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.
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.
Finally: Block E is going to be overhauled. Not knocked down and replaced with the old Shinders-to-Shinders low-strung streetscape with an interior courtyard, but it's a start. BizJournal:
The owners of the Block E entertainment and retail complex in downtown Minneapolis are expected to announce on Monday a significant renovation plan for the facility as they look to update it for new tenants.
Good. First, take off that silly gimcrack cartoon facade and replace it with something that doesn't look like a rejected Disneyland theme park addition. Second, rent it out as cheaply as possible to as many small local merchants as you can find. Or just hollow it out and hang some trapezes and fill it with monkeys; I don't care.
Remember: the first picture is Blight; the second is Destination Entertainment.
The reason people take those shots, and will continue to take them despite the pleas of a TV meteorologist, is simple: snow-covered patio sets give an instant view of the amount of accumulation. It there's a circular table, the snow forms a perfect cake with rounded edges; it's lovely. This morning I wondered if we'd see much snow before Christmas; you hope so. That's why we're here. The White Christmas Guarantee.
MYSTERIES This article has an intriguing premise: "Man of Steel Isn't About Superman, and it Never Was." You'd think that a movie that concerns itself entirely with Superman might be partly about Superman, right? Let's see what the author says:
Nearly two and a half years ago I wrote an article called “The Green Lantern Franchise Isn’t About Green Lantern.” I made several assertions in the article, and while I may have been a bit ahead of myself, I still maintain that the core idea is true. However, with the financial and critical failing of that film forced WB to try again with the plan. Since it seems like they are more organized this time around, I thought I would revisit the idea of my original article and apply it to the latest contender. You see, I don’t think that last summer’s “Man of Steel” is about Superman at all.
At this point, you expect to read "Toy Story Wasn't Really About the Secret Life of Toys, Leading to a Heartbreaking Farewell to Childhood," but was really about . . . what? The geopolitical impact of petroleum products and marketing, coupled with the competing narratives of the Old West and the New Frontier?
Turns out the movie's really about setting up some larger DC movie universe. Okay. You want a real mystery? Try this, from the Telegraph:
Eriksson didn’t realise it then, but he was embarking on one of the internet’s most enduring puzzles; a scavenger hunt that has led thousands of competitors across the web, down telephone lines, out to several physical locations around the globe, and into unchartered areas of the "darknet”. So far, the hunt has required a knowledge of number theory, philosophy and classical music. An interest in both cyberpunk literature and the Victorian occult has also come in handy as has an understanding of Mayan numerology.
One long, cautionary diatribe, left anonymously on the website Pastebin, claimed to be from an ex-Cicada member – a non-English military officer recruited to the organisation "by a superior”. Cicada, he said, "was a Left-Hand Path religion disguised as a progressive scientific organisation” – comprising of "military officers, diplomats, and academics who were dissatisfied with the direction of the world”. Their plan, the writer claimed, was to transform humanity into the Nietzschen Übermensch. "This is a dangerous organisation,” he concluded, "their ways are nefarious."We'll probably never know. It could be a way to find the smartest cryptographers on the planet . . . and eliminate the threat they pose. ANIMATIONI stopped watching the Simpsons years ago, because I loved it too much. It turned into a parade of celebrity cameos dropped in while Homer does something stupid, again; the heart had gone out of the show. But the couch gag for Sunday was incredible, and I pity any reefer fiend who had lit up before this aired: It's an homage to the Silly Symphony cartoon, "Music Land.
One of the comments on YouTube - yes, yes, I know - says the two warring leaders are based on Laurel and Hardy, but I think the King's supposed to remind everyone of Paul Whiteman, the King of Jazz. The girth, the moustache. Audiences would have nabbed the reference right away.
(Via Cartoon Brew.)DASHCAM Today we have this silent film from the inexhaustible store of Russian street mayhem.
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.
Treats and repetition have delightful results:
That's from BuzzFeed, with the attribution "tumblr.com." Seems a bit vague. to their credit, they have the original YouTuvbe video from which it's taken. But llet's have more fun with attribution, shall we? Buzzfeed has a new BuzzFeed Gif Feed, presented by Google + GIF Feed. Click on the link and you go here, where you see the worst logo rolled out this week:
As they would say, what is this I don't even Now let's click on a link. You get a pop-up window, the name, sharing buttons, and a source. You think: how about that? They're finally getting serious about meticulously sourcing things. But it's a source to a BuzzFeed story. Cick on that, and the GIF is now credited to giphy.com, which is like crediting a book's existence to its location in a library.
From Giphy to MTV, which credits them back to RealityTVGifs, where the trail stops. (Language warning on that last one.) It can be difficult to trace the source back, but what they've done here is define "source" as "where we used this thing we got somewhere eise."
Here's an idea: make your own damned GIFs and run nothing but. Or would that tax the skills of the people who write "17 Ways You Know People Are Judging Your Feet"?
In related news, from the Daily Dot: "Four Amazing BussFeed Lists that are full of blatant lies." Only four? Actually, it's a link to some stories that reinforce the author's assertion: the best parody of BuzzFeed is often done by BuzzFeed itself. Intentionally, which is even better.
MY EYES Stumbled across a new news site today. Ugliest piece of modern web design I've ever seen. Ready? Here.
MY EARS Here's a Comedy Central bit from the other night, building on Jon Stewart's philippic on the virtues of New York pizza. It seems to find virtue in the idea of New Yorkers as proudly unpleasant people. I guess they don't like Chicago-style, because you can't fold it up and eat it, which is like saying steak is annoying because you can't put a T-bone all the way in your mouth. There are times you want thin; there are times you want deep.If you want something cooked an hour ago, sitting out and congealing in the counter, reheated when you order it, New York's your place/ If you wan a fresh-baked Geno's with chunky tomatoes and a corn-meal crust and those slabs of home-made sausage, go to Chicago. If you like sauce - the true soul of a pizza - you can lift up that New York slice and use a magnifying glass to prove there is indeed a smear of red between the cheese and the crust, which, by the way, has the consistency of a record-album cover in a thrift-store bin. I don't know why New Yorkers pick this issue to fight about. if they like their pizza, fine; just don't expect everyone else to fall over because it's what you're used to it and it comes from NEW YORK. I've had better in Fargo.
Bonus points for Steve Buscemi, though.
BLACK FRIDAY Far be it from me to judge other people's Holiday tradition, but this one just doesn't have that nice cozy feeling you get when you think "Thanksgiving with the folks."
A week and a half before ‘Black Friday‘ and campers are already lining up outside the Best Buy on Howe Road to get their hands on the best of the bargains. [snip] Both have friends and family who take turns staying there in shifts, including Tony’s parents.
“He had to go take a shower so we’re here filling in for him until he gets back,” said his mother Janet Regic, who cooks for her son, and actually waited in line last year in a wheelchair.
“I wanted to stop three or four years ago, and my kids make me do it because they like coming down. We usually have Thanksgiving dinner brought to the tent, so we’ll have a full spread in the tent, and it’s kind of my time with them,” said Avitar.
The campers said they already know what bargains they hope to get including tablets, laptops, and big screen television sets.
As the article notes, BestBuy has not yet announced what they will sell, or at what price.
VIDEO Texting and driving: dumb. Texting and BUS driving: an entirely different level of stupid.
PS If I said that women were over-represented in social media and this led to language that was more emotional and less precise, I would expect some excoriation. But that's what this author says - in defense of the proposition that women were over-represented in social media and this led to language that was more emotional and less precise. Orwell is even pressed into service, even though he demonstrated in "1984" how the elimination of words and linguistic precision results in the inability to conceive the ideas they describe. But I guess it's okay because Orwell. Yes, laungage changes, but it's unwise to mistake diminution for improvement.
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