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.
No, of course not. It’s an absurd and insulting question. Don’t know why I brought it up! Anyway, let’s go to the Commentary page of today’s paper, where the author is trying to get her husband to switch to reusable grocery bags:
How to incentivize the spouse? First, reusable bags can’t be girlie, nor can they be emblazoned with the name of one grocery store if he’s heading to another — he’s sensitive. A bag should be so small and collapsible that it might attach to a key chain or a belt buckle, yet strong enough to carry a six-pack of Guinness cans with the floating widgets. The grocery list could be written on the side in erasable ink, and a rearview-mirror air freshener (bacon-scented?) could flash LED lights when the car door opens and the bags have been left in the trunk.
Because husbands are dumb and respond to bacon. Okay. Personally, I hate plastic bags. The paper ones come in handy for moving newspapers to the recycling bin. Use recyclable bags for one reason: they don’t tear. Recommendations:
The Lunds / Byerly’s bags fold up nicely, and they’re huge. The Trader Joe bags are sturdy and have interesting graphics. Sturdy handles. The Target bags are cheap, but if you put two containers of orange juice and two half-gallon milk jugs in one, the handles will eventually rip, so be careful.
By the way, you may have scratched your head over “Guinness cans with the floating widgets” - that’s actually the correct term for the carbonation-assistance devices in the cans. You learn something every day.
ART Yesterday I linked to some ugly 1960s Polish movie posters, just in case people needed a refresher on such things. In the same vein, but more interesting: B-Movie Title Design of the 1940s and 1950s. Like this:
Clips and more clips and technical details - it’s a graphics bonanza. What typeface would you use for “Hangmen Also Die”?
URBAN STUDIES Gentrification: good or bad? So asks New York magazine. As you might expect, the answer depends on whether you’re the gentrified or the gentrifeer. The article discusses a neighborhood waaay up around 207th street, and cites Dichter Pharmacy as a store that could stride the needs of there old and new. Who cares? you ask. That’s New York. Granted. Just setting up this interesting Google Street View:
Click the right arrow, hidden down at the bottom. Time machine! Turns out the building had a fire in 2012. Turn around to see the quintessential old NYC apartment building, and imagine the heat in the summer, the absence of greenery. Hot, cramped, old, loud. I can understand why some people thrive in NYC, but find it amusing that they insist it’s the epitome of urban living.
Just ask Moby, who moved to LA because artists cannot afford NYC any more. True: downtown LA is going to be incredible in 10 years, if not sooner.
Speaking of cities: the title of Iric Nathanson's MinnPost piece would have seened preposterous 20 years ago: "Don't Tear Down the Skyways!" But now we're reduced to defending them. I'm on his side, but I have one request: let's stop using the word "vibrant" in any piece that describes urban life. Overuse has made me think of pedestrians who are luminiscent and trembling.
The latest in OS from Best Korea steals from the best:
The latest version of the country’s home-grown operating system, Red Star Linux, has been restyled and ships with a desktop that closely resembles Apple’s Mac OSX. The previous version was based on the popular KDE desktop that mimicked that of Windows 7. Red Star Linux was developed by the Korea Computer Center (KCC), a major center of software programming in Pyongyang, and is based on Linux.
Well, yes. Looks familiar.
That’s from the website northkoreantech.org/ . In other news, there’s an entire website devoted to North Korean tech. The everyday ordinary objects of evil places is fascinating, and not in that oversold Hannah Arendt “banality of evil” sense. There’s just a cold dread that attaches to everything from Monsterland.
From the same site, here’s an account from a fellow who taught at the PUST, or Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Sounds bad. I have no idea what possible good could come from such a venture
Related, somewhat: This site generates awful twitter bios. (Link goes to Mashable to avoid any naughty-word triggers.) It makes up things like this: DIGITAL CONTENT CAPTAIN, BRANDING THRILL SEEKER, CES GYPSY. DEEPER DIVES START HERE. Or: TECH AUTEUR, GEN Y WIZARD, MULTI-CHANNEL GUIDE. 50 SHADES OF EARL GREY. I’ve no idea how many combinations it can product, but it gets the formula right. You start with a fatuous new-economy boast and end with some quirky detail that makes you impossibly, wonderfully unique. Like “Cupcake historian.” Most of those last details make you want to smack the person's avatar
POP What destroyed pop music? “The conservatism of today’s youth,” according to this story in Spiked. To which you ask: pop was destroyed? Youth are conservative? The author may be talking about how pop no longer occupies the same cultural position it did in the “golden era” when it was expected to become an art form on the same level as classical music - something that was never believed by anyone who knew anything about classical music, except for Leonard Bernstein, perhaps. Shave all that away, and it’s still a good question: does pop mean what it used to? And why should we care?
BOOM Digg is wondering what’s peculiar about this controlled demolition:
Well, the frame goes, then the core. More on the building here at Atlantic Cities - you’ll see why it was loathed by two groups of people: those who had to work inside, and those outside who had to look at it.
ART The HuffPo sets out to tell us “Why the Golden Era of Movie Poster Design Happened in 1960s Poland.” It has examples, but it lacks one thing: an explanation as to why the golden era of movie poster designed happened in 1960s Poland. It just asserts that it did. So:
Better than this?
Matter of taste, I suppose. Speaking of which: A fellow who was pleased to think he had a real Chagall painting was informed that it was fake. Then it got worse, says the Independent:
The only thing left to do was send the painting to the Chagall Committee in Paris, which is headed by the artist’s two granddaughters and charged with protecting the reputation of the artists. They ruled it was fake and have now said they plan to have it destroyed under French law.
He’d like the painting returned, and didn’t know they’d burn it.
Chagall has done some fanciful, magical work, but let’s just say that the abstraction of the limbs suggests he couldn’t paint them realistically if he tried. That's not a leg that's an emu eating a small squid.
Appears so. Daily Dot says:
As abruptly as he filed it, Prince has rescinded his lawsuit against 22 fans who made his bootlegs easily available online. Why? Perhaps he had a sympathetic turn.T he suit certainly seemed a bit harsh: $1 million in damages against each defendant for sharing bootlegged concert recordings. The suit didn't claim the defendants were making money from the files, and not many live Prince shows are available for purchase legally.
What's more, the conventional legal means of taking down copyrighted content, sending a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to the website hosting it, seemed to have already worked. The sites named in Prince's suit no longer had those files when the Daily Dot tried to access them.
The docs are here. The suit was dismissed with prejudice, so it can be revived.
FIGHTING WORDS Pizza is Meh, say New Yorkers. If I had to subsist on their version of the stuf, I might agree.
That the Internet’s constant bickering about pizza is so outsize compared to the food’s relative innocuousness made our editorial decision an easy one. So before you get angry, as many already have, just remember: You liked pizza when you were 5, because pizza — like anything a 5-year-old likes (baseball cards, shoe-tying, garbage trucks) — is inherently meh. It’s basically bread with cheese and sauce on it, and maybe some other stuff.
Naked shrieking click bait does not deserve, and shall not get, a link. It’s at the NYT site if you wish.
NIGHTMARE FUEL It’s one thing to say the world needs an “Incredible Mr. Limpet” remake. It’s another to say the project was once attached to Jim Carrey. It is unforgivable to release the concept art.
Warning: Carrey’s fish-face cannot be unseen.
THANK YOU Finally, a call to stop calling things “iconic,” particularly if they were just made a few months ago. Click here for FastCo's list of all the things they’ve called “iconic” in breathy lazy magazine articles, including “Method’s soap bottle.”
SPACE Is there a giant UFO hiding in a moon crater? No, of course not. It would be cool if there was. It would be terrifying it it rose up and headed towards Earth. It would be dismaying if it powered up and left without telling us why it paid the Moon a visit but didn’t bother with Earth; people would drive themselves nuts with speculation. The Daily Mail, going in full “let us squander with haste our remaining atoms of credibility” mode, says “The triangular anomaly, spotted on Google's map of the moon, has rows of seven light-like dots along its edge that have been likened to an alien base or spaceship.” Does it now. Mystertious Universe clarifies.
VotD The description says “man avoids being crushed by seconds,” but they look like logs to me.
Just think: if he’d gotten out of bed 4 seconds later, he’d be dead. DISABLE YOUR SNOOZE BUTTONS.
ARCHITORTURE Great round-up of post-Soviet Russian buildings, shot by Frank Herfort. Some remarkably ghastly structures and a few cool ones. (via io9, which borrowed them all for a blog post: naughty.)
. . . is what you'd say when somoene remarks "Man, that's one ugly building."
Could be just an initial design, a concept, and the final result will be something that commands the site with authorit, yet varies the facade to delight the eye and provide an interesting detail to the skyline. Right now it looks like a humorless early 80s dullard, and the lighter-colored lines remind you of the white piping on the lapels of a disco-era tuxedo. What are they supposed to mean, other than “here’s some lines we stuck on to keep it from being a featureless expanse”? Is that a detachable section of the building that can be removed and placed elsewhere, if need be?
If you’re curious, here’s what used to stand on the site. The Temple Court.
You’re thinking, what’s so special about that? You’re right. Let’s fix it:
Ah. MUCH better.
GHOST SHIP UPDATE The Smithsonian debunks the cannibal-rat ghost cruise liner, and It also points to a blog whose sole reason for existence is tracking the ship. If you like what they’re doing and would like to contribute, they take Dogecoin.
That may be the oddest paragraph on startribune.com today.
”At 5 a.m. on 3 October 1955 the MV Joyita, a 69-foot unsinkable wooden fishing boat, slipped out of the harbour at Apia, Western Samoa, heading for Fakaofo in the Tokelau Islands," it says. "There were 25 people on board, and the voyage should have taken just under 48 hours, but the Joyita never arrived at its destination.
Cue the Gilligan theme. Also: no one in charge of the boat called it unsinkable. Who would say such a stupid thing? You’re asking for an iceberg to show up when you come out of the Panama Canal.
Food is the fossil fuel of human energy. It is an enormous market full of waste, regulation, and biased allocation with serious geo-political implications. And we're deeply dependent on it.
How did we get to the point where we’re deeply dependent on food? And how do we get out of this mess? Why, Soylent, a slurry of stuff that has everything you need to live without worring about biased allocation.
A description of Soylent:
There are no meats, fruits, vegetables, or breads here. Besides olive oil for fatty acids and table salt for sodium and chloride nothing is recognizable as food.
This is intended as one of its more impressive features, I guess. Elsewhere he defends his decision to give up Food as we know it:
Most meals involve little to no ritual or social experience.
You don’t know that, and because you don’t, I assume you’re young and single, and don’t understand the role of meals in family life.
Most meals will be forgotten.
Perhaps that was true before Instagram.
If we had an ultimate staple food replace these we would be much healthier and happier and not have to worry as much about the nutrition of the experiential meals we enjoy for pleasure.
There’s a perfect example of a proposition I have no interest in validating.
I do not enjoy grocery shopping, cooking, or cleaning dishes and I shouldn’t have to. I do not like to repeat myself and I do not like having things that I do not need. No one asks me to make my own clothes. Why should I be expected to make my own food? Of course I respect a good designer or chef, I just have other skills and hobbies. Food is great, but most of the time I find what is on my computer or in my books far more stimulating than what is in my refrigerator.
Again, whatever floats your rat-infested ghost cruise ship, but it really doesn’t rise to the level of a society-changing idea, especially since most people shrug at the idea and think “I like pizza. Whatever.”
This is too easy, but just for fun: name the address where this picture was taken. Only hint: it’s downtown Minneapolis. Well?
That's Tammy Grimes, if you're curious. Answer at the bottom.
SCIENCE! You’ve heard about the mysterious rock that appeared on Mars by the Opportunity rover. As the articles note somewhat breathlessly, scientists are stumped. The Independant:
“It’s like nothing we've ever seen before," he said. "It's very high in sulphur, it's very high in magnesium, it's got twice as much manganese as we've ever seen in anything on Mars. "I don't know what any of this means. We're completely confused, and everyone in the team is arguing and fighting (over what it means).
If you’re imagining eggheads staggering out of a conference room with a fat lips and beefsteaks packed over swollen eyes, that’s probably wrong. You’d like to think that “nothing we’ve ever seen before” means “organic material seething with electrical activity reminiscent of brainwaves,” but it just means “gosh, we haven’t seen that mineral in such concentrations before.” A bit disappointing, but on the other hand we have robots analyzing things on Mars, which is astonishing.
Speaking of which: ABC reports on a mission that may have slipped your mind.
Rosetta is the Europeans Space Agency's incredibly daring mission to catch up to comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko after 10 years of hurtling through space to rendezvous with a comet speeding through space at 24,600 mph. Scientists put Rosetta into a planned hibernation 957 days ago to save resources so the spacecraft-probe would have enough power to complete its mission, leaving just a computer and a few heaters to keep it warm. For the past two and a half years, Rosetta @ESA_Rosetta has been auto-tweeting "still sleeping" for its 5,000 followers.
Indeed it has. Anyway, the ESA has been asking for good wake-up call ideas, and will use the winner to rouse Rosetta. After which it will land a probe on a comet. Amazing. But back to that Mars rock. Here’s the before-and-after picture. I’ve highlighted the area where the rock appeared. As many noted, doesn’t it look as if there was a donut-like spot before the rock appeared? A saucer, waiting for a cup?
As others have noted: looks a lot like ancient paving stones, doesn't it. They know the truth about Mars, and yet they're covering it up!
TIME CAPSULE Is “ Beautiful” the word you’d use for these? Color photos of Vancouver in the 1970s. The link would go here, but it’s not. The tagline on the blog says: “denoting something of high quality, something from the past or characteristic of the best period.” That sounds odd. Suggests a non-native speaker who’s put together a site to repurpose other people’s content for clicks ’n’ grins. Sure enough, the site “credits” this flickr page. By the way, the credits aren’t listed on the post on the main page. You have to click MORE and go all the way to the bottom to see the source, which is this great Flickr collection.
Webmasters might wonder “am I helping to spread the fame of interesting sites and curious curators, or am I just sucking up other people’s content in the hopes someone will click on the ad that tells you one Weird Trick to cut down on your belly fat?” If you’re the latter, well, you are the thing of which we need less.
Which brings us around to Cracked, where Luke McKinney has written the definitive demolition of serial plagiarist Sunny ButtRoast, or whatever you wish to call him. It’s funnier and more more creative than anything its subject ever stole, let alone created. Rough language here and there. Comments from some very thick people, too.
Then again, it’s not just Shia.
Paisley Rekdal got two Facebook messages last January from fellow poets who had some disturbing news: a poet in England by the name of Christian Ward had taken an old poem of hers and published it, barely altered, as his own. Her first reaction was to wonder if it was some kind of experiment. Perhaps by changing the gender of the author of a poem about infidelity and infertility, he was teasing out new meanings?
That’s a charitable reaction. Turns out, no. And it’s part of the PLAGIARISM EPIDEMIC in the poetry world.
ANSWER Okay. In the mirror, there's a towel on the rack. Flip it around . . .
. . . and you have the Sheraton logo, which means it's the Sheraton-Ritz, which was downtown across from the library from 1963 to about 1990. One of the big Gateway projects that went down in eventual failure. A much more attractive structure rises on the site today.
The still is from the fourth season of "Route 66," which had three episodes shot in Minneapolis. I'll save the opening shots for the summer; they concern the Aquatennial, and involve roving clowns with fire-axes.
Just in case you were feeling itch for winter, just think about that. Roving clowns with fire-axes.
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