The Heinz is passed

The genius of Don Draper, however many years ago:

The genius of Don Draper, this week:

Don Draper’s ketchup-less pitch for Heinz was rejected by the marketer’s fictional team on Mad Men, but now the real-life Heinz team is embracing the idea.

Creative agency David is taking only some of the credit for its newest Heinz campaign, which includes three New York billboards and ads in two print publications. The ads are nearly identical recreations of ads Mr. Draper, played by Jon Hamm, showed the client during a 2013 episode of the AMC series.

Heinz has been selling ketchup since 1876. I am told that there are competitors, sort of.

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You weren’t reared that way

There’s pretty much no way you can get this to sound good:

The Justice Department unsealed a fresh indictment Tuesday charging eight Navy officials — including an admiral — with corruption and other crimes in the “Fat Leonard” bribery case, escalating an epic scandal that has dogged the Navy for four years.

Among those charged were Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, a senior Navy intelligence officer who recently retired from a key job at the Pentagon, as well as four retired Navy captains and a retired Marine colonel. The charges cover a period of eight years, from 2006 through 2014.

The Navy personnel are accused of taking bribes in the form of lavish gifts, prostitutes and luxury hotel stays courtesy of Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, a Singapore-based defense contractor who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Navy of tens of millions of dollars.

This is the incident that will stick with you, so to speak:

On another port visit by USS Blue Ridge to Manila in February 2007, Francis allegedly hosted a sex party for officers in the MacArthur Suite of the Manila [Shangri-La] hotel. During the party, “historical memorabilia related to General Douglas MacArthur were used by the participants in sexual acts,” according to the indictment.

Historical note: MacArthur’s legendary catchphrase was “I shall return,” not “I’m coming.”

(Via Aaron Mehta.)


Nearly here

Dolly Singh at a confab in China, 2016Last spring, I waxed lyrical about Dolly Singh and the new high-tech shoes to be produced by her company, Thesis Couture. This quote seems as pertinent as ever:

To me, when you’re surrounded by some of the smartest people on the planet, building some of the biggest and most badass machines on this world, the idea that my shoes are such crap became really obnoxiously unbearable.

The next step, of course, was to build some noncrap shoes, and she has:

On Monday, Thesis announced that it is ready to bring its first product to market — but only for a select few customers. On March 22, the company will release 1,000 pairs of shoes, offered in two colors, for a 48-hour period. There is currently a waitlist of more than 12,000 people for the $925 shoes, according to the company.

The stilettos, which will start shipping this summer, are “intended to be a resort 2017 look,” says Singh. “For the first piece, I really wanted to indulge” in the design, she says. The fashion brand’s first full collection will launch in the fall and will include three wardrobe staples: a black pump, an ankle boot, and a high boot.

And the design is patented:

In December, the company received a patent for its Thesis LIFT technology, which reduces the load on the balls of the feet by 25%. Singh says this has the effect of making the shoes feel like wedges. “I wear them for eight to 10 hours a day,” she says.

Thesis Couture promotional photo

The Thesis site quotes The Wall Street Journal:

The exteriors will put them in a class with Jimmy Choo, but the technology inside is pure Jetsons.

What’s not to love? Except, maybe, that $925 price tag.

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Crushed ice

This year’s Blizzard of the Century turned out to be nothing of the sort, which surprises no one. And the Brooklyn Nets, winners of all of 12 games in the first 65, might have been figured by some for patsies, but they were, you got it, nothing of the sort. The game was tied 32-all after the first quarter, 62-all at the half, and only then did the Thunder defense get the measure of Brooklyn’s offensive machine, shutting down the Nets 122-104 and sweeping the two-game season series. Just the same, four Brooklyn starters cleared double figures, with long, tall Brook Lopez collecting 25 points and short, speedy Jeremy Lin adding 24. The Nets’ bench, despite the reputation they’d built this season, proved to be better tonight at defending than at scoring: they wrangled only 20 points. Still, the Nets shot 47 percent, splashed 12 of 24 treys, and missed only four of 30 free throws; you have to wonder where they’d be if they’d been a bit more consistent, or if they’d been able to put together a winning streak. (Longest win streak for the Nets this season: one game. That’s it.)

The Thunder had five in double figures plus Yet Another Triple-Double from Russell Westbrook (25-12-19). Victor Oladipo broke 20 again, with 21 points on 9-15 shooting. And Alex Abrines, who went 3-5 from deep and 5-7 overall, was christened by radio guy Matt Pinto “Señor Splash,” which the rookie seemed to appreciate. Abrines had 13 points, second only to Enes Kanter (17) among the Thunder reserves.

If I have any Great White North jokes left, they’ll have to wait for Thursday night in Toronto, fourth in the East at 39-28, where it’s snowing now and the predicted high for Thursday is, um, one degree Celsius. Also waiting in Toronto: Thunder expat Serge Ibaka, who will be happy to swat away anything he can.


While the city dreams

Robin Trower, after leaving Procol Harum, embraced the power-trio format, with James Dewar on both bass and vocals. By 1977, the trio had grown to a quartet, with Dewar still out front but Rustee Allen taking over on bass. This ensemble, with drummer Bill Lordan, cut In City Dreams, which eventually became my favorite Trower album, mostly due to its opening track, “Somebody Calling,” based on a ferocious bass line — Allen, after all, had replaced Larry Graham in Sly’s Family Stone — and featuring some Trower licks that Hendrix himself might have appreciated. The studio track still sounds amazing today — in fact, I spun a tape of it on Monday’s commute, mostly to help me forget it was Monday — but it’s deeply satisfying to know that Trower still has the chops.

This performance was recorded in Glasgow last fall. Trower turned 72 this month.


Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening

But God forbid you have sugar at suppertime:

I know I need to be less credulous about such things but the “prediabetes” PSAs get under my skin because they seem to imply EVERYONE is (apparently 1/3 of people over 18 qualify by the standards, and half over 65). BUT: I have read a couple of articles recently that are by doctors/endocrinologists who are skeptical of the designation and who argue it’s not that helpful, and just leads to worry for some people (like me), other people who might actually benefit from lifestyle changes ignoring medical advice, and perhaps leads to unneeded interventions with medication. (And also, there is a strong streak in the US of “you brought this on yourself” — and if I turn up prediabetic or diabetic I will be FURIOUS because then why am I doing 150+ minutes of exercise a week, and trying to avoid added sugars, and not eating potatoes, and limiting how much bread I eat, and I gave up orange juice and sodas a long time ago … but of course, if you have that unlucky genetics, there you are.) I have enough of a perfectionist streak in me to make me miserable and ascetic about things, and I could see how hearing “your blood sugar is a little high” leading me to do something like give up ALL carbohydrates and try to exist on eggs, meat, and vegetables.

I am neither a doctor nor an endocrinologist, and it’s been a few years since I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but I am becoming persuaded that this “prediabetes” business is a chimera. In the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, symptoms are largely irrelevant. What matters are the numbers: score badly enough, and down comes the giant foot to crush you into submission. And those numbers are purely arbitrary: 126 mg/dl (says WHO), A1C 6.5 (American Diabetic Association). What’s more, some medications you might take for other reasons tend to push those numbers up. I’m starting to believe that eventually everyone gets it, if something else doesn’t get them first. My own approach to the disease is simply to keep the numbers low enough to keep the medical profession from complaining loudly.

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Honest about his intentions

At a dime a dozen, this guy’s worth about 0.8 cent:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What will a resonated tip do to my exhaust sound?

But maybe I’ve underestimated him:

I’ve been looking around a lot and I can’t find a straight answer, I have a 94 ford explorer 4.0 5 speed, I have the rear catalytic converter punched out and an 8 inch glass pack. I wanna put a tip on my exhaust but I don’t know which I should go with a plain tip or resonated, I’m looking for a sort of a little louder sound it’s hard to explain it exactly but I sort of want to make it more obnoxious sounding

Not to worry. You explained it just fine.

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The new lie detector

Let us first get into the proper frame of mind:

And now perhaps we’re ready for this:

A Miami defense lawyer’s pants burst into flames Wednesday afternoon as he began his closing arguments in front of a jury — in an arson case.

Stephen Gutierrez, who was arguing that his client’s car spontaneously combusted and was not intentionally set on fire, had been fiddling in his pocket as he was about to address jurors when smoke began billowing out his right pocket, witnesses told the Miami Herald.

Judgment from On High?

He rushed out of the Miami courtroom, leaving spectators stunned. After jurors were ushered out, Gutierrez returned unharmed, with a singed pocket, and insisted it wasn’t a staged defense demonstration gone wrong, observers said.

Instead, Gutierrez blamed a faulty battery in an e-cigarette, witnesses told the Miami Herald.

Judgment from the jury box:

Gutierrez was representing Claudy Charles, 48, who is accused of intentionally setting his car on fire in South Miami-Dade. He had just started his closing arguments when the fire broke out. Jurors convicted Charles anyway of second-degree arson.

Pants, after all, don’t lie all by themselves. (Leggings? Well, they’re not pants.)

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It should have been

We should have spent the weekend celebrating Christina Grimmie’s 23rd birthday. One of a very few YouTubers who made the jump to the Big Time, she appeared in season four of The Voice and finished third; Usher, one of the many who were impressed, dubbed her a “baby Céline Dion.” She wound up with a recording contract and a devoted fan base.

Christine Grimmie stretches out a bit

Christine Grimmie stands up for herself

Christine Grimmie takes notes

Then came that horrible night in June 2016 in Orlando:

Florida authorities answered one of the major questions in the shooting death of Christina Grimmie, the 22-year-old singer who made her name on NBC’s “The Voice.”

The man who killed her was Kevin James Loibl, 27, of St. Petersburg, Florida, according to Orlando police. But they didn’t give any background on Loibl or offer a possible motive.

Loibl, tackled by Christine’s brother Marcus, turned the gun on himself. It was subsequently concluded that Loibl was obsessed with her and at one time had hoped to win her affections, although one has to wonder how he was going to do that with a Glock 9mm.

And two nights later, another madman opened fire on The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing forty-nine.

This was Christine’s very first YouTube video, a cover of “Don’t Wanna Be Torn” by Hannah Montana:

There will be one last release, an EP titled Side B (there already has been a Side A), due later this month. This is the first single:

Happy birthday, Christina, wherever you may be.

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Good as dead

I suppose that I’ve already beaten the odds, or at least flattened them a bit:

Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation.

Do you think maybe we’re sick of other people?

Beginning in the 1980s … study after study started showing that those who were more socially isolated were much more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected neighbors, even after you corrected for age, gender, and lifestyle choices like exercising and eating right. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s. One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking.

The research doesn’t get any rosier from there. In 2015, a huge study out of Brigham Young University, using data from 3.5 million people collected over 35 years, found that those who fall into the categories of loneliness, isolation, or even simply living on their own see their risk of premature death rise 26 to 32 percent.

Let the record show that “eating right” is something that requires a correction factor.

The studies under discussion deal with the longevity, or lack thereof, of men, which suggests the Real Reason why women live longer: less research.

(Via Jason Kottke, a mere 43 years old.)

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When ripped won’t do

I have only recently made my peace with ripped jeans, conceding that their sheer ubiquity trumps my concern about perceived raggedness. Moms, I guess, are not supposed to wear ripped jeans, though I can’t imagine these as a substitute:

Clear Knee Mom Jeans from Topshop

I looked at those, and recalled from distant memory the nicest legs it has ever been my privilege to see. Will that little plastic viewing window convey just how nice they are? I don’t think so. Still, there are sillier things being offered in dead seriousness these days, so I don’t think I’ll get my Dockers knotted over these.

If you’re at all interested: $95 from Topshop, at Nordstrom.

(Via Holly A. Bell.)

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Somehow we will cope

For reasons known but to God and/or Jeff Bezos, Amazon is showing me a fair amount of Ivanka Trump stuff these days, and I figure this little ballet flat was worth a paragraph or two:

Coper ballet flat by Ivanka Trump

The pitch for the Trump line:

Timeless. Classic. Elegant. The hallmarks of the Ivanka Trump footwear collection are shared with their namesake designer. Launched in spring 2011, the collection is reflective of Ms. Trump’s own personal aesthetic, and features clean, polished, and feminine styles. Signature silhouettes include classically proportioned pumps, casual sandals and boots, and embellished evening styles. As part of Ms. Trump’s comprehensive “lifestyle” approach to branding, the collection includes bridal, career, weekend, and red-carpet styles. The clean elegance of the brand appeals to women of all ages, with diverse backgrounds, careers, and incomes.

Um, yeah, okay, if you say so.

“Coper” is this grey flat, also available in beige, and I’m just surprised anyone’s willing to use the dreaded word “beige” anymore. The reviews from Verified Purchasers have been pretty good, though several pointed out that the sizes run a trifle large. Price is $109, and some of the sizes seem to be sold out already.

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Strange search-engine queries (580)

Why, yes, we are a trifle bleary-eyed this morning, no thanks to DST, but we’re still here at the old stand with your weekly selection of odd search strings, as reported to this very site.

Which of the following best summarizes the main idea of this paragraph? Most people steal money if i:  Send them a check on or before the 15th of April.

scott, a young professional, buys a new bmw, even though a ford would have cost him less. scott values the bmw brand. this is an example of:  A desperate attempt to build self-esteem.

female y chromosome:  Um, no, not really, though that cutie in the silver Bimmer is deadnamed “Scott.”

her name was joanne:  Well, yeah, once she decided she didn’t want to be “Scott” anymore.

a few inches later:  Okay, that’s enough talk about Joanne for now.

clock that says 12:30:  Hmmm. Must be half past one.

how to hack somebodys tinder:  Swipe their password.

fakelike:  Similar to, but not exactly equal to, a fake.

danny’s mother is even-tempered fair and tactful:  And therefore she will be defeated in her run for a City Council seat.

milf bimbo tumblr:  Can’t be more than, oh, fifty thousand of those.

amy taller than sonic:  Doesn’t matter. She only has eyes for the little blue blur.

taxpayers fork out $30k for shady feast:  $4k of that was for keeping the sun off the food table.

are they ill tempered:  They are if their lunches spoiled in the heat.

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Something of an abrupt transition

At least, it seems so to me:

It is called “ambulance chasing.”

Attorneys in Oklahoma are prohibited by their own ethical rules from trying to get clients for personal injury lawsuits by just calling them on the phone.

But that’s exactly what an attorney from McAlester is accused of doing for eight years, having employees pose as charity workers to contact victims of traffic accidents.

So it’s probably a good idea for her to get out of this racket. But her next step makes little sense:

The attorney, Amy Elizabeth Harrison, 42, decided in February to resign from the practice of law rather than fight the accusations further before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. She has been an attorney since 1999.

She plans to become a minister, her attorney, Carl Hughes, said.

She always has been “really religious” but turned to God even more after her son was shot in a hunting accident in December, Hughes said.

Let’s see. Which one of the Commandments says “Thou shalt pursue every easy mark thou dost see?”

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Every Texas sperm is sacred

That’s the premise of a law introduced into the Texas legislature [warning: autostart video]:

A lawmaker has filed a bill that would, among many provisions, create a $100 fine for men who masturbate and ejaculate outside of a woman’s vagina.

The bill, called “A Man’s Right to Know,” was filed Friday, the filing deadline for the legislative session, and appears to satirize current and proposed laws and regulations that have been criticized for restricting women’s access to abortions and health care choices.

The bill’s author, state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who has been outspoken against restrictive abortion laws, said on Twitter Saturday that the measure “mirrors real TX laws and health care restrictions faced by TX women every #txlege session.”

The bill calls “masturbatory emissions” outside of a woman’s vagina “an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

Amazingly, no similar measure has been introduced into the Oklahoma legislature, which I suspect is due to the difficulty in finding a member who knows the word “vagina,” or at least can pronounce it out loud.

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In case you haven’t noticed

For “Cats,” please feel free to read “Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Cats,” the Nickelback of musicals.

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