1 February 2007
Eat your heart out
Valentine's Day has never done a damned thing for me, and this little Oklahoma Gazette item won't help:
Rhett's Meat Market at 9300 N. May is offering heart-shaped rib eyes.
"Most men prefer the rib eyes, and although this heart-shaped rib eye is kind of a novelty, it is fun," said Rhett Lake, the meat cutter.
Oh, sure. Drive a steak through my heart, why don't you?
Incense and truculence
Every psychedelic record ever made, according to Lileks:
[T]he 60s aren't seen as The Past; the 60s are a Timeless Vault of Cultural Touchstones, the apotheosis of Western Civ. Sigh. Well. One of the future Diners will take place in the 60s don't ask why, it'll be explained and I will use many of the gutbustingly dreadful "psychedelic" records I have collected. It's obvious from Note One that everyone involved in the effort had so much THC in their system you could dry-cure their phlegm and get a buzz off the resin, but instead of having the loose happy ho-di-hi-dee-ho cheer of a Cab Calloway reefer number, the songs are soaked with Art and Importance and Meaning. You can imagine the band members sitting down to hash out (sorry) the overarching themes of the album, how it should like start with Total Chaos man because those are the times in which we live with like war from the sky, okay, and then we'll have flutes because flutes are peaceful like doves and my old lady can play that part because she like studied flute, man, in high school. The lyrics are all the same: AND THE KING OF QUEENS SAID TO THE EARTH THE HIEROPHANT SHALL NOW GIVE BIRTH / THE HOODED PRIESTS IN CHAMBERED LAIRS LEERED DOWN UPON THE LADIES FAIR / NEWWWW DAAAAY DAWNNNING!
Five years later it was obsolete.
Which argues forcefully for less-portentous fare. Cue
Sugar, ah honey honey
You are my candy girl
And you've got me wanting you.
Wasn't a sugar cube, either.
Hard to envision this as a dialog box. This was found by a local technician working on the production of recovery disks:
He didn't mention whether the system complains if you don't answer quickly enough.
At night, the ice weasels come
Winter storms are now "winter weather events" or "winter precipitation events". I don't know ... maybe it's not weaselspeak; maybe just the opposite. Maybe they're trying to make it sound bigger and more dramatic.
It's not just weather, I suspect: everything imaginable is an "event" these days. Is anything less important than an "event for television"? Since most of us get our weather from TV, we inevitably get TV's inflated sense of self as part of the package.
This is not, of course, to knock the meteorologists themselves:
Actually, I admire the local weather people. They're always on top things and do an excellent job of informing the public.
But the trappings of television give minor annoyances like this particular "winter weather event" prominence they simply don't deserve. And I always wonder if fear of litigation is written into the script: it wouldn't be the first time a weatherman was sued for being wrong although this guy was actually sued for being overly dramatic.
A fitting tribute
The late Molly Ivins was the editor of the Texas Observer for six years, and for now they're devoting the front page of their Web site to her memory.
I remember this passage it was in her last Observer before moving to The New York Times and it still sounds wonderful:
I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio, or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky…. I'll remember, I'll remember … sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I'll remember people.
And people will remember Molly, with a smile the size of Texas.
The Woot of the problem
"So this is what being a crack addict is like," Trini mused as the Woot-Off entered its 64th hour. And it's a nerve-wracking experience, to say the least. At least I was able to snag a couple of things that sold out quickly.
Whatever my speed, though, it was unfortunately not sufficient to secure for myself a bespoke orange Cadillac.
And after 68 hours, Woot had unloaded more than 52,000 items and taken in something like $2.2 million, which would pay for about one-twentieth of the therapy needed by all the wooters struggling for their very own brick owl cages.
2 February 2007
In 1947, a Taipei street vendor and an agent of the government of the Republic of China got into an argument over black-market tobacco, which outraged observers; within a day, said outrage had grown to a full-fledged uprising in the streets, which the government did its best to suppress. Casualty counts vary, but are generally in five figures. The incident was dubbed the 228 Incident, since it began on the 28th of February, now a national holiday in Taiwan.
Not quite a national holiday, but a reasonable cause for celebration, is the Carnival of the Vanities #228, now playing.
Sometimes they write themselves
Which means I don't have to:
Troy, a high-income city of just 80,000 people and home to [Michigan's] only Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores, now has another distinction. It is the only non-resort city of its size to have two Hooters.
"You come directly off the interstate and that's the first thing you come to," said Wade Fleming, a councilman who voted in June to reject the transfer of a liquor licence to the new Hooters restaurant from a rundown tavern that once operated at the same location. "That starts to define Troy, I think, and that’s not how we'd like to define Troy."
Hooters executives want just one restaurant in Troy but the company won’t close the old one until it's allowed to serve alcohol at the new restaurant, which opened Monday on a larger, more visible site.
Critics are concerned that the restaurants' scantily clad servers don't fit the image the city seeks to project in its Big Beaver commercial district.
"Oh, indubitably," as Daffy Duck used to say.
Tag number 1D 10T
This AutoWeek test for automotive idiocy has its charming moments, but ultimately it's aimed at the sort of tweedy folk who drive twee English wrecks with Lucas electrics, which describes very few of the people I see on the road around here. At the suggestion of Autoblog, I present herewith a list of indications that you, too, might be an automotive idiot.
I could probably go on all day, but that would take all the fun out of the comments, assuming I get any.
One Gersh Kuntzman (like there'd be two Gersh Kuntzmans, or Kuntzmen, or whatever) complains in the Brooklyn Paper that Miss America always seems to come from some place like, well, Oklahoma:
Look, I'm not going to pick a fight with my friends in Oklahoma. It's not Miss Oklahoma's fault that she's the latest in a long line of airy blondes with middle-aged-lady hairstyles, a talent for baton-twirling and vaguely Southern accents who have hijacked the notion of American beauty.
This year, it was supposed to be different. By sending the raven-haired, tap-dancing, no-nonsense [Bethlene] Pancoast to the contest, New York was saying "no" to the beauty queen-industrial complex that drives this, our nation's most illustrious pageant.
Unfortunately, the pageant said "no" right back.
Pancoast, of course, is far too gracious to accept my premise that the Miss America Organization is not only biased against beauty, but also against the northeast (which hasn't won since 1984).
Let the record show that Bethlene Pancoast is indeed hot. (Actually, every woman from Brooklyn I've ever met has been hot, but this is too small a sample to be considered Useful Data.)
And I wouldn't for a moment suggest that there's any connection between the following isolated factoids:
Nor does she herself suspect a fix:
I really don't think there's a bias against us. The thing is, pageants are a much bigger deal in the South. They train for them. A lot of girls down there do it from a young age.
I admit here that (1) I haven't watched one of these things in thirty years or so, inasmuch as they always seem a tad creepy to me, and (2) Kuntzman may well be right about the notion of American beauty having been "hijacked" certainly the last time I was in Los Angeles, where beauty is a primary currency, all the Major Babes looked more or less alike.
Quote of the week
Yesterday was International Internet-free Day. Ironically, I found out about it via my RSS reader a day late.
Life is like that sometimes, and by "sometimes" I mean "more often than not."
Then again, I have a serious distrust for anything billed as "International": if you utter the word "International" in my presence, it will have to be followed by "Harvester" or "House of Pancakes" to merit my attention.
Dances with Wolves
And a painful pas de dix it was for a while, as the Hornets, up seven after the first quarter, were colder than Minnesota winds for the next twenty minutes or so. The Timberwolves, fortunately, were not much better, and by the fourth quarter the Bees had this figured out and pulled away at the end, 90-83.
There's a tendency to think of Minnesota as Kevin Garnett and however-many dwarves. Not so. Garnett was a tad off his game tonight for which we thank Tyson Chandler but Mark Blount, scoring 21 points, took up the slack. And there wasn't that much slack, either: Garnett had a double-double with 17 points (including a last-minute trey) and 13 rebounds.
The Bees didn't shoot all that well, either subtract the two leading scorers (who were 17-22 between them) and you're looking at 32 percent. They did, however, play some decent D; they pulled off eight steals (four by Chris Paul) and blocked nine shots (four by Tyson Chandler). Chandler continues to get serious numbers: he had 16 points and 18 boards despite having to guard Garnett. CP3 was in good form, rolling up 24 points and eight assists. Devin Brown started at shooting guard in place of Rasual Butler; neither of them had an especially-good night. And Jannero Pargo had another one of his late-game bursts off the bench, scoring 13.
Coming up: three road games, at Houston (Saturday), Sacramento (Monday), and Denver (Wednesday).
3 February 2007
You'll have joy, you'll have fun
You won't want to stop at one: Faster Than The World is collecting your votes for Worst Song of the Seventies through early Sunday.
I am happy to note that no fewer than four items from my list of regular barf inducers made it to the ballot.
A passage from the Book of Jobs
As of this morning, there are a bit over 45,000 search results for "vista sucks", and you can be sure this did not go overlooked in Cupertino. In my mailbox this morning:
Go beyond Vista.
It's time to get a Mac. If you're thinking of upgrading to Vista, you'll probably need a new computer. Why not get a Mac? It's simpler, more secure, and way more fun. And it works with the stuff you already have, like printers and cameras. So before you upgrade anything, you owe it to yourself to check out a Mac.
I don't need a new computer, and I'm not thinking of upgrading to Vista, but sooner or later Microsoft will stop patching the leaks in XP and that, I think, will be the optimum time to move.
Obligatory global-warming story
I admit up front that there are streaking incidents on my CV no actual arrests or anything and that today I am older and wiser and, most important, slower.
I must emphasize, though, that those schemes were better thought out than this one at an Arkansas IHOP:
A 21-year-old Fayetteville man stripped down and made a run for it. He reached a nearby car wash, but it wasn't hard for police to follow the barefoot prints in the snow.
Most of the restaurant guests laughed, but the restaurant manager failed to see the humor of the prank and called police.
Officers found the shivering man hiding behind a nearby car a short time later. Police asked the man how he intended to get his clothing from inside the business and how he expected to get home after running from the restaurant. The man said he did not think that far in advance, police said.
"I'm sure it sounded like a good idea at the time," says Rita.
Tax returns completed and submitted. (This is actually two weeks ahead of last year's submission.)
Elapsed time: 50 minutes, which would have been less were it not for some particularly dumb things I did (read: "misplace list of donations" and "close browser at inappropriate time"), and an internal argument over whether I should revive the "1040 or Fight" title for this post.
As before, I used an online third-party filing service; I am persuaded that it's not possible to create one that has a completely un-clunky user interface so long as the forms themselves are discouragingly convoluted. They extended me some sort of loyalty discount for using them again, which didn't hurt. (I am insufficiently broke to get one of the full freebies, it appears.) I've printed out copies for reference, and now I don't have to think about it for another year.
Houston, you have a problem
First quarter: cold shooting, hot tempers. Rockets point guard Rafer Alston and Hornets small forward Desmond Mason were sent home after some harsh words, eight minutes in. The score at the time was 9-8 Houston, and the quarter ended with the Bees up 17-15. Second quarter: cooler heads, still cold shooting. Score at the half: Hornets 33, Rockets 30. In the second half, things started to open up a bit, but they opened wider for the Hornets, who led by as many as nineteen points and won by thirteen, 87-74; it was only the seventh loss at home for the Rockets.
No, I wasn't expecting this either. Yeah, Yao Ming was inactive, but Dikembe Mutombo has proven himself worthy at the post; yet Mutombo, while he got six rebounds, scored nothing. Tracy McGrady poured in a respectable 18 points, but nothing much else seemed to work for the Rockets.
With Mason gone, the Hornets' bench had to work that much harder, and tonight they did, combining for 38 points: Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo scored 12 each. Chris Paul picked up 12 points and served up nine dimes; Devin Brown, in his second start as shooting guard, had 18 points, five assists and seven boards. Tyson Chandler? Yep, another double-double: 11 points, 12 rebounds.
No games tomorrow supposedly there's some big football game or something and the road trip resumes in Sacramento Monday.
4 February 2007
Just when I think I've seen everything
Okay, a screen for your projection TV is no big deal, even at 90 inches diagonal.
But an inflatable screen for your projection TV: well, there's no middle ground. Either this is exactly the sort of thing you're looking for, or you wouldn't buy this in a million years even if you won the lottery and your significant other demanded that you put a home theatre system out by the pool you're supposed to put in.
I tend to lean toward the latter, if only because Woot buyers are the fastest frickin' clickers in the online shopping universe, and it took almost nine minutes to log one sale. (As of now, twelve minutes later, there's no second sale.)
Update, 10 am: It appears they've now moved four of them. Perhaps this is their way of making sure they have nothing to do while the game is on.
Replies hazy, try again
What are the odds on a favorable outcome? If you believe the Magic 8-Ball®, about even.
(Via Vincent Ferrari.)
Breakfast of carnivores
Forget all these honey-flavored breakfast cereals: Dave is holding out for steak-flavored Cheerios.
(Yes, he posted this before, and I mentioned it then. The question remains: will someone have to bundle up in the dead of night to pick up an emergency half-gallon of Worcestershire sauce?)
Then again, there's no spandex
The Fitworld (now that's a name) gym in Heteren, the Netherlands, starting the fourth of March, will offer Naked Sundays for clients who wish to work out without that tedious workout gear.
The major worry seems to have been addressed:
Nude exercisers would be required to put towels down on weight machines and to use disposable seat covers while riding bikes. All machines would be cleaned and disinfected afterward. "We clean them every day anyway," [said owner Patrick de Man].
It might not be a bad idea to offer really dark glasses to the customers.
Bordering on busy
This weekend has proved to be somewhat less unproductive than I had anticipated: not only did I finish off my tax returns, I got the car washed, the kitchen restocked, a new mix CD assembled, two blogs (not this one) updated to WordPress 2.1, and three loads of laundry done.
In other words, I did just about everything but, um, post.
5 February 2007
Strange search-engine queries (53)
About five thousand people land on this site every week. Sometimes it's deliberate; sometimes they're just looking for something. And sometimes the something they're looking for is worth mentioning here.
god of refrigeration: Hail to thee, O mighty Freon. R-134 is but a pretender to thy mighty throne.
the river that shares its name with the city of san francisco: Hint: it's not the Columbia.
hal cash atm: "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't allow you to overdraw your account."
gamma girls: Do they take beta blockers?
which females has the nicest and biggest breats [sic] according to astrology? Gemini. Think "twins."
potable cd-r recorder: I find that a little hard to swallow.
what does a woman with 36B bust look like: Migod, you'd think they were rare or something.
compelling reason for your marriage to be unpublicized: You're marrying Paris Hilton.
Chance of dying at 49: In my case, zero.
is this a lasting treasure, or just a moment's pleasure? If I tell you now, will you promise not to ask again?
Is it okay to use an epilator on the face? If you don't mind feeling like you've been smooching a Weed Eater, sure.
women as doormats: No way to get them to look up to you, believe me.
clueless men what women want: I don't claim to know what women want, but I suspect it's not clueless men.
impacts of improper disposal of chicken: Imagine a giant beak pecking at a face forever....
"We built this." - Citi
As conspiracy theories go, this has to be one of the best:
[T]he Patriot Act is a government plot written by the credit-card companies to force all Americans into eternal debt slavery. My eureka moment (or "awakening," in conspiracy-theorist terms) came when I tried opening a savings account at a local bank.
I already have a savings account, of course, but I'm fed up with my current bank because they keep making bonehead mistakes that take forever to fix. So I figured I'd switch to another one just down the street. Unfortunately, it’s illegal for me to open a new bank account right now because I don’t have the required paperwork. Specifically, the Patriot Act requires a person opening a savings account to have two forms of ID but I only had one with me a driver’s license.
Here's where it gets convoluted:
[F]or a second form of identification, I can use a credit card. So can you. We've all seen news stories about toddlers or housepets being issued credit cards in their names. Hell, I once had a VISA gold card issued to me and maxed out before I even knew I had it.
Legally, I need no proof of identity to get into credit-card debt, yet credit-card debt (or at least acquiring the means to get into it) counts as one of the forms of ID the government requires before I'm allowed to save money rather than owe it.
Believe me, I know from this:
One of the more successful methods, different from mine, that I observe is to refuse to have a real love and/or relationship. I know several people who don't date at all and don't want to. They have their imaginary self, imagined love and their memories. That's it. They never have the rush of a new relationship and a new sex partner nor the high of feeling confident and fulfilled, but they never suffer the fiery hell of a relationship in flux and shambles, leading to a pit of burning lost love excrement up to one's nose. They "win" by not playing. In my opinion, they have put life on hold and in my opinion this is a fate worse than death. It's also the option I believe I am most likely to choose.
It is not a fate worse than death, though it pretty much guarantees you an empty bed, which some people consider the practical equivalent thereof. Me, I am unwilling to be led around by glandular secretions.
I look at it this way: without this particular complication, I am managing to keep my emotional curve just slightly above the X-axis. Why would I want to drop back into the bottom of the graph in the hopes of an occasional half-hearted caress?
Many years ago, for the OAQ File, I wrote that "I will encounter someone of prodigious desirability who wouldn't have me on a bet." I consider this a hazard of life, an unavoidable hazard at that, and indeed I was correct in this prediction. If anything, I underestimated the number of such encounters; if there is any contentment to be derived from having known it all along, I herewith lay claim to that contentment.
I suspect I'll be addressing similar subjects a number of times this month, inasmuch as this month is February, which contemporary culture has inexplicably chosen to dedicate to lovers. By the mercy of the Almighty and the wisdom of the Caesars, it is the shortest month.
The really long goodbye
Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune analyzes the Oklahoma City NBA situation:
The problem for the Sonics, now with new owners from Oklahoma City, is trying to keep a low profile while lobbying for public money for a new arena (fat chance). If that were somehow approved, they'd keep the franchise in Seattle because it would be a guaranteed financial winner. But if not, the way would be open for the franchise to relocate to Oklahoma City because the Hornets have announced an NBA-pushed return to New Orleans.
This will bring back memories of the attendance figures for the Rochester Royals. The rumor is the league wants to keep Oklahoma City open for the new Sonics owners. That would give the Hornets no place to return if New Orleans cannot support a team (they were last in attendance before the hurricane). That would then put the pressure to sell on maverick Hornets owner George Shinn, not an NBA favorite, thus giving new Hornets owners a chance to go to Seattle if the Sonics leave, or swap with the Seattle owners so they could relocate a franchise to their home in Oklahoma City.
The theory is the league doesn't want Shinn continuing to profit from mismanagement and then moving and would make it hard for him to return to Oklahoma City. And you thought those Raymond Chandler novels were hard to follow.
The Rochester Royals, you may remember (I didn't), drifted to Cincinnati, then to Kansas City (as the Kings), and ended up in Sacramento.
Things techs hear
"Oh, you have to have the printer plugged in to install the ink cartridges?"
Duh Scale (1 to 5): 4.5
Could this text be any more plain?
Excuse me while I guffaw at this:
The results from this study suggest there is a relationship between typeface selection and the reader's perception of an email. The email presented in the typeface that was judged in previous studies to be low in appropriateness for email (Gigi) was perceived to be less stable, less practical, more rebellious, and more youthful than either Calibri (highly appropriate) or Comic Sans (moderately appropriate). This finding suggests that documents presented in typefaces that are viewed as less appropriate are seen as less serious and less professional in nature. The appropriateness of the typeface also affected the perception of the email author in that the email using Gigi created a perception of an author who is less professional, less trustworthy, and less mature. Finally, the typeface that was lower in appropriateness led participants to conclude that the author was a lower level trainee employee. When choosing a typeface for a document, the level of appropriateness should be taken into account in order to avoid sending unintentional messages.
Apart from the question of what there could possibly be on God's green earth for which Comic Sans is "moderately appropriate," I plan to ignore this entirely; anything you get from me will be in your mail client's default typeface because I think HTML-encoded mail is an abomination unto the Lord and a pain in the ass generally. With the exception of one monthly newsletter which is sent to me as a Word document (which I open in OpenOffice.org because I refuse to install Microsloth Office), I read everything in plain text; if nothing else, it creates the illusion of less spam.
Shot down in Sacramento
The former Rochester Royals are quite at home in the California capital: the Kings jumped out to a 40-24 lead after the first quarter, 63-50 at the half, and while the Hornets drew to within one in the fourth quarter, the Kings held on for a 104-99 win.
Sacramento had six players in double figures, led by Ron Artest with 21; Mike Bibby dropped in 19. The Kings shot over 70 percent in the first quarter and were still over 50 percent at the end.
The Bees had some serious offense: Chris Paul got 24 points, Desmond Mason 17, David West 16. The difference? Both teams made 16 free throws, but the Hornets missed eight and the Kings missed only two.
To Denver, for a round with the Nuggets on Wednesday; the Bucks will be in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
6 February 2007
It's another not-quite-random list
This one was swiped from Suburban Lesbian.
* SL had exactly the same answer to this one.
Proving e-commerce is yet unperfected
Just got this email from Woot:
"Due to a mistake in our warehouse, those ordering the leveler received the tape measure. The leveler will be shipped as well and the tape measure is yours to keep."
If you're wondering "What about those people who ordered the tape measure?" they were issued refunds in full and a $5 certificate off their next woot. I know this because I am one of those people.
Proving e-commerce still has life
A car dealer around these parts used to bray about all the free stuff they threw in with the deal, with the tagline "What could be better than free?" I'd like to think this would have shut him up. (Endless.com is an Amazon.com offshoot that deals in shoes and handbags, but not even Amazon Prime is offering a shipping deal this remarkable. It expires on the 28th of February. I have been so far unable to identify this specific shoe; I spotted this ad on Go Fug Yourself.)
Just a Falcon minute
News Item: Ford Motor Company will rename its slow-selling Five Hundred model the Taurus, a name that Ford had previously used for a car that became the nation's top-seller, company officials said Tuesday.
Top Ten Names Also Considered for the Ford Five Hundred:
I figure I can legitimately claim 1.6
This is perhaps an oversimplification of things, though it does reflect the expected bell-curve distribution. Presenting PDB's Five Levels of Attraction:
Level 5 = Movie stars, supermodels, the very elite that is beyond reach to all but a privileged few.
Level 4 = those who are almost as good-looking as the level 5s (and in some cases more so), but haven't reached the same level of fame, social status, etc.
Level 3 = Most of the population. More-or-less attractive, but not to the take-your-breath-away point of level 4s and 5s often the overlooked "best friend" of a level 4.
Level 2 = Not exactly Quasimodo, but not particularly exciting to look at, either.
Level 1 = Quasimodo
Of course, there's always that eye-of-the-beholder factor to consider, which tends to skew results. But I've got a hunch that no one is going to pay any attention to anyone below 2.
This stuff just flat works
Inspired by Lastango, here's a list of things I have that simply refuse to die:
Addendum: While rooting around in the bedroom, I found the original Casio clasp-type watchband. I have no freaking idea how this thing ever worked.
7 February 2007
Golden slumbers fill your ears
Russell Cunningham, a close friend who often went body surfing with Obama, remembered his friend Barry for introducing him to new music and for giving him sound advice.
"He introduced us to jazz and George Benson when we were all listening to rock 'n' roll," said Cunningham, now an attorney in Sacramento, Calif.
This seems innocuous enough, even though it sounds like "jazz" and "George Benson" are two entirely-separate concepts, a view which I suspect Zanotti endorses:
Now, honestly, if the intention of this piece was to make Obama more accessible to the Lite Rock crowd, their inclusion of the man who hoisted "Turn Your Love Around" on an unsuspecting public might have been a shrewd journalistic move. It's not really even "blues" per se ... it's a bit more mid-70s Motown one-hit wonder than anything remotely resembling "music." Even if we were to say, admit that "On Broadway" has some artistic merit, it still doesn't bely any kind of actual taste. George Bush had Van Morrison and Eric Clapton. Condoleezza hangs on to the Classics, and a bit of Cream. Even Hillary Clinton managed to sneak on the Beatles. Obama is jammed in between C.W. McCall and Gary Glitter on someone's smooth jazz iMix.
That said, may I commend unto you George Benson's The Other Side of Abbey Road, recorded right on the heels of that Beatles masterwork in the fall of 1969, and easily the best thing ever put out under Benson's name. It's a classic Creed Taylor production with Rudy Van Gelder twiddling the knobs and Freddie Hubbard contributing some great trumpet bits here and there. Originally it came out as A&M SP-3028, disappeared too quickly, and was reissued when Breezin' hit for Benson at Warner Bros. in 1976. If I ever find myself at a watch party, I'm bringing this along.
Because you mocked Hello Kitty
This is Foxkeh, the Japanese spokescreature for Mozilla Firefox. Unlike the critter-grasping-the-globe logo used elsewhere, this Fox has a different fire entirely:
Jumpin' Jack Flash was not available for comment.
(Via Miss Cellania.)
Strike a pose, there's nothing on it
A fortyish Brit, mother of four, poses for some Italian art students, and the first thing anyone sees? Butterflies:
My stomach was made of ice. My legs were shaking. Clad in an ancient dressing gown from Next, I knew that in 20 seconds' time I would have to walk out before 18 art students who were going to spend the next hour surveying my every pore, every lump of flesh and every fold of flab (caused largely by the aforementioned four births, but a penchant for brie and red wine might also come into the equation). How on earth was I going to get through it? The whole ordeal suddenly seemed like the worst idea in the world. The perfect location? Irrelevant. Donatello may well have achieved his spectacular sculpture of the nude David in this very city, but didn't he use a hard, glamorous (male) body of about 16? Whereas I am 41, womanly and only vaguely glamorous when in a pair of M&S support knickers and a black jumper. Trickles of sweat began to run under my arms.
But one must rise to the occasion regardless:
The students were still chatting among themselves. Didn't they realise what I was about to do, for God's sake? I stepped up onto the stage, dropped my dressing gown and kicked it away with what I hoped was a haughtily insouciant gesture. Silence immediately fell over the studio. All eyes were on me. And everyone started to draw. Oh, the power! There is nothing quite like nakedness. It's like using the very worst swear word you can. Once you've said it there's nowhere else to go. Indeed, once I had rid myself of the inadvertent spectre of burping or, even worse, farting that was it. From the position of worst possible, things got a bit better.
We will not mention that upon her return to Blighty she dropped fourteen pounds.
(Seen here; this link may not be safe for work.)
You might wait until you get home
In this month's City News, enclosed with the utility bill:
If you see potholes in City streets, give us a call on the Pothole Hotline at 631-1111. Or call *OKC on your cellular phone.
If you're in the habit of making cell-phone calls while you're driving, I suggest you're just asking for problems far greater than mere potholes.
This week's prime bloggage, of course, can be found at Carnival of the Vanities #229.
Things to do in Denver when you're tired
Beating the Nuggets didn't look like it was on the agenda. The Hornets trailed most of the game, managed to tie it late in the third, fell behind by three at the end of the quarter, and then Denver, apparently irritated, put the squeeze on the Bees. With one minute left, though, the Hornets had fought back to a 101-101 tie. With three seconds left, it was 103-103, and that's how regulation time ended.
At some point during the overtime, the Hornets noticed that they'd won three of the four quarters, and turned up the heat a little, though missing three free throws didn't help. Ex-Hornet J. R. Smith tied it up at 112 with 20 seconds left; Desmond Mason nailed a bucket at the buzzer to win it, 114-112. And it ended with Smith and Byron Scott, never the best of friends, in a hug by the sideline. You can't write scripts like that: no one would believe them.
All five Denver starters finished in double figures. Carmelo Anthony, of course, was huge: 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists. Allen Iverson, maybe slightly slowed by a twisted ankle, dropped in 22 and served up nine dimes.
The starting Hornets also finished in double figures, led by Mason with 23; Tyson Chandler got yet another double-double with 10 points and 16 boards. Bobby Jackson got 15 off the bench.
Tomorrow night: the Milwaukee Bucks come to the Ford Center.
Addendum: The Denver Post reports a sighting of the Birdman:
Former Nugget Chris "Birdman" Andersen attended Wednesday night's game. It is the first Nuggets game Andersen has attended since being suspended two years for violating the NBA's drug policy last January. He played for the Hornets at the time of his suspension. "Bird is a good dude," Hornets guard Chris Paul said. "That's my man. Every time I see him I show him support and I can't wait until he gets a chance to come back to the league."
A year from now. I hope.
8 February 2007
Another reason to hate winter
Because everyone's wearing gloves, you can't spot whether or not there's a wedding band on that otherwise appealing woman standing next to you on the subway platform.
Do I admit that I do look? (Not that it makes the slightest bit of difference, of course.)
And are there any statistics on the success rate of public-transit romances?
The tin DRM
The Metropolitan Library System is now offering downloadable audio books to which you can listen.
Maybe. Dwight is not impressed:
I was kind of excited about downloading one and giving this new service a try. Load one onto my iPod and listen during my lunch breaks, or as I fall asleep at night. But alas, I got my hopes up too soon. The audio files come as WMA (Windows Media Audio) DRM-protected files which are incompatible with the iPod.
Probably won't work with the Zune, either. And yes, there are workarounds, but:
[F]or at least some of the titles, I could go through the time-consuming process of burning these titles to a CD … ripping that CD back into iTunes … and then putting it onto my iPod. But, for all that effort, I might as well just actually read the damn thing.
Careful now. They might start putting DRM on e-books.
The Hoohah Monologues
You probably know this play under a different title.
Addendum: Steph Mineart has a better idea.
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
Excuse me while I whimper in the corner:
"Greater numbers of female partners leads to fatigue in males. They start producing smaller sperm packages," [biologist Sylvain] Charlat said. "Unfortunately, the females ... instinctively know that the packages are smaller and that their chances of having been sufficiently impregnated after mating are lower than usual. This just makes them more rampant."
Dr Charlat was actually talking about butterflies, but this still spooks me.
(Via Lip Schtick.)
Hey, maybe it is rocket science
HBN Shoe, LLC is the manufacturer of something called Insolia, which pulls off this remarkable feat:
Insolia products fundamentally change the inside of high heel shoes, shifting weight off the ball of the foot back to the heel. It actually feels like you are wearing much lower heels which is a true comfort factor for many women. This weight shift improves body alignment and balance dramatically reducing leg and lower back fatigue while reducing pressure on the ball of the foot. Thanks to Insolia products, women no longer have to sacrifice style for comfort or comfort for style.
The developers of Insolia included podiatrist Howard J. Dananberg, founder of HBN, and Brian Hughes, an actual MIT rocket scientist.
It's stuff like this that gives me hope for the future.
All spammers are nasty farging dweebs, but some of them are just a shade nastier than their scum-sucking brethren.
This little jewel popped in today with the dubious headline "How not to be a Grammy fashion don't":
We are glad to offer you F.D.A approved Original Viagra.
You can order it here: http://www.christianschoolmagazine.info
Fast shipping and tax free prices guaranteed.
Said URL actually lands on worldwidebonus.com, the domain record for which was posted this week by registerfly.com, a generally-respectable registrar who probably hasn't noticed this yet.
Not so easy Bucks
The last time the Hornets were supposed to play the Bucks, ice on the runway kept them from taking off. Tonight the Bucks were here, and the Hornets brought their own ice for the fourth quarter while Milwaukee was running a 16-2 run; up ten after the third quarter, the Bees managed a mere sixteen points in the fourth but rallied to force a 90-90 tie at the end of regulation. Apparently everyone was tired after 48 minutes; it was still tied after 53.
And so there was a second overtime, and the Hornets remembered that they were 3-0 in overtime and held the Bucks to four points in five minutes, winning 109-101.
Good Bucks: Mo Williams had 30 points, and Ruben Patterson got 28. (Patterson also records a double-double, with 16 rebounds.) Not So Good Bucks: Both Charlie Villanueva and Earl Boykins fouled out.
No fewer than seven Hornets scored in double figures, and three of them had double-doubles: David West had 21 points and 19 (!) rebounds; Tyson Chandler had 11 points and 22 (!!) boards; Chris Paul scored 14 and delivered 10 assists. Desmond Mason picked up 24 points; Linton Johnson and Bobby Jackson had 10 and 12 respectively off the bench; Jackson's 56th-minute trey put the game out of the Bucks' reach.
The Grizzlies will be here on Saturday in the first half of a home-and-home; the Bees play at Memphis Tuesday.
9 February 2007
Friday on my mind
In today's conservative social climate, it's going to take a long, long time before anyone can proclaim to the boss, "Can I get off early on Friday? Our naturist resort is having family night."
Well, "anyone," maybe. I don't know if I can pull this off, so to speak, or not, but this is more likely due to the fact that I usually have to work late on Friday than to any particular fear of bringing up the subject.
More to the point, I'd hate to go to "family night" by myself.
The straight and narrow
For the second time this week, someone has asked if I'm losing weight. I honestly don't know: I don't own a scale. I certainly don't feel any lighter.
Still, there is some evidence which might support this premise. For the last ten years, I've bought the same size trousers from the same source. The last couple of batches I usually buy two or three at a time were just slightly snug with the standard five-hole belt fastened at the middle hole. Those same garments are now distinctly loose: even with the belt tightened to the max, if I take more than a couple of steps I can feel them sliding downward, putting myself awfully close to the dubious distinction of being able to pants myself without using my hands. It is true that as of the first of the year, I am on a cholesterol-reduction drug; but the slippage was taking place even before that. Fortunately, I don't work as a plumber.
Songs for swingin' satellites
Frank Sinatra, 24/7? Siriusly:
Siriusly Sinatra will be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week channel, that will air recordings spanning the entire spectrum of Sinatra’s career, as well as other artists from the big band, swing and traditional pop genres. In addition to featuring regular blocks of Sinatra’s music, Siriusly Sinatra will also feature a weekly show hosted by Nancy Sinatra, rare live concert performances, and archived material. The channel is expected to launch on February 14th.
The Interested-Participant is skeptical:
One would have to be quite the fan to enjoy 24/7 of Frank Sinatra.
Not to worry. When it comes to the Chairman, I am Board-certified.
Angel was a centerfold
Last year I made up a list of "Phrases I never want to hear again," and prominent on that list to the extent that it was the only item that drew a reproach in comments, anyway was this:
"Anna Nicole Smith," unless followed by "was found dead"
In the wake of Vickie's demise (that was her real name, and I always liked it better anyway), I have decided to append a note about it to that post. (Unlike some denizens of blogdom, I have never suffered from the delusion that I could cover my tracks.)
Meanwhile, were I inclined to do one of my infamous pop-culture sendoffs and believe me, if I couldn't come up with something heartfelt for Frankie Laine, I surely wouldn't be able to say anything about Ms Smith I'd be better served just ripping off this item from Tam:
[S]ince there are plenty of celebrity-watching blogs out there eulogizing and scandalizing in all their banner-ad festooned, audio-streaming glory, I figured I'd let them do what they do best, which is pretending to care about Anna Nicole Smith, and I'd stick to doing what I do best, which is making fun of stuff that pretty much has nothing to do with Anna Nicole Smith. That is, until I saw that PETA had released a statement on her demise. The highlight?
"A long-time vegetarian who had slimmed down into a stunning beauty when she stopped eating meat..."
...and she died at 39, you tree-hugging dingus. I'm her age and, while I lack the dope habit, I do smoke and I eat meat and you don't see me keeling over in any Florida hotels, do you? So there you go: Learn from Anna, go eat some steak today.
I'm readying a New York strip for the grill this evening.
The insistence of Forrest Gump's mother notwithstanding, there's rather a lot more to life than a box of chocolates, especially this time of year:
Cupid's arrow will cost consumers a little more this year. The average lovestruck consumer will spend nearly $120 on Valentine's Day this year, up from $101 last year.
In total, U.S. wooers will spend $16.9 billion on their sweethearts this year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2007 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by market research company BIGresearch.
The survey polled 7,703 consumers and found that 63% of them planned to celebrate Valentine's Day, most between the ages of 25 and 34. On average, men will spend $154 on their Valentines, nearly double the $85 the average female will spend on her sweetheart. The most popular gifts men plan to buy to say "Be Mine": flowers (58.3%), candy (42.9%) and jewelry (27.6%).
Inasmuch as this adds up to 128.8 percent, you have to figure that some of these fellows are hedging their bets.
I'm slightly suspicious of that $154 figure, if only because it's far too low to include any meaningful amount of therapy.
Wish I'd thought of this
The nearest gas station/C-store has one of those coin-operated air compressors, and it is cunningly designed to run out of time at the beginning of one's third tire. I took all the precautions I could removed all the caps first, took all the pressure readings with my handy-dandy gauge, carefully dekinked the hose, and only then deposited the coins and still, two tires completed, third tire only just begun, and dead silence.
This is the sort of thing that makes me think "Geez, I ought to get a compressor of my own," and then I calculate how many trips I can make to that store for that amount of money.
10 February 2007
So my DJ told me
Did you ever try to sing along with a song despite the fact that you obviously didn't know all the words?
Certainly one of the all-time tongue-twisters in the land of karaoke is "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)," a project of producer-songwriters Norman Dolph and Paul DiFranco that at first no one would even try to sing. Enter bubblegum veteran Joey Levine you heard him mentioning love in his tummy once upon a time who actually could deliver this seemingly-endless string of namechecks without going slowly (or quickly) insane.
The disc, issued under the nom de disque "Reunion," was an enormous hit (#8 in Billboard); the pseudonym was then promptly retired, inasmuch as there was no way on earth to come up with a followup. Nineteen seventy-four being way before the death of the radio star, there was no video.
I might also note that hardly anyone dared to remake this song with the notable exception of the always-fearless Tracey Ullman, who did a creditable job on her 1984 LP You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, done for one of those "all the others" labels. (The Reunion original was on RCA.)
Tales of the unexpected
Heavens to Betsy (not her real name), can this be true? A virtual valentine?
(Found on a blog. In an effort to minimize total embarrassment, I am not providing a link.)
It's not just binary
Who's missing from those "I'm a PC/I'm a Mac" commercials?
Lucky I didn't mention the dirty knife
Hanging upside down from the ceiling in the nearly pitch-black dining room are sharp, gleaming samurai swords, about 2,000 of them. The server volunteered that number, appended with an assurance that the blades, firmly anchored, shouldn’t cause any concern.
"If Akira Kurosawa hired the Marquis de Sade as an interior decorator," says the reviewer. I'm generally in favor of edgy design, but not with this many edges.
What may be in store
The Saturday Oklahoman has a column on the second business page which lists major office leases. (This is separate from the major real-estate transactions, which is usually one page over.) This item from today's list gave me pause:
VS Pharmacies signed a ground lease for 60,412 square feet of space in Mayfair Village Shopping Center at NW 50 and May Avenue. [Mark] Inman, Alaina McGlothin and [Brian] Donahue handled the transaction.
This threesome works for CB-Richard Ellis Oklahoma. The first thing that struck me was, well, who is "VS"? Most likely, I reasoned, a typo: this is really CVS. And inasmuch as there's a Walgreens on this corner, a CVS should be considered inevitable: these two chains chase each other all over.
But wait: there's a CVS at the far end of the complex, near 48th and May. And they surely don't occupy sixty thousand square feet, which means that this is probably not a renewal of their current deal.
Which can mean only one of one thing: the oft-rumored displacement of the Mayfair Market, which has sat on this corner for decades. I am, of course, outraged, not so much because of the historical importance of this store (not much) but because this is the only place I know of that actually stocks Kellogg's Pop-Tarts in the plain (unfrosted) blueberry variety. I am so screwed.
But wait! The market isn't 60,000 square feet either. According to the County Assessor, it's 19,600, and there's no way they can scrape it off the pavement and replace it with a building three times its size without getting in the way of Union Bank. That Walgreens is listed as 15,396 square feet.
If nothing else, this gives you an insight into the sort of things I worry about while the rest of the world concentrates on ephemera.
No Memphis blues tonight
With essentially no time left in the first half, Chris Paul managed to work the ball into the basket.
From behind the backboard.
They waved it off, of course, but expect this on highlight reels for days to come. And it fit in: a lot of things were falling into the bucket tonight, especially for the Hornets, who shot a startling 55.8 percent from the floor (and 50 percent from the 3-point line) en route to a 114-99 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.
The Griz stayed close through most of the first half, and Pau Gasol was his usual efficient self, picking up a double-double for the night (21 points, 11 rebounds), but the Bees opened it up in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis 35-24.
Six Hornets in double figures during the shootfest: Chris Paul had 23 (and 11 assists), David West 22, Desmond Mason 16, Tyson Chandler 15 (and 16 boards), Devin Brown and Bobby Jackson with 11 each. Hilton Armstrong is starting to pick up more minutes, and while he still makes the occasional rookie mistakes, he's getting to be a tough competitor. And to everyone's relief, no overtime.
Tuesday the Bees fly to Memphis to play these same Grizzlies, who are now thirteen games below .500.
11 February 2007
Next: hybrid Hummers
Back in December I made some offhand remark about variations on the Oreo theme, including such wacky ideas as an Oreo with no discernible chocolate whatsoever, which I pronounced my favorite of the bunch.
This week, an edition I hadn't se