Not just standing

When Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” hit it big earlier this year, I assumed I was dealing with yet another twentysomething thrush who’d somehow managed to get heard above the crowd noise. (The first time, actually, I thought it was Natasha Bedingfield, reusing a bit from “Strip Me.”) As usual, I was wrong: Platten’s thirty-four, and put out her first album way back in 2003, her second in 2011.

Rachel Platten in 2010

But by the time I’d figured all this out, she’d been nominated for a couple of Teen Choice Awards, and apparently injured her ankle.

Rachel Platten at the Teen Choice Awards 2015

Still, I was ready to shrug, until I heard this: “If your wings are broken, borrow mine, so yours can open too.” “Stand By You” is the current single, and the title song of her next album. It goes something like this:

And the noise from the crowd falls away a little bit more.


Baron von Toll House reports

I think he has this one right:

But phrased this way, they can charge seven bucks for it.

(Via Dan McLaughlin.)

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So easily confused

I’m not quite sure how I would react, were I the person misdescribed:

Clipping from the Sentinel

Mr Lyday, for the record, “loves Michigan, and dogs … and dogs on Michigan rugs.”

Jay Leno once read this clipping on “Headlines,” so it’s pretty old (2011).

(Via Mike Flores.)

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Service less selective

I could have understood this, maybe, had it been asked 45 years ago:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: If you masturbate before the MEPS military pee test, is it true you'll fail because high protein shows up which makes it look like kidney?

Apparently he’s serious:

Problems? Anyone who’s been to the military entrance processing station and knows FOR SURE, will you fail?

Clearly this lad is not keen on joining our All-Volunteer Armed Forces, so I have to assume someone’s twisting his arm. And apparently he’s not in contact with anyone else his age, since pretty much all of them are choking the chicken on a regular basis yet no one is ever sent back home.

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Perhaps this might work

Or it might not:

We’ve disconnected our home alarm system and quit our candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.

Bought two Pakistani flags on eBay and raised them in the front yard … One at each corner, plus a black flag of ISIS in the center.

Now, the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching the house 24/7.

I’ve never felt safer and we’re saving $49.95 a month.

Then again, that is a hell of a lot to pay for a security system.

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Strange search-engine queries (507)

This is a simple Monday exercise built on the premise that there are people on the Web who will look for strange things, and there’s a small if nonzero chance they’ll land here while looking. (Seriously. In the current WordPress database, which began in September 2006, there are 18,203 posts. For comparison, the Chesapeake Arena, where the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder play, seats 18,203.) The rest is easy: find some funny or awkward search strings, cut and paste, then snark.

search engine queries odd wierd:  Yes, that’s what I said. Weren’t you paying attention up there?

paul wesselhoft nut:  Wesselhoft being a Republican, I assume you want his right nut.

oldsmobile alero instrument panel humming from #19 fuse under hood:  Well, of course it’s humming. You can’t expect a mere fuse to know the words.

holly brockwell boobs:  They’re real, they’re spectacular, and they’re none of your damn business.

overfilled bra:  Also none of your damn business.

hardest pullout position:  Ask the Secretary of Defense, if we ever again get one worth talking to.

cars with spoiler:  We can’t tell you. It would ruin it for everybody else.

rowan is interested in becoming a florist. her mother’s best friend works at the local flower shop and has agreed to let rowan observe what she does after school for a week. this is an example of:  Unpaid internship at its most blatant.

d 13:  A poor substitute for a d20, because it has a tendency to fall at predictable angles.

funky kicks going down in the city:  Oh, I definitely don’t want to get caught up in any of that.

adolescent naturist:  Be sure that’s what he really is; sometimes they’re too lazy to get dressed.

be there in a jif:  More plausible than “Be there in a Peter Pan.”

reasonable psychic guidance cockeysville:  How about “Move out of Baltimore County while you still can”?

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Not the Nuggets’ night

The ‘Peake is not often hospitable to the Denver Nuggets, and it wasn’t tonight: the starters who sat against Memphis were up and at ’em for this game. (Then again, Mitch McGary, who suffered a concussion in the Grizzlies game, is out until he clears the NBA concussion protocol.) The Nuggets were working hard, but not much of that hard work translated into actual points, though Danilo Gallinari was making some tough shots; OKC began pulling away midway through the second quarter, and blew it open in the fourth despite losing Steven Adams, who got poked in the eye. (Kevin Durant? Yeah, he showed up. Played 31 minutes, scored 23 on 9-14 shooting.) The final, which of course doesn’t matter at all since it’s the preseason, was 111-98, and the only thing in doubt was whether Enes Kanter would foul out. (He did, with about a minute left.) Mike Malone has a bunch of youngsters on his roster this year, but they’ll learn quickly enough.


They say this is what they want

Even the most carefully selected focus group is still a focus group, and cannot be relied upon to produce optimal results. Example:

University of Stirling professor of psychology Peter Hancock’s idea of the perfect car for the UK doesn’t seem to be meant as a serious proposition. Prof. Hancock isn’t suggesting that some automaker should adopt and produce the design, but instead it seems to be sort of a thought experiment built off the back of a survey conducted with around 2,000 participants.

The survey asked a few basic questions: What is your favorite car? Which aspect is the most attractive? And so on. After tallying around 3,800 data points, Prof. Hancock identified the most attractive individual elements of the cars that were mentioned.

And God forbid some automaker actually consider that list of elements worth emulating, because we’d end up with something totally terrible, like, well, this:

Composite of Hancock's data on a single vehicle

Yeah, that low, low Aston Martin snoot goes so well with those sternly upright Rolls-Royce suicide doors and those scary Mini eyeballs.

It might be better than Johnny Cash’s ’53 ’49-’73 Cadillac, assembled from parts gathered one piece at a time, but not much.

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Brewskius romani

There exists a beer — more precisely, an India pale ale — named after Pliny the Elder, author and military commander, who perished in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.

Pliny the Elder Beer, photo by Jack Cluth

It is apparently highly regarded:

Hands down the most highly coveted IPA in the world. Only a small percentage of beer connoisseurs ever get to enjoy this exceptionally high rated double IPA fresh out of the bottle.

Jack Cluth, who uploaded the picture, reports: “It smells like soap and has a far too acidic, bitter taste.” Hmmm. Hints of volcanic ash, maybe?

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Quote of the week

This is the opening to a Daily Beast article:

What Happens When You Survive Ebola

Memory loss. Irreversible skin and nerve damage. Hair thinning. Arthritis. The lingering effects of Ebola can last a lifetime.

Glenn Reynolds replies:

To be fair, when you don’t survive Ebola, the effects also last a lifetime.

Heh. Indeed. ™

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Meanwhile at Sugarcube Corner

From now until late November, there exists a My Little Pony cafe in Japan:

MLP cafe in Harujuku

For a limited time, Harujuku, Japan will have its very own My Little Pony-themed cafe. The restaurant will be serving up colorful dishes with pictures of ponies emblazoned right on the food. Diners can enjoy ponies both new and old, with characters from generations one and four.

Besides themed food and menus, there’s also a giant mural on the back wall and cut-outs to pose with, and pony dolls and stuffed animals are scattered around the establishment. Before you leave, you can also buy themed merchandise like notebooks and keychains.

Twilight Sparkle place mat

The most expensive item on the menu is around $11; T-shirts and such run $20ish. (Yen exchange rate may vary.)

Assuming there were no logistical problems, would you take a date to this place? (There is, of course, no point in asking me this.)

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Dying harder

If we’re going to have capital punishment at all — and the way things are going, I suspect that eventually the time may come when we won’t — state government is going to have to step up its game, or at least quit screwing around with it.

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Rudeness in Ottawa

Setup for that implausible-sounding title:

Legislators in governments based on the Westminster system enjoy parliamentary privilege, which means that, while in the House, they can speak their minds without the fear of being sued for slander. But to retain some modicum of decorum during debates, the Speaker of the House has the authority to rein in politicians who use language deemed unparliamentary, asking foul-mouthed lawmakers to withdraw their comments or face discipline.

Canadians, by reputation anyway, are generally big on decorum. But this exchange in Parliament in 2004 suggests that they’re also not given to mealy-mouthedness:

Betty Hinton (Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys): I would ask hon. members to please remain calm. I realize that this is an emotional issue. I would ask the hon. member to try to stay within the confines of parliamentary language.

David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Madam Speaker, I have a question. Was the unparliamentary language the word “incompetent” or was it the word “corrupt”?

I note purely in passing that Mrs Hinton and Mr Anderson, both of whom represented ridings in British Columbia, have since left Parliament, though not over whatever incident precipitated that exchange.


Physician, **** thyself

Prescriptions, so far anyway, are not actually mandatory, and Roberta X isn’t interested in the most recent one pushed in her direction:

… one of those stupid damn anti-depressants they hand out to fibromyalgia sufferers* and on the package insert, in at least 24-point type, it says, MAY MAKE YOU SUICIDAL. MAY WORSEN DEPRESSION. I’m not taking that stuff. I have, in the past, long ago, been almost that depressed and I’m not going back there. I’m not even taking a chance of going back there. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin are sold at at every drug store, five-and-dime, grocery store, convenience store and corner gas station; it’s even free from the first-aid cabinet at work and if those drugs don’t make the pain go all the way away, they do well enough just about all of the time. And they don’t make you wake up wishing the planet could be improved by your absence.

I did my time on antidepressants. I still have one tablet on hand, probably expired, but it’s not here because I might need it; it’s here to remind me that I don’t.

Oh, that asterisk leads to a footnote in the original, and since her footnotes are always worth reading:

* I’m not saying that’s not a real thing — who am I to talk, after all, with my chronic pain with apparently no findable cause? — but people diagnosed with it are most certainly one of the favorite targets of those gawshawful drug-pushing ads on the TV, with twenty seconds of happy scenes and forty seconds of Dire Warnings read in a rapid monotone over still images of pastoral settings. Y’know, if the stuff was so wonderfully wonderful, M.D.s would be pushing it high, wide and mighty, ‘cos they are the kinds of people who are nagged by unsolved problems. Since they’re not — Ahem. The corollary should be obvious.

The most egregious failing of said drug-pushing ads, if you ask me, is this apparently invariable line: “Ask your doctor if [brand name of drug] is right for you.” If it then fails you, it’s your fault, because you asked for it. By name. Generics don’t advertise, which is one reason I got seven (!) prescriptions filled Friday afternoon for under $25. Meanwhile, the one brand-name drug I take is $2.50 per tab, $75 a month; the little puzzle box of Belsomra (suvorexant) is $99.99 for ten of ’em. You can buy a hell of a lot of Benadryl for a hundred bucks.

Some day, given the general trend of things, prescriptions likely will be mandatory. Remember THX 1138? The big crime was drug evasion, failing to take whatever meds were issued to you. I have to assume that Big Pharma is okay with this.

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So many years later

We know that Celestia and Luna are over a thousand years old: Luna spent a thousand years in exile, and she’s the younger sibling. What canon doesn’t say is how long they can live; fanfic writers generally work from the premise that there is no upper limit, but tend to shy away from the word “immortal.” Then again, some try to subvert the trope:

“Well, I was wondering. Just how immortal, if that’s the word, are you and your sister anyway?”

Celestia shook her mane, and he imagined he saw a map of the sky just beyond her head. “Having reached physical maturity, Luna and I do not age in the usual sense. But we know that there are forces in the Universe capable of taking us down.”

He nodded, remembering an incident at a previous Canterlot wedding.

“Which is why we shy away from the word ‘immortal’; it implies that we can survive anything, an implication that has some basis in reality, but one I would not like to put to the test.”

At the end of the third season, Twilight Sparkle ascended to alicornhood: she may not have the sheer size of the sisters, but she is presumed to have the same physical attributes, to include, though canon doesn’t say so, that indefinite lease on life.

Which creates a problem: what happens when she inevitably outlives all her friends?

I tucked a link to this in an earlier post, but inasmuch as this scenario is still haunting me, I’m going full Captain Obvious here:

I wept for rather a long time.

Eventually I did regain my composure. I sought out, and purchased, the two musical selections, both composed by Thomas J. Bergersen, before I realized that owning copies of these tracks meant I get to remind myself of this story, to relive my sorrow, that much more often.

In some ways, this is the most “me” thing I’ve ever done.

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There’s a browser called eFast, and basically, you don’t want any part of it:

… a hijacker that installs a new browser rather than hijacking an existing one. It even attempts to replace Chrome if that is already installed. To make sure that you will use your new browser, eFast makes itself the default browser and takes over some file-associations. File-associations are settings that determine which program will run when files with a certain extension are opened.

And they’re betting you won’t notice the difference:

The installer for eFast also deletes all the shortcuts to Google Chrome on your taskbar and desktop, most likely hoping to confuse the user with their very similar icons. And not just the icons look alike. The newly installed browser feels and looks very much like Chrome, no doubt because they used the Chromium open source Projects to build this browser. It isn’t until you look in the settings that you spot the “about eFast” entry in the menu (or if you type “chrome://chrome” in the address bar).

Why would they go to this much trouble to make a Chrome clone?

Given the similarity to Chrome it is very hard to tell why a user would choose this copy-cat over the real Chrome. Very likely not for the advertisements this hijacker shows them, especially seeing that they get nothing really worthwhile in return.


(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)