Finally: Block E is going to be overhauled. Not knocked down and replaced with the old Shinders-to-Shinders low-strung streetscape with an interior courtyard, but it's a start. BizJournal:

The owners of the Block E entertainment and retail complex in downtown Minneapolis are expected to announce on Monday a significant renovation plan for the facility as they look to update it for new tenants.

Good. First, take off that silly gimcrack cartoon facade and replace it with something that doesn't look like a rejected Disneyland theme park addition. Second, rent it out as cheaply as possible to as many small local merchants as you can find. Or just hollow it out and hang some trapezes and fill it with monkeys; I don't care.

Remember: the first picture is Blight; the second is Destination Entertainment.

STOP WITH THE PATIO FURNITURE To be fair to the weatherman, I don't think he called this an EPIC RANT. It's not even a rant. He's begging people not to send in pictures of snow-covered patio sets.

The reason people take those shots, and will continue to take them despite the pleas of a TV meteorologist, is simple: snow-covered patio sets give an instant view of the amount of accumulation. It there's a circular table, the snow forms a perfect cake with rounded edges; it's lovely. This morning I wondered if we'd see much snow before Christmas; you hope so. That's why we're here. The White Christmas Guarantee.

MYSTERIES This article has an intriguing premise: "Man of Steel Isn't About Superman, and it Never Was." You'd think that a movie that concerns itself entirely with Superman might be partly about Superman, right? Let's see what the author says:

Nearly two and a half years ago I wrote an article called “The Green Lantern Franchise Isn’t About Green Lantern.” I made several assertions in the article, and while I may have been a bit ahead of myself, I still maintain that the core idea is true. However, with the financial and critical failing of that film forced WB to try again with the plan. Since it seems like they are more organized this time around, I thought I would revisit the idea of my original article and apply it to the latest contender. You see, I don’t think that last summer’s “Man of Steel” is about Superman at all.

At this point, you expect to read "Toy Story Wasn't Really About the Secret Life of Toys, Leading to a Heartbreaking Farewell to Childhood," but was really about . . . what? The geopolitical impact of petroleum products and marketing, coupled with the competing narratives of the Old West and the New Frontier?

Turns out the movie's really about setting up some larger DC movie universe. Okay. You want a real mystery? Try this, from the Telegraph:

Eriksson didn’t realise it then, but he was embarking on one of the internet’s most enduring puzzles; a scavenger hunt that has led thousands of competitors across the web, down telephone lines, out to several physical locations around the globe, and into unchartered areas of the "darknet”. So far, the hunt has required a knowledge of number theory, philosophy and classical music. An interest in both cyberpunk literature and the Victorian occult has also come in handy as has an understanding of Mayan numerology.
It's the "internet mystery that has the world baffled." We're dealing with people who identify the Caesar Cypher, see a reference to Cladius, and think "well, he was the fourth, so let's replace 1 with 4 and see if it yields an URL that's backwards in archaic Finnish." And then it gets Fringey:
One long, cautionary diatribe, left anonymously on the website Pastebin, claimed to be from an ex-Cicada member – a non-English military officer recruited to the organisation "by a superior”. Cicada, he said, "was a Left-Hand Path religion disguised as a progressive scientific organisation” – comprising of "military officers, diplomats, and academics who were dissatisfied with the direction of the world”. Their plan, the writer claimed, was to transform humanity into the Nietzschen Übermensch. "This is a dangerous organisation,” he concluded, "their ways are nefarious."
We'll probably never know. It could be a way to find the smartest cryptographers on the planet . . . and eliminate the threat they pose. ANIMATIONI stopped watching the Simpsons years ago, because I loved it too much. It turned into a parade of celebrity cameos dropped in while Homer does something stupid, again; the heart had gone out of the show. But the couch gag for Sunday was incredible, and I pity any reefer fiend who had lit up before this aired: It's an homage to the Silly Symphony cartoon, "Music Land.

One of the comments on YouTube - yes, yes, I know - says the two warring leaders are based on Laurel and Hardy, but I think the King's supposed to remind everyone of Paul Whiteman, the King of Jazz. The girth, the moustache. Audiences would have nabbed the reference right away.

(Via Cartoon Brew.)

DASHCAM Today we have this silent film from the inexhaustible store of Russian street mayhem.

In Soviet Russia, street drives you, etc. etc. Okay; enjoy the day; forty degrees! Practically tropical out there.