Last night, Mara and I were messing around with Google Maps, checking out giant Japanese buddhas from the air. [Check out this one in Kamakura, near Tokyo]. Then we decided to see what North Korea looked like, and we raced over the Pyongyang and suddenly found this crazy thing with a giant triangular shadow. What the?Turns out that it's the Ryugyong Hotel. It has 105 stories, and it is indeed shaped like an arrowhead, with a broad base that tapers steeply to a pointy top. The craziest thing: It was abandoned in the mid-80's, during construction; hence its moniker: the Hotel of Doom. (Apparently, North Korea had already sunk 2% of its GDP into it when they decided to pull the plug. Ouch.)Esquire calls it worst-designed building in the world, which seems a little harsh. Would the world's worst-designed building inspire this: An animated short presenting a sort of Blade-Runner-meets-Disney-meets-Shinjuku vision for how the Ryugyong will be adapted in the future? Actually, maybe it would.See it for yourself here.
I like to tell myself that I don't read stuff like this, but Esquire's got a pretty excellent list of "75 skills every man should master".
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. It's not something you use a lot, but when you hit a jump shot, it marks you as a player and briefly impresses women. Make the angle of your cue steeper, aim for the bottommost fraction of the ball, and drive the cue smoothly six inches past the contact point, making steady, downward contact with the felt. Illustration: Leif Parsons.
There are some good, less predictable skills: 5. Name a book that matters; 21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer; 52. Step into a job no one wants to do.And then there are the predictable things:
Drinking-related stuff: 17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well; 24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope; 32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick.Outdoors-related stuff: 14. Chop down a tree; 26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat; 51. Build a campfire; 55. Point to the north at any time; 68. Find his way out of the woods if lost; 69. Tie a knot; 74. Know some birds.Sports-related stuff: 4. Score a baseball game; 11. Swim three different strokes; 65–67. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. Throw a football with a tight spiral. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably.
I would think that Esquire has made lists like this in the past, and if so I think it would be interesting to compare lists across time. For instance, there's nothing explicitly sports-knowledge-related or steak-knowledge-related — "Have a favorite team," "Know the difference between a New York Strip and a T‑Bone" or something like that — all of which seem like they'd be requirements in the past. It would also be interesting to know if lists like this are recent developments. Would the Esquire magazine of Norman Mailer's era craft a list like this? Probably not, actually. Or, if they did craft lists, they'd be one-item lists: "1. F*** lists."Via BuzzFeed.