Archive for April 2017

Not to be shared

You got two people living in a household, you have to have two bathrooms, or at least no fewer than one and a half:

[T]hat’s just one way it’s hard to “go it alone” as an adult — yes, a spouse would generate more mess but at the same time a spouse could help clean up. (And if I were married? I would have to have a bigger house than I currently do. At a minimum I would want two bathrooms because … well … sharing a house with a man, there are times you just want to go to a bathroom that someone hasn’t JUST been in, if you get what I mean)

Either that, or you need an add-on ventilation system capable of cleansing Love Field in Dallas in 45 seconds or less.

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Quote of the week

From Roberta X’s most recent Geopolitical Update:

It is snicker-worthy watching Uncle Vlad get all huffy about the “violation of international law” in the U. S. sending a missile salvo on a badwill tour of a Syrian air force base. Tell it to the Ukrainians, you scheming weasel, and then yank the veto chain from your comfy seat on the UN Security Council just like all the other Great Powers do after they’ve beat up some two-bit country that doesn’t have that option.

Note: There are exactly five permanent members of the Security Council. I suspect that the only advantage of being one of them is that ability to yank the veto chain, because God knows the Security Council isn’t going to do anything actually useful if it can possibly help it.

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It seemed like a good idea at the time

Solar Roadways has installed a solar road in Sandpoint, Idaho for testing. There are 30 panels, which to me doesn’t sound like enough. It certainly isn’t enough for production, unless you’re serving ant farms:

The … project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

And you can guess how much it produces at night.

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Old enough to drink

This little soapbox of mine has now been open for twenty-one years. By the standards of blogdom, this is, if not an eternity, certainly an eon or two. And there are worse things I can do besides celebrate.

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Several doors close

Were you a Denver Nuggets fan, you had a chance at your best possible outcome: you got to see Russell Westbrook collect his 42nd triple-double of the season, breaking Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record, and you got to watch the Thunder, who too often seemed like they were gasping for breath, and not because of the altitude either, stumble all over the place. And the Nuggets had serious motivation: they started the day a game and a half behind the Trail Blazers for the eighth and last playoff spot in the West, and a loss would mean elimination. Then Westbrook did his usual fourth-quarter stuff, because that’s what he does. With 2.9 seconds left, Denver had had its lead shaved to two, at 105-103, and the ball, inevitably, came in to Westbrook, 36 feet from the rim. He sailed it over the Nuggets, and they watched it go in, just a breath or two before the horn. Oklahoma City 106, Denver 105, the season series is swept — the Nuggets haven’t beaten the Thunder in over two years — and if this doesn’t sweep Westbrook into the MVP slot, nothing can.

And it took Westbrook-style heroics to pull this one off, too. Andre Roberson was back, but for limited minutes, and he seemed unwell. Doug McDermott was a late scratch, and Victor Oladipo seemed to be walking wounded. (VO was 3-15 from the floor, missing all six three-point attempts.) Against this, you have both Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler collecting double-doubles, Gallinari knocking down a season-high 34, and Nikola Jokić good for 23. The Nuggets shot 6 percent better than the Thunder, and their 11-34 for three eclipsed the Thunder’s feeble 6-25.

But none of that matters, because Westbrook. We’re talking 50-16-10. And if you need a reminder of how this team works: Semaj Christon scored exactly three points — off Westbrook’s tenth assist, the one that nailed down the record. The brothers Stache had 25 points between them; nobody else managed even ten.

Just a reminder:

And that’s 80 games. Two remain: at Minnesota on Tuesday, and at home against some rather cheesed-off Nuggets on Wednesday. Those games are valuable to the statisticians, but not, I suspect, to anyone else.

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Meanwhile in 1964

First week of April 1964, this was the very top of the Billboard Hot 100:

Billboard Hot 100 4 April 1964

This moptop monopoly was made possible by the fact that three different record labels were involved. (Tollie was a subsidiary of Vee-Jay which released 48 singles over two years, eight of which charted, and four of which were by the Beatles.)

If this seems like a heck of a lot of Beatles, consider the next week, in which the Fab Four had a fab fourteen entries on the Hot 100, up from twelve. They’d vacated two spots in the Top 5, replaced by Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion” at #3 and Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” at #5, but they held down positions #7, #9, #14, #38, #48, #50, #52, #61, #74, #78 and #81. (Here’s the complete chart.)

And two more labels would eventually be involved, reissuing tracks from the 1961 Tony Sheridan sessions with “The Beat Brothers,” MGM with “My Bonnie” and “The Saints,” and Atco with “Ain’t She Sweet,” the only Sheridan track on which any Beatle sings lead. (Before you ask: it’s John.)

Still, I am heartened, five decades and change later, by the fact that there was still room in the Top Ten for the likes of Satchmo.

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Strange search-engine queries (584)

This site, as previously mentioned, is now 21 years (and one day) old. And this particular feature, wherein we examine the search strings that provoked visits to that site, has been around for about half that time. How this happened, we’ll never know.

maybe your daughter? young jailbait selfie & webcam collection:  Not my daughter, and she’d plant a boot up your butt if you so much as suggested it.

1997 mazda 626 od light flashes but does not rev up motor when it comes on going down hiway:  Prepare your checkbook.

naked car men:  They better hope they don’t have a transmission failure while they’re going down the highway.

milf bimbo tumblr:  Probably less than 40 percent of the service.

why is beaver slang for a woman’s private area:  None of your business. It’s private. Go back to looking for milf bimbos on Tumblr.

“wordpress” “backup” -“cv” -“resume” -“hiring” -“free software” -“powered by” -“” -“” -“last updated:” -“last update” -“just another” -“posted from”:  Obviously some clod who has time to do this because he’s unemployed.

“lice masters”+”oklahoma city”:  At least his typing wasn’t lousy.

bob davis fish market okc:  About half a mile from Lice Masters.

until upskirts vacuum varies:  Yeah, but they all suck.

jaded amaranthus automation:  Don’t be such a pigweed.

foreskin rolled back permanently:  Where you gonna go for the rollback? Walmart?

readme.html wordpress capacitor:  I’m not quite sure which this guy understands less: capacitors, or WordPress.

duck i am gonna whip somebody’s:  Acting out of mallards?

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Minor grocery fail

Well, finally it happened.

I duly reported to Walmart at 2 pm Saturday to pick up the week’s groceries. These are brought out to the car in a batch of blue plastic boxes about the size of milk crates. And when I got home, I discovered that several items managed not to make it home with me.

I went back out to the car to see if I’d missed anything. And then the phone rang: Walmart advising that they’d forgotten one box, and that they would hold it for me for a couple of hours, or they could cut me a refund. I opted for the latter, and they issued me a credit for around ten bucks to cover the cost of the undelivered items. Simple as that.

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Whistles and bells

Peter Grant is not impressed with all these new automotive safety features:

Such advanced technologies may be desirable to some, but to those of us who’ve done without them all our lives, they don’t appear to be all that vital or necessary. I’ve been driving without them for the best part of half a century. I daresay I won’t feel deprived if I don’t have them tomorrow … and if that means I can pick up my next vehicle for half what I’d pay for it today, I’m fine with that.

My 17-year-old ride has four air bags, two more than I’ve had on any previous car, and anti-lock brakes, which I’d never had before. If I didn’t know better, and I’m pretty sure I don’t, I’d swear that any newer tweaks were motivated by the idea that newer drivers are even more inept than us older folks.

Still, this stance could get complicated:

There are those who argue that cities will make such features mandatory on vehicles wishing to use their roads. If we don’t have the latest safety technology, we won’t be allowed to drive there. My answer to that is simple. I have disposable income. I can spend it where I please. If cities, or suburbs, or areas make me unwelcome, I won’t spend my money there. I’ll take my business somewhere else. See how long their economy lasts when all of us in a similar position do likewise, and their sales tax revenues tank, and many of their stores close their doors due to lack of customers. No, if they want me to have the latest technology in my vehicle, they can damn well pay for it. I’m not going to waste my hard-earned dollars on it.

Then again, it’s not hard to predict how these things will be made mandatory, and it doesn’t involve the cities at all: it will be the usual Federal 90-degree blackmail. (“Either you enact this law, or we cut your funding.”) There are damned few municipalities, or counties, or states, willing to tell Washington to go jump a farging stump.

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The spirit of ecumenism

And just the right time of year for it, too:

Complaints about lack of inclusiveness will be accepted below.

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In defense of the nude selfie

I’m not quite sure I buy this premise, but it’s thought-provoking. Or it’s something-provoking, anyway:

Is it seeking validation? Maybe. But is there anything wrong with that?

Don’t we all want validation for things?

Sure, I’m capable of enjoying a meal without Instagramming it, but if I’ve spent three hours baking a cake then, hell yes, I want to hear someone else say it looks good.

Bodies are no different.

Different time frame, I’d bet.

And if you must, I suggest some of her rules for greater anonymity:

3. Make sure the background is neutral and doesn’t include personal items or identifying features — even wallpaper or doorhandles could be obvious to a close friend.

7. Consider using tricks like close-ups, unusual angles or black and white filters to make it especially anonymous.

In a lifetime, I’ve received exactly two of these, which is twice as many as I’ve actually sent.

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Uee, Uee

Her family named her Kim Yu-jin, but for most of her life she’s been simply Uee, and you might think that one does not adopt a name shorter than Cher’s without some attitude slipping in. I’m not seeing any myself. I’d mentioned yesterday that she’d had a solo hit in 2011, and there were others, but most of her musical career has been spent as a member of the girl group After School.

Uee recommends this soft drink

Uee stretches out

Uee stands tall-ish

“First Love,” whose title would seem to belie its pole-dancing imagery, sold over 600,000 copies for After School in 2013.

And Uee’s a far better singer, or actor, or dancer even, than she is a pitcher:

She’d be the first to admit it, too.

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IPv4 fanfiction

I don’t believe a word of this, but it’s a heck of a narrative. Holly — no, not our Holly — claims:

I found a way to pinpoint exactly where someone is EVERY time they use their phone and it is through Netflix. Just saying.?

Suspension of disbelief begins to fail … NOW:

So my ex bf does not have Netflix on his phone. He only has it on his smart tv and his computer … that I know of.

He kept taking off at odd hours and I noticed he was bringing condoms. I actually counted them for a month bf doing this. Anyway I went to his Netflix acct and then to history. It has option there for IP addresses. I clicked that. It told me his IP address EVERY time he used his phone … it had nothing to do with netflix. It also corresponded to the times he kept taking off. I highlighted and copied the IP addresses into a gps converter app I got from google play. It took those IP addresses and gave me the exact gps coordinates of where he was at as well as the time he was there (Netflix IP history). It showed him many times in the middle of the woods on an army base and on a dirt road (where his missing condoms were found on the ground). I waited until he left and went to the place and caught him with a male prostitute. He is now my ex. Oh and he is an FBI agent in sex crimes division. Sooo … that is how you do it :-)

If he doesn’t have Netflix on his phone, why would Netflix have a list of the IP addresses on his phone? For that matter, why would the guy’s desktop have a list of the IP addresses on his phone? If you ask me, he’s better off as far as possible from Femaleficent there.

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And without that Hamilton guy, either

I have to admit, the new Canadian $10 note is pretty sharp, and their 3D display site is just as cool as it can be: you can turn it back to front, or back again, or just about any angle in between.

I have to admit, though, it would never have occurred to me to punch up the Konami code while watching:

The site doesn’t advertise this, but Kotaku Australia noticed on Sunday that if you enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, on your keyboard, you’ll be greeted with a shower of virtual bills and an 8-bit version of the Canadian national anthem.

Oh, Canada, you’ve done it again. Thank you.

(Via spydergrrl.)

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Entering cod mode

Some highly questionable dickweed identified as “resident evil zero pc game free download” — Rebecca Chambers herself couldn’t make me give them a link — dumped this on me last night:

Far too much money is needlessly spent yearly by hard working folks replacing perfectly fine USB devices they assumed were busted, while in actual fact, they merely needed new drivers.

But, if you get any of those varieties of messages out of your computer, you can be sure make fish an outdated driver causes the problem.

What is worse, it might result in computer freezing, blue screen and even crashes.

If fish are involved, freezing might be a good idea; eventually they’ll stink up the joint otherwise.

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Sleeping through it

Both the Thunder and the Timberwolves began back-to-backs tonight. It’s Game 81, of little importance to either. But it was a home game for Minnesota, so Tom Thibodeau opted to bring out the usual hometown favorites. Meanwhile, Billy Donovan decided to rest Andre Roberson, Taj Gibson, and, yes, Russell Westbrook. This sounded like a brilliant idea after the first quarter, with the Thunder up 33-16. But the momentum gradually shifted in the middle quarters, and a 5-0 run by the Wolves put Minnesota up 98-97 with 44 seconds left. A mere six-tenths of a second later, Norris Cole tied it up with one of two free throws. Karl-Anthony Towns somehow missed a layup; with 6.3 left, Victor Oladipo sent up a jumper to make it 100-98 Thunder, and Andrew Wiggins’ three-pointer at the horn went nowhere.

If nothing else, this experiment redeemed both Norris Cole (12 points) and Kyle Singler (11 points). Oladipo’s last shot gave him 20; Domas Sabonis rolled up 19. Perhaps what’s most important, though, was the idea that it can be done without the presence of the Great Zero God: Westbrook’s seeming invulnerability is not, after all, a given.

Towns outscored everyone else on the floor with a solid 26 points and 12 rebounds. Wiggins and fellow forward Gorgui Dieng picked up 18 and 19 respectively. And Ricky Rubio popped up a double-double of his own, with 14 points and 10 dimes. The Wolves, we may safely say, are not the doormats they were two years ago, but still: 50 losses, plus tomorrow night at Houston. It seems unlikely James Harden will get the night off.

Nuggets at Thunder tomorrow night. We may safely assume that Denver would like some measure of payback for Sunday. And they might get it, if the Thunder are allowed to sleepwalk through that game the way they did through half of this one. And with the Rockets coming up this weekend, well, the opportunity for distraction, or worse, will present itself whenever the Fates are so moved.

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Throw a rope toward that ship

It’s long since sailed, but the Tar Heels are digging in just the same:

Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina are proposing a bill that would ban gay marriage in the state, according to a local CBS affiliate report Tuesday.

North Carolina state Reps. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, and Carl Ford, all Republicans, are the primary sponsors of the “Uphold Historical Marriage Act.”

Republicans? Really? Who would have known?

The bill says that the U.S. Supreme Court “overstepped its constitutional bounds” in the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. In the decision, the justices struck down “Amendment One” in North Carolina’s state constitution, which prohibited the state from recognizing or performing marriages or civil unions for same-sex couples.

Over 60 percent of voters approved the amendment in the spring of 2012.

Hey, you went three whole sentences without mentioning Republicans.

And how, since there have been at least 20 amendments to the 1971 North Carolina Constitution, did this one get designated Amendment One?

Assuming this passes, we’ll need to calculate the over/under on how many days it takes for it to be thrown out.

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A tale from the Vinyl Jungle

Phase One:

“I’ll take Rock Bands for $800, Alex.”

The Cars; Eagles; Earth, Wind and Fire; Billy Joel; Little Feat; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; Bob Seger; U2; Van Halen; and Yes.

“Who has opened for the J. Geils Band?”

Phase Two:

From Fark, four years ago:

J. Geils sues J. Geils for using the name J. Geils while J. Geils goes on tour despite not having J. Geils in the band. J. Geils unavailable for comment, but J. Geils was willing to discuss the lawsuit.

To explain:

The J. Geils Band embarked on a short U.S. tour in August/September 2012. However, they left for the tour without J. Geils. Geils filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the other members of the group over use of the name for a tour without him. He named band members Richard Salwitz, Danny Klein, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman in the lawsuit filed in Boston Superior Court, claiming that they “planned and conspired” to continue touring without him, and were unlawfully using the group’s trademarked name. Geils, angry at his bandmates for what they did, permanently left the band.

Phase the Last:

And now “permanently” is, um, permanent:

John Warren Geils Jr., the artist known professionally as J. Geils and part of the rock group The J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Groton, Massachusetts home. He was 71.

My blood runs cold.

Nightmares … and Other Tales from the Vinyl Jungle, the sixth LP from Geils and then-friends, came out in 1974. And it’s a shame that whatever they once had, it must of got lost.

(List of opening acts from Dave Marsh’s The Book of Rock Lists, updated by me.)

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Smart appreciation

Snagged from the Akismet spam trap last night:

What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you are now not actually a lot more smartly-appreciated than you might be right now. You’re so intelligent. You already know thus significantly with regards to this subject, made me for my part imagine it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. All the time care for it up!

I think I’d almost rather had been insulted.

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More cam birds

And not just any old birds, either:

In 2014, a pair of mated Bald Eagles chose the most idyllic of nest sites within the United States’ National Capital (Washington, DC), nestled high in a Tulip Poplar tree amongst the Azalea Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture. This is the first Bald Eagle pair to nest in this location since 1947.

Two eaglets were hatched in late March, and we of course wish them well.

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But a whimper

The evening started out with Oscar Robertson singing the praises of Russell Westbrook, and ended with radio guy Matt Pinto wondering where the hell this motley bunch of kids was supposed to be finding any offense. It wasn’t going to be from Westbrook, who played the first half only and finished with a stunningly irrelevant 5-5-8. Andre Roberson and Doug McDermott sat. The Thunder scored 38 in the second quarter, only 41 in the third and fourth, and the Nuggets gradually worked themselves into a 10-point lead before winning it by six, 111-105. Nor were these the regular Nuggets: Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari saw no playing time. Of course, this game meant nothing except the fact that it was the last regular-season game; Denver had already been eliminated from the playoffs — lest we forget, by the Thunder — and we know that it’s going to be Houston/OKC in the first round. Still, one hates to go out with a shrug.

Denver big Nikola Jokić came up really big for the Nuggets, with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists. This may be explained partially by Mike Malone’s decision to play only seven men, leaving Jokić in for 40 minutes. Of those seven, five scored in double figures, and Juancho Hernangomez just missed with nine. (Mike Miller made no shots, but claimed eight boards.) High scorers for OKC were Taj Gibson and Jerami Grant, with, um, 13 each. And the big difference, really, was at the foul line, where the Nuggets were 26-32 and the Thunder 11-17.

Now forget all these numbers. The season is over. OKC finishes 47-35, which is probably a tick or two better than anyone anticipated after the defection of that Durant guy. Give Westbrook credit where it’s due, and let’s hope he’s up to the task of dealing with the Rockets, who were 3-1 against the Thunder this year.

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A miserable spring

And a mostly horizontal one, at that.

So when’s dry season?

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Of transparent heels

Katy Perry’s new shoe collection includes a moderately tall pump called The Hillary, worn here by guess who?

Hillary Clinton wears The Hillary by Katy Perry

Happier than she ever looked as a Presidental candidate, if you ask me.

Let’s get a closer look, shall we?

The Hillary by Katy Perry

“A dreamy suede pump,” says Katy, which may explain the moons and stars stuffed into the heel. Either pink or “seafoam green” can be yours for $139.

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One step forward

I have moved off my original shared-hosting account, where I’ve spent the last decade and a half, to my first Virtual Private Server, which gives me the appearance of a machine all to myself and a whole 30 gigabytes’ worth of solid-state drive. (Same host, just a higher rung of service.) This move was motivated by (1) a higher number of server reboots in recent weeks and (2) a substantial price cut, not necessarily in that order. (The new service is 38 percent pricier than the old service, which is currently priced at half what I paid for it fifteen years ago.)

So far, things seem a smidgen faster, though not enormously so, and I have some options that weren’t open to me before. Then again, it takes two machines to run WordPress, the Web server and the database, and I’ve only upgraded the Web server — so far.

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Voters, schmoters

The people that matter to your Congressional delegation, says Bill Quick, are the ones who write the big checks:

I’ve been railing against the effective Ruling Class oligarchy of wealthy people who own and operate both houses of Congress and what I call the Ruling Party (and others call the Uniparty). Congressmen spend, at minimum, half their time (and generally considerably more) engaged in fund-raising activities. Just about every dime they raise comes with strings attached. Everybody hates congressmen (check any poll). The only reason to give these smarmy grifters anything at all is that you have solid expectations of getting more back from them than you give to them. In other words, it’s a straight business transaction in which the congressman sells his political power, and the donor buys it for his own use.

That is the state of political play in the most rarefied reaches of the American political system today. I have made the point that, as a professional writer, before the ubiquitous advent of Amazon, my “market” was not really my readers, but the tiny handful of editors in NYC who actually made decisions as to what books to buy, because without them buying what I was trying to sell, the mass market of readers out there would never see my work. In other words, my true readership, the one I responded to most readily (when they said jump, I said “how high?” were not readers, but acquisitions editors. They were my “Ruling Class,” if you will.

The same applies to politics. Clueless voters think their politicians see them as their primary constituency, but any politician will tell you that the only constituency that really matters to him are his donors. And until we find some way to change that, we will continue to have the best politics that the worst money can buy.

Well, he’ll tell you that if he knows it’s “off the record.” Lip service must be paid to constituents, after all.

And I’m pretty sure I’ve suggested somewhere along the line that if you want to get money out of politics, you need to get politics out of money. The smarmy grifters will of course never stand for that.

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A job for the ages

Her Majesty does, after all, enjoy certain perks:

When you’re 90 years old and the longest reigning monarch in British history, you get the privilege of not risking a blister. According to a royal insider, Queen Elizabeth has hired a staff member to break in her shoes before she wears them, The Evening Standard reports.

There is, of course, a prescribed protocol:

[T]he Queen’s wardrobe designer Stewart Parvin reveals that the staff member must wear a pair of beige cotton ankle socks and only walk on the carpet while breaking in the new kicks.

“The shoes have to be immediately comfortable … The Queen can never say, ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk any more’,” he said. “She has the right to have someone wear them in.”

Monarchs have all the fun.

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Was this meal Happy?

I don’t think I’d have had the nerve at eighteen, let alone at eight:

An 8-year-old East Palestine [Ohio] boy used YouTube videos to learn how to drive his father’s van to McDonald’s on Sunday.

East Palestine Patrolman Jacob Koehler responded to the restaurant that evening after the police department received reports from several people who witnessed the boy driving the van effortlessly through the downtown area.

Koehler said that according to reports from witnesses … the boy obeyed all traffic laws, stopping properly at red lights and waited for traffic to pass before making the left turn into the McDonald’s parking lot.

The staff assumed this was some kind of joke:

When he pulled up to the drive-through window after ordering a cheeseburger he had been craving and intended to pay for using money he gathered from his piggy bank, the McDonald’s workers at first thought they were being pranked.

“The workers thought that the parents were in the back, but obviously they weren’t,” Koehler said.

The boy had his 4-year-old sister along as a passenger.

There are people a lot older than 8, and you probably know some, who can’t manage a mile and a half trip without knocking something over, or at least hitting a curb, especially if a left turn is involved.

Staff sprung for meals for the lad and his sister, the parental units were notified — apparently a friend of the family recognized the van — and they all lived happily ever after.

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Nothing more than feels

“Feels” as a noun seems uncomfortable to me, especially when it’s rendered with a Z, but I suspect it’s too late to do anything about it now.

Wilmington, Illinois singer/somgwriter Kiara Saulters, known professionally as “Kiiara,” actually had the temerity to record a song called “Feels.” Released as the second single from her low kii savage EP, following the big hit “Gold,” “Feels” is weirdly atmospheric and liberally salted with F-bombs, perhaps even more so than “Two Weeks” by FKA twigs, whose emotional range it shares.

For my introduction to “Feels,” I am indebted to, yes, Rebecca Black, who cut an acoustic cover with Olivia O’Brien this week under the auspices of Vevo. If anything, the F-bombs seem even more prominent here, what with two voices joined together. If you stay for the whole video and wait for a couple of seconds, you get the audio (but not the video) for RB’s single “The Great Divide,” which in its Crash Cove remix dropped one spot on Billboard’s dance-club chart this week, to #34. And the fact that Vevo is getting involved makes me wonder if there’s going to be some industrial-strength push behind “Foolish,” the next Rebecca Black single.

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The dreaded Dislike Button

No, I didn’t.

There hasn’t been a lot of conversation about it because Twitter hides their negative option quite well and it does not appear consistently. Of a dozen or more tweets I looked at, I saw “I don’t like this tweet” only a few times. (Twitter wouldn’t elaborate on how often or under what conditions the option appears.) Plus, the Yin to Twitter’s “like” heart Yang, doesn’t show up in your stream. Still, the language could not be clearer.

Is this a Good Thing? Not necessarily:

Disliking a tweet in the heat of the moment applies a long-time sentiment to your Twitter timeline for a temporary feeling. You can undo it in the moment, but not go back later when you feel differently.

More importantly, we’ve already seen what the “like” up-voting opinion bubble does on Facebook. Last year, people kept liking content that synced with their values and beliefs and ignoring (or maybe choosing “angry”) for anything that didn’t. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm expertly scrubbed all the non-conforming stuff so Facebook users could live in their perfect social media thought bubbles.

Twitter’s decision, in September 2016 (just two months before the presidential election), to give us a dislike option for tweets could have had the same effect. The platform is already polarized.

Is it ever. And “mute” doesn’t seem to work consistently: should you have someone muted, it doesn’t mean that someone else can’t retweet that someone right back into your timeline. The “dislike” function doesn’t seem to work with TweetDeck at all.

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Tied you over

When I was six, I could tie my shoes, after a fashion, but too often they’d work themselves loose. I assumed that I’d done something wrong, and repeated the operation. As it happens, I didn’t do any better at twenty-six, or at forty-six. So I’m anxious to be let off the hook:

The weird electronic voice, which sounds nothing like Scarlett Johansson, insists on giving a British pronunciation to “Berkeley,” and its cadence is plainly artificial. That, um, said, there’s a reasonable explanation, of necessity in its larval stages, of the problem that’s beset me, and possibly you, all these years.

In the meantime, at sixty-six, I’ll be thinking Velcro.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Save the chocolate for later

You need the vanilla for more important purposes:

Keep a sealed bottle of real vanilla in your first aid kit as a dental pain reliever. If not sealed it will evaporate over time and if you have ever had tooth pain you’ll appreciate the suggestion. Uncap the bottle, remove the seal, hold a tightly wadded paper towel over the opening and turn it upside down for a moment saturating it. Then quickly hold that wad tight against the painful tooth for a full minute. Within 10 seconds the pain will completely disappear.

The real stuff these days costs as much as a trip to the dentist, but the dentist is open maybe 30 hours a week, and maybe she can see you two weeks from now.

(As seen in The Foxfire Book.)

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The logical next step

So Holly and I were talking birds the other day — that is, we were talking about birds, we weren’t actual birds ourselves, though she has a smidgen of swanlike grace, while I’m definitely aukward — and having covered a Bald Eagle Cam in the District of Columbia and an Owl Cam just up the road a piece, I suggested, perhaps not entirely in jest, that we ought to find a Vulture Cam.

Took all of 30 seconds.


Black vultures are commonly seen in the skies over America’s southern and eastern states. They are gregarious, often seen in communal roosts or feeding on carrion, helping keep the environment clean. Adults form long-term monogamous relationships and typically have two fluffy, yellow-beige colored chicks each year. Adults share incubation and feeding responsibilities, and continue to feed their young for as long as eight months after fledging, helping to establish bonds among kin that last a lifetime.

Model citizens, wouldn’t you say?

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Each other’s dummy

Or, “When Two Ventriloquists Collide”:

This has the potential for being twice as amusing as, say, Edgar Bergen and Podine Puffington.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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We few, we small markets

Yeah, you’d expect the conference champions to enjoy the greatest audiences. But look who’s right behind:

Apart from the Magic — Orlando didn’t get on national TV at all — you have to figure that the Jazz and the Wizards will show some substantial gains next season.

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The lonely princess

This is the poster for the 70th anniversary edition of the Cannes Film Festival:

Official poster for Cannes 2017

And it’s all of a sudden controversial, because of the image of Claudia Cardinale at its center.

Claudia, who turns 79 today, is not concerned about it:

Despite the rumblings in the French press and social media, Cardinale … described the controversy as a “fake row.” Speaking to The Huffington Post, the Leopard star said, “[T]his image has been retouched to accentuate this effect of lightness and transpose me into a dream character.”

She added: “This concern for realism has no place here, and as a committed feminist, I see no affront to the female body. There are many more important things to discuss in our world. It’s only cinema.”

Through more than 140 films, she’s played plenty of dream characters, some of whom might have seemed awfully down to earth.

Claudia Cardinale on the balcony

Claudia Cardinale on the cover of Tempo

Claudia Cardinale on the rocks

I have to figure this was the inevitable fate of the woman who won the title of “Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia” at nineteen, and who appeared in many Italian films before she ever learned to speak Italian well.

(Mr Johnston is a cultural historian at University College, London. The title here is a reference to Claudia’s character in 1963’s The Pink Panther.)

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An unverified substance

The justly famed “Love Potion No. 9,” we are told, “smelled like turpentine and looked like India ink.” As unappealing as that sounds, it’s got to be better than this:

The one thing people seek in a healthy sex life is a way to make it even better and mostly making it last longer in order to have more sex is seen as key to achieve that. Although there are several means for higher sexual desire and maintaining a hard on for longer, people often fall prey to unverified substances.

A woman in Zimbabwe’s Bikita wanted to increase sexual desire in her husband and for this reason she laced his tea with a love potion she got from a local traditional healer. But the substance which contained baboon urine proved a bit too much, as her husband ended up getting an erection that lasted three weeks.

And we are expected to panic after the fourth hour. Wusses, we are.

Initially it seemed effective but things got out of hand when her husband would demand sex more than six times a day, which included times when she was working on the fields, cooking and even during church service.

Thirty-fourth and Vine was never like this.

(Via Fark.)

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Purely decorative

One of the easiest ways to spot so-called “chick lit” on the shelves of your local bookseller: look for an incomplete picture of a woman. The reasoning, I assume, is that you can more easily identify with a character if you only get to see part of her.

The end result is something like this:

Here’s Jen’s book cover:

Save the Date by Jen Doll

I wonder how many other covers our unknown model might have done.

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I got a replay up in Reno

For clearing off the board; now the other pinball players, they simply say, “Oh, Lord.”

(Via BoingBoing.)

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Even old New York

As you may remember, it was once New Amsterdam. Our topic today is New Amsterdam Spirits, which isn’t actually headquartered in old New York but in marginally newer Modesto, California, where the names on the door are Ernest and Julio Gallo. New Amsterdam produces gin and vodka apparently aimed at a Millennial audience. I’d never heard of them until this month, when I discovered that they were sponsoring the radio broadcasts for the Oklahoma City Dodgers on KGHM. I’m guessing that this is as far as they can go with broadcast media in this state: a tag at station-break time, and at commercial breaks, to the effect that “You’re listening to Oklahoma City Dodgers radio, presented by New Amsterdam Spirits.” I assumed at first it was a local liquor store trying to drum up some business, but no. Still, minor-league baseball needs sponsors every bit as much as the big-league operations, so you’re not going to hear me complain.

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I haven’t a clue

Give me a few minutes to think it over:

Guess the size of the bunny

Sorry, I just can’t tell.

(From Bad Newspaper via Miss Cellania.)

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