A candidate one can be proud of

Even after being dead for six decades, he’s still better than most of the jerks taking up ballot space this year:

Campaign button for Harry Baals, mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Such a colossus! Contemporary nonentities like Anthony Weiner simply pale by comparison.

(Previous Harry Baals coverage here.)

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A small blast from the past

In 2004, this site endorsed independent Senate candidate Sheila Bilyeu in preference to either Brad Carson (Democrat) or Tom Coburn (Republican). At the time, Mike H.’s Okiedoke blog had conducted an interview with her, and the Wayback Machine has a copy.

She pulled about 70,000 votes, which is pretty impressive for an independent in a statewide race. I lost track of her after that, until last night:

She is running in Arizona. Perhaps more important, she’s running in Arizona against John McCain, a chap who’s at least eight years, maybe more, past his pull date.

Politically these days, she’s bona fide Berniefied, because the Clintons have apparently been trying to kill her or something. She also sent along a Nineties compendium of Bill Clinton’s low crimes and misdemeanors. And mostly, she wants a proper link to her new campaign site at SheilaForSenate.com, for which I’m happy to oblige.

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X marks the spot

Xenia Tchoumitcheva was born in the Urals in 1987 but grew up in Switzerland speaking Italian. She studied economics, worked in London banks, but decided the take would be better as a model — or, in her term, a “digital influencer.”

Xenia Tchoumi looks at you

She does do formal modeling work, but it’s secondary to her writing and video work. She also runs a fashion blog called Chic Overload.

Xenia Tchoumi thinks about it

Last year, she decided to shorten her public name to “Xenia Tchoumi,” saying that it’s easier to pronounce.

Xenia Tchoumi by the pool

And, perhaps inevitably, she’s staking out a position as a YouTube vlogger:

Clearly a woman of many facets.

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This guy can’t understand how such a thing could possibly happen:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I don't know if parts were replaced with worse ones while it sat in parking lot at a service center

Makes no sense? Neither will this:

good parts could have been taken off the car while it sat outside at a service center because it’s hard to believe it when they weren’t bad before they are bad now when the car was just towed to have the transmission work done. It’s registration time in one day and it won’t run to put the millage on the car to pass emissions.

Well, “Alan,” if that is your real name, why in the world would a service center work on parts without getting paid for that work? The markup on parts isn’t anywhere near enough to justify spending all that time to swipe them. And how do you know they weren’t bad before? The transmission failure would have drawn far more attention at the time.

Shut up and pay the man. Then go back to Walgreen’s — there’s one near you — and get your anti-paranoia meds refilled.

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Past my shelf date

This sounds entirely too familiar:

[A]lmost without exception every man over 50 in this country appears to have the same basic approach:

Hi, blah blah you’re very pretty blah blah … (hugely passive-aggressive discussion of everything his ex-wife did to him)

It’s just proof positive that the 85/15 situation that one encounters in one’s college and young adult years, where 15% of the guys are sleeping with 85% of the girls, just never ends. The world is full of lonely old men. They send photos of themselves that look like nightmares an eight-year-girl might have about her creepy uncle; taken from below, triple chins in evidence, crazed look in the eyes, backlit. They talk about their feelings a lot. Whatever characteristics once distinguished them from the bland mashed-potato mass of humanity have long since disappeared or been rendered vestigial. They are jealous, petty, needy. Many of them have hydraulic-pressure issues that only resolve briefly, in the occasional sunny morning. One wonders why they continue living.

At least I don’t send photos of myself, a lesson I learned half a century ago after sending a photo of myself to a cheerful Canadian girl from whom I never heard another word.

I do, however, talk about my feelings a lot, which can’t be a good thing.

One is also reminded that human society evolved to its 1950s (or whatever) apex for particular and specific reasons. You’re supposed to be happily married when you’re old. Or, failing that, just married. There’s not much dignity in old-person dating. Not much joy, either. Even the sorrows are diminished — and that’s a shame, because sorrow in a relationship is the engine that has powered many a creative effort since time immemorial. Still, one question remains, put to you by a man who is staring down the rifled barrel of forty-five himself. What is better: to fade away into harmless grey sexless irrelevance, or to be tormented until death by a mind, an attitude, a spirit that is essentially and defiantly teenaged? Do you want to come home to old age with your shield, or on it?

I’m fading, though the torment occasionally breaks through. (The spirit pretends to be willing, though the flesh checked out years ago.)

Our 45-year-old correspondent, however, has some distinct advantages:

Even when I wasn’t really single, I was able to fill my dance card and as five minutes looking on this site will demonstrate, I’m a hideous fucking chud who weighs an eighth of a ton, has the speaking voice of a ten year old girl, and is fundamentally incapable of being pleasant to anybody.

We should all be so fortunate.

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Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere

I suppose you couldn’t run an ad like this today:

Fiesta hosiery ad from Australia

A poodle in a sombrero? Sure, why not? And I smile at that bit about “made in an air-conditioned factory where nylon cannot contract.” Said factory, incidentally, was in Australia; Bond’s Industries sold it off in 1958, citing a decline in demand for its uncontracted products.

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Strange search-engine queries (552)

For the last few weeks — okay, the last ten years — we’ve been analyzing the search strings that led Web surfers to this domain, and posting the ones we deemed funny or inexplicable or downright weird.

helpappledevice@gmail.com:  Like Apple is gonna keep a Google account for support. You have been suckered.

which answer best describes the verb tenses in the sentence? while my dad brings the car around, i waited with the grocery cart. a. the verb tenses shift. b. the verb tenses are consistent:  What is consistent is your inability to put the cart back in the rack when you’re through.

aaa travel guide to las vegas blog roll 2003:  I should warn you that all the coupons have expired.

goose boobs:  Hey, take a gander at these!

when miriam noticed that a group of asian women in the cafeteria had an increased loudness or pitch to their speech, she assumed that they must be arguing. which of the following is she demonstrating?  Utter fealty to the patriarchy. As everyone knows, women are never loud or shrill.

eric cartman x male reader:  Not a ship I want to see launched.

burp collaborator server:  Provides four times the throughput for a given gas bubble.

/index.php/services unbeautiful:  Including, for instance, the infamous burp collaborator server.

too much metamucil:  But … but fiber!

granny in stilettos:  She knows that the legs are the last to go.

sitwell and whippet:  The sight of granny in stilettos can be strangely, um, stimulating.

quoth the server 404:  Lenore’s been busy working on the backend, I see.

in jeff savage’s book on the 2005 number one pick for the nhl draft, what is the title of the second chapter beginning on page 10?  I’m thinking we can safely assume that you’re too late to enter this contest.

purple haze rule 34:  ‘Scuse me, while I kiss whoever or whatever shows up in the next 15 seconds.

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Snuff ’em

This is a scary followup to yesterday’s “Time for you to move on”:

Chester Siniawski, the man who survived a forced-euthanasia attempt on his life at the Joliet Area Community Hospice, continues to regain strength after his son, Chet, managed to free him from the JACH and move him into a hospital (where medical professionals actually work, not ghouls who try to kill people who want to keep living). Chester’s being fed three times a day now and is making huge steps in his recovery. A man who was cruelly denied food and starved for over two months is being given as much to eat as he wants and is loving it! He’s regained the use of his left side and, every day that he’s receiving proper nourishment and physical therapy, he gets closer to being the person he used to be, before his stroke in April.

The reason I care so much about this man is because of how horrific what was done to him truly is: he had a non-terminal stroke that he could recover from … but his own wife (who appears to have some kind of mental illness) wanted him to die and never recover, because she didn’t want to be bothered with having a husband in a wheelchair. Being a widow sounded more fun and a better time for her than having to care for a man who needed rehabilitation to regain use of his body after a stroke. That whole “in sickness and in health” part of the wedding vows didn’t seem to register with this woman. That right there is terrible enough … but on top of it there is actually a place in Illinois where someone this despicable can take her husband and staff will go along with a plot to withhold food and water from the man in order to euthanize him against his will. Just because his wife already has a black dress picked out and wants to put the “fun” back in funeral.

And the following is here mostly for my benefit:

I just come back to the fact that life is such a precious gift. Every day, each of us ages. We’ll never be who we were at 18 or 25 or 30 or whatever. Our health deteriorates. We lose abilities. In time, we become ghosts of our former selves. As an American, I just don’t like the idea of ever giving up … and so I won’t ever give up. That’s my choice. I want to keep fighting and living for as long as I can. I hope that the people I love want that too for themselves. And if they do want to fight and keep living but staff at a facility and other actors try to kill them, you better believe I will do whatever I can to keep them alive. How sad it is that our elected officials and trusted public servants don’t feel the same way and operate under the kind of “death is better” mentality that the Soviet Union would have subscribed to.

“We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

Hillary, you should know, was actually talking about tax rates at the time, but I trust absolutely no contemporary politician to comprehend, let alone define, any concept like “the common good.” This is why we have death panels “end-of-life counseling.”

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The biggest whoop

It’s the Millennial Whoop:

It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal.

Still, pop music is all about the familiar, the comforting, the reassuring:

[T]he Millennial Whoop evokes a kind of primordial sense that everything will be alright. You know these notes. You’ve heard this before. There’s nothing out of the ordinary or scary here. You don’t need to learn the words or know a particular language or think deeply about meaning. You’re safe. In the age of climate change and economic injustice and racial violence, you can take a few moments to forget everything and shout with exuberance at the top of your lungs. Just dance and feel how awesome it is to be alive right now. Wa-oh-wa-oh.

You’ve heard this before right here:

Hard to believe it’s four years (and 3.5 million YouTube views) since “Sing It” came out.

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No alternative

This is why voting should never, ever be mandatory:

Obituary of Mary Anne Noland of Richmond, who died rather than vote for Clinton or Trump

(Via Peter Bromberg.)

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Quivering behind the lectern

Jenny Boylan describes the “sheer terror” of teaching for the first time:

I came to teaching relatively late in life, and I was nearly 30 before I first faced a room full of students. I was so frightened that first day at Colby College, back in 1988: Would my students like me? What if they found out I was a total fraud? I rehearsed my opening lecture again and again before classes began, a lecture that wasn’t much more than, “Here is the syllabus.”

By time I faced the students, of course, I was over-prepared, and the hour passed by in seconds. It took me another month to loosen up, and longer than that to learn the lesson that in retrospect should have been obvious from the beginning — that having a sense of humor, which had been such an obstacle for me as a student, turned out to be an asset for a teacher. It was with a sense of wonder that I realized — somewhere in October — that I was a good teacher, that I’d finally found, after nearly ten years in the workforce, a job I had a talent for. It was almost — but not quite — enough for me to forget the weeks and weeks of sheer terror that had afflicted me in August.

I have learned in recent years that Dr. Boylan’s command of pop-cultural ephemera is on par with, and possibly superior to, mine, and I’m pretty darn good at it.

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Future Vin

When I was born, Vin Scully had already been calling Dodgers games for three years. Brooklyn Dodgers games. (The big move West didn’t happen until 1958.) With Scully retiring after this season, his 67th — he’ll be 89 this fall — you can hardly blame the Dodgers organization for wanting to clone him:

What would Vin say about that picture?

[I]f Vin was around to narrate this, he’d probably give a history of the mask, explain how the stone mask at the Musée Bible et Terre Sainte is likely the oldest mask in the world and then break down the mask’s usage in popular culture from The Masque of the Red Death to Halloween.

There’s just no replacing Vin Scully.

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Still here today

A 1947 advertisement for Simmons’ Beautyrest mattress line:

Maureen O'Hara for Simmons Beautyrest

[By Simmons Bedding Company (Life time: August 17, 1920 to Now)
Original publication: Simmons Bedding Company
Immediate source: Simmons Bedding Company, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42229208]

Ninety-nine bucks for the mattress/box-spring pair in those halcyon postwar days. As it happens, I just discarded a Simmons box spring, bearing a $76.50 price tag; I assume late Sixties or early Seventies.

And of course, I checked via the BLS to determine this: ninety-nine bucks in 1947, adjusted for inflation, is $1,068.34 today. Now I feel (marginally) better about spending $850 (marked down from $900).

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Time for you to move on

I found this in a thread started by a Facebook friend:

When I lived in Massachusetts, and my health was collapsing, and I couldn’t afford to wrangle the problem, strangers would often recommend that I kill myself. It got to where I would not mention my problems with my health in public places — someone sitting nearby would always come over and angrily aggressively insist I kill myself, to cease being a burden on society. They honestly believed that’s how the system works and should work.

It matters not to me whether their belief is “honest” or not. Who died and left them in charge of logistics? Exactly. The lot of them can go straight to hell, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

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Such language

It might have been a good idea, but the outcome was predictable:

It was intended to be a lighthearted quest to find the least popular word in the English language, but only a day after it launched, Oxford Dictionaries has ended its search following “severe misuse” of the feature by visitors to their website.

The dictionary publisher had invited users around the world to name their least favourite English word, intending to highlight differences between countries, genders and ages. When it opened for submissions on Thursday, “moist” was an early contender to top lists in the UK, US and Australia. It was later overtaken by “Brexit”, which went on to head the UK’s list, with “British” in third place.

But the #OneWordMap feature has now been closed, with a notice blaming the shutdown on “severe misuse”.

For instance?

The dictionary publisher did not expand on which words had caused the shutdown, saying only that it was “a mixture of swearwords and religiously offensive” vocabulary. Posts on Twitter suggest that some users’ picks for their least favourite words included “Islam” and “Israel”.

Such people need to be embedded — up to the clavicle, anyway — in something moist.

(Via Language Log.)

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Modern art, folks

A statue by Colombian artist Juan Sebastián Peláez was unveiled earlier this year and is currently on display at the Biennale for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The subject of the statue? Rihanna, from here down. An explanation, of sorts, from the Biennale:

Titled “Ewaipanoma (Rihanna)”, the piece makes reference to a mythical race of headless humanoids purported to have been discovered by British explorer Walter Raleigh in Venezuela at the end of the 16th century.

The Biennale website describes the artist’s work as containing “upright, oversize photo-cutouts of headless human bodies — captured in athletic positions, sporting bikini swimwear, or posing in the limelight in glitzy, bling gowns — with faces surreally integrated into their chests. Both the bodies and faces are sourced from pop queens and soccer stars from the Caribbean or Latin America.”

Rihanna, very sensibly, Snapchatted herself in front of this, um, thing:

Rihanna poses in front of a statue of her in Berlin

Should you find these weirdly compelling, there are others.

Elsewhere in Berlin that week:

Rihanna poses in Berlin

I’m pretty sure that incident didn’t give her any ideas, except maybe to sit back and relax:

Rihanna on the sofa

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