There wasn’t any coffee at the office. There aren’t any people art the office, so why would there be coffee?

I needed a jolt. Post-lunch fade. But where? Sometimes I have a K-cup to use on the office machine. Not today. The urns are offline in the breakroom upstairs. All the coffee shops are closed, at least ones I know. Decided to go to Target to get some K-cups, and perhaps the brisk walk outside - clear day, crisp wind - would perk me up.

It did, although the walk had the usual dismaying sights.


The front of Target is still boarded up. You scurry in through a revolving door. Hey, maybe some wine with dinner -

Well, no, closed.

On the way back I realized that the Hen House was open. I remember seeing people cowering in the doorway during the late-summer riot, when someone let off a dozen gunshots during the People’s Just and Understandable Appropriation of Property. Looked normal now.

I hadn’t been inside in a while, and it felt a bit sad. Not for the mood - no, the staff was happy, there were people at the counter drinking coffee. Let me repeat: there were people sitting at the counter of a downtown diner drinking coffee. It was heartening.

What made me a bit sad was the remnant history of the place, now passing into memory of a few rather than most. This space has been a restaurant for decades - it was a Burger King into the 90s, I think, but is most noted as the second home of . . . .

That's an old picture. A storied downtown diner, the last survivor, until it too was felled. It moved here, and took its fixtures with it.

Keisters beyond number have perched on those stools.

They never really fit in. Those are lights that should hang from plaster, not accoustical tile. Now they clash with the improvised, cluttered, hand-made, theme-free decor. They suggest another time and place that’s kept on like an old janitor who can’t do much, but no one has the heart to fire the fellow.

I suppose it’s always like this, everywhere. You came here five years ago, this means nothing . . .

. . . but for those of us who’ve been here a while, it’s a classic (which is to say, not entirely good) 70s building with those characteristic round windows, and there was the Magic Pan upstairs, a creperie that was all the rage.

It’s not that it’s gone that bothers me; everything in cities comes and goes. It’s the fear that it’s all gone, and it’s never coming back in my lifetime. In the end, it all came to naught.

Ah well. I took my coffee back to my empty office and poured it into a cup from the last trip to England.

The statuette, of course, is our Special Agent.

The mug and pencils, by the way, are from my first day on the job in 1997. The pencils have never been sharpened. On my last day I'll sharpen them all, then leave for good. May that day be far, far away!

The cup is a vow: I'll be back.




It’s 1931. Child’s Life magazine.

“Because she’s got to hit the head to move the mail, right on the dot, if you know what I mean.”


Able Seaman Titty, you say.

Young adult fiction from the 30s.


The author:

Arthur Michell Ransome (18 January 1884 – 3 June 1967) was an English author and journalist. He is best known for writing the Swallows and Amazons series of children's books about the school-holiday adventures of children, mostly in the Lake District and the Norfolk Broads. The books remain popular and Swallows and Amazons is the basis for a tourist industry around Windermere and Coniston Water, the two lakes Ransome adapted as his fictional North Country lake.

He was also suspected of being a Soviet spy.


“The youngster gets a message.” Which is what? A message about -


Klad-Eeze wasn’t just based in Mpls, they had a store here as well.




Poorly secured, so once you hit that bump in the sidewalk seam, it’s ass over teakettles for you! Wow, won’t the gang be impressed when you show up all bloody!




Modern foot comfort demands progress!



Oh great, a rebus! Everyone loves rebii.

The other kids eventually switched to Wheaties and went faster, because it has fewer syllables.

It was a famous cereal, invented I the 19th century, and eventually produced in Rahway NJ. This article notes that the cereal spawned a radio show about the doings in Wheatenaville.


I can’t find the plant. The HQ looked like this:

Dick is a crank:

What made the difference? A CHART. All messy young boys respond promptly to a chart.

It’s fun to learn about violent clashes in turbulent times that changed the face of history!


Well, it is.

That'll have to hold you for a while. See you tomorrow.



blog comments powered by Disqus