Staff Directory 10645306

James Lileks

Columnist | Variety
phone: 612-673-7858
James Lileks writes a Variety column.
Recent content from James Lileks

Lileks: Want to watch TV? The chances are remote

In every family there are two people: one who wants to watch TV, and one who knows how all the remotes work. Once a week…
Buddy Banco was the mascot for Northwestern Bank in the 1970s.

Lileks: Remembering Minnesota's other favorite mascot bear

Northwestern Bank wanted to be your Buddy.
Twin Cities comedians record a podcast.

Lileks: Not keeping up with podcasts is the new 'not keeping up with Netflix'

That sounds fun, but who has time for all these podcasts?
Despite its deadly reputation, the Washington Avenue viaduct wasn’t demolished until 1984.

Most hated bridge in Minneapolis was an ugly, deadly road hazard

A brief history of "Old Man Viaduct," which lasted a century.
It’s time to treat mom.

Lileks: Who's the world's greatest mom? There can be only one

Another mug might not be the best gift.
Between things like their rampant use of smartphones and their housing preferences, millennials have become targets for criticism from older generatio

Lileks: Let's stop worrying about the millennials

Let's check the internet to see what Today's Youth have ruined.
Get ready for more construction on Interstate 35W south of downtown Minneapolis.

Lileks: Don't even think about driving in the Twin Cities this summer

Some constructive criticism of road construction season.
A textident waiting to happen: A man looks at his phone while driving.

Word of the week: Textident

Putting a dent in texting.
A man checked his smartphone while sitting on an American flag bench.

Lileks: How long can you survive without your phone?

My wife thought my phone was hers and popped it in her purse before going to bed. I couldn't find it. She took my phone to work, and I was without a phone for an entire day.
Wild turkeys have found their way downtown. ORG XMIT: RPCB101

Lileks: Upon seeing a wild downtown turkey, these thoughts will shoot into your head

The bird was the word.

Lileks: What we get out of retail consolidation (Hint: zip)

In the latest step toward a retail environment with two stores — Amazon and Tar-Mart — we learn that Herberger’s is closing. It’s owned by…
The cabin of an early Boeing 747.

Lileks: Could this possibly be the true 'golden age' of air travel?

Memories aren't grounded.

Lileks: With spring comes birds – and vermin

There was a raccoon the size of a beer keg up in the tree. Wise to the ways of nature as I am, I figured…
The downtown Minneapolis post office, photographed from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in 2004, was designed to serve as a wall between the city and the g

What should be done with Minneapolis' downtown post office site?

Plans to repurpose the downtown Minneapolis post office go against what the building was designed to do.
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Lileks: Keeping tabs on vehicle registration 'computer problems'

You could claim MNLARS is the problem, but what is the problem with MNLARS?

Lileks: Can you buy a something online without committing to a lifetime of e-mail annoyance?

When you see "SKIP AD" on YouTube, you usually click because you're impatient for free entertainment and are prone to think: "Tough luck, suckers trying…
Ah, April snow showers.

Lileks: Old Man Winter, we need to talk

You've outstayed your welcome. Just go, already.
"The Simpsons" has officially contributed to the language. Ay, caramba.

The word of the week: Embiggen

Newly recognized 'Simpsons' word is a really big deal

Lileks: Four reasons to skip the interstate

Sure, it's slower; that's the whole point.
It’s OK. It’s just weather.

Lileks: New Yorkers used to be better at this snobbery thing

We eat Juicy Lucys? Oh, snap.
Lileks: 3 ways to fix that piece of junk you'll buy again

Lileks: 3 ways to fix that piece of junk you'll buy again

I had a Keurig coffee machine, and it broke. I replaced with a Hamilton Beach machine that used K-Cups, and it made coffee that tasted…
Lileks: the meaning of life? The last line on the eye chart

Lileks: the meaning of life? The last line on the eye chart

IF YOU CAN READ THIS, the bumper sticker said, YOU'RE TOO CLOSE. Or perhaps it was: IF YOE CAN FEEB THIS YOU'RE LOO CLOZ3. I…
Keegan’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis.

Irish pubs helped revolutionize the look of Twin Cities bars

Irish pubs played a part in making bars less secretive and warmer, welcoming and connected.
Maybe — just maybe — dumping some more asphalt in the same holes every year isn’t a long-term solution.

Lileks: Let's all rant about potholes together

We fix bad asphalt with more asphalt that goes bad.
New York Times

Lileks: No need to panic over digital assistants – much

Alexa, please don't hurt me.
Becca Kufrin and Arie Luyendyk Jr. of "The Bachelor."

Lileks: Here's how to punish that toxic 'Bachelor'

The cad dared to hurt a model Minnesotan. It's time to get passive-aggressive.

The word of the week: Recognore

Do I know you?

Lileks: In Minnesota, gas comes to you!

According to this fine newspaper, there's a new company in town that will bring gas to your house and fill up your car. While I…
The1800’s Paddle Wheel replica “Pearl of the River” cruises the shore of Lake Pepin on a early October evening.

Lileks: How could Minnesota have lost 'best state' award to Iowa?

We know that Iowa can't hold a candle to us.
If only there was a word to describe a stressed-out dad.

Word of the week: Dadgitated

Father knows best? Ha!

Lileks: Do you care about the burdens of the restock clerk?

Of all the great moral questions that divide our age, the subject I'm about to raise is one of the least important. But it reveals…
A former White Castle restaurant on Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis retains its fast-food look.

Fast-food joints were unlikely source of imaginative 20th-century design — and will be missed

White Castle and others were kitschy and a loud rebuke to the serious architecture of the day. And that's what made them great.
A drawing of the rebuilt Snyders was part of a 1948 ad in the Minneapolis Star heralding the grand opening of the “Worlds Finest Drug Store.”

Minnesota Moment: Union's rooftop wasn't always a roof

The Snyders Drug Stores headquarters in downtown Minneapolis lost a floor but gained prestige.
Tube form, that’s the ticket.

Lileks: Don't give him any lip about Carmex

What if your lip balm runs out before winter does?

Lileks: the ads that make the internet horrible

Google Chrome has announced that it will be rolling out an ad blocker upgrade. Let me go on the record with a qualified hoorah. (By…
You know you want some Thin Mints, Shortbreads and Caramel deLites.

Lileks: Resisting Girl Scout cookies is futile

Of course you want some. You can't stop yourself. They are ridiculously delicious. And they appear at the worst time of the year: It has been cold forever, and the Minnesota mood is akin to a Napoleonic soldier retreating from Moscow.
The stolen stadium seat, after getting through airport security, waiting to be carried on a plane.

Lileks: You come to our stadium and steal a seat, you're now 'that guy'

Philly, we're not mad. We're disappointed.

Lileks: Reading between the lines on Valentine's Day cards

When some schools started to discourage Valentine’s Day card exchanges, boomer parents scoffed. “Nonsense! When I was a kid, we were forced by social convention…
In later years, Westgate ran overlooked films, but the neighborhood protested after two years of “Harold and Maude.”

When a Twin Cities movie theater vanishes, it takes neighborhood history with it

The story behind Westgate Theater, a movie house for what was once the streetcar suburb of Morningside.
With a petcam, you can check on your dog – and find out just what he did all day

With a petcam, you can check on your dog – and find out just what he did all day

Petcams allow you to check on your dog or cat — and maybe catch it at some hijinks.
Nicollet Park in Minneapolis was home to the Minneapolis Millers baseball team.

Why don't they put stadiums in the suburbs anymore?

As they follow development trends, well designed stadiums can propel growth.

Lileks: The miseries of car shopping

This might be the worst time of the year to buy a car. The promotions are over, and your shiny, fresh vehicle will be besmirched…
Fans listened to Idina Menzel at the Super Bowl Live kickoff show Jan. 27 on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

Lileks: Is Minnesota ready for its Super Bowl closeup?

We're about to be judged by people who thought Mindianapolis was in Indiana or something, until they got off the plane.
ELIZABETH FLORES • liz.flores@startribune.com

Lileks: Let's get a head start on criticizing Super Bowl ads

In a way, it now seems odd that there actually is going to be a Super Bowl here. We lost, and now we have to…
This scene was repeated many times throughout Minnesota in Monday's snowstorm.

Winter storm skills give us our grit

The simple joys of pushing your neighbors around.
Lileks: In case you've forgotten about popcorn, a brief primer

Lileks: In case you've forgotten about popcorn, a brief primer

It is not unusual for someone to send free popcorn to a newspaper office. If they've got some new flavor — gin and salt! Chlorophyll…
Skol!

Lileks: Vikes fans need to be on their 'A' game

Ritual and routine are the keys to victory!
Napping cocoons could help you shelp.

The word of the week: Shelp

Shelp yourself to a nap
Should Nice Rides be required?

We asked how Twin Cities can gussy up for Super Bowl: You didn't disappoint

Readers offer their practical and fanciful suggestions on how to gussy up the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl.
The Coca-Cola Co. is adding a slimmer 12-ounce Diet Coke can, refreshing the logo and offering the 35-year-old drink in four new flavors.

Lileks: Diet Coke's new flavors are fully contemporized, bro

Diet Coke has announced its new flavors. They are: Frog Sweat Zesty Plasma Virginia Ham Perverted Guava Well, no. The actual names are Ginger Lime,…
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Lileks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how passive-aggressive are you?

Surveys allow Minnesotans to say what they really (sort of) think.
Is it a vacation or a work trip?

Word of the week: bleisure

Business meets leisure. Or is it the other way around?
Instant Pot, a programmable pressure cooker.

Lileks: Raw water fad might make cholera great again

We got an Instant Pot for Christmas, since everyone has to have an Instant Pot. What is it? Why, it's a slow cooker.
U.S. Bank Stadium loomed over Downtown East Commons.

Wanted: Some super ideas to make Minneapolis a better Super Bowl city

Do you have any thoughts to help us impress the world?
This wasn't a great time for the battery to stop working.

Lileks: For roadside rescue in bitter cold, just enter your password

Your memory is tested when the car dies on a freeway.
Leyland Foster has a cigarette break in Post Alley, smoking a Camel Crush with a capsule in the filter that, when squeezed, releases menthol flavor. H

The word of the week: smober

Definition: The absence of tobacco use (Merriam-Webster online). Sample usage: “I’m living up to my resolution. I’ve been smober since Jan. 1st. Well,…
If you want character, go outside.

Lileks: Does frigid weather really build character?

We like to think the cold makes us tough.
The Target Center renovation added large windows in concourses and a large atrium to look out on Hennepin Avenue and the Minneapolis skyline.

Downtown Mpls. projects played it safe in 2017 – and that's OK

New developments in downtown Minneapolis — and there were plenty of them — were largely good. Or at least good enough.

Lileks: If you must resolve, try these suggestions.

It’s the first of the year, which means you have about 18 hours to feel virtuous about your resolutions. Everything seems possible, no? New year,…

Word of the week: Yampy

We're getting yamped up.
Santa Claus and a young fan.

Lileks: Is Santa reading online feedback?

If the "Yes, Virginia" column ran today, it would have online comments.
Birch the dog, all decked out for his first Christmas.

Lileks: The dog that tried to eat Christmas

Enjoying the holidays with Birch while missing Jasper.

The word of the week: mafted

British word for suffering from heat.
Who wouldn't love a pile of this?

Lileks: Have we lost our love for lutefisk?

But we're stuck with it, because it's ours.
What's the most generic holiday card you can send?

Lileks: What's the most generic holiday message?

The Christmas cards are going out late this year, because I didn’t plan ahead. I was going to take a picture of Daughter and the…

The word of the week: Schneid

Our winner is a loser
Ignatius Donnelly had big dreams for Nininger City, Minn., in the 1850s when he built his home there. The house is shown being demolished in 1949.

A look at failed Minnesota utopias – and one that worked

A brief history of attempts to build the perfect city.

LILEKS: You do not have to have an Elf on a Shelf

Just because it’s a tradition doesn’t mean you have to do it again, you know. We have some tree ornaments I don’t really like, but…
Brr.

Lileks: Only an idiot could think cold weather makes us closed-minded jerks

Warm climes produce nicer people, a study says. Fine, if you like that kind of thing.

Word of the week: Furmily

All in the family
In 1955 Minneapolis, parents held their children up to see Santa in the downtown Dayton's window.

Victorian Christmas? Bah, humbug! Ideal holiday image is of Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall in the 1950s

We should be nostalgic for the festive downtowns of the 1950s, not something out of a Dickens novel.

James Lileks: His new tradition is making up traditions

Every family has its own traditions for the holidays, and outsiders might find them strange. “We’ve knitted the annual sweater for the radiator — time…
Ooh, pretty!

Lileks: With holiday lights, there are 3 types of decorators

It's time for the annual act of brightening the nights.
Pikachu and Ash.

Lileks: Why some adults can't let go of Pokémon

Imagine if you could combine politics, religion, sports, world history and zoology into one thing: it would be Pokémon.
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Lileks: Keeping tabs on license-bureau waits

Judging from the news, the state's licensing system has had some kinks. Here's what happened at the service center.
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