Archive for Almost Yogurt

Subspeciesism

There are, according to Equestrian lore, three pony tribes, or subspecies, or whatever. There are also similarly-configured creatures which are not ponies at all:

And then I thought, wait, there are donkeys … or are they mules? (The show seems to use the term interchangeably, which bugs me ever so slightly, because donkeys and mules are different). And then I got to thinking: wait. If there are mules in Equestria, if they are like the mules that exist in the human world, that would have to mean a donkey and a horse got married at some point and …

Heh. Inter-species marriage. And you thought some people had a hard time accepting inter-racial marriage.

This chap is apparently a mule:

There exists a fanfic in which a dragon and a pony mate, and the offspring has characteristics of both and is accepted by neither.

I caught a fair amount of flak a couple of years ago for suggesting that a pony/human relationship might be possible; I suspect it might be easier, if only for logistical reasons, if both partners are quadrupeds.

And in a couple of places I’ve advanced the notion that despite all these years of Harmony, there might be some lingering inter-tribe resentment, which drew me further flak.

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And the singer sang her song

Nu metal, perhaps?

Earth and the stillness broken by reply
Through the night tide I lie down in the sky
Beyond the waves wipe out the joyous light
And dancing in the power of the night
Want things to go before it is too late
Night tide I lie here in this world of hate
Away like the mist of the desolate
I’ll show you all the world is full of hate

Not the beginning or the end: that section came out of the middle. And I can see someone screaming this into a microphone, maybe, though whether I want to hear someone screaming this into a microphone is another matter entirely.

Anyway, the poet apparently did not intend this to be a song:

We’ve seen (and heard) worse, believe me.

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The ultimate intersectional

To what level of privilege is the Judeo-Christian God entitled in the age of the social-justice warrior? Captain Weeaboo examines the evidence:

Since God is a spaceless being without a skin color or bone structure it shows that God cannot be classified in any race that we currently know of. Meaning that he is a whole classification of race himself. Since this race has not even be classified or acknowledged it clearly shows that God’s race is in fact extremely oppressed and marginalized, combine this with the fact that he’s the smallest minority to exist he is very oppressed and underprivileged.

Furthermore:

God does not appear to have any sexual interest, meaning that he is asexual. An orientation so oppressed it doesn’t even appear to be in the LGBT initials.

And on and on, though not necessarily unto eternity.

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set syllables = 17

This has serious charm, given its alleged mechanical origins:

The AIs are coming for us.

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Driveover zone

Lynn’s been reading the Extinction Point series by Paul Antony Jones, and she has a question. maybe two, to ask:

A mysterious red rain falls, destroying almost all life on Earth. Emily Baxter, a journalist for a NYC newspaper heads off on a cross-country trip to find other survivors. (And I have another small quibble. Emily is from Iowa. Is it just me or does it seem like young women who move to New York are always from Iowa? More bothersome is the fact that she does not know how to drive. If she was from Iowa and moved to New York City as an adult she would at least know how to drive. She might not own a car and might not have got a license in NY but she would know how to drive.)

There is the theory that the moment you take up residence in the Big Apple, your ability to drive instantly atrophies, since theoretically you don’t have to anymore.

And if you live in Iowa and want something seemingly better for yourself, you’re probably not going to go to [redacted to avoid nasty letters].

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I’ll take Continuous Exhibition for $1000, Alex

Now this may be an idea to conjure with:

Is such a thing technically feasible? I think it is. Even assuming the tapes of the old Art Fleming version are lost forever — which would be consistent with NBC tape-handling practice from the 1960s — there are about 7,000 episodes from the Alex Trebek days (1984 to present). At 48 episodes a day, they could go 20 weeks before having to repeat an episode, though it’s not likely they’d run a full 48: the temptation to turn the late-night hours into a venue for vendors may be too much to resist for niche channels.

So it’s doubtful whether such an enterprise would be financially feasible. But at any given moment on any given cable system, there are at least 60 programs less interesting than Jeopardy!

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Nobody saw it

One institution apparently not doing so well these days is the American motion-picture theater, with the butts/seats ratio in decline:

The next time you’re at the movies, look around — does there seem to be more empty seats than they’re [sic] used to be? Your eyes aren’t lying, as we just left one of the worst years for movie theater attendance since 1995. That is the year of Waterworld and Showgirls, so you know it’s bad.

Bad films, yes; bad box-office performers, only moderately so. Showgirls made back $37 million of its $45-million budget; Waterworld, which cost about $175 million, earned $88 million in the States, but twice as much overseas, enough to balance the books.

You want a box-office bomb? Try Cutthroat Island, with Matthew Modine as the dull-witted cabin boy to pirate captain Geena Davis. It cost just under $100 million to make, and has yet to clear $20 million in revenue.

North America had its lowest number of folks heading to the movies in two decades in 2014, reports the Hollywood Reporter, citing about 1.2 billion consumers who purchased movie tickets between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.

I contributed, I suppose, to that dismal performance, having attended exactly one film last year; everything else I saw was either DVD or over the Net.

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Rained on, evidently

It wasn’t that long ago that a Sunday edition of the Oklahoman had about 50-60 pages of classified ads. These days, it’s 16. I’ve gotten used to that, I suppose, but of late something else has shrunk: Parade magazine, the granddaddy of all Sunday supplements, is down to around 16 pages. You’d think there’d be enough vendors of senior-citizen crap to fill up twenty or so and still have room for Marilyn vos Savant and that tedious hack Walter Scott.

But no. And a few months ago Advance Publications, also the owner of all those upscale-or-die Condé Nast magazines, set Parade adrift on an ice floe, where it floated into the nets of Athlon Media Group, which promptly — okay, not so promptly — announced the slicing of the rate base from 32 million to 22 million “through measures like concentrating distribution in larger, urban markets.” Yeah, like those suave urbanites have been screaming for a weekly quiz by Ken Jennings.

Athlon, which hasn’t yet bothered to connect parade.com to its own Web site except through murky bottom-of-the-page links, could actually be sitting on a gold mine, Gannett having killed off Parade’s primary competitor, USA Weekend, last weekend. But maybe it’s all part of that same dreaded evolutionary cycle, in which newspapers mutate from daily reading material to quaint anachronisms to mere apps.

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Quote of the week

Lynn can’t take this nonsense anymore:

I am so very, very tired of “my suffering is worse than your suffering” screeds.

Listen boys and girls, suffering is always individual and very personal and is not necessarily proportional to the sufferers actual situation and the injustices suffered. What one person can easily shake off might be a deeply personal and hurtful attack to another and telling someone that “your suffering is nothing compared to mine” is just as hurtful as actual bullying.

Not to mention the fact that it’s not about you: if someone else is in pain, hearing about your pain is not going to improve matters even slightly.

This might work with mild discomfort, maybe: I know I get exasperated during the winter, and then I think about way-colder places like Flin Flon and Saskatoon, and finally I shut up. But the person contemplating walking into the front of a moving truck? Clearly there are needs that simply can’t be met by trying to compare comfort levels.

And we can start by holding our heads up and not whining quite so much no matter what our position in the hierarchy. We can show sympathy to other people who are suffering instead of belittling their feelings. We can refuse to play the game that keeps some people down while protecting those at the top.

If we’re all in this together — and we are — jockeying for position is an exercise in self-aggrandizement, and not a particularly good one at that.

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Count every star

I subscribe to Consumer Reports. The magazine. Not the Web site, and definitely not the smartphone app. This is, I suspect, because I have only so much patience for “buying advice,” even from the pros, which puts me at odds with much of the world:

Today we live in the era of the JD Power rating, the Amazon stars and comments next to every product, and the Equifax background check that includes a lifetime’s worth of medical history. Even prostitutes need favorable reviews from the Internet in order to make real money. For a while, it was possible for women to get a pre-game preview on their Tinder hookups. Who doesn’t check Urbanspoon or Yelp before making a dinner reservation? (The answer is: me, because I only eat at Wendy’s and Ruth’s Chris.) It’s not excellence that’s being sought out in this cultural obsession with track record and customer satisfaction; it’s safety.

And frankly, the idea of rating something, say, 3½ stars out of five seems ludicrous to me: I grew up with Dick Clark and “Rate-a-Record” and a 35 to 98 scale. Now that’s precision.

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Double O nothing

There’s a lot of yammering going on about the possibility of Idris Elba as Bond, James Bond, and while I’d argue that he’s more capable of being a memorable Bond than some of the characters shoved into that role over the years, there’s still that Creator’s Intent business:

Lefties, #VaginaVigilantes, and other envious wussies hate the original, true James Bond, which was based as much as possible on the original character created by Ian Fleming. Why? Because that James Bond is the archetypical white male patriarch, feared by evildoers, lusted after by beautiful women, hyper-capable, suave, sophisticated, and perfectly at home in his white, patriarchal skin.

They hate that, and have been trying to change it since near the very beginning of Bond’s on-screen existence.

Now I’m one of the guys who used to call for Morgan Freeman to play Abraham Lincoln, simply because no one else had that level of gravitas except maybe Daniel Day-Lewis, and DDL has done it already. Besides, Lincoln’s Creator wouldn’t be turning over in His grave.

So I’m forced to imagine what Jim Henson might have thought if, some night, the role of Kermit were to be played by an elk. (I’m sorry: Anne Elk.)

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Rabbit is retrying

We begin with a paragraph from Hugh Hefner’s The Playboy Philosophy, December 1962:

Some seem to feel that a happy, even frisky and romantic attitude toward life, and a savoring of its material pleasures, preclude seriousness, work, sensibility, a viable aesthetic. In our book (literally and in the slang sense) this position is untenable. It belongs with such other evidences of semantic dysfunction as the unreasoning suspicion that medicine can’t be good for you if it doesn’t taste bad; that robust profanity bespeaks a limited vocabulary (rather than one equipped with condiments as well as nutrients); that dullness is the ordained handmaiden of seriousness; that the well-dressed man is an empty-headed fop, perforce, and that conversely, the chap who can’t distinguish a fine Niersteiner from a plebeian bottle of hock is probably possessed of more intellect of character than the man who can.

In the Age of Dudebros, this sort of claim to the epicurean high ground gets exactly the amount of respect you’d think, which is why the keepers of the Rabbit are actually considering turning away from its signature offering:

“You could argue that nudity is a distraction for us and actually shrinks our audience rather than expands it,” says [Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott] Flanders. “At the time when Hef founded the company [in 1953], nudity was provocative, it was attention-grabbing, it was unique and today it’s not. It’s passé.”

So passé that he predicts it will eventually vanish from the Playboy brand altogether. Probably not as long as Hefner still owns a third of the company and personally selects all of the nude spreads in the magazine, along with each Playmate of the Month and Year.

Which, notes this thirty-year reader, do tend to be repetitive, though there does seem to be life in the old leporid yet:

Though he claims he has no actual editorial pull, Flanders nudged others within the company to contemporize the overall look and feel of the publication. He felt it had grown “stale,” mostly due to using essentially the same pool of photographers for more than 25 years. Updating the visual aesthetic, he says, particularly the eye candy, of Playboy was far from an easy sell.

“People said, ‘Oh, we know what Hef likes. He likes this type of photography,’ and I said, ‘Well that’s bullshit. That’s like saying he likes the same meatloaf he’s been eating for 25 years. Let’s give him a piece of steak and see if he likes that,'” Flanders says. “And, sure as hell, as soon as they gave Hef more contemporary photography he loved it.”

Still, Hef is nearly 90. (Note: This Web site started on his 70th birthday.) At this point, we have no idea of the sensibilities of younger son Cooper, who is the designated heir to That Which Is Hef. And Playboy is trailing the recently de-fratboyed Maxim by half a million copies a month, which proves, if nothing else, that there’s a market for sideboob alone.

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Oh, and try the veal

Mighty Pantone (PBUH) has declared Marsala the Color of the Year for 2015:

Pantone Marsala swatch

Surprisingly, this choice has not met with universal approbation:

Social media has questioned what Pantone calls “a naturally robust and earthy wine red color” as “a color that makes you want to go to Olive Garden or order Tampax in bulk.”

So the food connection doesn’t help?

For a color that shares associations with wine, chicken, and mushrooms, the color also summons pfth-sounding glops of mystery meat in elementary cafeteria lunches, liver (and not necessarily of the French, pureed, pâté class) whipped into a murky abundance atop bread, pink slime gone wrong, or meatloaf (with a healthy serving of that mystery meat, perhaps?).

And I wonder how many of us endured this shade of carpeting forty years ago.

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Vague pleasantry

Found this little squib under the title bar at Creative Minority Report:

These days, people say “Season’s Greetings,” which, when you think about it, means nothing. It’s like walking up to somebody and saying “Appropriate Remark” in a loud, cheerful voice.

[nodding in apparent assent]

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Unevenly matched

After noting in a post that Reese Witherspoon is threatening to become the next Meryl Streep, Robert Stacy McCain explains the apparently unfortunate dynamic at work:

Here’s the thing about Out of Africa: The girls get to see Robert Redford, one of the most handsome leading men in cinematic history. The guys get … Meryl Streep.

You see what I’m talking about? It’s like every Barbra Streisand movie, ever.

There’s this feminist fantasy film formula where the ugly duckling is paired with the impossibly handsome man. Somehow, with her feisty ways and her quirky sense of humor, she manages to make this sexy hunk of a man fall passionately in love with her. It’s basically Chicken Soup for the Unattractive Girl’s Soul, except it’s toxic.

This kind of fantasy encourages unrealistic romantic aspirations in quite the same way as all those movies where the clumsy schlub magically lands the Playboy Centerfold Dream Girl.

As a clumsy schlub in my own right, I must point out that Streisand actually pulled it off, in Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? Granted, this was 42 years ago, and she was playing opposite Ryan O’Neal, a large sheet of drywall, but nonetheless, she pulled it off. It’s possible to make a case for The Way We Were, with Redford, but I think Arthur Laurents’ screenplay was always more of a political piece than a love story, and the film suffers as a result.

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One step sideways, two steps back

My reaction to the latest redesign at Consumer Reports: meh. I figure it’s yet another milepost on the way to “Read our Web site, you jerk.” But that’s a fairly mild reaction compared to this:

I am not a particularly great fan of infographics-for-the-sake-of-being-infographics or big splashy things with large numbers or images and very little text. I GET that apparently most people have acquired an attention-span-destroying parasite and so they must be catered to (apparently), but the design is really ugly and it took what used to be a fairly useful magazine and now it just makes it so slick.

“Slick” as in “oil spill,” I’m guessing.

Oh, there’s an infographic at the link. Because reciprocity.

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Let this be a Wanning to you

China has banned puns:

Chinese is perfectly suited to puns because it has so many homophones. Popular sayings and even customs, as well as jokes, rely on wordplay.

But the order from the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television says: “Radio and television authorities at all levels must tighten up their regulations and crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language, especially the misuse of idioms.”

Programmes and adverts should strictly comply with the standard spelling and use of characters, words, phrases and idioms — and avoid changing the characters, phrasing and meanings, the order said.

If you ask me, this is Fuqing ridiculous.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Life and death in twelve bars

Cobb tells us the story of Schrödinger’s Black Panther:

Black orthodoxy is an echo of the blues, and I have come to believe it is stuck in a key that hasn’t been transposed much in 30 years. The orchestra is maintained by a conspiracy of facts purposefully arranged to incite. I have, over the years, become adept at recognizing the signature tones of its moaning chorus. Anybody black can solo, if you hit the right notes, but there are certain soloists who are sought out over others. These days, the sounds of the imprisoned and the dead round out the top 40. We’ve been here before, these blues are old standards now.

I’m talking about some place in Missouri. But I wasn’t there and neither were you. Nor were you in Cosby’s boudoir or OJ’s driveway. You weren’t in Clarence’s office and you weren’t in Rice’s elevator. You weren’t in Rodney’s car and you weren’t on Diallo’s street. You weren’t in Tupac’s crew or R. Kelly’s video. But you wanted to be. You wouldn’t want to if you had your questions answered, how to think about America from the eyes of its darker brothers. You had to have a black man question settled once and for all, sorta. You gather facts that conspire to incite, because questions demand answers and answers demand action. Such curiosity cannot kill enough cats. You have to keep asking. The cats of racial theorems are in a superposition of states. You open the Pandora’s box of race and either the black cat scratches your eyes out or it’s just dead. It will always be that way, so long as you keep opening the box. And you do.

Brentwood. Rosewood. Jena. Howard Beach. Ferguson. Your eyes got scratched and you’re singing the blues. What did Flip Wilson say? He loved the blues because when the record wears out, it still sounds the same.

And we go on thinking the world is a place far worse than it is, because some damned fools always want to be seen on television opening that box — mostly, I suspect, because they want to be seen on television. It’s not like they bring anything other than noise to the proceedings.

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Pass the damn yams

When exactly did this become a thing?

There are, for some reason, a spate of articles at different web magazines about how to talk to relatives whose politics differ from yours, while you are required to be in close proximity to them during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Personally, I’m thinking that if the only time you talk to each other enough for politics to come up is when you’re at home for the holiday then you may have some other stuff going on besides political differences.

For myself, I’m just appalled that anyone would think it’s the least bit proper to desecrate what is, after all, a ceremonial meal, perhaps the most important one of the year, with the detritus of last week’s political talking points. If I get a dinner invitation, I do not bring along my soapbox, even if it looks like a booster chair from some angles. With the exception of a couple of cousins, I have no idea of the political leanings of family members, and since none of them read this stuff, I’m pretty sure that they’re not overly concerned with mine.

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Can’t wait

I hadn’t thought about this, but yes, it has the ring of truth:

Back in the old days (as recently as the 1970s), you’d write a letter or a postcard and mail it and figure, at the least, it would take three or four days to arrive. And, then, if the recipient was particularly conscientious, and responded fairly quickly, in a day or so, it would be another three or four days before you got your reply. Call it ten days from message to response. Ten whole days.

Today (drum roll) you send an email or you text a text and what? Are you patient? Do you expect to wait for as many as ten days for a reply? Heck no. In fact, if you don’t hear back in ten minutes, well… An hour, tops.

The same goes for what is still called “mail-order.” Back in the day, as I’m pretty sure they never said back in the day, the offering said “Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.” Today, we’re hitting up the email every half-hour looking for a tracking number. And there’s this:

Shipping’s always $5, and free for VMP members. So yeah, we’re going to ship it the slowest and cheapest way we can possibly find. Usually that’s Smartpost or Surepost, which starts with FedEx or UPS and ends with the post office. It’ll probably be 2 weeks before you get it. And no you can’t get it any faster.

Still beats the heck out of 6 to 8.

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It’s gotta be that damn kale

The correlation between health and happiness may not be what you thought it was, even for our herbivore friends:

Australian vegetarians might be healthier than meat-eaters but they are unhappier and more prone to mental health disorders, new research suggests.

The Alere Wellness Index shows vegetarians drink and smoke less and are more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

But they are also more likely to have depression and anxiety disorders, according to the Index made up of scores for nutrition, fitness, smoking, alcohol, psychological wellbeing, body mass and medical conditions.

Hmmm. Now how can this be?

Dr John Lang, who developed the wellness index for preventive healthcare company Alere, says the adoption of a vegetarian diet can sometimes follow the onset of mental disorders.

“So the diet isn’t the cause but rather the symptom,” he said. “If you think of people that are committed to being a vegetarian it’s a fairly significant commitment and it picks up people at the fringe of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum.”

Vitamin OCD! The mind boggles. Still, grinding up pork rinds over their quinoa seems unkind, if not downright treacherous.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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Let’s all get bewbs for the holidays

I’m obviously not a board-certified plastic surgeon, so don’t ask me how the frack these are supposed to work:

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe is the brain behind 24-hour “try before you buy” saline injections known as the “Insta Breast,” which made news in late August. Now, according to ABC News, he’s come up with a new injection that will let you live your life with breasts one to one-and-a-half cup sizes bigger for up to three weeks, helping solidify whether or not you really want implants full time. “You can use 3D imaging and put implants in bras,” he told ABC, “but it’s another thing to see what the weight will actually feel like and what it will be like to live with the new breasts.” The name “vacation breasts” comes from Rowe’s vision that women will want to try out a fuller look for special occasions, like weddings, anniversaries or that beach getaway where you’ll be in a swimsuit the whole time.

I want to know what happens after those three weeks are up. Does the mysterious stuff just drain away? And, perhaps more important, is there any warning when it does? You’d hate like hell to be out somewhere in a strapless and then suddenly become strapless-less.

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Fluff in their ears

Winnie the Pooh may be a Bear of Very Little Brain, but don’t hold that against him. In that regard he differs little from some humans out there:

Winnie the Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress.

The much-loved animated bear was suggested at a local council meeting to decide which famous character should become the face of the play area in the small town of Tuszyn.

But the idea soon sparked outrage among more conservative members, with one councillor even denouncing poor Pooh as a “hermaphrodite”.

“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” said Ryszard Cichy during the discussion. “It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children.”

How long did it take them to think this under?

Maybe the world is just anti-bear in general. Look what’s happening to poor Paddington:

The British Board of Film Classification gave Paddington a parental guidance rating, saying it contains “dangerous behavior, mild threat, mild sex references and mild bad language.” The rating means the film is suitable for general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for children under 8 years old.

The board said the film’s scenes of dangerous behavior include Paddington hiding inside a refrigerator.

BBFC later revised the description, dropping “sex references” in favor of “innuendo” and pointing out only a single expletive which wouldn’t be an expletive anywhere else but Britain. They’re not kidding me. Paddington Bear wears a duffle coat — and no pants.

Addendum: Donald Duck was not available for comment.

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Desperate for attention

This is about two steps below clutching at straws:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Is it worth it to pay $6000 to get famous?

Why $6000, exactly?

I want to pay $6000 to Ark Music Factory (Just like what rebecca black did) so they can help me produce a song and release it on their channel and I will become famous. I am not very good at singing but I think this is a great way to become famous. However, my parents are poor and we are on food stamps but they will be willing to sacrifice everything for my music career.

Update: they will be willing to do it, even if they have to starve for a few days.

Not sure if trolling or simply out of touch with reality. I did point out that what happened to Rebecca Black will not necessarily happen for anyone else.

And anyone who’s on food stamps should know that six grand is more than a few days’ worth.

Addendum: Last I heard, Patrice Wilson, who produced “Friday,” was asking $6500 for his services.

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Not Meow Mix

She has no mouth, but she can apparently feed you:

North American fans of the mouth-less Sanrio feline can now rejoice as the first ever Hello Kitty Cafe will finally land on their continent!

Announced in the form of a bright pink food truck at the Hello Kitty Convention held in Los Angeles, fans were elated to learn that Hello Kitty will finally get her own cafe in California! Judging by the extreme cuteness of the pictures released so far, it seems like this cafe will take kawaii to a whole new level!

There’s a placeholder site for now. And didn’t they tell us that Kitty is not in fact a cat?

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Plunging into it once more

About to come upon us, so to speak, is the annual presentation of the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award, for which ten nominees were perhaps too easy to find.

And as always, they’re all pretty dire, though this one recommends itself for being (1) consciously overpoetic and (2) not particularly explicit as these things go. From Ben Okri’s The Age of Magic:

She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.

The complete shortlist is here for your perusal: the winner will be selected on 3 December.

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Just across from 419

420 is one of those numbers with so many recorded uses that Wikipedia maintains a disambiguation page for it. Unless you were concerned with 420’s status as a sparsely totient number, you were probably thinking hempish thoughts, in which case Nancy Friedman has a nicely informative piece called “420: The Brand,” inasmuch as 420 “has a long history in cannabis culture.”

420 Carpenter

420 Carpenter in Lacey, Washington, a suburb east of Olympia, provides its customers with, they say, “accessible, top quality cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia¹ in a friendly and professional environment,” which is now legal in Washington state, pending the Feds getting their BVDs in a bind. It does not, from the looks of things, resemble the stereotypical 1960s head shop: they’re vending a commercial product, not a transient lifestyle. If this state ever gets around to legalizing marijuana — and hey, we have gay marriage now, you have to figure anything is possible — we’ll have stores sort of like 420 Carpenter.

Then again, as Nancy Friedman points out:

The store’s actual street address is 422 Carpenter Road.

[Emphasis added.] Were it not for the fact that they’re not alone in their little strip mall — the store occupies Suite 105 — I’d think they’d be pushing city officials for a renumbering.

¹ Am I the only person who read that and thought “propane and propane accessories”?

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Outré conformists

Jack Baruth sneaked this little observation into a piece about jazz:

I believe that “art” has to have a critical or contemplative or innovative component to it. Unless art makes you think about the human condition for a minute — unless it puts a new thought in your mind or forces you to re-examine thoughts you’ve already had, or advances the “state of the art” in some way — it’s not art, it’s craft.

I’d suggest that art really should have a subversive component, but we haven’t had anything that was genuinely subversive in the art world for a very long time. Piss Christ would have been subversive had it been done in the year 1450, but other than that the art world in the twentieth and twenty-first century has mostly provided tame tingles for elderly Manhattanites looking to scandalize their long-dead parents. If you doubt me, then ask yourself why Jeff Koons is rich and Banksy isn’t in jail.

That’s gonna leave a mark or two, though if you ask me, the real marks are the chuckleheads who pay big bucks for stuff that loudly pretends to be cutting-edge but is really about as edgy as the Michelin Man.

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The opposite of footloose

The tango has no place in Turkey, says a group of Turkish bluenoses:

A local association in Turkey’s southern province of Adana has urged the local authorities to cancel an ongoing tango festival, describing the saucy Argentinian dance as “adultery on foot and with music.”

The group, which calls itself the “Well-behaved Adana Platform” (Uslu Adana Platformu), has taken exception to the festival, which started on Oct. 23 and is supported by the Adana Metropolitan Municipality. In a written statement, it condemned tango as “having no place in our national culture” and demanded that the festival be the last tango in Adana.

“A festival that exhibits adultery through such physical closeness has no place in our religion or national culture… This kind of erotic dance is inviting people to sin. Adultery on foot and with music might have its enthusiasts, but such repulsive things should not have their place in society.”

Should I assume that married couples don’t dance either? Having been to Turkey, though not to the province of Adana except for a single overflight, I suspect that this is either a lot to assume or that the Erdoğan government has been cracking down even more than I thought.

(Via @Fausta.)

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It’s all about the Benjamin J. Grimms

In shakier times, Marvel, having regained the film rights to the Fantastic Four comic, promptly sold them off to 20th Century-Fox, and Roger suspects that this is the reason why the comic is being killed off:

So, it would seem, if Marvel cancels the comic book, the movies won’t do as well. If Fox stops making movies, the rights to the movie portrayals revert to Marvel. THEN Marvel can (and probably will) bring back the FF, because, as someone who read the four-color items for three decades, almost nothing is permanent in the comic books.

FF has been sort of snakebit in theaters, anyway. The 1994 film version, breathed upon by Roger Corman, was made mostly to avoid losing the film rights, which a German firm had picked up for a mere handful of Deutsche Marks. (It was not, you may be sure, a special-effects fest, and Stan Lee claimed, well after the fact, that the producers never really intended to release it at all.)

Fox is rebooting the film franchise in 2015, probably for the last time: there’s supposedly a sequel scheduled for 2017, but if this thing bombs as badly as I think it will … never mind, I can’t even bring myself to think about this. FF was my favorite comic for a long, long time; I actually bought a bound volume of the first 40 issues for something like $100. Ostensibly, it was because I fancied myself a scientist almost on par with Reed Richards, but eventually I figured it was because I wanted to get my far-too-inflexible hands on Sue Storm.

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