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.
YouTube’s new map shows the most popular videos at the moment in particular locales around the nation. According to their unerring computational analysis, Twin Citians have been riveted by the tense and ominous colloquy of two lynxes.
We thank the fellow for uploading that, and beg him to TURN HIS CAMERA SIDEWAYS next time.
The map for the entire country is here. If you’re busy at the moment, I’ll save you some work: most of the country is watching the True Blood season 6 trailer. Play around the age settings a little; makes for an interesting lesson in tastes and interests. Warning: the 65+ section is nothing but Wilford Brimley cussing videos.
PIZZA The video goes on about 38 seconds longer than it should, but it does make you want to search the internet for “Zeus Gorham Munkist.” Good luck.
What’s he selling? An app that locates pizza. “Our pizza-to-mouth indicator shows the exact travel distance required to enjoy a fresh slice, and our steam technology lets you know when you’ve arrived.” If you have to look at the app to see if you’re really in a pizzaria, you might want to train yourself to look up more often.
TV NOOO. No. Deadline says:
With little fanfare, Saturday’s hourlong season finale of Cops actually marked the venerable docu-reality series’ last original airing on Fox.
Twenty-five years on the air. Over 850 episodes. It was cheap to make and still brought in three million viewers, so someone in the boardroom must have realized that the show will never answer the question of what bad boys are going to do when the Sheriff John Brown comes for them. Besides run away, that is, then apologize profusely when tackled and tased, explaining they were Scared, and had Warrants.
Yes, it does tend to repeat itself. No, there really hasn’t been anything to top the naked guy in the barbershop hosing everyone with a fire extinguishers. But it’s still like nothing else. Sigh.
But! When Fox’s lack of interest became obvious . . .
the producer, Langley Prods., started looking for a new home. They’ve found it at Spike TV, where Season 26 of Cops will debut in September, airing in its long-time Saturday 8 PM time slot.
And the guys from “Inner Circle” breathed a sigh of relief. At least one more year of royalty checks.
ART Test of your architectural knowledge: identify this painting’s location.
You say: oh, come on. Marina City. Give me a tough one. All right:
I got that right away, which is why I'm mention it. If I didn't know I would have shut up about it. Tt’s from this collection of building portraits. Answer at the end of the post.
TECH Here’s a piece on the best way to make a great Vine. Number five is pretty good:
My daughter was showing me a Vine someone made of a pet baby squirrel. It had five sequences in six seconds. There’s nothing wrong with letting a sequence go for two or three seconds, as much as that might fly in the face of everything we’ve learned from Michael Bay. I uploaded a 6 second Vine that was one sequence with no cuts. Which, in terms of today’s length of attention, is like the opening of “Touch of Evil.”
Business Insider notes:
Cute animals always make great vines. Be sure to use the #cute hashtag so more people can find it.
It would be terrible if they couldn’t.
MEME-READY Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue the kidnapped women, speaks to ABC. It’s an interesting change in style from his 911 call, which was, shall we say, rated NC-17 for language.
THE ANSWER Okay, here's the second building in the painting.
I recognized it right away, because it’s a memorable building, mostly because it looks like it has a skin condition. Those pleats in the aluminum panels aren't decorative - heaven forbid anyone would put a decoration on a skyscraper in 1956. They’re supposed to use the power of Wind to keep the building clean.
It was originally known as Socony Mobil Building, back when the company felt it was important to have a big tower in New York. (They left for Virginia in 1987.)
FINALLY: A Chicago Tribune photographer comes to Minneapolis and shoots the Nicollet Mall, in grim black and white. We look drab and achingly lonely and deserted. Also, a guy with a mullet. I wondered why he couldn’t do color - it’s not like he’s opposed to it - but then I thought, no, downtown is not particularly vibrant in late April.
Today's a different story. Sunshine! No snow! Occasional hopeful shoots of green! Grand day out there; hope you get out to enjoy it.
There’s no end. There’s nothing we can do. I’ve never experienced a winter this long. It just doesn’t stop. It doesn’t give up. It snows. That’s what it does. That’s all it does. It will not give up until you are dead. No, that’s the Terminator. Too bad; eventually you can get rid of a Terminator with a drill press. This . . .I don’t know. I just don’t.
So. Anyway. Whatever.
Sigh. That didn't help, did it. We think we're going to be playing games out doors by now. Although I suppose this qualifies as "playing games outdoors," too:
Anyway. Maybe this mesmerizing sight will help: “the most detailed picture of the Internet ever.” The means by which the image was generated were not particularly legal:
he used some stupid simple hacking techniques to build a 420,000-node botnet that helped him draw the most detailed map of the Internet known to man. Not only does it show where people are logging in, it also shows changes in traffic patterns over time with an impressive amount of precision. This is all possible, of course, because the researcher hacked into nearly half a million computers so that he could ping each one, charting the resulting paths in order to make such a complex and detailed map.
The high-resolution version is here, and you can stare at it for hours. There’s one dot in the middle of Greenland that makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Let’s take a look on the Google satellie view.
Yet there’s someone there.
CANDY They changed the recipe on Snaps. I can tell, because I have a handful at the end of the night. Maybe ten. If they’re fresh, they’re delicious; if not, they’re like eating ceramic, but you just make sure you get them fresh. When I was a kid they came in boxes that made razzing sounds if you blew through one end, a parental-torture device that was lost for good when they switched to bags. While eating a handful a few days ago, I thought “These are not only soft, but inordinately so.” The next night I realized that the softness was almost unpleasant, and the taste was different. I checked the package. It used to look like this:
You will note that it is Original and Classic. This implies that nothing has changed, right? Well, now it says it’s “Chewier.” So it’s not original and it’s not classic. It’s inedible. What happened?
Additional research indicated that the shortage of the product has fall had an explanation. From the company website:
On 8/22, we were notified by the California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) that they had detected trace amounts of lead in one batch of our black licorice (16 oz. Bags of Black Licorice Twists with “Best Before Date 020413” printed on the label) that exceeded the amount of lead that they deem safe for candy products.
I’m one of those madcap dreamers who thinks that the standard should be “NO LEAD WHATSOEVER,” but you can’t have everything. Including your familiar Snaps.
YOU THERE Today’s lazy headlines that use the word YOU because it was a hip internet thing to do in 2011 but is really starting to annoy me. First, WaPo:
12 countries where the government regulates what you can name your child
Except that I don’t live in any of them, so the article is irrelevant. Suggested revision: 12 countries where the government controls baby names. By the way, I love this:
The reasons for the laws vary dramatically by country, rather like names themselves. Many hands-on Scandinavian democracies, such as Sweden and Norway, regulate names out of concern for the child’s reputation and well-being.
Hands-on democracies! That’s lovely.
Next, from habitual offender, Wired: “In Two Weeks, Your iPad Can Be Used on Military Networks.” Really? My iPad? The one sitting right here on my desk? Let’s read the story:
By the middle of the month, iPhones and iPads will likely pass a Pentagon security review that will result in their use, for the first time, on military networks.
Oh. So it’s someone else' iPad, not mine. That's a relief because I wondered if it had been drafted.
From BuzzFeed: “You Will Never Look At The CBS Logo The Same Away Again.” Yes you will. No link. Trust me. One can go right on looking at the logo the same way for the rest of your life. Then again, that might not be too long:
From io9: “The so-called ‘Health Foods’ that are Probably Killing You.”
Orange juice is one of them. Ask any medical examiner, and he'll tell you he's always putting "Advanced acute Tropacanitis" on the death certificate.
WHAT? This article made me wonder if I’d really missed something in my study of American culture between the Gilded Age and the post-war era:
The myth of a flat earth which became widespread during the first half of the 20th century shares a common bond with recent reports that the upcoming iOS 7 interface design driven by Apple's SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive — is said to be “very, very flat”.
If those reports are accurate, the latest streamlined iOS 7 will lose all signs of gloss, shine, and skeuomorphic design elements like faux leather-stitching
Etc. Etc. Myth of a flat earth in the 20th century? The only flat-earth myth a hundred years ago was the belief that the medieval thinkers thought the world was flat. But even if was believed in a widespread fashion, how does it share a common bond with reports about the interface overhaul?
It’s like anyone can say anything on the internet these days.
Okay, that's enough. I'm going to stare out the window and will the snow to stop, just to enhance the feeling of utter futility one has on days like this.
UPDATE: hey, it stopped! So that was all it took? Apologies to everyone.
Congress is talking about a five-cent plastic grocery bag tax. It’s intended to reduce the use of plastic bags. As the article notes, the bill also taxes paper bags, just as long as they're in there fixing things.
If it doesn’t happen now, it’ll happen eventually. The Washington Post quotes a bag-tax advocate:
“This is coming, one way or another,” said Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), chairman of the powerful House Economic Matters Committee, where a watered-down version of the bill died after passing in the environmental committee. “The whole idea of free bags is going by the wayside. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”
1. There ain’t no such thing as a free bag. The cost is built into the products you buy.
2. Once I’d like to see a committee described as “Weak and Generally Ineffectual.” It’s always the powerful House Ways and Means Committee or the Powerful House Committee on Appropriations. You never hear about a bill dying in a “laughably impotent House committee.
YOU THERE A few days ago I mentioned how you should be irritated that you are being referred to as “you” in presumptuous headlines that are supposed to make YOU read the stories. Because it’s all about YOU. Today’s example of headline presumption is from Mother Jones: “Why Your Supermarket Only Sells Five Kinds of Apples.”
It's intended to make me think “it does? My supermarket? Let me read this story and find out how to change this deplorable situation.” But my supermarket sells more than five kinds. So the story is wrong. Nevermind.
From the Atlantic Wire: Amazon Is Building a Streaming TV Box You Don't Need. Okay, then.
Let’s wander over to Buzzfeed and see if there’s something YOU don’t know or YOU haven’t seen. Ah: “Apple's New iPhone Ad Reminds You You're Helplessly Addicted To Taking Photos." Double you! Bonus score. There are also “Nine other tweets from the celebrity twitterverse that you missed today!” Maybe I didn’t. How do they know?
LOCAL OLD STUFF Some old city directories have been put online, and I’ve been going through picking out ads. Some are in beautiful shape:
Nowadays people might not want to take their delicate unmentionables to the GROSS BROTHERS, but the meanings of words do tend to drift.
Take a look at this: can you name the building?
Probably not. It’s undistinguished. But doesn’t it look like a house? Or, perhaps, a clubhouse?
It was once, I believe, the home of Mr. Rand, the local gas magnate.
An old hardware supply company:
Neighborhood’s changed a bit.
Yes, that was a fair trade.
Finally, an ad for a safe so good that robbers gave up upon learning its maker’s name:
That’s it. Friday! A few hours from now, we’ll all put. Have a good weekend.
Possibly. Mediaite says:
They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, which is probably fine by one local broadcaster. In what may have been the shortest news-anchoring gig ever, A.J. Clemente began his career with Bismarck, North Dakota NBC affiliate KFYR with the tired old news cliché
(profanity removed, because this is a family newspaper, and you really need to hear it in context.)
It’s here. He has been suspended pending an investigation into how stupid can one guy be. Is this brilliant debut - which goes from muttered words One Does Not Say On the Set Ever to a leaden read on top stories - this indicative of NoDak newsreader quality? Can’t speak for KFYR’s history, but when I was growing up in Fargo the newsreaders seemed much older. They didn’t look like callow sprouts. Of course, I was ten, but still.
UPDATE: Drudge has linked. This is the worst day in this young man’s life.
Also in Television News: these lyrics may be completely obscene, but I can’t tell. Can you guess which American show is being, er, reimagined for Georgian TV?
Answer at the end of the post.
MAD MEN Not a full-out comedy episode, but close. For all the obsessives who absolutely have to know every detail, the LIFE magazine on the table in Pete Campbell’s pied-a-tierre was from May 19th, 1967, and had astronaut Wally Schirra on the cover.
As for the advertising-related plot: I thought both Don and Peggy’s ketchup ads were good, which is the oddest thing I will write all day. Because, c’mon: they’re ketchup ads. But you saw two schools of thought at work, and each had their merits - Don’s campaign made you think about something but not showing it, and Peggy went for blunt brand awareness. What did Heinz actually run? Something worse.
APPS Last I raved about the new Yahoo! weather app, and said it changed pictures of your location every day. I was misinformed. Subsequent use indicates that it rotates between three (3) pictures. Still pretty, though. Nothing for Fargo, which either doesn’t have enough pictures in Flickr with a Fargo tag, or Yahoo hates Fargo.
While we’re on the subject of Apps: the other day at Cub I forgot my Cub Rewards Card, which meant I could not be Rewarded. (At Cub.) The self-check machine asks if I’d like to scan my card; I push the “forgot the card because it’s in another coat and it’s not the sort of thing I’d carry around in my wallet, because I like a thin wallet. You understand” option on the screen. Whereupon it asks me to enter my Cub Rewards Number.
Sure, that’s something I committed to memory. Could I link the number to my phone number? No. But not to worry. I have the Cub Rewards App. The number’s in there. I open it up and the number’s not in there. All the information is blank for some reason. Not to worry: I can get the number by signing into my account, because of course I have a login and a password for the bleepin’ grocery store. Doesn’t everyone? But since I can’t remember my password I use the RETRIEVE function, which will send my password to my email box, but it times out twice and says it cannot retrieve any information. You want to weep because you're just trying to buy a loaf of bread but you've forgotten your password.
No, there wasn’t anyone in line behind me.
ANSWER I think you can get an idea what show the Georgians used as inspiration for this . . . this thing.
(via LaughingSquid, which has more on its creators.)
The bird talks and lives with them, by the way. He also apparently incapable of looking up.
The full clip is 19 minutes, but during two attempts to watch it, the clip has decided it’s shorter, and stopped. I must have enabled “Mercy” in my settings; have to change that. YouTube’s no fun if it decides to stop showing something for your own good. This morning, for example, I found myself watching a monthly compendium of UFO sightings, one of which included a UFO shooting a Spanish wind turbine with a Laser. It’s proven with filters!
As someone notes in the comments:
Pretty naive from you. Or maybe you intend if you are one of them or if you are little puppets which work for US governement NCA CIA or other Reptilian services on this planet
Put deeper your hand in sand and your mind in darkness of ignorance. Afer your short Life you will finish like a food for Astral or Etheric parasites on other levels on this planet.
This is why we need the internet: so people who actually have sufficient time on their hands to debunk the videos in the comments section can enter into a flamewar with someone who believes in the Reptilian Conspiracy. If there wasn’t an internet they would wander the streets picking fights with birds.
Do you feel fatigued? It could be the weather, and the suspicion that spring is still a few days, or weeks, or months away. Perhaps it’s the lack of sun. Perhaps you’re just not getting enough . . . milk.
We knew it was good with cereal, but also a cure for industrial fatigue? Impressive. I found that on a page of tiny ads in an old newspaper. There were so many. The bread and butter of the industry, really. And they sold bread and butter, too. This one caught my eye:
ICE! Not just when you want it but asyou want it, which sounds like the sequel to a Shakespeare play. Also, note it’s an Ice AND Fuel company, so if your drink has a slight gasoline tinge, you’ll know why.
The ad was below a news story that just happened to be about . . . the Cedar Lake Ice company.
This is not described as an “Ad” or “sponsored” content. It’s a news story. There’s a photo of the fleet:
The story goes on to extoll the virtues of the basically correct ice company. You wonder how much the company paid for it
Those were the days!
MYSTERIES Here’s a line that might make you read a piece about the world’s most untranslatable manuscript: "One of the women looks vaguely annoyed, her hands inserted into two pipes, a small beard sprouting from her chin." More here.
It’s odd I should run across that this morning; daughter brought it up over the dinner table, because she’d been watching a YouTube “Top Ten” video. There are a million of them. Top Ten Unexplained Mysteries, Top Ten Strangest Objects in Space, Top Ten Spurious Assertions Tarted Up With Attractive Graphics, Top Ten Credulous Internet Top-Ten-List Viewers, that sort of thing. Every time she tells about one we go through the assertions to see if they’re factual, or just more internet nonsense. The general lesson: don’t believe something just because it’s in a list and has a dramatic soundtrack.
TECH New commenting system! This CRAPCHA should cut down on all the spambots who want to tell everyone they made lots of money working from home.
I suggest that every site on the internet use this for a while. You can get yours here.
As long as we’re on peeves - and for me, those include spambot comments and CAPCHAs - let me speak on behalf of everyone who accidentally mouses over something underlined twice, and an ad pops up: stop it. No one quits what they’re reading and goes to search for timepieces because they accidentally clicked on the word “watch.” If mousing over the word triggers a short video with audio, please realize you are ruining the internet and people will shun you at parties if you tell them what you do for a living. Thank you.
MAD MEN Is Jon Hamm still doing the radio ads for Benz? He sounds hoarse and uncertain. I still can’t figure out why they hired him to do the ads and requested that he not sound like Don Draper, but they’re the experts. Speaking of Mad Men: here’s something no one else who studies every word, gesture, color, background TV announcer script, or piece of glassware has pointed out yet. I should note that I liked the episode, which is usually a sign that the people who obsess over it were disappointed. It works that way, somehow. Nevertheless:
Don’s expression after he had engaged in some marvelous subterfuge intended to sink the wishes of a disappointing, dull-minded client. In the background, a reminder of one his most favorite pitches.
Of course that's intentional. They've moved since the Carousel pitch. It was put there for us to see.