It’s never “just a house”

Lisa bids farewell to an old friend in San Francisco:

[W]e have to hand it over to the real star of the show: my little 1892 Queen Anne Victorian. She’s the Helen Mirren of houses. She’s done a lot of living and some of it shows in wrinkles and things that sag just a little bit. But she’s got great bones, more class than ladies a quarter of her age, and a lot of attitude. This staging is just a new dress for her and she’s rocking it — as she has through the decades. Vale, little Noe Victorian. I hope whoever buys you loves you and cares for you as much as we did. But you went through some horrendous re-muddles in the 70s and you survived that to be brought back to your former beauty. You’ve been through two of the most devastating earthquakes in U.S. history and you are still standing. You’ve seen fashions change and come around and you are still stylish.

Cue the Gloria Gaynor. You will survive.

The stupid locks, of course, will be changed.

At some point, someone — most assuredly, not I — will be called upon to dispose of my little Mid-Century Modern ranch (born 1948). I can only hope that its next occupant sees to it that its spirit is preserved, although zoning will help.

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Arby’s has just wrapped up its first 13-hour commercial, which is intended to remind you that the brisket in their Brisket Sandwich is actually smoked in a proper smoker for exactly that length of time. It’s not, admittedly, particularly scintillating, unless you get off on watching meat:

In the dialogue-free commercial, a brisket is placed in a smoker that has been fitted with a glass window and internal light, and it cooks on the screen in one uncut shot. Finally, the brisket is removed from the smoker and Neville Craw, Arby’s corporate executive chef (only his arms and apron-clad torso are seen), slices off some and assembles the sandwich, which includes smoked Gouda cheese, crispy fried onions and barbecue sauce.

The live-TV airing on channel 6.2 in Duluth — Guinness insisted it be carried somewhere on actual television to qualify for Longest Commercial honors — will be followed by a Webcast at on Wednesday, starting 8 am Central.

How this compares in excitement level to, say, the Yule-log broadcasts at Christmas, remains to be seen.

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Truckulence intensifies

Collin Raye, who had a fair number of country hits in the 1990s, suspects that the genre is now essentially played out:

[A]s someone who grew up loving and being forever affected by the true greats of country music, I simply have to offer up this plea to the Nashville country music industry to reclaim the identity and poetic greatness that once was our format. The well-written poetic word of the country song has disappeared.

There appears to be not even the slightest attempt to “say” anything other than to repeat the tired, overused mantra of redneck party boy in his truck, partying in said truck, hoping to get lucky in the cab of said truck, and his greatest possible achievement in life is to continue to be physically and emotionally attached to the aforementioned truck as all things in life should and must take place in his, you guessed it … truck.

I could throw some dime-store psychology in here, to the effect that since nobody can afford to buy a house anymore, a guy’s single largest purchase is his truck, and therefore that which is truck-related is uppermost in his mind. This is, of course, easily refuted by the fact that no one sang about partying and/or hoping to get lucky in a tract house, back in the days when even I could afford one.

Of course, the operative word in “party boy” is “boy.” The Friar, however, imputes comparable guilt to the girls as well:

[T]he ladies have their own share of guilt, with nearly every female singer or female-led act now supplying their albums with at least one sluts-in-boots track a la 2004’s “Redneck Woman” from Gretchen Wilson. And the boots better be paired with a spectacular set of gams shown off in cutoffs.

For the obligatory counterexample, I offer you Rosanne Cash’s freshly squeezed The River & The Thread, which includes a track titled “When the Master Calls the Roll.” Cash turned 59 today, which may explain why this example came to mind so quickly. If you stay past the final chord, you’ll learn this: Cash wrote this song with her current husband, John Leventhal, and with her previous husband, Rodney Crowell. Neither of those guys is much on bro-in-a-truck stuff.

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From the Boo Fricking Hoo files

If anyone here thought I might be just this side of pathetic, what with my occasional bursts of frustration regarding my perennially empty dance card — well, I am George Farking Clooney next to this guy.


A drive-by shooter went on a rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said Saturday.

The gunman got into two gun battles with deputies Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista before crashing his black BMW into a parked car, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Deputies found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide, he said… Although the suspect’s name has not officially been released, CBSLA reports that his name is Elliot Rodger, son of film director Peter Rodger, as was confirmed to them by the family of the alleged suspect.

And, well, you just heard from Elliot Rodger, alone in his BMW, musing about how horrible it is that women just aren’t attracted to a murderous, self-obsessed loner — and then, later, plotting his revenge.

In that second video, he describes himself as “the true Alpha Male.” Trust me on this: the true Alpha Male spends no time brooding over virginity, especially his own.

See also this dork going berserk in a Pennsylvania health club. Um, guys? There is nothing that says you’re entitled to a woman’s attention. Nothing. The girls I know (caution: small sample) consider that attitude to be an automatic disqualifier unless you have something else going for you. For now, you’re just a column in the newspaper, unless Guinness decides to hand out a World Record award for Balls, Bluest. I suspect, though, that they don’t award these things posthumously.

Update: Further thoughts here.

Update: Deleted video link, since the video has been pulled from YouTube.

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Meanwhile at the beach

Somebody told me Molly Sims was 40, and I reacted as though someone had told me that Bud Light had won an international beer taste test: it’s possible, I suppose, but you can’t make me believe it.

A nice Miami Beach shot from December:

Molly Sims at Miami Beach December 2013

And a nifty swimsuit by Shoshanna.

Oh, and she’ll be 41 tomorrow. I need a beer.

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The Saab story continues

Perhaps at last it is time for you to stop all of your Saabing:

China’s National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has temporarily halted output of its Saab car due to a shortage of funds, it said on Tuesday.

NEVS, which last year resumed low-volume production of the car after it bought the bankrupt iconic Swedish marque, said it currently did not have enough cash to pay outstanding debt.

The plant in Trollhättan will be closed for approximately four weeks. NEVS blames Qingbo Investment Company, a financial operation owned by the city of Qingdao; Qingbo, which took a 22-percent stake in NEVS last year, apparently hasn’t met its financial commitment yet. On the other hand, NEVS, which was producing six cars a day, hasn’t delivered 200 cars ordered by Qingdao.

(Via Daily Kanban.)

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It all comes out in the wash

Laundry: a problem that needs solving? Not to Nancy Friedman:

I confess I’m mystified by the obsession with laundry as a problem to be solved. Of all the necessary household chores, I find laundry to be the most satisfying — the newer machines are wonderfully efficient, and you end up with a clean, fragrant product!

Even some of the older machines — mine date to 2003 — aren’t so bad. But nothing will make you appreciate your laundry room quite like several years of having to bundle up your stuff and shlep it down the street.

I draw the line there, however:

I enjoy ironing, too, but in this as in so many other areas I am evidently an outlier.

Yet it must be conceded that not everyone’s idea of “permanent press” either constitutes a press or endures permanently.

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The cupboard is bare-ish

Generally, one expects some sort of video from Rebecca Black on Friday. What we got was this:

Autocorrect messed up “TIME,” I assume, though it could simply be that she’s a giant sleepy blob of doom.

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That’s one crummy thermostat

You know, if we’re going to take this climate-change stuff seriously, the first thing we have to do is determine the optimum temperature of the planet. (I vote for 23°C, or as the Americans persist in calling it, 74°; this is precisely the temperature I maintain in my house, so I admit to exactly as much bias as that takes.)

Unfortunately, the planet refuses to cooperate:

There was global warming. Then global cooling. Then warming. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

It seems to me this melting and warming has been going on long, long, before we started the Industrial Revolution, eons before Duke Energy and ConEd fired up their first coal burning power plants, hundreds of centuries before Monsanto screwed with the DNA of a kernel of corn, way before we started raping Mother Nature like a Nigerian schoolgirl sex slave.

It’s almost like the planet didn’t care about us, or something.

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Look, Ma, no nothing

I have always suspected that rather a lot of our drivers are snoozing at the wheel, especially during rush hour, and we don’t even have any self-driving cars to speak of. California, of course, does; and, being California, it has developed rules for the little automated boxen:

Under new regulations, drivers (or riders as the case may be) will need to be official testers on a manufacturer’s payroll and go through a special training program to get a yearlong permit. They’ll also have to remain attentive behind the wheel — so no napping on the way to work yet — and notify the DMV if they’re in an accident or have to override the car’s manual controls for any reason. When it comes to cars, it’s not a free-for-all. Manufacturers will need to apply for a permit for each individual vehicle, and cars are required to have at least five million dollars worth of liability insurance.

None of this sounds particularly unreasonable, but if these things are going to flood the market eventually, the DMV will almost certainly have to cut the drivers (will we, or they, still call them “drivers”?) some slack.

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Meanwhile in Shropshire

I saw a turtle, but I didn’t see it leaving:

Tortoise theft leaves owner shell-shocked

(From Pleated-Jeans via Miss Cellania.)

Addendum: Why, yes, this is World Turtle Day.

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Quote of the week

This dates back almost a hundred years, and in so doing has dated not a whit:

The American of today, in fact, probably enjoys less personal liberty than any other man of Christendom, and even his political liberty is fast succumbing to the new dogma that certain theories of government are virtuous and lawful, and others abhorrent and felonious. Laws limiting the radius of his free activity multiply year by year: It is now practically impossible for him to exhibit anything describable as genuine individuality, either in action or in thought, without running afoul of some harsh and unintelligible penalty. It would surprise no impartial observer if the motto “In God we trust” were one day expunged from the coins of the republic by the Junkers at Washington, and the far more appropriate word, “verboten,” substituted. Nor would it astound any save the most romantic if, at the same time, the goddess of liberty were taken off the silver dollars to make room for a bas-relief of a policeman in a spiked helmet. Moreover, this gradual (and, of late, rapidly progressive) decay of freedom goes almost without challenge; the American has grown so accustomed to the denial of his constitutional rights and to the minute regulation of his conduct by swarms of spies, letter-openers, informers and agents provocateurs that he no longer makes any serious protest.

(From The American Credo: A Contribution toward the Interpretation of the National Mind, by H. L. Mencken, 1920.)

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Just slightly cut away

Announcements like this do get my attention:

This is similar to the existing Louboutin “Impera” shoe, although Impera was done up in gold-colored leather. I think I like this better. The heel height seems to be the same: 100 mm. And I give thanks that no one on my gift list has expressed a desire for these. (Impera, before it sold out, went for a cool $1295.)

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Keeps the creepers away

Or at a distance, anyway:

Subway creepers may have met their match in artist Kathleen McDermott’s new frock, a techno-laden dress that’s all about personal space. The DIY dress, designed to slowly expand when it detects someone getting too close, is actually part of a clothing series or, better yet, clothing devices, developed by artists and designers for Urban Armor, a project focused on what it calls, “… playful electronic wearables for women which investigate the ways women experience public space.”

These are truly DIY, if you’re handy with certain not-especially-specialized tools: the Personal Space dress requires some familiarity with the Arduino programmable circuit board, and the ability to wield a soldering iron.

This is not, incidentally, the first I’ve heard of an Arduino-operated dress; seven years ago I found out about a club dress with lights that synchronize to the music.

(Via Fark.)

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Money taken, run executed

There’s one problem you’re likely to encounter while immersing yourself in 1970s “classic rock,” and Robert Stacy McCain is quite familiar with it:

Nobody had more lame-crap hits than Steve Miller Band, and don’t get me wrong: I liked Steve Miller back in the day, and still enjoy listening to his hits, but from the standpoint of songcraft, the guy sucked. The closest he ever got to writing lyrics that made any sense at all was “Take the Money and Run,” but that song is a celebration of murder and robbery, so it kind of proves the point.

On the other hand, there’s a bit to the effect that the detective “makes his livin’ off of the people’s taxes,” useful information in case you’ve never seen an actual government employee.

Here’s the way I figure Steve Miller operated as a songwriter: He would come up with a nifty little guitar riff, and then a catch-phrase to be repeated in the chorus. Once he had the guitar riff and the chorus, he would be like, “Yeah, OK, gotta write some verses now.”

Which may explain why my favorite Steve Miller track is “Jet Airliner,” which he didn’t write. The Paul Pena original from 1973 is decidedly bluesier; unfortunately, it was never released until 2000, by which time Pena, who died in 2005, was living mostly off the royalties from the Steve Miller recording.

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Portion overcontrol

These aren’t here yet, but it’s just a matter of time before they show up:

Disposable pre-filled measuring spoons. Need a half-teaspoon of ground cardamom, or two tablespoons of organic cocoanut oil? Here they are, with no messy cleanup. Later we can market refill containers. And maybe a decorative rack in which to keep those refill containers.

Maybe I’ll divert one of my spice racks to this Higher Purpose.

The expensive stuff, like saffron, I suppose they can sell by the particle.

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