Same graphics, yes; I like these two. They’ll be with us through March.

Sixty-five degrees on Sunday. The snow is gone; the ice is reduced to one thin gob of silvery spit on the bricks, waiting for another oration from Sol Invictus to finish it off. Supposed to hit seventy-plus later this week. It’s late April - oh, let’s be honest, early May. Spring! Huzzah! A-cumin’ in and all that, yes, but we’ve been here before. Last year early warmth begozzled everyone into a state of glee, but the early warmth led to a cruel, vindictive fortnight when the trees blossomed and the tulips unfurled, all under wan skies with cool winds. You can’t have it all.

Except for that one year when you can, and it ruins us ever after. That’s the one we remember. That’s the anomaly that defines normal.


There is no word “begozzled,” but it makes sense in context, doesn’t it? On the way to soccer today I was arguing with Daughter’s friend, who said that there was a word called negativitivous, and even if there was’t there should be. I understand the latter; the list of words that should be words is ungrontably long. But it wasn’t such a word, and really, considering that she intended to the word to replace “pessimist,” there wasn’t much hope in her neologism gaining wide acceptance.

Pessimist is not better, she insisted.

Well, no, it is, I said. We argue like this all the time. I think she enjoys it, and my daughter enjoys hearing someone give her the business. “Pessimist is shorter, and sounds negative. Hissing.”

“No it doesn’t,” she said. Big into automatic gainsaying, this one, as if it settled arguments.

I dropped them off at soccer and did some photographery, the results of which you’ll find below. Picked them up in the dank, stinky community center an hour and fifteen minutes later, and I used the restroom they ran around outside. When I came out, daughter’s friend was running away in the opposite direction as fast as her legs would take her.

“Quick,” I said to daughter. “In the car.”

Her eyes lit up; she got it right away. We got in the car and I fired up the engine, pulled out slowly, just as the friend turned around and saw us pull out.


Move towards the parking lot exit . . .


Stop. Let her get in.

“Okay that was MEAN,” she said, laughing.

“Don’t be so negativitivous.”

It’s one of the busiest streets in town on a weekday, but it’s dead empty on Sunday. I’ve never seen it this dead, though. Here’s why:



The light-rail construction goes down the middle of the street, and walking along it made me feel like I was ten, walking down I-29 near Harwood before it was opened. As a piece of civic engineering, it’s interesting to watch. You see the new condos rising alongside in anticipation of the line, and picture the future: the train sliding along the concrete corridor with the prerecorded bell gong-gong-gonging its synthetic alarm, the scissor-sound of the wheels on the rails. It’s a picture out of a new urbanist dream. It’s utterly dead and inert.

The old University avenue is messy and poor and haphazard, industrial, residential, office parks, remnants of trolley nodes. There are many places deserving of a full photographic record, and I suppose I’ll do more some day - but there’s no place to park.
See, in the old bad days, there was parking on the street. You could pull over, plug a meter, go into a store - a bookstore, a surplus store, a drugstore or a tattoo joint or a coffeehouse. But the placement of the light-rail down the middle of the street eliminated parking on the the street.

So you just drive through. You just keep going. What was once a block-by-block journey is now a frictionless slide.

Which could also describe the weekend. It was perfect. I wrote novel deep into Friday night. I was standing at the kitchen table banging out a scene at 1 AM when I heard rumblings upstairs; went up to check, and saw Daughter at her desk writing her novel. She’d taken a nap, couldn’t sleep, had ideas, and wanted to work on it.

Couldn’t have been prouder. Later I sat down to watch a movie I’d been meaning to examine: “Attack the Block,” one of those indie thrills everyone who cares about modern fresh cinema should see!!! The very title is like a password for film geeks: Attack the Block, F yeah, awesome.

It’s some kids in a bad part of town vs. aliens. I was not aware the “kids” were criminals, though. In the opening scene they surround and terrorize a young woman and steal her phone and jewelry at knifepoint, with the strong hint of rape for dessert. I thought: these are the heroes? These are the guys for whom I’m rooting? Gave it a few more minutes, then stood up and said NO SIR. I DIDN’T LIKE IT.



Did not watch a Black and White Movie, because I’m temporarily tired of them; watched a 70s film, “The Anderson Tapes.” There’s little in the ethics or certainties of the period I share or like, which makes the experience a bit more bracing. Watched “Dream House,” which has an underserved 7% on Rotten Tomatoes; I’d say 8, or 8.1. It’s what happens when a director’s film is recut and reshot without his permission, and the thing the studio is trying to save was a mess to start with. Some movies make no sense, but this one makes . . . negative sense. Making no sense would have been an improvement.

(Just checked the rating for “Top Critics” on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s at 0%. Nice to know even the jaded community of critics can muster a generous spirit.)

After I dropped off Daughter’s friend we went to Menard’s to get peanuts. They sell big jars as a loss leader. Signs outside: STORE CLOSING! Felt a pang of guilt - oh no, they went out of business because of the peanuts! But then I remembered they were closing to build an enormo-store, a Megalo-Mart.

“Save big money at Menards,” said Daughter, quoting an ad I can’t imagine how she ever saw, but it’s part of Minnesota DNA, I guess. Off to Lunds for school-lunch supplies, which including samplings at the free cheese section.

“You like blue, this is the one,” said a clerk, pointing to a crumbly hunk.

“Not a blue guy,” I said, “but maybe that’ll change.”

I put some bleu cheese on a cracker, and daubed it with the cherry ichor set out next to the cheese. Obviously I was supposed to enjoy them all at once. It was amazing: the cherry floods your mouth with sweetness, lingers, and the fades to let the bleu step forward -

“Dad? What’s the matter? Why are you making that face?”

“It’ll pass,” I said. Man. It was like watching a corpse flower push its way through the Shroud of Turin. "It's just negativitivous."

"That's not a word," she said.

"It could be. Don't be such a pessimist."



University Avenue today.

The Chittenden & Eastman building was complete in 1917; housed a furniture maker. If Nelson’s Office Supply - of Soffice Supply, if you prefer, or Office Upply - is still there. it won’t be for long. The building is being converted into living spaces, to take advantage of the people who want to live next to the light rail.



The building is distinguished by a handsome facade - great bands of windows and Sullivanesque carvings on the capitals.





It’s been three to twelve for years.

Close by, a water tower high on a hill. The Witch's Hat. Built in 1913.





Of course, the beauty of the area has to be spattered with the idiocy of feral politics:



Fascisme. So much of that going around old Prospect Park these days. Well, you must be vigilant; if you squint and strain and clap your hands and say "I think in cant," then some fascism will appear. If you're lucky! The anti-fascists seem to realize la futilie of their own work:



I'm pretty sure it already is.









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