This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.
Mild day, but anyone complaining? Three more weeks of this, please. With rain over night, if that’s not too much to ask. Let’s get linking:
CUSTOMER SERVICE The latest airline fee: charging you for printing out your boarding passes. You’re thinking: great. A dollar here, a dollar there, it’s always something. Wrong: Sixty Euros. Per pass. For a family of five, that’s $377. Suzy McLeod printed off her passes for the flight out, but since she was staying in a somewhat remote locale, and you can’t print them off weeks in advance, she got hit with the charges. She took to Facebook to complain. You imagine how the airline responded. Can’t you? Why, the CEO of Ryanair himself responded.
“She wrote to me last week asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill. To which we have replied, politely but firmly, thank you Mrs McLeod but it was your ****-up.”
He claimed that 99.98 per cent of Ryanair passengers did print their boarding passes in advance: “To those who don't, we say quite politely: ‘B***** off’”.
Everyone always says “I’ll never fly that airline again” until they do, because there’s no other choice.
AMUSING . Meet Xavius, the world’s most influential Instagram photographer. You know those people you want to flay with a cheese grater because they post pictures of sushi run through a desaturation filter? Consider them flayed:
Typing in the hashtag? It is a job. It’s an actual job
The scenes in which he uses the iPad were painful to watch, because A) no human being looks like anything less than an idiot taking a picture with an iPad, and B) I was taking pictures with an iPad at the Fair last week. Oh, I was fully justified. Testing out an app. But I knew I looked like a pretentious doofus - and to make matters worse, I was using a tripod. Any real photographer would have been justified by walking up and slapping me.
Speaking of social apps: You might like Timehop, which sends you an email every day telling you what you were doing a year ago on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare, in case you’ve forgotten all about that day you were mayor of Chipotle in Edina for 17 hours. It sounds like a cool service for people whose infinite self-regard makes them want to archive their sneezes, if they could - but it also means that fashionable filters will appear in your inbox a year later, and you’ll wince.
This isn’t to say that filters aren’t useful. Used sparingly, and correctly, they are. But we are in a curious phase in Western Civilization when people want to take pictures of their feet at the beach and desaturate the image, then add reds and yellows to make it look as if the picture was shot in 1976 and the chemicals have decomposed. So retro! Vintage! I bought a cheap point-and-shoot the other day to replace an older point-and-shoot, and it has a “toy camera” setting that makes it look like a craptacular East German camera from 1956. Blurry edges, distorted center, weak colors, blown highlights.
In all its 16 Megapixel glory.
TECH I don’t have any stats to back it up, because I’m too lazy to Google - something that really sets the standards for indolence - but I’m sure watch sales are way down. People use their phones. They’re not as convenient; with a watch, you just glance at your wrist. A phone you have to get out and turn on. Might as well go back to watches on chains in vest pockets.
Determined, perhaps, to make the watch popular again, some designers have revisited the basic watch, and come up with some fascinating reinterpretations:
Uh huh. If you want to be late or early for anything, I suppose. The entire gallery is here, and there’s not one that looks useful. I love this line: “According to the manufacturer, a person (given enough practice) will be able to read the time using this watch as easily as reading time on an ordinary watch.” That’s what most people want in a watch. Something that requires practice to understand.
SCIENCE! They’ve discovered a new stick insect. It’s brightly colored, to deter predators, and emits a foul-smelling mist, to deter predators. It’s a fun life in the jungle! Hunger, mindless reproduction, and painful death. Repeat as needed.
The scientists have named the insect Conlephasma enigma.
"We have named the new stick insect with the specific epithet "enigma" because its systematic position in the tree of life of stick and leaf insects remains a mystery," says Mr Gottardo.
So they’ll change his name when they figure it out? Probably not.
It’s not the biggest stick insect. That would be Chan. It’s dead, so if you’re one of those people who get twitchy around insects, don’t worry about clicking. It's not walking up someone's leg.
LUNCH Minnesota casino wonders what’s the record for a cheeseburger, and decides to break it. Result: a one-ton burger.
GIMMICK Neat, if a bit disconcerting: the 1920s in 3D, using old stereoscopic cards.
Enjoy; see you around.