Archive for January 2009

Me, I’m looking for primer

A Young Turk contemplates body paint while linking to this shot from Hefnerland:

As if actually wearing skimpy lingerie isn’t enough now we live in a society where women paint themselves to appear AS IF they are wearing skimpy lingerie. (To be fair, they don’t do the painting themselves; that job belongs to some job-lotto-winning sum’um’um’bitch.)

Since they’re not wearing clothes shouldn’t they be censored by the powers that censor? Or is it okay to see them and their glorious contours because their shapes aren’t flesh-colored? Are they wearing liquid clothing? I’ve seen body-painted chicks on plenty of other occasions and it’s never blurred out or blocked the way an actual naked person would be.

I believe it depends on the answer to this question: “Is someone going to stumble across this accidentally and scream ‘OMG they’re NEKKID!’?” If you have to look at it twice to see that it’s not actually clothing, I’d say it’s not exactly accidental.

And I suspect body paint that doesn’t imitate clothing, the sort of thing you might see at, say, Burning Man, won’t get the same sort of pass from the Official Frowner-Upon.

(Seen here. This link, at least, is safe for work.)

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Not just a blowout

I mean, the freaking wheels came off, or something. I don’t know what’s happened to the formerly-lowly Timberwolves, but McHale’s Navy came on like gangbusters tonight, opening up a 42-24 lead after the first quarter and then expanding on it in the following stanzas, thrashing the Thunder, 129-87. This is, I think, the first time I’ve ever seen garbage time starting in the third quarter.

And Minnesota could do no wrong: Randy Foye got 26 of his 32 points in the first half, five other Wolves scored in double figures, and twelve of 28 treys fell their way. They owned the boards (57 rebounds, including 18 off the offensive glass), and they capitalized on the usual 15 Oklahoma City turnovers.

It seems almost irrelevant to mention the two double-doubles in Thunderdom: Russell Westbrook (16 points, 12 assists) and Nick Collison (17 points, 10 rebounds). The Thunder shot 39.8 percent, and Kevin Durant would love to have been that effective: he was 3 for 13 with a mere 9 points. We did, however, see the debut of Nenad Krstić, who played 14 minutes, scoring 6 and rebounding 5.

Chucky Atkins must be wondering what the hell he’s getting into. In the meantime, there’s a long flight home, and the arrival of the Houston Rockets on Friday.

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Easily duped

This is no time to send in the clones:

In order to help our nation’s leaders avoid critical fashion faux pas, DressRegistry.com recently sent letters to U.S. Senators urging them to register evening gowns they planned on wearing to upcoming inaugural balls.

Yes, there’s a reason for this:

DressRegistry.com was created to help women avoid what happened to First Lady Laura Bush in December 2006 when she and three other women wore the same Oscar de la Renta to a White House gala and then had the event immortalized on the evening news.

And it makes perfect sense to E. M. Zanotti:

I understand this problem, as starlets, drag queens and First Ladies alike have all dealt with the inevitable dress duplicate who not only looks better in the dress, but who also paid less for it upfront, but I tend to think this particular effort is aimed at helping Michelle Obama avoid an Inauguration night disaster wherein a closet Senatorial sci-fi fanatic decides to repeat Michelle’s election night triumph by wearing the Alien birth “after” dress to a low-level function.

You surely remember that triumph, perhaps not fondly.

And those fears, I am convinced, are legitimate: around the Senate these days, everything that isn’t science fiction is fantasy.

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Rewound up

This is so familiar it hurts:

How many VHS tapes do you own? I stopped purchasing movies on VHS several years ago, but I still manage to own right around 100 of the tapes.

I kept them because at least half of them I don’t own in any other format. Of those, I can only purchase about one quarter of them on DVD and only about 3 of those are available on Blu-Ray.

And we all know how this story goes:

I am going to end up with five different types of media (Laser Disc, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital) for my movies until everything can be converted into one. I am starting to think that the ONE is going to have to be digital. I don’t want to keep having to do this every few years.

Remind me not to mention the several dozen Beta tapes hanging around here.

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Downright Illinoisy

And we’ll be able to hear it nationwide, says Dave Schuler:

If you think that Illinois is a national laughing stock now wait until the Chicago mayoral election when an enormous proportion of the folks who are showing up as supporting players in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial (which may well still be going on) are vying for the job of Chicago’s mayor.

Which will be in 2011, unless Daley flees to the Delta Quadrant before that.

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316

This week’s Carnival of the Vanities is officially the Sleet Edition, and sleet, like other forms of winter precipitation, is something I hope goes away quickly; my tolerance for the stuff lasts maybe a minute and twenty-nine seconds, or about as long as Van Halen’s instrumental “316” from the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album.

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Times are harder than we thought

I mean, just take a look:

Economy projected to shrink 202 percent

So we’re going to lose everything — twice — and a little more besides.

(From USNews.com via Megan McArdle.)

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Buyer loyalty

I have it. (Or maybe I don’t.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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Mr President, your ride is ready

It looks kinda like a stretched Cadillac DTS, but don’t be fooled:

Described as “a rolling tank with windows,” word is that the limo is actually not a Cadillac, but rather something built on a medium-duty truck chassis.

Spy shooters have captured the limo testing alongside a pair of GMC Topkick pickups, and keen observers have noted that the wheels and rubber appear to be dimensionally identical to those found on the big trucks (the limo sports 19.5-inch Goodyear Regional RHS tires). Bystanders even contend that a the limo sounds like it’s sporting a diesel engine underhood.

The exterior is an amalgamation of various Cadillac bits, with Escalade headlights flanked by Caddy’s corporate grille and a set of taillights pulled from the STS.

Probably weighs as much as a brace of Hummers, what with the obligatory armor and all, which suggests that this beast is probably on the slow side. Fortunately, Mr Obama has already been treated to a Patience Exercise, having given up his speedy Chrysler 300C for a lethargic but politically-correct Ford Escape Hybrid.

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Visible shrinkage

This year’s edition of the Feist/Yellow Book was dropped somewhere near my front door last night, and the first thing I noticed upon hoisting the bag was along the lines of “Geez, is this thing getting smaller?”

And apparently it is. The font size is as teensy and unreadable as ever, at least to us Senior Myopics, but no teensier; the page count, however, has truly diminished, from 1393 to 1240. Worse yet, the array of coupons in the back, which used to occupy 120 pages, is now down to 106.

Consolation prize: government listings have dropped from seventeen pages to sixteen.

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A marvel of modern medicine?

Based on this photo, a plastic surgeon concludes that Ann Coulter has gone under the knife:

If I had to venture a guess, I would bet that she’s had Botox injections to smooth the wrinkles of her crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead. She’s also likely had chemical peels or laser treatments to tighten the skin and improve her complexion. Finally, her eyes look more alert and refreshed. This can be a sign of a browlift.

This photo, on the other hand, looks more like Photoshoppery.

I have no idea whether any of this has to do with the broken jaw she reportedly suffered last fall. And anyway, when I stumble across video footage of Coulter, my usual practice is to turn the volume down a couple of steps and focus on her perhaps-undernourished but nicely-deployed gams to the extent that the camera permits.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

Disclosure: A week doesn’t go by that I don’t get at least a couple of Googlers looking for stuff like this, and I’m obviously not above baiting Googlers.

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Quote of the week

Tam proposes the one new law we really need:

Every year, via public referendum, the people of this country get to vote for the dumbest bill put forward in each of the two houses of Congress that year. The senator and representative responsible for penning the winners both get unseated from Congress…

…and fed to sharks live on Pay-Per-View, with the proceeds going to widows and orphans or whatever.

In case of a tie, the sharks will decide in their own distinctive fashion.

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Marked for death by Information Services (11)

They bring you a stack of items and look properly sheepish; then they sneak in the rest of the items while you’re out to lunch, so they don’t have to face you. And by “you,” I mean “me.”

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Miles to nowhere?

The Darius Miles saga takes yet another turn:

Miles underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee as a member of the Trail Blazers in November 2006. He was released by Portland last April after his injury was judged to be “career-ending” by an independent medical examiner appointed by the NBA and the players union.

Miles, 27, has attempted a comeback this season, playing a total of eight exhibition and regular-season games with the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, who waived him Tuesday to avoid having to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season.

This much you knew. But now there’s this:

Put Miles on the court, say the Blazers, and we may sue you.

Say what? Well, it’s like this:

If Miles were to be picked up by an NBA team and play in two more NBA games, his original $9 million salary for this season as well as next season would be reinstated to Portland’s official payroll, pushing the Blazers over the luxury tax threshold this season — costing them millions of dollars — while hurting their chances to sign a major free agent this summer.

If Miles is included, the Blazers have $80 million on the books as salary; the luxury-tax threshold is $71.15 million. And as every NBA GM knows, it’s not just players you actually have who cost you money. Steve Francis has the Blazers on the hook for about $14 million; he’s since been signed by Memphis for a lot less than that, but the original contract remains on the Blazers’ books. (This is hardly unheard of: Donyell Marshall, who represents about $6 million of Oklahoma City’s salary, is lately playing for the Sixers.)

What would make this amusing, perhaps, would be if Miles were to sue the Blazers, charging restraint of trade.

Addendum: And so would this:

Nobody in the NBA loves a good legal battle more than Mark Cuban, whose Mavs happen to have an open spot on the roster. And Miles … did work out for the Mavs this summer.

I doubt the threat of legal action would make Cuban shy away from signing Miles. It might actually encourage him to do so.

We won’t even mention the $200k or so each team stands to receive if the Blazers do in fact hit the luxury-tax threshold.

Addendum, 10 January: The Grizzlies will be signing Miles to a 10-day contract.

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Temporary warming

Today is the warmest ninth of January since they started keeping records back in the 1890s, say the official numbers at Will Rogers World Airport. (“Which is stupid, because I don’t know anybody who lives at the airport,” said Al Sleet.)

Meanwhile, the Forecast Discussion warns:

AN ARCTIC AIRMASS WILL MOVE INTO THE REGION MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK BRINGING MUCH COLDER TEMPERATURES TO THE AREA. HOWEVER… THE STRENGTH AND TIMING OF THE AIRMASS ARE STILL IN QUESTION. WITH THE MODEL UNCERTAINTY… DID NOT MAKE ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO EXTENDED FORECAST.

The model uncertain? Who knew?

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Renegative cash flow

Add to Michael Bates’ detailing of the financial woes of the Tulsa newspaper this tidbit from Frosty Troy’s Oklahoma Observer:

The Tulsa World owners have declined to meet their current $100,000 pledge on the Capitol dome. (They may also defer on $100,000 owed next year.)

Well, that’s one way to offset the red ink, I guess. Maybe that’s why the World sacked two-thirds of its Capitol staff.

Addendum, 11 January: It just gets better:

While executives at the Tulsa World were deciding which 28 employees would be fired in a cost-saving move to help the company deal with reduced advertising revenue, the president of the company, John R. Bair, was being processed for a $90,000 “proprietary membership” in the ritzy Southern Hills Country Club.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Almost.

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Those pesky tenths

You can’t do a whole hell of a lot in a tenth of a second, as the Thunder found out last week against the Nuggets as Carmelo Anthony sank a trey with exactly that much time left. That infinitesimal increment of time was back tonight to haunt the Ford Center crowd: it was Houston 97, Oklahoma City 93 very late when Jeff Green fired off a three-ball to pull to within one. Nick Collison duly fouled Rafer Alston, who reported to the charity stripe, but by then the clock was down to 0.1. Alston snagged the first free throw for his 14th point, then bricked the second, perhaps by design; there wasn’t anything Joe Smith, who got the rebound, or anyone else could do, and the Rockets went home with a 98-96 win.

The ailing Ron Artest did not play, but the allegedly-suffering Tracy McGrady was feeling no pain: T-Mac was out there for 41½ minutes and scored 26. Yao Ming wasn’t all that merciless, with a below-spec 14; Luis Scola, who shot better than anyone tonight — six of seven from the floor — also got 14, all in the second half.

The return of the familiar Kevin Durant Show was most welcome: KD picked up 27 points and six boards. Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstić all landed in double figures, and Nick Collison was good for ten rebounds. In fact, OKC dominated most of the scoring categories: they outshot Houston, 48.1 to 45.9 percent; they outrebounded the Rockets, 44-31; and they only missed two free throws out of 16 all night. They also turned the ball over twenty-one times, though, and that’s pretty much the end of the story.

It’s another grueling back-to-back: the team’s on a plane to Chicago, where the Bulls have just finished dispatching the Wizards.

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Left holding the mayo

Burger King’s Angry Whopper was only the beginning:

As many companies are now doing, they’ve tapped into Facebook and created an application to help promote it. But this Facebook application is a bit … different. Instead of encouraging you to join a group, find new friends, or spread the word, Burger King’s new Whopper Sacrifice Application is offering you a free Whopper if you DE-FRIEND 10 people from your friend list.

What’s more, each of the ex-friends will receive a certification to this effect from BK.

The competition is reportedly working on a more personal dis, tentatively named “McArsenic.”

(Via Mollie Hemingway.)

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Don’t touch the merchandise

Yours truly, just this past week:

If the General can avoid making the upcoming Buick LaCrosse into an AARPmobile — I’m old enough to be a member, but I refuse to drive like one — I’d actually look into it, provided the local Pontiac/Buick/GMC store isn’t a complete and utter craphole.

This may be too much to hope for, says Jack Baruth, who says nice things about the Pontiac G8 and then explains why they won’t sell you one:

Ay, there’s the rub: buying the thing. In the six months that followed, my brother learned firsthand about the misery of dealing with Pontiac dealers. This is the same group of people, remember, who effectively held the first batches of 2004 GTOs hostage, demanding ten-grand markups and no-questions-asked deposits before finally panicking and selling the backlog of unwanted Goats for invoice minus holdback in enormous, humiliating newspaper ads which inadvertently slaughtered the car’s residual value. The attitudes of these domestic dealer ding-dongs, seemingly formed during the brief halcyon days where the Grand Am was GM’s best-selling automobile and served as the exclusive transport option of every stripper, Wal-Mart cashier, and three-hundred-pound, trailer-park-bound, human hippopotamus in the Midwest, could best be described as “aggressively unfriendly”.

My brother’s experience started with an attempt to “pre-order” the car. He was assured time and time again that the cars would be “impossible to get” and that only a sizable deposit would guarantee a spot in line. When the G8 began to pile up in dealer lots despite the predicted shortage, he was repeatedly denied a test drive despite being a respectable-looking thirty-year-old who wore Canali suits and appeared with his wife and young son in tow. After multiple incidents where dealership personnel made it plainly obvious to him that it would be doing him a favor to let him so much as sniff a G8, he gave up and bought another Mazda. I can’t blame him.

It is no doubt true that every manufacturer has crappy dealerships here and there, but the ostensible “volume” brands seem to have so many more of them. (Yes, I know: they have more dealers, period. Work with me here.) If you take J. D. Power seriously — I try not to — you find tidbits like this:

According to the 28th annual J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index, car dealerships rose in customer satisfaction so far this year, due mostly to an increased satisfaction with repair work. Overall, two-thirds of the 37 brands ranked experienced gains in customer satisfaction. Dealer service overall increased to 882 on a 1,000-point scale, with Jaguar ranking highest in customer satisfaction for the second year in a row followed by Cadillac and Buick.

In Standard Letterman Order, the Top Ten:

  1. Honda
  2. BMW
  3. Infiniti
  4. Acura
  5. Mercury
  6. Lincoln
  7. Lexus
  8. Buick
  9. Cadillac
  10. Jaguar

You’d expect Lincoln/Mercury to fall together, since every dealer who handles one also handles the other. But there’s Buick at number three, and neither Pontiac nor GMC are anywhere to be seen. Despite GM’s push toward channel consolidation, there are still standalone Buick stores, though fewer than 100 remain. Maybe those dealers are setting the standard — or maybe it’s just that people who spent more money on cars tend to have a higher regard for the place where they spent it.

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May I see your license, please?

North Dakota is considering requiring the registration of strippers:

Police from Fargo and West Fargo say the so-called “sexually oriented business bill” should help crack down on prostitution and drug trafficking they associate with nude dancers. No license is currently required.

“It’s common practice for the individuals who are participating as the service provider to use fictitious names, or stage names,” said Mike Reitan, assistant police chief in West Fargo. “We don’t have any way of identifying who these people are.”

Under this proposal, failing to register would be considered a Class B misdemeanor.

Icing on the cake:

Sen. Judy Lee, R-Fargo, a sponsor of the bill, said other professionals, such as home inspectors and contractors, have to register with the state.

And since contractors are licensed in North Dakota, I have to assume that strippers will also receive state licenses, and will presumably have to display their license number, um, somewhere.

(Seen here.)

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Marking the transition

Britney Spears once put out a record called “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.” At the time, she was almost twenty, which suggests a question: when does the changeover actually take place?

Burlington hosiery ad

My own expertise on this matter is essentially nil, but I have a feeling black pumps are involved:

I tend to find black pumps extremely boring and far too responsible (aka grown-up) for my taste. Well, sign me up for a 401k and charge my Blackberry: I guess I’m a grown-up now!

As with most proper coming-of-age stories, this one is based on necessity:

The need for boring black pumps came one lovely afternoon when I was setting up an interview with a potential employer and the recruiter jokingly mentioned not to “do anything crazy like wear silver shoes” to the interview. When I got off the phone, I did a mental inventory of my current shoe collection and realized I was in trouble! Needless to say, the purple platform Chloe’s that go perfectly with my interview suit were definitely out, as were every other shoe in my closet. I knew that at some point in my “professional” life I would potentially have to succumb to the pressure of wearing boring black pumps.

If it’s any consolation, they don’t have to be boring.

(Photo snipped from a Burlington hosiery ad, deep into the 1950s.)

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Sometimes it just takes longer

Fifty-three minutes, in this case, since the Thunder and the Bulls were tied at 94 after forty-eight. But Oklahoma City absolutely dominated in overtime, holding Chicago to a mere four points and snagging a rare road win, 109-98.

All sorts of double figures for the Thunder tonight, including three double-doubles: Kevin Durant (28 points, 12 rebounds), Russell Westbrook (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Jeff Green (14 points, 12 rebounds). You might assume from this that OKC got a lot of boards, and they did: 59, versus 37 for the Bulls. Nick Collison got 9 boards and 21 points; Earl Watson, who started at the point with Westbrook moved over to the two, served up 11 assists. And there were second-chance points, the Thunder grabbing 22 offensive rebounds.

Not that the Bulls sat back and let them do all that. Four of five Chicago starters finished in double figures, with Ben Gordon and Dwight Gooden at 22 and 20 respectively; Gooden had 12 rebounds. Joakim Noah, off the bench, was good for 11 boards. And the Bulls outshot Oklahoma City, 43.5 to 40.8 percent. The game was close all through regulation, with no big leads either way, but once into overtime, Chicago was no longer a threat, and the sellout crowd began filing out into the snow.

The Thunder will be in New Jersey Monday, where the Nets will get to see Nenad Krstić again, albeit as part of the opposition. Curiously, the Nets have a better record on the road than they do at home, though one should never count on such things.

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What’s it worth to you?

By “it,” we mean “Michigan,” and by “you,” we mean “China.”

Well, that’s the premise, anyway:

Here in Michigan we have a problem: the automobile industry. Thanks to foreign competition and the doubtful management of the Big Three, the state’s economy is in serious trouble. Should we just sell the state to the Chinese? There is a history of this in Michigan — we once traded the city of Toledo to Ohio in exchange for the upper peninsula. So perhaps it would be a good idea. But what would be a good price?

Tim Harford attempts to answer this question:

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Michigan’s GDP was $382bn in 2007. This is an attempt to measure the value added to all goods and services in Michigan, which includes anything from haircuts to assembling a car — but not, for instance, any components imported from out of state.

So how much would it cost to buy $382bn of productive power? No corporation adds nearly as much value; the economist Paul de Grauwe reckoned that in 2000, value added was $67bn for Wal-Mart and $53bn for Exxon, the two largest companies. Their market value at the time was about five times their value added.

If the same ratio applies, buying Michigan would cost the Chinese almost $2 trillion — roughly what China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has to spend. All this assumes that Michigan’s residents, like Wal-Mart’s employees, would be free to leave if they didn’t like the new management.

Assuming they can afford to leave, I suppose.

Both peninsulas combined come to 97,990 square miles, which is 62,713,600 acres; at a price of $2 trillion, Beijing would be forking over $31,891 per acre. This demonstrates both the advantage of property improvements and the curse of inflation: the Louisiana Purchase had a price tag of $15 million, a mere 2.9 cents per acre. Then again, the Louisiana Purchase did not include Detroit.

It did, however, include the palatial estate at Surlywood, which is worth about six figures an acre despite a complete and utter lack of industrial capacity.

(Via Fark.)

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It’s just a little bit too late

I saw the name “Clint Ballard, Jr.” on some of my favorite records back in the day: the humongous hit “Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders; Jimmy Jones’ “Good Timin’,” his last Top 40 item; the Hollies non-hit “I’m Alive,” which never made Billboard’s Hot 100, but was enormous in Britain and became a heavy-rotation item on the Carolina coast; and maybe biggest of all, “You’re No Good,” first done by Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett more or less simultaneously in ’64 and turned into a major hit for Linda Ronstadt ten years later. It was a while before I realized he wasn’t related to British musician Russ Ballard (Argent, Three Dog Night’s “Liar”).

And it was a while longer before I discovered he was no longer with us: Clinton Conger Ballard Jr., born in El Paso, died at his home in Denton right before Christmas at the ripe old age of 77.

The title here? It’s the second Fontana/Mindbenders hit, another one of my favorites. Wikipedia has a list of songs written by Ballard.

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And not a shred of arugula, either

No doubt about it, this sounds pretty darn good on a cold winter day:

They ordered a house specialty, a Chili Half-Smoke — a quarter-pound half pork and beef smoked sausage on a steamed bun with mustard, onions and chili sauce. They also picked up some chili-topped french fries and iced tea.

The house in question is Ben’s Chili Bowl on D.C.’s U Street, and “they” are Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and a fellow from Chicago named Barack Obama who’s recently relocated to the District.

I believe I speak for everyone here (with the exception of a couple of vegetarians I know to be lurking on the premises) when I say “Yum.”

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There’s a place for this

Ultimately, you have to wonder why nobody thought of this before.

Arthur Laurents, who wrote the original book for West Side Story, is directing a revival at Washington’s National Theatre, and for once, the Puerto Rican characters will be heard speaking, and singing, in Spanish.

From an explanation by Laurents last year:

The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be. Only Tony and Maria try to live in a different world.

I’m taking this to mean that no one on stage will actually be killed, but that the language barrier will heighten the difference between Sharks and Jets, between the Latinos and the previous sets of immigrants.

The production will be staged on Broadway in March.

(Via Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings.)

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God bless Captain D

If you thought that whole PETA “sea kittens” business was something new they came up with because the organization was hungry for headlines and/or contributions, there’s a slight chance you might be interested in this item from 2004:

Last time I had dinner with Fritz Schranck, we had seafood. And it was darn good, too.

I would expect, therefore, that Fritz would take a dim view of PETA’s latest folly, and sure enough, he does:

Fish are admittedly interesting and fascinating. They also taste great when they’re broiled, with a little butter, salt, pepper, and dill weed.

The crux of the PETA argument, per Bruce Friedrich, director of “vegan outreach”:

No one would ever put a hook through a dog’s or cat’s mouth. Once people start to understand that fish, although they come in different packaging, are just as intelligent, they’ll stop eating them.

Uh, yeah, right. Fritz?

Neither dogs nor cats are generally accepted as potential dinners by most Americans. On the other hand, for thousands of years pigs have been generally accepted as far more intelligent creatures than either Fido or Tabby. For those same thousands of years, humans have also managed to find ways to eat just about every cubic inch of a domesticated hog.

I’m thinking that Mr Friedrich’s insistence on the intelligence of fish is based entirely upon the fact that they are occasionally found in schools.

And, as Dawn Eden says, “If they’re so smart, how come they get caught?”

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Strange search-engine queries (154)

Some nimrod is complaining about the environmental impact of Google, which means that he’s really going to have his knickers knotted when he happens upon this more-or-less weekly feature. Sometimes life is good.

5500 lb tax deduction:  No, the IRS won’t believe that you’re married to a Ford Explorer, even if her name is Dora.

toe cleavage tease:  Some people are more easily teased than others.

women witness penectomy:  So long as they don’t burst out laughing.

acid dropped off overpass:  “Oh, wow, look at the cars, man.”

why being famous sucks:  It costs money to fend off paparazzi.

workaday scuzzbuckets:  Because it sucks to be a famous scuzzbucket.

highest number of sex partners recorded in one day:  So far, just one, but then I’m not famous or anything.

“kelp is on the way”:  Thank goodness. We might have had to walk the plankton otherwise.

does cocaine contain any ingredients in dishwasher tablets:  No, which means you run the risk of water spots on your nose.

“women do during sex”:  At least, you hope they do.

weird search engine queries:  Migod, you mean people are actually looking for this kind of stuff?

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Button up your clearcoat

Once again, white is the most popular car color in America, though I’ve never seen an explanation for this quite so eloquent, or quite so pretentious, as this Infiniti ad (for the G coupe) in a late-2005 InStyle:

Colorless? Or is it the most essential color? Maximizing minimal. Screaming quietly. Reveling in less. Pure. Stripped bare. Proud. Fresh. Fashionably optimistic. Elegant with a vengeance. Untainted. Unflawed. The most colorful color in any palette is … White.

And I look at my white Infiniti, and I think “Christ, this thing gets dirty fast.”

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Not as seen on Boing Boing

It’s the third annual Naked Bungy Jump for Schizophrenia:

This popular annual fundraising event has attracted supporters from all over Vancouver Island as well as Seattle, Bellingham, Whidby Island, Vancouver, Portland and as far away as Wisconsin and New York.

For this year’s event, participants are encouraged to register online in advance on the WildPlay Website starting in January 2009. Jumpers who register in advance pay only $30 while onsite registrants pay $40. Clothed participants are also welcome to take the plunge for the regular rate of $99.99. Spectators are welcome for a $15 donation.

All proceeds are donated to the BC Schizophrenia Society.

I think about the only way I’d add this to my Bucket List would be if they told me I had six months or less (six hours, more likely) to live. And actually, the garb, or lack thereof, would be a substantial advantage, since I suspect I’d lose various instances of body control once actually dangling over the abyss.

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At least put down the script

I mean, how many times does she have to say this?

Dear Mr. Real Estate Agent,

When I tell you that I live alone, please do not keep insisting that you’ve been stopping by NUMEROUS times and chatting with my husband and that HE wants to work with you to purchase a new house.

Clearly you’re not listening to me. So why on earth would I feel confident having you help me purchase a home?

Not that this, um, condition is confined to the realty-based community; I suspect every woman old enough to wear black pumps has had to put up with similar crap from somebody hawking something at one time or another.

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Everything has its price

The price of having Zappos.com cut off your Significant Other’s shopping access: fifty thousand buckolas.

On the upside, you get a T-shirt:

When you purchase this limited edition t-shirt, we will permanently disable your significant other’s Zappos.com account for the rest of his/her life.

Within 30 days of purchase, a Customer Loyalty Team (“CLT”) representative from Zappos.com will arrive to the location of your choosing in the United States to break the news in person to your significant other. The CLT rep will also be a shoulder to cry on for up to 1 hour (60 minutes) for your significant other. As time permits, the CLT rep will also be available to share tears of joy with you.

Certain restrictions and disclaimers apply, of course.

(Seen here.)

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What, overtime again?

It didn’t work out quite the same way as the last one, though: the Nets rattled off the first seven points in the extra frame, and the Thunder never quite caught up. Nenad Krstić got the last two points for Oklahoma City in the last second, but New Jersey won it, 103-99, their fifth win in six overtime contests this season.

Once again, turnovers proved to be OKC’s undoing: the Thunder coughed up the ball twenty-three times, including three in overtime. And NJ’s rookie center Brook Lopez inflicted plenty of damage, getting a career-high 31 points and grabbing 13 boards. Devin Harris was back after missing a couple of games, and he and Vince Carter combined for 38 points, Harris mostly early on, Carter coming on strong late and pulling off six steals.

OKC did shoot better than the Nets, 44.4 to 40.2 percent, but New Jersey managed to get off 16 additional shots. Kevin Durant was in reasonably good form, with 26 points; Jeff Green wangled yet another double-double — 15 points, 10 boards. Russell Westbrook had 19; Nenad Krstić led the bench with 12, and Earl Watson had 11 points and 9 assists, nearly half the Thunder’s total dimes.

This one really could have gone either way: lots of runs, but no huge leads. (OKC led by seven at the half; the Nets’ biggest lead was twelve.) But the Thunder are still inconsistent with their ball handling, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, and a couple of times tonight downright horrid.

The Jazz come to the Ford Center on Wednesday.

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I guess that’s why they call it a blue state

One time only, Tom Coburn sings Elton John:

Sen. Tom Coburn and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson placed a wager on Thursday’s night’s BCS National Championship game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida Gators.

Since Florida won, Coburn agreed to sing [John’s “Rocket Man”] during Nelson’s next constituent coffee, a traditional weekly meeting between a senator and residents of his home state.

Had Oklahoma won, Nelson would have had to sing “Oklahoma!” during Coburn’s next constituent meeting.

Dear God. At least it wasn’t “The Bitch Is Back.”

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2, 4, 6, 8, everyone consolidate

The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, already handling some of each other’s local distribution, will now be pooling some of their sports coverage:

Beginning Feb. 1, The News will provide its beat coverage of the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars to the Star-Telegram.

In exchange, the Star-Telegram will share its Texas Rangers coverage with The News. The two will continue to cover the Dallas Cowboys separately.

Since the Star-Telegram, a McClatchy property, is widely believed to be in dire straits, this could be viewed as another baby step toward ultimate merger of the papers — at least by me, a fan of the old Dallas Times Herald, which was absorbed by The News in 1991. Then again, it’s not like Belo, which owns The News, is exactly rolling in dough these days either.

(Via DallasBasketball.com.)

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The Poles are somewhere in the middle

Some German operation called “Institut für Kondom-Beratung” conducted a study of Eurowieners, and has concluded that the French dingus is the longest on the Continent, boasting (as the French will) 15.48 cm: about 6.1 inches. The Greeks, at 12.18 cm, brought up the rear.

(Courtesy of sonia-belle, who is not even close to being safe for work.)

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Now that’s an interface

Here’s a Facebook command I hadn’t seen, but which Donna seems to have discovered:

Bite me

Note to MySpace: Go thou and code likewise.

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Downward trend

Apparently the economy isn’t the only thing that’s sagging:

The most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States is the boob job. It’s as American as a football cheerleader. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the number of breast augmentations in the US increased 657 percent from 1992 to 2003.

But now the society reports a 62 percent overall decrease in cosmetic surgery from 2007 to 2008. Business has plunged in regions with the largest home foreclosures, from Florida to Southern California. Forget about Ohio.

Dr Melissa Clouthier thinks there’s another factor involved:

As time has gone on, women have seen the long term consequences of plastic surgery including boob jobs. Except in rare cases like Demi Moore, plastic surgery makes women (and even worse, men) look weird.

Still unanswered: the question of whether they’re seeing this more clearly now that they can’t get financing.

(Via Robert Stacy McCain.)

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A tradition upheld

One Windows feature, standard for many years, has been preserved in the new Windows 7 beta.

I refer, of course, to the Blue Screen of Death.

It’s good to see that Microsoft, with one eye toward the future, nonetheless has the time and the dedication to honor the past.

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