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.


Posted by: James Lileks under Praise Updated: February 27, 2015 - 12:01 PM

As a fan when the show ran in prime time, of course, I had to buy it. It had deep poetry! The other side of Spock.



And I had the album. Highly illogical!

He made it long enough to add that late-stage Spock twinkly gravitas to the reboot. Of course he will be missed; of course he will be long remembered. 

Speaking of movies:  If you’re a frequent visitor to imdb, you’re used to the logo.



And now it's different. I just noticed the change today, and since I hit the site a lot, I suspect this happened this morning.



I've no idea what this is supposed to mean. 

When people parked boats downtown

Posted by: James Lileks under Minnesota History Updated: February 26, 2015 - 12:14 PM

I was looking through a 1960 Life magazine the other day, and paused at an ad for outboard motors.

Scott motors were made by McCulloch, as the fine notes - based in LA, Toronto, and Minneapolis. Which explains the small picture:

Well, well. Everything in that picture is gone, except for Dayton's. On the left side of the picture:

The First Federal, knocked down along with the Woolworth's for the IDS center. I wonder if this was just an ad fantasy, or something that really happened on a summer Friday. It's quitting time! We're off to the lakes. 

Gerbil Plague

Posted by: James Lileks under Outstate, Praise Updated: February 25, 2015 - 12:32 PM

You hope they made it. Daily Mail:

A piece of graffiti featuring the names of three young sisters who may have fallen victim to the 1515 plague has been discovered on the wall of a medieval church.

The names of Cateryn, Jane and Amee Maddyngley were found scrawled near the front door of All Saint's and St Andrew's Church in Kingston, near Cambridge, by amateur archaeologists.

The writing, which features their names and date, shows they left their mark on the village church in 1515 – as the country was hit by an outbreak of the bubonic plague.

Now some researchers suspect gerbils spread the plague, not rats. Gerbils. Anyway, take a look at the article, and tell me that “witch mark” isn’t a dead ringer for the Mac’s Command key, aka the Clover, aka the Splat.

YOU THERE For the entirely of its existence this blog has been noting, with clenched teeth, the hectoring, bullying tone of bad internet headlines that insist YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Monday I came across a piece about “16 Things You Should Stop Buying and Make Yourself,” the first being ketchup. Twenty years ago such an article would be titled “Easy Home-made Replacements - Cheaper, and better!” and you’d want to read it. Now someone has to lean over and breathe in your face and tell you why you’re morally and intellectually inferior to the author. Here’s today’s example:

Really. Me? The description would seem to belie the headline, but perhaps the author just wanted to make everyone annoyed enough to click and complain in the comments. Well, here, in 12 succinct seconds, is my response.

ART Instant cultural literacy test, right here:

If you know what they are, you have basic cultural literacy. More here.


Posted by: James Lileks under Outstate Updated: February 24, 2015 - 12:37 PM

I hope the fine folks at Big Ticket will allow for a brief and piquant excerpt of Monday’s Judge Judy show (weekdays on Fox 9, 4:00 PM.) I defer to no one in my admiration for the Judge, whose ability to excoriate is unmatched, and often performs a great public service: dressing down in front of 10 million people whose towering and boundless sense of entitlement has not been challenged since they had their hand gently tapped away from a sharp object by a kindergarten teacher.

Here we have some gentlemen who did not adequately prepare for their day in court. You’ll soon see why’s relevant.

Yes, it’s been cold. No, it wouldn’t be worth that. It’s like getting yelled at by God who is also your mother.

While you're waiting for Twin Peaks, here's a clone

Posted by: James Lileks under Technology Updated: February 23, 2015 - 12:30 PM

Financial Times states something every parent has noticed: kids don't watch broadcast TV the way their parents did. (I'd link, but I cut the the pullquote it included a plea not to cut and paste the article. So I won't.) One of the reasons might the vast number of shows kids can watch, knowing they come to a satisfying end. Or at least an end. Who wants to get invested in something that might be snatched away in three weeks?

Example. Here’s a preview of a Fox show about a nice small town where everything is not as it seems. You can tell it’s evil because the sheriff is friendly and makes a banal remark about ice cream with a smile on his face. Yes: that evil.

How creepy is this town? Well, there’s a music box playing in the trailer, which is always a sign that Satan is around the corner. When did that start? It used to be the sound that made people regret the loss of childhood or look back with bittersweet nostalgia; now it’s the sound of imminent evil.

The town is called “Wayward Pines,” because the founders looked around and saw lots of pines that were out of place. “Off-Course Elms” was in the running for the town’s name as well.

Google around a bit, and voila:

In addition, Wayward Pines boasts a strong cast of character actors playing archetypes right up their alley, be it Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (Prisoners) as Nurse Pam, a caretaker whose bubbly exterior disguises her sinister intent – or Terrence Howard (The Butler) being all smiles as the untrustworthy lawman Sheriff Arnold Pope, whose habit of constantly snacking on ice cream drumsticks feels like a nod to the coffee/pie running bit on Twin Peaks.

Yeah. Or rather, no. Not because M. Night is behind it; not because the Small Town With Dark Secrets idea has been a TV cliche ever since Peyton Place. It’s because I don’t trust network TV to finish a show that has a Big Secret. Fox has ordered ten episodes, but if it doesn’t do well that’ll be it, and I doubt they shot the tenth to wrap it up. If if does do well, then we have ten more episodes in which the Big Secret won’t be revealed, and it’s all one long will-he-escape-or-won’t-he until it’s cancelled. If they’d announced it’s a ten-ep show and no more, I’d watch it.

Not to say that all shows that END do so with all the questions answered. I’m still ashamed at the amount of time I spent justifying the last episode of “The Prisoner”. As McGoohan later said:

When the last episode came out in England, it had one of the largest viewing audiences, they tell me, ever over there, because everyone wanted to know who Number 1 was, because they thought it would be a ‘James Bond’ type of Number 1. When they did finally see it, there was a near-riot, and I was going to be lynched. And I had to go into hiding in the mountains for two weeks, until things calmed down.

I still think “Lost” should have ended with everyone finding the Village.


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