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.
The prospect of hitting 97 today seems low, doesn’t it? When the sun comes out the temps bloom, but the haze seems to be working to keep things from feeling like a Venusian sauna. Well, let’s chill out with some cool links! KIDDING. That cliche was brought to you by a website in 1998. By the way, why do we chill out, but cool down? Can one not chill down and cool out? Stands to reason, but people would think you had cliche dyslexia.
Okay, I’ll shut up. Here we go:
CRUNCH The headline for this one said “What does a biker look like flying over my car?” A good question, but there’s also the question of what sound proceeds the sight. Dash-cam videos provide an opportunity to judge the actions of random strangers, and in this case the motorcyclist seems to be at fault. His brisk trot back to the ruins of his steed are the perfect punctuation to his post-flight fame.
Actually, no, it’s the wipers.
HISTORY Here’s a look at some early Target stores. It’s the 50th anniversary next month. One of the first:
I remember the store in Moorhead - sorry, Moorehead. It had the logo embedded in the floor. No one really knew what Target was supposed to be, and there was so much competition: K-Mart ruled, and there was also Zayre’s for when you wanted to feel depressed about your life. More here.
ART A Van Gogh painting previously thought fake turns out to be real. (Shown at right; actually size. It was his "miniaturist" period.) The article notes that it was from the estate of Nikolai Christian Mustad. Who? Well, his father was Hans Mustad, who built up a large industrial concern. Says wikipedia:
The company eventually became the world's largest producer of fish hooks.
Which led to a fortune that probably still clatters through the commerce of Norway daily.
HOAX DU JOUR Kanye West insulted croissants on his latest album, and French bakers sent a letter of protest. It was hilarious! Today - the NBC morning show - said this:
In the letter, the bakers stress that a croissant can’t be rushed, as it is akin to a work￼ of art. They also say they would let the slight pass, but they take his lyrics seriously.
“From the other lines in the song, we have come to understand that you may in fact be a 'God.' Yet if this were the case — and we, of course￼, take you at your word — we wonder why you do not more frequently employ your omnipotence to change time and space to better suit your own personal whims,” the letter reads.
Yes. This is for real.
No. This is for fake. Politico:
There is no Association of French Bakers. There are no English-language mentions of the trade association prior to this month. The address of the association in Paris does not exist. The letter was, in fact, first posted as a parody by writer W. David Marx on the website Medium earlier this month. It was picked up as fact by legitimate news outlets like Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Fox News, Time, USA Today, The Root, Grist and many, many others. Only Time and the THR have corrections up as of right now.
I’ll be checking all the other sites to see if they correct. Just kidding! Refreshing “Grist” every hour to see if they’ve clarified the Kanye / Baguette issue is low on the list for afternoon duties.
YOU THERE Today’s bossy YOU headlines popped up 12 seconds after I went online. Digg is to blame.
500 Retweets Could Land You In Jail In China Not me. I am not subject to Chinese law. On the other hand, one link could put someone in prison in the United States. On a related note: bravery in Russia.
Anyway: Everytime you shampoo you’re hurting the environment That’s from Mother Jones. So aliens will visit the planet in 100 years, find a lifeless husk, and think “the fools! They shampooed themselves out a habitat!” The actual details, which are interesting, are here. Big Shampoo says it’s going to phase out the problematic ingredients, but not until they find something that works just as well.
If you're suspecting a replay of the ruination of dishwashing detergent, you're not alone.
Pageant of Progress! The Fair put out this mod guide in '68, a souvenir you could take home, put away, forget, and sell to an antique store four decades later. The cover:
The Grandstand acts for 1968: perhaps the Fifth Dimension had to cancel when they all came down with pnuemonia.
Before they turned the quadrant into Heritage Square, it was Young America, filled by . . .
The bands appearing in '68:
Wow, those guys? While the kids enjoyed themselves looking at Nehru jackets, the folks could meet a bank president:
Federal indictments were still decades away.
The all-you-can-drink milk booth in '68:
And some art: this was the style of 1968, not the "psychedelic" graphics most commonly associated with the era.
The kid seems to have something of an edge. I'm going to eat the heck out of this cone and you can't stop me so there.
Also from the archives: I found some old slides of the Strib booth. The originals are rather . . . crimson.
Well, we can repair that, can't we? Yes we can:
You'll note the Dayton sign:
Yes, there was a Dayton's at the Fair, under the ramp. Another shot from a tiny, tiny picture I found in the paper's archives. Unlike the movies, saying "enhance" at the computer doesn't work. Best I can do:
The booth had a nice service: you could leave a message with anyone to get later.
Finally, a bygone shot of a bandstand.
All that empty space! It would have 42 food booths today.
The Freak Show is one of the Midway’s oldest traditions: hoochie-coochie allure and horrible deformities, just on the other side of the canvas wall. The barker stands out front and describes the marvels inside; a fire-eater swallows a bolus of flame and promises more exotic delights. You pay your admission and crowd inside, where the disappointment is swift and complete. I went inside a few years ago, and it was just pathetic. But it’s keeping a tradition alive, and there’s something to be said for that.
The best part is the pictures outside.
Losing one's head doesn't prevent the desire to look good in a little black dress and heels. The technician's look is priceless: dismayed that she can still carry it off.
The executioner is almost apologetic:
Yes, she exists. Of course. If there was such a creature you know she'd be working sideshows for a 50 cent admission fee:
Severed floating arm with prominent bone: of COURSE he's alive, and OF COURSE that's exactly what you're going to see inside:
"Hall" may be the artist's name. Whoever he or she was, the work is a marvelous update of the old signs, a few of which can be seen in Heritage Square.
Dead divas walking on glass wouldn't be much of a draw:
A true tradition:
There's an old Voltara chair in the train car museum in Heritage Square. What constitutes a lethal dose of electricity? A 60-watt bulb.
Machinery Hill is flat. But there’s Machinery. Every year there’s a selection of old tractors, restored to showroom condition - bright green John Deeres, an ancient Rumely Oil Pull, a couple of engines that look like steampunk R2D2s. I swear, I looked at this International Harvester logo for years before I got it:
It’s a man on a tractor.
A beautiful cream-colored Ford tractor:
Massey . . . Harris? It was Massey-Ferguson when I was a kid hanging around grandpa’s farm.
Wikipedia says it was founded by Daniel Massey in 1847, and merged with Harris in 1891. They changed their name to Massey-Ferguson in 1958:
The company shortened the name to Massey Ferguson in 1958, and tried to consolidate the two dealer networks and product lines. Its television and radio advertising featured an upbeat jingle, with a male chorus singing, "He's a get-up-early, keep-'em-rollin', Massey-Ferguson kind of a man."
Well, we have a jingle in Finnish:
The English part starts about 2:45.
This is perfect: men in suits driving tractors.
Anyway, here’s the music of the tractors. You’ll have to go to the Fair to experience the other part: the perfume of the motors.
Things learned so far at the Fair today:
The Fresh French Fry booth (by MPR, not the Midway) has Fresh French Fry Fairies who preside over a spinning wheel that dispenses prizes. When not spinning, they dance to “Ice Ice Baby.”
The Spin-A-Painting guy has a new booth; more on that to come. He seems proud of it, as he should be. I’d lament the loss of a piece of the bygone Fair; the old spin-art booth seemed right out of 1967, but the new one keeps the homey spirt. Doesn’t look like some fancy expensive place with a backlit plastic sign.
There are no moist towelettes at the Strib booth, alas. It’s one of those days where you get sticky quickly; towelettes would be nice. Someone would do grand business opening up a misting station. Even more business if it misted beer.
Had a brat for lunch, because I had to compare it to the taste of the Brat Balm., $5.50. For a brat. I paid $3.99 for five at the store the other day. New motto: Fair Quality, Airport Prices!
More later; we’re just getting started.
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