However you want to imagine the place - that's how it looks. I do know this: I sit at a long boomerang-patterned formica counter; the cups are porcelain, the jukebox is from the mid-50s, and the phone on the wall is a classic rotary-dial payphone with a nice loud bell. No air conditioning; the windows open up so you can hear the crickets, conversation, cars passing by. The menu has every staple food you'd want, and the chef takes requests - ask for gogh, served live, and you'll get a wiggling plate.

Conversation tends to wander. Whatever I start the night blathering about takes a right turn within the first ten minutes, and we're off. A typical night will begin with a question about who first publicly ate a tomato to prove it wasn't poisonous, and will end up discussing a little known Archie 3000 A.D. comic book. In between, various reports from the regulars - Habanero Jim describes his attempts to woo a mysterious lady, Rich the Ex-Green Beret gives a chortling comment on the subject of the day, Lon from Eagan checks in to report on his basement cyclotron, and Lance calls to add a detail to some obscure pop culture reference. And so on until midnight.


In the earlier version of this site I described how my main goal was to hit the post at top of the hour - say the station ID just as the news came on. This is no longer possible. Every night the clock is off a few more seconds, and every night I end up talking over the news or stopping a second too early. It's never perfect, but it's exactly the kind of show I always wanted to do. It won't last, but that's fine; on the first night, I said that the Diner was here before I arrived and it'll be here after I've left. I don't work there and I don't own it. I'm happy they let me in the building every night.

Spoken like a man whose livelihood doesn't depend on the ratings, eh?

 NOTE! The Diner now available LIVE on RealAudio. Click on "am1500" on the main index page, and you'll head off to KSTP's web site.