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.
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.
A local preservation group is asking the city not to demolish the Star Tribune's building on Portland Avenue ahead of a Tuesday night meeting on the topic.
In a letter to the heritage preservation commission, a citizen board focused on historic buildings, Preservation Minneapolis wrote that the building could be reused rather than torn down. The non-profit group is made up of architects, architectural historians and others in the development community.
May have something to say about it in a column later this week, although perhaps I should wait until the inevitable destruction. At best they’ll save the medallions, and place them in the park, just like the eagles from the old Convention Center. Such as:
I’d love to see the old building saved, of course; I like to joke that it’s the only example left downtown of Italian Fascist architecture. But it has a stern, clean beauty, and the new towers could take their cues from its stone and black brick. Pigs could also, given sufficient genetic modification, fly.
As the day towards demolition draws near, I'll run a few photos from the archives. I found this old slide in an envelope in a filing cabinet in the morgue; don't know if it's ever been seen before.
MST3K As you may have heard, the old tradition of a Thanksgiving MST3K Marathon returns this year. As they say, I went to the comments at io9 ooking for Classic Krankor Laugh, and was not disappointed:
In related news, here’s a movie for the Rifftrax crew to eviscerate in 2016. Variety reports:
Star Partners and Hummingbird Prods. are collaborating on production of a sequel to Frank Capra’s iconic 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter “Zuzu” in the original, will return for the “Wonderful Life” sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.
Well, that’s a switch. And then he jumps off the bridge and dies? While I’m not going to judge it without seeing it - for once in my life - it does darken the story of the first one, doesn’t it? George and Mary’s descendent ruins lives. Sigh.
HOW NOT TO QUIT The Daily Dot copy says this is an "epic" note that "throws shade." Oooh, shade-throwing. Something tells me it was greeted by management with great relief.
ART For years people had been painting pictures on the walls of a building they didn’t own, without the owner’s permission. Naturally, they were indignant when the owner painted over their work.
The building, which is owned by developer David Wolkoff of G&M Realty, is slated to be replaced by a pair of luxury high-rises, in a controversial move that sparked outrage in the artists' community.
If there’s anything that will derail a massive real-estate deal, it’s controversial outrage in the artists’ community. Sorry: this has nothing to do with the quality of the work, or whether spray-can painting on someone else’s wall is art. It is. Some of it is quite brilliant. But if you’re doing it on someone else’s property the art lives at the whims of the owner.
Wolkoff and his father, Jerry Wolkoff, have pledged to include the local art community in their future plans for the site, and have promised to provide artists' studios, as well as "art walls" where taggers can continue to do their work.
I suspect this won’t be the same. It’ll be a petting zoo. There won’t be the same thrill of painting where you’re not supposed to paint. Here’s the takeaway quote:
”In 10 years from now, when the art form is fully accepted, [they] won't be remembered for any individual real estate property [they] built. [They'll] be remembered for the greatest art murder in history. That will be [their] legacy," Five Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen, whose tag name is Meres One, said at the building Tuesday morning.
Oh, please. A pre-whitewash tour of the work can be seen here. Some great pieces, and if you don’t think that’s art, well, what else would it be?
PURPLE SNOW That’s what the archivists call the Minneapolis music scene pre-Prince:
In the late 1970s, a peculiar sound began bubbling up from the land of 10,000 lakes. Buried beneath 50 solid inches of annual snow, Minneapolis made a Sound quite different than what the pop world foresaw. It issued forth as a slick, black, technologically advanced fusion, poised to storm the charts.
You can hear excerpts of the album here.
That's it for today - there would be a video, but it's not embedding. Well, let's try again . . . Hey! It works.
As they say: wait for it.
Believe it or not, a bad review of Guy Fieri’s restaurant in the New York Times did not affect its popularity with people who really don’t care if the Grey Lady disapproves of their choices. The video isn't embedding - Yahoo, I'm not looking at you, to coin a phrase - so go here.
What? you say. A review was irrelevant to the judgments of satisfied diners? I know, it’s odd, but people like that actually exist. I mean, when it comes to a fun Times-Square carnivorous gustatory overload experience, who would you trust, the critic or the cook?
NOV 23 What a coincidence: in time for the 50th anniversary of the JFK murder, some old photos of Dealy Plaza are revealed. The man who took them is dead, but his daughter discovered them in his possessions. This makes some people blanche:
In 2005, my father passed away. As we were going through his possessions, I didn’t want all his old slides at first, because I worried it might be some giant burden and I’d never look at them again. But I took them, anyway.
Oh, no: a giant burden consisting of irreplaceable imagers that might add to the historical record. Put them in the sea.
The pictures are here. Jesse Ventura probably thinks they’re fake.
MY GOD IT’S FULL OF GIFS Slow down your browser to the pace of a 1995 version of Netscape with this page of GIFs from i09.
ART Lady Gaga’s latest album cover is a collaboration with with Jeff Koons, who’s the Warhol of our time without Andy’s exacting technical skills. (Kidding. Sort of.) Here it is is:
That’s a plastic casting of Ga, and they cracked up Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” in the back. Okay. FastCo asked some artist to critique it. Question of the Day:
In an effort to get people to actually buy the physical album instead of just downloading it, the first half-million physical copies sold won't have a flat image cover. Instead, "Lady Gaga" will be pasted on, in hot pink metallic foil, and the word ARTPOP will appear in silver. Does this have potential to turn into a collector's item?
SS: That depends 100% on the quality of the music. If the album is epoch-making and genre-changing, then yes, this will become an icon.
Pay attention to how this plays out, because if a new Epoch is indeed made, you’ll want to know why. It’s embarrassing to ask. Excuse me, but I have the nagging suspicion that genres have been changed and we’re in a fresh epoch, but I can’t quite put my finger on the reason. Lady Gaga didn’t release an album pasted with metallic foil, did she?”
VIDEO Some may complain about OSHA rules, and yes they can be onerous and stupid. On the other hand, they’re intended to keep things like this from happening.
Then again, if this was taken in the US, it shows that having a rule doesn’t mean people follow it.
YUM Pearson’s is using Instagram videos to call attention to its website.
Then again, maybe that’s by design. Today’s YOU THERE bossy-pants headline: “Instagram Is Spoiling Your Dinner.” Instagram has never spoiled my dinner. So I know right away that the article is nonsense and can be skipped without missing anything. But I read on just to see how wrong they were; turns out that Studies indicate that looking at food pictures on Instagram depresses your appetite. Really. Hey, you look good, you lost some weight? What’s your secret? “Oh, I’ve been been studying images of entrees run through a saturation filter.”
That's it for this week; hope you got outside today, or can come up with a reason to leave work early. It's spectacular. And we'll pay for it with curses in May.
This, we’re told, is not CGI. While we’re all staring drop-jawed at JCVD, a round of applause for the drivers, who bring to mind the remark about Ginger Rogers: all she had to do was everything Astaire did, except backwards, and in heels.
“Pork” is a generous term, since the McRib has traditionally been fashioned from otherwise unmarketable pig parts like tripe, heart, and stomach, material that is not only cheap but also easier to mold and bind into a coherent, predetermined shape. McDonald’s accurately lists the patty’s primary ingredient as “boneless pork,” although even that’s a fairly strong euphemism. Presumably few of the restaurant’s patrons would line up for a Pressed McTripe.
Oh, but it gets worse:
roducts are bound and preserved by a petrochemical preservative called tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ. According to the Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, one gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.”
I think I saw TBHQ open for New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1977. Given the amount of delirium not directly tied to McRib consumption, I think you're probably safe.
Next thing they’ll tell you: the Shamrock Shake actually contains trace elements of leprechaun tissue.
VIDEO Oh hey great this guy’s slowing down to give me a ride. Finally, this day’s looking up.
INFOGRAPHIC DU JOUR Amazed no one thought of this before: the pie chart of pies, from Modern Farmer. If you’re in the mood for another pie chart that sums up something perfect, head to the Oatmeal for a look at what really makes people want to watch a movie. Hint: it’s not the necessity of pants.
NEAT; SWEET. PETITE Just because something was in black and white on the TV doesn’t mean it wasn’t in color. “The Addams Family,” for example, was perfect for black and white, but it’s not like they used black and white materials to built the set. What color was it, really? Here. (Via fastcompany.)
SCIENCE! Scientists have discovered something interesting about 2002 UX25, a 400-mile-wide rock in the Kuiper belt. If you put it in the ocean . . . it would float.
That's the most useless thing you’ll learn all day. But a day without a new piece of information that has no relation to anything in your life is one of those things that makes us human. Its not like dogs ever say “purple planets are the ones most likely to have life? Cool.”
Off to the Mall of America for Give to the Max day. I don’t know who this Max is, but he’s going to be well-off at the end of the day.
First things first: here’s the video for the Robotics Alley expo. All praise to Shari Gross for shooting editing, and to all the people who endured my questions.
YOU TUBE IS BROKEN Or so we’re told. Everyone who thinks the problem with YouTube is the comments, raise your hand.
Okay, almost everyone’s hand went down. For most people, YouTube is for watching videos. Or, more often than not staring impatiently at an ad, looking at the lower right-hand corner, waiting, ciicking SKIP AD and then watching the video, finally, and then clicking on the X in the ad box that slides up 20 seconds into the video, except you clicked on the box itself and now you have a pop-up window with the ad sent out auto play and you can’t find the off button.
This Daily Dot article finds someone who’s unhappy:
“I f**king hate that today you have to sign up for everything,” wrote one 4chan user. “On Youtube I could use a funny anonymous name and post comments on vids I don't want Facebook or whatever to know about.”
Yes, that’ll make some people nervous at YouTube: 4chan users can’t make anonymous comments without “whatever” knowing about it.
CHAIRS OF THE FUTURE A new concept for airplane seats. Interesting idea, but this would seem to require the flight attendants to make the changes between flights, adding more time between landing and take-off. In the future, these adjustments will probably be made automatically by the onboard computer, which is tied directly into the passenger manifest - if, that is, someone runs the numbers and figures there’s profit in this. At least it would avoid this problem: “37 stone man is forced to buy two airplane seats, discovers they’re in different rows.”
You will also note that the Seats of Tomorrow are rather deficient in the legroom department. Anyway, let’s cue the judgmental scolds in the comments:
Travelling by Air is an unnecessary luxury in the age of Internet and telepresence. I would ship you all by cattle cart.
The people keen to let others know they disapprove of someone else’s “unnecessary luxury” are the people who would take it away if they had the power. Hold on, I spoke too soon. After people argue about whether everything can be done over the internet, Mr. Enlightenment responds:
I didn’t say that you couldn’t travel. I just said that if you did I would treat you like a caged hen and really ram you in and milk you for all your worth. That’s all.
And if no milk is forthcoming from the hen, it’s time to rethink one’s approach.
ART Big sale yesterday; someone paid $142 million for a work by one history’s ugliest painters, Francis Bacon. But that’s not all. NYT:
The Bacon triptych was not the only highflier. A 10-foot-tall mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture that resembled a child’s party favor, Jeff Koons’s “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold to another telephone bidder for $58.4 million, above its high $55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.
Koons’ Wikipedia page has this entry on his “Banaity” series:
Koons then moved on to the Banality series. For this project he engaged workshops in Germany and Italy that had a long tradition of working in ceramic, porcelain, and wood. The series culminated in 1988 with Michael Jackson and Bubbles, a series of three life-size gold-leaf plated porcelain statues of the sitting singer cuddling Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee.
That sold for millions. Koons is always smiling in his portraits; one can certainly understand why.
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