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.

Who'd bomb a drug store?

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Photos, Praise, Technology Updated: September 17, 2013 - 12:44 PM

There were three bomb threats at Walgreens stores yesterday. I was near one of them - the Hiawatha location - but saw nothing. I was at another earlier, which did not have a bomb threat. I was buying cold medicine, just to stock up; the stuff I bought last year and never used had expired. At least the “Best By” date had come and gone. Don’t know if that means it’s okay afterwards, but not superb, or actually worse. Had the usual choice: the name-brand stuff or the cheaper store brand that has the exact same ingredients, but tastes like berry-flavored paint thinner. It never occurs to the stores that they could sell more of their stuff if they used better flavoring agents, or none at all. It’s as if they think “well, if people can’t afford the good stuff, then they’re going to suffer somehow. Make it taste like donkey mucus.”

None of this has anything to do with the bomb threats, so never mind.

Although it does bring up the eternal question: does Walgreens have a brand identity, or is it just . . . something you use because it’s close and has stuff? Brand Autopsy wants to know. It’s an old post, written before Walgreens came up with new store brands (Nice! for foods and dry goods) and a new slogan, “At the intersection of Happy and Healthy.” I suppose that’s a nice thought, but I think of the number of times I walked back to the pharmacy last winter to get antibiotics and painkillers. At the intersection of Miserable and Sick is just as apt.

HEY YOU Today’s irritating YOU headlines come from the Gawker empire, of course. Gizmodo has this:

Why, How, and Where You Should Start Eating Bugs

One of these days a writer for these sites will be chatting with someone at a party and mention where he works and what he does, and he’ll gt popped right on the nose. “Dude! What was that about?”

”You told me I should eat bugs. Should, as if there’s a moral imperative. Well, I don’t want to. Stop telling me what to eat. Last week you told me I was killing the earth by eating hot dogs. I haven’t eaten a hot dog since 2002. Make another overgeneralization in the second person and I’ll paste you another one.”

”You wouldn’t dare.”

”Try me.”

”Okay, You Won't Believe What It'll Take to Free the Costa Concordia - Owwww!

”Seriously dude I warned you.”

By the way, I’m reasonably certain I will believe what it takes to raise the ship. It involves machinery and cranes and does not require Superman. You’re better off reading the story at the Atlantic, which is run by adults.

GEEK Yes, the cast of ST: TNG does look pretty good in TOS uniforms.

More here.

Related: This is incredible work. A Daily News photographer photoshopped old crime photos on their locations today. (via Coudal.)

ARCHITECTURE I’m assuming it’s nowhere near a flight path: Permit granted for World’s First Invisible Skyscraper.

TECH The NYT article title is “When Tech Turns Nouns into Verbs.” The story begins:

We’re remaking the world so quickly that our language is breaking down.

Think about the phone you carry. You talk with people on it, but you can also open apps and transform it into a camera or chess board. As much as you talk on it, you use its Internet browser. In total daily usage, your phone is mostly pinging cellphone towers and Wi-Fi antennas, informing phone service providers, digital map makers and retailers of where you are.

Whatever this object is, it isn’t a phone in any conventional sense. And that may be a clue to a whole new way of thinking about the world around us.

First of all, it is a phone in the new sense, which will become the conventional sense, and this does not require a new way of thinking about the world. Let alone the one around us. As for turning nouns into verbs, the piece doesn’t appear to be about that at all, and even if it is, that’s hardly new. Let me think of an old noun that became a verb . . . hold on . . . oh! “Phone.”

We continue:

(The smartphone) is made to be contingent, changing with every download and update. That focus on the needs-driven experience means it behaves less like a static noun and more like an active verb.

I have no idea what that means.

This is becoming a commonplace across our connected world. Google’s Internet-connected Chromebook laptops are checked for possible updates to the machine every time their browsers hook into the cloud. Google has also announced more powerful apps for the Chrome browser, so normal laptops will have syncing and updates just as phones do.

Okay, checking to see if this is from 2001. No. Checking comments to see if everyone else is as confused as I am . . . Yes.

Someone notes that he thought it would be about, say, turning nouns into verbs. As in “PDF that, would you?” Or “Instagram that lunch.” This is probably regarded with horror by linguistic purists, but it’s natural. I do wonder if people say “telegram him the news” - never heard anything like that in an old movie. “Send him a telegram,” yes.

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