You’re doing it wrong

Will Truman doesn’t remember asking for advice, but:

There was an older couple of ladies behind me in line at the supermarket making goo-goo eyes at the baby. When we were outside, one of them informed — not in those precise words — that I was handling the unloading process wrong.

My process is: Take the cart to the car, unload the groceries, return cart, take baby from cart and carry her with me back to the car.

Her order was: Put the baby in the car, start the car with the air conditioning or heater on, unload cart, and then return the cart.

When I was small enough to ride in the cart, there was no chance the parents would leave me in the car for more than a couple of seconds: I’d lunge for the controls. And there being nothing even close to child restraints in those days, I’d almost certainly reach them.

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And no corned beef, either

Nancy Friedman did a Visual Thesaurus piece about the word “duds,” and, as usual, put up an excerpt on her own blog. Near the bottom, she mentioned a trademark that was abandoned a few years back: “MILF Duds.”

Feigning horror, I attempted to post the following comment:

I truly hate that term “MILF” and the occasional variations thereupon; there’s no reason I should care about someone else’s prurient interests.

TypePad wasn’t having any of this, and popped up this cryptic message: “Not a HASH reference.”

Now TypePad is a relative of Movable Type, which is written in Perl, often disparaged as a “write-only” language: any code that actually works will be unreadable. I guessed that this might be some sort of Perl issue, having seen a few in four years of running MT, and found several TypePad users complaining about it.

This is not to say that I understand PHP, which is at the core of WordPress; but PHP, so far, has never kept me from complaining about acronyms. And there really is no reason why I should care about someone else’s prurient interests; in fact, most of the time, I can scarcely bother with my own.

Update, 3:25 pm: She asked if I’d try to post the comment again. This time it worked.

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Generally unrewarding

The subject line is hard to ignore: “Amazon thanks you — Your 25 Amazon bucks.” But you must ignore it, because it’s blatantly fake:

To Enjoy Your Amazon Rewards, all you need to do:

1) Visit: [redacted]
2) Give us your opinion
3) Redeem your Shopper Bucks before they expire on January 15, 2014

My opinion is twofold, as follows:

  • Changing the name of the program in the very next paragraph is a dead giveaway;
  • As is the obviously non-Amazon link.

In the middle of the message:

Write to SWJ Group to change your message status at:
(10908 RIDGEGATE Lane K n o x v i l l e TN, 3 7 9 3 1 )

I have no idea why it’s spaced like that.

And at the bottom: instructions on how to use an XML file.

I’m thinking these yutzim bought Spamming for Dummies® and didn’t read it all the way through.

Incidentally, this missive was received on the 16th of January, meaning that if these rewards had actually existed, they would have expired.

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With wheels of precious Unobtainium

J. Random Whatever, as a general rule, isn’t going to get to date a supermodel. And he has only a slightly better chance of finding this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Looking for a car between 2010-2013?

Specified criteria:

I really only have a few requirements:
Must be a coupe
Must give at least 20mpg in the city
Must be no older than 2010
Must have at least 180hp
Can’t be more than 30k
Should go from 0-60 in under 5.5 seconds

His best shot, arguably, is an out-of-warranty 3-series BMW, but I have to figure that he has no idea what he’s in for when the maintenance comes due.

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What goes up must come down

Anybody who studied rocketry as a kid knows this, and if you were wondering if it still meant anything, consider the Houston Rockets’ scoring through three quarters: 32, 41, then 10, 9. The Thunder, down fourteen at the half, managed to tie it up at 83 after three. Steven Adams fouled out in ten minutes, which probably isn’t a record but definitely qualifies as falling to earth; simultaneously with that foul, Dwight Howard drew his fifth, which introduces the question: “Shouldn’t Kendrick Perkins be guarding the Dwightmare?” (Kevin McHale pulled Howard at that point, and the Thunder went small, so the answer was apparently No.) Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Thunder had scored only seven; then again, the Rockets had scored only six.) It was that kind of game: emotional roller-coaster with the occasional mouthful of something you didn’t like the first time. The Thunder ran off seven straight before Houston returned all their starters. They needn’t have bothered. Oklahoma City 104, Houston 92, and once again solid, even fierce, defense compensates for a world of offensive hurt.

Telltale statistic: the Rockets went 12-20 from beyond the arc in the first half; the Thunder were 0-8. Second half: Rockets 0-14, Thunder 6-17. Whatever it is Scott Brooks is handing out at halftime, I want it.

Houston landed six players in double figures, led by Terrence Jones and James Harden with 16 each — though The Beard did not score squat in the second half. Donatas Motiejunas and Aaron Brooks made big numbers for the Rockets’ bench, which outscored the OKC reserves 29-15. Then again, on a night when Serge Ibaka is getting 21 points and 15 boards and five blocks, and Reggie Jackson is getting 23 points on 11-19 shooting and six steals — well, all you need to do is make sure Kevin Durant isn’t late. He wasn’t, knocking down 36, half of them at the foul line. (Semi-telltale statistic: Durant was 18-20 on free throws; Houston in toto was 14-21. And you can’t blame all that on Howard, who went 1-2 on his only trip to the line.)

And now the West invades: the Warriors tomorrow night, the Kings on Sunday, the Blazers on Tuesday. The trick will be not to come down from these giddy heights.

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Something to sneeze at

You probably already know what I think about homeopathy:

To test [it] yourself, dump a teaspoon of the stuff into Lake Itasca, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and then wait for it to show up in New Orleans.

Target is apparently selling a homeopathic asthma remedy for $16; it looks like an emergency inhaler, but of course it isn’t. I haven’t seen this at my local store, but then I tend to stay away from aisles containing weird-looking products: rice cakes, kitchen accessories, Barbie.

It’s not illegal to sell this stuff, and I’m not about to urge that it should be; but I suggest a minor rebranding. Target should continue to sell it, in a variant of its current packaging — as a specific treatment for use when the inside of your nose is on fire. This is admittedly a highly specialized use, but hey, how often are you going to have to spend $16 for that?

(Roberta X posted a link to this on her Facebook wall; Tam expressed the hope that “they don’t charge more for the dehydrated form.”)

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Terrible Twos extended

Icepick is not fooled by that “Trusting Threes” routine:

The “Terrible Twos” are merely a marketing ploy by three-year-olds, designed to throw parents off the track of how bad three-year-olds behave. You see, by the time a child hits three they become very capable, in an absolute sense. By this I mean they know how things work: doors, locks, caps on spice bottles, plumbing fixtures, ladders, chain saws, lathes, Machiavellian interpersonal machinations, etc. They can do a lot with those skills, in an absolute sense. And they all have the same kind of outlook on law and order that one would expect of devotees of the Anarchist Cookbook.

Allegedly, I was three for about four and a half years. I don’t remember it that way, but of course I wouldn’t.

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Revved up for the Deuce

There are more 1932 Fords now than Ford ever built: the demand for the ’32 body, the basis for so many custom rods, has never slackened, which has insured a steady supply of fiberglass reproduction bodies. It’s not too surprising to see that Ford has decided to get a piece of the action, but they’re not going to sell you plastic:

The aftermarket is replete with companies that will sell you a fiberglass body in the form of a ’32 Ford coupe, but quality can be hit or miss. So to help meet demand among hot rod builders and enthusiasts, Ford has teamed up with United Pacific Industries to offer officially licensed body shells.

Announced at the SEMA show in November, the ’32 Ford 5-Window Coupe body is made from stamped steel according to original specifications from original machinery where possible or reproduced machinery built to the same original specifications where necessary. The bodies are ready to accept vintage powertrains or crate motors from the Ford Racing catalog, and join the 9,000 other parts offered in the Ford Component Sales catalog.

Don’t want a Deuce Coupe? Dearborn will happily sell you a ’40 Ford or a first-generation Mustang shell.

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Dunham already

I don’t understand all the flapdoodle over Lena Dunham and her HBO series Girls, and I really don’t understand why it’s such a big deal that Dunham often appears on the show undressed.

There’s some sort of effort to paint Dunham’s efforts “revolutionary” because she’s fairly average in appearance, unlike, we are supposed to presume, every other woman who’s ever been unclothed on screen. If there’s anything “revolutionary” about this sort of thing, it’s that they didn’t hire an actual beauty and then downgrade her appearance with the tricks of the theatrical trade. See, for instance, Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster; Theron was lionized for her disappearance into the role, when they could have just hired someone who didn’t need the extensive makeup job.

Dunham, I think, could have sidestepped most of the drama had she basically told reporter Tim Molloy to stick it in his ear, instead of this:

“[The nude scenes are] a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive … But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals.”

But she was evidently anxious to make this a Teachable Moment, which gets the kind of response it deserves:

A man who isn’t “into” Lena Dunham has a “problem”? He needs “to work that out with professionals”? As in, reparative therapy?

Look, I don’t know if Tim Molloy is gay or not, but to say that a man who isn’t attracted to Lena Dunham needs professional help?

It would be nice if both sides of the gender aisle (and the straddlers thereupon) would simply acknowledge the fact that zeroes are zeroes and tens are tens and both are few and far between — and most of us are going to spend our lives with someone somewhere in between, or no one at all.

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More diva than devi

Sherlyn Chopra, last seen here, was furious on Twitter the past couple of days, and apparently it’s because she thought she was being snubbed:

Sherlyn Chopra’s absence was conspicuous at the promotional event of the babe’s forthcoming release Kamasutra 3D. While Sherlyn has been going gaga about her erotic drama till recently but she has suddenly chosen to maintain a low profile — so much so that she was not even seen at the promotion of her own movie.

We hear that in spite of getting repeated requests from director Rupesh Paul, the sexy gal refused to turn up at the event. A secret birdie has chirped to us that Sherlyn is not particularly happy about the little screen time she has been given in the promo of the movie.

So I hunted down the English-language trailer — as befits a Bollywood epic, it’s over three minutes long — and considering the ostensible subject matter, Chopra does seem to get short-ish shrift. Take a look:

Then again, Chopra is famously hot-headed. Her Wikipedia page, as of earlier this week, offered a possible explanation:

Screenshot from Wikipedia page on Sherlyn Chopra

Yep. That would do it.

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Dead aim on the metatarsals

Apparently it is possible to shoot yourself in the foot while said foot is in your mouth:

The part that hurts, of course, is that someone had to buy that prefab decal, so there must be More Of Them out there.

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We are the eye in the sky

You may remember this from a few days back:

Last week, Ford’s Global VP of Marketing and Sales, Jim Farley, told a panel discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that Ford has access to data on its customers’ driving habits via the GPS system installed in their cars. “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone,” he said.

It took about 24 hours for Farley to backpedal:

The next day Mr. Farley adjusted his statement to avoid giving the wrong impression saying that the statement was hypothetical and that Ford does not routinely collect information on, or otherwise track, drivers through their GPS systems without those drivers’ consent and approval. That approval comes from turning on and opting into specific services like 911 Assist and something called Sync Services Directions, a system that links the GPS system to users’ cellular phones.

Which you, as a Ford owner, were aware you were consenting to, right?

Then again, most of us give up information something less than grudgingly:

Years ago I read a factoid that said when most Americans have the opportunity to opt out of junk mail, things like advertising brochures and store catalogs, we actually sign up for more. I think that’s as true today as it was back then. We don’t like intrusive forms of advertising like phone calls during the dinner hour and pop-up ads in our browsers, but generally speaking the average American doesn’t mind things like targeted ads that appear off to the side or above a website’s banner. These things are, we know, a necessary evil, the price we pay for free content. After all, someone has to pay the bills in order to keep a website running and targeted ads based on my browsing history are an effective way of getting me to see a product I might actually buy.

Or, in my case, getting me to see one I looked at but didn’t buy, and continuing to get me to see it until I give in.

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Burning down the House

One chamber of legislative ne’er-do-wells is apparently enough:

Senate Joint Resolution 43, filed by Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, would allow voters to create a constitutional amendment creating a unicameral legislature consisting of 48 legislators, effectively dissolving the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Because, you know, he’s not going to jeopardize his job by asking for the Senate to be killed.

Anderson says he wants to save a few bucks, not the worst idea in the world, though it would have been nice if he’d said something about Reynolds v. Sims, in which the Supreme Court decided that legislative houses in the states had to be divided into equal population districts. (Before this 1964 decision, each county would have at least one House member, regardless of population.) In effect, this makes one chamber in each and every bicameral state legislature — all 49 of them — largely irrelevant. Then again, Reynolds was decided three years before Anderson was born, so it’s probably not uppermost in his mind.

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Lossless compression

A few posts ago, I said I would atone for paying attention to some long-legged British Amazon in the Daily Mail by focusing on someone a bit shorter. How much shorter? This much shorter:

We learn two things from this:

  • Christina Ricci will indeed fit in a minifridge;
  • If you want to try this — and I’m pretty sure you don’t — unplug it first.

Why wasn’t I following this woman on Twitter before?

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In precisely that order

I’m assuming this is true for all law students, not just those at ‘Bama.

the stages of law school.

1 — yay, I’m in law school I’m going to get some great job and make millions.

2 — I’m not going to accept any summer job less than like $20 an hour, $10 is insulting.

3 — $10 isn’t as bad as it sounds, I mean it’s something, right?

4 — do you think if I emailed this person they would let me intern? i mean hell I’ll do it for free, i just want the experience.

5 — OMG will I ever find a job?

With modifications, this will fit rather a lot of situations.

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Speed of execution

As everyone remembers, the Memphis Grizzlies excel at demolishing the Westbrook-less Thunder. And these Grizzlies are better than the last batch of Grizzlies — Courtney Lee is more or less assimilated, and Marc Gasol is back in action — so I didn’t expect a repeat of the 116-100 win from December. The issue, as always with Memphis, is which team enforces its preferred pace; the Grizzlies prevailed in the first and third quarters, the Thunder in the second, and the teams fought on more or less equal terms in the fourth — although Memphis went into the final twelve minutes with a five-point lead, and the Griz were still up four with ten seconds left. Serge Ibaka delivered a trey, but Lee knocked down two free throws in the last second to give Memphis a 90-87 win.

This is one game where the plus/minus numbers are scary. All the Thunder reserves were plus; all the starters were minus. The bench, as usual, did yeoman work, contributing 20 points to the cause; the Memphis bench managed only 10. But Ibaka got into double figures only after that last-minute trey, which gave him 11; Reggie Jackson had 17, and might have had more had he not been bedeviled with personal fouls. Yeah, Kevin Durant had 37, but you have to figure Kevin Durant would have 37 against the Justice League of America.

If they were watching Gasol’s minutes, they apparently weren’t paranoid about it; the big guy put in 24 minutes and scored 12. Lee led the Griz with 24; Zach Randolph was right behind with 23, and the perennially-scary Mike Conley dropped in 19. Memphis is now within one game of .500, and if they’re healthy — which means, basically, if Tony Allen gets better — they may be in this playoff hunt after all.

As will the Thunder, though now they’re 28-10, and the next two will be tricky: at Houston on Thursday, and against Golden State back at the ‘Peake on Friday. Either, or both, are capable of inflicting further damage on the wounded Thunder.

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