As promised, the report on the reopened mall. Let's just say you had your choice of parking spots.

As I walked towards the entrance, noting it still had a big red sign on the doors, I saw a well-dress Edina senior demographic woman - no mask, if you're wondering - walk up, expecting the door to whoosh open. It did not.

"How do we get in?" she asked me. "I thought it was supposed to be open today."

"It is supposed to be open," I said. "Maybe on the other side."

"Government Mandate," she said with slight exasperation.

Huh? Oh

Some places have signs that said "we've decided to close for your benefit" but Simon Manangement is playing a different tune, I guess, and it's called JUST SO YOU KNOW.

I went to the other side of the Mall. The doors were closed - except for one, and I saw a father and two kids walk out; he had a bag from a shoe store. Well! So it's true!

In a sense. The shoe store was open.

That's it.

Well, Bubble Tea, one clothing store, and the AT&T store.

A banner for an event on May 10; I've no idea why they hung it in the first place.

The other side:

I'm going back every day to see how it loosens up. It's this or the deserted downtown.

Stupid little man, trying to will it all back into life.





I watched a ridiculously entertaining Netflix series called “Into the Night.” It’s described as the first Belgian sci-fi post-apocalyptic series,” and I think you can take that at face value.

We're introduced to our heroine at ther start, and I call her Disorganized Euro Gal. We know DEG is special because everything about her introduction tells us she’s different - her choice of sex partner, the fact that she is straddling him in a hospital bed, the fact that she wakes late to get to the airport -

Why is that special? Because she’s ragged when it comes to the details of life, and that makes her interesting. She gets a nice overhead shot in bed when she wakes, she says MERDE when she checks the clock - she shouldn’t have slept so long, because she has a flight to catch. So what? Boring people get to the airport on time.

Turns out she got there too late! The check-in clerk is professional but firm: I’m sorry Mamselle, but I was not the one who showed up late.

Whereupon Disorganized Euro Gal slams a cremation urn on the counter. DEAD BOYFRIEND. TRUMP CARD. The check-in clerk is chastened, and even more so when she realizes that it is a matter of the heart, the late girl luffed the person in the urn, so let’s see what we can do.

I'll remember to try that next time, but I'm not a tragic young Belgian woman so it might not work.

Meanwhile, there’s a strange unease in the airport at the margins - people staring at news on their phone with uncomprehending expressions, or trying to make calls that don’t go through. The plane our DEG is supposed to take starts accepting passengers, and about seven or eight people get on board. You might wonder if it’s a parade of archetypes ready for box-ticking? Why yes!

Big noble guy with inner calm and strength who is accused of being a dirty Mooselman but parries the insult with inner calm and strength by saying actually, I’m a dirty turk: CHECK

Thin white dude in first class who hates minorities and spouts the Bible and is an utter coward and sucks up to any authority: CHECK

Stewardess pregnant by a pilot - hold on, what is this, Airport? Anyway, yes, Check!

Little sick kid going abroad for a life-saving operation - hold on, what is this, Airport? Anyway, yes, Check! And he’s going to MOSCOW for the operation he can’t get in BRUSSELS.

Then a crazed man who disarmed a security guard bursts on the plane, shuts the door, crashes the cockpit, shoots the co-pilot in the hand (the pilot is doing the walk-around) and demands they take off! Now! Or we die!

Let me stop right here and say this:

I absolutely loved this stupid thing.

I mean it’s all the disaster cliches, but it’s got something I can’t quite define. It’s like a fairly smart execution of all the stupid cliches. It's paced like a panic attack. The subtitles made it seem at least 19% less stupid.

Here’s the deal: they have to take off now because when sunrise comes it kills everyone. That’s the problem.

That’s a big problem.

The co-pilot, as I mentioned, was shot in the hand - which conveniently disabled the radio - and needs help taking off, so the stew goes back to the cabin, which has, say, 8 people, and asks if there’s a pilot on board - AND DISORGANIZED EURO GAL IS A PILOT.

Well, a helicopter pilot, in the military - and she got tossed out For Reasons! But she can totally fly an Airbus, so off they go.

Later: the Stew goes back to the same eight people and asks “can anyone hear speak Arabic?” Cue the Turk!

Later: the Stew goes back to the same eight people and asks “is there a doctor among you?” Cue the Previously Not Highlighted Ethnicity! At this point I’m waiting for the Stew to ask if there’s anyone on board who can restring a tennis racket while singing show tunes in Latin, and someone will stand up.

Basically, it’s Airport + Langoliers + The Last Ship.

Episode two: all the Brits on the flight are actually war criminals, so we got that sublimated Brexit vibe going.

it’s the guiltiest pleasure I’ve had a in a long time, and will always be associated with the two-weeks-past-losing-my-patience period of the lockdown.

Do you have any shows that will always say “that time” to you? Yes, yes, Joe Tiger King Exotic. Poor fellow; we’re done with him and care naught for his case. He was the national Murder Hornet for a while.

For me the most plaintive part of the early days of the lockdown will be remembered in terms of Marx Brothers movies, which I watched in the afternoon when nothing seemed to matter anymore, and we all just had to wait.

And there was always more of that.




It’s 1948.

We’re looking at newspaper ads today! What fun! Why, you might say the mood around here is almost festive!

Or some other word like that.

The cannery is still around. The trademark belongs to another company now. It first hit the market in 1948, and to this day people still search for its canned pumpkin around October.

Well, he’d know! Because they paid him! But that’s okay; everyone loved Cedric.

The era when most people knew him and the location has passed. Now it’s “who?” And “where?” But you can still buy Flame Room coffee from McGarvey - and you know what? I’m having some right now. I also have Cedric’s job, in the sense that he was a Star columnist. No one’s asked me to endorse any coffee, though.


The era when most people knew him and the location has passed. Now it’s “who?” And “where?” But you can still buy Flame Room coffee from McGarvey - and you know what? I’m having some right now. I also have Cedric’s job, in the sense that he was a Star columnist. No one’s asked me to endorse any coffee, though.

As long as we’re talking about coffee:

Those were smart packages - colorful with a unique typeface. The ads show you the colors, but even if they didn’t . . . I know.

Little brother’s eating pure sauce:

Big operation? I don’t think they had all of this:

Rockwood Chocolate Factory Historic District is a historic industrial complex and national historic district in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City. The complex consists of 16 contributing buildings built between 1891 and 1928. The largest and oldest building (Building 1 and 2) dates to 1891 and is located at the corner of Washington and Park avenues. It is a five-story, Romanesque Revival style building. Much of the complex has been converted to loft apartments.

Out of business in the 50s.

Oleo from Wilson’s - you know the guys who make bacon and ham and such. DON’T ASK WHAT’S IN IT

The label protects your table! Meaning, none of that Upton-Sinclair “The Jungle” stuff with pieces of finger in the chili.

This brings me back.

Brings me back to the early days of the paper, when I went through the microfilm and studied the old ads and decided to launch an entire website based on forgotten commercial mascots.

It was offline for a long, long time - but I’ve redone it, and it’ll be back this year or early next.

How much difference was there between the brands? That’s what I’d like to know.

Well, there's this:

Chase & Sanborn Coffee is an American coffee brand created by the coffee roasting and tea and coffee importing company of the same name, established in 1862 in Boston, Massachusetts by Caleb Chase and and James Solomon Sanborn (1835-1903).[2] It claims to be the first coffee company to pack and ship roasted coffee in sealed tins.

There’s a good oath to make when you’re surprised or angry:

Well, Hot Southern Biscuits.

Who knew? They were there first.

Pre-shaped ready-to-bake biscuits can be purchased in supermarkets, in the form of small refrigerated cylindrical segments of dough encased in a cardboard can. These refrigerator biscuits were patented by Ballard and Ballard in 1931.

The story’s here. Who can we thank for refrigerated buscuits? You can thank Mr. Armstrong . . . and someone with the wonderful name of Mr. Lively B Willoughby.

That'll do - see you around.



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