The Fair is here! And I'll have not a word to say about it today. Save it for next week. I have one show under my belt. (Note: I was not, in fact, wearing a belt.) This was lubricating the old joints, getting used to the whole ridiculousness of standing on a small stage and hectoring people to answer questions in exchange for lip balm. It's fun! And a Bleatnik stopped by; I hope she decloaks in the comments and says nice things about the event.

Addendum to two previous pieces about the difficulty caused by screwing up one’s pathetically anal-retentive lunch routine, AND the jeremiad against Taco John’s, which appeared here earlier this summer.

I believe I said that my experience with Taco John’s was predictable and mysterious: I knew it was bad, I would forget it was bad, I would eat it, I would realize it was bad, I would swear off it but did so knowing I would eat it again.

So it has been for years. Well, I ate Taco John’s.

It wasn’t that bad. I mean, it’s hard to screw up a taco, right? I hate to admit it, but the week of disordered lunch was followed by another, because I kept forgetting to bring something from home. This meant I was at the mercy of the skyway establishments, and they’ve been reduced buy 2/3rds.

Here. Let us visit the second floor of the Northstar building.

All gone. COVID at first, and then the renovation of everything into a new Northstar experience.

I didn’t want to spend $15 for a baguette at the new place in my building, and burgers weren’t an option, since that would be supper. Note: there are no McDonald’s or Burger Kings downtown, and there haven’t been any for a long time. It seems peculiar that a downtown cannot support a McDonald’s, but that is so. The Arby’s died as well. No more extruded beef slurry formed into congealed sheets and doused with Horsey Sauce. Now we have two fast casual joints, Five Guys, and MyBurger. Expensive and too much food. Anyway, since burgers were off the table, ersatz Mexican with all the insufficiencies drowned out with hot sauceappealed to my debased palate.

I mention this for two reasons. One, the tacos were so absolutely, completely acceptable that I know I will go back to have a bad experience and continue the peculiar cycle. Two, when I went to the Sauce Packet Distribution Station there was an elderly woman restocking the bins.

She was taking out handfuls of packets from a bag, and smoothing them out by hand.

I did not want to take any of her smoothed packets, so I said “I’ll just take a few of these crumpled ones,” and she smiled, and then I said “I have never had anyone smooth out my taco sauce packets before. I didn’t know anyone ever did that. Thank you.”

For the rest of my life I will never take a hot sauce packet without thinking that there was someone whose job consisted of smoothing it out.


The old firehouse is gone. It was with us in the 19th, 20th, aanddn 21st centuries.

From this pit will rise a fairly substantial project, so it'll take a while to get out of the pit. Prepare yourself for months of stubby service cores.

It's out of the pit! Skyway view:

Now the thrills start, right?


It's great when they give Lance a picture of what happened, so he can pick holes in the story right away.

"Drawing the third panel was your second mistake."

"What was my first?"


Solution is here.



I'm not a big fan of Lights Out, or the Arch Obler plays. They're good, and occasionally great, and frequently tiresome. A story about a greedy Nordic deep-sea diver is one of the worst, overwrought and obvious. Eventually a cop enters the story, and here again, we prove my thesis that this guy appeared in everything.



And he is . . . ?

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922. Why not?

Becaue they grate on the ears sometimes. But I'm committed to follwing this through for the year. At least you'll be able to say "Top 50 of 1922? Sure, I've heard it. I particularly recall  'The Song of Love' by Lucy Isabelle."


You can imagine everyone slowly moving back and forth in the ballroom, a bit stiff and mannered, some of them nervous, some bored and chatting with their partner, some sitting it out, waiting for something red hot.

Ah, but wait for 2:30 or so. As with last week, lots of things going on, even as the pace stays the same. All that energy constrained in the confines of the tempo.


Specifically, I would like to address the matter of caramels.





That'll do. Ten portfolios await your perusal. Have a great weekend, and we'll start it all up on Monday.




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