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.

Walking Dead and Morton Salt

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Minnesota History, Photos Updated: March 31, 2014 - 2:45 PM

"The Walking Dead Finale was Brutal, Shocking and Heartbreaking," says i09. Agreed for the most part; not sure about “heartbreaking.” You have to feel bad for the gang; things would have worked out better, you suspect, if they weren’t in a TV show that needed a season finale. Comment that may be a spoiler at the absolute end of this piece, below the video. So you’ve been warned.

MPLS From the Strib archives, an old view of a bygone Minneapolis corner. Can you identify it? Don’t worry. It’s an obscure and forgotten building.

Can you find it in this picture?

Lower left-hand side. The building was the National, which was torn down for the two-tower skyscraper first known as the Pillsbury Building. Note the absence of electronics on top of the Northwestern Bell building, and the utter filth begriming City Hall. Now let’s look at the billboards:

The great age of conspicuous whiskey ads. Kentucky Tavern. Still made. Can you identify the other ads? Computer, enhance!

Both brands are still around, too. Now, in the background:

A national brand: this ran in Life magazine, at the peak of the company’s popularity:

For a while, the largest supplier of blankets in the country. The factory moved away and the building sat empty for decades, but it’s lofts now. The sign must have been a landmark for a while, lit at nigh. We need more of those. 

Speaking of ancient civilizations: Here are 10 that history forgot. The Zapotec structure is particularly surprising: huge and intact. Then there’s this: “Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization, the Vinca, existed for nearly 1,500 years. Beginning in the 55th century B.C., they occupied land throughout Serbia and Romania.”

55th century BC. There’s bygones, and there’s bygones.

In more recent history: technological advances in uncovering Roman graffiti.

More than 1,600 years after the Romans fled this cold, damp island for the warm south, their secrets are still emerging, thanks to a new technique called Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or RTI. By firing a flash gun at worn-away ancient graffiti from dozens of different angles and photographing it, suddenly the ancient world comes to life. It's a related technique to seeing inscriptions just before sunset, when the letters fall into shadow. Thanks to RTI, new Latin inscriptions have emerged at Hadrian's Wall, and Greek ones on Athenian pots.

Don’t miss the Latin-based pedantry in the comments; smart and amusing.

In related news: “Assyrian stele containing ancient curse will not be reunited with its other half.” Not until Ghostbusters 3, anyway. Which isn’t going to happen. Anyway, here's the curse:

Whoever discards this image from the presence of Salmanu puts it into another place, whether he throws it into water or covers it with earth or brings and places it into a taboo house where it is inaccessible, may the god Salmanu, the great lord, overthrow his sovereignty; may his name and his seed disappear in the land; may he live in a contingent together with the slave women of his land.”

So says the curse. More here, if you’re wondering where the two halves are and why they won’t be joined together again. Who was Salmanu? Wikipedia will tell you:

Salmanu was king of Moab during the reign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III (ruled 745–727 BCE). He is mentioned in a clay inscription found in Nimrud as a vassal of Assyria. Eberhard Schrader theorized that he might be identical with the Shalman who waged war on Israel and sacked Beth-arbel (Hosea x. 14); though other scholars identify Shalman with one of the Assyrian kings named Shalmaneser.

It’s amazing we know these things, really. It makes you marvel at the amount of likewise information we’ll never know.

HMM Redditor spotted a map of Minnesota on the map of Minnesota. The Google one, that is:


View Larger Map

Votd Tired of car dashcams? Let’s look at a Tramcam.

Now, for no reason, Weird Al has a problem with his hotel door chain.

Okay, WALKING DEAD POSSIBLE SPOILER

1. Terminus is creepy because it has things written on the wall in a room full of candles. It seemed like a lot of candles, no? At some point I think the point's been made, and it seems like quite a lot of work. Maybe they all do it together and sing a song. If you're creepy and you know it light a match!

2. It takes a steely, determined leader to find himself stripped of weapons, heavily outnumbered, chased by sniper fire and locked in a hot train car to say "they're screwing with the wrong people." Or one who's completely delusional. At least we have a new bad guy who, we can be assured, will be gutted and brain-spiked at some point in season 5. 

Always something to look forward to on this show. 

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