And now it's cold. That's okay. It'll be warm again. But it was a good night to watch football, no? The first few games it's warm, then there's a wan quality to the noon light as you head to your friend's house, then there's the Monday night game when the air has a snap. All the cliches; they're unavoidable. The air has a nip or a snap, right? Never a pinch or a shiv-flick.
Everyone else is giving up football, but I took up watching it again this year after years away. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed sitting around with the Giant Swede and Crazy Uke, shouting and hooting. There used to be two more of us, but they drifted off of their own accord. It's like that as the years roll on: when you get together you note who's gone.
At least they're not dead. They just don't like us anymore.
I decided to streamline my backup options. You know what it’s like - you got all this stuff you can’t possibly live without. Mission critical. Like, for example, this website. As it happens I have backups and backups but only one that’s up to the minute - literally. A few months ago when I streamlined operations downstairs behind the TV, cleaning up a nightmare of cables, I took out the NAS. The Network Attached Storage. Real boot & suspenders stuff, it was; did a daily backup in addition to the other daily backup.
But I hated it. The drive names were peculiar, the software was horrible, and deleting anything always generated error messages. Sorry! The folder is in use. No, it’s not, except that I’m attempting to delete it. It’s like trying to strangle someone and they say you can’t strangle me, I’m already being strangled. Yes, you are, and I am strangling you. Doesn’t matter.
Thinking it would still be useful, I hooked it up to my Mac, using Ethernet. This confused my computer, which forgot all about wifi and thought “well, he wants this cord to bring in all the data, so let’s do that then.” I had the option of plugging in the cord every time I wanted to d a backup, and that’s not what we call “an option at all.” So I decommissioned it.
I knew I had some backups on Google and Amazon, and they annoyed me: slapdash, scattershot. I had a free unlimited account with Amazon, which had stopped syncing because they dropped the plan, and now I had 320 GB of files which would cost $59.99 a year if I wanted to continue. I did not. Downgraded the plan and erased everything.
And there, you think, was my first mistake. Right? Nah. Maybe. I would have breathed a little easier later, perhaps, but it wasn’t a big deal. Went to my Google drive, which has been sending me overflow warnings for days: I was over my limit. I needed to empty my trash. WELL I HAD, BUSTER, and I still got the message until I cleaned everything out and zeroed out that backup.
And there, you think, was my second mistake. Perhaps. But that was nothing I ever counted on. Didn’t know what was there. So I wanted something connected to my Mac that synced certain folders - one place, with lots of room. Store it in Amazon’s Glacier, the long-term / rarely-accessed storage plan? Let me tell you about the nightmare of setting that up. Imagine trying to grill a steak and every time you put the meat on the grill it vanishes and the mailman suddenly appears and says “you have to check your mailbox to complete the grilling procedure,” but there’s nothing there.
I figured: iCloud.
And there, you say - well. Dude.
What I had been led to believe was this: it synced. Simple as cake, as I believe a dying Cosmonaut said in “2010.” Maybe easy as cake. I bought some more storage, thinking this would be my sole dedicated online thing, and it would be Apple, and the items would be available on all my computers, etc etc. I checked the box that said it would sync my Desktop and Documents folders. The latter is where the website lives, along with a 340 GB folder called JRL Archives. It contains everything I have ever written and every picture and video.
It started to upload them right away, and since I wanted to let that roll overnight, I hit the cancel button, or unchecked it. Whatever. It gave me some warnings that made no sense. When it was through warning me I looked at my sidebar, and all the folders I use on a constant basis - Documents, To File, lileks.com -
They were gone.
I went to the iCloud drive icon in the sidebar. There were two folders: Desktop and Documents.
They were empty.
I did not panic, because a quick check of the drive’s available capacity indicated that nothing had been deleted, but I was agog: this was the stupidest piece of backup software I’d ever seen. This was insane.
First of all: there’s no way to backup your desktop without backing up your documents, and vice versa. Both. Which means when you drop a 1.4 GB movie on your desktop after exporting it, iCloud will start a-chuggin’ to load it up to wherever, slowing everything down. Second: there’s no way to pause the backup in the software interface, such as it is. (And it’s awful.)
Whoever designed this never thought someone would think “I don’t want to do it now,” and might uncheck the sync box, and then discover that EVERYTHING IS GONE.
Except, of course, it’s not. I did some searching and found everything living in “iCloud Drive (Archive)”, buried deep in the recesses of the Library folder. I couldn’t restore them to their original position in the sidebar without unchecking the iCloud boxes again - and at this point, I honestly believe that the program will wipe everything out.
So I am backing everything up to different hard drives before I cancel the iCloud sync, and then I am going to do a clean install on this fargin’ thing to get it back to normal -
and I’m still not backed up the way I want.
Annnnd the backup drive just made a clicking sound.
I wrote so much about Twin Peaks you may have wondered what I thought at the end. Well, I made a few passes at putting down my impressions and convictions, my hopes and suspicions - and it doesn’t matter. If it had been what I wanted, it would’ve been a disappointment. From the distance of a month, I’m sad about the small amount of Coop, and I think we made excuses to ourselves about that. They wanted to tell a different story, no compromises, and I loved it - I was more interested in the mythology and spooky-to-terrifying aspects of the old show, and TP: Return delivered on that. Didn’t care about the soap-opera aspects; didn’t care whether Ben Horne had moved on to action figures. Didn’t want a big showdown at the end, because it would have seemed preposterous - oh look it’s Agent Dale Cooper, fighting with Evil! And he wins. And everyone goes out for pie. Credits.
But yeah, I wouldn’t have minded that.
After everything ended - a series of events that were brilliantly manipulated, when you look back and reconstruct the sequences that put everyone in the proper place - it kept going into a place no one expected it to go. What we got was oblique, frustrating, and so goddamned sad, and it has stayed with me for weeks.
I don’t expect happy endings from the shows I watch. It seems shallow to expect such things. Why, Life doesn’t have a happy ending. So everything has to end with grim dark grit. I forget if I mentioned this, but Broadchurch season 3 ended with our heroes sitting on a bench by the sea; beautiful shot. They'd cracked the case, of course. Millarrr asked David Tennant if he would like to go to the pub, because they'd never been, together; he said no and stalked off BECAUSE HE IS AN INTENSE AND DEDICATED COP.
I thought: Would it fargin’ kill you to have a bleedin’ pint at the local? Would it somehow spoil the show's tone and serious rep if something actually ended well for some people we liked, for once?
It’s the small happinesses that make a show human and memorable; it’s why I love Detectorists. But the overall arc towards the dark is not an innovation anymore. It’s the default. TP: R puts the rest of the dark shows to shame, though - you can argue about the ending for years. It was heartbreaking, confusing, disorienting - and every fan who watched the end had their eye on the progress bar that said how much was left, and thought no. No. No.
Compare that to “Kingsman,” just because it’s something I watched the other night. Here’s a movie I enjoyed for a while. Arch, a bit over the top, but a winking reboot of the bespoke gentleman spy. For a while I thought it was refashioning the genre for modern times. Planting the seed corn. Not eating it.
Well. Then comes a scene that breaks faith with half the audience, hoots up the other half. Absolute horrid carnage set to pop music. I felt my enjoyment just drain away, and when it was done I hit STOP and had to collect myself, because I felt filthy. I felt ashamed that the movie thought I was the sort of person who would appreciate this.
Side note: all the people who are lavishly, kinetically killed are mouth-breathing Suthern religious people packed into a church where the preacher fulminates against homersegjuls and femnists, and we’re meant to believe these are Westboro Baptist types who got it comin’, boah. But it’s the scriptwriter and the director falling back on the only group you can kill with critical permission. If the hero had been possessed by a brain-controlling signal and killed everyone in a London Mosque after the Imam had lectured about, well, homosexuals and feminism, it would have banned, never released, reshot, recut.
That is not permitted.
Killing 100-and-change bigots in a West Virginia church for the audience’s enjoyment: that is permitted. In fact it’s mandatory. Ten stars on imdb!
You can imagine the director editing it with meticulous care, making sure the music is right when the hero drives an axe into a woman’s head.
There is goodness at the heart of Twin Peaks: The Return, and it’s what makes the end so wrenching. There is no goodness in the heart of shit merchants like Matthew Vaughn, the Kingsman’s director. Garbage art vomited up by carrion birds.
The co-authoress of the movie is Jane Goldman.
Met her husband when she was 16 years old and working as a pop columnist for the newspaper Daily Mail. Her trademark is her dyed bright red hair. Has been a lingerie model for Fantasie bras. Has written numerous non-fiction books for young adults. She and her family have unique pets including an iguana, two salamanders, chinchillas and a few ferrets.
I'd bet she would write a protesting letter if someone shot a movie where the hero killed everything in a pet shop.
Yesterday I seemed to suggest that Little Debbiecakes had not shown sufficient enthusiasm for the necessary, mandatory pumpkinification. I was just holding back.
You know that they're pretty good for a bite or two and then you hate yourself for bites three and four. It's that odd vinyl chocolate and immortal "cake" stuff. Just a sugar-delivery vehicle. But is it different from last year's offerings? Don't know, but here's what they had in 2015:
Same photo in both examples.
Possibly the same cookies, left on a shelf for two years. They'd taste the same.
We’re going back to 1919, which almost puts us in the 1920s category - but of course everything changes when a decade rolls over, right? Typography, music, fashion, everything.
The Plymouth Crier:
It was a Minneapolis store, and I haven’t found any other references. No doubt located on the ground floor, which underwent many changes over the years. A restaurant, a coal-company office, a drug store. Restaurant now. The building can be viewed here; it’s one of the venerable downtown blocks, but was stripped of its ornamentation after the war. It’s a hotel now.
The little bank that could:
In 11 years it would move into its huge new HQ, which would later go down in a spectacular Thanksgiving Day fire. The bank eventually became Norwest, which became part of Wells Fargo.
The site today:
Another venerable Minneapolis name: Northwester National Life Insurance. The building on the right is the home office; the building on the left was a civic auditorium.
The site today:
It’s not as barren as it looks. The modern Orchestra Hall occupies the old Auditorium space, and the NWLI building was pretty dull: no loss. It moved into a much lovelier building in Loring Park.
The Twin Cities Lines was the trolley company. Buses too, but they’re remembered around here for the streetcars.
They ran the most talkative ads.
According to the Electrical Railway Journal, Mr. Warnock quit his job in July 1919 to start his own business. Electric Traction magazine has a better account of his career, with a picture!
He was the founder of the complaint bureau. So he took the surly motorman-matter seriously.
He appears as a character in a musical play:
As has happened before on numerous stages, Randy Schmeling steals the show. This time, he plays businessman A.W. Warnock. His prickly character is intriguing to watch, and he leads the working boys through an act-one highlight, "All Boys Are Working Boys.”
Prickly? I can see that.
You may remember this from last July:
Yes, EVENTUALLY. The one-word ad slogan for flour. Just to remind you:
The ad says "Glad to see you all again" - a reference to wartime shortages?
An ad for my newspaper’s want-ad section, back when such a thing contributed nicely to the bottom line.
The illo is signed, for once: Sid Hix. He did a lot of commercial illustration, and I don’t know if this was a custom job or something they sold to anyone who wanted it.
The style doesn’t match anything else in the magazine - much cleaner and simpler.
BTW, Hix turned out some books with “The Lighter Side of” in the title, predating Mad Magazine’s Dave Berg. I wonder if Berg got hte idea from Hix, or if it was just rattling around in general circulation. The collections of Berg’s work were called “Dave Berg Looks At. . . .” which suggests he might have known the title was something best left to its originator. Just speculation.
Usually this feature doesn’t do covers, but this is relevant.
We might be shutting down, but don’t think you can help yourself to our editorial content, bud - or skip out on your bills:
You’re reading the words of William Crowell Edgar.
Edgar came to Minneapolis in 1880. In 1882 the publisher of the Northwestern Miller, a weekly trade journal in Minneapolis, asked him to become the journal’s business manager. As business manager and later editor of the Miller, he was responsible for a number of innovations. The first flour mill advertisement was placed in the Miller by the Charles A. Pillsbury Company in 1883; and the first foreign flour advertisement was placed in 1885 by a firm in Glasgow, Scotland.
Edgar established the literary magazine the Bellman in 1906 and served as editor and manager until 1919, when it was discontinued. Edgar served as president of Miller Publishing Company until his retirement in 1924, when he began writing a "Bellman" column for the Minneapolis Tribune. He also authored several books during his career.
Significant, widely-read, influential. And completely forgotten.
That'll do; see you around.