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.

K-Cup Coffee Kerfluffle

Posted by: James Lileks under Minnesota History, Technology Updated: March 4, 2014 - 12:29 PM

The term “DRM” doesn’t really fit here, but helps explain the concept. So: will the next-generation of Keurig coffee makers forbid the use of third-party pods? And is there such a thing as a second-party pod? The story appears to originate with this site, but when I tried to copy a quote I got this:

Okay, well, then we’ll just link to someone else, then. Canada Business:

One of the things that accelerated the pod-coffee craze was the 2012 expiry of Green Mountain’s patent on the “K-Cup” design. That freed up other companies to start making generic pods that would still work in Keurig-brand coffee brewers—and those clones typically sold for 15-25% less than the brand-name pods sold by Keurig directly.

It’s been a boon for the consumer, but the company no doubt wants us to buy its machines. They look nice. They cost a lot. People like having other options, though. Different blends at cheaper prices with less plastic. But the company says the new units will be so INCREDIBLE people will be happy to give up the freedom of choice, and choose a new technology that locks them into a particular product.

Because that’s worked out well so many times in the past.

HISTORY Today’s newspaper headline, “Less Than Zero,” may mean different things to different people. The 1987 movie? IMDB’s description: “A college freshman returns to L.A. for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend's request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit.” The site also notes that “Apart from the setting and the names, the film has very little to do with Bret Easton Ellis's book by the same title on which it was based.”

Perhaps the headline made you think of the novel, then. I remember reading it when it came out, and thinking it was flat and empty. I suppose that’s the point! Flat and empty people make for flat and empty novels. Everyone was looking for another Jay McInerney, since the original item wasn’t up to the task. Anyway: perhaps the headline made you think of the Elvis Costello song from which the book takes its title. Which brings us to another bit o’ imdb “trivia”:

In a surreal twist, the sequel novel, 'Imperial Bedrooms', has the original novel's characters aware of the film version of "Less Than Zero”.

Well, now, I wouldn’t say that. Perhaps something like this would be more apt: In a surreal twist, the sequel novel, ‘Empty Donkey Melting Scream” took its name from colliding mollusks on a train that stretches to the horizon but is forever moving.” That’s surreal. Naming a sequel after another song on another album is called “continuity.”

As for Elvis Costello’s song, no doubt he played it on his first appearance in Minneapolis at the Longhorn in 1977. Where is that bar now, you ask?

Long closed.

It turned into Zoogie’s, then closed up, and reportedly it’s just parking-ramp maintenance storage now. The history is left behind is sparse, but a few handbills can be found here, along with recollections of the heyday; the Minnesota Historical Society has some ephemera as well.

 Now, let us flashback to those innocent halcyon days of 80s. Prescient moment from Robert Downey towards the end. 

ART Photog Tom Nguyen got up early to take pictures of the early hours of bone-rattling March, and we’re glad he did.

SCIENCE! Speaking of the cold, here’s great news: There was an ancient giant virus found in 30,000-year-old ice, and they brought it back to life! Resurrected viruses. I think that’s what everyone’s been clamoring for.

In what seems like a plot straight out of a low-budget science-fiction film, scientists have revived a giant virus that was buried in Siberian ice for 30,000 years — and it is still infectious. Its targets, fortunately, are amoebae, but the researchers suggest that as Earth's ice melts, this could trigger the return of other ancient viruses, with potential risks for human health.

Another researcher quoted in the piece says this is nonsense. There’s a frightening picture of the virus, which makes me think of “The Andromeda Strain” - a fine movie that still manages to terrify with the most rudimentary special effects. The moment that virus moved half the audience came out of their seats.

You have to marvel at the wy the world works: even amoebas have their own viruses. Nothing's safe from those meaningless demons. If there's something to eat, Nature will devise a way to eat it. Speaking of which: time for lunch. See you around. 

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