Heartbroken hopper

I admit to crying at weddings. But breakups can make me just as weepy, especially when they’re like this:

I mean, this was the one cross-species romance that simply could not fail — and yet somehow it did.

I just hope this one isn’t next.

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That name again is Mr. Coffee

Another contributor to late 20th-century technology is whisked away from us:

Vincent Marotta, one of the co-founders of the iconic Mr. Coffee brand that helped revolutionize how Americans make their morning brew, died Saturday at his home in suburban Cleveland. He was 91.

Marotta and his business partner and high school friend Samuel Glazer turned Mr. Coffee into a household name after asking two engineers to create a drip brewing system like those found in restaurants. Marotta came up with the idea after his and Glazer’s construction and shopping center development business were hurt by a slowdown in the real estate market.

Ah, diversification. Marotta and Glazer sold North American Systems, Inc., the company they formed to manufacture Mr. Coffee, for $182 million in 1987, fifteen years after its inception. And there’s one corporate secret to be told:

The brand’s fortunes received a boost when Marotta persuaded retired New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio to become the Mr. Coffee spokesman. Ironically, DiMaggio only drank instant decaffeinated coffee because of stomach problems.

Joltin’ Joe wouldn’t let that bother him, though:

The Mr. Coffee brand is now owned by Jarden Corporation.

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Road hard and put up with

Roberta X was talking about spiders, but there was a location mentioned, and it was at an intersection (Kessler Boulevard and College Avenue), which merited the following footnote:

By their titles, you are to be given to understand that these are Streets To Be Reckoned With, not to mention Navigated By, and Thoroughfares Of Standing indeed. I believe Avenues are outranked by Boulevards, which in turn are subordinate to Parkways — and Parkways answer only to the Almighty. Or the Street Department, which is almost the same thing when it comes to roads.

I live on a mere Street. It has no standing whatsoever, except in heavy rain, when for a few moments it has standing water. (It is, however, sufficiently irregular in surface to insure that said water will run off in any of a dozen different directions before almost making it to the storm drain on the next block.)

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Making it up in volume

I hate being confronted with stuff like this:

Mostly because I have to admit that I’m closer to thirty a day than to three. (A shade under 29.8, in fact.) Then again, I never said I was effective at this sort of thing.

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Farewell, Cilla

Perhaps the very definition of ironic: the first I heard about the death of an iconic Liverpool star was from two girls trying to make it big in Liverpool fifty years later.

It was just last year that I got around to writing about Cilla Black (born Priscilla White in 1943), one of few entertainers anywhere who sustained a career for half a century without stirring up any tabloid stories. I admit that I was not overly fond of her first record, a Lennon-McCartney number called “Love of the Loved”, but her take on “Anyone Who Had a Heart” hit the top of the British charts:

She followed with a second Number One, “You’re My World,” which even won me over.

Cilla Black takes a seat

From her obituary in the Telegraph:

“I didn’t choose television. Television chose me,” she said. “I was a bit of fun and a bit of Scouse rough and everybody liked me, I was normal. I could have been the kid next door. And then I turned into the auntie next door. And now I’m the granny next door.”

Cilla Black tips her hat

This is about as far as she ever wanted to go:

“Seventy-five is a good age to go if things start to drop off,” she said. “I don’t want to linger. I don’t want to be a burden on anybody. I know 75 is only four years away, but I take each day as I find it.”

And if things dropped off just a little early, well, you know she smiled as she watched them go.

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Tagged as an afterthought

The iTunes application has never really dealt well with classical music: to do it right, you need more tags than just “Album,” “Artist” and “Title,” and purchased classical tracks, if they’re tagged at all, are often tagged either inappropriately or uselessly. (Omnibus collections are inevitably the worst, probably because they’re just thrown together out of existing tracks.) Even if you get all your tags in place, though, you’re still not out of the woods:

“To give you a really specific situation, there are two settings of the Te Deum text by Benjamin Britten. And it would seem to me that if you type in ‘Britten’ and ‘Te Deum,’ you would see some of them,” the composer Nico Muhly told me. “But it says, ‘no results found’.”

I want to submit to the record here that Muhly’s hard drive contains seven different files that could be reasonably called the Britten Te Deum. In fact, it contains more than 2,000 files, or 11.9 gigabytes, of music by Benjamin Britten. It also contains 97 different settings of the Te Deum text.

“What’s extraordinary about it is that I tagged everything really, really well. It’s in Artist, Album Artist, all these things are organized,” he said.

But when “Britten Te Deum” is searched — and he sent me a screenshot of this — nothing comes up. “It’s not like, let me show you too many results. It just does not compute.”

Not that it would matter if you did get results:

Even when the search function does locate a file, he says, pressing “return” to play it does not start playing the highlighted file, but the first file listed alphabetically in iTunes. “Which of course is only Aaliyah.”

I did my own test, looking for Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in E, K. 380, Andante comodo. Search function came up blank no matter how many terms I entered; it recognized the composer’s name, but didn’t seem to connect it to any actual tracks. (And yet it’s there, on the Transformation set by Yuja Wang.)

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Blue screen of Duh

This error message might be even less useful than it looks:

Something happened screen from Windows 10

Said author Katherine Hayton upon witnessing this phenomenon:

Way to waste my time Windows 10. I don’t mean providing me with unenlightening messages that look like they might have started life as a program placeholder to come back to later (or not as it turned out), I just Googled the answer to that conundrum and was done with it.

No, the bit that took the time was finding the hashtag on Twitter and reading the random nonsense that this particularly existential explanation had spawned.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Lou Reed was there first.

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Our fits grow ever hissier

Hydrogen? Stupidity? You could make a pretty good case for outrage as Single Most Common Element in the Universe, and there’s a reason for that:

Every single one of us, despite our best efforts, holds their own set of prejudices, biases, preferences, distastes and tilted priorities. We all think that we’re right, and people who oppose us are wrong. Even those of us who admit that they don’t know everything hold certain “truths” so near that they are guilty of this. The people who claim to be totally objective are usually the worst offenders.

Part of this is because, in our lifelong pursuit to know the difference between right and wrong, we all find ways to modify our criteria for determining what “right and wrong” is. Every single one of us has deeply-held beliefs that we apply to the behavior of others, but which we do not adhere to personally. This is an unavoidable flaw within us.

It’s part of being human. It is the Universal Double Standard. The Universal Double Standard is a key component of who we are. We can’t eliminate it. It’s what makes us individuals. However, we can recognize it and navigate around it in order to coexist with our fellow humans. It seems of late that we have forgotten how to agree to disagree. Nobody wants to ‘fess up to their own hypocrisies.

My own particular set of biases, for instance, states that one should do heavy rewrites rather than inflict multiple measures of pronoun-agreement failure on the reader. Then again, I’m also on record as being in favor of honoring individual persons’ preferred-pronoun requests, which can and will cause me syntactical problems in years to come. So basically, I asked for it.

Then again, at least I know when I’ve asked for it. And not that I have anything to brag about, particularly, but not everyone lives with this degree of self-awareness:

Humans enjoy being outraged. Outrage is bright and shiny and it keeps us from actually having to do anything. We can stamp our feet and huff and puff and post memes to Facebook to “make (fill in the blank generalized insult) heads explode.” When we do that, we don’t actually have to take any meaningful action or listen to opposing viewpoints or do anything more than roll over on the couch and fart. Religion may be the opiate of the masses, but outrage is the big, gooey, tooth-rotting candy of the masses. They love that stuff.

We Like something on Facebook, or we sign something on change.org, and think we’ve actually Done Something. We have not. At best, we’ve thrown up a marker for the express purpose of signaling to the rest of the world that we are every bit as good as we think we are. I’m operating under the assumption that to every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, and that it’s therefore reasonable to assume that there’s a counterpart to inaction as well: it is possible, I surmise, to be even more disconnected than I am.

This is not to say, of course, that I am blissfully free of elevated umbrage levels, as anyone who’s hung around here more than a week can easily discern. But merely glaring at things, I’m hoping, might result in less exacerbation than adding to the decibel level in the echo chambers would.

(Via Roger Green.)

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It could be terse

Alternatively, “we put the suck in succinct:”

Then again, how much exposition do you need for a link to a cat video?

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Strange search-engine queries (496)

Wherein we take a look around at the search strings that have led people to this site, and wonder what we did wrong.

(No lions were harmed in the construction of this article.)

was david stanley dealership okc fined $350,000 for false advertising:  If you’ve ever heard any of their radio ads, you’d want to fine them, whether the claims were true or not.

i hate dicks kayser roth meme:  I get the impression that this originally was two separate ideas squoze down into one.

beings unguzzled:  So don’t just stand there. Guzzle.

lesbian valvejob tongue:  Men, by contrast, have hydraulic lifters.

hebephilia tumblr:  Probably less than ten percent of it, overall.

barely dressed teen:  Did you try this search on Hebephilia Tumblr?

male pee desperation googlism:  Sorry. Can’t talk now. Gotta go. Sorry.

sansabelt action zone:  Too much slack in those slacks, bud.

oversized male genitalia syndrome:  Is it really a syndrome if 90 percent of men claim to be, um, suffering from it?

has morgan fairchild ever been nude:  Never. Not once. Why, she has a set of jumpsuits designed specifically for bathing.

quadruple boobs:  Are they all in a row, or arranged two by two?

gargantuan tits:  Big deal — unless, of course, you have four of them.

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All pink and curvy and everything

There’s a feature in the current Automobile (September) about the pink AMX awarded to Angela Dorian as part of her 1968 Playmate of the Year, um, booty. Dorian, a small-time actress under her real name — Victoria Vetri — got a small career boost from being PMOY, but careers in Hollywood tend to be shortish. (You have to wonder how things might be different had she taken the job of dubbing Natalie Wood’s voice in West Side Story earlier in the decade.) Still, she held onto the car until 2010, by which time it had been repainted several times and was in bad need of some TLC. Arguably, so was Vetri, who was charged with shooting her husband in the back. The attempted-murder charge filed against her was eventually reduced to attempted voluntary manslaughter; she pleaded no contest and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Meanwhile, a chap named Mark Melvin happened upon the AMX at a lot in Venice Beach; he bought it and restored it, at a cost of somewhere over $50,000. There exists a Web site for the car, which also includes a recap of Vetri’s career and eventual undoing that was actually written by Robert Stacy McCain, its appearance a product of the miracle of cut-and-paste. The car, of course, now looks utterly wonderful; Vetri, now in her seventies, perhaps not so much.

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Springtime for springtoy

“I can not think of a recreational device that better exemplifies the inventiveness of the American spirit,” said George W. Bush. Still, the country’s National Toy, as proclaimed by W., can be utterly exasperating at times:

(Background here. From Digg via Miss Cellania.)

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Forever, Roxy

Singer/songwriter Roxy Darr, in what appears to be a blatant effort to broaden her fan base, recorded a version of the My Little Pony: Friendship in Magic theme for her YouTube channel, and there was of course no way I was going to miss that.

There is, of course, a lot more to her than that. This is her signature song, Forever:

She is also known as The Anthem Girl, having sung the National Anthem regularly at sporting events in southern California, and she has a fair number of screen credits to her name as well.

So yes, Roxy, you got my attention. Good show. (This is her Web site.)

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Not entirely up to date

This mental_floss piece, titled “25 Things You Should Know About Kansas City,” blows it before you ever get to the second thing:

There’s more to the City of Fountains than just barbecue. (Although the barbecue is legendary.) Study up before your next visit to the midwestern metropolis of 467,000.

1. Kansas City spans two states: Missouri and Kansas. The international airport, baseball stadium and football stadium are all on the Missouri side. The professional soccer team and the NASCAR race track are found on the Kansas side.

As the discerning reader has presumably already discerned, there are two separate cities named “Kansas City,” on opposite sides of State Line Road; the Missouri town dates to 1853, while the one in Kansas was founded in 1872 and merged with several other area towns fourteen years later. And the population figure is more or less correct for the Missouri side, but Kansas City, Kansas has 150,000 people of its own.

And I really wished they’d tacked this onto item #9: there is an actual organization of dog fanciers (on the Missouri side) called the Jesse James Kennel Club. (The club is based in Kearney, which was James’ boyhood home; I don’t think they’re in favor of robbing banks or anything like that.)

Disclosure: I have two children, one who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and one who lives in nearby Independence. I include this for the benefit of anyone who wants to ask “Why do you know these things?”

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Do it again, just a little bit cheaper

My creditworthiness having increased from zero to marginally above zero of late, the bogus mortgage-refinance offers I get in email are now being supplemented by non-bogus mortgage-refinance offers in actual snail mail. Quicken Loans sent me one yesterday, which pitched me a 15-year refi at a quoted rate seemingly far below what I’m paying now.

I was going to toss it just on general principle, but I decided to sit down and do the math anyway. Actual savings: about $29 a month.

“But it’s only 15 years, and you have a 30-year note!” Well, yeah; but of those thirty years, only eighteen remain. To me, it’s not worth the hassle for a mere seven bucks and change a week.

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You can’t hide your lion eyes

It’s easy to mock Gawker for its occasionally sloppy work, but once in a while they absolutely nail it, even if they have to swipe it from CNN:

(How we know it’s Gawker.)

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