Welcome! This is a blog to keep you occupied for five minutes at lunchtime, when you feel as though it’s safe to engage in non-work-related internet usage. No sports; no politics. Just stuff you might find interesting - unless you have the same set of bookmarks as I do, in which case we should have lunch some time.

Celebrity news of the day will be in short supply, because I hate celebrity news. It’s either fluffy tripe - see what Katie Holmes wore when she took her adorable daughter to the playground, after alerting 3 hand-selected photographers! - or mean cheap snark about stupid pretty people doing pretty stupid things. Yesterday we had Alex Baldwin with a sheet over his head, which was pretty good; you had to trust it was Baldwin under the fabric, and not a body double. But he hasn’t punched anyone today or tweeted something obnoxious, so forget him -

-- hold on, THIS JUST IN:


As soon as I find out what language this is, I’ll pass it on to copy desk so they can remake page one.

Things you wish they had not told you: Starbucks will no longer sell pulverized insects.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said it will no longer use cochineal extract, which is processed from crushed beetles, to color some of its red-tinted products.
"After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible," Cliff Burrows, the company's US president, said in a statement posted to the company's blog.

 Instead, Starbucks will start using lycopene, a tomato-based extract, to tint offerings that need red coloring, including strawberry banana smoothies and miniature donuts.

Dang. It’s like the switch away from cane sugar. Just won’t be as good.


Movie news:Nevermind "Brave" - there’s a “Monsters Inc” prequel trailer:

If you go to YouTube to watch it, avoid the comments. I know that goes without saying, but we just can’t help it, can we? We have to see how stupidity manifests itself today. Will it be a torrent of profanity? Bad speling? Ignorance? A zesty combo of all three? Someone asks “wheres boo,” missing the point of the movie entirely. It’s a prequel. Boo is not alive yet. Monsters Inc seems oddly lost in the Pixar canon, down there with “Bug’s Life” - but both are solid, ingenious, funny works, and the end of “Monsters” is one of the best make-a-father-bawl moments in cinema history.

Then there’s this.



They’re made of felt. Like old Rankin-Bass stuff. Homage! But they’re underwater. So the felt shouldn’t look dry. If you’re thinking . . . well, how do they make fire underwater? you’re not the first.

Tech news: you probably know about Microsoft’s Surface tablet-ultra whatever; Engadget seemed to like it, even if the “hands on” experience did not include having actual hands on the keyboard. The unveiling was not without glitches, though; you have to feel bad for this guy. Quick! Get another one that hasn’t frozen up!



Anyway: I came across another Microsoft thing that probably cost $250 million to develop, and will get yanked with little fanfare in a year or two: Tag. It’s a site for making QR codes. The blog includes posts like “QR code art inspired by Flesh-Eating Plants,” which might not be the traffic-magnet they want it to be - but then, some people just hate QR codes. I like them. They’re ugly, but they can be useful. Point, click, and off you go; beats typing in an URL. But sometimes . . . .well.





That’s from a site devoted to curating bad QR codes. Meanwhile, on the Mac side, the Daily Mail has a knee slapper:


Apple has been accused of ripping off its millions of customers after it emerged the next version of the iPhone could render all current accessories obsolete.

The company has risked incurring the wrath of ripping off its loyal fanbase after reports that Apple has decided to radically alter the size of the connector in the next version of the phone.

Outraged iPhone owners flocked online to complain about the development for the iPhone 5, which is expected to be launched in October.

Speakers, docks and other expensive accessories costing hundreds of dollars would be rendered useless by the move, along with cheaper add-ons such as chargers. Even cars with the current connector built in would need to be upgraded.

That’s right! The new iPhone will destroy all your accessories - possibly using time-distortion fields. Rendered useless! Just by existing! So don’t buy the new iPhone. It’s that easy. If you need step-by-step instructions, here you go:

1. When approaching the Apple Store, note which direction will take you away from the Apple Store

2. Take that direction 

Repeat when necessary, and you will avoid the destruction of all things that work just fine now.

The piece includes this photo, with a terrifying caption. “Useless: The $850 Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 is designed to work with the current iPhone's design.”




That’s an iPad. Which still has the same old connection. 


Two miscellaneous links:

1. Stare at this for a while.

2. And . . . Tiny food. No, wait, that’s not how it’s done. Stunning, awesome pictures of tiny food. Because everything has to be stunning, unless it’s Iconic. Although you could have a stunning photo of something iconic. Anyway, tiny food. If I had the time, I’d create gargantuan pennies, two yards across, then put them next to common every day objects and make people think I’d really achieved new heights in artistic miniaturization.

Finally, the local lore. We’re getting a new office building downtown, the first in ten years.





Eh. It’s nice enough, but its style and size wouldn’t be out of place in a suburban office park. There’s an ancient parking ramp on the site now, and when it’s demolished, that means we will lose charming urban sights like this, the Corridor of Muggery:




Gritty! Here’s a view of the same street in the 1920s, looking down towards City Hall. We’d give anything to have that view back, but it was old! Had to go.





As do I!  See you around.