Recent content from James Lileks
Shopping in silence isn't an option anymore.
Known for its unchanging ambiance, the classic diner is trying something new.
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.
Vintage photos show how "King Tut mania" influenced an early downtown Minneapolis building before it made way for a favorite skyscraper.
It's not quite accurate to say we lost power in last week's harsh storm. It's not like I couldn't find it. "Hey, who had the…
Now that billboards have gone high-tech, it's time to appreciate what they used to add to the city of Minneapolis. Yes, add.
Thanks, Dad. I got your number. Don't ever change it.
Some schools are still in session. The second week of June, and there's school. This can be designed only by someone who is still singing…
How to lie about Minneapolis.
Do you remember the Grand? Vintage photos -- and a veteran projectionist -- provide clues to the old theater's history.
By helping abused animals, rescuer found her own form of healing.
There is no column this week. Coffee's to blame — or the lack of it.To be honest, I was actually upbeat when the coffee machine…
A spring cleaning unearths poisons and memories. But mostly poisons.
Forget microfilm. Here's how to search the Star Tribune's comprehensive new digital archive.
Forty million Americans will drive 50 miles or more on Memorial Day weekend. Or 50 people will drive 40 million miles. No, it’s the first…
Who else fibs about buying that cheese later?
FIREWORK OREOS, said the package. It was red, white and blue, because it's ... May. The package also bragged that this was a "Limited Edition,"…
The most important step in outdoor cooking is faking your gas canister IQ.
Clocks on city halls, banks and stores once tolled the hours in public. Now time has become strictly personal.
We dream of figuring out a way to get the networks for nothing. It's possible, but it's a pain.
Sure, cards and candy are nice, but they only go so far.
Sometimes a package says "New look! Same great taste!" because people would start to hyperventilate if they saw a different typeface, and think "They've added…
Before apartment buildings sprang up by the hundreds, there was a different kind of multifamily housing.
Talking to plants doesn't work. But maybe threats will.
For the record: Writing by hand is making a resurgence.
I recently got on a plane, and then got off. Unlike some people, it was voluntary. There were no dramatic events, no viral video opportunities;…
Why do we detest something that's so useful? Sorry, can't hear you.
Spring brings an irrational desire I have fought for years: I want a concussion. No, sorry, I meant: I want to buy a moped.For some…
It's never too early to panic about camp.
Almost everything in this picture — the trolleys, the busy streets, the bright signs — are urban staples we'd love to see again. Take a look.
Can you believe that United Airlines flight attendant slapped a baby and then set off the smoke detector when she burned a crucifix? Bad PR…
Rev up the lawn mower? Not quite yet.
For years, the key to weight loss has been obvious and simple: Eat less and move around more. Run 12 miles each day while licking…
It's our annual account of road repair projects you might not have heard about.
New research suggests we put away the running shoes and turn on the faucet.
Piles of old photos cut loose from albums reveal American photographic history.
Why would you want to get groceries online? There's something about going to the store and squeezing those bananas to make sure they're fresh or…
Peel and stick license tabs are so 20th-century. Siri, get me new tabs for my car.
There's no pirate booty hidden below the parking lots of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But for urban archaeologists, there's treasure just the same.
"New tech support bots will be frighteningly lifelike," said the headline on the internet the other day. It's not an exact quote, but you get…
A few weeks of hope before the struggles begin?
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