The dog has rediscovered his Nylabone, hidden under snow for five months. Previously it was the least of his toys, because it’s a Nylabone. Everyone buys those hard plastic things thinking “They’ll last forever!” And they do, because dogs ignore them. There’s no taste. Whatever itch they are intended to scratch, it’s no go. But he has found it, and it is his, and he is always excited until he remembers it’s a Nylabone.

But he’s happy. Wife, less so because she has to rise at 5:30 for a meeting, confirming my idea that the business world is insane; who schedules a 7:00 meeting anywhere for any reason? But they’re all doctors or something, and they all rise at four, I guess. Big day of opening up humans and poking around; best not tarry.

Me, I’m fine, because it’s warm, but three hours ago I was standing in the kitchen with a scissors pressed to my stomach telling Daughter Why don’t you just push it in? Why don’t you?

I suppose that requires some backstory.

She was explaining, as we have discussed before, how the Great Karmic Wheel is crushing me beneath it, since I left Fargo for the glittering Emerald City at the end of I-94, and she is leaving this backwater jerk-burg for Boston after she’s back from Brazil. She’s committed to Boston U today, and we have committed to ramen noodles because Jebus Chrysler how the hell am I going to pay for this.

Well, we will, somehow. See, I get why she wants to go, and as much as I’d love for her to be in town . . . she has to get out in the world. She has to experience everything the East Coast has to offer, from rudeness to bedbugs to the sight from a train window of unending industrial decay - but there I go, sounding like my parents: why do you want to go live in the Big City?

Because it’s bigger?

Now, Minneapolis isn’t Fargo. Both have Midwestern sensibilities, and Minneapolis isn’t huge and sprawling and dense. But I told her that she’s going to realize how easy she’s had it - and I don’t mean that in the chastening sense, like, you little fool! Do you know what you’re throwing away! Just that it’s been easy to live here. It will be different.

So everything’s in place, and now we know where she will go to after she gets back from going away.

But a good day. Warm, as noted - instant summer vibe all around, complete with some humid rain and tiny green buds popping from the branches like commas in a run-on sentence. That’s a horrible line. Remind me not to put in a book.







Okay. Late to this, but I was avoiding it.

Jedi, Last.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I missed something by seeing the movie at home - I’ve seen them all in the theater, where the experience rolls over you and sweeps you up. But I have a big enough TV, and the room was dark, and I was set to enjoy it, except something nagged at me before I even started. Reviews, I read none. But I got a sense of disappointment, as if I’d felt a disturbance in -

Well, you know.

From the start I was dismayed, to be honest. Ep 7 I loved, and yes it was a complete reprisal, resetting the story for a new era and hitting all the proper beats. But to start Ep 8 with another evacuation from a rebel base, followed by Spunky Jedi-in-Training going to a distant planet to learn from a crusty master . . . c’mon.

1 Poe Dameron is just Dashing Rebel Dude who Takes Chances and who-hoos, makes horrible decisions but the gals love him, because he’s Dashing. What’s that? A mutiny? <heads cocked, wacky music> Oh that Po.

2 Finn is a good character, although he was relegated to comic relief in the middle. Rose was Spunky but Sad About Tragedy, except when she was driving an AT-AT through the flaming wreckage of a ship, then she’s quippy: “need a ride?” For God’s sake, this is not how people behave when they’ve just escaped execution and find themselves on a wrecked flaming ship surrounded by dead bodies.

3 BB8 demonstrates that droid ownership is slavery, because they are obviously sentient creatures capable of independent thought, and can do pretty much anything, except synthesize speech.

4 Leia was not noble or inspiring; God bless Carrie Fisher, but here she was the lady at the end of the row of slots at the casino feeding the last few quarters into the machine. She has enough Force Magic to fly through space after she’s been sucked out of the bridge, but can’t move a few rocks when they need to get out of a trap.

5 It wasn’t troubled by Space Politics, which made the prequels crawl. But here’s the thing. It needed Space Politics. What the hell is the New Order, anyway? If it was some splinter of the old Empire bent on clawing its way back to the top, that would be interesting, but no: it’s the same as the Empire, with bigger ships. How did it come together? Who was Snoke? Nevermind! Bisection.

6 No one ever thought of a hyperspace bomb before. No one. Never occurred to anyone. By the way, if you’re going to attack a ship at light speed, do it head-on so you’re hitting the thinnest point, with the greatest chance of missing. Don’t drop down a few degrees and aim up. Nah.

7 For that matter, if you’re a captain of a large fleet of well-armed ships, woe to you if the enemy gets a little out of your range, because then you have to tag behind them doing 55 MPH, waiting for them to run out of gas. It’s like they stop-sticked the ships and the Rebels are running on rims, and sooner or later they’ll pull over. How about hyperspace-jumping to a point just a leeeetle bit in front of them?

8 Here’s another thing the Empire never figured out: good tracking systems. If all of your cannons can be taken out by one (1) X-Wing, then you really need to consider using something more flexible and responsive for defense. But no.

Imperial Scientist: Lord Vader, I have a new idea for a weapon. Instead of one barrel that shoots one laser - and recoils, for God’s sake - I propose a multi-barrel array with a wide dispersal of destructive power, so we are not reliant on one shot hitting a fast-moving target whose trajectory difficult to predict.

Vader: zzzzz

Scientist, realizing he is asleep, leaves the room in terror, never to return

Note: the racial diversity of the cast, which some say is the reason for the “backlash,” doesn’t bother me at all, and it’s frankly great to see a broader palette for the characters. Except that they’re not great characters.

9 Luke was disappointing. I don’t blame Hamill. But I don’t think there’s a Star Wars fan who, deep down, wasn’t let down by the way Luke behaves in this movie.

VOX: The Last Jedi is Act 2 of a story about letting go of the past and embracing the future. Maybe it was destined to be divisive.

Ha ha it is your destiny No. But then there's this:

Johnson has a great sense of style and visual flair, so it’s easy to get caught up in the adventure. But a dispassionate examination of events as they unfold in the film reveals that, at its heart, The Last Jedi is a bleak and unremitting tragedy. Johnson just never quite musters the courage to let the audience feel it.

Exactly. I remember how I felt at the end of "Empire Strikes Back" - just leveled, because everything had gone so wrong. Bad Dad, hand whacked off, fleet pounded - it had weight and it was somber. same with "Rogue One." This? Don't worry, scrappy band! Somehoe all ten of us will bring down the New Order, maybe with the help of Sparkly Green Ghosty Luke!

Oh yes, I'll see it. But the enthusiasm's diminished. People tell me I should watch it again, and I'll like it more. Some day, when the disappointment's passed.






It’s 1908. We've lots to learn today. Class is in session:

And it’s a floor polish!

Washburn Crosby, as I never tire of noting, turned its corporate initials into a powerhouse broadcast brand, and the first part of the name is the reason my daughter’s school team is the Millers.

I don’t think that hair style will ever come back.

A woman's work is never done. Even when it's a man's job:

You might be wondering how many different types of coal they sold. It’s not a type of coal, it’s a size. Egg, chestnut - you can see where the terms came from.

The Commonwealth Building was built in 1891, and it still stands:

Yes, they added more stories in 1910, and no, they didn't try to hide the fact.

Just was the thirsty, dusty, hot-as-blazes manual laborer wants: near beer.

A veritable restorer of recreative and soothing potency to the aged. So, it’s Viagra.


Ah, the Hoffman House.If it was fireproof, it no doubt went up in a blaze at some point, right? No. Much more interesting than that.

Thanks to this site, I learn that the Hoffman House was the HQ for two women - Victoria C. Woodhull and Tennessee (Tennie) C. Claflin  - who set up shop as stock traders in 1870. I was able to find the newspaper quoted in the piece, and have snipped some excerpts from the interview.

Mrs. C's personality certainly comes through loud and clear.

The Commodore, eh? We'll get to that. Bring in Mrs. Woodhull:

The September Panic. It was bad.

 The 1907 Bankers' Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis  – was a United States financial crisis that took place over a three-week period starting in mid-October, when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year.

The 1907 panic began with a stock manipulation scheme to corner the market in F. Augustus Heinze's United Copper Company. Heinze had made a fortune as a copper magnate in Butte, Montana. In 1906 he moved to New York City, where he formed a close relationship with notorious Wall Street banker Charles W. Morse. Morse had once successfully cornered New York City's ice market.

The ice market! Cornered!

Translation: they're a FRONT! Maybe. The Commodore backed them, that's for sure. More on that in a second. From their wikipedia bio:

Woodhull and Claflin had hit upon an untapped source of investment capital. Society wives and widows, teachers, small-business owners, actresses, and high-priced prostitutes and their madams sought out Woodhull, Claflin, & Company and the firm was an immediate financial triumph.

High-priced call girls in New York City in 1870? Why i never

With the profits from their brokerage, the sisters started their own radical newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly.  Woodhull and Claflin used their newspaper to advocate for Free Love, a movement which in the nineteenth century pushed to separate sex from marriage.  The Free Love movement was considered very fringe at this time and their advocacy of the movement shocked many.

Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly was also the first paper in America to print ''The Communist Manifesto.''

Yeah, well, to hell with them, then. Yay for the whole suffregette business, but ixnay on the Red thing.

As for the Commodore:

The sisters left New York for London in 1877. ] Evidence suggests that the sisters' move may have been funded by the heirs of the recently deceased Cornelius Vanderbilt who wanted the sisters indisposed during the fight over the family's inheritance. Cornelius Vanderbilt had been widowed in 1868 and remarried in 1869. The second marriage had surprised Tennessee who expected to marry Cornelius herself. 

More on her sister here. Fascinating stories.

Oh, the hotel? Right. The Hoffman House in the ad was the final version, cobbled together over the years by tearing down the old part and building something bigger and more modern. Alas, this last expansion doomed the hotel: the Financial Panic of 1907 hit while it was closed for remodeling, and it opened in the hole. Went bust in 1910, limped along, and closed for good - a relic of the Gilded Age - in 1915.

Quick - before some buys it! Take a look!



Smug little sort, ain’t he?

As for his office: Okay - what was it . . .

. . . and what happened?

The whole neighborhood is gone.


The Switzerland of America! Whip your weak-willed whelp into a MAN:


The campus was originally located in a small building, which no longer exists, on College Street in Sweetwater. Bachman remained president until 1902, when he was replaced by Col. O. C. Hulvey.

The name of the school was changed to Tennessee Military Institute in 1909. It was known by this name for most of its life. Due to the "TMI" acronym, it was often jokingly referred to as "Ten Million Idiots" by locals and students alike.

The campus is vacant today, awaiting a new purpose.


Did you know that Vaseline once came in so many . . . well, flavors probably isn’t the word.

Rod Wax of the finest kind.

Enjoy your Tuesday; see you around.



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