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.

Unnerving Happy Thing

Posted by: James Lileks under Outstate, Praise, Technology Updated: May 20, 2014 - 12:38 PM

This is not an improvement on a clown. Bloomberg:

McDonald’s today introduced “Happy,” a new animated Happy Meal character that brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals while also serving as an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating. Happy will be introduced nationwide May 23, and will encourage kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and wholesome beverages such as water or juice.

No:

It looks like you can’t pick him up without putting your fingers into the back of his eyeballs. His big, firm, squishy eyeballs. The Verge says the Memes Have Just Begun.

ART The creations of WW2 US airmen need saving:

They drew cartoons, graffiti, murals, glamour "pinups", combat scenes, mission records and maps. US servicemen at bomber and fighter bases in central and eastern England between 1942 and 1945 created a huge but largely unrecorded body of wartime artwork, some of which has survived more than 70 years in collapsing and overlooked buildings.

As the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaches, a "last chance" search is under way to find and record the scattered vestiges and fading memories of the largest air armada ever assembled – before decay, demolition and redevelopment remove the final traces.

It’s the Guardian, so you steel yourself for the anti-American comments. Let’s see . . . Yep! First:

To be fair, the rest of the comments are supportive of the effort to defeat Nazism, and seem comfortable doing so without five minutes of apologetic preambles. That’s a relief.

ELSEWHERE Finally, a good practical use for Google Glass: taking pictures of North Korea while your minders aren’t paying attention. It looks like the minders knew exactly what was going on, though - everything seems Approved. Still interesting. From the comments:

Head on over and enjoy, then.

At the other end of the Planned Community spectrum, there’s this amazing document uploaded by BoingBoing: the original Disneyland prospectus.

Walt's vision for what the company at one point called "merchantainment" (!) was more ambitious than anything yet realized inside the berm. Page one boasts of a "mail order catalogue" that will offer everything for sale at Disneyland (a kind of super-duper version of today's Disneyland Delivears). This catalogue was to feature actual livestock, including "a real pony or a miniature donkey thirty inches high.”

You could bring one of those to Lilliputian Land:

There are four comments, two of which are anti-Disney on general principle. It is very important when someone sees something about Disney to remind everyone how much they hate it and its influences and products and behavior, and so on. You should hate it too and will be judged if you don’t.

MUSIC Kraftwerk would approve. And if you’re one of those people who grouses that pushing buttons isn’t the same as playing an instrument . . . just wait.

If only the original ringtones included a cowbell.

HISTORY The headline is a bit click-baity: “‘Bysantine iPad’ Found in Ancient Shipwreck.” But it is cool:

Probably belonging to the ship's captain, the wooden object, whose cover is finely carved with decorations, is the size of a modern seven-inch tablet, but it's much thicker.

It consists of a set of five overlaid rectangular panels carved with frames and covered with wax. Notes could be taken on those panels, as shown by writing in Greek which is still visible on the wax.

A primitive "app" is hidden on the bottom panel: a sliding lid revealing a hidden plate with carved spaces.

"When you draw the sliding part, there are small weights used as an assay balance," Ufuk Kocabaş, director of Istanbul University’s department of marine archeology and the Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project, told Hurriyet Daily News.

Elsewhere in the past: the German Stonehenge. It was discovered last year, but now they're releasing the details.

Schlosser is convinced the site was constructed for the observation of astronomical phenomena such as the movements of the sun, moon and stars, and for keeping track of time. These celestial cycles would have been important for the sowing and harvesting of crops in the early civilization.

But, Goseck isn’t merely a "calendar construction," Schlosser explains, "but rather is clearly a sacred building." Archeologists have found plenty of evidence to prove that Goseck was a place of prehistoric cult worship. The arrangement of human bones, for instance, is atypical of burial sites, and telltale cut marks on them indicate that human sacrifice was practiced at the site.

Typical. At least we’ve progressed; in millennia to come, if they ever unearth the ruins of 20th century observatories, they won’t find bones in the closet, suggesting that scientists had sacrificed a few locals before searching for quasars.

Votd Well, two ds ago, but it’s still cool. A supercell in Wyoming. The sort of thing the ancients probably believed they could ward off if they reallypicked up the pace on the human sacrifices.

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