Our hostess wins Brownie points

Actually, I don’t think the Girl Scouts have an official position on what wine goes with which cookie, so this item (courtesy of Babble) should probably be considered Non-Standard:

Match the wine to the Girl Scout Cookie

Wonder what I should dip into this handy Cardbordeaux?

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Not dead the way you know it

If you’ve ever seen it, you don’t need to be reminded here, but just in case:

Manos: The Hands of Fate, made in 1966 by a Texas fertilizer salesman, is a legendarily awful movie about a vacationing family that stumbles upon the creepy Valley Lodge and ends up falling into a cult of ladies in gauzy underwear and a guy with a hand fetish.

It was filmed with a silent camera, so all the dialogue is dubbed. One actress broke her leg, so her character was reduced to that of a randy teen making out in a car. Poor henchman Torgo (late actor John Reynolds) was supposed to be a satyr, but just looked like a sad dude with giant knees.

Manos would have died a quiet death but for its 1993 discovery by Mystery Science Theater 3000. The cult comedy show famous for overlaying comic dialogue on bad movies catapulted it to bad-movie fame with a legendary episode. And in 2012, the three MST3K alums who formed a similar group, Rifftrax, aired Manos in hundreds of theaters around the US, with fresh jokes mocking the movie.

And now comes an even fresher punchline:

Jackey Neyman Jones, who played little Debbie in Manos, is hoping to bring the infamous movie back with a Kickstarter campaign for a tongue-in-cheek sequel, Manos Returns.

Says she in the Kickstarter pitch:

We see MANOS Returns as a companion piece to the original MANOS. It’s a comedic horror film set in a world where MANOS and his cult are real and dangerous. There will be jokes and references to the original film, of course, but our characters take everything that happens to them seriously and will react accordingly. MANOS Returns will feature many of the characters from the original MANOS, and we will introduce some new characters along with the old.

When we say MANOS Returns will be “tongue-in-cheek,” we mean “funny.” We plan for our movie to be both funny and scary. We think that’s the best way to both honor the original and embrace all the reasons why people are still fascinated by it today. Think Cabin in the Woods or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, (thanks @MovieVigilante), not Birdemic 2.

I should probably be pleased to admit that I never even saw the first Birdemic.

Deadline is the first of March; the Kickstarter is only a couple of thousand dollars short of reaching its goal. And yes, I helped.

I swear by the knees of Torgo, that’s the original Master, Tom Neyman.

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Sort of winging it

From “Planet TAD,” 2-10-16 (MAD #538, April):

I know the story of “The Ugly Duckling” is supposed to be uplifting, but let’s face it: it’s not really a story about an ugly duckling. It’s a story about a perfectly nice-looking swan. The moral of the story is basically: “If people don’t find you attractive, cross your fingers and hope that you’re secretly a different species entirely.”

I suspect more people have at least entertained this idea than are willing to admit.

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The macroses, they is ours, the precious

Elsewhere, Moses supposes macroses is roses, but Moses supposes erroneously.

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O hai

I once described a spam as “someone trying to imitate American legalese with no tools but a French-to-Urdu phrasebook.” If this sounds like an unnecessarily roundabout way of doing things, imagine this: feed a line of a song lyric into Google Translate, take the result and feed it back into Google Translate, repeat until utterly crazed, continue with the next line.

That’s pretty much what’s been done here:

Now think about it. How could you make this procedure even weirder? That’s right: incorporate Google Images.

To put this in Trek terms, we’ll have holodecks long before we get proper Universal Translators.

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Listing this way or that

I have never taken advantage of Twitter’s “List” function, mostly out of a misplaced concern that I might concentrate on one group of tweeters at the expense of all the others; if I need to monitor a concept or a hashtag, I can always create a temporary column in TweetDeck. And frankly, I’m not all that comfortable with associating people’s names with, say, “women with whom I have no chance whatsoever, dammit” or “people who perversely believe that Trixie is Best Pony.”

That said, I’m on 121 lists compiled by other people, and the vast majority of them are “people I know” or “people who hang on #blogchat.” Nothing particularly accusative. Two of them, however, do make me smile: Writer’s point and Online Media. They help to preserve the illusion that I have something to say.

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It’s really a gas

And a pretty important one, too:

Protip: If you don’t want to stay alive, quit breathing oxygen.

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Stand up straight

Believe me, I’d love to.

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Strange search-engine queries (525)

For those just tuning in, this is a weekly exercise in which we go through the scores of search strings that brought users of Bing and Google and whatever to this site, and then try to find something amusing about them. Sometimes it even works.

what happens if you bite your tongue:  A brief period of pain, as distinguished from the extended period of sorrow that would have been caused by what you were thinking about saying.

what do you call a skydiver with the flu:  Um, a sick chuter?

would you like us to send you a daily digest about new articles every day offer:  Well, that is what “daily” means: every day.

governor: the bridge that spans the brookline and kings boroughs is in desperate need of repair with estimates in the range of $30 million. over one million vehicles cross the bridge each day. therefore:  Raise the toll to $30.

“ok time to stop those pesky spammers” ~oncological:  Too bad. I was looking forward to giving them cancer.

hen tie:  You hope your mom thinks of this when she hears you talking about Japanese porn.

tigerdirect out of business:  Well, the Web site is still up and running.

tigerdirect website down:  Perhaps I spoke too soon.

excessive generosity:  This is probably not what killed TigerDirect.

taylor swift armpit sweat:  Only $90 an ounce at better retailers.

yuja wang bikini:  I can’t imagine her playing the piano in a swimsuit; on the upside, it probably wouldn’t interfere with her movements.

gentlemen formerly dressed:  At some point, they decided it was no longer worth the bother.

not superman:  “What is the inscription on Clark Kent’s headstone?”

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Degrees of brilliance

While Gadgette editor Holly Brockwell fangirled all over the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge — and let’s face it, no one fangirls better or with more technological suss — she dropped this little tidbit of information that induced Severe Jaw Drop in yours truly:

Amazingly, the S7 and S7 Edge feature water cooling, something PC users have had for a long time. It’s essentially a way of using sealed containers of liquid to cool down the components of a phone during intensive activity, and while it’s not the first time it’s been seen in a smartphone, it’s still a very impressive feature to cram into such a slimline phone. Most people won’t care, but we think it’s cool.

In the literal sense, yet.

I had no idea they were even thinking about liquid-cooled smartphones, though of course the concept makes eminently good sense. This, of course, is why she’s among the best tech writers in the known universe, and I’m still sitting here fumbling with T9 texting.

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Ghosts of the matinee

Earlier today, Yahoo! Sports had a slightly amusing bit of clickbait, purloined from Stack: “WATCH: LeBron James and His Teammates Go Completely Unnoticed as They Walk the Streets of Oklahoma City.”

It was, in its own way, prophetic: LeBron James and his teammates went completely unnoticed by the Thunder defense most of the afternoon. OKC managed a one-point lead after the first quarter, but after that it was all Cleveland: the Erie specters were able to make shots more or less at will, and while the Thunder closed to within four at one point early in the third quarter, the Cavs cranked that lead back up to twenty-six before the end of that period. And they did this without Kyrie Irving, who departed after nine minutes and two points, suffering from the dreaded flu-like symptoms, and without Mo Williams (available but feeling poorly) and Channing Frye (who hasn’t yet arrived from Orlando). The Thunder did play new arrival Randy Foye, to little avail. But the weakest link may have been ex-Cav Dion Waiters, who has never fared well against his former team: he got his first score today from the charity stripe in the last minute of the third quarter. Tyronn Lue, now 10-3 since replacing David Blatt at the helm, had to have been pleased as his Cavs methodically dispatched the Thunder, 115-92.

Let there be numbers: six Cavs finished in double figures, including two reserves. Three Thundermen finished in double figures, including no reserves. (The OKC bench could manage only 21 points, despite an extended period of garbage time.) And this means something: Cleveland took ten fewer shots, but made four more. Kevin Love got game-high honors with 29 and 11 rebounds; LeBron turned in 25 points and dished up 11 assists. Tristan Thompson, who seems to have displaced Timofey Mozgov in the middle, scored 14, but Mozgov collected 11 in relief. For the home team, there’s Kevin Durant with 26, Russell Westbrook just missing a triple-double (20-9-11), Serge Ibaka with 12, and that’s about it; Steven Adams picked up nine in the first quarter and wasn’t heard from the rest of the day.

It doesn’t get any easier after this: six of the next seven are on the road, starting at Dallas on Wednesday, and the one home game is against the Warriors. What’s David Blatt doing these days?

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You are being followed

We all know about social media. This seems to be an early incarnation of antisocial media:

Do you want to be spied on by an unseen obsessive? I don’t but apparently some people do. If you’re one of them then today is your lucky day, assuming you live in New York (the service will expand to other cities). A new “social network” — I use the term sparingly — allows you to be stalked for a whole day. A follower isn’t just a number any more; it’s someone lurking in the shadows.

Follower is a service created by Lauren McCarthy, an artist and full-time faculty at NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program with computer science and art degrees from MIT. Envisioned as an art project but also a social experience, Follower lets you sign up to be followed for an entire day. You sign up on the website and select three preferred dates to be followed. You are sent a link to download the Follower app, which alerts you on the morning of the day you are to be followed. For the rest of the day, the app uses your GPS signal to notify your Follower of your location. You probably won’t see your Follower, though they intend to keep quite close. McCarthy claims that the goal is to be unseen but “in your awareness”, whatever that means.

I can see one very specific market for this service: people who are wondering if their anti-paranoia medication is working any better than placebo.

But this is the pitch:

Bottom line:

It’s creepy but at the end of the day at least it’s not LinkedIn.

A point I will happily concede.

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Runway blockage

Blake Lively at NY Fashion Week 2016A bit more than fifty years ago, it occurred to me — the actual circumstances under which this happened, I couldn’t tell you — that a female of the species with her legs crossed at the knee had about 150 percent greater distraction potential, at least from my insufficiently-vantaged vantage point. Years passed before it occurred to me that this action of theirs also took up extra space. At the time, I didn’t much care. Then again, I’m not the guy running a fashion show:

If you’re lucky enough to sit front row at a New York Fashion Week show, you can expect cameras in your face, celebrities by your side — and being told to uncross your legs.

At the Michael Kors show Wednesday, actress Blake Lively refused to comply with the photographers’ “crossed legs rule,” causing quite a stir.

Lively sat front row alongside her mother and friends Naomie Harris and Riley Keough. The group was personally told by company chairman John D. Idol to uncross their legs before the show began, but none of them listened, Zap2It reports.

Although Lively is justly renowned for her gams, this isn’t a distraction issue:

Front-row attendees are commonly asked to uncross their legs before shows begin to keep the runway clear for shots.

“It’s for the photographers,” a “fashionista” tells Page Six. “People’s legs get in the way … it messes up the shots.”

I pulled a few pages out of the archives, and either compliance with this rule is marginal at best, or the paparazzi are getting their celeb shots before the models come out.

Addendum: As long as we’re on the subject of Blake Lively’s legs:

Blake Lively kicks up her heels

Blake Lively takes a call

If you believe those hacks from the Daily Mail, the “perfect” female celebrity has exactly these legs.

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I blame Lord Byron

Now here’s a comparison I didn’t come up with, but probably should have. The Byronic hero as Sexy Douchecanoe:

Rochester is rich and arrogant and moody as hell, and he has peculiar ideas on how to court a woman, including disguising himself as a gypsy to try and uncover Jane’s secret feelings towards him, while also attempting to incite jealousy by lying to Jane about his supposed engagement with Blanche Ingram. He’s very secretive, too, as people tend to be when they’ve indefinitely imprisoned their mad wives upstairs in the attic.

Reading Jane Eyre wasn’t actually a tortuous affair, mostly because I rather liked Jane and, to my surprise, found that she displayed a surprising amount of power and agency in their relationship, despite the inequality of their social positions. (It also helps that Rochester is not quite as terrible to Jane on a day-to-day basis as some of the other men I’ll discuss today.) Yet I was still quite happy to see that, despite loving him, Jane leaves Mr. Rochester after finding out about Bertha, showing a welcome amount of self-respect that, unfortunately, goes by the wayside when she returns to our brooding hero at the end of the story. Rather conveniently, poor Bertha has died in Jane’s absence; meanwhile, according to every analysis I’ve ever read, Rochester is wholly redeemed of his faults and deeds when, during a fire, he loses his sight and one hand saving his servants’ lives, something that might mean more to me if his servants had been the people he’d wronged in the first place. Rochester does absolutely nothing to atone to Jane for how he treated her, and thus I find myself completely unmoved by their supposedly happy ending. He has done nothing to deserve her love, loyalty, or care.

Moving out on the “Worse than Rochester” axis, we find Maxim de Winter of Rebecca:

This novel was definitely a challenge to read, what with the way I had to keep taking breaks to hit my head against a desk as the second Mrs. de Winter trembles and quavers and continuously obsesses over whether her husband is still in love with his dead wife. I understand that Maxim saved our unnamed narrator from a lousy living situation with her former employer and all, but her complete lack of self-esteem and refusal to stand up for herself is just maddening. Still, you’d like to think if something will clue you into the fact that your husband doesn’t deserve you, it’s finding out that he shot and killed his first wife.

It’s almost enough to make you want to set fire to Manderley.

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The stylist of songs

In the summer of 1964, the peak of the British Invasion, there was still a place on the American charts for non-white non-English non-boys, and into that place, as smoothly as could be, slid Nancy Wilson, who made it to #11 with “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” It was a jazzier piece than its florid arrangement might have let you think; “I wish I were an artist,” she sings, and you think, “Oh, honey, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Nancy Wilson wire-service photo

She pulled off this not-quite-nerd-girl look quite effectively, leaving Capitol, her record label of the day, with the task of trying to glam her up without overdoing it. Sometimes they even succeeded:

Cover art, Nancy Wilson Today My Way

Cover art, Nancy Wilson Nancy Naturally

At the end of the Seventies, she cut an album called Life, Love and Harmony, which yielded “Sunshine,” an excursion into funk that today is highly prized in the Northern Soul scene in, um, England.

Still, her roots are in jazzy pop and/or poppy jazz, as we hear as she runs through “How Glad I Am” at Newport in 1987:

Still an artist, of course. She retired from live performance in 2011; today she turns seventy-nine.

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Traffic uncalmed

One might wonder why it’s there in the first place, but knowing why probably does not help the situation:

And were it not for the Internationally Approved Sign, I could imagine this somewhere in the American South.

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