This being the year of Social Explosion for Daughter, I am pressed into UBERduty quite a lot. Today she was meeting friends at the Walker Art Center, and you can’t complain about that. Beats the Roller Rink, I guess. There’s things to look at and judge, harshly, which she does: mostly the modern art amuses her, and some of it makes her angry because it’s so stupid. Especially the video installations. Pretentious and “edgy.” (I use the quotes to indicate her sarcasm.) But she loves the gift shop. As it happens, I had to go to Loring Park to shoot some video, so I drove her - with the bike in the back - and let her go, much like you blow a dandelion and watch the white tendrils fly away. The difference being that they reassemble into dandelion form after a while. At least that’s the idea. When you can’t raise the kid on the blower later, and texts are unread, and no location comes up on Child Tracker - er, Find My Friends - you get a little annoyed. Check in, that’s all I ask. Followed by: is that too much to ask. Followed by: well I guess that’s too much to ask, so I guess we don’t need a phone for a few days, do we. Followed by: what was she wearing? If I have to describe it, what would I tell the police? White shirt, jean shorts. I really should take a picture when I drop her off.

Of course, I got a phone call later sorry sorry I had data turned off, a phrase that would have made no sense to my parents but would have made my 14-yr-old self thrill with sci-fi coolness. Let me turn data on . . . there, we are connected to the ship’s computer.

While in the park I took pictures, and because this is a column night and I’ve limited time, you’re going to see those pictures. First, a very short - 15 seconds, it won’t kill you - clip of the dandelion fountain, now turned on. Boxed up and dry a few weeks ago; I was surprised to see it in all its beauty.

It was an act of faith and charity when this was installed; private donors, if I recall, and it was done at a time when the park was grubby, dangerous, and seamy.

A vista like any European city, without 193,934 tourists in the area:

Just a few yards away in the other direction:


More on this park later this summer, when I complete my update of the old Lakes site. It really is a gem.

Anyway, that was the afternoon; in the evening I drove daughter elsewhere to the other end of town, and on the way back it was that perfect summer moment for which I wait, and which I always know is here, no second guessing. It's something you feel. The highway, the open window, speed, and the right song. It's been a while. It'll happen again. But check that one off. July came in right.

No, I won't tell you the song. You'll laugh.

Go on, guess.


Every detail's realistic! Like the embossed hatch. Sailors on real yachts always panic when they try to open the hatch and the damned thing's EMBOSSED

Apparently 15 is the cut-off for enjoying a hand-held high-speed atom smasher.

"REMCO" came from REMote COntrol, and made so many cool toys you don't know where to begin. My Lost in Space B9 Robot is a Remco toy. I would have loved a "Buzzing, Electronic" gun from space.

Space was full of monsters.



The heartland, as they call it. Where the pure and simple truths are forged. Also, everybody VOGUE:

Admirable as the marquee is, you wish they'd applied its mood and style to the rest of the structure. Maybe they ran out of money? No: the original building, obviously a structure from the 20s, was a Tire store. It was remade into the Vogue in 1938. Dust was bit in '94.

"'Scuse me, Mister, any chance there's a “‘place around town where a man can buy himself a clarinet?"

Same building as the theater, as you might have guessed. That's a fortunate stretch of signage.

Any day now it will begin to move and make its way to City Hall, death beams streaking down on all in its way:

Honestly. Why? Why make something that looks as if a giant thumb should push it down until it locks, thereby sealing in freshness?

No one ever gave this one much love, not even when they redid it.


Eh, that's enough of the new stone. No sense pretending.

From the fizzy pseudo-Mayan period: one fine little American theater.

Right across the Vogue, which made for a stylist theater intersection.

Does it seem like it's missing something? Not to my eyes.

But it is.

Another old soldier who's seen a few things. The panels are falling off and likely won't be replaced. The ground floor renovation looks to be about 30 years after the facade was covered. Unusual windows. You know the cranks are still there.

Once again, the Kress. Once again, a question: did they oversize the ground floor, or did people shrink?

A small-town downtown tradition: the big modern screen with the big modern letters.

The company ran for 91 years until the son of the original Jilka decided to hang it up in 2014 - at the age of 89. Yes, it was about time.

Oh thank you for modernizing the bank, and for leaving the original classical details on the cornice so we have an idea what we're missing.

Was anyone happy to see this? Did anyone say "My, there's new life in the old town yet”?

The tallest building downtown, I think - a touch of New York.

And a touch of the future! Airships and great machines and . . . well, airships. Oh: television. There will be television. And Electronic Brains, perhaps. The stories in the magazines, they tell of such things.

It wouldn't be Thursday without Motels, so off you go. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you hither / yon.


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