Insufficiently mad

Fond as I am of the styles that we now think of defining the Mad Men era, I really didn’t have the proper retro mindset to appreciate them when the series started; I was young and dumb in the years being portrayed, and I really wasn’t attuned to what was supposed to be going on around me. (The first episode of Mad Men was set in March 1960, at which time I was passing myself off as six and a half years old, which was almost correct.)

1962 Oldsmobile dashboard badgeI suspect I still don’t have the proper retro mindset. In the June issue, Automobile Magazine asks “What would Don Draper drive?” and suggests three reasonably suitable vehicles: a ’62 Oldsmobile Starfire, a ’63 T-Bird and a ’64 Crown Imperial. Of the three, the Bird appeals the least: I never did warm to that sharp crease at the prow, and the seriously lame Sports Roadster — “Hey, let’s cover up the entire back of the car and pass it off as a two-seater!” — screwed up the car’s proportions. The Imperial is imposing enough to justify its name, maybe too imposing. Which leaves me with the Starfire, perhaps because it’s just pretentious enough — [p]erhaps it is the sense of pride you feel when you quietly tell a parking lot attendant, “Mine’s the ’62 Olds” — but mostly because I took one look at that dashboard badge and thought “Now how do I get Twilight Sparkle into one of these things?”

And suddenly I wasn’t in the Sixties anymore. Imagine that.

Comments (2)




Strange search-engine queries (380)

The good thing about this weekly feature: it pays tribute to the idea that People Want To Know, and that they should have access to the things they want to know. The bad thing: just look at what they want to know.

joni mitchell: nice legs:  But have you looked at them from both sides now?

find stanley gray birthday ssn [redacted] lives in trosper ky:  Once you start throwing in actual Social Security numbers, I have to assume you’re not doing this so you can bake a cake for him.

you betcha for a jolly vow is a part of what song of the 70s johnny mathis:  Chances are he’s really looking for the Stylistics’ “Betcha By Golly Wow.”

Compared with democratic and authoritarian states on both ends of the spectrum the political conditions of hybrid regimes are subpar, but not distressing enough to engender rage on the part of citizens:  You just keep right on telling yourself that, Senator, bless your heart.

The Oklahoman DMVs shorthanded:  Amazingly, citizens are distressed. Enraged, even.

“driving is not a contest” bumper sticker:  Oh, yeah? Then how come you’re ahead of someone?

how to change LA4A-EL filter for cd4e yourself:  If you can’t distinguish Mazda’s part designations from Ford’s, you probably have no business trying to disassemble a transmission.

science fiction as an act of political interpretation:  Imagine the US Congress as a ragtag collective of bug-eyed monsters. Oh, wait, you said “fiction,” didn’t you? Never mind.

Woman claims Victorias Secret stole her bra:  Reverse shoplifting? O brave new world!

da um role de opala pode vim canbar paga pal:  Yeah, that’s easy for you to say.

Comments (1)




Don’t put that there

In urban-development-speak, Houston has long been known as the definitive no-zoning town: you want to put a 32-story highrise across the street from a row of duplexes, City Hall has your back.

That’s the stereotype, anyway. What’s left of it is about to be shot into space:

Last month the City Council voted to update Houston’s development rules, extending to the city limits a push for single-family home density, among other changes.

To address concerns about incompatible development, the rewrite includes protections allowing neighborhoods to impose minimum lot sizes for up to 500 homes at a time, preventing the subdivision of lots for townhomes. The restriction, which can last 40 years, also would restrict any residential or vacant land to single-family homes, keeping out apartment towers and condominiums.

The city actually came up with the minimum lot-size rule in 2001; this is its first major extension. How it spreads:

Under the change to the ordinance, 10 percent of property owners in an area must apply, triggering a balloting process through which 55 percent of owners must vote yes to impose the restriction. City staff could revise an area’s boundaries to secure the necessary support.

As city Planning Department spokeswoman Suzy Hartgrove said before the rewrite passed, “In Houston, because we’re not a zoned city, deed restrictions are the one thing that’s relied upon to keep your neighborhood consistent and retain that character. (Minimum lot size) is a protection that really is akin to a deed restriction that will be established for these neighborhoods that apply and are designated.”

My main problem with this measure is that bit about “City staff could revise an area’s boundaries to secure the necessary support,” which sounds rather high-handed of them, especially if you’re not one of the supporters.

Still, if you had illusions of Houston being a bunch of free-wheeling Texans for whom the sky’s the limit, you’ve just gotten a glimpse of the brakes.

(Via this Otis White tweet.)

Comments off




In case you missed Winter Wrap-Up

The sheer volume of music inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, in every conceivable genre, became overwhelming quite a while back, to the extent that “quite a while back” can apply to a fandom that has existed for less than three years.

This piano piece by a chap named Callenby comes from the classical aisle; it’s even titled, classically enough, Sonata in C# Minor “Forest and Snow.” (C-sharp minor? Not exactly going for the low-hanging fruit, is he?)

If you’re compiling a catalog, this appears to be Op. 3.

Comments off




Go thou and do likewise

I strive at all times to inspire my readership:

I had despaired of ever wearing sandals again after the plantar fascitis and resulting physical therapy diagnosis of stretch every day and never go without orthotic inserts. Then I saw a post over at Dustbury wherein CGHill opined upon a recent sandal purchase. (Sorry, I know that post is ancient in weblife but it took me awhile to work up to a purchase) So I went to Zappos and started looking around. Searching with “orthotic” and “sandal” led to these:

Orthaheel Porto III

“The ultimate in functional fashion,” says the blurb for the Porto III slide by Orthaheel. The pseudo-wood design is unconvincing, but this probably doesn’t matter unless you’re planning to seduce Hans Brinker. The verdict from our buyer:

The reviews seemed favorable enough to outweigh the assumption that has to be made with any consumer reviewed product — namely that most reviewers will be complete idiots. So I gulped hard at the price, closed my eyes and ran up the credit card debt. (I really hate wearing socks and shoes in the summer.) So far, I wore them to work yesterday and my feet were fine. I’ve stood up quite a bit today in the kitchen and outside doing some plant repotting and my feet are still pretty good.

Pictured is the Pewter color; the one she actually bought appears to be Brandy, and there are Black and Ivory variants as well. I gulped at the price, because it was about eight bucks more than the shoes I’d bought this spring. Then again, resistance to pronation ain’t exactly cheap, and besides, girl-type persons are for some inscrutable reason expected to pay more for shoes.

Comments (1)




Debaser, debetter

Discounts for senior citizens? Black Francis isn’t having any of that. In fact:

Fans of Black Francis who plan to see the Pixies frontman’s solo-acoustic show in New York City next week who are older than 30 — and let’s face it, that’s a lot of us — might want to consider something they haven’t done in a couple decades: investing in a fake ID.

That’s because the venue that the erstwhile Frank Black is playing this coming Friday is charging fans who are older than 30 an additional $30 for tickets. That’s three times the price.

Then again, Francis may not be the one who needs to lighten up here:

A quick glance through the ticket links for Black Francis’ remaining tour dates, as well as some already-completed shows this month, reveals no other such age-based pricing — suggesting he’s likely unaware of this rather unique pricing structure.

As for Symphony Space, which is obviously trying to draw younger fans to next week’s concert, a look at other performances listed at the performing arts center shows discounts for seniors, children or students, but we saw no other price breaks for the 30-and-under crowd.

Mr. Grieves was not available for comment.

(Via Fark.)

Comments off




User disexperience

Friday night I happened upon a nifty piece of software called Visual Similarity Duplicate Image Finder, made by MindGems, which looked like just the thing to tame my ridiculous picture archive. I downloaded their demo, ran the installer, and gave it a 10,000-file directory to read. Even on my ancient desktop (2.66 GHz P4), the program turned up 281 duplicates in nine minutes flat. The demo version doesn’t allow you to delete the extras: you’d need to look ‘em up yourself in Explorer, or pay for the full version, which was a reasonable $24.95. So I blew the dust off my American Express card and prepared to start typing purchase information.

Nope. Not with these guys. You must go out to their third-party retail site, complete the purchase there, uninstall the demo and wait for them to send you a download link for the full version, which, they warned, could take up to twelve hours. (In fact, it took six minutes.) I duly installed the full version and ran exactly the same routine, which took slightly less time; deleting the duplicates — the AutoCheck system, unless you select otherwise, marks as deletable the smaller version, either in pixel count or bytes — took about 35 seconds. Very efficient, and it didn’t melt down the CPU.

So I’m still recommending VSDIF, because it by-gosh works, and because they offer multi-license deals if your shop needs such things. But if you’re sure you’ll like it, don’t bother with the demo: show up with plastic in hand and save yourself a bit of aggravation. For the next version, they should work on making this easier to buy.

Comments off




Well, that didn’t last long

Earlier this week I professed to be puzzled at the very un-Zooey-esque Tommy Hilfiger dress Zooey Deschanel wore to the Met Ball, which looked for all the world like seersucker, as though ZD were the sucker who bought it at Sears. (Mr Hilfiger would like you to know that this is in fact gingham, which is even haute-r couture.) Perhaps more to the point, though, was the complete absence of bangs, making her look like — well, like her older sister Emily, sort of. Not that Emily is a slouch or anything.

But that was Monday. Here’s Zooey, hanging around outside before her appearance on David Letterman’s Late Show on Tuesday:

Zooey Deschanel at the Ed Sullivan Theatre

I’m almost afraid to hunt down pictures of whatever the heck she was doing Wednesday.

Comments (1)




This ain’t the Cubs

Sometimes basketball is like programming: you work diligently to get rid of all the bugs, and suddenly there are fresh new bugs. After dropping a close one in Oklahoma City to the Grizzlies, the Thunder went to work on getting fast-break points when possible, and offensive rebounds when not. And that’s what they did, or tried to do, today in Memphis. What they forgot to do was actually score. They trailed most of the game; just inside the two-minute mark, they managed to tie it at 81 on yet another unexpected Derek Fisher trey, but that was the end of it, while the Don’t Care Bears calmly dropped in half a dozen free throws to take Game 3, 87-81.

And speaking of free throws, OKC went 12-19. They missed seven. Two of those bricks came from Kevin Durant during that closing 6-0 Memphis burst. It’s almost like learning to get points in the paint made them forget how to get points from the stripe. Nobody wins a playoff game with 36-percent shooting. To their credit, the Thunder did try to coax Serge Ibaka out of his offensive slump; the big guy missed his first three, but did eventually come up with 13 points to go with his 10 rebounds. KD had a reasonably KDish day, despite those two last-minute clanks: 25 points, 11 retrievals. And what’s this? Reggie Jackson with a double-double: 16 points, 10 boards, and only a single turnover. Kevin Martin voted Present with 13 of the bench’s total 23.

What kind of game was this? Tayshaun Prince was relatively subdued (two points, four boards, no blocks), Zach Randolph had a lousy day by Z-Bo standards (eight points, though he did snag ten rebounds), Marc Gasol (20 points) actually got fouls called on him, and Griz shooting was less than stellar at just over 40 percent. But this is the telltale statistic: Memphis went 30-74 from the floor, OKC 32-88. When 14 additional shots get you only five additional points, as Scott Brooks is sure to mention some time this evening, you’re doing it wrong.

Game 4 is Monday night in the Fed Up Forum. The Oklahoman sports dudes (I include Jenni Carlson among the dudes, because why not?) generally think it’s Memphis in six. I’m starting to think it might be Memphis in five.

Comments off




Now watch people forward this

Used to be, phishing attempts contained clickable links. This item contained no links whatsoever, and I looked at every last bit of it:

We at the Internal Revenue Service would like to inform you that, you have qualified for 2013, subsidy benefit.

Simply reply to this secure message with the following details below & you will be notified shortly.

Full Name:
Complete Address:
Telephone Number:

Social Security Number:
Date of Birth (mmddyyyy):

ID Type:
Issuing State:
ID Number:

Bank Routing Number:
Deposit Account Number:
Account Type:

Please disregard this message if you have already mailed your response.
©2013 Internal Revenue Service | U.S. Department of the Treasury

The key here, of course, is “reply to this secure message,” since any fool can hit the Reply button, and many do. The ostensible address is IRS.DESK@IRS.GOV; however, the Reply-To address in the header is emailn.irs-office@emailn.de. Who knew the IRS had a branch in Germany?

Comments (6)




Quote of the week

Steve Sailer reviews a section of George Orwell’s track record:

Orwell turned out to be wrong about secret policemen: over the course of the 20th Century, even they tended to get tired of killing and beating massive numbers of people. The KGB stopped shooting political prisoners or working them to death in the uranium mine, and instead just locked them up in psychiatric hospitals.

But Orwell’s real subject, the one he knew best from introspection and socializing, was the intellectual mind (e.g., Eric Blair). And, for his kind, he hasn’t been proven wrong yet about the metaphorical “intoxication of power … the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.”

Granted, vastly swelling the population of America with disposable diaper-dropping Mexicans in the name of protecting the environment sounds pretty prima facie stupid. But that’s not the point. The point is to grab any available tool to hammer The Enemy: i.e., other white people whom you find disagreeable.

And that never gets old.

The quarter of my family tree that originated in Mexico is actually pretty sanitary, but then they’ve been here quite a while.

Comments (1)




Augusta wind

“As Maine goes,” said ancient political wisdom, “so goes the nation.” Here’s one case where I’d like to see us follow their lead:

The Maine House on Wednesday took a decisive stance against blending ethanol into gasoline, giving initial approval to a bill that would ban the corn-based additive from motor fuel if two other New England states pass similar laws.

The House voted 109-32 in favor of LD 115, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Turner, that would ban the sale of ethanol-containing gasoline in the state. The prohibition would only take effect if two other New England states passed similar laws.

Opponents united under the “But … but … the Feds!” banner:

“The federal government requires significant use of renewable fuel, and currently ethanol is the only viable option,” said Rep. Joan Welsh, D-Rockport, who is chairman of the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “There’s no cost-effective source of nonethanol fuel currently available.”

Now what are the chances that two other New England states will follow suit? Probably next to nil. Previous versions of New Hampshire might have, but the current state motto, “Live Free, Or At Least Cheaper Than Boston,” doesn’t allow for that sort of thing. And Connecticut would make you pour Dom Perignon in your tank if they thought it would cut carbon emissions. At least it’s cheaper than inkjet refills.

(Via Autoblog Green.)

Comments (1)




Fark blurb of the week

Florida restaurant pulls controversial lion tacos off the menu after huge uproar.

(Linked to this. Note this prime remark: “Now, however, serving lion meat is becoming a point of pride.”)

Comments (1)




Everybody must get stone

But perhaps not thirty stone:

Tammy Jung, 23, was once a healthy eight-stone teenager who wore skinny jeans, loved playing volleyball and going out with friends.

But in a bizarre reversal of a crash diet, Tammy turned her back on her slim good looks, and spends her days indoors stuffing herself with fried chicken, donuts and whole blocks of cheese.

If the first three letters that popped into your head were WTF, you are not alone.

The once svelte young woman is piling on the pounds to earn money as a Big Beautiful Woman on internet websites and hopes to one day top 30 stone.

This is more than I’ve ever weighed, and I’ve been on the chunky side of the ledger for some time now. Then again, I’m still alive:

Dr Claude Matar, of the Pasadena Weight Loss Center, said: “It’s very straightforward, she is causing her life to be shorter.

“She has taken the risk of dying early. Her potential for dying early was over 100 per cent.”

Over 100 percent? It’s a wonder she can even hold her Bloomberg-disapproved soft drink.

(Via Fark.)

Comments (2)




Get clicking

WordPress, for some reason, prefers to create a new dynamic page when you click on the Comments link, though there’s still some code in the base that supports an actual pop-up window. (Now and then I’ve thought about implementing it, but so many browsers today have pop-up blockers enabled by default that I just couldn’t find it in my heart, which is cold and flinty anyway, to go through with it.)

Bill Quick used to have Daily Pundit set up to do comments inline — click the link and they’d appear under the post automagically — but no more:

The problem is that they are apparently a major security risk. I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how to do comments inline — all of them automatically appearing beneath the post — but with the newer versions of WordPress, this becomes quite difficult, and is beyond my coding skills.

I hadn’t heard this, but I tend to be suspicious of Ajax stuff on general principle.

So, unless and until I can come up with something that will actually work and not expose my server to constant hack attempts, we’re going to have to do it the way just about everybody else does: If you want to leave a comment, or read them, you’ll have to click through to do it.

Life is like that sometimes.

Oddly, I had inline comments — in read mode, anyway — more than a decade ago, but that was when the whole site was hand-coded and there were fewer black-hatted types trying to weasel their way in.

Comments (2)




Dad, will you please get off the computer?

Once again, something I didn’t notice is noticed:

Funny observation popped up in discussion [on an irrelevant topic]: among man-bloggers who are fathers majority are those with daughters. Women-bloggers, as noted, do not exhibit this particular trait — they are mothers as often to boys as to girls.

Which prompts some speculation:

[U]nderlying connection between man’s ability to write coherent texts and raising a female? what could be genetic condition for this correlation? Etc, etc.

I’m not quite sure what, if anything, I can extrapolate from my own experience. When my daughter was born, I was a terrible writer; today, 35 years later, I am, um, less terrible. Does my son, 32 this year, affect this in any way? How about the grandchildren (four boys, two girls)?

Comments (4)