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.

"Old" does not equal "historic."

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Minnesota History, Outstate, Technology Updated: February 24, 2014 - 12:33 PM

Not always. Minneapolis,+Minnesota+55414&t=h&z=17&panoid=Nhtv8o7B5a4PigOzZ1oI8A">This is where the Dinkytown hotel was supposed to go. This is the building that might be “historic.”

The City Council denied the permit to build the structure until a study figures out whether the entire business district is in need of preservation. Yes and no. It seems odd to declare everything historic, and by odd I mean “makes little sense, given the diversity of buildings in the area.” The McDonald/’s? No. The Varsity? Yes. The old Bridgeman’s, now a Potbelly? No. The Old College Inn? Yes. One-story commercial structures are part of a neighborhood’s history, and they’re bulwarks against projects that change the character or density of a neighborhood. That may be a reason to keep them, but it doesn’t make the structures historic.

Is there a point at which large projects would fundamentally transform Dinkytown into something it doesn’t want to be, he asked, setting up an answer that won’t placate anyone? Yes. Once the historic survey is done, there will be guidelines, and no one will try to knock down the old Grey’s Drug. But it shouldn’t take a year to walk the blocks and make the proper distinctions. A week, maybe. Two if you can’t find parking.

Here's the Google Street View. Turns out if I put the iframe tag in the first 200 characters of the blog, it has an aneurism. 


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GOING UP The history of the elevator and the history-making demonstration of Mr. Otis may have been a bit different from what you’ve been told. Before you go to the piece, a warning: it seems to have a slight case of florid academese.

The theatricality of the demonstration (however unimpressed contemporary witnesses may have been) places this contribution to the elevator’s development above the crowd of equally important but less dramatic turning points, such as the first installation of guide rails in a factory or the first construction of a completely enclosed cab. The concentrated format of a public demonstration satisfies the yearning for a clean, unambiguous beginning, a yearning endemic to the historiography of technology. The dramaturgy of the experiment in the Crystal Palace also contributes to this outcome.

You’ve been warned, in other words. It’s still worth a read, and applause for not titling it “Everything You Know About Otis’ Historical Elevator Demonstration is Wrong” or “Another Man Named Otis Invented the Screw Elevator, and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”

RETRO It really isn’t, but it is. A poster that helps you choose the right dinosaur for your house. (via DesignTaxi.)

It’s cute, but the style is interesting: very high 80s, if my recollection of the era is correct. More of his work is here, and it’s unlike the poster.

Speaking of things that actually are retro, Collectors Weekly has a gallery of 28 “Cringe-worthy Vintage Product Endorsements."  As usual, the horror of the old ads is overstated. Actual cringes felt: perhaps two. Nothing that reaches this level:

(Author’s collection) There’s also an article about 40 Outrageous Vintage Ads Any Woman Would Find Offensive. Mostly BO stuff. One of the comments, eager to unfurl his bright banner of virtue, says: “Wow, it seems as if men in 1930s didn’t have any “B.O.” problem, they all must’ve smelled like fresh linen and daisies!”

Sigh. Yes. Of course.

EDUMACATION NYPost does a story on a school that lets failing students watch online videos instead of showing up for class. Students are offended by the suggestion that there not lerning and right letters to the paper. Result:

Red-faced administrators encouraged a student letter-writing campaign to attack The Post and defend its “blended learning” program. Eighteen kids e-mailed to argue that their alma mater got a bad rap. Almost every letter was filled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.One student said the online system beats the classroom because “you can digest in the information at your own paste.”

They sound a little old to be eating the stuff.

SPACE What’s wrong with this piece from NASA?

Anxiously awaited follow-up observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of two new moons around the distant planet Pluto. The moons were first discovered by Hubble in May 2005, but the science team probed even deeper into the Pluto system last week to look for additional satellites and to characterize the orbits of the moons.

STOP PLAYING WITH US, NASA. It is or it isn’t. Of course, this NASA page tries to have it both ways, and says it’s a “dwarf planet.” But let’s be consistent. Too many people see it called “planet” and get their hopes up, like little kids who want their parents to get back together.

VotD Location: Russia. A short film called “Comin’ Through.”

That’s just the warm-up. Now, the main feature. NOTE: SKIP to 1:50.

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