Again, close enough

Andrew Crossett has been collecting votes for the Best Celebrity Legs of the Year for nineteen years now, and this year, I figured, it was just a question of how far out in front that amazingly tall singer of country songs who no longer sings country songs would end up.

And the answer is not at all, because Crossett’s poll, for the second time ever, ended in a tie. (This was the first time.) Sharing this year’s title, singer Selena Gomez, another graduate of the Disney School of Pop Princesses, who has a pretty fair stage presence in her own right:

Selena Gomez on stage

Selena Gomez on stage

Before you ask: five-foot-five. And an offstage glimpse:

Selena Gomez street styling

“Good for You,” the big hit from her Revival album, sounds very much like — um, nothing she’d done previously. It was shortened a bit to make the video:

Seven writers (including Gomez) and five producers. I suppose that’s good for someone. And if you don’t quite get those visuals, there’s always Instagram:

Selena Gomez on Instagram

Seems understandable enough.

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They’re keeping close-mouthed about it

Perhaps no one anywhere is immune to the possibility of identity theft:

A database for, the official online community for Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters, has been discovered online by researcher Chris Vickery. The database houses 3.3 million accounts and has ties to a number of other Hello Kitty portals.

The records exposed include first and last names, birthday (encoded, but easily reversible Vickery said), gender, country of origin, email addresses, unsalted SHA-1 password hashes, password hint questions, their corresponding answers, and other data points that appear to be website related.

The earliest logged exposure — the first time anyone accessed this data in the wild in a manner consistent with leaving log entries — was the 22nd of November.

Sanrio, as well as the ISP being used to host the database itself, have all been notified. An automated email from the ISP confirmed that the incident notification was logged, but no further details are available.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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Strange search-engine queries (516)

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the logs, some new entries shone, but the others — real dogs. We hope to concentrate on the spiffy.

invisible voyeurism women nude:  How do you know she’s watching? She could be simply burglarizing the place.

mlp larson:  This is M. A. Larson under an assumed name — I assume.

nicholas is a man whom the local college students all think of as eccentric. each day he stands on campus:  And he’s not carrying a sign protesting his alleged oppression, which confuses them.

extended download service for norton products:  Unfortunately, it’s Ed Norton, and Ed Norton works in the sewers of New York.

people sleep peaceably in their beds at night:  Because they don’t have to think about what’s happening next morning.

christina aguilera bound to you übersetzung:  She’s bound to be uninterested in the likes of me, regardless of language.

what is heaven like yahoo answers:  If it is, I’ve wasted a lifetime being semi-virtuous.

princess amber reckful:  Because you wouldn’t want a princess to be reckless.

cassandra started to feel better after three visits to a:  Different Web site.

independent grocer canned chattanooga:  Chattanooga’a big place. You may need several cans.

1 cock is not enough:  That’s what they said down at the Chicken Ranch.

wp-config-sample.php ~dreary:  Yeah? Fix your own damn WordPress, then.

my balls and my word is all i have:  Well, we already know what your word is worth.

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Twenty-five and counting

Today, it appears, is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web:

If the web were a person, it wouldn’t have trouble renting a car from now on: the world’s first website, Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, went online 25 years ago today. The inaugural page wasn’t truly public when it went live at CERN on December 20th, 1990 (that wouldn’t happen until August 1991), and it wasn’t much more than an explanation of how the hypertext-based project worked. However, it’s safe to say that this plain page laid the groundwork for much of the internet as you know it — even now, you probably know one or two people who still think the web is the internet.

More than one or two. I blame Microsoft, which used to call its Web browser “Internet Explorer.”

It still stuns me a little to think that I’ve had an outpost on the Web for most of its existence. But it’s true: this little site went live on the 9th of April 1996, and has had some form of update every single day since the summer of 2000. Eventually, I suppose, the world will move on to something else. Then again, so must I, and so must we all.


Perhaps on a warmer day

When I was a bicycle-riding fool in the late 1960s, the British-made Raleigh bikes were considered at least as prestigious as the Schwinns I favored. I do not, however, remember any Schwinn advertising like this:

Raleigh Bicycle advertisement from a Greek magazine

You couldn’t run an ad like this today, anyway. For one thing, the young lady isn’t wearing a helmet.

(Via Other Whimsey.)

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Well, he started it

Let us stipulate that the average car alarm produces far more noise than it does actual security. That said, this guy is still an asshat:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why should i have to pay the damages of my neighbor's car if its because their car alarm was going off?

Justification offered:

So my neighbor’s car was going off for 5 minutes but they didn’t come out to turn it off.

So i tried screaming at it to stop and started throwing things at it for it to shut up! it was disturbing me and the rest of the neighbors.

then my neighbor finally comes outside and turns it off and now he wants to take me to court for damaging his car’s windshield

it was his fault! why should have to pay the damages?

The mere fact that this shlub started screaming at it speaks volumes as to his lack of clue.


I take it back

This seems improbable:

From their FAQ, a hint as to how it might work:

Does ‘’ actually remove the entire email? removes all content from the body of the email (including any attachments) you sent. The email itself will always remain in your recipient’s inbox along with the subject line — however, all email message content will be removed.

This suggests to me that it’s sending a second, edited copy of the email, duplicating as much of the original header as possible without running afoul of mail protocols, and overwriting the old with the new.

Which also suggests an issue: Suppose your recipient is the sort of person who stashes incoming mail into a different folder once it’s read. Can the service tell where that message has been relocated?

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Freezing in the dark

One of my wackier appliances is a weather gizmo that records the indoor temperature and humidity, and stores (at least until the batteries fail) the highest and lowest numbers received. During the end-of-November ice storm, in which the house had no power for 36 hours, the temperature at the device’s location — just inside the door to my bedroom — dropped to an indicated 52.6°F, about 20 degrees warmer than outside.

Residents of properties operated by the New York City Housing Authority are entitled to snicker at that:

NYCHA officials admit that for years, they wouldn’t turn on the heat in public housing until the temperature hit bone-chilling levels.

Only it wasn’t as bad as the 20-degree cutoff touted by one of their own… It was actually 25 degrees.

NYCHA is now, they say, on a 40-degree threshold, which still sounds cold to me. Then again, the furnace is following the instructions given by the thermostat, it’s 71.3° at the usual location, and I just paid the gas bill, which was less than $60.

(Via Fark.)


Half nuts

Hitler, said the song, “has only got one ball,” and it was assumed that shrapnel — not Henry Shrapnel himself, of course, as he died in 1842 — was responsible for der Führer’s condition. Apparently not:

A German historian claims he has proof that Adolf Hitler had just one testicle, lending credence to a World War II-era song that mocked the maniacal leader’s manhood.

Professor Peter Fleischmann of Erlangen-Nuremberg University said medical records show the tyrant’s right testicle was undescended, according to The Telegraph.

The documents, from a prison exam taken in 1923, after Hitler’s failed attempt to seize power, surfaced during a 2010 auction, but were confiscated by the Bavarian government, and have only now been properly reviewed.

The prison’s physician, Dr. Josef Steiner Brin, noted that “Adolf Hitler, artist, recently writer” was “healthy and strong” but suffered from “right-side cryptorchidism,” a condition when a testicle fails to properly descend.

No confirmation is yet available for the song’s assertion that Hermann Göring “has two, but very small.”

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Draining exercise

Word came out before the game started that Lou Williams, mindful of all those stories about the Skirvin being haunted, stayed elsewhere last night. And maybe he was wise: Williams delivered a substantial percentage of the Lakers’ offense, such as it was. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant turned up with a sore shoulder, which probably had nothing to do with his having had dinner with Kevin Durant the night before. Which of these events had a greater impact on the game, I don’t know; perhaps nothing would have helped the woeful Lakers today, who earnestly lost their 23rd of 28 games to a Thunder squad that might have been thinking two nights ahead, toward a matchup with the, um, other Los Angeles team. Or maybe OKC just wanted to run up some numbers. Anyway, it was Thunder 118, Lakers 78.

And truth be told, I wondered why Larry Nance and Anthony Brown were starting for L.A. while Nick Young and Brandon Bass came off the bench. My best guess is that Byron Scott figured this effort was dead in the water, and decided to give the veterans a rest. Williams led with 20 points, fellow wingman Jordan Clarkson added 15, and Young headed the bench with 14. Still, the Lakers shot below 35 percent most of the night. (Which, I note in passing, is about Kobe’s current season average.) With the Thunder starters retiring early, seven of 12 OKC players hit double figures, with Durant picking up 22 in just under 30 minutes and Russell Westbrook 13 to go with 11 assists. This left bench honors to Enes Kanter, who had 19 points, 14 rebounds, and one inexplicable technical.

Next two outings are on the road, in the same building: against the Clippers on Monday night, and the Lakers again on Wednesday. The year finishes with a four-game home stand, every other day, starting with the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day. The Bulls have had enough power this year to threaten the Thunder stockings with buckets full of coal, but you never really know what will happen in a Christmas game, especially one in the late afternoon.


Normally Fey

What do you say about a 45-year-old woman who doesn’t for a moment think she’s glamorous? Based on these two shots, apparently you don’t say a word: you just point to the wardrobe and start the camera.

Tina Fay in Edit Magazine

Tina Fay in Edit Magazine

Tina Fey’s expression here says basically “This is as close as I get to sultry, so from this moment on, you’re on your own.” Then again, this is a woman who once said “I actually have a very low level of Flintstones knowledge for someone my age.”

She also admits to having been a prototype of the Mean Girl, as a coping mechanism: “In your mind it’s a way of leveling the playing field. Though of course it’s not.” Then again, comedy was a coping mechanism:

“For me it was about hitting age 13 and realizing, ‘OK, I’m not going to glide by on looks. I’m a normal-looking person, but that’s not going to be where my bread is buttered.'”

Which explains, perhaps, why she’s always working: she’s afraid to loaf.


Screwy at both ends

The Sippican Cottage experience with the compact fluorescent light bulb:

We ran out of 60 watters, and I unwisely took a flyer on some CFLs, which I detest. There was one CFL in my house when I moved in. It was in my basement. In January, that light bulb doesn’t come on, period, so I find it amusing to picture it outside, where it is occasionally 20 below zero. Not coming on does save energy, one must admit.

So, as I was saying, we were finally out of 60s, and we bought curlicues this summer. The first CFL I tried, the very first, I dropped, it shattered, and I freebased mercury for five minutes. How eco. The second one we put in my older son’s table lamp, and the base of the bulb caught fire, real fire with flames and smoke and whatnot. He calmly unplugged the lamp, came down the stairs with the thing still smouldering, and we freebased burning plastic together for five minutes. How eco. We’re all done with CFLs now.

Anything proclaimed as being good for you that requires a hazmat team to clean up after is not, no matter what they say, good for you.


To improve your mettle

Breakfast cereals occasionally claim to be fortified with stuff like iron, which you’re presumably not going to get from all the other horrible things you eat, and apparently this fortification, in the case of iron anyway, is done in the simplest way possible:

However, this may not be true in Denmark, as of 2004:

Danish health officials … banned the cereal company Kellogg’s from adding vitamins and minerals to its famous food brands, saying they could damage the health of children and pregnant women.

The company, which expressed incredulity at the decision, had hoped to enrich 18 breakfast foods and cereal bars with iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and folic acid, just as they already do in many countries including Britain.

But the Danes said the manufacturer of Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Special K wanted to include “toxic” doses which, if eaten regularly, could damage children’s livers and kidneys and harm foetuses in pregnant women.

I guess this means I can eat it, but I’ve already stocked up on sausage biscuits.

(Via Neatorama.)


Quote of the week

Political theater in its purest form:

If you are trying to understand the bewildering state of American governance, it would help you to step back and try to see the whole forest, instead of focusing on the individual trees.

The answer is simple. What you are looking at is not a political struggle, it is entertainment. If you think of professional “wrestling”, or “rassling”, instead of a genuine sport, you are spot on the money. You have your “baby faces” and your “heels”, and a “baby face” can turn on a dime and become a “heel”, and a “heel” can see the light and become a “baby face” whenever the situation calls for it. You just have to understand the story arc.

After the match, the contestants retire to the same locker room, and ride on the same airliner to the next match, and eat at the same lunch counter at the same time, and, need I say it? … the paychecks are all signed by the same promoter. It is not a sport, it is entertainment.

Except for the minor detail that it’s long since ceased to be entertaining.

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Zombie Saab has yet another deal in the works:

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) and the Chinese company Panda New Energy Co., Ltd. have signed a strategic collaboration agreement. According to the agreement, Nevs will provide Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles until the end of 2020. In addition, the agreement also includes 100 000 other EV products and services from companies associated to Nevs and its owners. The total value of the agreement is 78 billion RMB.

Hey, it could happen. The first-generation 9-3 (1999-2003) moved 326,370 units. Then again, back then Saab had General Motors calling the shots.

This discussion ensued on Twitter:

That last bit, incidentally, is the sound made when you start up the old two-stroke three-cylinder Saab 93, which is not at all the same car as the 9-3.


The ideal dinner companion

We’re always looking for — wait, what? Seriously? OMG, forget what we said:

A Salvadoran man, who survived more than a year at sea, is being sued for $1 million after being accused of eating his traveling companion during the ordeal.

In the fall of 2012, Salvador Alvarenga paid 22-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba to accompany him on a short fishing trip off the coast of Mexico, UPI Espanol reported.

The small boat the pair were traveling in was swept into the open sea during a storm, and the pair lost all communication equipment and supplies, according to Alvarenga.

According to Alvarenga, Cordoba perished after eating a presumably disagreeable bird; the body was committed to the sea. Alvarenga’s lawyer says the suit was filed by Cordoba’s family in the hope of getting some of the proceeds from a book about the, um, adventure.

Rupert Holmes was not available for comment.