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It wasn't Graupel. Probably.

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • March 17, 2014 - 12:29 PM

Yes, Graupel. Never heard it either, but a twitter conversation this morning between Mike Augustyniak, Jason DeRusha and David Brauer introduced followers to Graupel, a form of freezing precip.

Later Mike said it probably wasn’t Graupel, but someday there will be Graupel, and you’ll be able to say: hmm. Graupely out there today. the picture on the right? Graupel under an electron microscope. Looks like a virus that attacts anti-lock braking systems.

HEY YOU Today’s annoying second-person headline is a dilly, as they would have said in 1956. Or 1946. I’m not up on the exact period the word had its vogue. Anyway, get this, from the New Repubic:

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Is Still Missing. You Secretly Hope It Stays That Way.

No, I don’t. Do you? Then this is the article for you, because it takes an that all-important existential angle to the news.

Do we really want to find this missing plane at all? The families of the victims deserve answers, of course, but as the days go on and more nautical miles are searched for missing debris, there’s an undeniable urge for investigators to keep on looking, not find anything, and let the mystery endure.

Here’s the URL: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117024/malaysia-airlines-flight-370-may-never-be-found-we-secretly-hope

If there’s anyone doing the hoping, it would appear to be the author and the editor, and they’re hardly doing it in secret.

Related: that last STARTLING REVELATION about the plane has been walked back; Achenbach has the details, and points out the wisdom of being suspicious of everything you hear. I remember a guy on the radio saying the police had raided the pilot’s house and found a flight simulator; why, the natural inference was he used this secret base to train someone else to fly the plane after the co-pilot and navigator had been disabled. Took about 20 seconds of clicking to find the story about the flight simulator, and another five to call up his own Youtube account. He’s sitting in front of the simulator giving a lecture about saving money by fine-tuning your air conditioner. What else do we know about him? Quartz rounds up what he left behind on the internet. He liked to twist balloons into interesting shapes, was interested in atheism, and liked to cook.

What a damned odd story.

ART Here’s a snippet of an ad. Can you tell what it’s for? Answer at the bottom.

via Brilliant Ads.

ARCHITECTURE While looking at Chicago on Google Maps I came across this:


View Larger Map

Is that a Balaban and Katz? you ask. Don’t think so. Some pictures of the extraordinary interior here. The theater appears to have had the usual trajectory: popular neighborhood movie palace, struggling years, downhill slide, a phase as a church, followed by closure, renovation, grand opening, and bellyflop bankruptcy again. At least it’s been adequately documented, so future generations have an idea what once we valued, and what we managed to lose or squander. It pains you to think how many smaller houses Minneapolis lost downtown, but saving the Orpheum, State, Shubert and the Pan - no small accomplishment. If only we’d saved the Saxe facade.

Anyway. Ask yourself how much a structure like that would cost today. A few millions, at the least right? Sold this month for $100,000. The previous owners plead guilty to spending part of a state grant on their own whims, and are awaiting the terms of their hoosegow stay. Both were ex-cops.

That’s your all-purpose Chicago story, right there.

HMMMM This City Pages story has an arresting opening:

Late last week, a reader sent City Pages a photo showing men dressed in German SS uniforms seated in the main dining room of northeast Minneapolis restaurant Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit surrounded by Nazi flags.

Yes. Well, turns out there’s a reason. It would be unfair to cherry-pick the quote, since the author did all the work. Let’s just say that . . . oh, I don’t know what to say, except the cowboy-and-indians analogy really doesn’t work. Also, you’re not ten, playing in the backyard. Also, c’mon.

Speaking of which: the ad is for an exhibit of the art the Nazis banned as “degenerate.”

JAPANESE GUM ADS Why? Because it's the internet.  This is trending on Digg for some reason; I’m going to get out ahead of the story before it goes viral and everyone is trying to get the Fits Jingle out of their head.

This In America I’d like to think this would be a dog.

There’s probably a gorilla walking through this one.

NA NA-NA, NA NANA! I think they repeat it so you get the idea: the gum has strange power over living organisms in the vicinity of your personal song-and-dance.

Don't worry, the melody fades rather quickly. About as quickly as flavor from gum.

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