV Guide, the special spotlight that takes up half the page.)

The threat was over. Relieved, I went down to the bar, where my friend from grade school said he needed a check for $5.46. For what? For regular services. Okay, I guess it was a recurring charge. I asked if he could get some early Elvis Costello CDs. He said no, they were out of print due to lack of demand, but he could get me some of his more recent work, like “Angela’s Neck.”

I got my checkbook and went to this main store / restaurant, full of servants setting up for supper; none of them wanted to take the check, so I went back to the bar and gave it to him. I woke thinking:

“Angela’s Neck”?






The building across the street from my office is undergoing a residential conversion. I hope that all the mirrored glass will go, but I don't think so.

They took out windows for rubble removal. Huzzah: it revealed the original spandrels!

I think I mentioned the amount of residential that went up on Washington Av a while ago. Well: here's "then."

If someone wanted to sketch out a new vision, it might look like this:

And so it came to be.



Of all the people to find the note! What rottten luck!

I mean, it fell eight stories? Solution is here.

This year's old newspaper feature: a social no-no single-panel illustration. Can you figure out what's wrong?

Timeless. Answer on Monday.

Now two ways to chip in!

That will do! Hope you enjoyed your visits this week. We'll convene again on Monday for additional diversions.

Or will we.

No, actually, we will. But expect a surprise.




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