Staff Directory 10645306

James Lileks

Columnist | Variety
phone: 612-673-7858
James Lileks writes a Variety column. He also blogs under Lileks@Lunch.
Recent content from James Lileks
Lileks: It's not 'camp' if you don't need to be current on your shots

Lileks: It's not 'camp' if you don't need to be current on your shots

It's never too early to panic about camp.
Lost Minneapolis: Snapshot provides a glimpse of downtown in the 1930s

Lost Minneapolis: Snapshot provides a glimpse of downtown in the 1930s

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.

Lileks: No one believes corporate apologies – next time, just hand out money

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…
Lileks: Let us not speak of the great July 4th snowstorm

Lileks: Let us not speak of the great July 4th snowstorm

Rev up the lawn mower? Not quite yet.

Lileks: Take a hot bath and lose weight. Or is that notion all wet?

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…
Lileks: Starting June 1, Hwy. 8 narrows to 6 inches, I-94 closed for conversion to metric system

Lileks: Starting June 1, Hwy. 8 narrows to 6 inches, I-94 closed for conversion to metric system

It's our annual account of road repair projects you might not have heard about.
Hot tub diet: Soaking can burn as many calories as mild exercise

Hot tub diet: Soaking can burn as many calories as mild exercise

New research suggests we put away the running shoes and turn on the faucet.
Orphaned photos found in Twin Cities vintage stores hold lost memories

Orphaned photos found in Twin Cities vintage stores hold lost memories

Piles of old photos cut loose from albums reveal American photographic history.
Lileks: Errant packages turn into a bundle of trouble

Lileks: Errant packages turn into a bundle of trouble

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…
In the age of tech-filled cars, why is tab renewal still so old-school?

In the age of tech-filled cars, why is tab renewal still so old-school?

Peel and stick license tabs are so 20th-century. Siri, get me new tabs for my car.
Beneath our feet lies a record of how Twin Citians once lived

Beneath our feet lies a record of how Twin Citians once lived

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.
Lileks: Will tech-support robots be able to feel our stress?

Lileks: Will tech-support robots be able to feel our stress?

"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…
Lileks: This isn't spring. We need a new season.

Lileks: This isn't spring. We need a new season.

A few weeks of hope before the struggles begin?

Lileks: Every store is out of glue. Here's why.

I could have anticipated the Great Glue Crisis of 2017 if I’d read everything on BuzzFeed. But I can’t. Dumb ’n’ Young is not my…
Lileks: Here's how you can be a Super Bowl LII ambassador

Lileks: Here's how you can be a Super Bowl LII ambassador

How do you get to U.S. Bank Stadium? Practice these answers.
Lileks: Those home delivery meal-services even provide liquefied quail

Lileks: Those home delivery meal-services even provide liquefied quail

So you open all the boxes and containers, roll up your sleeves and prepare to make actual food.
Lileks: Everyone who hates setting the clocks back is wrong, but we can compromise

Lileks: Everyone who hates setting the clocks back is wrong, but we can compromise

It's one of two Sundays a year when we're reminded that the kitchen has more clocks than necessary.
From first shovel to opening day, watching a building go up is an urban pleasure

From first shovel to opening day, watching a building go up is an urban pleasure

We all know about the hard-hats, draftsmen and architects. But is there someone else indispensable to the skyscraper-building process? Of course. The Sidewalk Superintendents.

It's spring at the stores now, and this brings new torments

All of a sudden, the Seasonal Department at Target is full of hope and promise: Seeds! Spades! Lawn furniture! Your heart sings when you see…
Lileks: Sunday liquor sales will bring a pink airborne nightmare

Lileks: Sunday liquor sales will bring a pink airborne nightmare

Predictions about Sunday liquor sales were more accurate than we thought.
Pinball is making a comeback in the Twin Cities — but is it here to stay?

Pinball is making a comeback in the Twin Cities — but is it here to stay?

More than just lights and noise: the persistent percussive pleasures of pinball.

LILEKS: And the Oscar for the trailer that gives away the whole plot goes to . . .

There’s a ceremony for the Lesser Oscars, and you rarely hear about these unsung winners because they’re not good-looking enough. But they deserve some respect,…
Lileks: It's Girl Scout cookie season, and resistance is futile

Lileks: It's Girl Scout cookie season, and resistance is futile

He tries to abstain but still ends up in the thick of things with Thin Mints.

It's Presidents' Day! Hang the decorations, belt out the songs!

It's Presidents' Day, and you didn't get your partner anything, did you? It's not too late to go to the drugstore for a milk-chocolate Polk,…
Twin Cities visitors and locals need better way to negotiate skyways

Twin Cities visitors and locals need better way to negotiate skyways

Wouldn't it be nice if there were an app for the Twin Cities' skyways? There is. In fact, there are several. Let's see how they work.
Lileks: Another one derides the bus

Lileks: Another one derides the bus

MnDOT has announced it's interested in self-driving buses. This is not exactly a vote of confidence for the drivers they have now.

Lileks: Let's ban Valentine's Day

Because the internet demands lists and manufactured controversy, herewith is a ration of both: Valentine's Day Should Be Abolished, and You're Doing It Wrong, Anyway.1.…
St. Paul lawyer collects old eyeglasses for Lions Club vision quest

St. Paul lawyer collects old eyeglasses for Lions Club vision quest

"The main reason I joined the Lions was to give back to the community."
Lileks: Take his word for it – UFO over Minneapolis was real (maybe)

Lileks: Take his word for it – UFO over Minneapolis was real (maybe)

Why no pictures? There's an explanation for that, too.

Lileks: 3-D TV failed because no one wants spears and spaceships coming out of their TV at home

Two major TV manufacturers announced last week that they’ve stopped making 3-D TVs. You ask: There were 3-D TVs? Sure. But sales were scant; content…
Lileks: Everyone, please turn off your Christmas lights — now

Lileks: Everyone, please turn off your Christmas lights — now

It's time for the annual debate about whether you should turn off your Christmas lights. The answer is "yes."

Lileks: Of course Taco Bell is good for you, and other takeout delusions

Taco Bell is the healthiest fast food, according to something I read on the internet. Or maybe it was something I wrote on the internet.…
Lileks: St. Paulites kindly requested to stay away from our medallion hunt

Lileks: St. Paulites kindly requested to stay away from our medallion hunt

We don't need ice castles. We prefer our water thawed.

Lileks: Luxury theaters are great, but how about we stop with 16 'Spider-Man' reboots?

The old Mall of America theaters closed, making some wonder what was coming next. A Hooters the size of Belgium, with go-karts and paintball? Snowmobile…
The forgotten architects behind the Foshay and other iconic Mpls. buildings

The forgotten architects behind the Foshay and other iconic Mpls. buildings

Magney and Tusler was founded 100 years ago, and its buildings define Minneapolis: the old MacPhail, Calhoun Beach Club, the Minneapolis Woman's Club and many more.

Lileks: Let's toast Minnesota's annual debate over Sunday liquor sales

Arguing over buying booze on Sunday has become a legislative custom.

Would you buy a refrigerator that's smarter than you are?

At the Consumer Electronic Show this year, there were the usual gadgets, including Smart Fridges. You can push a button on the screen and the…
Will we still shop downtown? Loss of Macy's forces us to rethink retail

Will we still shop downtown? Loss of Macy's forces us to rethink retail

Downtown Macy's is closing. Some eulogies will call it the end of an era, which it is. But how did we get here?
We'll always have – Southdale? Minnesotans, don't forget Dayton's dumped us

We'll always have – Southdale? Minnesotans, don't forget Dayton's dumped us

We have nostalgia for something that we liked more than it liked us.

Nazi-melting chemicals or paw-safe granules? Your call

It's winter! Time to slip and break your shin.

The bank busted me down to a three-digit loser

"The checkbook is almost out of checks," my wife said. "Do we have any more?""Yes," I said, "This is the year 1997! We always have…

Resolved: Let's be irresolute

Broken your resolutions yet? Good. You're human. There's something about breaking a resolution that makes you accept your fallen nature. Perfection is not our lot.…
Do we want big, sun-blotting towers by Lake Calhoun? Yes! And no

Do we want big, sun-blotting towers by Lake Calhoun? Yes! And no

Some say Lake Calhoun, right on the edge of the bustling Uptown area, is good spot for a high rise.
12 reasons 2017 will be different from 2016

12 reasons 2017 will be different from 2016

Take heed. Many things will happen. Other things will happen, as well.

Winter's over in Minnesota! OK, maybe not, but at least the days are getting longer

The tide has been turned! Victory is ours! Winter is on the way out. Oh, you say, this must be that fake news everyone's talking…
What's something you love today and loathe tomorrow? Christmas carols

What's something you love today and loathe tomorrow? Christmas carols

We've been enjoying Christmas music, but by Monday, all bets are off.
Test your classic holiday movie IQ

Test your classic holiday movie IQ

How's your CHMIQ (classic holiday movie IQ)? Test it with this quiz.
Lileks: Amazon meal deal results in an empty stomach

Lileks: Amazon meal deal results in an empty stomach

A flier from Amazon for $10 off a delivered restaurant meal didn't pan out as expected.

Lileks: The keys to safe winter driving — step one, stay home

Winter survival kit should include gravel, flashlight and plane tickets out of here.
5 'less notable' buildings we miss in Mpls.? Let's start with the old Post Office

5 'less notable' buildings we miss in Mpls.? Let's start with the old Post Office

A building doesn't have to be great to be missed. That's why it's time to lament less notable buildings in Minneapolis history.
The seven types of catalogs everyone gets in December

The seven types of catalogs everyone gets in December

Well, let's see what's in the holiday mailbox.
Would urbanist Jane Jacobs have approved of Mpls. changes? New collection offers hints

Would urbanist Jane Jacobs have approved of Mpls. changes? New collection offers hints

"Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs" from the influential urbanist has lessons for us today.

You could have puce and teal Christmas lights, if you're insane

Every year when I set up the outdoor Christmas decorations, I think I'll break down and go LED, but every year I get the same…
Old real estate maps of the Twin Cities contain details of a forgotten history

Old real estate maps of the Twin Cities contain details of a forgotten history

Decades before Google Maps, plat maps displayed a wealth of information with hand-drawn care.

For a fake news year, why not a fake tree?

Artificial Christmas trees keep improving, but is that for the best?
To save $300, sure, I'll squint

To save $300, sure, I'll squint

A cheapskate focuses on buying glasses online.

New Yorkers have no idea what good pizza is; pity them

Are there any New Yorkers in the room? Can I see some hands? OK, we're going to be talking about pizza here, so you need…
Holidays and other family disasters

Holidays and other family disasters

With stores closing on Thanksgiving, we'll be forced to spend time with relatives.
Have we got a deal for you! Here's the scoop on Twin Cities pitchmen

Have we got a deal for you! Here's the scoop on Twin Cities pitchmen

Being a pitchman is a dying art, but that doesn't mean it's dead. Consider, for instance, Fancy Ray McCloney. Nothing he does could possibly be called dead.

What's a good punishment for bike thieves?

You there. With the bolt cutters. You're the worst.

Scammers and the mother-in-law: the phone company's only friends

Oh, you'd better believe I listened closely to the menu options. They may have changed. I pressed "2" for the "Change service" option. I was…

Burning leaves: The only forbidden Nixon-era smell

Why can't candle makers give us Flaming Leaves?

Of all the Halloween ad cliches, here's the worst one

Halloween ad slogans show a frightening lack of creativity. "Snacks so good they're scary!" Really? No.
Thinking of going sugar-free for Halloween? Don't!

Thinking of going sugar-free for Halloween? Don't!

Our misguided guide to the best and worst sugar-free candies.

Of course you've been hacked. Now buy some horse tranquilizers.

Somewhere in the latest WikiLeaks e-mail dump there's probably something about our family.A real bombshell: On Aug. 27, we ordered paper plates with a tennis…
It's time for Minnesota to stake its claim in the mega-Ferris wheel wars

It's time for Minnesota to stake its claim in the mega-Ferris wheel wars

With everyone else getting giant Ferris wheels, we need a Minnesota version.

Peak leaf color is over at 1:37 p.m. Floor it!

It's that time of the year when you feel as if you should drive north and look at leaves. You see the pictures of the…
With sweeping array of murals, Mpls. is a living, changing art gallery

With sweeping array of murals, Mpls. is a living, changing art gallery

With a sweeping array of murals, Minneapolis is a living, changing art gallery.
Onboard the world's largest cruise ship, living large

Onboard the world's largest cruise ship, living large

With 6,000 passengers, can the world's largest cruise ship float your boat?

Lileks: How many robots are too many?

Google (company motto: "We know what you're doing, pal") has announced a new personal assistant. It's called "Assistant." It sits on your countertop, answers questions,…
St. Paul's Pioneer Endicott complex stands the test of time

St. Paul's Pioneer Endicott complex stands the test of time

If a building's famous for its height or style, someone may tell its tale. If a building's lucky, it gets Larry Millett. The Pioneer Endicott at 4th and Roberts streets in St. Paul is lucky.
James Lileks: Have a nice, crispy, tart, crunchy Nonnetit Bastard apple

James Lileks: Have a nice, crispy, tart, crunchy Nonnetit Bastard apple

Let's stick to our favorites — or at least the ones we've heard of.
Pumpkin spice is great – and you're a bad person if you don't agree

Pumpkin spice is great – and you're a bad person if you don't agree

It’s October, and that means it’s time for jaundiced, worn-out columnists determined to wring all the joy out of life to complain about Pumpkin Spice…
Lileks: Are you ready for the Satan weed?

Lileks: Are you ready for the Satan weed?

We're being invaded by a nasty strain of super weeds.

James Lileks: Putting the cart before the kid

Target introduced tiny shopping carts for tots, then realized that everyone over 3 feet tall hated them, and the carts were removed. Good. Now let's…
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