Obviously five believers

If I’m known for anything in blogdom — and who says I am? — it’s got to be my post-titling prowess, which is either a major accomplishment or a major embarrassment, depending on who’s doing the critique. I find it delightful that even real scientists doing serious research aren’t above this same sort of shenanigans:

Five Swedish scientists have confessed that they have been quoting Bob Dylan lyrics in research articles and are running a wager on who can squeeze the most in before retirement.

The game started seventeen years ago when two Professors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, John Jundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, wrote a piece about gas passing through intestines, with the title “Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind”.

I don’t think I could have resisted that one myself.

Another competitor:

Kenneth Chien, Professor of Cardiovascular Research has also been quoting his idol for years and his fellow scientists recently got wind of his articles which include: “Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era”.

I have no idea how old these guys are, but surely there’s enough Dylan material to last them until that hard rain starts to fall.

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I’ll consider myself peered

I don’t know if this was translated from Urdu into Dutch, or what, but it showed up in the spam bucket last night:

I am really impressrd wit your writing tzlents as wekl as
witth thee strudture onn your weblog. Is this a paid subject orr did you mdify
it yiur self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, itt
is uncommon to peer a niice bog like this one
today..

A niice bog indeed.

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A voice from days gone by

Timi Yuro died in the spring of 2004 — the cancer that took away her voice eventually took the rest of her — and I gave her a sendoff in these pages. I wasn’t doing pictures back then, or at least not many, and I didn’t give the matter much more thought until a new-release announcement came down the wire from one of those reissue labels: a two-CD set containing her first four albums plus bonus tracks. And they’d used a manually-colored version of this old Hollywood publicity photo:

Timi Yuro glamour shot

If you’re interested, here’s an Amazon link. “Hurt” was her biggest hit, but the one that’s stayed with me is “What’s A Matter Baby,” which I described this way:

Sung and recorded at the very edge of distortion, then remixed by Phil Spector, this may be Yuro’s best: the voice is just as big, and the finger she’s pointing is even bigger.

Especially since Spector apparently did this without the approval of either Clyde Otis, who produced the track and co-wrote the song, or Al Bennett, who was running Liberty Records, Timi’s label.

But the operative word is “big,” and, well, she wasn’t all that big in real life:

Timi Yuro seated

Five foot one, maybe. On the radio, you never noticed this sort of thing, and you wouldn’t have cared if you did.

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Beyond here lies nothing

A fairly neutral definition from Wikipedia:

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design, or a Web page that lists the pages on a Web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.

Sometimes they’re complicated. (I’d hate to sit down and draw one for this place.) The consumer-information site MainStreet.com, however, seems to have boiled it down to the basics:

Sitemap for Mainstreet.com

“That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,” said John Keats, while not looking at this.

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Pootatively the best

Ellia Kassoff, proprietor of the new Leaf Brands, gets another feather, or maybe an air biscuit, in his cap:

Candy and snack manufacturer Leaf Brands LLC has won The Most Innovative Product Award at the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago for its Sour Farts Flow Packs.

Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, accepted the Most Innovative Product Award for Novelty candy after a rigorous vetting of more than 250 different new products unveiled at the show Wednesday.

“Flow Packs”? That seems ominous.

Leaf Brands developed Farts Candy, small pieces of candy that looks similar to a Nerd but chewy with more intense flavors, in partnership with Can You Imagine That!, a candy company owned by David Klein, the inventor of the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean.

“People often complained Nerds were too hard on your teeth, so we created our candy, which is soft, not hard, and has a better texture and taste,” Klein said.

Not all Farts are Sour; you can also get Fruity Farts.

Leaf Brands is also shepherding the return of Hydrox, due Real Soon Now.

(With thanks to Nancy Friedman, always a breath of fresh air.)

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Random afflictions

I worked, if not extraordinarily hard, at least hard enough today to push this old body into putting up some resistance; just short of the nine-hour mark I felt like someone had decided to shove a meat thermometer into my shoulder. It didn’t last long — a couple of seconds — but it apparently triggered every conceivable source of pain I have, and a few I didn’t comprehend at all. I’d had this happen once before without side effects, so this event was decidedly more disturbing, and my heart rate picked up markedly, especially after walking around distributing stuff. For a moment I contemplated not actually driving home, lest several systems fail at once, something that’s not good at rest, and even less so at 65 mph.

Symptoms continued to be wildly variable until dinnertime. It wasn’t that I was hungry, exactly, but climbing up on the stool at the breakfast bar got me off my feet for not quite half an hour. Still, I’m a bit woozy, and I still have shoulder pain, though it’s in the other shoulder. I did try one of my more recent mantras: “Outlive Zeke Emanuel.” It helped a little, but not enough.

I expect I’ll be back at work before sunrise: these things never last long — except, of course, for the last one.

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As long as you give us money

You’ll notice that no one actually wants this structure to be torn down or anything:

If you’ve walked past New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art lately, you’ll have noticed the brand-new plaza in front of the building with the Beaux-Arts façade that is home to America’s greatest art collection. Whenever alterations are made to a familiar structure, opinions usually vary widely and sharply. But one view is currently drowning out all others: Several art critics are miffed by the fact that golden letters emblazoned on the Met’s new twin fountains identify the site as the David H. Koch Plaza, in honor of the trustee who wrote the $65 million check that paid for it in full.

And it’s not like you haven’t seen this sort of thing before:

In our bipolar age, political purists are increasingly disposed to raise a stink whenever arts groups accept gifts from sources deemed by said purists to be unworthy. This tendency initially manifested itself in the case of tobacco companies like Philip Morris International that supported the arts. No doubt the company’s commitment to what it calls “corporate social responsibility” was in part an attempt to divert attention from its less-than-socially responsible products. Nevertheless, the fact of its generosity is not to be ignored — or despised.

If you think about it, the idea of a “political purist” is absurd on the face of it: nothing in politics is “pure,” or ever can be, and those who would pride themselves on their ideological purity tend to be delusional, or worse. If you object to Koch Brothers money, but happily tolerate dollars from George Soros — or, for that matter, the other way around — I, for one, am grateful that there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it.

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A fate marginally worse than death

Still, worse:

Being dead is bad enough, but being dead and having to pay a $200 fine? Geez.

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Defending the American knee

Not so long ago, I posted a shot from a Buick print ad showing a young lady busily tableting away in the back seat of an Encore, incorporating the following observations:

[T]he fact that Miss Tablet can actually cross her legs back there is reassuring, though I’m not sure how close her head is to the ceiling.

This latter point is seldom made by automakers; I can remember only once in recent years when it was blatant, and even then it was only a tweet.

Now comes this, to show you the space available in the long-wheelbase Infiniti Q70L, and once again legroom is a factor:

Rear sear of Infiniti Q70L, occupied by dreamy female

Of course, the great tragedy of my life is being unable to attract anyone like that to the front seat.

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Strange search-engine queries (452)

The seven-day cycle completes, and with the return of Monday — was anyone actually looking forward to the return of Monday? — comes a fresh(ish) batch of search strings that landed people somewhere in this domain.

Mean Dung Eon.com:  Yeah, this nasty crap has been going on for the longest time.

meatcam:  “Why, yes, this is aged beef. Wanna watch?”

pocket sized New Testaments sith forward by FDR:  It has not yet been proven that FDR was a Sith Lord.

xmen the last stand film actors full nudephotos navel:  Well, yeah, if they’re fully nude, you might expect them to have navels — except maybe Shadowcat, depending on her phase.

nudist publications:  Lot of those out there, though few star the X-Men.

meet depress:  We really need a Bad First Date emoji.

ford cd4e trans wont shift:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Ford dealer?

ford probe pulse signal generator:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Ford dealer?

why my 1995 mercury mesquite would not shift in overdrive:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Lincoln-Mercury dealer? Oh, and it’s “Mystique,” unless you’ve been smoking ribs with it.

“forced labor” “yes master”:  Well, yeah, that’s kind of how it works.

hasselbeck tights sheer:  That’s it, be specific.

is the ong voluntary fixed price plan worth it:  If I could answer that, I’d never again have to post about it, would I?

old nude granny sunbathers on flickr:  Um, those aren’t tan lines.

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Fly me to the moon, it’s cheaper

For some time now, there have been airline fares, and there have been airline fees, and the combination of the two will drain one’s wallet in record time — though not enough to tie this record:

“I tried to book cheap flights for a weekend trip to stay with some good friends. I Googled ‘cheap flights to Faro’, found eDreams (‘Great Trips at Great Prices’ is their slogan) were offering the best, with Ryanair and Monarch Airlines, at a cost for the two of us of £164.07.”

Last time we checked in with Ryanair, they were installing pay toilets, so she might have expected to be nickeled-and-dimed, or the equivalent in sterling, to death. And the booking site was kind enough to show her the fees involved:

Screenshot from eDreams

One pair of fees proved to be weirdly asymmetrical: £17.50 to check the bag at departure, but £23 billion to check it on the return flight.

This wasn’t Ryanair’s fault, however:

“eDreams would like to apologise to Mrs Sessions for any inconvenience caused. We are continuing to investigate, however it appears to be an isolated incident that we have been unable to replicate. If it is a bug, we will find it and make every effort to fix it immediately. eDreams would like to re-iterate that at no point was there any attempt to make this purchase. We would also like to provide the added re-assurance that any attempt at a transaction of this size would automatically be rejected by our systems and unable to proceed.”

And probably rejected by Mrs Sessions’ bank, had they received a credit authorization for that sum.

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Eyes glued to the screen

Until such time as someone develops a portable eye-glue dissolver — and someone (else) develops a way of deploying it without being obtrusive — this may be the answer:

I was driving across a college campus this week just as the night school students were getting out of long evening classes (during which they presumably had been abstaining from texting). I had to slow my car down to walking speed to avoid accidents because the majority of pedestrians were drifting about heads down with their eyes on their glowing screens held at waist level.

Here’s an idea for a Silicon Valley start-up: an app that will freeze your smartphone screen with “LOOK UP” if you are about to get hit by a car.

Yes, it’s come to this.

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A different swing altogether

The explanation isn’t any more complicated than this:

When Han Solo was about to be placed in carbonite, he told Chewie to take care of Princess Leia. What happened after that was almost a love story for the ages. Almost.

Um, yeah. Almost:

If there’s anything I love as much as my favorite songs, it’s my favorite songs as filtered through Star Wars. And these are the same folks who did this one:

Read the rest of this entry »

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A measure of attentiveness

As I mentioned earlier, I went to the movies yesterday, and was favorably impressed. As a rule, I shy away from Rotten Tomatoes-style numbers or Entertainment Weekly’s letter grades, but I think I may have hit upon something, based on one known repeated behavior: I always buy exactly one candy item from the concession stand.

The grade, as you may have guessed, is derived from how long I still have candy left, on the basis that if I’m bored with what I’m seeing on screen, I eat more. (This is definitely true outside the theater.) For Rainbow Rocks, I purchased one bag of Twizzlers Bites ($4.25). The film started at 10 am and ran until 11:20. The last of the Bites were polished off at — wait for it — 7:45 pm. Yes, folks, I took them home with me. It’s been a long time since I did anything like that.

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Faster than my ballot

My fellow Americans, meet your candidates for the foreseeable future:

“Senator X said so-and so! President Y smoked the dope! Mr. Justice Z is a mean ol’ poopyhead!” The media does it. Opposition politicians do it. You do it. Hey, guess what? They’re flawed. It’s no surprise when they have a skeleton or ten in the closet. Nobody wants those jobs without being deeply flawed — workaholics, people with so much to hide they figure they’d better help write themselves clear of the laws, attorneys with no knack for wills, contracts or litigation, weirdos who have never really felt loved or secure, philosophical whackos with an ax to grind: our government is mostly made up of people who couldn’t function in a real job. Some of them are plenty bright, plenty useful when kept on task; others help keep the chairs warm. The actually functional ones only do it as a part-time job.

Emphasis added. Yes, there are idealists; I give them about three months into their first term, and then the toxins seep into their brains and their hearts, not necessarily in that order.

And there’s this:

Nearly all of them think of the Bill of Rights as something to be read closely and weaseled around. It will not surprise you that most of them have law degrees.

Well, it’s the easiest part of the Constitution to misquote.

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I think she was needling us

While looking for something else entirely, I happened upon this Shaggs-y one-off single by Diva Zappa, Frank’s youngest (she’s 35 now). “When the Ball Drops” is a seriously wacky tale of trying to find a date for New Year’s Eve — and worse, New Year’s Eve 1999, before the New Millennium does, or doesn’t, begin. (You want Year Zero, talk to Trent Reznor.) Diva’s vocals are archly awful, which I assume is intentional; the backing vocals by Tipper and Kristen Gore — well, I prefer to believe that this is the one time in history when anyone in the Gore household did something amusing. Tipper also plays drums, for what that’s worth.

I’d heard Diva’s middle name was Muffin; according to discography site Discogs.com, her full name is Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa. She’s done some acting, and that one record, but her main interest is knitting:

I knit and make one of a kind wearable pieces of art. I blend color and magic, whimsy and love into every piece.

And I admit to smiling at this:

All pieces are inspired by light, faeries, magic, gunfire, Bruce Willis, tea and animals (to name a few).

Sounds like Frank. Except for the faeries, anyway.

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