One last ride at midnight

Paul Revere occupied the same relative position to the Raiders as did Harold Melvin to the Blue Notes: he was nominally the leader of the group, and hardly ever missed a show, but most of the time, the focus was on the lead singer — Mark Lindsay for the Raiders, Teddy Pendergrass for the Blue Notes.

The Raiders came out of Idaho around 1958, and scored an instrumental hit in 1961 with “Like, Long Hair,” a piano-boogie number that sounded nothing like anything they did afterwards. In 1963, they were caught up in the “Louie Louie” madness sparked by Rockin’ Robin Roberts; their own relatively polished version of the old Richard Berry semi-calypso song was well-received, but didn’t quite have the impact of the utterly insane Kingsmen version. Still, “Louie” got them a look from big-time Columbia Records, which put them to work grinding out mono singles, because it wasn’t worth the effort mixing that rock and/or roll stuff into stereo. Subsequently, the band wangled a gig with Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is series, and started wearing fanciful American Revolution-ish duds, as seen here on the Ed Sullivan show (Revere, as always, playing the Vox Continental organ):

“Kicks,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was ostensibly addressed to an unnamed girl with problems who, we found out later, was not a girl at all.

In August of this year Revere, seventy-six, retired from the band; he died Saturday back home in Idaho. Oh, and “Paul Revere” was two-thirds of his real name; his family name was Dick. I do not know if he was related to Tim Allen, also a Dick.

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Strange search-engine queries (453)

It’s time once again for a sampling from this site’s search strings, further demonstrating the wisdom of the not-so-old adage that if something might exist on the Web, someone will be out there looking for it.

xxx video. inseam mobi:  I’m guessing this guy is trying to calibrate his smartphone for upskirt photos.

Does a ghost live on altus airforce base:  “Live” is probably not the correct verb here.

adjured thesaurus:  While you’re poking around in there, see if you can find a verb for the activities of ghosts.

what truth about grant shaud’s privates:  Not for you to know, unless you’re Candice Bergen.

2000 mazda 626 automatic how do you turn off fail safe mode:  You fix the problem that induced the mode in the first place. This should be obvious, even to Candice Bergen.

ford transmission FW5519090:  Will not fit in your damn Mazda. Now get to the shop, and bring your MasterCard.

what problems does 1992 mazda 626 have with automatic transmissions:   Well, among other things, being 22 years old is certainly an issue.

1993 mazda 626 tire size:  You have a ’93 626 with no tires from which you can read the size? (Asking for an ex-friend.)

mazda protege trans wont downshiftafter drriving:  If you’re finished driving (never could roll my Rs all that well), you don’t want it to shift at all.

ice yaris velvet chenille:  If Toyota can upgrade the Corolla, surely they can do the same with the Yaris, though this sounds a bit baroque.

Rebecca Romijn Body Painted:  It’s not like she needs any work done or anything.

what happenned to kali atrox?  Haven’t seen her around.

one is never too old to yearn meaning?  Go away, son. You’re too young to be getting into that sort of thing.

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Modestly paranoid

And by “modestly,” we mean “out the wazoo”:

The 10,000 doves released in a ceremony Wednesday for China’s National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and anus checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks.

The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing’s symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the Oct. 1 holiday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing domestic security police officer Guo Chunwei was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were “not carrying suspicious material.” The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said.

Snoopy the Goon points out that this intrusive procedure could have had, um, undesirable consequences.

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Advanced skank

Lynn bids for some trouble:

Oh, this might get me in trouble with some people but I’m going to say it: Yes, definitely, sexy does have an expiration date, though the photos of Tina Turner and Cher (the latter obviously airbrushed) seem to suggest otherwise. Seriously, Cher didn’t look that good when she was 30. She couldn’t because they hadn’t invented Photoshop yet.

The actual photographic-use airbrush, as we know it, dates back to the 19th century. And Cher doesn’t really need to worry so long as there’s Armor All. (As for Tina, well, the legs, as usual, are the last things to go, though I am told she doesn’t move them quite so quickly as she used to.)

I don’t have any particular problem with cosmetic surgery as long as it’s subtle and not overdone. If I had the money I would definitely go there myself someday. But “sexy” is not the only way to be attractive. Grace, dignity, charm, elegance, style, class — these are attractive alternatives to sexy at any age but older women should absolutely aspire to these qualities instead of trying to be “sexy”. And I think there might be some debate as to what, exactly, is sexy. Is Miley Cyrus sexy, or merely skanky?

There exists a video, extracted from the Today Show feed last October — it apparently didn’t make it to the actual broadcast — in which Miley, sitting like a high-school wide receiver, ends up playing footsie with Matt Lauer. To me, this was the tipping point, after which she was on the last train to Skankville. Then again, your mileage may vary. (And Cyrus herself said in that very interview that 40 is the portal to asexuality. Go figure. Lauer, at the time, was 55.)

I suspect that at some point you just don’t give that much of a damn anymore: you’re obviously not dead yet, but looking however many years younger goes off your list of priorities, never to return. Or, as Lynn says: “Eventually every normal woman gets tired of all that nonsense and just wants to be herself.”

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Abandoned pursuit

Those of us with hermetically-sealed dance cards are pretty much sick and tired of this sort of thing:

Once you’ve been single for a few months years, you start to hear the phrase “when you stop looking for it, it will come” a hundred different times in a hundred different variations. It. gets. old. And besides that, it’s not even realistic. Why, when we’re told to work for everything else in life, do we have this prevailing view as a society that the universe is going to reward our apathy regarding relationships with just that: a relationship? It’s totally ridiculous, and I’m with Katie that it’s awful advice.

No way can I argue with Katie:

[S]ingle people are constantly encouraged to stop being single — whether it’s a friend setting you up, a relative you only see a couple times a year always making sure to ask if you’re seeing anyone, or the sad, simple fact that the most liked comments on Facebook are always about relationship statuses.

But I mean, yeah, I’ll devote myself solely to everything else in my life and stop thinking about romance just so that moment I “least expect” will come and I’ll find my true love.

Seems legit. And, of course, that’s the problem with it.

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Yeah, they do that

Tautological tweet is tautological:

A murder resulting in death? This sounds like a job for the homicide investigators!

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Quote of the week

The political left, somewhat more so than the right, tends to believe in the fundamental mutability of mankind: you can change minds, you can change hearts, you can change murderers into commencement speakers. Baseball owner Bill Veeck was pointing out the futility of this sort of thing before many of them were born:

When I signed Larry Doby, the first Negro player in the American League, we received 20,000 letters, most of them in violent and sometimes obscene protest. Over a period of time I answered all. In each answer, I included a paragraph congratulating them on being wise enough to have chosen parents so obviously to their liking. If everyone knew their precious secret, I told them, I was sure everyone would conform to the majority. Until that happy day, I wrote, I was sure they would agree that any man should be judged on his personal merit and allowed to exploit his talents to the fullest, whether he happened to be black, green, or blue with pink dots.

I am afraid irony is lost on these people, but that’s not the point I want to make here. A year later, I was a collector for what is now called the Combined Jewish Appeal. This time, I got something close to 5,000 violent and sometimes obscene letters. In answering, something interesting happened. The names began to have a familiar ring. I became curious enough to check our files and I found they were to an astonishing degree — about 95 percent — the same people. A year after that, I converted to Catholicism. About 2,000 anti-Catholics were concerned enough about my soul to write me violent and again often obscene letters. All but a handful of them were already in our anti-Negro and anti-Semite files.

So I am one man who has documentary proof that prejudice is indivisible. The jackal, after all, doesn’t care what kind of animal he sinks his teeth into.

Once an asshat, always an asshat.

The kind soul who dug up this Veeck quote added:

So to all those who claim the Internet has led to some degree of courtesy breakdowns, moral decay, and Loss Of Values, I just want to say the following:

It’s always been like this. It’s just a lot faster now.

Note that no one is saying you don’t have a right to your opinion. You don’t, however, have a right to make anyone give a damn about it.

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The weed from hell

Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

A weed strong enough to stop combines and resist many herbicides has been confirmed in South Dakota for the first time, raising concerns it could spread and cut deeply into crop production in the Upper Midwest — one of the few areas it hadn’t yet invaded.

The threat from Palmer amaranth [Amaranthus palmeri] is so great that officials in North Dakota have named it the weed of the year, even though it has yet to be found in the state.

“If you think you find plants — kill it!” North Dakota State University Extension Weed Specialist Rich Zollinger said. “Don’t even think. Just kill it.”

Even glyphosate, Monsanto’s mighty Roundup, is helpless against this stuff:

Weed scientists have performed tests on resistant Palmer pigweed. In this study, glyphosate was sprayed on resistant pigweed three times at 88 ounces per acre. The Palmer pigweed that received 264 ounces of glyphosate was still alive and healthy. The drought-plagued cotton plants were dwarfed by the glyphosate-resistant weed.

And, just our luck, it’s prolific:

The plants can grow as tall as 7 feet, each one producing as much as a million seeds. Its stems can grow as thick as baseball bats.

Which certainly explains how it can stop a combine.


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On the edge of the Everdead Forest

All eyes are turned to Dallas, no thanks to some schmuck who’s been incubating Ebola, and Nightmare Nights, a My Little Pony convention coming up in the area, answers the question “Would it kill you to attend?”:

The patient was been placed in isolation — separate medical staff, separate water supply, and in-room destruction of all materials — at a hospital just over 30 miles from our convention venue, and remains there today. “Dallas” is a metropolitan area encompassing 9,286 square miles. It’s bigger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Trust us, we are well away from this hospital.

The venue is actually in the town of Addison, at the far north end of Dallas County.

Further reassurance:

We are not altering our plans for Nightmare Nights. Nor has school been cancelled, nor has public transit been altered, nor have any area concerts or sporting events been rescheduled. We know news organizations like to get your attention by talking about epidemics — remember when SARS, bird flu, or swine flu were going to bring the country to a standstill? — but everything here is pretty much normal.

And sneaked into the bottom:

TL;DR: There is no Ebola “outbreak.” However, as the patient reported symptoms on September 26th, we will note that Nightmare Nights is exactly 28 Days Later.

Well played, gang.

(Via EqD. Warning: Picture of Ebola Pony.)

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Mars, the bringer of yocks

The Ran-Dells’ original waxing of “The Martian Hop,” from the summer of 1963, was a cheerfully demented slice of space-age doo-wop that Dr. Demento himself was happy to play on his radio show; it’s always been a personal favorite of mine for absolutely no good reason other than sheer silliness.

Still, to hit the true heights of dementia, it takes the French:

I think M. Salvador lifted that opening proto-synthesizer bit, but otherwise this is scarifyingly original.

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Seven the hard way

I am somewhat unathletic, in the sense that a garden snail is somewhat unspeedy, so I tend to be at least slightly awed by competitive athletics, and rather more than that when the competitions are multiple and consecutive.

The women’s heptathlon consists of, yes, seven events, four on one day, three on the next: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter run; long jump, javelin throw, 800-meter run. There is a scoring system that almost, but not quite, defies description. Here we see Polish heptathlete Karolina Tymińska on her way to a personal-best 6,544 points at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea:

Karolina Tyminska in the high jump

She also cleans up nicely after a workout:

Karolina Tyminska seated

It’s her 30th birthday today.

(The all-time record for women’s heptathlon was set by American Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988, with 7,291 points; Tymińska just missed the bronze in the 2011 Championships, won by Tatyana Chernova of Russia.)

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Texoma bailing

There are exactly two commercial radio stations in Durant, Oklahoma, population 17,000 or so, and they and a nearby sister are changing hands:

Texoma Broadcasting sells AC “B99.7” KBBC-FM Tishomingo, Country 106.3 KLBC Durant, and Oldies 750 KSEO/94.1 K231CE Durant, OK to Mid-Continental Communications for $2.45 million.

On the one hand, that’s a fair chunk of change for two FMs and an AM daytimer with a low-power FM translator outside any major metropolitan area. Then again, the buyer, Kinion E. Whittington, is a gynecologist in private practice in Durant, which suggests to me that he’s probably going to be keeping those stations right where they are, rather than apply for relicensing to somewhere across the Red River and then moving into north Dallas, as I might have expected.

As long as I’m mentioning Durant radio, I probably should bring up KSSU Power92FM, actually at 91.9, operated by, and presumably for, students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Their Web page is, to be charitable, a work in progress.

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A John Deere letter

I’m half hoping this is a trick question:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Does the new 22 horsepower engine on a john deere have as much power as the old 26 horsepower engine?

Perhaps what she wants to say is more like “Is the new line of John Deere implements with 22-hp engines up to the performance standards set by the old line with 26-hp engines?” She didn’t say that, though, so she’s basically earned a “Duh.”

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Or you can wait and pay less

Sprig is a San Francisco eatery that isn’t really an eatery: everything is cooked at HQ and then delivered to your door in (usually) five to ten minutes.

Except, of course, when it can’t be. Their solution to this is elegantly simple:

Previously where you may have seen “out for now,” we will now be testing dynamic delivery fees. Dynamic delivery fees will adjust up or down throughout Sprig’s service based on how busy things get and how far away a delivery is. While delivery fees will go up during the rushes — like at 8pm in the Marina — they will also decrease when things are slower, meaning you may even see free delivery!

Why are we testing dynamic delivery pricing? Because it will enable us to continue to provide fair compensation for our hard-working Sprig Servers as we continue to expand. Furthermore, it makes Sprig more reliable for you — so you can get a Sprig meal right when you want it, straight to your desk or door.

Laura Northrup at Consumerist sees the sense in this:

I know that I tend to tip delivery drivers more when it’s, say, Super Bowl Sunday, or the busiest pizza times on Friday nights. Sprig’s plan is to take that system and make it mandatory. If customers don’t want to pay the higher fees, they can just wait until the sustainable and organic feeding frenzy is over: one option within the mobile ordering app is to receive a notification when delivery fees fall again.

Me, I’m very much the Apple Bloom type: “But I want it NAO!” And I’ll pay to get it.

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And we’re here to help

Constituent service will never be quite as important to politicians as fundraising, but it will never go away either, because it serves the purpose of burnishing the pol’s public image, a definite boon in his eyes.

Of course, what’s going on behind the curtain is perhaps a hair more sinister:

There are approximately half a million elective positions in the United States at this time, from the federal level all the way down to the school and library boards. Every politician who contends for an elective position wants above all else someone or something he can use as his target: an incompetent or a villain he can position himself against. This is because nearly all politicians would prefer not to have to run on their records; that would invite far too much scrutiny for most of them to bear. They’d rather campaign against some vilifiable enemy, and a faceless bureaucracy that can be castigated for its misdeeds, with promises of “reform” to come, is the ideal variety.

“Constituent service” is an integral element in this strategy. Consider a Congressman to whom some constituent appeals for help with something impeded by a regulatory bureaucracy. If the Congressman can “assist” the constituent past his difficulty — perhaps by promising to support the agency’s quest for expanded funding, or perhaps by threatening the relevant bureaucrats with a federal investigation aimed at them personally — he can create a loyalist, a potential campaign donor, and possibly an activist who will help him rally others to his side. Such a loyalist is likely to be much more strongly motivated to support the Congressman than are any of his detractors to unseat him. It’s basic “Public Choice” economics at work, with the “organizer” being the politician himself.

I can testify to the accuracy of this personally, having myself once prevailed upon a Senator to get me out of a potentially uncomfortable situation. (He is no longer in an elective office, so I can no longer support him; but while he was, I did.)

And this is, of course, a major reason why the faceless bureaucracy can never die, so long as a pol needs someone on whom to blame something — and a pol will always need someone on whom to to blame something.

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Peak sand

How could we possibly be running out of sand?

Never before has Earth been graced with the prosperity we are seeing today, with countries like China, India and Brazil booming. But that also means that demand for sand has never been so great. It is used in the production of computer chips, plates and mobile phones. More than anything, though, it is used to make cement. You can find it in the skyscrapers in Shanghai, the artificial islands of Dubai and in Germany’s autobahns.

In 2012, Germany alone mined 235 million tons of sand and gravel, with 95 percent of it going to the construction industry. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates global consumption at an average of 40 billion tons per year, with close to 30 billion tons of that used in concrete. That would be enough to build a 27-meter by 27-meter (88.5 feet) wall circling the globe. Sands are “now being extracted at a rate far greater than their renewal,” a March 2014 UNEP report found. “Sand is rarer than one thinks,” it reads.

And renewal is a long, tedious process:

Sand is similar to fossil fuels like natural gas, coal or oil: It takes thousands of years to form — for rock to be naturally ground down into sand with rivers washing, grinding and breaking up stone on their long journeys to the sea. But the global population is growing, and since the start of the economic booms in Asia and Africa, sand doesn’t even make it to the oceans anymore in some places. It often gets fished out before getting there.

One perhaps-unexpected source of sand depletion is fracking:

According to the 14Q2 ProppantIQ report, recently published by PacWest Consulting Partners, robust growth in frac sand demand is driving dramatic growth in the North American proppant market. Proppant demand is expected to grow by 23% per annum through 2016, driven primarily by frac sand (+24% per annum). The RCS and Ceramics markets are also expected to grow at 9% and 2% per annum, respectively.

“We forecast strong growth in the North American market for proppant due to increasing horizontal wells and frac stages, in addition to increasing proppant volumes per stage,” says Samir Nangia, PacWest Principal. “However, there is considerable upside in our forecasts, due to the potential for faster-than-expected increases in proppant intensity (i.e. proppant/well and proppant/stage).”

“Proppant” is the stuff you mix with water plus Mystery Additives and send down the tubes to keep the fracture open while drilling. Garden-variety sand is not especially effective, but it’s cheap and cement-ish.

(With thanks to Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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