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.

Time to flee to Florida

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Outstate, Technology Updated: March 25, 2013 - 12:41 PM

. . . or a sunny equivalent. Spring break starts this week for many kids, and the airport will be thronged with people heading someplace warm. Anywhere will do this year, after the March we’ve had. A rickety lawnchair on the roof of a Tijuana brothel would do. Since many head to Florida for the amusement parks or cruise-ship ports, we’ll try to work as much Florida news in the blog this week as possible. So:

STAR WARS This article wonders if Disneyland will add a Star Wars attraction. They’re testing the waters by polling fans to see if there’s any interest. Here is where you are entitled to snort through your nose with derision and contempt for anyone who wonders whether Disney will not develop a SW theme park. I’d be surprised if they didn’t build a fourth theme-park in Florida centered entirely around Star Wars. It fits with the Hollywood studio, and that one could use some refreshes. As much as I love that park for the architecture, most people don’t go a theme park looking for 3/4 scale reproductions of imaginary 1930s streetscapes, and the haunted hotel is the only thrill ride on the lot. Something like Universal’s “Harry Potter” ride - completely immersive, disorienting, wild, vomit-inducing - is what’s called for here. Of course, the attack on the Death Star comes to mind, but that’ll be tough; the flight down the trench is hard to do with multiple cars. They’ll figure it out.

Star Wars doesn’t belong at the Magic Kingdom, though. Don’t expect them to make over Tomorrowland - which wouldn’t make any sense, since “Star Wars” happened a long time ago. (Inasmuch as it did not happen at all.) Nor does it belong at Epcot, which has its own mood so different from the other parks you’d hate to see it sullied. 

SIN Also in Florida: A headline to get the Internet Defenders of slashdot et al riled up good ‘n’ plenty: FLORIDA BANS INTERNET CAFES. What sort of police-state regime is descending on us? What dark night looms for us all if they can ban internet cafes? It does seem odd, until you google a bit and discover that “internet cafe” is a term for a depressing, mercenary type of gambling establishment that exploited a loophole in the law. This post at slashdot explains it from a first-hand perspective. Usually fisticuffs and turf wars don’t come to mind when you think “internet cafes.”

CROSS CHECK AND ALL CALL When you’re about to take off to go to Florida, you’ll have to turn off the Kindle, which produces so much disruptive energy you can actually divert jet airplanes by driving past the airport and holding one up to the window. The window does not need to be rolled down. Just hold it up. Watch the planes do barrel rolls. Fun! But now they’re going to let you use them. Huzzah. The NYT says:

One member of the group and an official of the F.A.A., both of whom asked for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about internal discussions, said the agency was under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot.

As I wrote in 2011, travelers are told to turn off their iPads and Kindles for takeoff and landing, yet there is no proof that these devices affect a plane’s avionics. To add to the confusion, the F.A.A. permits passengers to use electric razors and audio recorders during all phases of flight, even though those give off more electronic emissions than reading tablets.

The F.A.A. declined to comment.blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2013/03/disneyland_club_33.php

Of course they declined to comment! Who the hell are we to think they owe us any sort of comment? Now turn off your iPod Mini and stare straight ahead.

ARCHITECTURE Also in Florida: I read three pieces this morning about the death of the Miami Herald building. Here's one. The company sold it for a nice chunk, and is moving to new digs by the airport. All three pieces quote the staffers who toiled within the featureless bunker, praising its views of the water. Those were the days! No one else is sad to see it go, I suspect, since the overwhelming majority of people did not work inside the building and did not have the nice views, but saw the structure as an inert, aloof bunker whose inner machinations were a mystery to all but the elect. The best newspaper buildings came from the 30s and 40s, like StarTribune World HQ, or the Daily News in New York City.

DINING When you get to Disneyworld you’ll want to eat at 33, but you can’t. It’s too exclusive. You have to pay thousands of dollars and wait ten years. Now, here’s where the Disney experts scoff, because Club 33 is in Disneyland, not Disneyworld. Really? Fine; you want to believe the Mouse Propaganda, be my guest, as the singing piece of crockery said. I think they have one, and it’s so super-exclusive it’s where people from California go to avoid the hoi polloi who bought their way into the original one. Anyway, it’s mysterious and exclusive, and this writer got inside to spill the secrets!!!!

It’s also so mysterious and little-seen that Disney put up a website for the place.

I have some matchbooks from the restaurant; They belonged to Walt Disney’s brother. A friend gave me a cigar box full of matches that belonged to Ray, a little-known brother who didn’t go into the Mouse biz. As far as I can tell from the matchbooks, he was in the insurance trade. The “33” matchbook makes you wonder whether Walt comped him a membership, or just invited him over to eat once. Either way, it had to sting a bit. You’re out there busting your hump every day to sell policies, and your younger brother not only has this, he has a spread in Florida the size of a state.

You hope it didn’t bother him too much. He outlived Walt by decades, and died in ’89 one year short of his 100th birthday.

I’d love to show you the matchbook, but I updated my system software this morning, and it broke my computer so bad I can’t do anything without waiting five minutes between mouse-clicks. Two basic system programs that normally sit in the background nibbling on crumbs of memory now have decided they need 2.5 GB each; on a machine with 8 GB of RAM, opening a browser and nothing else reduces the amount of free RAM to 14 MB. So! Fun ahead. I’ll have it fixed by tomorrow. See you around.

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