I want my books back, you son of a centaur

One of the scarier sights in “Twilight’s Kingdom,” the fourth-season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is the destruction of the Golden Oak Library in Ponyville. I remember saying, “Oh, Tirek, now you’ve made her angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry.”

There is, of course, a better line:

My name is Twilight Sparkle.  You killed my books.  Prepare to die.

Then again, she was never in the revenge business.

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Take a breath or two

In 1963, Dale Houston and Grace Broussard got an enormous hit out of “I’m Leaving It All Up to You,” with a distinct break between “all” and “up”; they followed it up with “Stop and Think It Over,” in which “stop” becomes almost a command. This tactic was mocked unmercifully by my brother Paul: he’d come into a room, sing “We got to stop,” stand there a minute or three, and then depart singing “and think it over.” Still, it made careers for both Dale and Grace.

I suspect this won’t go quite as far, but it definitely went a great deal longer:

Followed by:

I mean, a lot can happen in five years.

(Via CTV News.)

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Discharged with battery

No, wait. The lawyer was charged. The battery was discharged:

A California attorney has been fined $3,000 for zapping a witness with a trick pen during a Utah trial over whether electrical currents from a power plant are harming cows.

Fourth District Judge James Brady this week ruled Los Angeles-based lawyer Don Howarth’s conduct amounted to “battery of a witness.”

Literally so, it appears:

While testifying against dairy farmers who claim currents from the Delta power plant harm cattle, expert Athanasios Meliopoulos said 1.5 volts couldn’t be felt by a person.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Howarth, who represented dairy farmers, gave a child’s gag pen to Meliopoulos, told him it contained a 1.5-volt AAA battery and challenged him to push it.

Brady says Meliopoulos “received a strong electric shock” because the pen also contained a transformer that boosted the battery up to 750 volts.

Which, if correct, undercut Howarth’s premise, unless he’s prepared to argue that the cattle are actually being subjected to 750 volts.

No penalty was stated in the article, though I suggest the wayward solicitor be required to lick the tops of a case of 9-volt Duracells.

(Via Fark.)

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Zero hour

“They came to play,” goes the cliché. I don’t think there’s any question that the Clippers came to play. Certainly they led most of the night; only briefly did they surrender the lead. And by now, they seem to have Kevin Durant thoroughly cowed. Seriously. At the five-minute mark, KD had the same 17 points he’d had halfway through the third quarter, having made exactly three of 17 shots. (At least he made the free throws, right?) But it wasn’t just Durant. In the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, the Thunder had scored a mere eight points. Slowly, the Thunder crawled back to the land of the living, cutting a 13-point Clipper lead to four while enjoying the spectacle of DeAndre Jordan’s sixth foul. (Jordan didn’t make a shot all night, but he put up some serious defense.) Blake Griffin broke the string with a free throw; a miss on the second freebie was retrieved by Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and a Chris Paul jumper put the Clips up 104-97 inside the 50-second mark. Then followed two Durant specials for five points, and it was 104-102 with :11 left. Russell Westbrook’s trey fell short, but CP3 was all over him, and Number Zero knocked down all three freebies. OKC 105, Los Angeles 104, with 6.4 left, and then Serge Ibaka took the ball away from Paul. The least-winnable game in this series somehow was won.

And in the end, KD redeemed himself, bagging ten points in those last five minutes, to finish with 27. Westbrook, who made it his business to take up the slack, finished with a game-high 38. Nobody else made double figures, but Steven Adams created nine points for himself, and Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka all kicked in eight. Still: one point.

The Clippers, nonetheless, had three starters with double-doubles: Griffin (24/17 rebounds), Paul (17/14 assists), and Matt Barnes (16/10 rebounds). Jamal Crawford reeled in 19 from the bench. Your Telltale Statistic: the Thunder were called for 21 fouls, giving Los Angeles 20 free throws, of which they made 16, while the Clippers, amazingly, drew 28 fouls, from which OKC went 32-36 from the stripe. Otherwise, the numbers were very close: 44 rebounds for each; L. A. shot 43 percent/44 from outside, OKC 42/41; nine steals for the Thunder, seven for the Clips; five blocks for the Thunder, four for the Clips. If it could have been closer than one point, I suggest, it would have been.

Game 6 is Thursday night at Staples. The Clippers can be expected to bring their A-game. It may take an A-plus to beat them. Then again, it didn’t tonight.

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A thousand winds that blow

I was gingerly stepping through the minefield — but it’s a cute minefield! — that is J-pop, when I stumbled across something that isn’t J-pop at all, but which was staggeringly popular in the Land of the Rising Sun:

“Sen no kaze ni natte” is a translation, by Japanese singer/songwriter Man Arai, of Mary Frye’s 1932 poem “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”; the title translates as “a thousand winds,” after the third line of the poem. That poem carries considerable weight in Japan; it was read at the funeral of singer Kyu Sakamoto, killed in the 1985 crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123, by Rokusuke Ei, who wrote the lyrics to Sakamoto’s biggest international hit, which for some reason is called “Sukiyaki” in the rest of the world.

In 2006, tenor Masafumi Akikawa, seen above, recorded a version of “Sen no kaze ni natte,” which became Japan’s largest-selling single for that year; a Korean version by tenor Lim Hyung-joo was reissued this spring to honor the victims of the April capsizing of a Korean ferry.

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An awful lot of this going on

And by “this,” I mean incidents like this:

A Kellyville English teacher has been arrested for second degree rape in connection to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a high school student.

Kalyn Darby Thompson, 25, resigned from her position at Kellyville High School in April, an arrest report states. She turned herself into authorities Monday morning.

You know it’s serious in Oklahoma when they report all three names.

I wasn’t up on the rape laws in this state — “second-degree”? — so I chased down the pertinent statute (§21-1114):

A. Rape in the first degree shall include:

    1. rape committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age; or

    2. rape committed upon a person incapable through mental illness or any unsoundness of mind of giving legal consent regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

    3. rape accomplished with any person by means of force, violence, or threats of force or violence accompanied by apparent power of execution regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

    4. rape by instrumentation resulting in bodily harm is rape by instrumentation in the first degree regardless of the age of the person committing the crime; or

    5. rape by instrumentation committed upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age.

B. In all other cases, rape or rape by instrumentation is rape in the second degree.

The lad in question is reportedly 18.

And I wonder if this is where the secret was exposed:

The arrest report states that the student was flunking English last semester but currently has a 98 percent grade point average.

Technically, that’s not a GPA, but it does look at least slightly suspicious.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Restricted for thee, but not for me

Yet another doofus from the Unclear on the Concept legions:

Yahoo Answers screenshot:

Oh, and he means it:

I’ve found several stories I wanted to read on Pastebin, unfortunately the users made their accounts private and I can’t read the damn stories!

I could care less about the users’ accounts, I just want to read their works. How can I do that?

What’ll you bet that “Anthro Fan #1″ isn’t his real name?

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Without benefit of graft

This one particular rosebush, on the west end of the front-walk flowerbox, has in the last ten years resolutely produced pink flowers, and only pink flowers, when it’s bothered to produce anything at all. (The trick for dealing with these plants, apparently, is to bestow upon them something more than mere negligence, but not to go crazy with the TLC.)

This week, the pinks have neighbors, and I mean really close-in neighbors:

Roses photographed May 12, 2014

As you can see, it’s not just a couple of strays: there are white roses adjacent to all the pinks. And the pinks aren’t suffering: if anything, they’re pinker and prouder than previous.

There is a bush in the same flowerbox producing deep reds, but it’s at the far end of the box, on the east end, about 16 feet away. If there’s some crossbreeding going on, color me impressed. (And that bush is currently producing lots of red, but red only.)

(Embiggened version at Flickr.)

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Idle threat

Perhaps you’ve encountered this box before:

Fake Facebook warning

This one, however, was a fake, and I knew that before I knew the links were going to some wiseguy using a French address, based on the following observations:

  • It was sent to a mailbox not associated with Facebook;
  • Subject line was “Your messages will be deleted soon beggar”.

So, my fake-French fake-friend: Bitez-moi.

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Sparing no expanse

Some kind soul with a whole lot of vintage nudist photos has put up Diane Webber, a History in Pictures, dedicated to the late nudist icon (she died in 2008 at seventy-six) who apparently never encountered a lens that didn’t like her. She also posed for the occasional risqué LP jacket, like this one for Nelson Riddle in 1958, which is going down below the jump in case your workplace tends to spaz about such things:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Delivery manifest

This song came out 46 years ago; for some reason, it clicks with me more me now than it did then, though I’ve never been to the part of Manhattan that it celebrates.

Zip Code, postman says it’s faster
This way I know it won’t get past her
Zip Code, make it get there better
1-double 0-3-6 on the letter

“Zip Code” was the third of three Top 40 singles in 1967 by The Five Americans, the biggest band ever to come out of Durant, Oklahoma. “It happened,” said the song, “in New York City,” and specifically in this part of New York City:

10036 ZIP Code Map from Google Maps

The Americans’ first really big hit was “Western Union,” which hit #5 in Billboard early in ’67; after “Sound of Love” stalled at #36, they were persuaded to do another song about, um, communications. “Zip Code” climbed all the way to, um, #36.

Probably not by coincidence, 1967 was the year when the Post Office (not yet the Postal Service) mandated ZIP usage. And the “official” ZIP Code song was a lot less interesting than what the Five Americans came up with.

One other song seems to be ZIP-oriented, though I’m not sure if it’s intentional: the Guess Who’s “Sour Suite,” from their So Long, Bannatyne album, which has several lines about being “back here in 46201,” which would be on the near-east side of Indianapolis, which makes no sense in connection with the Guess Who, who were from Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Bannatyne Avenue is a street in central Winnipeg which is on my list of Places I Must Go Someday, precisely because of this album. I’ve already been to Indianapolis but am not averse to going back.) Then again, the Guess Who recorded for RCA, who had a record-pressing plant in, yes, Indianapolis, at one time located at 501 North LaSalle Street, 46201.

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And it must follow, as the night the day

Marcel on yet another dubious DOJ initiative:

So the government is getting banks to suspend the accounts of pornographers, and that might be okay with me, though probably it would be simpler for the government to just make pornography illegal, or at least stop subsidizing its production with tax breaks for Hollywood. But anyway, today the Department of Justice is going after some pornographers. Who will these laws and precedents be used against in twenty years? Or after the next election?

Which is precisely the question that should be asked about every new governmental scheme, but never, ever is. Inevitably, this is the result:

If the government is given power to do good, it will first use that power to get more power, then use it to do some good, and then use it to do a lot of evil. What it will not do, ever, is willingly give up any power.

And it’s damned hard to get it to give up any power unwillingly, given the clamor one can expect from the hordes of (un)individuals who benefit by the wielding of that power.

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Hi, Drox!

There was a time when things were so bad for Sunshine Biscuits that they resorted to creating an animated version of cookie filling: their Hydrox cookie, said the ads, were the only ones with the friendly Drox, whom you should happily greet. (The Drox itself, in animated form, looked like a distant cousin of Casper the Friendly Ghost.) Sunshine eventually wound down, was merged into Keebler, and Keebler was subsequently absorbed by Kellogg’s. Except for a brief not-necessarily-100th Anniversary edition, Kellogg’s kept Hydrox buried.

No more. Kellogg’s is no longer calling the shots, and Hydrox is coming back:

Hydrox cookies, those Oreo-like chocolate sandwich cookies, could reappear on store shelves as early as September, says Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, which recently acquired the rights to the unused Hydrox trademark.

“The cosmic difference between Hydrox and Oreo is that Hydrox is a little more crispy; a little less sugary and stands up better in milk,” says Kassoff, who will make the official announcement later this month at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago on May 20.

New Hydrox packaging

This isn’t the original Leaf Brands, creator of Whoppers, Milk Duds and the Heath bar, long since lost to merger. Kassoff, nephew of Ed Leaf, revived the company in 2011. And he has childhood memories of Hydrox:

As a young kid raised by parents who were Orthodox Jews, he was only permitted to eat Hydrox — not Oreos — because, he says, at the time, Oreos were not kosher but Hydrox were. Today, both are kosher.

There still exists a fan page for Hydrox on Facebook.

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Strange search-engine queries (432)

I hope you thanked your mom yesterday for everything she’s done for you. Now back to work.

alexandra gotardo sexy:  Um, I’ll take your word for it.

how much does a transmission weigh in a mazda 626:  Trust me, you can’t lift it.

2002 mazda 626 v6 dipstick tube ass:  This is what happens when you try to lift it.

are they bringing back ford probe:  No. And be careful with that dipstick tube.

preserveness:  See also “jamification” and “jellitude.”

http://sexy.mobi/sunbathing-babe-gets-a-booty-call-from-a-black-dude.html ?interstitial:  Well, as long as it’s not a collect booty call.

pearl cup Newman Datsun:  I always suspected Newman drove something like that.

what’s the value of 2006 retired sangria wine glass by lolita yancy:  Depends. Is it empty?

history of witchcraft in henryetta ok:  That town was never big enough to support more than one witch, and she didn’t talk much.

is there a way to tell if my shift sensor is good or bad:  Replace it. Or consult a nearby witch.

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No horsing around

I admit to being something of a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker, for reasons best expressed here. At the very least, I don’t think she deserves this sort of thing:

Actually, it’s a rule:

The following classes of names are not eligible for use:

1. Names consisting of more than 18 letters (spaces and punctuation marks count as letters)

6. Names of living persons unless written permission to use their name is on file with The Jockey Club

There are seventeen rules in all. And even if SJP were to grant permission, her name takes up twenty letters and spaces.

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The face of road rage

Every car has a face, says Jack Baruth in Road & Track, and lately, those faces look pissed off:

Why, exactly, does every new automobile with the slightest bit of aspirational positioning look furious for some reason? Why do they all have big open-mouthed faces full of sharp-looking toothy chrome? Why do they all have wrathful eyes with LED markers like murderous eyebrows?

It wasn’t always this way:

The faces can be froggy friendly, as was the case with the old Porsche 911 or its VW Bug ancestor. They can be reserved and serious, in the vein of the 1980s-era Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. But when you look behind you on the freeway today, all you’ll see is anger.

It’s in the pickup trucks with their Peterbilt grilles and macho pretensions that would be hilarious if they weren’t attached to a 3-ton unguided missile sniffing your rear license plate. It’s in the big-nosed SUVs that seem to be continually frowning and squinting. Even the Toyota Avalon seems upset, possibly because the Hyundai Azera’s doing such a good job of imitating it.

Then again, even Porsche seems to have lost some sort of faith: the current 911s don’t look menacing, particularly, but every new Porsche has the name spelled out in the official logo on the decklid, lest you somehow fail to recognize it immediately as the work of Swabian elves. (Okay, the Cayenne comes from Bratislava, but my point stands.)

Still: why are these cars this way? Baruth thinks it’s demand:

The cars have to be vicious-looking and color-free because they’re being sold to people who wish to project that image. Your local cruising spot is chock-full of black Infiniti coupes with blacked-out windows and black-chrome replacement grilles. Somewhere in these TIE Interceptors are the drivers, who are often meek-looking, physically slight young men. They drive home at the end of each evening and park behind their exasperated mothers, whose Lexus RX and BMW X3 travel capsules show on their venomous visages all the fury that Zoloft represses for their owners. In traffic, they’re pressing on you, honking, waving, flipping you off, just absolutely engulfed in righteous annoyance concerning your refusal to let them cut in ahead when the lane ends.

One of the reasons I’ve held on to my extremely unblack Infiniti sedan is that it presents a relatively benign face to the world: it’s not trying to be anything other than a moderate luxoboat, despite Nissan’s “four-door sports car” yammering about sister Maxima. (That, and the lack of brightwork in the work areas: there’s a chrome bezel around the obligatory analog clock, something shiny around the shift lever that I never actually look at, and that’s it.) This is almost an argument for the last-generation Mazda3, with its slightly deranged grin.

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