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Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

The Horrible Screaming Skyscraper

This headline had better deliver:

Nearly a dozen wooden boats carrying decomposing bodies have been found in the waters off the coast of Japan over the past two months. Inside the 11 vessels were at least 25 bodies, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. Two bodies were headless, and one boat contained six skulls, Singapore's Straits Times newspaper reported, citing the Japanese Coast Guard. The poor condition of the remains suggested that the boats had been adrift for some time, the paper said. One of the boats had a tattered banner that looked like it could have been part of a North Korean flag. The boat also had a board with Hangul words that said "Korean People's Army," which is the name of the armed forces in North Korea.

Eleven boats. Twenty-five bodies. So that's about two people per boat. Over the course of eight weeks. Just shows how any aggregated data can sound ominous.

QUIZ Here's an online quiz from the Guardian you may enjoy: what's this?

Etch-a-sketch drawing? Crack in the windshield? Spiderweb after a dose of weed? The answer may surprise you, as they say on the internet, over and over, until you grind your teeth and beg them to stop.

ARCHITORTURE The architect has apologized for his screaming building. He lives there, so he couldn't be unaware his creation was howling and moaning every time the wind came up.

Watch people in the comments arguing about which note it is. C? B?

In related news, here's the Verge on the 200-story building going up in Saudi Arabia, complete with Coruscant-like pictures of the tower lancing the clouds. What will they possibly fill it with? 

SPACE UPDATE Aliens? Probably not. Every time someone says it might be aliens, your first instinct should be "probably not," but over and over we get our hopes up. Again and again, Lucy yanks the ball away. That Alien Megastructure that could have been proof of a Dyson Sphere? Yeah, well, no.

Recent infrared observations of a star that once showed a pattern of weird dimming have turned up no anomalous readings, astronomers say – and that supports the view that a comet blitz rather than the construction of an alien megastructure was behind the earlier observations. The latest evidence, laid out in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, isn’t exactly surprising. The passing of a shattered comet was seen as the leading orthodox explanation for the star KIC 8462852’s strange behavior.
Yet still we hope, because we want to believe. I'd post the story about the mysterious signal coming from another galaxy, but that'll be debunked in a few weeks. They're probably picking up the signal from a guy in the parking lot using his remote to lock his car.

Tiptoe Past the Corpses

That was shocking, wasn't it? That thing happened. Then there were zombies. It looks grim! Have they lost the haven they thought they'd found? Tune in to the second half of season 14, or 23, or 2.

How long have they been wandering around? I can't tell anymore. The baby's still an infant but Coral is has grown the amount you'd expect in five years.

This may seem like the most useless kind of nitpickery, but the show opened with that kid listening to "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" while Foreshadowing Ants came down the window sill. It was a 45. I have a hard time believing that anyone had 45s around, but even if they did, wouldn't they be rock? Who had a 45 of "Tiptoe"? You might say hey, Tiny Tim was a big deal. He was a deal, yes. He had a momentary spike with his ditzy-hippie warbling. But that wasn't Tiny Tim. The version in "TWD" was sung by Nick Lucas, the Crooning Troubadour, the Father of the Jazz Guitar. Well, then, you say, it was a reissue of Lucas' version, intended to capitalize on Tim's success.You're being quite contentious today. I don't know why you have so much invested in this. It could have been a reissue, but that wasn't the version that gave Nick the #1 song of 1929. The chorus at the end tells you were they got it from:

Here's the fun part. Nick Lucas, on the Tonight Show in 1969. Forty years after his big #1. Seventy-two years old.

Wikipedia: "An inspiration to Tiny Tim, who made Lucas' 'Tip-Toe Through the Tulips his own theme song, Lucas became friends with the performer, and on December 17, 1969, when Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Lucas was there to sing their trademark song."

Sweet, no?