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.
Wisconsin DoT cameras caught this four-minute festival of uncontrollable momentum.
Pay attention at 1:05 or so, right lane. Over the median and through the woods. Ask yourself: would you stay in your car and hope no one hit you, or get out and hope no one hit you?
ARCHITORTURE To the surprise of no one, the demolition of the Strib building moves one step closer to wrecking day. This piece on bringmethenews.com mentions something odd:
Besides being a sound example of Art Moderne architecture after its 1940s renovation, advocates of preserving the building say half-a-dozen architectural tributes to Minnesota’s industrial heritage are noteworthy features. The carvings are part of the stone facade on either side of the main entrance that depict mining, milling, lumber, fishing, farming, and dairy.
However, some say the carvings, aren’t valuable enough to merit preservation.
Who? There’s a quote from the head of the Architecture department at the U, but he refers to the interior, which has little historical value. The staircases date from the 1947 overhaul, but good luck saving a building for its staircases; we lost much better ones in the Metropolitan building, or the long-gone New York Insurance Building:
That’s one of the most magical spaces downtown ever had. Poof! Anyway: the medallions are significant, and the idea that they’re not valuable is preposterous. I understand they’re eager to claw the Strib down, but if they can’t take a few days to pry the Cow and the rest off the front for later placement in the park, then they’re vandals.
People simply aren’t willing to pay very much for recorded music anymore. If you’re an artist, and especially if you’re a record label, that’s very bad news. Naturally, some artists want to shoot the messenger, blaming Spotify for their paltry payments. But Spotify is not the problem. The market is the problem. Spotify is just the messenger telling them what the market is now willing to pay for their songs.
True - but Spotify and other services undermine music sales by letting the customer know in advance that an album isn’t any good. In olden times of vinyl you bought a record because a critic you respected had given you permission, or it was a favorite band. Then you took it home, pierced the plastic with knife or thumbnail or guitar pick, slid it out of the crackly envelope, and sat back to absorb this important cultural message.
Then came that sinking sensation, the slow, steady realization that the songs are hookless blobs. The band, exhausted from touring, is creatively spent. Surely they knew this was boring. Surely the producer knew it wasn’t anything close to their previous work. The people who designed the album knew. The executive who signed off on the publicity campaign listened, shrugged, and thought “We’ll sell enough before they figure it out.” Everyone knew it was bad but agreed to pretend it wasn’t - until the critic spoke up. There were only a few you trusted, but they’d save you from a bad purchase.
If you listened to them, which you didn’t, because hey, you liked that artist. Usually took two more flops to make you pass on the new one, and that always felt odd, Like you'd broken up with the band somehow, months before, and now here they are again. Awkward.
VoTD You know what’s going to happenn the first 2 seconds you see the situation.
So it’s not a matter of what, but when. Wait for the narrator’s reaction - if you can call it that.
SUPERVILLAIN LAIR STYLE There’s rich, and there’s car-elevator-to-your-59th-floor-garage rich:
The units are being snapped up by billionares, as you might imagine. This is Tony Stark territory, anyone wth the money would simply have to have a pied-a-terre in this structure. Yes, it's real; more here.
SQUIRREL! Everyone loves them. Inquisitive little scampering public pets. Do you know why the parks are full of the creatures? Because we put them there. Don’t know why this story is on Gizmodo, but I’m glad they did it. Give it a read.
I just made a grave mistake. I went outside. I don’t think I’ll do that again. Yes, yes, we’re hardy up here, impervious to the cold, reveling in the plume of steam that unfurls from our happy mouths as we trod along on snowshoes singing fa-la-la, but there’s a point where it actually is too cold. Today’s close. From ‘CCO, some timely advice:
If you think you have frost bite, here’s how to treat it without doing more harm to your body. The first thing sounds simple, but you should get out of the cold.
You may want to print that out and carry it around.
Also, Take off any wet clothing and get dry clothes on. Lastly, warm the affected tissue with warm water, not hot water.
The last line is useful; if you have no feeling in your fingers, hot water may burn them. the word “tissue” has a green link on the original page, by the way; it’s one of those evil sponsored links that pops up a box advertising something called “Kleenex.” Seems it’s a thin, disposable piece of paper you can use to blot nasal discharge. Fascinating! Thanks for the heads-up, and I’ll look into it.
CHRISTMAS STATUARY Here’s another picture from a trip to Menard’s Plastic Seasonal Aisle. The first one is a rather empty manger; seems to suggest that Jesus came back after 30 years to check out the old neighborhood.
The Illuminated Cow is in the background, and there’s also Permanently Scarred Horse:
He’s seen things. Horrible thing. If he has a name, it’s probably Pris.
CHECK PLEASE The 44 worst people in every restaurant. The list starts strong and peters out, but it makes a few old points. Everyone should work in a restaurant in their late teens and early twenties. It teaches you everything you need to know about work. It’s menial, creative, require a host of social and logistical skills, and leaves you better prepared to deal with idiots, tyrants, thieves, and angels.
The author of the piece, alas, has that snooty tone you get when waiters start to admit how much they hate people. Specific people. Oh, heck, all of them.
Do you really think that by calling prosciutto “pra-shoot” that the Italian waiter will go back to the kitchen and regale the chefs with praise-filled stories of the man at table 16? Also, you’re from Wayland, MA.
And if the guy says “Prossy-cuto” or “”pros-koo-eeto” or some other variant he’s a moron, and you’l go back and tell the chefs how he pronounced it.
The site threw up a screen asking if I wanted to subscribe to get all the latest Minneapolis-St. Paul-related news in my inbox. Oh don’t be silly, of course not. Because your site has stories like this:
If a stranger ever leaned over in a public place and said “you should be eating this sandwich” you’d ignore him or move away. If he persisted in telling you what you SHOULD be doing RIGHT NOW and got too close I think you're legally permitted to step on his feet “by accident.” Let me check with a lawyer.
As long as we’re on the subject of “Sponsored Content” that makes erroneous presumptions:
I'm thinking I might not.
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.
Looks like the Boss’ next album is even darker than “Nebraska”:
That’s how the story came up in the Zite ap, anyway. No idea why, except that the picture of the Governor reminds me of the last time I enjoyed “The Walking Dead,” if “enjoyment” is a word one can apply to this endless festival of ambulatory meat and misery. Last night’s episode had the obligatory Big Thing for the mid-season climax, and while it’s nice that everyone’s out of the prison, it’s too bad about the obligatory Major Character Death. Where will they go next? Who’s left? How will they regroup?
I don’t know and I don’t care. There were some scenes from the first season shown during the commercial breaks, and the shot of Rick riding a horse into Atlanta reminded me how stark and gripping the show used to be when the disaster was fresh. Now it’s a slog from fort to fort, with uplifting subplots like “everyone’s dying of the flu” and new characters who exist only to die next season. Forget it. I’m done. At some point last night I noted that one of the characters was using a filing cabinet as a shield, and the bullets didn’t go through. It didn’t even have a drawer.
One more thing: remember when characters used to sit up in the towers with rifles with scopes, and practice picking off zombies from a distance? That sort of skill would come in handy when a monocular sociopath stands up on a tank and says he’s come to take over, no?
No! Get down on the ground behind a chain link fence where he can see you!
In more uplifting news from a universe even less plausible but much more delightful: did characters from the previous Disney Animation Studios show up in the new one? Well, sure. Why not?
TUMBLR DU JOUR It begins with cusswords, so if that offends you, click not. Otherwise you may appreciate “Tab Closed; Didn’t Read.” It’s devoted to fighting sites that splash an ad over the screen requiring your action to dismiss. Yes, I know, sites need ad revenue. But these are particularly heinous on a mobile device; you have to expand the page to find the tiny X, which is the size of one-eighth a grain of rice, and most of the time you miss and go off to some place you don’t want to be. It’s like going to a movie, putting a big black sheet over the picture, and making you get out of your seat, walk to the front with a long pole, and try to hit the X in the upper-right-hand corner.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS You may have heard about the fellow who dropped a thousand dollars at the Mall of America. I mean, literally dropped. Here’s the video.
He was arrested, because - as CCO’s report puts it - “he could have caused a serious situation.”
This may be plea-bargained down to “a tragicomic situation.
DASHCAM VotD Short, with mayhem; Russia delivers, as usual.:
STOP THIEF! Logo Thief looks at interesting pieces of graphic design, and the designers who steal them. As in:
Whoa! Someone took the logo from an HBO show and thought he could get away with it? Other way around.
Finally: it's December, so now this makes sense.
In other words: bg-headed translucent manger-beast. We'll try to post some Christmas Peculiarities every day, unless of course we foget. It's been known to happen.
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.
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