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.

Hitler's Commode ended up in New Jersey

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Outstate, Technology Updated: January 30, 2013 - 12:22 PM

If this headline doesn’t work for you, then you have my sympathies.

Hitler’s Toilet Is in New Jersey

For half a century, Greg’s Auto Repair has housed the commode from Aviso Grille, the Führer’s biggest yacht

My favorite side-note:

The knobs on the faucet bear text written in Blackletter—the famous and classically German family of typefaces that Hitler adored. (The Nazis, in 1933, chased typographer Jan Tschichold out of Germany for advocating use of sans-serif fonts instead of Blackletter, among other design travesties.)

Encouraged to flee the country for advocating politically unacceptable typefaces. One of his accomplishments was the creation of the standardized Penguin cover, which brought literature to the masses in inexpensive form for decades. The Guardian’s tribute can be found here. 

His legacy is treasured and preserved. As for the other stuff from Hitler’s yacht, you have to find this satosfying:

When the ship came to the United States, it was taken apart, and many of the pieces were distributed throughout Florence. One man took the teak wood from the paneling on the yacht and built himself a porch.

You couldn’t tell anyone the porch was made from Hitler’s yacht, of course. Who’d believe you?

In related history news: "See Naples before it dies of neglect."

The increasingly dire state of conservation of much of Naples’s cultural heritage—its churches, monuments, libraries and palaces—has been highlighted by a damning online report published by one of Italy’s leading papers, the Corriere della Sera, in January.

 The report revealed an alarming statistic: Naples has around 200 closed and abandoned churches. Some have been stripped of all their furnishings including works of art, some never received the funds they had been promised, while others received them but never embarked on the agreed conservation projects. Others still were closed down, restored and then never opened again.

Sounds about right. I was in Naples two summers back, and of all the Mediterranean ports, it was the dirtiest and dumpiest. Sometimes a city has a hardscrabble charm because it’s too busy working to pretty everything up for company; sometimes it’s just old and tired and corrupt. Naples felt like the latter. Even when something was meticulously preserved . . .

 

. . . it was empty.

 

 

 

That was a shopping center. No stores. The rest of downtown was interesting, but when you see signs that say CAMEO FACTORY leading you down six blocks into a dark alley, you have your suspicions.

 

ANIMATION Poor Oswald. Lucky he’s not: Disney has shut down the studio that made the Epic Mickey games, which not only brought Oswald back but gave him a voice. The problem was the platform, I’ll bet. Making Epic Mickey Wii only shut out a portion of the market and guaranteed Wii-level graphics. In related news:

for ’90s kids just now becoming aware of their own mortality, perhaps they’ll be momentarily distracted by the return of Craig McCracken’s eyeballs in adorable dresses, in their first adventure since 2005, in a special featuring a guest role—and original song—from Ringo Starr.

Imagine sitting someone down in 1964 and telling them “Ringo will be singing a song on your grandkid’s favorite show in 2013.” That person would say “on the moon, right?” No, unfortunately, we won’t have a moon base in 2013, but we will have Ringo.

Now the surprising part:”the special is billed as a “redesigned and reimagined” Powerpuff Girls.” The A.V Club says it’s CG, and gives an example:

 

 

Well, that’s just horrible.

 

ENTERTAINMENT Waiting is dead? We can hope. GQ looks at cable - “the never-ending scroll of 739 channels, to our prime-time prison” - and tells us how Netflix wants to free us all.

Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has a name for this prison and what it does to the people trapped inside it: managed dissatisfaction. "The traditional entertainment ecosystem is built on it, and it's a totally artificial concept," says Hastings. "The point of managed dissatisfaction is waiting. You're supposed to wait for your show that comes on Wednesday at 8 p.m., wait for the new season, see all the ads everywhere for the new season, talk to your friends at the office about how excited you are." If it's a movie, he adds, you wait till the night it opens, you wait for the pay-channel window, you wait for it to come to cable. Waiting means pent-up demand, millions of people watching the same thing at the same time, preferably at night, when they're pliant with exhaustion and ready to believe they need the stuff being hawked in all those commercials. Waiting, Hastings says, is dead.

I’m looking forward to “House of Cards” - Strib critic Neil Justin says it’s tremendous - and will forgive them for that Steven Van Zandt mobster show.

Now here’s the next job, Netflix:

Bring back “Firefly.”

Reed, buddy? The guy who played Jayne follows me on Twitter, so, you know, I can put you in touch with his people if you want.

 

TECH Is Google the Next Apple? The article notes that it’s doing everything right, including the success of Google+ - the second-biggest social network. In terms of members, sure, but I doubt it’s used like Facebook. When people sign into Google they get a Google+ account. Posting on it is another thing, but since I got back on it I’ve found it more useful than Facebook, and certainly cleaner than the 50-car pile-up of Facebook’s hideous appearance. Here’s something they have going for them over Apple: consistent email addresses. If you signed on with Apple years ago, you got a .mac account. This was replaced by .me when Mobile Me replaced .Mac, and they threw out your online drive, replacing it with iCloud. Now your email is You@iCloud.com. although they haven’t made much noise about that. All the old addresses still work.

Whereas Google has gmail, and is unlikely to change the name. Ever. If you signed up for something a few years back with gmail, you don’t have to wonder if it was .mac or .me.

While I’m complaining: I understand why sites mask passwords when you type them. The default expectation: someone is standing right behind you looking at your password, and that person not only cares what your password is, but has nefarious designs. This happens to me about once in 5,000 login attempts. It would be nice if there was an option to turn off password masking. But: the worst site are those that mask your password when you’re signing up for an account, so you cannot actually see what you are typing. Having entered some text, please re-enter it! Sorry, doesn’t match.

Who’s more likely to come up with some grand easy unified password scheme that doesn’t involve stabbing a smartphone screen with your fat finger, hoping you got the right letter or shift-number row character? Google.

Apple makes interesting devices, but their software needs an overhaul. All the skeumorphic stuff has to go - and I suspect it will, with its main advocates out of the company. But they’re still going for shiny when the trends are Flat, and Google design is about as flat as they come.

That's it for today - off to walk the treacherous streets of Minneapolis, coated with ice from the thaw and the freeze. See you around. 

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