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.
Yes, Derek Flint himself bestrode our streets - in 1963. "Route 66" filmed three episodes of the TV series here, and they're inadvertant documentaries of downtown. The episode begins around the construction of the Upper St. Anthony Falls dam, where Coburn is a project manager dealing with a troublesome sister, played by Barbara Mattes.
There's a ceremony at Loring Park, by the Ole Bull statue:
Earlier, Glen Corbett had been driving around downtown, and noticed a statue:
Minneapolis history enthusiasts recognize her right away. She was here:
But not at first. The statue, named "Scherzo," was originally installed at the Foshay Tower. Harriet Frishmuth was the sculptor. This picture shows the dedication ceremony in a space I believe is now the empty court of the TCF building. Up to now I've only seen stills, but the "Route 66" show had a brief sequence of the way the water splashed up - which we now present in GIF form.
Block E’s redesign is moving forward. The renderings, from RSP architects:
First thought: why can’t this be the City Center renovation? It looks like City Center, right down to the notched corner and curvy overhang, to use some highly technical architectural terms. Second: much, much better than the Block E we know and avoid. The Charcoal-and-ice palette is attractive, and likely to age well; Banana Republic has been using those colors for 15 years and people aren’t tired of them. They didn’t touch the hotel behind it, which still looks like it’s about to turn into Optimus Prime.
While we’re on the subject of buidlings, Atlas Obscura featured this abandoned complex the other day. It’s enormous. Can you guess what it is?
(Photos from wikipedia.)
The Prora complex consists of eight identical buildings on the coast of Germany's Rügen Island. Stretching for almost three miles down the beach, the proposed resort featured a seaward view from every single room with hallways and all other facilities on the land-facing side of the rooms. Every room was to have a couple of beds, an armoire, and a sink while bathrooms shared per floor.
It’s a Nazi Resort. Of all things.
The brutally efficient rooms were built in an effort to provide affordable vacation space for the average German worker, regardless of class, operating under the idealistic ethos that every working German deserves a day at the beach.
The story calls the site “Dystopian,” and that’s not far off. It lacks the bleak crudity of the worst Soviet housing blocks, but it has that chilling quality of Fascist architecture I can’t quite describe. Empty grandeur. Monumental soullessness.
Speaking of Nazis, here’s some Hitler quotes purposefully misattributed to Taylor Swift. Why? Because the internet was bored for a while. Also, a lesson on how context matters. Something the original City Center developers never learned, but I'm not going to start in on that again.
TECH Get out the IcyHot if you’re using Facebook’s new Paper app: it’s hell on thumbs.
. . . for the ~90% of right-handed phone users, the default thumb position is a hook. Try performing the thumb hook 10, 20, or 30 times in a row. Now try it faster. Ow.
I've downloaded Paper, and am apprehensive about having One More Thing to check, especially when Facebook's behind it. I'm wondering if they'll migrate what works about Paper to Facebook itself, and come up with something that isn't so hideous and cluttered.
Elsewhere in the world of small glowing rectanges, here’s how to be miserable: play Flappy Bird. I played it on my daughter’s phone while waiting for takeout. Played it twice. In both cases I hit the first pipe. It’s an important moment in your life, because you have a decision to make: do I want to get past the first pipe, or step away now and never go back?
I put it down and have been happier ever since. Now and then I hear a gust of frustration from my daughter's room, and I know it's not math homework. Damned flappy bird.
TWINS, MAX The Dylan Farrow letter has sent people to old Woody Allen interviews and scripts - and correspondence he exchanged with a young girl. New York mag has a letter he wrote to a young fan:
Hard to believe you're 13! When I was 13 I couldn't dress myself, and here you write about one of life's deepest philosophical problems, i.e., existential boredom. I guess it's hard for me to imagine a 13-year-old quoting anything but Batman -- but T. Mann? Anyway, there's too much wrong with the world to ever get too relaxed and happy. The more natural state, and the better one, I think, is one of some anxiety and tension over man`s plight in this mysterious universe …
Oh, what a dour, pretentious man. Don’t be so happy, child! Dwell on the empty, meaningless joke in which we humans find ourselves trapped with no release but the hard yank of death.
VotD Winter driving reminder: watch your speed.
The prospect of hitting 97 today seems low, doesn’t it? When the sun comes out the temps bloom, but the haze seems to be working to keep things from feeling like a Venusian sauna. Well, let’s chill out with some cool links! KIDDING. That cliche was brought to you by a website in 1998. By the way, why do we chill out, but cool down? Can one not chill down and cool out? Stands to reason, but people would think you had cliche dyslexia.
Okay, I’ll shut up. Here we go:
CRUNCH The headline for this one said “What does a biker look like flying over my car?” A good question, but there’s also the question of what sound proceeds the sight. Dash-cam videos provide an opportunity to judge the actions of random strangers, and in this case the motorcyclist seems to be at fault. His brisk trot back to the ruins of his steed are the perfect punctuation to his post-flight fame.
Actually, no, it’s the wipers.
HISTORY Here’s a look at some early Target stores. It’s the 50th anniversary next month. One of the first:
I remember the store in Moorhead - sorry, Moorehead. It had the logo embedded in the floor. No one really knew what Target was supposed to be, and there was so much competition: K-Mart ruled, and there was also Zayre’s for when you wanted to feel depressed about your life. More here.
ART A Van Gogh painting previously thought fake turns out to be real. (Shown at right; actually size. It was his "miniaturist" period.) The article notes that it was from the estate of Nikolai Christian Mustad. Who? Well, his father was Hans Mustad, who built up a large industrial concern. Says wikipedia:
The company eventually became the world's largest producer of fish hooks.
Which led to a fortune that probably still clatters through the commerce of Norway daily.
HOAX DU JOUR Kanye West insulted croissants on his latest album, and French bakers sent a letter of protest. It was hilarious! Today - the NBC morning show - said this:
In the letter, the bakers stress that a croissant can’t be rushed, as it is akin to a work￼ of art. They also say they would let the slight pass, but they take his lyrics seriously.
“From the other lines in the song, we have come to understand that you may in fact be a 'God.' Yet if this were the case — and we, of course￼, take you at your word — we wonder why you do not more frequently employ your omnipotence to change time and space to better suit your own personal whims,” the letter reads.
Yes. This is for real.
No. This is for fake. Politico:
There is no Association of French Bakers. There are no English-language mentions of the trade association prior to this month. The address of the association in Paris does not exist. The letter was, in fact, first posted as a parody by writer W. David Marx on the website Medium earlier this month. It was picked up as fact by legitimate news outlets like Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Fox News, Time, USA Today, The Root, Grist and many, many others. Only Time and the THR have corrections up as of right now.
I’ll be checking all the other sites to see if they correct. Just kidding! Refreshing “Grist” every hour to see if they’ve clarified the Kanye / Baguette issue is low on the list for afternoon duties.
YOU THERE Today’s bossy YOU headlines popped up 12 seconds after I went online. Digg is to blame.
500 Retweets Could Land You In Jail In China Not me. I am not subject to Chinese law. On the other hand, one link could put someone in prison in the United States. On a related note: bravery in Russia.
Anyway: Everytime you shampoo you’re hurting the environment That’s from Mother Jones. So aliens will visit the planet in 100 years, find a lifeless husk, and think “the fools! They shampooed themselves out a habitat!” The actual details, which are interesting, are here. Big Shampoo says it’s going to phase out the problematic ingredients, but not until they find something that works just as well.
If you're suspecting a replay of the ruination of dishwashing detergent, you're not alone.
Pageant of Progress! The Fair put out this mod guide in '68, a souvenir you could take home, put away, forget, and sell to an antique store four decades later. The cover:
The Grandstand acts for 1968: perhaps the Fifth Dimension had to cancel when they all came down with pnuemonia.
Before they turned the quadrant into Heritage Square, it was Young America, filled by . . .
The bands appearing in '68:
Wow, those guys? While the kids enjoyed themselves looking at Nehru jackets, the folks could meet a bank president:
Federal indictments were still decades away.
The all-you-can-drink milk booth in '68:
And some art: this was the style of 1968, not the "psychedelic" graphics most commonly associated with the era.
The kid seems to have something of an edge. I'm going to eat the heck out of this cone and you can't stop me so there.
Also from the archives: I found some old slides of the Strib booth. The originals are rather . . . crimson.
Well, we can repair that, can't we? Yes we can:
You'll note the Dayton sign:
Yes, there was a Dayton's at the Fair, under the ramp. Another shot from a tiny, tiny picture I found in the paper's archives. Unlike the movies, saying "enhance" at the computer doesn't work. Best I can do:
The booth had a nice service: you could leave a message with anyone to get later.
Finally, a bygone shot of a bandstand.
All that empty space! It would have 42 food booths today.
The Freak Show is one of the Midway’s oldest traditions: hoochie-coochie allure and horrible deformities, just on the other side of the canvas wall. The barker stands out front and describes the marvels inside; a fire-eater swallows a bolus of flame and promises more exotic delights. You pay your admission and crowd inside, where the disappointment is swift and complete. I went inside a few years ago, and it was just pathetic. But it’s keeping a tradition alive, and there’s something to be said for that.
The best part is the pictures outside.
Losing one's head doesn't prevent the desire to look good in a little black dress and heels. The technician's look is priceless: dismayed that she can still carry it off.
The executioner is almost apologetic:
Yes, she exists. Of course. If there was such a creature you know she'd be working sideshows for a 50 cent admission fee:
Severed floating arm with prominent bone: of COURSE he's alive, and OF COURSE that's exactly what you're going to see inside:
"Hall" may be the artist's name. Whoever he or she was, the work is a marvelous update of the old signs, a few of which can be seen in Heritage Square.
Dead divas walking on glass wouldn't be much of a draw:
A true tradition:
There's an old Voltara chair in the train car museum in Heritage Square. What constitutes a lethal dose of electricity? A 60-watt bulb.
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