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.
Wonder if anyone ever asks them if it’s full of eels.
AHOY Surely I’m not the only one who wants to see a movie set in its dystopian, fascistic society ten years after it set sail as a sovereign nation:
The plans for the Freedom Ship are certainly audacious. The one-mile-long and 25-story-high ship would circle the Earth every two years, spending roughly 70 percent of its time moored outside major cities and ports (it will be too big to go in most ports, so residents can fly to and from the shore from the Freedom Ship's onboard airport). On board the floating ship would have its own economy, with tens of thousands of people working in shops, bars, and other businesses, and everyone on board paying a maintenance fee to support infrastructure such as security services and fire fighters.
And if they don’t pay? Can the leaders just toss them over board? I’d think you’d want to read the EULA verrrry carefully before signing up. The article notes: The question of legality onboard is a little murky too, though the Freedom Ship will likely have to operate under the laws of the country whose flag they fly.”
Which means residents might have to get used to hearing the phrase “well, Liberian courts have declined to bring charges for that” a lot.
WEB CULTURE From the Daily Dot, everything that’s wrong with Reddit, right here:
I first heard about Reddit’s Century Club in September, after a mysterious persona called UpMan made Internet history.
In just 11 days, the redditor collected 100,000 points of comment karma—otherwise meaningless Internet points that give prolific Reddit users clout. Karma is Reddit’s virtual voting system. It rewards users for providing the community with content and commentary.
UpMan had a ton of it—and he got it faster than anyone, ever. (The previous record holder was someone called prostitute_strangler, who accomplished the feat in 22 days.)
Okay. I don’t care what marvelous things he’s saying, or how much lovely floral-scented karma wafts from his posts. I’m not up voting anyone named prostitute_strangler.
Mind you, the Century Club is not a physical location with cabanas on the beach. It’s just a BBS for the elite. Or was, until people with lots more than 100K points got tired of the hoi polloi:
. . . two even more exclusive subreddits have popped up since Century Club took off. One of them is called r/TripleCenturyClub. It’s even more exclusive. The name suggests 300,000 karma points will grant you a membership.
Somehow I don’t expect to see that accomplishment pop up in an obit in 20 years, but you never know.
SOMEONE’S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED And he’s still there! The Three Bears, of course, could have just clawed this guy into a bloody mess. Humans have only the courts.
A family in Springdale returned from an out-of-town visit to a dying relative to find someone else had moved into their home of 21 years. Their outrage has now turned into a court battle, pitting them against a man who says he has the court documents to prove the house is now his.
WLWT News 5's Karin Johnson began to investigate and uncovered a dozen cases, all linked to the same man.
Robert Carr went into the home on Springdale Lake Drive, changed the locks and emptied the house. The family said when they confronted Carr, he showed them a document he filed with the Hamilton County Court.
It's called a "quiet title" and lays claim to the property because Carr said the family abandoned the house and gave up all rights.
How does this happen? The family shows up with the sheriff, who listens to the guy in your house, and says “well, he has a point.” Are there family pictures on the wall? A name on the title? This is insane.
MOVIES Sigh. Deadline:
he report, The Survivial Of American Silent Films: 1912-1929, has found that 70% of feature-length silent films made in America have been completely lost. During the period the study covers, 10,919 silent feature films of U.S. origin were released and only 14% of those still exist in their original 35mm format. Of those, 5% are incomplete and 11% are only available in foreign versions or lower-quality formats. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the state of America’s silent film heritage an “alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record.”
The comments are depressing, too; about 50% weigh in with “big whoop.” Well, it does matter. There's something amiss when we have every episode of "Gilligan's Island" but we've lost the majority of silent films.
Off to drive around and see how people are coping with the snow. Poorly, I expect.
A handy reminder: people make things up on the internet. Tip-stiffed because the judgmental patrons disapproved of her “lifestyle”? Well, now we have the catchy and euphonious term “tip hoax probe.” That “Viral” essay about “poverty lessson?” Well, er, hmm. That “epic” twitter exchange between some guy and Pace Picante’s account? Fake. That equally “epic” series of tweets about a loud complaining lady on a Thanksgiving flight? Why, that was performance art. Here’s how the Telegraph put it:
Inadequate young men have a new hero and his name is Elan Gale. He's a TV producer. He has been regaling Twitter with the tale of his Great Victory over A Middle-Aged Woman, and a depressing number of his peers seem to be punching the air and making those "doof doof doof" noises you hear at wrestling matches. You can follow Elan’s triumphalist account of his odyssey in its full glory here, but the potted history is, basically, this: mildly inconvenienced by the presence of a talkative woman in his earshot, Elan threw a teenage girl's hissy fit.
The Huffington Post Canada has reached out to both U.S. Airways and Gale to clarify the matter. Neither have responded to an interview request at the time of publication.
Have Gale's recent admissions changed the way you felt during the fight? Let us know in the comments below.
Hard to believe that U.S. Airways hasn’t gotten back to Huffington Post Canada yet.
JUST SAY NO TO HOBO This would tax the senses of anyone who has a passing interest in good fonts. Alan writes:
I was sitting in traffic the other day and it occurred to me that you need to know that New Mexico issued license plates for government-owned vehicles use the Hobo font. It's surreal.
He’s right. Oy.
We have a ridiculous number of valid plates; there's even one with Mistral on it (a personal hate-font of mine.) I haven't seen one with Papyrus yet, but it seems inevitable.
Daughter came home from school the other day and said they’d studied Egypt. Guess what the font was in the book? Of course: Papyrus. Also overused by yoga-class fliers and anything relating to aromatherapy. Here’s Mistral:
It’s not a bad font; for the time, 1953, it was pretty cool - but it was overused in the 80s, which is why the 2011 movie “Drive” used it to get that “Miami Vice” vibe. As much as I hate Hobo, you have to respect its longevity: It goes back to 1910, when it was created by the great American fontographer Morris Benton. If you strip away all your preconceptions, try to forget the bad signs and newsletters, you can see it as it was originally intended: an art-nouveau-inspired font that wouldn’t look out of place on a Mucha ad from Paris. But it’s not only overused today, it’s not particularly Southwestern, so I don’t know what they’re thinking.
MYSTERY Dearcabbie.com's text says:
"I don't know you and you don't know me but we're sharing this time together as we go through life." As such, cab drivers gain a lot of experience learning answers to life's many questions. Call it mind reading, call it a physic ability, call it fortune telling, or call it just being helpful; guiding people on their way just seems to be a part of many cabbie's everyday life. So go ahead; ask the cabbie what you wish!
Why you’d ask a cabbie about your innermost doubts and questions, I can’t imagine. Especially if the cabbie can’t find 35W without TomTom.
The text comes from dearcabbie.com,a site that popped up in a google ad box. Someone paid for it. I can’t figure out why. Eventually the cab moves, and that’s rather cool, except for the unmoving mouth and eyeless face and the looping video and the sense that you’ve died and gone to hell.
Is that the case? I typed “Am I in hell? into the “ask the cabbie” field. No answer. Reloaded the page. The lips in the rearview mirror parted slightly. Tried one of the “most frequently asked questions.” Nothing. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Or, if you just want to experience what it’s like to be driven in circles by an enigmatic driver who refuses to answer your repeated demands to be released, give it a shot.
ART HISTORY I’m not saying it’s good, but it is historical: a collection of cassette tape inserts. (Via Coudal.) Things like these rarely get saved; no one pays them any mind. Same thing happened with 45 RPM sleeves. Everything needs someone who’s interested in preserving the commonplace and quotidian, if only to scan it and provide a record of what the ordinary items of everyday life looked like.
Like postcards, for example. Today’s Strib has a story on the Soo Line building’s rebirth as an apartment building. Someone was sent a postcard of the building almost 90 years ago; someone put it in a drawer; someone took it out decades later and it ended up in my hands. This is what they removed from the second floor when the building was renovated in the 60s.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve, which isn’t a real holiday. Yet. Give them a few years and it’ll be a special shopping day, with stores opening at 12:01 AM.
WEB 2.0 I love stories about spectacular web flameouts. Not because it’s fun to read about people who dared and tried and made something new, only to fail, thereby justifying the sad, timid lives of those who never aspire to anything. No, it’s because there’s hubris and delusion and BS like a triple-twist soft-serve cone. I mean, c’mon:
When Goldberg acquired the startup WorkZoo, he pivoted Jobster into a search engine. A few months later, when he acquired GoJobby, he decided his company would also be a social network.
It’s a story about a guy whose current project is going the way of his previous project. s Fastcompany says:
It began as a gay social network, Fabulis, then added on daily deals, then got a total makeover to offer flash sales focused on design. The name was shortened to Fab. In that incarnation it found huge success, but by December of 2012 Goldberg announced Fab would move away from flash sales entirely and move towards full-priced e-commerce. A few months later he shifted again, announcing Fab’s own branded merchandise and going so far as to acquire a custom-furniture manufacturer.
Here’s something you can get on Fab today.
Yes, I can see why they have $100 mil in the bank.
GO HOME, COOP This article collects some tweets by David Lynch and pronounces him drunk.
Ha! Except those tweets don’t show up in his twitter feed. Most of his tweets are quite normal.
Dear Twitter friends, to celebrate the launch of David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee in Whole Foods, I'll be at the @WFMWeHo Sat @ 2pm for 1hr.— David Lynch (@DAVID_LYNCH) August 19, 2013
It would be odd to be shopping and see David Lynch standing in the coffee aisle. Odd, but not unwelcome.
PASS If you’re on the lookout for headlines that sum up things you weren’t looking for, here are two possibilities:
I’ve been waiting for news I’ll never have to hear “Little Drummer Boy” again. I’d rather hear Bolero at half-speed.
ART The YouTube page says it best:
What's more important when it comes to art, the name of artist or the art itself? We didn't have the answer so we used Kazimir Malevich's work to find out.
The Russian Avant-Garde artist, whose paintings are worth a fortune, initially got rejected by the art academy, twice. We wanted to give him another chance, so we filled a portfolio with his million dollar pieces, attached a hidden camera and set up interviews at several art academies. This is what happened.
I think it says more about the actual quality of Malevich’s work, divorced from historical context, than it does about the stubborn judges at the school. (Via Daily Dot.)
VIDEO In case you were transfixed by the Exploding Whale Guts GIF, here’s the source, in HD. That’s right! A shower of cetacean intestines in HD.
I’m not embedding because it’s lunch time.
My weather app says it's 22, but it feels like Nine. Unless you're naked, in which case it's considerably colder. How do they calculate wind chill, anyway? Do they presume a certain amount of exposed skin - face, hands - and go from there? No one who's outside right now and starkers would think "oh, nine sounds about right." There's just three settings, really. Coat and no hat, coat hat gloves, and ABSOLUTE ZERO.
MYSTERIES "He was also instrumental in catching Captain Midnight and the Playboy TV hacker, experiences he remembers with equal doses of relish and disgust." This account of the history of TV intrusions brings back the tale of the Max Headroom Takeover, which remains unsolved. Never mind the the technical obstacles to hijacking a broadcast signal - it's the fact that the interlopers built a set, figured out how to hide their identity in a perfectly zetgeisty way, then didn't bother to come up with a script.
It's still creepy.
Max Headroom was a quintessential high-80s cultural product, a pre-internet look at the computerized dystopia towards which we might be heading. People thought at the time he was computer generated. No: lots of latex. He made an appearance in a music video called "Paranomia" by the Art of Noise, which was remarkable for using all the interesting developments in musical technology and video and coming up with something rather empty. (Godley and Creme's video for Herbie Hancock's "Rock It" was a similar experiment. You see something new being born, and it's just . . . not . . . right.)
MOVIES There's a Kojak sequel in the works. Who's up for the role? Well, Hollywood isn't exactly overabundantly endowed with bald tough-guys at the moment, so naturally it's this guy. Could be good; Ang Lee is set to direct, supposedly, so it could be a "reimagining" of the character that "reboots" the character into today's gritty New York, etc etc. Better to set it in the 70s, complete with bad cars and burned-out neighborhoods and sweaty desperate junkies. A reminder for those who think the 70s was happy shiny disco time where everyone had fun and wore bell-bottoms.
I met Telly Savalas once, in Los Angeles. Poolside at the Sheraton Universal, where he had a suite. (The hotel's bar was called "Telly's," and had a caricature of him over the door. Guests who dropped in for a beer were often surprised to find the Man Himself sitting around, relaxing.) I was working on a laptop, which was not a common sight in 1994. He waved me over and said he wanted to take a look at that thing. I ran him through the paces, showed him what it could do - not much, in retrospect, although it could "log on" to a BBS and "interface" with "modemers." Elementary programming in Hypercard. He seemed interested and thanked me and that was that. Nice guy. Gave off an air of substantial contentment, which is a good thing to have. More on his bar - which wasn't his at all, it seems - right here in this LAT piece.
ART If the word "Stunning" wasn't used on the internet to describe anything that's not "awesome," I'd say these are stunning, but that's not quite right. You will not lose your sense or spatial orientation as though you had been struck with a claw hammer. How's this: You may be impressed by these photos inspired by Hopper paintings.
I read somewhere - the standard phrase one uses to mean "won't Google, for fear I will be proven wrong, negating my entire position" - that the unsettling quality of a Hopper painting was due in part to perspective lines that never made sense. Of course it's the scenes themselves, silent moments of tenebrous unease and melancholy, but also the lines. Here's one of the Hopper-inspired photos:
For what it's worth. Anyway, it's a great series - one is NSFW, but it's art! so it might pass scrutiny. Not sure whether Hopper put giant cats in his work, though. If he did, it explains why he quit the city and just did seaside landscapes.
DCVotD Or, Video of the Day. If you have a big monitor, put this on full screen and get about 16 inches from the screen. Yikes.
There were two choices. He chose wisely.
Amongst the plethora of JFK material on the web today, you might find this intriguing: a motion-stabilized version of the Zapruder film. Daily Dot says:
The GIF was posted on Reddit more than two weeks ago and, like the original Zapruder film itself, is raising questions as to what really happened that day.
Not really. “Raising Questions” n this instance means “people who haven’t studied a thing about the murder are pointing out details that have been settled long ago.” Rob Reiner, who recently insisted on the Bill Maher show that the motorcade slowed down, perhaps on orders from the Illuminati, will say the GIF is faked.
OUCH From the Daily Mail - a newspaper in Jolly Olde - this headline: “A balanced news report: TV journalist faceplants during live broadcast from ice rink.” Subhead:
M.A. Rosko was broadcasting live from the Minnesota rink when she fell
Went face-first onto the ice and later tweeted she had swelling to her lip
A Minneapolis reporter goes down, and it’s news in England? Only because there’s video.
DESIGN Your favorite books, if they were not books at all, but a brand of tea. I was just wondering what they’d look like.
DASH-CAM DU JOUR Space rock illuminates the Ukrainian sky. No earth-shattering kaboom this time, though.
Because everyone has cameras in their car, we have the meteorite from another angle:
Off to finish a column; see you around.
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