Happy June! It was cold yesterday, and we lost another tree.

Well, we're going to. It was uprooted, and now leans Pisa-like, threatening the fence, and the power lines. My neighbor pointed it out, over the fence, on a smoke break: "Are there any exposed roots?"


He pointed. I went over and saw the earth had indeed heaved. It was 7 PM, but I was able to get some guys to come over soon. Can't wait for the estimate. BRB ordering another barrel garment on Amazon

I spend some time on the Minneapolis subreddit, and it’s reminded me of a particular type of online person: the snippy, arrogant urban guy who thinks any criticism of the city that does not exist within a certain set of narrow parameters must surely come from a suburban dolt who’s either slamming back Milwaukee’s Best beers in his wood-paneled suburban basement, or is some Thurston Howell swanning around his McMansion making jokes about climate change with Muffy.

First of all, I used to like Milwaukee’s Best, so I’m not going to hold that against anyone. But yes, there is a cohort of commentators - most of whom congregate at the Strib site, I am unhappy to report - who probably live in the burbs, or outstate, and delight in unholstering their skin-thimbles and dampening the reputation of my fair city. You’d think I’d have a connection with the Mpls defenders, a common cause. But they make it so hard.

It’s all the fault of white flight. It’s the car’s fault. It’s the existence of the highway’s fault. It’s the rethuglican Trumpists who blunted our effort to get over Covid and killed downtown because they didn’t wear masks. We have crime because we have cops. Everyone should bike.

Someone posted a question about the Spirit of Uptown, what it was, and whether it’s gone. On one hand, it’s a cliche we all share, a perennial: Uptown is never what it used to be, it’s always bad now, no one goes there, used to be hip but now the boors have swamped the shores. This was the lament when I lived there in 1987. But here’s the thing. At some point, it became objectively true.

It is impossible to assure that Uptown’s jack-dandy today compared to yesteryear, when the retail’s vacant and the warm-weather violence is starting to tick up. For God’s sake, the namesake theater closed, and was spattered with graffiti.

You don’t care, because you don’t live there, or live in Minneapolis - I get it. But you do, because I think you sense that there’s something portentous in neighborhood declines, because they happen for reasons. Uptown ought to be the most vibrant, to use the urbanists’ favorite word, neighborhood in town. It’s a few blocks from the lakes. It has a big stock of old commercial structures, lots of old homes, blocks and blocks of 20s apartments, blocks and blocks of new apartments. It should be bustling and bright, and every storefront should be filled. But the businesses are leaving, the restaurants closed in the pandemic, and while there’s a Target, it’s a source of daily theft because the area abounds with losers. In the summer the hot-rodders commendeer the intersections. It feels loose and stupid.

Anyway. When describing what it was like when I lived there, I mentioned that it had a fur store, and you could also buy a dog down the street. Well. BARBARISM. Fur begin barbaric, of course, but the idea of walking into a store and buying a dog - jeez, dude, why don’t you rhapsodize about slave markets while you’re at it.

I mentioned the fur store because it was a long-time tenant of a corner, and spoke to a certain demographic you found in this part of town. Old Minneapolis, old money. The ladies who lunched at the Rainbow cafe, perhaps bought some Abdullah chocolates, or took in a matinee. A demographic that was distinct from the modern folk who drag race up the street and occasionally shoot one another over a grievous dispute. I mean, I’ll take the barbarity of fur storage over open gunplay. As for the pet shop, well, yes. They sold puppies. Most of the business was food and accessories for people who lived in the neighborhood, but they had puppies, and assured everyone - I think - they weren’t from mills. That’s where I got Jasper.


The pet store was between a Johnny Rockets and a comic book store where I bought the first Chris Ware ACME novelty library. So it was a block where you get a burger, a graphic novel, and a boon companion. You could see a movie at a 1920s theater where clouds played on the ceiling, then go next door to the Uptown bar for a live music act and a stiff drink, then show up at the same bar in the morning for hangover breakfast. That’s all gone. But pointing out the change, the decline, the strange disconnect between demanding more density and decrying the new buildings because rent isn’t a buck-fifty a month, this tosses you in the same camp as the dolts who think Minneapolis is a hellish crime-sink. The only acceptable parameters of criticism exist within the lines that decry cars and companies.

Everything was better when we had streetcars! Also everything then was racist and horrible. But everything was better when people walked! Also everything then was racist and horrible.

Actually, there was a time when everything was pretty good. The storefronts were occupied, the marquees were bright, there were boho enclaves and there was Lund’s for quality groceries, and the Rainbow Cafe for a connection to your parents’ era, and the young ladies outside the Dental Academy taking a smoke break, and the store that only sold socks, and the 40s decor of the Port Arthur Cafe with its menu of MSG glop.

The past was okay for reasons other than you like, and despite the things we both agree should have faded away.


There’s nothing as irritating as someone who was actually there, and saw things as they were, and remembers all we lost. It’s almost an automatic disqualification.





It’s 1963.

Oh goody, missile launch complexes

Now Altus will be nuked right out of the gate

Don’t worry, guys. It'll won't last long.

June 1961 witnessed the activation of twelve Atlas “F” intercontinental ballistic missile sites within a 40-mile radius of the base. Controlled by the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron, the missiles sat inside a silo, constructed underground with a launch facility, and manned around the clock. The missile silos became operational on 10 October 1962, but the activation would be short-lived. By April 1965, the Atlas missile was outdated and was phased out of the national strategic defense plan.

Worked for a while, deterrent-wise.


No, it’s not the TV station.

It’s the bank. The old building had been rehabbed, at least on the ground floor. I gather it was quite a big deal, perhaps because there wasn’t anything else much going on, or it was a sign that Altus was a city on the grow!

We visited the building in 2020 in this very feature.

Look at all the modern gas-cooled banking!


No reason, just BRUZ

Which would eventually become BROS, but BRUZ would have to fall out of favor first. Which it did.

The only thing from the editorial page that still resonates is this little bit of peevish irritation, reminding you that some things do not change or go away.


Hello, Jarhead Boy. Note the Dennis-the-Menace-style scene of widespread toy-strewage:

Her wikipedia entry answers any questions you might have about Tizzy:

Tizzy, the title character, was a stereotypical teen-aged American girl. In Collier's, the Tizzy cartoons were in color and Tizzy's hair was red. The syndicated cartoons were in black and white, and Tizzy's hair was blonde. When the color cartoons were reprinted in black and white in the first Tizzy paperback book, Tizzy's red hair was rendered as black.

Tizzy wore horn-rimmed glasses with triangular lenses. In the Collier's cartoons, the temples of her glasses were clearly visible. In the syndicated cartoons, the temples were rarely seen, and the frames appeared to be resting on her nose alone.

Ohhkay thanks

Why, it’s a fella what oughta belong in the Orphanage of Cast-Off Mascots.

Dead-eyed little monster, isn't he.

Finally, another picture of the modern boon NBC brought to Altus.

Annnnnd today.


That’s one big backward leap.I grew up with the original style and hence believe it has more snap and class and mid-century coolness. The other style just looks gross and balloony.




That'll do: head back now to the 50s for some fine Canadian beer ads. because that's just one of those things that has to be done. 




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