Recent content from James Lileks
This whopper of a winter made saints of us all.
I enjoy online customer satisfaction surveys. After all, my opinion is very important to them — except when it’s a case of me being too…
Affordable, accessible motor inns were once the place to stay downtown. That all began to change in the 1960s.
If highway designers knew then what we know now.
I am not a coffee snob. I treat it like I do pizza: No matter how bad it is, it's still pizza. Logically, this means…
March is the first point when we can start to indulge the annual mass delusion we call "hope."
Skippy, best known for his role as Asta in the "Thin Man" movies, was a movie star in the glamorous 1930s.
Not everyone thinks highly of these aboveground, indoor sidewalks. But our recent deep freeze was a reminder of how the skyways make downtown not just livable, but unique.
Three words to confuse and alarm:Lucky Charms Beer.This sounds like something you'd write down in the middle of the night so you'd be sure to…
For a while, it was thought to be forward looking. Now it's widely considered inhumane.
If you clicked "accept," you're stuck with this year.
If you talk to the filmmakers who vote for the Academy Awards, you expect them to say:"My choice, while difficult, was based on the director's…
It's one of the most famous trademarks of the 20th century: a dog looking at a gramophone horn, from the 1898 painting "His Master's Voice."
How Minnesotans reacted to snowstorms in the good old days vs. now.
Cecil and Faye Glickman's neighborhood landmark is now seeing its fourth generation on the job.
If you never hear from me again, it's because I discovered the French toast conspiracy. They already took down Aunt Jemima. I don't know if…
Don't park anywhere ever, and you're fine.
In the past week, I've been cutting cords, sundering long-standing relationships and cleaning the deadwood out of my life. The first to go: daughter's health club membership.
It's ice until April, so stock up on sidewalk sand.
Which Super Bowl commercial are you discussing around the water cooler today? The one where Steve Carell did that thing for Coke? Or was it Pepsi? Doesn't matter; it was funny.
You've possibly forgotten they're even on.
Rising on the site of the 1858 Nicollet House, the hotel was financed by the public, and torn down in 1991. United Properties has proposed a 33-story glass office tower for the site.
This shouldn't be controversial, but someone needs to say it: We're entitled to yell "GUYAHHGH!" when it's below zero.
I'm not interested in personal pipe empowerment.
When the polar vortex strikes, you realize we don’t have enough words to describe extreme cold. Well, nothing you can say within a block of…
Everyone has some parenthood story that makes them wince, right?
It’s the middle of the month of the new year, and you haven’t reduced your screen time, learned French, lost weight, organized the drawers…
Though they're often overlooked, doors reveal a lot about a building and its era.
The (only slightly embellished) tale of one of the heroic dogs of history.
The battle of the almanac predictors leaves us cold.
Week's word is welcomely bland.
How's the new diet going? What, you haven't started? C'mon, we're already into Week 2 of this "New Year, New You" thing. Here are some…
Sauce for der gander, nein?
This is one you'll resolve not to use, a resolution you can keep.
If the holiday cards arrive today, they're technically on time, right?
Many banks in Minnesota now have new uses, but their original designs give them away.
Why start a new year now, when all is bleak and the fun is over?
With apologies to Charles Dickens, we offer this update to “A Christmas Carol.” It was Christmas afternoon, and Scrooge had stepped outside his nephew’s house…
There is a terrifying moment in a man's life when he asks his wife what she wants for Christmas, and she tells him.
Aisle be back.
When we complain about Christmas music, it’s not the songs themselves. It’s the way they’re forced upon us. Also, it’s the songs themselves. Consider a…
Everyone copies us at the holidays.
The season to be frazzled
In the ever-changing world of retail, catalogs are fading while online shopping is taking over. That's why I'm going to the mall.
The first electric streetcar was so popular that the city vowed to forgo horses and cables and go electric. A little more than a year later, the first interurban electric line, down University Avenue, opened.
Would you like a modern tale of woe and self-inflicted stupidity?Consider the Smart Thermostat. I have one, and it always lights up when I enter…
It's important to remember that nothing we are stressing about will matter or be remembered next year — or even by Super Bowl Sunday.
A group "empowered to elect for Minnesota a state flower" picked the wild lady slipper.
It sounds a little fishy.
The Amazon voice-activated device is called an Echo, but everyone calls it Alexa. That’s who’s inside. Those of us who own one don’t think there’s…
We need to rethink our Christmas tree paradigms.
In 1912, plans for the 3rd Avenue Bridge were presented to the commission charged with picking a design.
I was mass-deleting e-mailed press releases the other day when I found something that was actually relevant to my interests. To be honest, it sounded…
In 1978, a Minneapolis kid held a comic book convention at the Ridgedale shopping center, and his special guest was Stan Lee.
Despite his training, our rescue dog still goes a bit feral over certain foods.
We have no idea when the first Thanksgiving really took place. It could have been a Monday in September.
University of Minnesota football coach "Bernie" Bierman stood on the sidelines for the last time Nov. 18, 1950.
A fan explains why we loved the Marvel Comic maverick.
Last week I had the opportunity to drive to the southwest part of the state, to get out of the city, breathe some country air…
A study nags you to get in the holiday mood ASAP. Your happiness depends on it.
The Star Journal's headline tells the story of the storm: "City, Northwest Buried by Worst November Storm; Death Toll Rises; Many Still Lost; Cold to Continue."
Windows are more than just a means to bring in light and air; they're a way to read the style and technology of an era.
This word is a grave mistake
A schoolteacher became the first woman elected by Minnesotans to serve in the U.S. House.
A year ago, I replaced the old-style doorbell with a video device that pipes an image of the visitor right to my phone, showing me…
Why not fall forward? And other questions.
That existential void isn't going to fill itself.
Halloween might look like a child's holiday, a merry pretext for costumes and candy, but if you're a pedantic killjoy like me, it can be…
I wrote some breezy japery about the flu a few weeks ago, and some readers thought I was minimizing the need for a shot or…
A look to the future, when retail tastes shift again.
A monument to Charles M. Babcock was dedicated on his homesite in Elk River in 1947.
This 'tea' is a tart drink, indeed
The millennials' newest victim, according to Bloomberg News, is American cheese.
Most of us have three phases: 1. Oh, the leaves are starting to turn. Pretty! 2. Hmm, they're all brown. 3. Well, they're gone. In a week it'll be dark at 4:54 p.m. Why do I live here?
They call it Swedish death cleaning: You approach your possessions as if you were charged with emptying out your house after you’ve died. No one…
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