Recent content from James Lileks
A brief history of attempts to build the perfect city.
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…
Warm climes produce nicer people, a study says. Fine, if you like that kind of thing.
All in the family
We should be nostalgic for the festive downtowns of the 1950s, not something out of a Dickens novel.
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…
It's time for the annual act of brightening the nights.
Imagine if you could combine politics, religion, sports, world history and zoology into one thing: it would be Pokémon.
Judging from the news, the state's licensing system has had some kinks. Here's what happened at the service center.
Like many households, we have a division of labor for Thanksgiving duties. I put the leaf in the table; my wife roasts the turkey. So…
How Minnesotan is this?
Are you picture-perfect?
Step back in time to see a famous Minneapolis street corner that looks nothing like today.
Emojis are poor substitutes for words, but they are fast becoming our visual vocabulary.
Flurries were forecast the other day, and we all had the same question: Will they accumulate? We can take a few flakes, but when they…
NONFICTION: Cartoonist Chris Ware's "Monograph" is a collection of works without parallel in modern storytelling and graphic design.
It's time to get in the mood for turkey.
Do you have tradigital skills?
Minneapolis has a checkered history with shopping arcades. Will the new Dayton's be any different?
It’s cold-and-flu season, so here are some answers to questions everyone has. Q: How do I avoid getting the flu? A: Get a…
When Scout wasn't waiting for a hunt, he loved to play-fight. Most of all he loved to run. He always came back. Until he didn't.
Instead of complaining, enjoy this extra-long day.
Fear of kneeling
How well do you know your Halloween trivia? Are you willing to find out? Then give our Halloween quiz a try. We cover everything from…
Whenever people say, “We just don’t get many kids for Halloween anymore,” it sounds as if they think no one’s making kids these days. How…
OK, Batman, and Ilsa, what do you say?
Can we all agree on this?
The telemarketing calls had stopped. No more worried messages from Jessica at Card Services. There were several possible reasons: 1. The FCC had finally done…
You wish our obvious advantages were enough. But no, we have to compete with cities like Newark.
Our take on three redesigned spaces in downtown Minneapolis.
No Ice Palace in St. Paul? We can fix that. For cheap. There’s a simple solution at the end of this column. If no one…
It's like they scheduled all these projects at once, right? You can't get anywhere.
These elegant swells are enjoying a tipple at “Upper Nicollet’s Oldest Cafe,” as the inside of the matchbook says. “Known far and wide as the…
No good deed goes unflipped.
Yes, the names of new apartment buildings are pretentious. But they've always been so.
There were three cages at the Humane Society in the overflow dog area. I was drawn to one strange little beast, a breed I'd never…
This is no time to fall behind in apple innovation.
It's the same bittersweet story every year. And we love it, even though we know the plot.
Unless you've been hanging on the news 24/7, you may have missed this one: General Mills has agreed to scrap the muted colors of Trix…
Shopping in silence isn't an option anymore.
From the buildings to the billboards, see how this section of downtown Minneapolis has changed dramatically over the years. Without any hints, it's almost impossible for a modern resident to place this block.
Depending on the article and the quantity of alarmism the author wanted to inject, the headline either said, "Kitchen sponges have lots of bacteria" or…
A trip to the empty fairgrounds reveals the detritus of our last fling with summer.
If there's an annual competition for the most out-of-touch, tone-deaf, opening sentence in newspapers this week, I think I'm a shoo-in: I would like to…
Vintage photos from 1960 show a downtown street corner totally transformed.
Charging to fill a tire drives him up the wall (or at least up the street).
We all hate our printers, right? They're frustrating, clattering things that manage to swallow every other sheet in their complicated innards, and they come with…
If you haven't been, because you figured it was the same as it was last year, you're so, so very wrong.
We could improve city alleys by turning them into shared green spaces — or just by cleaning them up.
One more school picture, and an era comes to an end.
It's the big Eclipse Day, and no doubt you have some questions that no one else has answered to your satisfaction. I'll do my best.Q:…
A lost dog and lost keys have provided some interesting interactions with public officials.
It was a hardy-har bright story for your morning news: I-94 shut down! There's a dog on the highway! They had footage of the dog…
A stranger appears at the edge of the Mississippi.
Because I’m always eager to fill up the yawning void of existential dread with a new gadget, I got one of those video doorbells. The…
A symphony of sound sets the season apart.
The picture was ordinary, stark and depressing: A subway car, packed with passengers, and everyone's head was bent down, staring at the objects in their…
Don't abandon all your summertime clichés yet.
Last Saturday I stood in a store looking at a thin white plastic square that sings a song when you press a button on your…
Retailers, please let us savor what's left of summer.
From the Gopher Theatre to a giant Hamm's billboard, the street corner across from Block E was a bastion of old, storied businesses in 1960.
It is not my intention to be the nation's foremost chronicler of customer-support phone-call tales, but things break. Items fail to work. Calls must be…
We don't have storms anymore. We have "periods of rain" or "life-extinguishing weather pain horror," with nothing in between.
Perhaps you have a romantic notion of quaint streetcars clattering along, carrying office workers and shoppers. If you'd been around when they stopped running in the Twin Cities in the 1950s, you would have been in the minority.
Public service announcement No. 1: Make sure all the car's doors are shut before you back out of the garage. Public service announcement No. 2:…
A 1960 photo survey by the Star and Tribune of the city block where City Center now stands left a remarkable account of what Minneapolis looked like at a time when the urban core was aging, but still vital.
New Yorkers know Minnesota is superior, and they hate us for it.
A bright bloom in the night sky, a burger on the grill: It's the 4th.
This year, try watching the fireworks instead of photographing them.
It was a nice little French cafe in Washington, D.C., chic and sophisticated. Why, look — it's an intellectual reading a book. You thought he…
When the Syndicate Block opened in 1883 it was the pride of downtown Minneapolis.
How can you really enjoy the Mighty Midway without a bucket of carp noses?
A photo exhibit provides a ringside view of Baron Von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter and more.
A brief history of 8th and Hennepin told through old-school photographs.
Vintage photos show the corner of 6th and Nicollet in all its old-school glory.
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