The hard-luck girl

The E! True Hollywood Story series dates back to 1996; even then they weren’t overly interested in C-list performers who came to an unfortunate end unless they could get lots of file footage, which they couldn’t for someone who died in 1948. Mary Imogene Robertson, who began her career as a Ziegfeld Girl under the name Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson, moved to Germany in the wake of a scandal and changed her name, then came back to the States and changed it once more. As “Mary Nolan,” she made a number of pre-Code pictures, but by 1933 her career was over.

Mary Nolan as a blonde

Mary Nolan in a jaunty cap

Nolan was only 31 when she faded; she’d had a history of unfortunate romantic involvements and occasional bouts with opioids, perhaps a result of a long hospitalization in 1929 in which she was introduced to the wonders of morphine.

Then again, ex-starlets in trouble were good copy long before E! The American Weekly, a Sunday-newspaper supplement published by Hearst, ran a serialized version of Nolan’s life in 1941. You may be certain that none of the saucy pictures for which she posed in the pre-Code era appeared in the Sunday paper.

And in 1948, Nolan was found dead in her home; she had been suffering from a gall-bladder ailment, but the subsequent autopsy indicated an overdose of Seconals and no sign of foul play. Hard luck, indeed.


In which the right thing is done

LEGO blocks are truly wondrous things, until a bare foot finds one in the dead of night. What to do? LEGO to the rescue:

LEGO didn’t actually build these — they farmed the job out to a French advertising agency — and they’re not part of the permanent product catalog. Yet. I figure the demand will start picking up around the 26th of December.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

Comments (2)

In which nothing is actually said

Marriott International will spend $12.2 billion to acquire rival Starwood, prompting this statement from Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson:

“The driving force behind this transaction is growth. This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace.”

This is pure boardroom-approved corporate-speak, full of syllables and buzzwords, signifying nothing. Yet somehow, “value” is going to be created.

Hint: In corporate mergers, the “value” most often created is the reduction in expense due to reductions in force. Expect rather a lot of people to be kicked to the curb; perhaps they won’t get in the way of valet parking.


Gratuitous hyphenation

Actual spams received here:

  • Looking to – Donate-this -Christmas? Discover How- a — Used Car Can Change Another’s Life
  • Were you – in-an -accident? Find a- personal — injury attorney now
  • Get Your – Teaching-Degree -Online Make- a — Difference in Children’s Lives!
  • Social – Media Trending:-This is EVERYWHERE.–Have- you- seen it?

The only reason to do things like this, of course, is to evade filters, but who has filters for stuff like that?

Comments (5)

Finely ground

Ah, Memphis, where struggling basketball teams go to die — but first, they get tortured to within an inch of their lives. And on this particular night, they did it three points at a time (12 of 17 from three-point distance) or one point at a time (34 of 37 free throws). Tasked with interfering with this fusillade, the Thunder spent much of the game in the wrong place at the wrong time: either they let someone, usually Mario Chalmers, knock down a trey, or they let someone, usually Mario Chalmers, collect a couple of freebies. Still, through three quarters it was fairly close, with OKC up by one before what Judge Radar calls “12 Minutes of Hell.” Memphis ran up an 11-point lead before the Thunder again showed signs of life; OKC was able to pull within three, but no closer than that, and the final was a startling 122-114.

Okay, maybe Zach Randolph isn’t quite as fast as he was in days of yore. Still, Z-Bo collected 10 rebounds and 10 points — and he was only the fifth-leading scorer among the Griz. (The aforementioned Mario Chalmers scored a team-high 29, including four of seven treys.) And you have to figure, any day you give up 122 to the Grizzlies, you’re screwed no matter how many statistical categories you might dominate; the Thunder shot 51 percent, outrebounded the Griz by ten, and didn’t do too badly from distance. No matter. Russell Westbrook had the sort of night that only Russell Westbrook seems to have these days: 40 points, 14 rebounds. Still no matter. Perhaps we can put the blame on Kyle Singler, who started in place of the still-recovering Kevin Durant: in eleven minutes, Singler missed four shots and committed four fouls. And Andre Roberson was ailing; Anthony Morrow started at the two, and hit one shot all night. So maybe — no, no excuses, this is the first time all season the Griz beat someone with a winning record. It will not be the last.

The Pelicans are next, on Wednesday, followed by the Knicks on Friday. So far this year, New Orleans has been unexpectedly terrible; New York, unexpectedly not terrible. At least there will be a home crowd for the Thunder.


That register over there

Roberta X is a contralto, a range not often called for: “In musical theatre, contraltos are generally limited to playing “witches, britches and bitches.”

It took me a minute to remember a “britches” part, but they’re definitely out there in the Basic Repertoire. The title role in Rossini’s Tancredi (1813), a banished soldier from Syracuse, was written for a contralto, and sometimes is even sung by a mezzo-soprano, perhaps because mezzos are easier to find.

This is Marie-Nicole Lemieux in “Di tanti palpiti, di tante pene” (“For all these heartbeats, for all this pain”), from the second scene of the first act of Tancredi, in which he contemplates the fate of a lost love who has been promised to another. Spoils of war, doncha know.

Few singers of popular music can be found in this range: perhaps the best-known in recent years was the late Karen Carpenter. Come to think of it, she looked pretty good in britches.

Comments (2)

And now you dress for dinner

No one is saying why, exactly, but the Terra Cotta Inn, a clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs, California, was sold last week and will be reimaged by its new owners as a “textile venue.”

I find this at least somewhat perturbing, not so much that I wanted that badly to go there — like most nudist facilities, they’d much rather deal with couples than with singles, and it’s not like I’d have had much chance of getting someone to go with me — but that management went full-tilt social, even encouraging the distribution of photos of owner Tom Mulhall’s lovely wife Mary-Clare in her usual work outfit (nothing), and it apparently wasn’t enough to sustain the place.

Perhaps this is inevitable. Younger nudists, we are told, aren’t looking for established resorts; they’re looking to create their own spaces. Membership in the two major organizations is on the decline, and it’s not like there’s anything surprising about people not wishing to be officially identified as running around naked; disaffiliation has a lot to recommend it in this age of Not Much Privacy.

If nothing else, this will likely shorten up my Twitter timeline, which has been running about four to five percent nudist content for the last couple of years. And more than once I’ve had to assure folks that yes, the pictures are appreciated, but I’m following you because I want to hear what you have to say.


Old news

Fifty years ago, I got into the habit of reading the news at dinnertime. It’s a habit I am loath to give up no matter how many options I am offered.

Comments (2)

Strange search-engine queries (511)

“We’ll always have Paris.” — Rick Blaine

“We’ll always have search strings.” — Me

good morning mr leech:  Always be polite to those you subsidize.

german lass milf patriarch sleeps with teen boyish sub subsequently game:  Um, this is not how you program the Holodeck, ensign.

We reject the prospect of failure or mediocrity or an inferior quality of life for any person is wha:  “Wha?” indeed.

biology of european sea bass (epub|pdf):  Someone trying to do serious research here?

blackman 101 defenses (epub|pdf):  Someone trying to do serious research here.

clear channel sucks:  Outdated. Today, it’s “iHeartRadio sucks.”

jerking off made simple:  When, exactly, was it complicated?

naked women funny:  If you should find one, never let her go.

models attract women through honesty mark nason pdf:  So it’s not the thousand-dollar dresses?

usenet youth and beauty:  Guy’s obviously never seen a flame war.

villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot:  Not so useful when the bad guy is a girl.

juan is an ardent environmentalist and the sole supporter of two children. he found out that his company is dumping toxic waste into a landfill. before pursuing this issue:  He makes sure he has photos of the general manager, naked, groveling at the feet of the dominatrix.

cuttlefish of cthulhu codpiece:  If you should see one of these, lob it into the landfill as though it were toxic waste.


A cold blast from Beantown

It began like most nights in the ‘Peake, with Oklahoma City reasonably, if not comfortably, in control. Things began to shift late in the third quarter, when the Celtics switched to a 2-3 zone, catching the Thunder off guard. In fact, OKC was off several things thereafter: what had been an 11-point lead shrank to two at the end of the third, and Boston totally took it over after that, taking a 13-point lead within five and a half minutes. Stunned, the Thunder never completely recovered. It may be simply that the Celtics were getting better looks, but as radio guy Matt Pinto observed, the Celtics up to that point “just wanted it more.” Thunder velleity would not, alas, change the path of the ball, and OKC made only two of its last 17 shots from the floor, giving the Celtics a surprisingly easy 100-85 victory, and Russell Westbrook, disgusted at being pulled for garbage time, managed to pick up a technical foul between the court and the bench.

Boston’s superiority in the standard statistical categories was startling: 46-34 rebounding, 48-36 percent shooting, 25-18 assists. (Turnovers, curiously, were tied at 18.) But games are more than numbers, and the Celtics’ twin guard attack, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, knocked down 46 points between them. Or you could look at the Thunder numbers and see Westbrook with a game-high 27, though it took him 20 shots to get there, and Serge Ibaka as the only other OKC player in double figures, and you might ask where the running game was. Three — count ’em, three — fast-break points.

If you ask me, the Thunder was thinking ahead to tomorrow night in Memphis; the Grizzlies, even under .500 so far, can still wear you down. And presented with this evidence that the mighty Thunder can be had by a small team with less-than-tremendous speed, the Griz, a bigger team with a few guys who move like crazy, will be very much heartened. Not what I’d call a good sign.


Definitely not less

This came up on the shuffle as I was leaving the supermarket yesterday, and it stayed on my mind long enough to justify doing some poking around in the Intertubes:

Now I never saw Mondo Cane, the 1962 Italian film (not released in the States until 1963) whence this song came; I seem to remember that the Church had placed it on the Index, and anyway I was too young for that sort of exploitation film. But this one record enchanted me, at least partially because it didn’t sound like anything else.

It was later that I found out that Kai Winding, a serious jazzman — hence his appearance on Verve, then mostly a jazz label — played the trombone, and this high-pitched electrothingy was not in the least bit trombone-like. The Ondioline, to give it its proper name, was a proto-synthesizer invented in 1941 by Georges Jenny; it was sort of portable and was capable of a wide range of tones, and its acknowledged virtuoso and chief exponent was the French musician Jean-Jacques Perrey, who actually played it on Winding’s recording, uncredited.

Whatever its provenance, “More” was a hit, reaching #8 in Billboard, Verve’s biggest record on the Hot 100 up to that point. (An early Ricky Nelson single, “I’m Walkin'” b/w “A Teenager’s Romance,” charted higher, but the chart rules were different in 1957.) Mondo Cane spawned several sequels, and Winding cut “Mondo Cane 2” the next year, as much like the original as possible without actually inviting lawsuits.

Comments (2)

Clear that lot

Because you can’t spell “sales gimmick” without GMC:

GMC Sierra sale ad from mid-November 2015

I like that. A deal on models “in stock the longest,” although it’s limited to the oldest 10% on the lot. Still, that could be a hell of a lot of trucks in pickup-crazed areas like, well, the United States of America, with the notable exception of San Francisco, which has no GMC dealers.

This ad, incidentally, was found on Equestria Daily. Ponyville, I’m sure, has no GMC dealers.

Comments (1)

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

Possibly the greatest, and almost certainly the most eccentric, Guns N’ Roses cover ever:

For the record, this is the next most serious contender, for some values of “serious.”

Comments (2)

Subtotal recall

As was once said in a wholly different context, there can be only one:

Rolls-Royce have revealed what must be the world’s smallest ever vehicle recall.

Amid the millions of vehicles being recalled worldwide in the Takata air bag issue, BMW Group, the owner of the luxury Rolls-Royce brand, is recalling one — yep, one — of its 2015 Ghost models manufactured on January 23, 2014.

Perhaps it’s tied for smallest: supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg recalled one 2013 Agera for potential problems with its tire-pressure monitoring system. (Total ’13 Ageras sold in the US: one.)

(Via Fark.)


Hob knobbing

Sliders belong in ballparks and bags of cheap burgers. They do not belong on most people’s audio gear:

When it comes to audio equipment, sliders were popular with some people and maybe they still are. They got some cachet when big mixing panels used in theaters and recording studios came out from behind their curtain. Oh, cool! thought I and a bunch of other people. They might be okay in their original applications, or where space is at a premium and you need to cram in a bunch of seldom used controls into a tiny patch of panel, but for everyday audio controls they suck.

You grab hold of a rotary control it is easy to tell how far you have turned it, even if the knob is on a radio mounted in the dashboard of car that is bouncing down a pothole filled road. Try adjusting a slider under those conditions and you can’t, not with any degree of precision. You can’t even adjust a slider accurately without being able to see it so you can tell how far it has move. Okay, maybe this is a personal problem. Maybe sliders don’t cause you any difficulty.

Not that much, really, but in automotive applications, they’re pretty much useless because you have to look at them, while you’re supposed to be looking at the road. Those newfangled touchscreens have much the same problem, magnified further if you started digging into the French fries before you got home with the burgers.

That said, the Big Receiver in the house — forty years old now — has ten sliders to run the equalizer. I think I set them once in 2003 when I moved in, and haven’t touched them since. The volume control is a proper knob. And in the car, where Bose has festooned the head unit with no fewer than thirteen buttons (not including Eject), the volume control is a proper knob.

Comments (1)

Let’s do it again

While my attention was focused on the back yard and my presumably soon-to-disintegrate shed, the roses up front were assembling a final forward thrust for fall, and this was the first one out:

One rose, photographed on 14 November 2015

At center-bottom you can see one of the reinforcements coming in: there are a dozen buds at the moment, and temperatures look to remain above freezing for at least the next week.

As usual, there’s a bigger version at Flickr.