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.

Movies Tarantino Would Love

Posted by: James Lileks under Outstate, Photos, Praise, Technology Updated: January 29, 2013 - 12:28 PM

 . . . and I don't say that like it's a good thing. We'll get to that in a minute.

Good weather for growing icicles, although ever since I read that they’re a sign of ice dams, they’ve been spoiled. Enjoy the warmth - back to single digits in a day, if my weather app is correct. I have to take its word for these things, although I have no idea where it gets the data.

 

OOPS Someone’s going to get a sternly-worded letter in his personnel file:

A hole, measuring around 10 meters deep with an area of 100 square meters, appears after a section of roadway beside a subway construction collapses, destroying a property in Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong province.

Unfortunately, there was a building on top. But not any more:

 

 

 

TECH”Confessions of a Digital Hoarder “- there’s a title that got my attention, since I’m one myself. Not as bad as the author, who seems to squirrel everything away in Evernote. I keep things on my hard drive, with is rigorously organized and backed up sixteen different ways, ensuring I will never lose that thing I will probably never want. But why clip and save when everything’s on the web? Because bookmarks rot. Sites vanish.

If you’re not a hoarder, but would like to start saving everything obsessively for some later moment when you’re interested in reading the things you skimmed and saved for later, follow the author’s suggestions. Pocket and Springpad are good; I use them both.

Now, to give you an idea of what I save:

 

 

 

Eh? you ask. Who cares? (BTW, it may have been their last hoky-poky howler, since Woolsey died the year after this ad ran in 1937.) I saved it so I could look up the Bellylaff Boys later, see what they were all about. For all I know they were the Harold and Kumar of their day, and if you're ever in a conversation with someone about Bill and Ted or Harold and Kumar, you can say "There's a rich tradition of such act, including the Bellylaff Boys, Wheeler and Woolsey." And then conversation stops for a moment while everyone tries to muster interest in your pedantic remark and obsscure reference, and then things go on as if you'd never spoken.

Anyway, it’s from a motion-picture theater-owner trade publication, and included ads like this as well:

 

 

Nice little piece of commonplace 30s graphic design, and if you're interested in such things, the illustration is better than a bookmark. 

Now it gets ugly. 

I found it because I was looking for history of the Avalon Theater on Lake Street, and ended up discovering a picture of the theater in its glory days before pr0n-king Ferris turned it into a Triple-X “art house”. Once I discovered the archives of the magazine, well, time to glean. It’s quite an instructive collection. You find ads for movies time has done its best to forgive, including all the grindhouse dreck:

 

 

 

Naked fists! Ooooh, can they show that?

The ads of 1953 are smart and stylish. The ads of 1973 are almost entirely sexploitation flicks and buckets-o-blood slashers. It’ll be a treat for some - bad movies are great! - but depressing for others to see how quickly the culture got crude and crass. You can tour almost a century's worth of magazines, and chart the decline of civilization and its slow return from the pits of the seventies.

 

MUSIC Why Kraftwerk is the most influential band in the world. That’s about right. More than the Beatles? Sure. If you’re influenced by the Beatles, everyone says “Hey, that sounds like it could be a substandard Beatles tun.” If you’re influenced by Kraftwerk, you have a minimalistic style with innumerable applications. It’s hard to copy Kraftwerk, though; if you’re too slavish, it sounds like . . . well, substandard Kraftwerk.

 

These guys tried. Hard. So hard you almost think it's parody, but I have the entire album. It's not parody. It's an homage.

 

 

 

That’s Komputer, not Kraftwerk. I can usually take a minute of it. tops.

 

TRAVEL ADVICE Headline: Is your hotel trying to choke you with an iPhone app?

No. Besides, the article is about hotels keeping the temperature in the room too warm, which does not make one choke. I’ve found the opposite to be true: most hotel rooms are set at arctic temps, as if they customers expect to leave a scround of ice cream on the desk for a few hours without losing structural integrity.

It turns out some hotels have restraints on room temps, and it can be controlled from an iPhone by the hotel manager. So now you  know; you can use this knowledge to get your room the temp you want. It's not like he'll leave the room and dial it back up an hour later. That would break a sacred oath between guest and hotel.

Hah! No such bond exists. Read this “insider” account of a hotel manager, which has lines like “Tomsky says duvets are never washed and water glasses are shined with furniture polish,” and notes that if the front desk doesn’t like you, they’ll deactivate your keycard so you have to go all the way back to the front desk.

 

Happened to me twice last November in LA. They blamed it on my cellphone. I was perfectly nice, so I don’t think they were pranking me. Unless I just looked like someone they didn’t like at their posh hotel. Chuck Taylors, sir? Really? Yeah, really.

 

Have a grand day; see you around.

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