Staff Directory 10645306

James Lileks

Columnist | Variety
phone: 612-673-7858
James Lileks writes a Variety column.
Recent content from James Lileks
Lileks: Resisting Girl Scout cookies is futile

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

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

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

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…
Lileks: Is Minnesota ready for its Super Bowl closeup?

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

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…
Winter storm skills give us our grit

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

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

Ritual and routine are the keys to victory!
The word of the week: Shelp

The word of the week: Shelp

Shelp yourself to a nap
We asked how Twin Cities can gussy up for Super Bowl: You didn't disappoint

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

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,…
Lileks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how passive-aggressive are you?

Lileks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how passive-aggressive are you?

Surveys allow Minnesotans to say what they really (sort of) think.
Word of the week: bleisure

Word of the week: bleisure

Business meets leisure. Or is it the other way around?
Lileks: Raw water fad might make cholera great again

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

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

Do you have any thoughts to help us impress the world?
Lileks: For roadside rescue in bitter cold, just enter your password

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

Your memory is tested when the car dies on a freeway.
The word of the week: smober

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,…
Lileks: Does frigid weather really build character?

Lileks: Does frigid weather really build character?

We like to think the cold makes us tough.
Downtown Mpls. projects played it safe in 2017 – and that's OK

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.
Lileks: Is Santa reading online feedback?

Lileks: Is Santa reading online feedback?

If the "Yes, Virginia" column ran today, it would have online comments.
Lileks: The dog that tried to eat 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.
Lileks: Have we lost our love for lutefisk?

Lileks: Have we lost our love for lutefisk?

But we're stuck with it, because it's ours.
Lileks: What's the most generic holiday message?

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
A look at failed Minnesota utopias – and one that worked

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

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

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

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

It's time for the annual act of brightening the nights.
Lileks: Why some adults can't let go of Pokémon

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.
Lileks: Keeping tabs on license-bureau waits

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.

Lileks: Turning over an old leaf for the holiday

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…

When you're dreaming of Tater Tot stuffing, you know it's November

How Minnesotan is this?

Word of the week: Selfiegenic

Are you picture-perfect?
The famed Little Wagon was a Mpls. bar so popular it survived a teardown

The famed Little Wagon was a Mpls. bar so popular it survived a teardown

Step back in time to see a famous Minneapolis street corner that looks nothing like today.
Is an emoji worth a thousand words?

Is an emoji worth a thousand words?

Emojis are poor substitutes for words, but they are fast becoming our visual vocabulary.
Lileks: Some simple, easy, useless tips for winterizing

Lileks: Some simple, easy, useless tips for winterizing

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…
Review: 'Monograph,' by Chris Ware

Review: 'Monograph,' by Chris Ware

NONFICTION: Cartoonist Chris Ware's "Monograph" is a collection of works without parallel in modern storytelling and graphic design.
Lileks: Let's belt out some Thanksgiving tunes

Lileks: Let's belt out some Thanksgiving tunes

It's time to get in the mood for turkey.

Word of the week: The hard sell

Do you have tradigital skills?
Downtown Mpls. malls fail; here's why the Dayton's project might succeed

Downtown Mpls. malls fail; here's why the Dayton's project might succeed

Minneapolis has a checkered history with shopping arcades. Will the new Dayton's be any different?

Lileks: Here's a big batch of nonsense about the flu

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…
'He didn't mean to leave us': Lileks says goodbye to his family's beloved dog

'He didn't mean to leave us': Lileks says goodbye to his family's beloved dog

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.
Lileks: Don't even think of getting rid of the 'fall back' hour

Lileks: Don't even think of getting rid of the 'fall back' hour

Instead of complaining, enjoy this extra-long day.

Word of the week: A knee-jerk reaction?

Fear of kneeling
Think you're scare-savvy? Prove it with this Halloween quiz

Think you're scare-savvy? Prove it with this Halloween quiz

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…

Lileks: Were you ever scared on Halloween?

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…
Lileks: All adults want from trick-or-treaters are two little words

Lileks: All adults want from trick-or-treaters are two little words

OK, Batman, and Ilsa, what do you say?

Word of the week: Agreeance

Can we all agree on this?

Lileks: Phone scammers have new dirty tricks

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…
Lileks: How badly do we want the new Amazon headquarters?

Lileks: How badly do we want the new Amazon headquarters?

You wish our obvious advantages were enough. But no, we have to compete with cities like Newark.
How to — and how not to — update old buildings in downtown Minneapolis

How to — and how not to — update old buildings in downtown Minneapolis

Our take on three redesigned spaces in downtown Minneapolis.

Lileks: When it comes to the Super Bowl weekend, St. Paul has given up

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…
Lileks: No one cares about your lousy commute

Lileks: No one cares about your lousy commute

It's like they scheduled all these projects at once, right? You can't get anywhere.
Throwback: Gladstone Garden, 1930s Minneapolis

Throwback: Gladstone Garden, 1930s Minneapolis

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…
Lileks: Is it rude to remind people to obey law?

Lileks: Is it rude to remind people to obey law?

No good deed goes unflipped.
Why are some new Twin Cities apartment building names so pretentious?

Why are some new Twin Cities apartment building names so pretentious?

Yes, the names of new apartment buildings are pretentious. But they've always been so.

Lileks: He has an incurable case of puppy love

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…
Lileks: Chew on these suggestions for new apples

Lileks: Chew on these suggestions for new apples

This is no time to fall behind in apple innovation.
Fall in Minnesota is a sad story, but it's so beautifully written

Fall in Minnesota is a sad story, but it's so beautifully written

It's the same bittersweet story every year. And we love it, even though we know the plot.
Lileks: The miserable life of a cereal mascot

Lileks: The miserable life of a cereal mascot

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…
Lileks: More music in more stores? Hurrah!

Lileks: More music in more stores? Hurrah!

Shopping in silence isn't an option anymore.
This corner of Nicollet Av. is almost unrecognizable in vintage 1960 photos

This corner of Nicollet Av. is almost unrecognizable in vintage 1960 photos

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.

LILEKS: Your kitchen sponge is deadly; the fridge is even worse

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…
Lileks: What happens when you go to the State Fair two weeks too late?

Lileks: What happens when you go to the State Fair two weeks too late?

A trip to the empty fairgrounds reveals the detritus of our last fling with summer.

The sea is a desert when it comes to internet access

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…
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