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.

We're special, Ketchup-wise

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Outstate Updated: October 28, 2013 - 12:56 PM

We'll get to that in a moment. For now, stop the presses: Kotaku says there’s a building complex in China where the windows are painted on. Let’s go to the source and read the story, using the magic of Google’s translation wizard.

Recently, several friends broke the news, "Qingdao Yichang road, the fitness room turned out to be Yichang picture windows painted, lights are packed crooked", questioning the construction side cut corners. Allegedly painted on the windows is actually decorative. Official responded that not strict planning permission and services, has been ordered rectification. Construction of affordable housing and a lot of strange things, this "decorative said," is also quite novel, in the end the truth, subject to approval go into it.

You can see where that might be the case.

On the side of the three building body, neatly drew a lot of "window", but carefully a look, actually paintings by the public praise for the talented friends, is a contemporary "Magic Pen Ma Liang.”

There’s a confounding reference, eh? Wikipedia helps:

The story is based on a folklore story. In a village, there lived a boy called Ma Liang, whose family was so poor that he could not go to school. But he loved painting and worked very hard at it. One day, he got a brush, which had a magical power—if you draw anything with it, it will become reality.

It was made into a stop-motion movie in 1955, back in Mao times. A sample, here. (Janky computer issues today prohibit embedding, for some reason known only to Baal.)

CRIME Novel defense this fellow has. Trouble is, I can see it working.

Accused thief Radu Dogaru says he's a victim in the $24-million art heist that he perpetrated. Dogaru says the crime was too easy and that the Kunsthal Museum should be sued for negligence.

Dogaru and six other Romanians stole paintings by Picasso, Monet, and Gauguin from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum in only three minutes last October.

“I could not imagine that a museum would exhibit such valuable works with so little security,” said Dogaru during a Tuesday court hearing.

Then the judge stepped down from the bench, got out a big wet mackerel, slapped it across the defendant’s face, and resumed the trial as if nothing had happened.

BIG NEWS Whoa whoa HOLD ON:

McDonald's is ending its relationship of four decades with Heinz, citing "recent management changes." The ketchup maker recently installed as CEO a former top executive of rival Burger King.

The company said few people will notice the change, and they’re probably right. Get this:

"We only used Heinz in the Minneapolis and Pittsburgh markets in the U.S," said Becca Hary, McDonalds' director of global media relations. "Globally, Heinz represents a small percentage of McDonald's condiment and sauce business.”

Just us, and Pittsburgh. I wonder why.

OBIT There’s something about Lou Reed’s passing that brought out some bad writing and dubious conclusions. Perhaps the oldest fans feel obligated to write as though they’re 25, full of Rock and Roll Gospel. In the Daily Beast, Elizabeth Wurtzel:

Lou Reed had the most amazing life.
He cheated death many a time. So what if it finally stuck out its ugly foot and tripped him at age 71?

Reed did damn well for himself. He made the most coherent case yet for self-destruction as a lifestyle choice that was somehow more hopeful and rhapsodic than whatever they were selling under steeples.

He had a rock ‘n’ roll heart. He is still alive.

No, he’s not. Let’s look at that line again: He made the most coherent case yet for self-destruction as a lifestyle choice that was somehow more hopeful and rhapsodic than whatever they were selling under steeples. Here’s exhibit A in the “Rock and Roll as a Means of Self-Redemption” nonsense. Ah, to be a heroin-addicted hustler in New York in the 70s! Sweating in an unheated abandoned apartment, unable to hav a bowel movement - it's so romantic.

Reed was born in Brooklyn, back when it was still really a place where people lived. According to the song “Coney Island Baby,” he had to play football for the coach. Is that really possible? Hard to imagine. The song borders on gospel in its commitment, however, and boys will be boys, even future junkies of America.

That’s enough. Sally can’t dance, but she could probably write.

Look, Lou was Lou. He couldn't sing, and wasn't exactly Mr. BlazingHands on the guitar, but he had a certain uncompromising sense of cool that produced an interesting thing now and then. The only album I had was "Street Hassle," which had New Wave Cred when it came out, for some reason. It also had Bruce Springsteen doing a spoken introduction for the title tune, turning his "Tramps like us" like from "Born to Run" on its head. It's a nice little work. It has strings, of all things. But the album also has "Dirt," a song whose calamitous, drunken, stumbling incompetence stands as a glorious rebuke to all the polished, careful pop of the day. Without the chorus of Actual Singers chanting "Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap Uptown dirt," though, it wouldn't have cohered into anything, and when you consider that it's really about dressing down someone who's just Dirt - cheap, as noted, and also from Uptown - you think, well, Cole Porter it isn't.

Cole Porter he wasn't. But there wasn't anyone else in rock whose name would pop up, and you'd think, with amusement and affection: Lou! Still at it! Wonder what he's up to now? He was an original.

TECH Imagine this conversation, which surely happened somewhere along the line.

“Honey, I’m home!”

”How was work?

”Fine, but I’m troubled by this program we’re putting on the computers we rent out. It lets us turn on the webcam and watch people.”

”You have to be kidding me.’’

”No, it’s true. I’m really bothered. The sound isn't syncing like it should and the frame rate's lousy.’’

“Aren’t you bothered about the ethics of this?’’

(pause)

”Explain what you mean about that.”

From CNN:

The FTC said that Aaron's (AAN), an Atlanta-based chain of about 2,000 company-owned and franchised rental stores, rented out computers installed with software known as Detective Mode. This allowed the company to track the renters' data through keystrokes, screen shots and webcam images, the commission said.

"Detective Mode's surreptitious capture of the private details of individual and family life -- including images of visitors, children, family interactions, partially undressed individuals, and people engaged in intimate conduct -- cause actual consumer harm," read the complaint that the FTC filed earlier this year.

Good Lord.

VIDEO It’s titled “Karma Kutters.” Dashcam compilation of what befalls the drivers who try to pass on the shoulder. You can probably turn down the sound when the ersatz classical music begins.

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