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.

Kate Middleton's Awful New Portrait

Posted by: James Lileks under Minnesota History, Outstate, Photos, Technology Updated: January 15, 2013 - 12:33 PM

Controversy over Kate Middeltone’s new official portrait. How bad could it be, you wonder? This bad?

 

 

 

 

No, this bad.

 

 

 

 

The artist caught her at the moment when she’s tired of your excuses and is just waiting for you to finish embarrassing yourself before she unloads. That’s what you’d paint if you’d been married to her for ten years and it hadn’t been working out for the last four.

 

PRISON BLUES  Police in Australia were looking for four Smurfs, wanted on assault charges.

It is believed a 37-year-old Pascoe Vale man entered a 7-Eleven on the corner of West and Pascoe streets about 1am to buy cigarettes.

 As he left the store he was approached by a man dressed as a Smurf who asked for a cigarette.

 The man offered him a cigarette, but the Smurf demanded that the victim light the smoke before handing it over.

 He refused and noticed the Smurf was in the company of three other Smurfs, who were trying to jump start and steal a white VS Commodore sedan.

Notice how the “man dressed as a Smurf” quickly becomes a Smurf himself. That’s all it takes? You smear yourself cerulean, and suddenly you’re a fictional Euro-gnome? Noted.

Lest you find the story suspicious, we have security camera footage from the store.

 

 

 After the video was released to the public, they came forward and were arrested. (h/t: a commenter in the Time.com story on the Smurf problem; he had the embed code and the movie, which Time declined to provide. Odd.) 

 

URBAN STUDIES New Urbanists don’t like highways, and they don’t like what they did to the core cities.

About 50 years ago, Minneapolis St. Paul, then a city of 1.6 million people, opened I-94 and I-35, freeways connecting the city to its suburbs and to other cities in the US. (There are also many good histories.)

Unfortunately, Greater MSP learned nothing from history and did not go underground in the core cities, and we see the result today, downtowns disconnected from the rest of the region by highways. People close enough to walk to the core who cannot.

Well, that’s not true. You can. It’s just not as easy as it was when every surface street connected to the core. It could have been worse: this was a proposal for ramming a freeway into downtown, in the old Gateway district:

 

 

 

 

 What a vibrant, bustling wonderland that would have been, eh? Well, the article proposes something novel: covering up the freeways, and using the space for retail, parks, and so on. It would seem impractical to build structures on the spot, but imagine a long greensward stretching from downtown to the Crosstown: it would be gorgeous, and would instantly tie the communities back together.

It won’t happen soon, but it’s not a bad idea to keep in our back pocket. Or course, that’s where I keep the coupons I intend to use at Cub, and I always find them a week later after washday in a useless wad.

Am I making sense today? It’s hard to tell. Which brings us to the next story:

SPY BOTTLES Drug thieves might be nabbed by a new proposal.

Police in New York City plan to combat the theft of painkillers and other highly addictive prescription medicines by asking pharmacies around the city to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices amid the legitimate supplies on their shelves.

The New York Police Department believes the so-called "bait bottles" could help investigators track stolen drugs and locate suspects.

Or just remove all controls on them and let anyone buy them off the shelf. Otherwise, it’s prohibition, right? If the idea of “legalization” includes the big-time painkillers, then get ready for Gummy Oxycodone in Flintstones shapes because that market will be so huge they’ll invent every possible competitive advantage they can. Excuse me, I was looking for the Oxycodone with calcium. Are you out?

After four days on Vicodin - yes, this nonsense is being written Under the Influence - I don’t know why people want to be on this stuff if they don’t have to be. I can’t wait to be done with it. Imagine being wide awake AND incredibly sleepy AND your blood has been replaced with cement. It’s better than pain, but I can’t imagine anyone volunteering for a sensation this banal. According to the dentist, today is Maximum Discomfort Day. Tomorrow, no more of this stuff. If it hurts I’ll go full Cowboy, and chew on a leather strap soaked in whiskey.

 Anyway, some people are complaining about the fake bottles, as if the government will use them to spy on people who have legitimate uses for the pills. No. If the Feds were putting pills that had tiny GPS devices into regular prescriptions, the critics might have a point, but that would be stupid. Sir, I’m getting some peculiar readings. The target appears to have stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant, but now I’m showing that he’s heading west at 14 MPH towards the municipal waste treatment facility. Should we send someone to intercept him at the front gate?

  

VIDEO  Making the rounds today is a deaf bulldog named - all together now - WINSTON, whose owner has combined his scooting with a blues song. The owner appears in the comments to assure all the scolds that he is not wormy, doesn’t have gland problems, isn’t having a seizure, and is collar is just fine honestly you people I swear. It’s like 17% of the Internet consists of people who troll home videos so they can point out their superior awareness of animal needs and behavior.

 

 

Best comment, by someone who has just listened to someone sing a blues song about a dog rubbing himself repeatedly on the carpet:

what song are you singing?

Oh, an old classic blues tune about a deaf dog scooting on a rug. Robert Johnson wrote it. Amazing how it fits the stuation just perfectly.

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