Came in like a Veecking ball

In 1979, Bill Veeck (as in “wreck”) came up with a wild promotion for his Chicago White Sox: “Disco Demolition Night,” in which fans were invited to bring their disco records to a massive bonfire to be held between the first and second halves of a doubleheader. Things got out of hand, and the Sox had to forfeit the nightcap to the visiting Detroit Tigers.

You might not think that this concept was ripe for a revival, but to borrow a phrase, you better belieb it:

“Like so many, we have taken special exception to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’s music along with his numerous run-ins with the law and her controversial performances,” said [Charleston] RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. “‘Disco Demolition 2′ is dedicated to the eradication of their dread musical disease, like the original Disco Demolition attempted to do. We are going to take Bieber and Cyrus’s merchandise and memorabilia, put it in a giant box, and blow it to smithereens. It is all in good fun, and we guarantee there won’t be a forfeit of a game.”

Fans that bring Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus items to the game will receive a $1 ticket. Video montages throughout the game will pump up the fans prior to the dramatic postgame demolition. In addition, the RiverDogs will no longer play Bieber and Cyrus music at Riley Park.

The Dogs sold out all 6000 seats, and while the fans were waiting to trash the pop starts, their team was edging past the Augusta Green Jackets, 9-7.

A group headed by Marvin Goldklang owns five teams in Minor League Baseball, including the Class A RiverDogs; Mike Veeck, son of Bill, is a partner. Mike’s son William “Night Train” Veeck is working in the White Sox organization.

(With thanks to Fishersville Mike.)

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Keep it to yourself

No further explanation was offered:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How can I blacklist someone from buying a car?

I suspect middle-school-level drama somewhere between here and the background.

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Strange search-engine queries (442)

The 4-4-2 combination looms large in Oldsmobile history. Originally it meant a four-barrel carb, a four-speed stick, and dual exhaust, though time and “improvements” gradually eroded away its significance. Not unlike this weekly feature, in fact.

gao yuanyuan diet:  Just gao ahead and eat whatever yuan damn please.

local girl sex vedio with her name in 1mb or 600kb:  That’s either a very short “vedio” or a very long name.

compilation album Neil young big yellow taxi Joni Mitchell groundhog:  Keep me waiting for this heart of rodent, leave me the birds and the bees.

how do transmission coolers work:  Asks the guy who doesn’t know yet that he needs one.

slightly skewed skateboards of oklahoma:  I blame the sidewalks, or the lack thereof.

Borat and gary jones:  One of the great bromances in the history of the U. S. and A.

aggravated mopery:  See also Robbie Robertson’s plaint: “I’ve just spent sixty days in the jailhouse for the crime of having no dough.”

1996 MAZDA 626 SHIFTING ROUGH:  It’s almost 19 years old. You should be surprised it shifts at all.

what does the automatic transmission linkage clip look like for a 1996 mazda 626:  Why, is it shifting rough or something?

cash for gold 39th may okc:  You can’t miss it, even if you want to.

I have a drainage ditch in my yard whixh is strictly for neighbors water to drain, shouldn’t he be responsible for upkeep?  It’s your yard, Bunkie. Either grant an easement or STFU.

femmes are invisible:  You’re not looking hard enough.

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Quote of the week

Forty-five years ago, there seemed to be no limits:

I watched with my grandmother’s second husband, a tall, thin, spare man born in 1900. He’d seen air travel when it meant doped canvas and spruce wood and gasoline engines that may or may not continue running and now he was sitting and watching a man land on the moon. When we heard “The Eagle has landed” that old man clapped me on the back and said that he envied me and what I was going to see, and that he wished he was going to be alive to know … what? … what would we discover … what wonderful things would we learn?

We never contemplated that the future doesn’t always bring progress. That knowledge is power and that power corrupts and that the glory of Rome was followed by the Dark Ages and the Library of Alexandria was burned by ignorant barbarians who, barbarians they may have been but they were victorious barbarians and if you can’t create then you destroy and loot the creation of others.

But boys and girls let me tell you one thing … it was a glorious day, back in ’69. Right there on live TV, out in public where the whole world could see.

Oh look, the Kardashians are on.

And that’s the way it is, Sunday, July 20th, two thousand fourteen. How far we have fallen.

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Like this stuff grows on trees or something

After World War II, DuPont, inventor of nylon, went back to vending it as a silk substitute, but a lot of wholly unrelated requests came in over the transom, and the versatile polymer was pressed (or extruded, or whatever) into service in many different forms. One of the least likely, perhaps, was Remington’s Nylon 66 rifle, with nylon stock and receiver; they sold a million of them, and heaven knows how much .22LR, in thirty years.

But in the 1950s, DuPont’s bread and butter for nylon was still the garment industry, and when they came up with new dyed versions of the fiber, well, this was the result:

DuPont institutional ad for stockings in color

(Note: This embiggens to over 1.2 MB.)

Hosiery manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the new colors, just in time for the Sixties.

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You can’t fool Jim Rockford

Who knew? James Garner, who died last night of presumed “natural causes” at 86, apparently anticipated our current police state way back in 1978:

Oh, hello, NSA.

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

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Get it while it’s last

Brook Benton, dealing with a man with a long cigar in “Hit Record,” in 1962: “Well, he made me sign the paper for twenty years.” And Benton wasn’t kidding: Rick Nelson’s contract with Decca, starting in 1963, was originally for twenty years, though MCA, successor to Decca, dropped him after thirteen.

Mandatory Fun by Weird Al YankovicI mention this because “Weird Al” Yankovic signed a record contract in 1982 which only just now, 32 years later, has been completed. This does not mean he’s through with recording, but Mandatory Fun may be the last full-length Al album ever: the man’s at his best with topical material, and it’s hard to be topical with two or three years between album releases. So the coming scarcity of Yankovic long-players would be reason enough to snap it up, I think; fortunately, there’s enough good stuff here to justify your ten-buck outlay (or your eighteen-buck outlay for the vinyl version, which comes out next month).

Yankovic’s promotional campaign was unusual: no single, but eight videos to be released over the first week of release, each of which was put together with a Web partner because Sony wasn’t about to fork over a ton of money for someone who hadn’t put out an album in three years and who had had only one Top Ten single ever (“White & Nerdy,” 2006, which made #9). Everybody loved “Word Crimes,” a reworking of Robin Thicke’s utterly awful “Blurred Lines,” partly because of the brilliant kinetic-typography video, partly because everyone loves to play the More Grammatical Than Thou card, but mostly, I think, because the rewrite was so much better than the original. And “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals” with aluminum at its heart, was downright weird, which never hurts.

Deserving of more note: “Mission Statement,” which is what Crosby, Stills and Nash, with or without Young, would sound like if they were present-day buzzword-driven corporate consultants, and “First World Problems,” a Pixies sendup with Al doing his best (and not at all bad) Black Francis and Amanda Palmer in the role of Kim Deal. The polka medley, as always, is delightful, with wholly unexpected transitions and no bleep in “Thrift Shop.” And you won’t miss much by ripping just the first 11 songs: the 12th, “Jackson Park Express,” is a pretty acoustical tune, à la early-Seventies Cat Stevens, over which is laid a genuinely creepy boy-meets-girl story that takes nine minutes to go nowhere.

Note: Amazon.com put this out as a download, just for this weekend, for $5.99. If you find Mandatory Fun compelling and don’t object to the sheer intangibility of downloads, you’ll find it more so at four dollars off.

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She’d be fine in this town

In the US, it seems like if you can count the sides on a STOP sign and promise to learn how to parallel-park some day, you can get a driver’s license: we don’t even care if you’re an actual citizen. It appears, though, that things are a little tougher in Jolly Old:

A 28-year-old woman has spent £3,410 on driving theory tests and still not passed, data has revealed.

The woman, from Southwark, south east London, has sat the test a record 110 times, according to results of a Freedom of Information request published in the MailOnline.

And they won’t let her behind the wheel until she passes the written test, which I have to assume isn’t the easiest thing on earth:

The driving theory tests costs learners £31 a time to take and is made up of multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test. The national pass rate is 65.4 per cent.

The fee for the actual behind-the-wheel test is £62 on weekdays, £75 evenings, weekends or bank holidays. (American DMVs please copy. It is not necessary that everyone in the farging office be home in time to watch Jeopardy!) A chap from Stoke-on-Trent finally passed it on his 37th try; there’s one woman from Horsforth who has yet to pass after 32 attempts.

(Via Autoblog.)

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A hint of thirst

First she was Agnes Monica Muljoto, which was quickly shortened to simply “Agnes Monica,” under which name the Indonesian singer released several albums, the last of which was a best-of package called Agnes Is My Name. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t; she resurfaced as “Agnez Mo,” perhaps in the interest of getting some recognition in the States. I think I’d recognize someone like this:

Agnez Mo in 12/13 Regard Magazine

That business about “Coke Bottle” in the text refers to this:

Something of a departure, I think, from her earlier image:

Agnez Mo

Of course, I’m old enough to remember when “Coke Bottle” described cars:

Chevrolet Camaro

And it’s not like Agnez is some sort of throwback, either. In a weird sort of marketing innovation, the aforementioned Agnes Is My Name compilation was distributed through KFC locations in Indonesia: you could buy it separately, or it could be thrown in with the purchase of a combo meal. The album moved about a million copies.

(Now that I think about it, though, it’s probably a good thing that the album came out before the “Coke Bottle” single, inasmuch as the 400-odd KFC stores in Indonesia sell Pepsi.)

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Meanwhile in the background

Now I feel like I’ve been caught out:

Many older women complain about feeling invisible — no one turns a head when we walk into a room. As Linda Grant writes in The Thoughtful Dresser, “I have watched the eyes of men sweep a room and find that apart from the girl crossing her legs, over there, it is empty. After a certain age, women are invisible. Without a sexual stimulus, many men cannot process in the visual/conceptual portion of their brains that a woman is present.”

There is, I suspect, a reasonable chance that if the guy who just entered the room is actively searching for sexual stimuli, most of the women would just as soon not be noticed at all, at least by the likes of him. Then again, there are those who would argue that any man entering the room will first scan for eye candy before getting down to business, and I’m not in a position to offer myself as a counterexample, at least not honestly.

There exists a subversion of this trope in fiction, the most recent example I’ve seen being Jeanne Ray’s Calling Invisible Women (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012). In this novel, a fiftysomething woman literally vanishes, first piecemeal, then completely; but the men in her life — her husband, her son, the guys in the neighborhood — don’t even notice.

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Arch nemeses

Once upon a time, there was a guest on David Letterman’s show — don’t remember if it was on NBC or CBS — who was billed as having the perfect foot, the standard by which shoemakers judge their lasts. I remember very little about her except her size, which was either a 6 or a 6½, decidedly smaller than average, and I speak as someone who (for a short time) dated a woman who wore a size 4.

Shoemakers are having to spend more on materials today, it appears:

U.S. shoe makers including Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan report average sizes are creeping up. And retailers are watching the extended-size market carefully. Nordstrom has seen strong sales of larger sizes, says Anne Egan, national merchandise manager for salon shoes. It has held special in-store events for extended-size customers, including women who wear up to a size 14 and men who wear up to a size 20. Long Tall Sally, a U.K.-based apparel and footwear retailer that gets almost half its sales from North America, sells the most shoes in U.S. sizes 12 and 13, says Chief Executive Andrew Shapin. Size 15, added earlier this year, now makes up 10% of its footwear business.

I’m hoping this means that a men’s size 14 will soon be common enough to stock in places that don’t routinely charge me three figures a pair — and then I think of Shaquille O’Neal, always reported as size 22, who now claims to wear a 23. (And truth be told, I might be a candidate for 15s now, or at least an additional E on my 14s.)

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711 craps out

For those around here who might not remember the original referendum from ten years ago, the text of the measure enacted by Oklahoma State Question 711, now picking up speed on its presumably inevitable roll to the dustbin:

(a.) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. Neither this Constitution nor any other provision of law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

(b.) A marriage between persons of the same gender performed in another state shall not be recognized as valid and binding in this state as of the date of the marriage.

(c.) Any person knowingly issuing a marriage license in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

This is what I said at the time:

Inasmuch as same-sex marriages are already illegal in this state, this measure is superfluous; more to the point, while there are perfectly logical reasons to oppose them which don’t imply that the opponent is necessarily some horrid hidebound bigot, I don’t like the idea of establishing a precedent that in the future could be used by horrid hidebound bigots for some nefarious purpose — this isn’t a chainsaw, it’s a bludgeon — and that reason alone is enough for me to vote No on 711.

That slippery slope can go in several different directions, you know?

Anyway, no licenses are yet being issued, and nothing is final, even by the dubious political definition of “final.”

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Lost our lease, everyone must go

The 66ers will move farther down Route 66:

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, will be moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder announced today.

The 66ers have played home games the last two seasons at the SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby, Okla., but team officials were notified recently that the facility will no longer offer arena space for lease. The move will take place prior to the start of the D-League regular season, which begins in mid-November and extends through early April.

In Tulsa, the 66ers drew about 2400 per game, slightly below midpack among D-League teams. (This past season, the team finished 24-26, which is also, um, slightly below midpack, though fifth in the six-team Central Division.)

I’m just surprised no one offered to move them to Seattle.

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Just how Prime is Optimus, anyway?

I guess this is how we find out:

Imagine whatever metamorphoses you’d like. I’m trying not to.

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On schedule

Since someone asked (using the Tumblr Ask function), Rebecca Black explained what’s been going on with her schooling for the past three years. First, the question as put:

after dropping out, did you actually ‘homeschool’ or hang around doin almost barely anything somewhat educational in your room (like i’ve been doing these recent months)? im a highschool dropout same age as you, just thought even tho it looks all cool and good on the outside, everyone got their own struggles but all others see is the problems, and maybe you have some of your own. private answer me if you want to. i’d like to know you a lil better.

Her reply:

I never “dropped out” of high school. I was always taking a full load of classes, but I took them online. I still had all the different teachers and classes. I did this for my freshman and sophomore years, and then went back to public high school for my junior year, and will continue that for my senior year as well, as I didn’t want to miss out on a “high school experience” completely.

I’m not one to support dropping out, that’s honestly never even been a reasonable option for my family and myself. I never dropped out of high school, I’m not graduating early, no GED, CHSPE, I’ll be graduating this next year with my class!

And that would seem to be that.

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No, he did it

The Verizon/Netflix dustup continues with fingers pointing in both directions. Are there any semi-disinterested third parties who could comment? Why, yes, there are:

David Young, Vice President, Verizon Regulatory Affairs recently published a blog post suggesting that Netflix themselves are responsible for the streaming slowdowns Netflix’s customers have been seeing. But his attempt at deception has backfired. He has clearly admitted that Verizon is deliberately constraining capacity from network providers like Level 3 who were chosen by Netflix to deliver video content requested by Verizon’s own paying broadband consumers.

His explanation for Netflix’s on-screen congestion messages contains a nice little diagram. The diagram shows a lovely uncongested Verizon network, conveniently color-coded in green. It shows a network that has lots of unused capacity at the most busy time of the day. Think about that for a moment: Lots of unused capacity. So point number one is that Verizon has freely admitted that [it] has the ability to deliver lots of Netflix streams to broadband customers requesting them, at no extra cost. But, for some reason, Verizon has decided that it prefers not to deliver these streams, even though its subscribers have paid it to do so.

Take, for example, the connection in Los Angeles:

All of the Verizon FiOS customers in Southern California likely get some of their content through this interconnection location. It is in a single building. And boils down to a router Level 3 owns, a router Verizon owns and four 10Gbps Ethernet ports on each router. A small cable runs between each of those ports to connect them together.

Verizon has confirmed that everything between that router in their network and their subscribers is uncongested — in fact has plenty of capacity sitting there waiting to be used. Above, I confirmed exactly the same thing for the Level 3 network. So in fact, we could fix this congestion in about five minutes simply by connecting up more 10Gbps ports on those routers. Simple. Something we’ve been asking Verizon to do for many, many months, and something other providers regularly do in similar circumstances. But Verizon has refused. So Verizon, not Level 3 or Netflix, causes the congestion. Why is that? Maybe they can’t afford a new port card because they’ve run out — even though these cards are very cheap, just a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that’s the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can’t afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that’s the case, we’ll provide it. Heck, we’ll even install it.

I subscribe to neither Verizon services nor to Netflix, but this issue is of interest to me because my Web services provider is in Los Angeles, and they have to hand off to a third-party provider like Level 3 — though not Level 3 itself, specifically, according to the last tracert I ran — before my local ISP can pick it up.

(Via SwiftOnSecurity.)

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