It is cold beyond reason.  The widget says ten below (interesting how it’s not what the news says, or the thermometer says, but the widget) but that doesn’t quite seem adequate. More liken 9348534 below, thanks to the wind. It’s not one of those big gusty winds, either; it’s a personal wind, a thing that leaps from around corners and stabs you in the face. It’s a maniac.

Tonight I participated in a trivia bowl at the U of M’s alumni center. It’s an ungainly heap of a building; looks like a geological formation or the unearned hump of a gigantic prehistoric fossil. Add the office building portion, and it looks like a Cubist depiction of the Titanic hitting an iceberg. It replaced Memorial Stadium, a 1920s classically detailed brick structure demolished for its unsuitability to modern needs. Not enough skyboxes, too exposed, hard benches, etc. The new stadium is rising a few blocks away, and it will be state of the art, right down to the stairway gutters that channel the student’s vomit to drains below. 

The entrance of the old stadium was saved, and reinstalled in the Alumni Center. It leans over, as though one is beholding the slow-motion demolition of the old façade. It’s literally fixed at a point between standing up and falling down:

Which pretty much summed up our performance in the trivia bowl. We had only ourselves to blame. Get this: the theater critic missed the theater question, the TV critic missed the TV question, and I missed a question about an event I’d covered. The blame was easily spread around. Pathetic. But fun!

Afterwards we went to a bar. I wasn’t going to go – getting late, go home, see the wife and kid – but I realized it had been years since I’d written the phrase “afterwards we went to a bar,” and some days you realize that you should spend less time with your family and more time hanging out in bars. I’m serious. I spend 362 out of 365 nights per year at home. I think the domestic fires will burn enow if I head over to a tavern and enjoy the company of people in my profession, especially since such a rare confluence of events and personalities comes along so damned rarely it makes me weep for the old days of weekly irrigation-sessions after we tucked the Daily in bed. It’s not that I don’t like to raise a glass – my, no. But if I’m driving, I’m the boring Dorkus McSober with the Diet Coke. Well, dash it all. We’ll nurse a beer, even if it makes me the buzz-killing lager-nurser.

Had a grand time. Stepped outside to head back to the Element, parked a block away. Damn near died crossing the street: after half a block I could feel my flesh solidify, and by the time I reached the vehicle I had to slam my hands against the dashboard to restore feeling. My jaw hurt. A thin scrim of ice covered my eyeballs. I hit the highway and shivered for five miles; occasionally the wind picked up the Element and moved it an inch to the left, an inch to the right. Just funnin’ with you, son.

Got home, hugged (G)Nat and saw her to bed. She wanted me to read her a story, and I can always tell when she’s in I-missed-you mode, because she wants something that relates back to our old times when we spent the entire day together. Little Miss Grown-Up wanted a Care Bear book. She can still name all the bears by their gut-emblems, too. Or “Belly Badges,” to use the technical term.

Anyway. That was the evening. The day was spent writing, and tomorrow will be spent with the ABC News crew, filming the man who can withstand extreme cold. They picked the right day and the right place. Tomorrow I will watch a man walk around in shorts and a T-shirt. What a grand week this is! Provided he doesn’t die.

New Ad Archive. See you at – I’ll be out most of the day, but there will still be a few postings when I get the time.

Oh, okay, one more image to pad out the day. Another ad from the last week of January 1928. This was their equivalent of free wifi and in-room HBO. A choice of two carefully selected programs are always available. That explaines the perfect reception, eh? Closed-circuit, perhaps. Wonder how that worked. Wonder if there was a pay-channel on which plummy theatrical voices talked about garters and moist, loosened spats.