Busy day, and hence little to report. Just worked and did office stuff and picked up Natalie from school and scanned and resorted and split the atom and made dinner and the rest of the daily work. Won't have time for the novel tonight, since a column is due tomorrow, and I forgot to do this week's invaluable contribution to Movie Criticism, "100 Mysteries." Must get to that; can't stop now.

Unfinished business: yesterday I noted an unusual building glimpsed in the Dyckman hotel photos; I said I’d try to find out more. I failed. I do know that it was smothered in a pre-1960 renovation:


The old building wasn't demolished - when the Justers building was torn down, you could see the profile of the ancient old building in the scars of the Dykman wall.

This picture also has a cool billboard up in the sky: Ted Baxter, enjoying a smoke!


Not to spend every day on these details, but I can't get enough. Not because it's old bygone Minneapolis, but because it just looks cool. The corner of Nicollet had a Three Sisters store.

This shot will be blown up - WAY up - in a 2009 site about Nicollet, but you can see what's cool about the storefront - the glass erases the boundary between the outside and the inside; the corner floats without support; the people outside seem like activated versions of the robot models in the window.

Speaking of activation: Webkinz has come up with an evil new idea. Previously you bought a plushie, entered the code in the website, and got a virtual version for online play. (As I noted before, the idea of hundreds of thousands of digital Webkinz slumbering in their sparse, abandoned rooms is somehow both pathetic and unnerving.) The latest innovation: you just pay $12.95 for the virtual pet. You don't get a physical analogue.

As my child explained: these are more exclusive. I suppose they are, inasmuch as they don't exist, but they're less exclusive in the sense that no one has to rely on their local Webkinz distribution network to stock the latest models. Anyone can buy them, if they have the money and concomitant lack of sense.

Today we have a restaurant exterior update, here. Also, the ongoing attempt to work through a 100-movie pack of public domain flicks, one at a time. Almost one-tenth done.



Hail, the third of six Dicks:

This week’s foe – a criminal who strikes dread into the heart of all with his – dare we even say it? – total baldness:

He’s a Master of Disguises:

Smart move; when they’re looking for a bald guy, wear a hat. You could grow hair but the underworld wouldn’t take you seriously if you were named Hairhead or Chia- skull or Mane-topp, because then people would think you were trying too hard. Shave your head, though, and you have a brand name.

He steals some diamonds, kills the guy with the rocks, and that means they have to call in Dick.

Aw, it’s this guy again:

Sure, I understand, Tess, you want to see other detectives. No, I don't mind. I don't even care. Goodbye. So the “100 Mysteries” series can’t get these in the right order, again. Okay, a bald guy as the villain, a B-actor with a mug full of Novocain for the hero – this looks unsalvageable.

I take that back:

Skelton Knaggs! The only man who makes Peter Lorre look like Peter Lawford.

Last week Gruesome stopped off at a bar called the Hangman’s Noose; this time, it’s another cheerfully named watering hole in the Criminal District:

Next week it's probably the Rusty Knuckles or the Bloody Blackjack or the Leadpipe Encrusted with Unseen DNA Evidence. The movie takes a brief detour into reasonably-decent territory here; the bar’s owner, Filthy Flora, is a character from of a movie set in Victorian times, all brass and smeared lipstick and messy hair and money jammed in various moist folds. The sort of lively old broad what deloits in th' news of th' Ripper - 'e cut 'er parts out, 'e did, oi swears - only to get sliced up in an alley. But as usual with Tracy films, it slows to a grey crawl the minute we leave the demimonde and tag along with Dick. The film seems to recognize this, and introduces a character named – really – Vitamin Flintheart.

His influence lives on to this day.

Eventually CUEBALL STRIKES AGAIN, and strangles Filthy Flora, who tries to fend him off with exaggerated gospel singing:

Testify! But you don’t care. You want MORE KNAGGS! Here he looks like Raul Julia in raisin form:

Turns out that Cueball is strangling people with his hatband, which at least is head-related. In the end he dies. The end. Any Trek connection? Yes: John Anderson, the assistant director , played an immortal being named “Kevin” more than 40 years later, in this episode. You'll recognize him - he was a rangey fellow who had a certain fron-teer gravitas.

Three Tracys down; three to go. (The main page for 100 Mysteries is here.)

Reminder: restaurant update. See you over at buzz.mn. - Lance Lawson Thursday, of course. And there's the Twitter nattering. Have a fine day!