Archive for Almost Yogurt

Fear is in control

I think I might be among the poster children for this phenomenon:

Some of us are becoming hyper-aware of every moment of fear or disappointment or grief or sadness to a debilitating degree.

Years ago I went on a road trip with some friends travelling from concert to concert around Ontario. Just before leaving, the driver of the wreck we were travelling in was cautioned to make sure it didn’t overheat. Just that one word of warning from a random bystander sent us to the side of the road every couple of hours to open the hood and stare inside. The temperature gage never got anywhere close to the danger zone, but every time it moved, we had to pull over. Sometimes too much attention can be as bad as not enough.

This sounds like me. I am aware of where the temperature gauge is supposed to sit, and when it doesn’t sit there, I immediately start budgeting for a cooling-system repair.

After thousands of years of stoically forging ahead despite flashes of anxiety, in just 70 years we’ve shifted to a point in which every fluctuation in mood might be fodder for medical help. Instead of ignoring nervousness or sadness, we fixate on them, allowing them room to blossom, like a scab that won’t heal because we can’t leave it alone. Sometimes hyperawareness of anxiety can make it much worse until it becomes paralyzing and pleasurable events become mired in painful feelings of stress. Can something actually be enjoyable if we’re barrelling through a sea of tumults, trembling with a heartbeat that is curiously inaudible to others in order to just get through it all? Does it really make sense to feel the fear and do it anyway when the dread of doing it might override the pleasure of having it done?

I am definitely being hindered in the so-called “healing process” by this: even trivial stuff scares me.

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Sort of soft-boiled

This year’s winner in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is William “Barry” Brockett of Tallahassee, for this bit of noirishness:

Even from the hall, the overpowering stench told me the dingy caramel glow in his office would be from a ten-thousand-cigarette layer of nicotine baked on a naked bulb hanging from a frayed wire in the center of a likely cracked and water-stained ceiling, but I was broke, he was cheap, and I had to find her.

Honestly, I preferred, or maybe just disliked less, this Crime/Detective winner:

She walked toward me with her high heels clacking like an out-of-balance ceiling fan set on low, smiling as though about to spit pus from a dental abscess, and I knew right away that she was going to leave me feeling like I had used a wood rasp to cure my hemorrhoids.

Courtesy of Charles Caldwell, Leesville, Louisiana.

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And surly to rise

Turns out that Grumpy Cat was right all along:

The truth is, pondering the worst has some clear advantages. Cranks may be superior negotiators, more discerning decision-makers and cut their risk of having a heart attack. Cynics can expect more stable marriages, higher earnings and longer lives — though, of course, they’ll anticipate the opposite.

Good moods on the other hand come with substantial risks — sapping your drive, dimming attention to detail and making you simultaneously gullible and selfish. Positivity is also known to encourage binge drinking, overeating and unsafe sex.

At the centre of it all is the notion our feelings are adaptive: anger, sadness and pessimism aren’t divine cruelty or sheer random bad luck — they evolved to serve useful functions and help us thrive.

And no, you should not suppress these things for the sake of camaraderie or whatever:

[I]n 2010 a team of scientists decided to take a look. They surveyed a group of 644 patients with coronary artery disease to determine their levels of anger, suppressed anger and tendency to experience distress, and followed them for between five and ten years to see what happened next.

Over the course of the study, 20% experienced a major cardiac event and 9% percent died. Initially it looked like both anger and suppressed anger increased the likelihood of having a heart attack. But after controlling for other factors, the researchers realised anger had no impact — while suppressing it increased the chances of having a heart attack by nearly three-fold.

I suspect this is why I am not a cardiac patient after all these years of surliness.

(Via Scott Kiekbusch.)

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Blake, move away from there!

Haven’t we seen something like this before?

Fox has given a pilot presentation order to Okies of Bel Air, an animated comedy executive produced by Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin. The project, written by writer-comedian Sean O’Connor (The Late Late Show), hails from Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV. It borrows some elements from Griffin’s life.

In the vein of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Beverly Hillbillies, Okies of Bel Air is the story of a family of humble Oklahoma catfish farmers who, after their basketball prodigy son is chosen first overall in the NBA draft, pack up and move to the tony enclave of Bel Air, where they’ll struggle to preserve their down-home sensibilities amidst a vast cultural wasteland where Kardashian reigns supreme and pressed juice is considered a viable alternative to childhood vaccinations.

Oklahoma native Griffin was selected as the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft, moving from his home state to LA.

Nice to know there’s still gold in them thar cultural stereotypes.

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Consider this a reminder

From Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, via Fillyjonk:

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.

To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue.

To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the week end in town astride a radiator.

We’re about as far from a February blizzard as we can get, but it never hurts to think upon the things we take for granted. To further quote Mr Leopold:

Civilization has so cluttered this elemental man-earth relationship with gadgets and middlemen that awareness of it is growing dim. We fancy that industry supports us, forgetting what supports industry.

Yep.

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You can’t do this with delivery drones

The Friar drops in at one of the remaining Hastings stores:

A family was shopping, and one of the children, a girl of about eight or nine, had been given one of the books she would be getting with the family purchase. She dropped to the floor in a cross-legged second and dove in, immediately engrossed in whatever story she held while the others browsed.

Jeff Bezos will never be able to sell that, no matter what technology comes under his company’s command.

It will, however, be interesting to watch him try.

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Modern-day logic

And really, this does work on a Philosophy 101 level:

You are curious whether your butt is big or small. Unfortunately, you lack the ability to accurately assess the size of butts. Fortunately, there are three rappers before you. You are of their preferred gender, so they are willing to collectively entertain exactly one yes-or-no question from you, to which they will each give an answer.

One rapper likes big butts and cannot lie. One rapper likes small butts and always lies. One rapper likes all butts but shares your inability to assess butt size, and will answer yes or no at random if asked whether a butt is big or small. You do not know which rapper is which. All the rappers know all other facts relevant to the situation, including everyone’s identity and butt preferences.

Before you are able to ask your question, one rapper receives a booty call (the size of the booty is unknown to you) and leaves the room. The other two rappers remain and are willing to pronounce on your question. You still do not know who any of the rappers are.

To determine the size of your butt, what question should you ask them? (You may assume that all butts can be classified as either big or small and ignore contextual factors, e.g. from the presence of Oakland booty.)

(Via Chris Lawrence.)

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Justify your existence

And there had better be some dollar signs in that justfication, too:

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a photograph from one of those truly beautiful European libraries and made a comment about how he could “carry around more books on my phone” and it seems to me that that’s a big part of the malaise of our times — or at least, the malaise I am feeling. That the beautiful and the aesthetic are slowly being replaced by the functional but ugly, and no one seems to think that losing those aesthetics don’t in some way impoverish us. I once referred to it as “the gradual crappification of everything” — how some nice groceries close up and are replaced by wal-marts with bad management and surly employees and tvs at the end of every aisle blaring ads, how it’s no longer “profitable” for students to do anything outside of technical or STEM degrees, so the humanities are in decline or are derided, that instead of lovely places being appreciated people complain about how the space could be “better used more efficiently” or something like that.

And I admit, sometimes I feel like we will someday be surrounded by nothing but concrete-box buildings, noise, and greyness, and very few people will ask, “Why are we here? Isn’t this an unpleasant state of being?” because everyone will have been convinced that this is The New Normal and it is all we merit, because anything else is “unprofitable” and therefore not worth it. Or that it’s somehow all we deserve because we are awful. And I don’t know, yeah, humans are awful but having an awful world around us doesn’t exactly encourage us to be better.

There are times when my impending demise bothers me less than usual, and this is one of them.

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You gotta believe

Well, kinda sorta:

Never could deal with those Nothing Is Real types.

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She knew you were trouble when you walked in

This is, or is about to be anyway, an actual book:

Taylor Swift, Girl Detective

The title, of course, is a misheard lyric (from “Blank Space,” if you’re keeping score). And we’re telling you this on background:

Written by Larissa Zageris and illustrated by Kitty Curran in the style of the Nancy Drew series, the book is about an out of work actress in New York City who finds threatening messages on her skinny mocha Starbucks drinks. (It’s not authorized by Swift, but according to the creators, the pop star followed the Tumblr for the book.)

Why’d they choose Taylor Swift as the heroine? “Her publicity is focused more on her own derring-doishness and accomplishments than her sex appeal, much like a modern day Nancy Drew,” Kitty Curran tells TIME. “She also used to dress exactly like Nancy Drew, though now she looks maybe more like the updated 80s version.” In the story, Swift makes a mischievous face a lot, and Lorde serves as her muscle. “While Lorde is a badass, she is so ethereal and poetic in her ways that making her the tough one in the book just seemed hilarious to us. We also needed a good foil for the more poised, level-headed detective figure of Taylor Swift and she fit the bill perfectly,” Curran said. Someone should give these two a mystery award for nailing Lorde’s exasperated face.

I somehow missed the Kickstarter for this book, so I have to hope that they run off some copies for the general public.

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This story broke on Wenzdhi

There were 12 girls in this country, born between 1969 and 1972, named “Toosdhi.” Where the heck did this come from? Says the expert, it was the late-Sixties TV series It Takes a Thief:

In “To Catch a Roaring Lion,” which first aired on the very last day of 1968, main character Alexander Mundy (played by Robert Wagner) is sent to the fictional African country of Zambutiko to recover a set of ancient scrolls. In Zambutiko, Mundy meets Toosdhi Mboto (played by Denise Nicholas).

The following dialogue ensues:

“As with your name, it’s spelled differently. T-o-o-s-d-h-i. Toosdhi Mboto. My identification.”

“I don’t think I can read this out here, the sun is so bright. Why don’t we go to some dark spot, with rum in it.”

“I will be your personal guide while you’re here, Mr. Mundy.”

“You can call me Al.”

Paul Simon would have called her Betty.

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A quiet, normal(ish) life

It seems unlikely, especially these days, but it’s more common than you think:

99.99% of all people (in the Western World anyway. I’m not going to speculate on the rest of the world) never shoot anybody. Because there is a certain random element to how people grow, there are always going to be some who are not well suited to life in our society. Among those is a small percentage who are going to lash out with varying degrees of effectiveness.

I don’t think any kind of mass palliative educational program is going to help. A program that identified individuals who might pose a possible threat, and tracked them might help. But such a program could easily be abused, and I’m not sure we have a reliable method of identifying a dangerous person before they start shooting.

Then again, we don’t track worth a damn. (Which, in the Surveillance State, might be a good thing.)

We could dope everyone up so they were nice obedient sheep, but even then things might not go so well. Get enough sheep going in one direction and any sheep in their way are liable to get trampled.

And heaven help us if those sheep learn to shoot.

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I find your lack of fragrance disturbing

There is, of course, a solution:

[I]f you’ve ever thought to yourself, “How I long to smell like a Jedi,” here’s your chance. Lifetime Fragrances, a perfume manufacturer in Germany, now offers a line of Star Wars perfumes and colognes.

Eau de toilette Jedi is described as a woody-aromatic scent that “exudes positive energy.”

For those who’ve turned to the Dark Side, eau de toilette Empire has an oriental-woody scent.

The lone scent aimed at women, Amidala, is described as a fruity-oriental fragrance, mixing notes of green apple, patchouli, vanilla and musk, among others.

If the scents don’t sell you, perhaps the bottle design will do it. All three fragrances are sold in what look like lightsaber hilts — black and red for Empire, blue and silver for Jedi, and a very C-3P0 gold and silver for Amidala.

Bad news: They’re not selling these outside Germany yet, so you’ll have to make a small detour before setting off on the Kessel Run.

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Many ticks of the clock

Growing older has its annoyances, particularly in the slow yet seemingly endless disintegration of one’s physical self. Still, there are things to celebrate about it, especially for women:

What about the benefits of finally not caring what other people think about you and how you do stuff? What about not giving a fig about dressing up for men but instead caring passionately about dressing up for yourself? What about those creative projects and business ventures that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time or the confidence to do? What about your deeply intimate and lasting friendships that you know will last you until you die? What about your gorgeous relationships with your children or other people’s children? What about the relaxation you feel about making love? Finally. what about discovering the value of the simple sides to life — gardens, nature, animals, meandering, holidays?

Still, there’s something that stings about this paragraph:

It was Marilyn Monroe’s birthday recently, and one of my Facebook friends wrote: “Marilyn would have been 90 today and everyone would have been complaining that she didn’t look 25.”

Yeah. The time to look twenty-five is when you’re seventeen.

(Just kidding. I think.)

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What to do about HB2

North Carolina’s HB2 has gotten to the point where it has its own Wikipedia page:

The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, officially called An Act to Provide for Single-sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations, but commonly known as House Bill 2 or HB2, is an act passed in the U.S. state of North Carolina in 2016. It has been described as the most anti-LGBT legislation in the United States, while proponents call it “common sense” legislation.

One contentious element of the law eliminates anti-discrimination protections for gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people, and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. This has been criticized because it prevents transgender people who do not or cannot alter their birth certificates from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity: in North Carolina, only people who undergo sex reassignment surgery can change the sex on their birth certificates, and outside jurisdictions have different rules, some more restrictive. The legislation changes the definition of sex in the state’s anti-discrimination law to “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

The act also prohibits municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies, setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labor, or making certain regulations for city workers. The legislation also removes the statutory and common-law private right of action to enforce state anti-discrimination statutes in state courts.

The most immediate result: performers are avoiding North Carolina the way they used to avoid Sun City. There has been backlash against backlash, of course. But there is one man who dares to take the middle path, and that man is “Weird Al” Yankovic:

Like many other entertainers on the road this summer, I wrestled with the decision about whether or not to cancel my North Carolina concert dates in protest of the controversial HB2 bill. It was definitely not an easy choice, but I have decided to honor the dates, as I don’t want to punish my fans (most of whom, I’d like to believe, also have a big problem with unfair, discriminatory legislation). I will be donating my personal fee from the June 18 Greensboro show to the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

When sensible compromises are found, Weird Al will find them.

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A child across the seas

The Small Kindness humanitarian organisation requests your attention for a moment:

As the world’s TV attention and news programs focus on the masses, commenting on the millions of refugees filling Europe, the real human tragedy and story of one single life is missed.

Our video focuses on the suffering of just one solitary boy who wants to go back home, but loses his life while searching for humanity. The campaign #YouAreNotAlone calls on us all to reach out and support these innocent of war.

The video is by Small Kindness founder Yusuf, otherwise The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens:

It’s not quite the same voice that sang to Lady D’Arbanville four decades and odd ago, but it’s still compelling.

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Turn on your radio

Ontogeny might not recapitulate phylogeny the way we once thought, or at least the way Ernst Haeckel thought, but pop music parallels a whole lot of cultural evolution:

When there’s war, either actual or likely, you get nice bright shiny happy music — rock in the 50s and 60s, disco in the 70s, techno in the 80s, hedonistic tween pop now. But when things are great — as in the 1990s — you get songs about how awful everything is (grunge, nu metal). The only caveat here is that you have to look at what’s actually on the charts, not just what you think is going to be there — Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane never sniffed the top 10, and the only Doors songs to do so were treacly pop crap like “Touch Me.” Acidy stuff was there, but most “Sixties” music shared chart space with, and usually lost out to, crap like “Harper Valley PTA” and “Sugar Sugar” (the top song of 1969, the very year of Woodstock!).

“Somebody to Love” hit #5 in Billboard, and “White Rabbit” made it to #8, which may explain why Surrealistic Pillow, the Airplane album that contained them both, topped out at #3. However, this was a short-lived phenomenon at best; JA’s third-biggest hit, “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil,” stopped two slots short of the Top 40, and nothing else came close to that. (We will pretend not to notice “We Built This City,” an inexplicable #1 for the de-Jeffersoned “Starship” in 1985.) The chart history of Jimi Hendrix contains no zingers, even brief ones: Hendrix’ much-loved reworking of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” stalled at #20, and “Purple Haze,” which everyone thought of as Jimi’s Big Hit, died at #65.

And while viewing that last paragraph, you should keep in mind that I have always had a taste for treacly pop crap, dating back at least as far as, oh, “Johnny Angel.”

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Preview of coming excrescence

From earlier this year:

The following statements should have been obvious, but I admit to having given the matter no thought up to now:

  1. There exists Donald Trump fanfiction.
  2. There exists sexually explicit Donald Trump fanfiction.

To which we can now add:

  1. There will be a motion picture based on sexually explicit Donald Trump fanfiction.

Yes, really:

Earlier this year, [Elijah] Daniel was a little drunk and messing around on Twitter. He joked that he was going to write an erotic story about Donald Trump. The tweet got a positive response, so Daniel figured he’d open up another bottle of wine and take a few hours and bang something out. By the next morning, Daniel had completed Trump Temptation: The Billionaire and The Bellboy, a 21-page send up of both the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and E.L. James’s guilty-pleasure kink-fest Fifty Shades of Grey.

The book was a hit, becoming a best-seller on Amazon within 48 hours. He posted the story on the online publishing platform Wattpad, where it attracted over a million readers. Now, Daniel has teamed with gay porn studio NakedSword to turn Trump Temptation into a feature film.

Have I read this book? Um, yeah.

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Burnishing the image

There is apparently only so much Slocum one person can put up with:

James Awesome name announcement

Rainbow Miriam Dash was not available for comment.

(Via Bad Newspaper.)

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Rise to vote, sir

Now here’s an ambition I can respect:

Two English novels are palindromic in formSatire: Veritas by David Stephens (1980, 58,795 letters), and Dr Awkward & Olson in Oslo by Lawrence Levine (1986, 31,954 words) — but not having read either of them, I have no idea whether their narratives make sense. I have, however, read Demetri Martin’s palindromic poem “Dammit I’m Mad” — so can you — and it teeters on the edge of comprehensibility.

Perhaps easier would be a string of multiple palindromes, like this:

What it lacks in emotional purity, it makes up for in, um, some way or another.

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I ain’t ‘fraid of no downvote

The response to the first trailer from the Ghostbusters reboot was so negative that Sony spent a few bucks making another one:

That first trailer drew three downvotes per upvote. This one is getting four.

Still, if these are the second-string jokes, they can forget about billing this as a comedy.

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Without filtration

At first, I thought this was just another Sign of the Times:

The Houston Chronicle has apologized after publishing an article that directly quoted broken English from Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez.

In the article written on May 4, Brian T. Smith placed much of the blame for the Astros’ early struggles on Gomez.

And what did Smith say Gomez said?

“For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed,” said Gomez as he roamed center field against the team with which he spent 2008-09.

I suppose I could point out that baseball been berry, berry good to Gomez, but actually we’ve been here before, a hell of a lot earlier than any SNL catchphrases. The setup:

We pick up the story from H. Allen Smith, live from 1934:

You may remember that Mr. Baer struck Mr. Carnera with great force and great frequency around the face and head. When the Italian giant reached the dressing room he had large lumps all over his forehead, and his jaws were swollen. They took his ring clothes off and propped him up on a rubbing table, and he kept looking around the room without apparently seeing anything. His handlers faded back and left him sitting there beneath the light. Nobody made a move to do anything, so I stepped up to him.

“Did he hit you hard?” I asked him.

He stared at me for a full minute. Then his lips moved.

“Holy Jesus!” he said.

“Do you want to fight him again?”

“Holy Jesus!” mumbled Carnera.

“Do you think you could lick him if you fought him again?”

“Holy Jesus!”

“Does your head hurt?”

“Holy Jesus!”

“Do you think Baer can lick Schmeling?”

“Holy Jesus!”

At this point half a dozen or so of Carnera’s proprietors came crashing in, and the press was ordered out of the place. I was well satisfied. It was one of the most revealing interviews I had ever had. I was quite startled, however, the next day when I picked up the papers to see what the sports writers had to say about it. One of them quoted Carnera as having said:

“Max’s blows were very hard. He hurt me several times — I have to admit that. But I sincerely believe that I could defeat him and I would like to have another chance. I want to regain the championship.”

Carnera couldn’t have uttered those thirty-eight words in that sequence if he had gone four years to Harvard. Yet the other sports writers had composed the same sort of sheep dip with slight variations.

Boxing been very, very good to Primo Carnera. And Baer had licked Max Schmeling — the year before.

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Literary inversion

Now here’s a pitch I’m surprised I hadn’t seen before:

Currently:

  • Classic literature is filled with memorable male protagonists
  • These works of art contribute to patriarchal gender norms
  • Everyone grows up reading about worlds where men have the knowledge, adventure, power, and personal struggle

It doesn’t have to be that way!

“Call me Trishna,” begins their Melville rewrite. And rewriting is what they do: they take an old classic (and, of course, public-domain) novel with a male protagonist and flip the genders throughout. I spent a few bucks on their inversion of H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Woman, so to speak, and while there was an occasional failure of whatever search-and-replace scheme they were using, it’s still a very good story, and it’s not really any less believable with Grisella instead of Griffin. I would expect this to be the case with others in their ongoing series, though I expect the main audience to be the hardcore feminist for whom everything on earth is the fault of those tall guys with the dangly bits. Consider this an amusing side theater in the Gender Wars, and feel free to give the stories a try if you’re curious. (Frankly, I’m keen to see A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, probably not by Joyce James, due out this summer.)

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McQuestion McAnswered

In the wake of Boaty McBoatface, Katy Waldman — not, you’ll note, Katy McKaterson — traces the origin of this odd bit of name construction:

By the time Adam Sandler introduced a creature called Fatty McGee on his double platinum comedy album They’re All Gonna Laugh at You in 1993, the parodic “Mc” had absorbed some bite from its association with McDonalds. In the ’80s and ’90s, a dismissive Mc often prefaced “something that is of mass appeal, a standardized or bland variety,” says the OED. In 1986, the sociologist Amitai Etzioni coined the word “McJob” to describe what the novelist Douglas Coupland would later immortalize in Generation X as “a low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low benefit, no-future job in the service sector.” Like a McDonald’s hamburger, such positions were cheap, ubiquitous, and un-nourishing. A glib and pandering best-seller was a “McThriller.” A meretricious construction project was a “McMansion.” (Even today, couples in Hong Kong can get McMarried at a fast food outlet for about $1,300.)

But the Internet didn’t take up the “X-y McXerson” construction in earnest until 2001, according to lexicographer Ben Zimmer: “The first [Usenet] appearance of Hottie McHotterson (on rec.games.video.sony),” Zimmer writes, beat out “Fatty McFatterson, Stiffy McStifferson, Drinky McDrinkerson, Jewy McJewerson, etc.” Zimmer also notes a cornucopia of deprecative McNicknames for George W. Bush, including “Chimpy McBunnypants,” “Drinky McCokeSpoon,” and “Smirky McWarHardon.”

Apparently I picked up on this construction for the first time in 2010, in a reference to James Lileks:

Of course, if you do as much scanning as Lileks — but no. No one does as much scanning as Lileks. He’s the original Scanny McScannerton. He could probably justify an industrial-strength scanner that would make Great-gramma throw up her dentures in despair, but they’d make him pay industry-level prices for it, and I suspect he’d like to feed the family once in a while.

I’m surprised nothing along these lines has showed up in the cloud of effluent surrounding the 2016 general election; apparently Donald Trump prefers the name “John” [warning: autostart video], but that’s about it so far.

(Via Heather Froelich.)

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Level perspective

There are some things we just don’t think about, because we don’t see them quite the same way. An example from yesterday’s tweetstream:

Frazer describes herself as a “wheelchair and chocolate user,” which seems sensible enough to me.

I really need to work something like this into a pony story, inasmuch as one of my recurring characters is a stallion about 9 hands who used to be a guy about 6 feet.

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I guess I’m gonna call

For some reason, this trailer is widely hated:

Seriously. After 30 million views, it has three times as many downvotes as upvotes. This is Rebecca Black-level rejection, and early Rebecca Black at that; her post-“Friday” material is doing far better.

Look, I saw the original Ghostbusters. And having seen two subsequent cartoon versions, only one of which was actually related to it, I figure the intellectual property has already been sufficiently slimed; this can’t possibly be any worse.

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Wrongly wronged

“There is no ‘try’,” said Yoda, and to some extent we have followed what we thought was the advice of the wizened Jedi Master: things we tried, but couldn’t get to work, will not be mentioned if we can possibly help it.

We may be doing it wrong:

A Princeton psychology professor has come up with a way to show people that that their “invisible” failures and setbacks are as important as their successes.

Johannes Haushofer, a Princeton professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, posted a CV of failures in an attempt to “balance the record” and “provide some perspective.” He was inspired by a 2010 Nature article by Melanie Stefan, a lecturer at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. She suggested that keeping a visible record of your rejected applications can help others to deal with setbacks.

The document is divided in six parts including: “Degree programs I did not get into,” “Academic positions and fellowships I did not get,” “Research funding I did not get” among others.

At the very least, this practice would fill in any perceived gaps in one’s own CV: if you have one entry every four or five years, some people will think you haven’t been doing anything between entries. Still, approve, Yoda would not.

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Serious pony

There has been a great deal of flapdoodle in recent years over the Hugo Awards, and the politicization of same. I can’t be sure if politics were involved in this nomination — I’m thinking a definite maybe — but just the same, there it is, up for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)

This Season Five opener was downright jaw-dropping, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Starlight Glimmer.

(The complete list of finalists.)

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Kneel before Scheherazade

Master the art, and more than a thousand and one wondrous nights shall be yours:

Guys: Are your pick-up lines no longer working? Well, here’s a new approach you may want to try. Go over to that attractive woman, introduce yourself, and tell her in a quiet but authoritative voice: It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon…

That’s right: Spin a yarn. Newly published research finds women view men as more attractive potential long-term mates if they are good storytellers.

“Stories are not just mere conversation,” write Melanie Green of the University of Buffalo and John Donahue of the University of North Carolina. “Storytelling ability appears to increase (a man’s) perceived status, and thus helps men attract long-term partners.”

As a Bard with -6 Charisma, I am not likely to achieve results of this type.

What’s more, this is not supposed to work in the opposite direction. Per the abstract:

Results suggested that only women’s attractiveness assessments of men as a long-term date increased for good storytellers. Storytelling ability did not affect men’s ratings of women nor did it affect ratings of short-term partners.

Color me “outlier.” Then again, I may be remembering Sir Richard Burton’s description of Scheherazade:

[She] had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred.

Wiser than I, surely. Still, one of us has to be the brains of the operation, and I’m not particularly adept at it.

(Via Fark.)

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A tuck everlasting?

David Mandel, new showrunner for HBO’s political comedy Veep, officially denied in Entertainment Weekly (#1411/12) that the series will do any Trumpazoid material this season:

For those wondering if Veep will address the orange-haired candidate in the room… “I will say this as clearly as possible. There is no Donald Trump, and there is no Donald Trump character,” Mandel says with a laugh. So can Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) make America great again? “I think she can,” Mandel says. “She certainly can make hats and shirts, if nothing else. Also, she has a giant penis.”

Who knew that The Actress Formerly Known As Elaine Benes was packing yuge sausage? Certainly not I.

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