I had been condemned to death by the House of Representatives, and was somewhat surprised to learn that the Senate did not have to agree. There were two others by my side who would suffer the same fate. The way it worked was odd: they flooded the House chambers with poison gas, and everyone put on masks.

“You will come to regret this dark day,” I said, still unsure they would go through with it. Executing people on the floor of the House seemed a rather bad precedent -

Then I awoke, dismayed, because it was late. I hadn’t set my alarm. Perhaps this was my subconscious mind’s way of telling me to get up. But where, I thought, did that come from?

The other day in the skyway I heard two guys talking behind me. One of them said “it was okay when they went back to get the whales but the others, I don’t know. I new, Nemesis.”

I turned around.

“Nemesis was not that bad,” I said. “C’mon. Ramming the E into the Romulan ship? That was great. And we got to see some Romulan culture, which always gets short shrift.”

They laughed and we chatted about it for a while until I peeled off for my elevator. I was thinking about the scene in which a device - sorry, spoilers - kills the whole Romulan Senate. That was a popcorn hull that lodged in my gums, and may have produced the trial in the House.

Really, I couldn’t believe they were going to do it then and there, but I was also confident my words would echo through the ages. In the Demi-world between sleep and waking I thought of Maximus, running his hand through the wheat as he headed home to the afterlife.

Then I got up and had a sausage.

More people in the office today than I'd seen in a year and a half. Had to be 15 of us. We were also advised to leave early, because there were protests planned. Another cop-shooting case at the Courthouse. It's never good when these guys show up:

National TV, come to perch and feast.

I left at 3:30, and beat the protest.


My wife went to Southdale on Sunday, and was slightly dismayed. Not many people. Poor selection of goods. We both recall when post-Thanksgiving Southdale would be full of shoppers, with a long line of kids queued for the Santa Experience. Dayton’s would be stuffed with fine merchandise. Nearly every storefront would be occupied, and all the names were solid brands - not local shops with a printed banner using the Papyrus typeface. The Mall of America still booms, I hear, and right next to Southdale is a high-end retail shop that serves the carriage trade. It’s doing okay.

But Southdale seems to be a bellwether for overall retail vitality, and not just because it’s the first mall. (Do not @ me about this.) It ought to be doing bang-up business. People don’t want to venture into the vast chasm of the Maw of America; they don’t want to have to cash an industrial bond to buy a shirt at the Galleria. There are many new apartment complexes around the area within walking distance. It has a Macy’s, a big new Lifetime Fitness facility, and it was recently refreshed with a design that harkened back to its midcentury origins.

I went last night to get something at the Apple Store, and was reminded of what they said about downtown St. Paul: a nice place to go when you want to be alone. Went to Macy’s to Men’s Furnishings, a department that always had a genteel, refined air. Men with tape-measurers around their neck, checking where the cuff hit the shoe. Fine shirts and a big assortment of ties.


Half the displays have been removed. The checkout counter is gone, consolidated with another. More “sale” racks than usual. Half the number of tie displayed, and they’ve been pawed into a mess. (No one on the floor to straighten them up.)

It all feels so damned dispirited. Like they just gave up. Like it doesn't matter.

But it does.




It’s 1922, and we’re in Miami!


It’s not an interesting paper. Eight pages of local comings and goings, banal editorials with a serialized story on the Op-Ed page, no cartoons except “Bringing Up Father.” Clemenceau wants the US to join the League; Anti-Lynching bill fails (killed by Southern Democrats), Santa certainly looking forward to your letters.

  All sorts of consternation in Greece. The story:

About Prince Andrew:

In 1913, his father was assassinated and Andrew's elder brother, Constantine, became king. The king's neutrality policy during World War I led to his abdication, and most of the royal family, including Andrew, was exiled. On their return a few years later, Andrew saw service as Major General in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), but the war went badly for Greece, and Andrew was blamed, in part, for the loss of Greek territory. He was exiled for a second time in 1922, and spent most of the rest of his life in France.


  Not a happy life.

Not the worst wartime experience, but everyone was unhappy in their own way.

During World War II, he found himself essentially trapped in Vichy France, while his son, Prince Philip, fought on the side of the British. They were unable to see or even correspond with one another. Of Andrew's surviving sons-in-law, Prince Christoph of Hesse fought on the German side, and was a member of the Nazi Party and the Waffen-SS. Berthold, Margrave of Baden, was invalided out of the Wehrmacht in 1940 after an injury in France. Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Langenburg served on the Eastern Front and was dismissed after the 20 July plot.

For five years, Andrew saw neither his wife nor his son.

He was also a prince of Denmark, due to birth, but fat lot of good that did him.





But I’ll bet a lot of drivers were for it. The Good Roads movement was spurred by enthusiastic car owners, and they wanted to see the rutted goat-paths paved.

The cut indicates that the people of Miami dress like swells and stroll about the town with diamond-tipped walking sticks, eating oysters.

A roll call of interesting names:


  Miomme Viers, meet Jot Hubbard!

A hundred years ago, they were moving towards the cashless society.

Write a check! They’ll certainly prefer it to cash, because it’s . . . well, it’s different. Modern! Cash is so common.

I believe Fisk supplied the ad, and assmed all the archetypes would fit whatever market in which the ad ran.

Nobby accessories for Hubbie!

I cannot find a garage or store that matches the address, but I think that’s a lot to expect after a century.


  That will have to do. Now head back to the Fifties! Another generous portion of car ads.




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