Muddle in the middle

“Moderate” is kind of a bad word around elections, especially this election. Chris Lawrence, who describes himself as “College professor and all-around troublemaker,” once said this:

Most Americans — and most people the world over, in fact — don’t have consistent, ideological belief systems. The absence of those belief systems makes them moderate, because they just react to whatever’s going on in the political ether; if you’re lucky, you might be able to pin their beliefs to some overarching fundamental value (“hard work”, “equality”, “liberty”).

There are only two types of true moderate: people who don’t care about politics, and centrist politicians (and this latter class of people generally care less about politics than they care about keeping their jobs — I defy you to explain the behavior of Arlen Specter or Olympia Snowe otherwise).

I aspire to be a person who does not care about politics, although politics, damn it, persists in caring about me, or at least in pretending to do so. Still, if there’s such baggage attached to “moderate,” maybe I need a new word. How about “centrist”? Does “centrist” work for me?

Hmmm. It has potential.

(Via Will Truman.)

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Discretion: minimal

I’m not saying I never did any of these things, but I haven’t had any visits from law enforcement either:

A rural Litchfield [Minnesota] man has been sentenced to two years of supervised probation and ordered to build a fence after neighbors say they saw him doing chores and sunbathing outdoors while nude.

According to court documents, from last May 25 to July 12, witnesses say they saw Larry Fiero, 59, sunbathing nude on his deck, picking up sticks while only wearing work boots, riding a lawn mower and bringing his garbage can to the road while completely nude. He was also charged again after washing his car naked in October.

His plea bargain, such as it is, also requires him to undergo psychological evaluation.

I do think he was wise to wear the work boots while picking up sticks; during an operation of that sort, you can’t always be sure what you’re stepping in.

(Via Breaking Shame.)

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Rocky Mountain hives

If I were running this team, I thought, I’d take out all my frustrations on the unsuspecting Nuggets. Well, I’m not running this team, and there are very good reasons why I’m not, but this advice seemed obvious enough, and the Thunder did exactly that to Denver tonight, getting a sweep of the four-game season series with the Nuggets to the tune of 124-102. It didn’t look like that in the first quarter, with Denver down only two thanks to a D. J. Augustin 70-foot (!) bank shot at the buzzer. The second, however, brought an 18-0 run, and the Thunder never looked back.

Still, any game in which both Billy Donovan and Nazr Mohammed are rung up for technical fouls is at least slightly weird. Mike Malone decided to hand out some DNP-CDs to starters and give the bench a chance, which probably didn’t help the Nuggets’ chances, and while it makes a certain amount of sense to rest the A-team before playing the Spurs, that Spurs game is three days away. But hey, it’s the end of the season, and for 14 of 30 teams, Denver included, it might as well be preseason, amirite? The Nuggets’ twin guards, Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay, did pretty well, though Joffrey Lauvergne, the only non-minus on the Denver plus/minus card, squeaked out a double-double from the, um, bench. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook was adding to his list of triple-doubles, this one a few degrees out of phase: 13-14-12. Yes, Kevin Durant got his 20, for the thousandth game in a row; yes, Enes Kanter led the reserves with another double-double. So maybe this game wasn’t so weird after all.

Third place in the West is now clinched. Had this been the season finale, the Thunder would be playing the sixth-place Trail Blazers in the first post-season round. As it happens, the Thunder are playing the sixth-place Trail Blazers in Game 79, tomorrow night. Really weird things can happen in Portland. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers have failed to make history by winning their 10th game out of 78, thereby insuring they will finish at least one game better than the 1972-73 Sixers, who went 9-73. (We won’t mention the Pelicans the team they beat.)

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Joi to the world

There has always been a certain demand for blonde bombshells, and Joi Lansing, born this week in 1928, was a good example of the supply:

Joi Lansing color portrait

Joi Lansing assuming the position, or at least a position

The movie roles started to fade in the late 1950s, and she made a pretty seamless transition to television, doing both drama and comedy. And she shot a couple of Scopitone proto-music videos which proved to be, not unlike present-day music videos, more about the performer than about the song. An example:

A whole lot of innuendo for the era, right? And perhaps doubly so for a serious Mormon who neither smoked nor drank.

In 1970, Joi was treated in standard 1970 fashion for breast cancer: they cut away what they could. The disease came back in 1972, and this time it killed her.

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When things get complicated

Middle of the morning, I got a note from a neighbor via Nextdoor: “I am going to close your garage door.” This, of course, leads to the obvious question: why in the fark is it open? I contemplated several possibilities, the most unnerving of which was the chance that someone might have figured out the Double Super Secret Code that runs the remote. This particular garage-door opener dates back to — well, not the Pleistocene, exactly, but it’s old enough to have its code set by a row of jumpers, the sort of thing we haven’t seen since we got rid of master and slave drives in PCs. I put in a call to William of Ockham, who noted that I happened to be carrying two remotes, one in the car, one on my person, and if I started the process with the former and inadvertently engaged the latter while turning away from the house, I could easily have created this situation myself. I argued that I didn’t think the secondary remote had that kind of range, but to no avail. I arrived back home about 11:30, and everything seemed to be in order.

And it is an election day, so I figured I’d take care of that detail on the way back to work. Turnout was expected to be light, given the single race on the ballot: finishing the unexpired term of Oklahoma County Court Clerk Tim Rhodes, who resigned last year to take a job at the Corp Comm. I did not, however, imagine it to be this light: at a quarter to twelve, four hours and forty-five minutes into the session, I was preceded by a mere 23 voters. There are more than 1500 registered voters in this precinct.

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Head ’em up

Fished out of the spam trap for some inexplicable reason:

However, there is another standpoint that only one single image gains market recognition is not enough because its figure is too stuffless. My favorite feature about the Weather Bug app is the temperature display in the notification bar which gives you the current conditions and can also notify you of severe weather.

All these would make excellent add ons to any Angry Birds themed favor box.

I focused on those two words “favor box,” and after a few seconds remembered Gil Favor, the trail boss on the old Rawhide series, played by Eric Fleming. (Rowdy Yates, the, um, rowdy fellow played by Clint Eastwood, didn’t become trail boss until the eighth and final season.) I’m pretty sure neither Gil nor Rowdy had much truck with angry birds.

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A Terrapin mistake

At least it wasn’t Missouri:

Or, for that matter, Mississippi.

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From the “It could be worse” files

You think Oklahoma’s budget woes are terrible? Well, yes, they are, no question about it. But we got nothing on the Sportsman’s Paradise:

Before the special session began, Louisiana had a 4-cent state sales tax, which, when combined with about 5 cents of local sales taxes, gave Louisiana the country’s third-highest overall average sales tax rate at 9 percent. At the same time, 196 separate transactions were exempt from being charged the 4-cent state sales tax.

Needing to raise money quickly to close a record budget gap, legislators and Gov. John Bel Edwards turned to sales taxes during the 25-day special session that ended March 9.

Beginning April 1, Act 26 [pdf] raised the state sales tax by a penny — giving Louisiana the highest combined local and state sales tax rate in the country — and provided a bewildering list of exemptions to paying that extra penny.

Beginning April 1, Act 25 [pdf] eliminated numerous exemptions to the existing 4 cents of sales tax for three months and then only for 2 cents for the next two years, in another bewildering list of exemptions.

For both acts, sales tax exemptions drop off or come back at different times, adding to the confusion.

Soonerland residents will note that the Oklahoma state sales tax is 4.5 percent, and that various city and county levies bring it up to 8 to 10 percent. (Perhaps the worst is the section of Clinton that lies in Washita County: 4.5 state + 2.0 county + 4.5 city = 11 percent.) And yes, we have a bewildering list of exemptions.

(Via Fark.)

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Now you’ve seen it all

Yesterday, Burton Cummings, long-time lead vocalist for the Guess Who, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, which gives me the perfect excuse to bring up this bit.

After the band spent several years at the top of various North American charts, Randy Bachman left the Guess Who and eventually turned up in an aggregation called Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which did extremely well. Cummings continued with the Guess Who for several more years, after which he struck out for a solo career.

And this is where it got weird. The last track of the Burton Cummings solo album turned out to be a lounge-ish version of Bachman’s biggest BTO hit. Bachman wasn’t at all aware of this, and I have no idea what he thought about it in 1976 when it came out.

Thirty years later, though, we could safely say that Bachman was fine with it. (Sorry, they’ve disabled embedding on this one.)

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“Taxes” if it’s a boy

And, for that matter, “Taxes” if it’s a girl: WalletHub’s 2016 Tax Survey reveals that the desire for a tax-free future, were such a thing available, would motivate 8 percent of the respondents to name their firstborn child “Taxes” in an effort to ensure said future.

By comparison, 11 percent would be willing to clean toilets. For three years. At Chipotle.

(Via Nancy Man.)

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The run stops here

During the Second World War, filmy stuff like nylon was reserved for military use. This situation did not, however, create a sudden craze for bare legs. Instead, you had scenes like this:

Painted-on stockings, 3d per leg

And admittedly, “no more ladders,” “ladders” being a Briticism for “runs,” has an appeal of its own. I’m assuming that the price includes scribing a line down the back to create the appearance of a seam, which was the rule back them. (And if that price is indeed sixpence a pair in sterling, forty women could be so adorned for a pound, which during the War was pegged at $4.03 US.)

Of course, there were always do-it-yourselfers:

And really, it’s no sillier than contemporary self-tanners, though you can’t really tell from the B&W photography if there was a tendency toward orangeness.

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Shazam is one of those smartphone apps that is supposed to be able to recognize an unknown song and tell you what it is. Saturday night — into Sunday morning, because that’s how dumb I am — I put it to work on my tablet.

And, of course, I tested it on stuff in my own collection first. Correctly identified on the first try:

On “Kaiser Bill’s,” the title was rendered in German, but that makes a certain amount of sense.

I did manage to stump Shazam on “Mr. Turnkey,” Zager and Evans’ followup to “In the Year 2525.”

And there’s one track it consistently misidentified, the unknown backing track from this video:

I got two different answers, one “Kompression” by Albion, one “Ethno Love” in the Vaffa Superstar Mix, for which I found no link. (Shazam did play a few seconds for me for comparison purposes.)

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Strange search-engine queries (531)

Google and Yahoo! and Bing, oh, my. A hefty proportion of this site’s traffic comes from search-engine users, and based on the evidence I see each week, they have no shame. Which is why you see this each week.

Bansay leaves benifits for sinusitis:  Hmmm. Didn’t see that at CVS.

this question is a means of preventing automated form submissions by spambots:  See how well it works?

ivan just spent an evening watching pornographic movies of attractive women who actually seemed to enjoy being sexually molested. this experience is most likely to lead him to:  Get him slapped by the first woman he attempts to treat in this manner.

firm forceful femmes:  Don’t even think about trying to molest them.

tamara is a content developer at moon loop inc.:  There are other developers, but most of them have shown signs of discontent.

printer nazi:  No toner for you!

karl malden nose disease:  It’s just a temporary enlargement. No one will ever even notice.

i can’t stop jacking off yahoo answers:  And yet it never, ever comes to a close.

revolting door:  There’s one on every door on K Street, where the regulators and the regulated become mutually parasitical.

“high performance, delivery” “upskirt”:  This is not, incidentally, why they call it “broadband.”

mine flex:  Some people will brag about anything.

jerry garcia licks:  He also might sniff now and then.

in the 1920s when women’s hemlines reached the knee, an exposed female leg was considered erotic. today an exposed leg is less likely to elicit such a response. this is an example of emotional responses _____ caused by repeated to exposure:  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have an emotional response to lack of said exposure.

crummier definition:  What you’re likely to find in those discount dictionaries at the dollar store.

chaz michael michael:  A distant cousin of the late Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

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Four legs good

This is, as noted, an actual ad:

A word of warning, pal: Don’t let her borrow your razor.

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Ignominious splashdown

The game plan for the Rockets today seemed simple enough: put up a hell of a lot of shots, and hope enough of them fall. This is doable if half your rebounds come off the offensive glass, as Houston’s were, and if you get at least 20 more shots than the opponents, as Houston did. It didn’t hurt that the Thunder were at least fairly lethargic during several stretches of the game, and with OKC up five with five and a half minutes left, the Rockets utterly shut down the Thunder to earn a 118-110 win, a 2-2 split of the season series — each team won twice at home — and a bit of momentum as they try to climb above ninth and into the playoff picture.

“A hell of a lot of shots” sounds unspecific, so let’s get the numbers: 41 of 102, just a tick above 40 percent. Thirteen of 42 made treys. Twenty-two offensive rebounds out of 45. The only place where the Thunder got bigger numbers was in, you guessed it, turnovers: 21 for OKC, a mere nine for Houston. James Harden went off for 41 points on 12-25, with Trevor Ariza going 5-13 for 18 points. Patrick Beverley did not shoot well until the fourth quarter, but his +14 was the highest of all.

Kevin Durant shot well until the fourth quarter, when the Rockets ratcheted up the defense. He finished with 33. Russell Westbrook came up just short of a triple-double, at 23-13-9. Nobody else into double digits except Enes Kanter, who managed 16.

The rest of this road trip may or may not be fraught with peril. Denver (Tuesday) is decidedly more dangerous at home; Portland (Wednesday) is dangerous everywhere; Sacramento (Saturday) is, well, Sacramento. (The Kings have beaten the Thunder once already this season.) It’s not likely that the standings will change, though theoretically OKC could fall behind the Clippers if they lose the rest of the way. Then again, if they keep playing like they did in the fourth quarter — but never mind, let’s not go there.

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The ghosts of Olympic Stadium

This seems a reasonable question to ask in 2016, and the Washington Post duly asks it: Why does a long-dead baseball club need a Twitter account?

The Montreal Expos don’t exist anymore. They’re a defunct brand that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2004. But they almost certainly have way more Twitter followers than you do.

By a factor of, oh, let’s say, twenty.

Baseball fans scrolling through their Twitter feeds today might have noticed a ghostly presence popping intermittently onto their screens. That’s because the Expos, dead for the last dozen years, appear to have somehow acquired the tweeting habits of a bored teenage girl who can’t stop thinking about her ex-boyfriend.

Then again, there is method in this seeming madness:

Montreal baseball fans were excited to be hosting a pair of spring training games this weekend between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. This marks the third straight year the Jays have concluded their spring exhibition schedule at Olympic Stadium, site of all those fuzzy Expos memories of yore. It’s a fun occasion for the expected 100,000 fans descending on the area, and, more importantly, it’s a chance for the city to show Major League Baseball that it craves a team again.

I note, just for amusement value, that the Expos’ account is on three Twitter lists, while the account of the Washington Nationals, the current designation for that franchise, is on only two. (I’m on 121, but don’t ask.)

And the Expos responded to the WaPo this way:

Also a reasonable question to ask in 2016.

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