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.
This is the most arresting press release header we’ve seen this week:
For Immediate Release: Immediately
No sense putting this one off, then. Let’s go:
14-year-old Finnish Boy Sells the Most Expensive Internet Domain in the Planet
Stop right there. Let’s google the subject to see what comes up. In 2006, Cameras.com was sold for $1.5 million. Monthly traffic: 1,747 unique visitors. Computer.com was sold in 2007 for $2.1 million, and draws in an eye-popping 1,049 people per month. Vodka.com brought 3 mil, and gets 1,346 - no stats on Vodak.com, though, which might be what people type when they’re boozy and thick-fingered. Fund.com went for almost 10 mil in 2008, and doesn’t get more than 400 visitors a month. That just can‘t be right, but thats what BusinessInsider.com says. We continue with the press release, IMMEDIATELY:
With the personal motto of “Don’t dream, act” 14 year old, Niklas from Finland is set to break a Guinness Book of World Record. The record he’s set to break came to fruition during a sleepless night. His idea was big, so big in fact, that he plans to sell the most expensive Internet domain on the planet.
He has recently made Internet history by setting up a new price record by selling his domain theplanetsmostexpensivedomain.com, which has a 16 million and one dollar price tag. The domain and its buyer will get the price record to the Guinness Book of World Records. The record breaking event will become the central focus of media all over the world including TV, Radio, Print Media, and Social Media.
In just a few short weeks, he has already gained a massive following and fan support from his audience on both Facebook and YouTube, where his videos have been viewed close to 16,000 times alone. It is on these popular social networking sites where he speaks of his personal ambitions and goals, winning over the hearts and minds of countless individuals.
His other projects, in correlation of this goal as support, he aims to garner an exclusive selection of sponsor’s logos, which will be launched into outer space with a hand crafted weather balloon. Their products or logos will rise to an altitude of 30,000 meters with the entire journey being filmed and uploaded online for the world to witness. In addition, their logos and company websites will be listed on his personal sites.
Around 7 minutes into this he’s just running outtakes.
GORGEOUS A collection of Hotel Stationery. This isn’t one of them:
That’s from my own small collection, which draws on antique-store finds. The link goes to the Goldstein-Avery collection in the Burns Library at Boston College. Interesting how the date field is usually 191_ - apparently they expected to change styles in the Twenties, or just didn't want to hang on to lots of inventory.
YO HO HO Kernel has a piece on “Torrent Snobs, ” people who share, shall we say, things for which they did not pay. Turns out that this ragtag band of unorganized pirates has self-organized into classes. Shocker./
. . . at the heart of this supposedly decentralised system of amateur pirates is a cluster of elite clubs that cater to the file-sharing A-list: professional copyright infringers who trade in ultra-high quality recordings, bootlegs and other rare material.
Most people don’t know that these private sites exist. They’re not listed on Google, and they don’t advertise. Almost all private torrent sites operate on an invitation-only basis.
What do you get for membership in this band of high-class pirates?
On private sites, there are no worries about incorrect capitalisation of file names or missing album art, as is often the case on regular torrent sites. The site admins and moderators, who are often paid employees, work to establish a “house style” for files. Books must be of a certain file type, music must be tagged with a genre, films must have subtitles attached, and so on. Torrents uploaded that don’t meet these high standards will often be removed.
Tagging music with a genre is now considered a high standard. Speaking of high standards: Mike Myers said he backed out of the “Sprockets” movie because the script was bad, and he didn’t want to disappoint people who paid “their hard-earned money to see my work.” But Splitsider’s read the script, and says it was pretty good. More here.
In a word, no. But first:
COMICS Nice little nod to Hopper - and by “nod” I mean “obvious parody” - in Mr. Boffo today:
Brings to mind this: a search for the real location of “Nighthawks.” The best recreation of the painting was in “Pennies from Heaven,” which also did another Hopper scene in a movie theater. Extraordinary art direction. No one loved the movie, though; it was incredibly depressing, and people really expected Steve Martin to be, you know, funny. If you listen to Martin’s old comedy routines, you can understand why he went in another direction. There’s a live performance from the peak of his stand-up fame, and it’s nothing but catch-phrases tossed out like fish to a stadium of seals. He mentions “King Tut” and the roof comes off the joint. He’s a smart guy. He knew he was doing a parody of an insincere performer, and had become a parody of a guy doing a parody of an insincere performer. But I’m babbling now.
ARCHITORTURE From one of those sites that seems to have no reason to exist, a list of the world’s “40 Weirdest Buildings.” The descriptions are . . . rather rote. “In Lithuania, Kaunas is the second largest city. This amazing and weird building is built in this city.” For London City Hall: “This building name is City Hall which is situated in London.” Nailed it! This one is called “Anomaly.”
Description: “Did you ever see a building which looks like a basket? No, then see this building picture.” Oh, come on. A little research, please. That’s the Longaberger Company HQ. They make baskets. Saddest part of the wikipedia entry: “Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death. After his death, further basket-shaped buildings were vetoed by his daughters.”
There’s also an upside-down White-House-type structure in Tennessee, called Wonderworks. (“Wonderworks are an entertainment place where person can enjoy.”) That reminded me of the upside-down White House in the Wisconsin Dells. Didn’t make the list.
I dare you to explain #38. Go ahead. (Also, #40 is a duplicate of #11. Doubt they thought anyone would get that far down.)
MOVIES You heard it here first! From a press release that was, of course, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. (Confession: I waited a few days.)
The market is going wild as rumours abound of a revolutionary new A list, high budget, motion picture trilogy about to be launched, set to be bigger than any series of movies we have seen so far in the motion picture industry.
This trilogy, based upon The Sacred Quest trilogy of books by A K Luthienne, leads into a series of seven more movies directly following these three as part of an overall series of writing of creative genius.
One of the longest standing, well respected, leading global buyers of major motion pictures and adviser to theatrical has said "We are looking at a motion picture franchise set to exceed even that of the James Bond movie franchise".
It appears there is just a tiny window of opportunity in which to secure an equity stake in these movies as bidders from across Asia. Middle East and USA look to secure their share of a bankable phenomenon. Indeed the Producers, Lone Star Storyworld Media, are finalising bids during first half of October.
Never heard of any of it. Googled; the books’ website comes up, with this description:
An unhappily married woman stumbles upon a dark secret in an ancient castle that unleashes her mystical lover and her deadliest enemy. This propels her onto a thrilling quest to fulfill her destiny, following a mysterious trail of clues left across the ages. Through a strange language, ceremonial magic and age-old mythologies, our two heroes must break free of a tyrannical enslaving system to reunite across time and space and finish what they once began. In this spectacular, timeless love story, these two alchemists must unlock the magic behind creation to reclaim their destiny and change the fate of the world.
A tyrannical enslaving system, you say? Intriguing. As for the “overall series of writing of creative genius” intended to span 10 movies which will be bigger than James Bond, we’ll see. The total worldwide gross of the Bond movies is $6.1 billion. Which is a good excuse to post this GIF, trending today on Giphy!
Note: “Lone Star Storyworld Media” is a project of the books’ author. Searches for “sacred quest” on Deadline.com and Variety come up with zilch. Well, stay tuned.
Meanwhile, no one’s lining up to do a theatrical release of 3D IMAX Russian Dashcam footage. Seems to me it’s begging to be made:
Whenever someone says “lost,” they usually mean “laying around plain sight until someone pointed it out.” It’s more like early Python, which wasn’t Python at the time. They hadn’t quite gotten the rhythm down yet; it drags. But you cna see what’s they’re starting to assemble.
Interesting how laugh-tracks in England seem to have about six people. Eventually this morphed into the Dead Parrot sketch; details on that process here.
TWEET OR FLY, YOUR CHOICE PAL Tweet a complaint about an airline while waiting to board a plane That’s a bannin’:
Leiser was booked on the 9.20pm flight from Glasgow to London but it was hit by delays. He tweeted late on Tuesday night that delays had prevented a serving soldier - who was on route to take part in active service - making an essential travel connection and easyJet had refused to help pay to get him to his destination.
A short time later, he tweeted that he’d then been told by a manager that he couldn’t board a flight because: “You’re a lawyer. You know you can’t tweet stuff like that and expect to get on an easyJet flight.”
Fun on the internet resulted. More here. Then again, it could be worse; could have gotten decked in the mug.
Comedy headliner Dan Nainan -- a professional comedian who in the past has performed for President Obama -- got into a skirmish with Newsweek Daily Beast Correspondent Josh Rogin. Rogin sent out several Tweets during Nainan’s set. “Dan Nainan was funny until he dusted off his 2005 Katrina jokes in a gratingly bad [George W. Bush] impression,” Rogin wrote. “Dan Nainan makes his umpteenth joke about how Asians [can’t] distinguish between letters ‘L’ and ‘R.’ Election, erection we get it,” Rogin added.
Nainan then approached Rogin, who was sitting at the back of the DC Improv comedy club and punched him.
More here. Note the stock photo accompanying the article, which is supposed to make you think of a comedy club, if you need glasses and took them off for a while to wipe away the tears of laughter.
APPS Apple is doomed! because someone hacked the fingerprint sensor; I’m sure there will be 4.5 million returns this week. Sell! Sell! Sell! Also, people will realize that the small, flat, powerful computer should not be dropped in the toilet. From Cult of Mac:
A fake iOS 7 advert that promises iPhones will become waterproof after being updated to Apple’s latest software has reportedly fooled owners into destroying their beloved smartphones.
The poster, which went viral on social media sites after iOS 7 was made available to the public last week, claims the update “prevents any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry” when it is exposed to water. Surprisingly, some believed it.
If you believe a software update can make your phone waterproof, you probably believe a new haircut makes you bulletproof.
Via Althouse, a visualization of the completion of Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona, scheduled to be finished in 2026. It’s a new video just released.
It’s a remarkable building, and it gives me the creeps. It looks like termite mounds. I know everyone is supposed to love Gaudi, and when I was touring Barcelona I was excited to see it. There’s nothing else like it on the planet. And it gives me the creeps.
In related Spanish architectural news, here’s “Spain’s Craziest Building Fails,” which includes this:
Castellón airport: At the opening of this €150-million airport, the ex-president of the region of Valencia, Francisco Camps, said the town found itself at "the high point of Spanish history". However, two years on, the airport is empty and not a single passenger has ever checked in.
The list includes the Pants Building, and repeats the erroneous rumor that the 47-story building has no elevator. The first few Google search returns for the InTempo building repeat the fiction. (As did this blog, at first, but it was corrected.) The truth: “The building was originally designed to be 20 storeys high but was extended to 47 storeys. In 2012 it was realised that no provision had been made for extra lifts to service the increased number of floors which will result in long waiting times for residents. The architects, Perez Guerra and Olcina and Raduan, resigned.”
Took the stairs down, probably.
Both Rand and Robyn were resistant to the idea of in-game music, until their publisher, Brøderbund, suggested they try it out — the result was Robyn's simple, yet perfectly atmospheric original soundtrack.
Saved the game, I think. Or at least turned it from an interesting puzzler into a completely immersive experience. It’s hard for a 20-something to look at Myst and think it could possibly be as immersive as modern games, but as the article notes, it changed the way people thought about their computers, and how they realized the pleasures of getting utterly lost in another world. I used to turn all the lights off and play with headphones.
I knew this part was coming:
The Book of Atrus, the first of the three Myst novels, was released in 1995, primarily as a way to build a connection between the first two games and dispense with the volumes of backstory the brothers had constructed. Despite mixed reviews, it still landed on USA Today's best seller list.
Reviews might have been better if they’d gone with the original author of the book, who was halfway into the project before he was swapped out for another author. That manuscript - lost forever, alas - was based on the Miller brother’s original novelization, but added innumerable details that lit up every mystery in the game without explaining too much, and set the stage for an broad, deep mythology. Too bad the chatterbox author was full of himself and made some intemperate remarks to the Star-Tribune, and was replaced with another writer.
Or they just didn’t like my manuscript. Man, that stung. It was like being the world’s biggest Star Wars fan and being invited to help write “The Empire Strikes Back.” I still remember looking at the huge drawings for the sequel game in their studio, feeling part of the project - and then nothing. Closed doors.
Well, that’s the way it goes. I still looked forward to the sequel, but I never finished it. Something about swapping out CDs to ride the tram from island to island completely took me out of the game, and the spell the original cast was lost. The puzzles were maddening, not fascinating. The ability to show actual actors instead of tiny faces peering at you from the books dampened the personal involvement somehow; you felt like a spectator instead of a participant.
Something else had happened between the two games: Doom. Id’s game changed things more than Myst, because you could move through spaces, not lurch from one exquisitely-rendered picture to the next. (Myst was done in Hypercard, of all things; you were just moving between cards in a big beautiful stack.) But you’re still going from point A to point Z, shooting and ducking. Rand Miller says:
Why can't we just explore? Why do we always have to shoot things?' So, maybe the time is right again to try that. That's exciting. I still think there's plenty of room for something really cool in this genre out there. And I don't think we've done it yet.
Exactly. There’s GTA V, which has a huge world but ends up making you feel utterly trapped, if you agree with this excellent review. I’ve longed for a game that lets you get behind the wheel and explore town after town along a rural highway, with no missions or objectives at all, just possibilities. You don’t need a mythology. You don’t need a backstory beyond the American culture that’s already in place, and I don’t mean the tiresome Tarantino bad-guy tropes. Or just build ancient Rome and let someone live there. No “Second Life” nonsense where you can be a bodybuilder furry if you want.
It’ll happen. Just don’t ask me to novelize it. Once is enough.
1:13 LOL Big changes coming to YouTube’s comments, but unfortunately they do not include sterilizing the worst offenders. Still, it’s a start:
When it comes to the conversations happening on YouTube, recent does not necessarily mean relevant. So, comments will soon become conversations that matter to you. In the coming months, comments from people you care about will rise up where you can see them, while new tools will help video creators moderate conversations for welcome and unwelcome voices.
Starting this week, you’ll see the new YouTube comments powered by Google+ on your channel discussion tab.
That’s awesome LOL and did you know you can make $926.37 a week from home using this weird trick I tried it go to http://ioednskekusnfddfd.com
A more detailed explanation from The Verge, here. They note: “YouTube risks alienating some users by requiring them to use their Google+ identity to comment on the site.” Boo and/or hoo. It’s not as if commenting will be more difficult, although if they threw in some huge roadblock, like asking people to add 2 plus 2, they might weed out half the idiots who barf bile for the lulz.
SCIENCE! I figured there would be debunking about the alien bugs found in the atmosphere. Debunk away, Slate!
Um, yeah. Except really not so much.
You know, science writing was different when I was a young man. But this is Bad Astronomer, who’s always a good read. Go enjoy his debunkery.
As long as we’re on the Slate site: should the nation's capital get skyscrapers? I’m all for skyscrapers, and wish we had more of them. I’ve been watching the Nic on 5th go up for a while, and it’s okay so far; I think it’ll be good when it’s full, and it’s 8:15 PM on a summer night, and it’s recently rained - in other words, like the pictures in the promotional material. Matthew Yglesias wants more skyscrapers in DC, and thinks it would be a good idea because they belong downtown, and DC has a downtown, ergo: stack ‘em high, boys. But DC is a unique city, and the height limits have produced clear clean visual heirarchy that sets it apart from any other American urban center. You want tall buildings, go across the river.
Guaranteed: if they built a 40-story tower in DC is will be hated in 20 years. They’d probably get Gehry to design it, and it would be something that looked like a Venusian moth cocoon.
By the way, the Nic on 5th has an interesting approach to selling the building. Not the first thing that comes to mind when the subject of downtown living arises.
As St. Paul wonders what to do with its old Dayton’s building - sorry, the iconic Daytons building - Minneapolis zoning solons are grappling with the Neiman Marcus site. The new tenant doesn’t want retail. The city wants retail. Says the new tenant, according to Business Journal:
The only potential retail tenant that has expressed interest in a larger retail space at the Neiman site in the past year is a restaurant that would require five years of free rent and substantial renovations, Galatz said. Other likely retailers interested in the property could be CVS or Walgreens, which he argued, "do not create the urban retail environment the city seeks to create on Nicollet Mall."
At first one thinks: CVS would be a step down from Neiman Marcus. On the other hand, Neiman Marcus didn’t make enough money to keep the store open. There aren’t many CVS-type stores in the area. People who live downtown might not object. It’s not high-end speciality destination shopping, no. But it would be better than office space. And better than nothing.
The article cites the city's brief against the variance, which says there’s been retail on the block since 1890. A bit earlier, perhaps; the site was occupied by the Syndicate Building, construction of which began in 1885. The building survived, more or less, until they knocked it down for the Gaviidae Expansion.
This was the final incarnation: the metal-shrouded Penney’s facade, which had a pinkish hue, if I recall correctly.
SANITY IN THE SKIES All those electronics which are really, really dangerous to planes during take-off and landing? Nevermind:
This week, an F.A.A. advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity because they could not comment on the recommendations. The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight, the panel members said.
Great! No phone calls but iPods permitted. The NYT article notes:
The panel will recommend its new policy to the F.A.A. by the end of the month and it will most likely go into effect next year.
Why so long? Because it’ll take months to untrain the flight attendants who’ve acted like you’re putting 300 people at risk by looking at a Kindle? Let’s go to the comments:
The real problem here is that people are unable or unwilling to turn off their devices for a mere twenty minutes. Once the plane is airborne, they can turn them back on. This is not a hardship, and refusal to do it constitutes a simple lack of consideration that is endemic in our society. I have no sympathy for such behavior.
Here’s a stool so you can get off your high horse without falling on your face. It’s a matter of having something to read and something to listen to. I bring magazines on the plane just to have something to read while taking off. No other reason. So is that so bad? Why not read SkyMall? I have no sympathy with people who can’t read SkyMall for 20 minutes. Right. I also would like to listen to music during take-off, and I don’t believe it would make me unaware of any safety-related situations that might arise. The sudden lack of altitude would probably get my attention.
CRIME Another one of those “Jack the Ripper case finally solved” stories. This one has a twist: there was no such thing as Jack the Ripper.
I liked this quote from the author of the new theory:
Around 80 per cent of the books about him have a picture of a chap on the front stalking the streets of London in a long black cape and a top hat.
“They were the clothes of an upper class, wealthy man. But back in 1888 if someone dressed like that had actually walked around Whitechapel in the dead of night they wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.
“It wasn’t just one of the most crime-riddled areas of London, it was one of the worst areas in the country. It’s a false image that has been created by the likes of Hollywood film makers.”
Yes: imagine someone in a white dinner jacket with tails swanning around Hell’s Kitchen in 1915. I don’t think any of the local toughs would shrink away, saying “such aristocratic dress in these parts surely means he is a fearsome killer whose horrible crimes are characterized by a surgical skill that speaks of considerable intelligence.” That said, the article notes that some of the crimes were done by a German seaman, who probably did more here and there. So, Johann the Ripper. But Jack? Made up by a newspaperman.
That’s the theory du jour, anyway.
THE WORST DECADE EVER This is either proof of how the concept of “cool” is different for every generation, or a very short documentary about the decline of popular music:
Reminded me of something a friend said: you can't really understand 70s culture by listening to an oldies channel. You have to hear Casey Kasem count 'em down, because he played a song that made the charts for a week or two then faded out for good. The bad stuff - and that’s saying something when the subject is the 70s.
Likewise for TV: oh, a golden age! All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore! Right. Well, consider the following compilation of short-lived sitcoms themes. I swear: growing up, everything was like this.
That's Ted Knight up there. One of the last ones looks like something from a parallel universe, where Fred Sanford never existed, and some strange Not-Redd ran a hotel instead of a junkyard. Wikipedia explains:
The attempt to continue a popular series without its two main stars turned out to be a failure. The ratings were dismal and the show was cancelled after four episodes. When Redd Foxx returned to television as Fred Sanford in the 1980–1981 spinoff Sanford, the events of Sanford Arms were completely ignored.
In case you were wondering whether Sanford Arms was canon or not.
PAGING DR. JONES Poor Etruscans. The Romans get all the press. Perhaps this will help to rekindle interest
The skeletonized body of an Etruscan prince, possibly a relative to Tarquinius Priscus, the legendary fifth king of Rome from 616 to 579 B.C., has been brought to light in an extraordinary finding that promises to reveal new insights on one of the ancient world’s most fascinating cultures.
“Fascinating” because we know so little. More here at Discovery.com.
That's it for today. First Monday of fall looks rather nice so far. As much of this as possible, please; we deserve it.
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