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Video of the Wisconsin Highway Pileup

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • December 10, 2013 - 12:36 PM

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.

INTERNET Don’t blame Spotify / Pandora / iTunes Radio for the plight of the under-compensated musician. Megan McArdle - who I swear has posted something new somewhere every time I turn around - has this explanation over at Bloomberg.

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.

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