Dave vs. Mmm-Bop

NPR recently released its Songs of the Summer, which invokes memories of summers past by conjuring up (or dredging up, in some cases) songs you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing. Songs like “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley (2006), or “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira (also 2006). Or the bane of 1991, the unforgettable “Summertime” by the equally unforgettable DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

In 1997, one of the songs of the summer was “MMMBop” by boy-band Hanson. And mercifully, I avoided hearing it. I remember the summer of 1997. While everyone else was listening to that, I was listening to aging bands like The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, and that habit saved me. I managed to make it until 2004 without hearing that boy-band staple. It’s an achievement I’m proud of. Read more

And another nail in Crestwood Plaza’s coffin

The old 10-screen Crestwood Plaza AMC theater closed last month. It took two weeks for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to notice, and probably for many others.

As a sign that I’m getting older, the theater’s obituary called it “dated.” And I thought to myself that it wasn’t long ago that they built it.

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Farewell, Crestwood Plaza

Farewell, Crestwood Plaza

The Sears anchor store at Crestwood Plaza near St. Louis closed in May 2012. It was a long, slow decline, and nobody knew what was next. More than five years later, there’s still nobody who knows what’s next.

I went there a couple of weeks before it closed, and I bought a multimeter at a heavy discount, but most of the kinds of things I would have been interested in buying were long gone. The rest of the old mall was mostly empty. The last of the smaller tenants left in 2013. Read more

Bernard the Legend

It was Friday or Saturday night and I was back from college. I don’t remember what the occasion was anymore, but I’m pretty sure it must have been 1993. I got together with some friends back home in St. Louis to blow off steam.

I did this a fair number of times when I was in college. I don’t remember what movie we saw and I barely remember who I was with. There’s no reason for me to remember that night. Except for one thing.

His name was Bernard. I worked in food service for 2 1/2 years, and one of my managers told us to be legendary. That was our location’s catchphrase. But in all my years, I’ve never encountered anybody in a restaurant more legendary than Bernard. Read more

What high school did you go to?

Crestwood Plaza is a mall in the southwestern suburbs of St. Louis. It was originally built in 1957, and was one of the largest, if not the largest, malls in the area. I remember the radio commercials from the 1980s where the pitch line was “The ultra mall has it all.”

Today it’s at least 30% vacant and struggling. It’s been for sale for a while. They finally found a buyer.It merited mention in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A group led by two brothers is buying the mall to redevelop it.

The article doesn’t say what the two brothers plan to do with the mall, except that it will be a “mixed-use” redevelopment. That tells me about as much as saying there will be concrete and steel involved.

But the article goes out of its way to mention what high school the two brothers attended.

Yet another example of the St. Louis attitude. Nothing’s as important as what high school you went to.

I’m surprised the headline didn’t read “Two Ladue H.S. Alumni Buy Crestwood Plaza.”

I guess there just wasn’t enough room.

How IBM and DOS came to dominate the industry

Revisionist historians talk about how MS-DOS standardized computer operating systems and changed the industry. That’s very true. But what they’re ignoring is that there were standards before 1981, and the standards established in 1981 took a number of years to take hold.

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