Outside the building today, by Smoker’s Cove: four construction guys sitting on the ground, eating pizza. They were there yesterday as well, but were eating something different. I might never see them again, but two days in a row made them seem notable; no one sits on the ground and eats by the building. Food trucks line the street, but no one sits on the ground.
Homeless guy walks up. He says:
“Give me some of that.”
One of the construction guys looks up at him, and starts to tear off a piece of his pizza. He has two pieces.
“More than that,” says the homeless guy.
Another worker hands over one entire piece.
Homeless guy walks away without saying another word. Sits on the sidewalk. Sticks his legs out and everyone walks around his big grey Crocs.
A few blocks later I’m walking down the street and there’s this guy with all his swagger unfurled - loping around, practically moving side to side like a metronome, scowling, radiating self-possession and coiled menage. Takes out his phone; it slips from his fingers - and suddenly he’s all fast hands and frantic fingers and crack! it hits the ground. As I pass I see the screen has shattered. He swears in a voice about two octaves higher than you might expect.
If he’d really been as cool as he wanted us to think he would have just let it drop, and shrugged. Huh.
I love working downtown. Every time you leave the office there's all this random human stuff.
Last night I was looking at some tweets, and thought "in order to be abreast of the issues of these modern times, I should follow this fellow so I see what's said before it's retweeted."
Apparently he follows everyone, but that still caught by surprise.
Here’s something that came to the office the other day. I am horrible at thanking and shouting-out and posting the stuff that I get; it usually goes in the queue, and I put it off, and it doesn’t get done. You have no idea. I am 65 pages into a site based on a box of magazines someone sent me last year; it’s due to appear on the site in 2018. I just finished the 2018 Motel updates, and now I'm working on the above-the-fold Ephemeral Flotsam for February 2018. (A syndicated four-panel eight-work cartoon feature, if you're wondering.)
Anyway. Bill sent me this.
Naturally? I don't know why it should go without saying, unless people expected that a stolen shot glass would be from the Brass Rail, because that's the type of clientele they had.
I don’t know where Bill is, but he’s not around these parts. He recognized the street as a Minneapolis avenue, though, and thought I should have it.
The Brass Rail. Then: strip joint. Now: “Buzzy gay nightspot offering potent cocktails, DJ's & dancing, plus a VIP room in modern digs.” In 1970:
Forty-seven years later:
I was sitting outside with the Giant Swede on a hot Saturday, basting in the gazebo-less backyard, having small cigars and sparkling water. (Target brand; it’s quite delicious.) I showed him the shot glass and he laughed.
When he was in junior high, he said, they’d walk across the bridge from Northeast and go down Hennepin and throw open the door of the Brass Rail, and for a second - a glorious, forbidden second - they would catch sight of some stripper working the pole. The bartender would see the light flood in as the door opened, spot the kids, and shout - and they'd run all the way back across the river.
But they’d seen it! They had! An actual naked lady!
On the other side of the glass:
I give you your weekend phrase. Plump full of whiskey.
Remember when it was a pit and a few girders?
There's already some glass in the lower floors.
Meanwhile, over at our old friend the KA Block the penultimate tower is going up. Boring now, I know.
I had no idea this was going on; I thought it was a parking ramp when I drove past the main airport terminal the last time.
Another hotel. I believe the ratio of hotel rooms to travelers is now 5,000 to one. So build a few more!
As noted, I'm going through the entire Gildersleeve series this year. A million custom cues, giving you the feel for 40s vernacular.
Another in the mood-music series we started last week:
That'll do - thanks for stopping by this week! One of my very favorite additions to the Permanent Collection below - as usual, a look at commercial art through the eyes of future sociologists and art historians struggling to understand the past through the devotional art of advertising.