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.

Posts about Weather

Here come the Tundra Roaches

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: December 9, 2013 - 12:31 PM

It’s supposed to be 3 today, and it’s 3. Thank heavens it’s not 2. Can’t take 2 after the last few days. Hey, at least the cold means we don’t have a bug problem.

Yet. From Atlantic Cities:

Cold temperatures are supposed to provide us a reprieve from cockroaches. As explained in this cockroach FAQ from the biology department at UMass Amherst, the insects can die of cold shock and so often spend the winter hibernating.


The squeamish are advised not to click here or pictures of the giant cold-resistent cockroaches. Because you will be squeamed.

ICY ROADS Many spin-outs today, the news says. Should you get stuck, remember the lessons of this dash cam video from - where else? - Russia.

NEWS FROM HELL One of the gangsters who runs North Korea was purged by evil little Boy Gangster. The stories all quote the North Korean news agency, so I went there for the straight story, such as it was. All Korean. I ran it through Google translate, and was rather surprised:

 Automata nuper jipgwonja CONTRASCRIBA attornatus Generalis , Secretarius Salus et humani cultus qui constitutus est sapor , minor ad maiorem . Dictator maybe superba rudes , non tamen est a re publica thug

So the Korean news agency is just pumping out lorem ipsur? No; I had it set on Latin by mistake. Still, I like the phrase “Dictator maybe superb rudes.” Usually the case. So let’s reset to English:

 Puppets were recently jipgwonja Comptroller , the Attorney General , the Secretary of Health and Human Services who was appointed to enforce insipid . Dictator maybe arrogant rude behavior is not a thug politics.

I give up. Let’s go to the BBC to see what the guy was accused of going:

"Chang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scenes.”

It’s a window into the Nork political culture: you can be purged for improper dreaming. Even Winston Smith didn’t have to worry about that. He was also . . .

denounced for leading what it called "a dissolute and depraved life”. "Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party," the KCNA report said.

It added that he had "improper relations" with several women and "was wined and dined at back parlours of deluxe restaurants”.

That last one seems like piling on. Well, you may think the guy’s dead, and that’s possible, but he’s been purged before. Reuters notes:

Jang is married to Kim's aunt, the daughter of the North's founding leader Kim Il Sung, and was widely considered to be working to ensure his nephew firmly established his grip on power in the past two years.

Thanks for the help, unc.

CLICKBAIT There’s a science to these headlines, supposedly. The promise of a treat, a mystery soon resolved, a piece of knowledge you can pass along and share. Atlantic explains here how it works. But I’m getting to the point where anything like this . . .

. . . makes me say No. Because it’s cheap Upworthy-style manipulation. On the other hand, I did click on this:

. . . because I expected to read the crowd was doused with thick oil. No, just the usual soccer riot.

TIME-WASTER An ingenious animated banner for a website. Roll over and see what happens. Don’t forget the blue and red buttons. (Via Cartoon Brew.)

VIDEO Thanks to the internet, you are now aware of the aggressive nature of a cat in Azerbaijan.

Hollywood Copes with Ash

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: April 19, 2010 - 9:27 AM

It may have disrupted economies and livelihoods, and caused familes to be apart for days; it may have stranded people miles from home, and made them miss events that could never be repeated. In short, that was a very naughty thing the volcano did. But wait, it’s worse:

LOS ANGELES – A volcanic cloud of ash hovering over Europe is causing quite a scene in Hollywood and beyond.

That’s right, celebrities are affected.

Whitney Houston was forced to ditch a plane for a ferry across the Irish Sea to perform in Dublin.

Since "Ditch means land in water," I hope everyone's okay. At least Whitney's putting that pilot's license to good use.

There are glimmers of hope:

Worldwide press junkets for two of the summer season's most anticipated films — "Iron Man 2," starring Robert Downey Jr., and "Robin Hood," starring Russell Crowe — also were still scheduled as planned next weekend in London, according to studio official

Best story of the lot: John Cleese needed to get home from a Norwegian talk show appearance, so he took a cab. Nine-hundred and thirty-two miles. The ride cost $5,100. There will be those who say "John, you comic genius! What a brilliantly madcap thing to do!" No, he's just rich, and didn't want to sit around.   Said his only tweet during the time:

Thanks to Garry @gazzalon for getting me home.…

That would appear to be Mr. Cleese’s personal assistant. The things you learn. UPDATE: Gary Numan, who had a minor hit song about cars 137 years ago, will be unable to make the Coachella Valley Musi and Arts Festival in Indio, CA. We’ll keep you posted on this story as more details develop.

Say it isn't snow

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: October 6, 2009 - 1:33 PM

 Good Lord. Snow is due Friday. Snow. Some predictions call for snow showers through the weekend, with lows in the 20s. So it’s back to the cooler ahead of schedule - way ahead of schedule. The first one-inch snowfall usually happens around November 18. Measurable snow that sticks around three weeks before Halloween is the harbinger of a nasty winter that has no pity.


In a way, we’re due; it’s been years since we were socked in early, with permanent drifts    on the lawn before the Christmas music cranks up in earnest. Weather doesn’t operate according to karma, of course - just because we think we’ve earned a warm spring and  a long lovely summer doesn’t mean we’ll get one, any more than the cruel un-summer we just had means an attenuated autumn with warm afternoons and crisp hey-let’s-build-a-bonfire nights. But right now the idea of beginning our six-month shut-in period before October crests the hill is the sort of thing that makes people saw their wrists with ginzu knives. 


It won’t stay. It can’t stay. Heaven help us if it does stay: The leaves have hardly begun to fall, let alone turn en masse. 


Imagine if the Twins stadium was finished, and they were playing a World Series game next week. What a pity if we finally get all three outdoor stadia just as the world tips into a cycle of global cooling. Everyone’s out of the climate controlled Dome, playing in the elements, dropping balls because their hands are blue. Our timing is just exquisite. 



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