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.
Took a day, but Shia LaBeouf has apologized.
“In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation,” tweeted LaBeouf.
What’s this all about? Here’s Wired:
Shia LaBeouf’s critically acclaimed 2012 short HowardCantour.com was available online today — until people familiar with indie comics noticed its remarkable resemblance to Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic by Ghost World creator Dan Clowes.
By “remarkable,” we mean “lifted the words directly from the comic and used them without crediting the author.”
. . . both open with exactly the same monologue from their eponymous leads: “A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions.”
And so on. The next scene is the same as the comic. And so on.
Don’t be too hard on Shia; it’s so easy to get lost in the creative process, put your name all over everything and forget the person whose work you hovoered up. Oh, there might be a nagging sensation you’re missing something, but heck, if it was important, you’d have remembered.
As for that apology, well, here’s BuzzFeed today:
LaBeouf claimed he wasn’t “copying” Clowes, but rather was “inspired” by him and “got lost in the creative process.” The first part of his apology is very similar to an entry on Yahoo! Answers written four years ago. A user named Lili wrote, “Merely copying isn’t particularly creative work, though it’s useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize [sic] the ‘stolen’ concept.”
LaBeouf wrote: “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”
That it is. Let us know when that happens.
SANTAS PAST Six blog entries left until Christmas; here’s the first of a half-dozen vintage plastic Santa statues, found at Hunt & Gather.
COMICS Odd moment in “Heart of the City” today.
The readers who like the strip are not amused.
RANDOM INFORMATION While looking around for a picture of the Paul Bunyan Restaurant in Yreka, California, I was drawn to the large portion of the town’s wikipedia page called “LYNCHINGS.” There were two notorious examples, the second of which concerned Clyde Johnson and Robert Barr in 1935. After a robbery they were stopped by the cops; there was gunplay, and a beloved local cop and WWI vet, “Jack” Daw, was killed. Clyde was caught; Barr hopped a freight and got away. After Daw’s funeral, a mob showed up at the jail, removed Clyde, took him out in the woods and hung hum. This page on lynching quotes the California Attorney General, referring to the recently delayed execution of an accused murderer, stated that the "uncontrollable unrest" was a natural result of the "apathy of the Supreme Court of the United States."
That’s not why I bring up Yreka. The guy who got away:
The movie was “Rose Marie," a Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald film. He's not in the imdb listning, but do you know who is? Iron Eyes Cody, the guy in the famous Native-American-Sheds-A-Single-Tear anti-littering ad.
Anyway, Proving that the world was a more curious place in the 30s, and that newspapers knew how to give people what they want, here's another story from the front page:
I’ve no idea if they’re true, but this is what newspapers used to consider front-page material. Which, of course, it was.
Oh but there’s more, at least about Yreka.
A group of young men gained national media attention when, brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the state of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" and would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice.”
That would be confusing.
Lest you think this happened recently: the desire to get out from under the thumb of the existing political order happened . . . .in 1941. Hope they weren’t intent on keeping the country out of WW2:
Coincidentally, the "state of Jefferson" was one of the few places in the continental USA to be the subject of an attack during World War II, when Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs on the Oregon Coast near Brookings on September 9, 1942.
All that, a shotgunned ape, and an elephant legally executed by firing squad: the past is always stranger than you think.
After landing a small part in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," Totter went on to a series of roles as tough-talking blondes.
Her breakthrough came with "Lady in the Lake," the 1947 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe detective tale. She also appeared in the thriller "The Unsuspected" and the boxing drama "The Set-Up." After retiring to raise a family, Totter later resurfaced on television.
She could stare down the camera like no one else. From “Lady in the Lake,” in handy GIF form:
There’s a reason “Totter Eyes” rhymes with “cauterize.”
OOPS Oh, just use any old stock art. Who’ll know? From Ahram Online:
Egypt's outgoing constitution-amending committee has repeatedly stressed that it has drafted a national charter that represents all Egyptians. The huge banner reading "All Egyptians Constitution" hanging in the background during Sunday's international press conference, however, barely reflected their assertion. Three out of the five people whose images were used on the banner appear to be foreigners.
BEST KOREA More from the Potemkin Ski Resort:
Nothing but a stage set for the inner party. The picture of the little monster standing alone in the pathetic gift shop is particularly empty for Nork propaganda, which is saying something.
SCIENCE! Don’t panic, but the universe could collapse any second now.
Danish scientists say an expanding bubble of existential doom could crush the Universe into a tiny ball. And crazily, the odds of this collapse is higher than previously thought.
This theory isn't actually new. But the scientists who conducted the new study say previous calculations were incomplete. Their new, more precise calculations, now show that (1) the universe will probably collapse, and (2) a collapse is even more likely than the old calculations predicted.
The question is whether this has been foreseen by our lizardoid overlords, or whether they control it. In related news, the “Unanswered Mystery of 7,000-year-old Ubaid Lizardmen.” In statuary form. Tila Tequila is jumping all over the place right now saying “SEE? SEE?
Wisconsin DoT cameras caught this four-minute festival of uncontrollable momentum.
Pay attention at 1:05 or so, right lane. Over the median and through the woods. Ask yourself: would you stay in your car and hope no one hit you, or get out and hope no one hit you?
ARCHITORTURE To the surprise of no one, the demolition of the Strib building moves one step closer to wrecking day. This piece on bringmethenews.com mentions something odd:
Besides being a sound example of Art Moderne architecture after its 1940s renovation, advocates of preserving the building say half-a-dozen architectural tributes to Minnesota’s industrial heritage are noteworthy features. The carvings are part of the stone facade on either side of the main entrance that depict mining, milling, lumber, fishing, farming, and dairy.
However, some say the carvings, aren’t valuable enough to merit preservation.
Who? There’s a quote from the head of the Architecture department at the U, but he refers to the interior, which has little historical value. The staircases date from the 1947 overhaul, but good luck saving a building for its staircases; we lost much better ones in the Metropolitan building, or the long-gone New York Insurance Building:
That’s one of the most magical spaces downtown ever had. Poof! Anyway: the medallions are significant, and the idea that they’re not valuable is preposterous. I understand they’re eager to claw the Strib down, but if they can’t take a few days to pry the Cow and the rest off the front for later placement in the park, then they’re vandals.
People simply aren’t willing to pay very much for recorded music anymore. If you’re an artist, and especially if you’re a record label, that’s very bad news. Naturally, some artists want to shoot the messenger, blaming Spotify for their paltry payments. But Spotify is not the problem. The market is the problem. Spotify is just the messenger telling them what the market is now willing to pay for their songs.
True - but Spotify and other services undermine music sales by letting the customer know in advance that an album isn’t any good. In olden times of vinyl you bought a record because a critic you respected had given you permission, or it was a favorite band. Then you took it home, pierced the plastic with knife or thumbnail or guitar pick, slid it out of the crackly envelope, and sat back to absorb this important cultural message.
Then came that sinking sensation, the slow, steady realization that the songs are hookless blobs. The band, exhausted from touring, is creatively spent. Surely they knew this was boring. Surely the producer knew it wasn’t anything close to their previous work. The people who designed the album knew. The executive who signed off on the publicity campaign listened, shrugged, and thought “We’ll sell enough before they figure it out.” Everyone knew it was bad but agreed to pretend it wasn’t - until the critic spoke up. There were only a few you trusted, but they’d save you from a bad purchase.
If you listened to them, which you didn’t, because hey, you liked that artist. Usually took two more flops to make you pass on the new one, and that always felt odd, Like you'd broken up with the band somehow, months before, and now here they are again. Awkward.
VoTD You know what’s going to happenn the first 2 seconds you see the situation.
So it’s not a matter of what, but when. Wait for the narrator’s reaction - if you can call it that.
SUPERVILLAIN LAIR STYLE There’s rich, and there’s car-elevator-to-your-59th-floor-garage rich:
The units are being snapped up by billionares, as you might imagine. This is Tony Stark territory, anyone wth the money would simply have to have a pied-a-terre in this structure. Yes, it's real; more here.
SQUIRREL! Everyone loves them. Inquisitive little scampering public pets. Do you know why the parks are full of the creatures? Because we put them there. Don’t know why this story is on Gizmodo, but I’m glad they did it. Give it a read.
Wonder if anyone ever asks them if it’s full of eels.
AHOY Surely I’m not the only one who wants to see a movie set in its dystopian, fascistic society ten years after it set sail as a sovereign nation:
The plans for the Freedom Ship are certainly audacious. The one-mile-long and 25-story-high ship would circle the Earth every two years, spending roughly 70 percent of its time moored outside major cities and ports (it will be too big to go in most ports, so residents can fly to and from the shore from the Freedom Ship's onboard airport). On board the floating ship would have its own economy, with tens of thousands of people working in shops, bars, and other businesses, and everyone on board paying a maintenance fee to support infrastructure such as security services and fire fighters.
And if they don’t pay? Can the leaders just toss them over board? I’d think you’d want to read the EULA verrrry carefully before signing up. The article notes: The question of legality onboard is a little murky too, though the Freedom Ship will likely have to operate under the laws of the country whose flag they fly.”
Which means residents might have to get used to hearing the phrase “well, Liberian courts have declined to bring charges for that” a lot.
WEB CULTURE From the Daily Dot, everything that’s wrong with Reddit, right here:
I first heard about Reddit’s Century Club in September, after a mysterious persona called UpMan made Internet history.
In just 11 days, the redditor collected 100,000 points of comment karma—otherwise meaningless Internet points that give prolific Reddit users clout. Karma is Reddit’s virtual voting system. It rewards users for providing the community with content and commentary.
UpMan had a ton of it—and he got it faster than anyone, ever. (The previous record holder was someone called prostitute_strangler, who accomplished the feat in 22 days.)
Okay. I don’t care what marvelous things he’s saying, or how much lovely floral-scented karma wafts from his posts. I’m not up voting anyone named prostitute_strangler.
Mind you, the Century Club is not a physical location with cabanas on the beach. It’s just a BBS for the elite. Or was, until people with lots more than 100K points got tired of the hoi polloi:
. . . two even more exclusive subreddits have popped up since Century Club took off. One of them is called r/TripleCenturyClub. It’s even more exclusive. The name suggests 300,000 karma points will grant you a membership.
Somehow I don’t expect to see that accomplishment pop up in an obit in 20 years, but you never know.
SOMEONE’S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED And he’s still there! The Three Bears, of course, could have just clawed this guy into a bloody mess. Humans have only the courts.
A family in Springdale returned from an out-of-town visit to a dying relative to find someone else had moved into their home of 21 years. Their outrage has now turned into a court battle, pitting them against a man who says he has the court documents to prove the house is now his.
WLWT News 5's Karin Johnson began to investigate and uncovered a dozen cases, all linked to the same man.
Robert Carr went into the home on Springdale Lake Drive, changed the locks and emptied the house. The family said when they confronted Carr, he showed them a document he filed with the Hamilton County Court.
It's called a "quiet title" and lays claim to the property because Carr said the family abandoned the house and gave up all rights.
How does this happen? The family shows up with the sheriff, who listens to the guy in your house, and says “well, he has a point.” Are there family pictures on the wall? A name on the title? This is insane.
MOVIES Sigh. Deadline:
he report, The Survivial Of American Silent Films: 1912-1929, has found that 70% of feature-length silent films made in America have been completely lost. During the period the study covers, 10,919 silent feature films of U.S. origin were released and only 14% of those still exist in their original 35mm format. Of those, 5% are incomplete and 11% are only available in foreign versions or lower-quality formats. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the state of America’s silent film heritage an “alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record.”
The comments are depressing, too; about 50% weigh in with “big whoop.” Well, it does matter. There's something amiss when we have every episode of "Gilligan's Island" but we've lost the majority of silent films.
Off to drive around and see how people are coping with the snow. Poorly, I expect.
Looks like the Boss’ next album is even darker than “Nebraska”:
That’s how the story came up in the Zite ap, anyway. No idea why, except that the picture of the Governor reminds me of the last time I enjoyed “The Walking Dead,” if “enjoyment” is a word one can apply to this endless festival of ambulatory meat and misery. Last night’s episode had the obligatory Big Thing for the mid-season climax, and while it’s nice that everyone’s out of the prison, it’s too bad about the obligatory Major Character Death. Where will they go next? Who’s left? How will they regroup?
I don’t know and I don’t care. There were some scenes from the first season shown during the commercial breaks, and the shot of Rick riding a horse into Atlanta reminded me how stark and gripping the show used to be when the disaster was fresh. Now it’s a slog from fort to fort, with uplifting subplots like “everyone’s dying of the flu” and new characters who exist only to die next season. Forget it. I’m done. At some point last night I noted that one of the characters was using a filing cabinet as a shield, and the bullets didn’t go through. It didn’t even have a drawer.
One more thing: remember when characters used to sit up in the towers with rifles with scopes, and practice picking off zombies from a distance? That sort of skill would come in handy when a monocular sociopath stands up on a tank and says he’s come to take over, no?
No! Get down on the ground behind a chain link fence where he can see you!
In more uplifting news from a universe even less plausible but much more delightful: did characters from the previous Disney Animation Studios show up in the new one? Well, sure. Why not?
TUMBLR DU JOUR It begins with cusswords, so if that offends you, click not. Otherwise you may appreciate “Tab Closed; Didn’t Read.” It’s devoted to fighting sites that splash an ad over the screen requiring your action to dismiss. Yes, I know, sites need ad revenue. But these are particularly heinous on a mobile device; you have to expand the page to find the tiny X, which is the size of one-eighth a grain of rice, and most of the time you miss and go off to some place you don’t want to be. It’s like going to a movie, putting a big black sheet over the picture, and making you get out of your seat, walk to the front with a long pole, and try to hit the X in the upper-right-hand corner.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS You may have heard about the fellow who dropped a thousand dollars at the Mall of America. I mean, literally dropped. Here’s the video.
He was arrested, because - as CCO’s report puts it - “he could have caused a serious situation.”
This may be plea-bargained down to “a tragicomic situation.
DASHCAM VotD Short, with mayhem; Russia delivers, as usual.:
STOP THIEF! Logo Thief looks at interesting pieces of graphic design, and the designers who steal them. As in:
Whoa! Someone took the logo from an HBO show and thought he could get away with it? Other way around.
Finally: it's December, so now this makes sense.
In other words: bg-headed translucent manger-beast. We'll try to post some Christmas Peculiarities every day, unless of course we foget. It's been known to happen.
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