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Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

How to be mad at buildings

What’s your reaction to this building?

If it’s mild interest, as in “where is it going and how much does it cost?” then you would seem to be normal and well-adjusted. If you think “this might be a missed opportunity; what else was proposed?” then you might be an architect. If it makes you angry, then you might be an internet comment writer.

Yes, angry. I’ve lost the link and it probably doesn’t matter, but you can imagine the response: give it up downtown is crime-wriddin who wants to live in these boxes wake up sheeple It’s just bizarre. The downtown housing boom will peak, but that has nothing to do with some grand conspiracy to make people live downtown against their will. Everyone gets in on the act, supply exceeds demand,

Then there are people who angry with a building for different reasons: the latest attempt to build something in Linden Hills got a thumbs-down from the neighbors. You’d think the developer was putting in a 30-story concrete block. Pity the people who do move into the building, if it’s constructed; cold shoulders from everyone. Oh you moved into THAT THING? Pardon me if I don’t drop over with a hot dish any time soon. Interloper. Anyway, here’s the design:

You can see exactly what the building is trying to do. It’s made with neighborhood hate in mind. “I’m four stories, yes, I admit it, but don’t I sorta look like there’s just two? C’mon! I’m doing my best!”

In related news: before ISIL blows up Palmyra, here’s why the site is so important.

As long as we’re going back in time: MPR has a nice round-up of late-Depression shots of Minneapolis, including some great shots of the Gateway.

It was low-rent bumtown by the end of the 30s, and staggered on like that for another decade and a half before it was razed. No one thought to save it. If the urban planners of that era had their way in Palmyra, it would have been demolished long ago for featureless blocks of housing.

Pizza Hut vs. the Selfie Stick

We'll get to that in a second. First: Self-reliance is putting people out of work. Politico:

I define shadow work as all the unpaid jobs we do on behalf of businesses and organizations: We are pumping our own gas, scanning our own groceries, booking our travel and busing our tables at Starbucks. Shadow work is a new concept, so as yet, no one has compiled economic data on how many jobs we, the consumers, have taken over from (erstwhile) employees. Yet it is surely a force shrinking the job market, and the unemployment it creates is structural. Thanks in part to this new phenomenon, widespread joblessness could become entrenched in the social landscape.

We have been pumping our own gas for a very long time. The days when a uniformed chap ran out and touched the brim of his cap in a salute before topping off the tank and checking your oil is such a distant memory I can’t summon up anything that isn’t a scene from “Back to the Future,” and I grew up around gas stations. It gets worse:

Consider what you now do yourself: You can bank on your cell phone, check yourself out at CVS or the grocery store without ever speaking to an employee, book your own flights and print your boarding pass at the airport without ever talking to a ticket agent—and that’s just in the last few years. Imagine what’s coming next.

Does anyone really want to bank the old way? Standing in line, shuffling to the teller, waiting for the receipt - this is preferable to punching in numbers on your phone and taking a picture of the check? If so, then we ought to get milk on our doorstep in glass bottles.

Votd There are two ways to do a commercial that attempts to connect with Internet culture. There’s the greatest-hits meme reel, attempting to be the most internet thing on the internet:

Nice to see Double Rainbow enthusiast getting some attention, but really: Dancing Baby, but no Mustard Guy? Funny, but it tries a little too hard. It’s reminding you of that time when everyone had seen that one thing. The thing itself may have been ordinary +1, but the fun was making a reference that other people got. Then there’s this approach, which is actually funny.

Both were released today, so quick! Send them to someone! Be the first! You don’t want to be the person who gets stuff instead of sends stuff, do you?