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.
Got a sneak preview of a bar / restaurant the other night, because I am an important member of the media who gets private access to things, and a known foodie.
I’m sorry, that should have shown up in red to indicate a total lie. I thought HTML 5 had a
No one ever went back to the dorm in college after class, put on an album, and thought “I’ll bet in the 21st century, when we’re all wearing one-piece jumpers and growing food in test tubes on the moon, that guy a few rows over in Art History will be the landlord for the guitarist for this band that's playing now.” But a few weeks ago I was having dinner with a guy I hadn't seen in three decades or so. He’d invited us over to meet the art history prof we both had in college, a marvelous man named Norman Canady, and talk turned to the big bass guitars on his wall. We talked about our favorite bands in college. Television came up.
“Richard Lloyd lives in my house,” he said.
Uh - you don’t say. What? Yes: he lives here now.
There were two guitarist, of course - the weird meandering lead of Tom Verlaine, and the much-more accomplished and fiery rhythm / lead work of Richard Lloyd. Well, Richard lives here now half the time. And here he is, in a lousy made-for-Instagram photo!
He still has it.
I’ll have more later; saving up the good stuff for a story next month. Suffice to say you’d never see him on the street and think “Ah, now there’s a member of one of the most important bands of the 70s.” If you saw Tom Verlaine, you might think “so the dead do walk amongst us after all,” unless he’s put on some weight. But Richard? No. Until he plays, that is.
PS. The opening act was the Baby Boys. Some nifty stuff.
PPS. The restaurant deserves a full accounting by someone who knows what he’s talking about, so we’ll have to wait for Rick Nelson to pay a visit. I’ll just say this: Belmont, next to the cop shop on 4th. Chorizo pizza: oy. Yes. Is there also pudding? you ask. There is pudding, a recipe invented by the owner / chef’s wife. It is pudding that will make you forget ice cream exists.
NEWS This story on side-by-side pharmacies echoes something I heard when CVS went in right next to a Walgreens in Edina. A lady of a certain age was in line, and when the clerk said the construction next door was for another drug store, she was outraged. “How can they let that happen?” she said.
Mind you, the Walgreens was catty-whompus from Target, which has a pharmacy, and Target was two blocks from Lunds, which has a pharmacy. All three sell milk. Several blocks away, there was a streetcorner that used to have three gas stations. Three! How did they let that happen? Also, there’s a Pizza Hut right next to a convenience store that sells frozen Tombstones and hot slices. What is going on here?
Actually, the consternation seems limited to drug stores, which I do not understand. Maybe it’s because CVS is relatively new in town; no one seemed particularly exercised when Walgreen’s squoze out Rexall, and the vanishing of local unguent-peddler Synder’s seems to have gone unmourned. It’s a good thing, competition; that Walgreen’s in Edina was a dusty muddled junky joint before, and the appearance of a shiny new foe made them rehab and improve. Everybody wins!
Until the loser shuts its doors, anyway. Do you know what CVS stands for? No one does. (I believe it’s Consumer / Value / Service.) It’s like SKU: everyone sees it on a price tag or a store shelf, and no one knows what it stands for - unless, that is, you’re at Trader Joe’s, and you see the new cloth bags with the rope handles. They’re intended to be jokey and generic: THIS IS A BAG is printed on the fabric; below it says STOCK KEEPING UNIT 938296. That’s what SKU means. Now you know. Amaze your friends. Disclaimer: no actual amazement will occur.
TECH Will this save QR codes? Or at least reduce all the snark they inspire?
Using technology developed by software company Evrything, Diageo assigned an individual code that created a special identity for its whiskey brands in Brazil for a promotion timed to Father's Day, celebrated there in August. When consumers scanned the code on the bottle using a smartphone, it allowed them to personalize a film template by adding a photo and a personal message to their dads. Dad could then view the film by scanning the bottle with his own phone.
This presumes Dad has a phone capable of retrieving the data and displaying it correctly; I think my Dad’s cellphone is six inches thick and cannot display graphics more complex than Pong. But that will change. In 20 years people will be rolling their eyes at their parents’ tech: I tried calling my dad on my subdural transmitter the other day, and when I get the holographic pop-up it says he’s still on Google glasses. It’s so embarrassing.
FRANKENSTORM The internet abounds today with pictures of New Yorkers thronging stores to stock up on food. This is the problem with living in an enormous metropolis: you have a fridge the size of a suitcase. And, as Buzzfeed points out, no idea whatever how to deal with storms. The tape! It does nothing!
Brrr, again. Don’t hope for a warming trend; long-term models show the sun eventually dying out entirely into a massive inert cinder. Of course, those are really long-term models.
LANCE LAWSONThis guy crumples with record speed:
Answer at the bottom.
INTERNET Here's the top 38 local Instagrammers. Tag overload in some of those examples. #tree #branches #treebraches #leaves #autumn #autumnleaves #leavesofautumn #fall #fallcolors #deciduous OKAY I GET IT
SURFACE TENSION When Microsoft launched its Surface thingy-device in China, it did not anticipate that someone’s Grandma would get up on stage and tell them to TURN IT DOWN.
The entertainment kicked off at midnight and involved music and a stage show. As is usually the case at such events, they are loud, and those living nearby are just expected to put up with it for a few hours.
One set of grandparents decided to protest, though. Today is a school day after all, and they had grandchildren trying to sleep. Poor sleep means poor results at school, so they gate crashed the event, jumped up on stage, and attempted to shut down the whole thing in a bid for silence.
The guards dragged the woman off, and the dancers kept dancing. The only way this could possibly be better would be Ballmer leaping around with saddlebags under his arms screaming DEVELOPERS.
”Saddlebags,” by the way, was a term Tom Wolfe used in “A Man in Full,” describing the perspiration that attends a high-stakes confrontation. Wolfe has a new book out, by the way - and this interview with the charming fellow has a surprising conclusion. People in the comments hate the way it ended, which is a reminder to -
On Jan. 1, I made a resolution I never thought I would. I took a Sharpie and a Post-it and wrote the words “DON’T READ THE COMMENTS” in big letters and stuck it on my computer. I’ve been so much happier ever since.
I think she meant the comments on her stories, but as a general rule, it’s path to happiness. Of course I had to read the comments on her story about not reading comments. The last one:
I have always written my comments to give pause to people about how she writes, because the meta-structure is so toxic and manipulative. . . . what Vampirella does is creates a callousness that is being perpetrated in more and more venues, and leads to a decline in empathy across the board, as well as what I call 'vampiric mirroring' -- her example serves as an example to other hidden, more latent vampires, and encourages their descent into the bowels of hell. Which then turns into Hell for the rest of us because we have to live with them.
”What I call vampiric mirroring.” Why should he have all the fun? Let’s all call it vampiric mirroring.
I seem to have strayed off topic. Let’s move on.
ART A museum replaced all the art by men with art made by women. Let’s see if anyone notices! The author notes there’s no reason why Lee Krasner, Pollack’s wife shouldn’t be included in the museum next to his, since her work has a “certain power.”
BTW, it’s likely that the origins of “Let’s see if they notice” or some variant may be unknown to some. We can help with that:
LANCE SOLUTION: "Lance guessed the safe had been rifled by someone who knew where everything was (the inside was orderly) - and the contents hadn't been disturbed by the explosion." Stupid crook. As usual.
Or "now," unfortunately. Augh. Snow. Forget everything I said about the pleasures of a dank gloomy October day. This is miserable. This is the first scrape of the raw blade of winter on your cheek, and that means snow, as well as overwriting. Not fond of this at all - especially if it persists, and Halloween means a shivering scurry from house to house in wet costumes. Was it two years ago we had a warm Halloween? It seemed as if it was almost 60 in the early evening, and the trees had most of their leaves. Something about this winter seems anxious to bear down and gather up the world. Still smarting from that confident spring, perhaps.
Could be worse. We could be facing a FRANKENSTORM.
GEEK i09 found this: Denny’s is promoting Second Breakfast to promote the first of the 293 Hobbit movies coming out in the next 14 years. Their headline is a masterpiece of the passive, bland internet-speak: “The Hobbit’s Second Breakfast being served at Denny’s is something that is happening.” This is a longer version of “so this is a thing.” Anyway, here’s the ad:
Favorite part: “Build your own Hobbit Slam.” Oh, we’ll leave that to the film critics.
HISTORY The earliest blooper ever recorded - that’s the headline. But it’s more than that. It’s a video about the reconstruction of the first recorded musical performance, in 1878. They’’re tinfoil recordings, which were usually destroyed after a few plays.
Hunter said he was able to determine just this week that the man's voice on the museum's 1878 tinfoil recording is believed to be that of Thomas Mason, a St. Louis newspaper political writer who also went by the pen name I.X. Peck.
The internet is silent on Mr. Mason. His voice has survived beyond his work, apparently. Here it is:
HEROES The next James Bond might be Idris Elba. Perhaps you remember him from “The Wire,” or other fine performances. But, you say, James Bond is a Scotsman, and Elba is Black. Well, half Scot; his mother was Swiss. Does the character’s ethnicity matter, at this point? Is there something inherently Scottish about Bond anymore since we’ve passed beyond the Connery model, or is this is like making Shaft an Italian?
Ian Fleming had his own model for Bond:
Hoagy Carmichael. Really. But he wanted Bond to be “a blunt instrument,” a civil servant who had no particular charisma, and killed people on behalf of the Queen.
Hoagy looks up to the job in that picture.
INTERNET Yesterday we had handwritten emails; today it’s forms you can print out and give to someone with whom you have a grievance, or romantic interests. They’re from The Bureau of Communication. Here’s a portion of the form:
More amusing examples here.
VIDEOYou’ve been asking, over and over: when I can see a near collision of USAF KC135 and NATO E3 AWACS? Right here. Audible reaction: whoa ho ho ho! Probably not meant in jest.
UPDATE Remember the Nazi Buddha from Space? It might be a fake.
The narrative was, perhaps, just a little too good to be true. When news broke last month of the so-called "buddha from space" – a swastika-emblazoned statue, apparently 1,000 years old, that had been carved out of a meteorite and looted by a Nazi ethnologist – the world was enthralled.
There were only, it turns out, a few slight catches. According to two experts who have since given their verdict on the mysterious Iron Man, it may have been a European counterfeit; it was probably made at some point in the 20th century; and it may well not have been looted by the Nazis. The bit about the meteorite, though, still stands.
Other than that, the story stands.
Enjoy the rest of the day, if you can. Ugh. Snow.
Everyone loves pizza. But this . . .
. . . is not pizza. It’s from Pizza Hut, but that does not make it pizza. In case you didn’t get the point after playing it six times: it’s a KitKat bar inside pizza dough, liberally encrusted with sugar. You’ll have to go to Pizza Hut in the Middle East to get one.
Hot dogs in the crust. A spinal cord of hot dog. (The industry term for the edge of the crust: “bones.” Since that’s what’s usually left on the plate when people have finished their meal.) It also has a Mustard Drizzle. (Mustard Drizzle will be playing a gig tonight at Bryant-Lake Bowling.) If you’re thinking “that’s interesting, buy why haven’t they rolled the dough into ice-cream-cone shapes and stuffed with cream cheese? Well:
If you’re thinking that’s the limit to ill-starred crust deviation, you really haven’t absorbed the extent to which they’re bent on deforming Pizza As We Know it.
And this cannot be sold in America. The world is upside down.
SMELL LIKE FIRE I’d better stop now before I rip off any more links from Laughing Squid, but I couldn’t resist this:
It’s beard cologne. You light the stick and let the smoke go into your facial hair, so you smell like a campfire. I suppose it works on hair, or clothes, but they really seem to suggest it’s for hirsute hipsters. Not saying that people have become disconnected from the elemental pleasures of life, but:
You could never do that in an office. The moment someone smelled smoke they’d assume the worst. And even if they didn’t think you’d lit a cigarette, they might think that flames were engulfing the business.
About that logo: it is not hardcore.
DOGS This really needs a caption.
Source: the PetPeek.
TECH Instagram, having empowered millions with the ability to make their sushi look like it was photographed in 1974, is changing the way you use the apps. Live Preview of the filters: see ya. As Buzzfeed puts it:
Why would Instagram, a photo service, kill a major photo feature that it had invested significant engineering resources into developing, to the point that it rearchitected one of the core experiences in its app around it? Well, the thing is, Instagram doesn't — and hasn't — seen itself as a photo service, even if that's how you (and everybody else) sees it. Founder Kevin Systrom told Mat Honan months ago: "I don't like the idea of Instagram as a photo sharing service, and I don't think it is. It's very much a communication tool; it's a visual communication tool."
I suspect he just didn’t like all the cliches that arose around the filters - like faded, orange-hued sushi pictures - and he probably hated most of the filters. For good reason, too - most Instagram filters have limited utility, and you could eliminate 3/4ths.
Then again, Instagram just isn’t about posting pictures of old signs and following other people who post pictures of old signs.
Instagram is "focused on how do we change the world in some real way," according to Systrom.
Oh. Well. Good luck with that.
Finally: face-to-face with an internet troll. I wish it had ended with the troll in the stocks in the public square, but it’s a good story.
And now: the stupidest thing you’ll read today. Unless you spend your afternoon on YouTube comment pages.
Courtesy of Deadline, the Coen brothers will act as executive producers on the series – to be scripted by Noah Hawley (Bones) – and will only be loosely based on the film. The 1996 dark comedy followed a faux criminal plot gone wrong with Frances McDormand as a jovial, pregnant police chief from Minnesota trying to track down a couple of criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) responsible for the death of a policeman and the (staged) kidnapping of a car salesman’s (William H. Macy) wife.
It’s hard to see how that might be adapted into an entire series, so I’m betting the show will merely follow some police officers working in or around the town of Fargo, North Dakota.
Sigh. Yes indeed, that’s how you do a TV version of the movie, all right. Two cops at West Acres Mall or perhaps checking out a drunk at the Red River Lanes up by Northport dere, ya.
“FARGO” WAS NOT ABOUT FARGO. Doesn’t help that the Fargo theater has a statue of Marge, carved from a tree trunk, but still.
That is not the stupidest thing you’ll read all day. Let's continue.
BEGUN, THE PIZZA WARS HAVE Even the most mundane business story can tell you something that comes as an utter surprise. This USA Today piece on Domino’s forthcoming pan pizza, for example. Oh, sure, we knew they’d tried it before. We knew Pizza Hut currently has that line of pies sewed up tight. We knew that Domino’s has been rejuvenated since they changed their recipe from “inedible” to “you’d order it again without wincing.” (The last time I ordered from Domino’s, I requested extra sauce, and got a pizza from which all sauce had been expertly extracted, which will put me off the brand until kids are over and clamor for it again.) But then you read the comments:
Why doesn't Dominos and Pizza Hut offer french fries with their pies. All pizza shops in Canada offer french fries, it's a natural with pizza?????
It is? Really?
This led to a google search for “Canadian Pizza Chains,” which someone seems to sum up this day completely. So, dear, what did you do today? I googled Canadian Pizza Chains. I found a few that had fries on the menu. Poutine, too. If you’re eating pizza and poutine you really don’t care, do you? No. But then I landed here, and discovered a food I’d never heard of: the Donair.
It’s a gyro, but up there they call it a donair. You learn something every day. Useless, but something.
Here’s another thing I learned today: China, which has an kleptomaniacal attitude towards intellectual property, makes a fake Sharpie.
Ermagerd, Skerples! Note how the highlight cleaves the l so it looks like a dotted i, just like a Sharpie. Brilliant!
1900 Here’s another cartoon from the 1900 Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book. If I understand this right, the cartoonist is applauding the military’s removal of the Cuban Assembly, which means it gets $3,000,000 from the American government.
In related news, inasmuch as there’s war involved: Apple’s App store has turned down a game that violated a plank in its “Violence” rules. Pockettactics.com says:
According to my colleagues at Information Retrieval, section 15 is the “Violence” guideline, and subsection 3 states the following:
15.3 “Enemies” within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.
In order to satisfy the regulators, Sincock has had to resubmit Pacific Fleet sans Japanese flags. Let that sink in for a moment. A game based on somewhat well-known conflict (World War Two, was it?) that cannot feature the flags of one of the combatant states. The mind boggles.
And that is the stupidest thing you’ll read today.
PSYCHOLOGY The reason some people don’t like the way some people drive their bikes? It has nothing to do with reason.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you’ve seen more than one or two suicidal cyclists in your day—that these roaches on two wheels are an infestation that’s practically begging to be squished underfoot (and by “foot” you mean “my Yukon Denali”).
First off—wow, that is disturbingly violent.
Those were your words and images, pal. He goes on to note that people blame all cyclists because of a few cyclists, and have an illogical objection to their presence and behavor because we’re consulting our emotions, not our cold clear reason. This must be true because behaviorial economists have a name for it!
You can sum up the entire debate in this South African Fiat Ad. It’s completely unrealistic, but it strikes a chord. There’s so much car-touching disrespect it’s hard to bear:
Of course, the cyciist is stopping at every sign, which is ridiculous.