Cold notes:

Had to run home to let the dog out, since the domestic schedule was upended. When he came back in he was standing on two legs. One front, one back. I don’t know how he did it. If it had been any colder - say, 16 below instead of 15 - he might have gone for a third and fallen right on his face, but dog programming probably does not include such possibilities. Same goes for humans, I suppose.

You can do anything if you set your mind to it! Okay, lift up your right leg, hold it in your right hand, then left up your left.

There is no snow. There is only ice. It is ragged and jagged and if you fall on it without wearing a glove, you bleed. It looks like the surface of a distant hostile world, except for the cigarette butts. Story idea: astronaut crash lands, thinks he’s on another frozen world! At the end he sees a cigarette butt! Rod Serling says something about the stupidity of man! It’s ROD SERLING’S CIGARETTE BUTT!

The sound the parking machines make when they try to dispense your receipt is painful; if robots could get constipation, they would sound like this. The LCD that tell you how much time you’ve purchased have a problem, and do you know what it is? Right: the L. They’re Liquid Crystal Displays, at least I think they are, and you can see them struggle to change from one set of words to another. You’re, like, dude, I feel you. But still they work.

I ducked into the skyway at the earliest possible chance, because of course I would. These are the days the anti-skyway people don’t dwell on. Oh, they’ll mention them, in passing, but mostly they envision summer days when the streets are full of people mingling and being vibrant and doing the bustle and all the other cliches. Well, when it’s warm out, we’re out. When it’s lethal outside it’s nice not to suffer pain.

As I was leaving the office today I saw four people looking at a skyway map, and looking around as if to orient themselves. They seemed intent and confused. I asked if I could help, and they said they wanted to go to the US Bank Stadium. They were about to march off in the general direction of the stadium, but I had to tell them they’d only get two blocks, and then they’d be dumped on the cold, cold streets. You have to go that way to take the skyway all the way to the stadium.

I pointed east. They were alarmed. No, that cannot be so.

“We have come from that way,” said the older member.

Ah but that is the path. Trust me. I have dwelled in this world for many years. Your route is long and difficult, but it can be done. I led them into the skyway, showed them the big Government Center straddling two blocks, and said they had to go to that building, then down to the basement, under the street, into that building with the clock -

and then in my mind I saw the rest of the route. They would have to go past the statue of the naked River God, outside, cross to the Grain Exchange, go to the end of the hall, go through the alley to the Grain Exchange Annex, then take the elevator up to go left to the parking ramp, then down a floor, outside, head southeast for two blocks, go into the Wells Fargo building.

I do it without thinking. I said no, come to think of it, this way. But you’ll be outside in two blocks. I offered to take them to the entry point of their final leg, and we set off through the skyway.

So, where are you from?

"Argentina," said the tall man with a slight smile.

"Ah." What do you say? The pampas! Beef! Gauchos! Peron? NO DON'T MENTION THAT. "We've been following the news about Kirchner and Macri," I said, stupidly.

He nodded. I felt like a complete idiot. "Well, I'm sorry you had to experience our cold. Our summers are better."

He nodded.


"There's your skyway," I said. The three younger people thanked me. I hope they made it. They had six blocks in the open. You could lose a toe if you took too long.


Aw crap.

A Dairy Queen that opened in 1949 in southwest Minneapolis has served its last Blizzard. The location at 3709 W. 50th St. closed Saturday, at the end of last year.

International Dairy Queen spokesman Dean Peters said it was the franchisee’s decision to close the restaurant.

That was our Dairy Queen. It’s not going out of business because it’s failing, but because the land’s worth a fortune. Not so with the other nearby DQ, which has the virtue of the original sign and sits next to a gas station. There's an old Philips 66 station up the street -

- and it's possible to reconstruct, if you wish, a hot day in the 60s when people walked down to the DQ while their car was up on the lift.

Rotate right and head down the main street; you'll see the DQ.

Contemporary gas stations and ice cream parlors do not have the same romance.


Anyway. You have to go to DQ in the summer. Or a Tastee Freeze, if you’re of that tribe. Few are. There were 1800 in 1957, and there are 50 today. You can blame their logo. It used to be slick and 50s, but at some point they went with olde-timey letters that said "1890s Ice Cream Parlour!" You know, the place that had flies and men with ancient BO.

Helpful note from wikipedia:

In the 1950s, Tastee-Freez had the Tastee-Freez Twins mascots: Tee (female) and Eff (male). The mascots were unclothed with ice cream (strawberry and chocolate respectively) on their heads.

A few survived, and were horribly repurposed.

There was one in Moorhead across the river, which seemed apt. That was Minnesota.

Things were different over there.

This part has no more surprises . . .

But the other side is really coming along.

They haven't started the other three buildings going up on the site.

Now, something else - I don't have a banner for it, yet, so I'm sticking it here. There are lots of buildings around town that never get any attention, and deserve a few moments of consideration. Sometimes it's because they're just . . . different. This one, for example. I like this view, with the glass curtainwall and open upper floors . . .

But from another ange - man, dial it back a little.





This year it's The Great Gildersleeve!


Was it that funny? Occasionally. It depends. Forties humor can be an acquired taste; the best radio shows of the era are truly timeless. Benny ages well. Phil Harris’ show, a spin-off, is still amusing. If a show depended on gags, it can sound contrived to modern ears. If it relied on characters, it works better. If the characters weren’t archetypes - that is, the Southern guy, the Jewish lady, and so on - then you might get an ensemble that clicked and a writing staff that adapted to their strengths. At its best, that was Gildersleeve. But it wasn’t so at first.

As noted on Monday, Gildy was a spin-off from Fibber McGee & Molly. Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve (the very name shows you how ripe and overwrought the original source material could be) moves to Summerfield to take care of his niece and nephew.

The household consisted of Leroy, a Typical American Boy with his own unfunny catchphrases; Marjorie, a teenaged girl; Birdie, a “Negro domestic” as they’d say at the time. Very traditional and anything but: you can imagine a network exec worried taht a single man, two kids, and a Colored as the stand-in maternal figure might not play, but they had the strength of Peary’s performances to barrel past any objections. He wasn’t as one-dimensional as he’d been in “Fibber,” and while he was still a blowhard and a windbag, the writers added depth and gentleness to his explosive temper and unctuous ladykiller ways, and by the third season something quite charming had developed. Birdie, who was played broadly at first, turned into the rock of the household, its sole dependable figure of maturity, and Peary had stopped overacting the part and relied on his voice to give his character an immediately recognizable and unique. He sang his lines, really.

By the time the show hit its third season, it had matured into something quite unlike its early shows: the situations weren’t contrived, the dialogue didn’t slip into that pun-laden insult humor that characterized a lot of comic dialogue. By the time it hit season 5, it was a warm, affectionate show about an actual family, with Birdie the Cook stepping in for the Wife. The shift was due entirely to the writers - Sam Levinson wrote most of the early stuff with a broad brush. The team of XX and John Wheedon found the heart of the show in the characters’ affections for each other, and managed the tricky task of making Gildersleeve entirely likable. I mean, he’s vainglorious, peevish, sulky, lacivious, bossy, and damned lazy. Why would all these other normal, well-adjusted people like such a fellow?

But they did, and you do too. (Wheedon, by the way, was the grandfather of Joss Wheedon, the director of the “Avengers” movies, among other things.) The seasons had story arcs, and continuity. Things that happened in one episode affected events in another, which was rare for the time. In short, it’s a modern sitcom.

What happened after season 6, how it star ruined his career, how the show lost its way - we’ll get to that eventually, but this isn’t about the show. It’s about the music cues. “Gildersleeve” had an amazing amount of original music, written and orchestrated for each episode. This year will be a trip from the early 40s to the end of the decade, and you’ll hear how the culture changes, ever-so-slightly.


  Here's how the show began.

  It had a second theme, right away: after the ad, it went to another tune, which didn't vary from show to show - and then another tune, which was different every week.


  Another example of the post-ad theme. Completely different.


  The other theme, played at the end sometimes. Fun and jaunty, if a bit rushed. As played it wears out its welcome quite quickly.


This one rivals "The Couple Next Door" for music cues, and they're all original.


This week's ad: Kraft! Of course. Gildy's sponsor - and the cause of the star's eventual downfall.

But that's a long ways away.



The Amazon review says: "The overall vibe of the songs is, well, lurid, tawdry, cheap, burlesque (that's a solid recommendation; the worst of all worlds is "boring," and this album has style!)."

  That it does.

  New this year: end-of-show aphorisms. If they had time to fill, they threw one of these in. Folk wisdom!

And so we end the week. Finishing up the Aldens 1966 Catalog - just a few to go. Have yourself a fine little weekend.


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