Starkness all around

This was arguably the most frightening thing I saw online all last week:

A medical volunteer who’d gone to Kiev, she’d just been shot.

I am delighted to note that she’s alive and (almost) well.

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Your next Invisible Woman

Fox persists in its dream of making some money off the Fantastic Four, and in its next reboot of the series, due next year, Kate Mara will play Susan Storm. She will probably not wear anything like this:

Kate Mara from 3-14 GQ

Not that Reed Richards would notice, egghead that he is.

Kate is the older sister of Rooney Mara. Both Kate and Rooney have the same middle name, which is, um, Rooney. (Rooney’s first name is Patricia.)

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A bit of embellishment

The March Playboy Raw Data section contains this unsourced statistic:

54% of online daters feel someone else “seriously misrepresented themselves” in their profile.

I’m guessing the other 46% misrepresented themselves frivolously.

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Forever twelve

Well, maybe eleven:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Do you know anyone who has seen a fully 100% naked women in real life?

Um, yeah, but I’m not quite sure how to respond to this:

Amd if so was it cool or totally hectic!?

The two reactions are not mutually exclusive.

Oh, there’s one more question:

And also how do you get more twitter followers?

Avoiding questions about naked women has worked pretty well for me.

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Strange search-engine queries (421)

Last week, a couple thousand people visited this site. Some of them were looking for something specific. And if it was (1) specific and (2) weird, it’s listed here.

generic limerick:  There once was an A who did B / In front of a horrified C; / The sight of his D / Made her cry loudly, “E!” / And we’re happy this ends before Z.

does jason scheff use autotune?  To sound like Peter Cetera? Please.

Brian Northcott gratis pornofilme:  Probably doesn’t use Auto-Tune either.

recently did engine overhaul on my mazda 626 y5 but nw my gears won’t shift:  Aw, that’s too bad. Have you tried Auto-Tune?

You Need Your Thumb to Vacuum Clean – Here Comes Honey Boo Boo:  If I may suggest an alternate use for that thumb … but never mind.

automatic transmission o/d solenoid explained:  If the solenoid is working, the shift occurs; if not, it doesn’t. Even Honey Boo Boo can figure that one out.

prayer is the best gift from god. No cost but lots of reward:  You still shouldn’t count on it to fix your transmission solenoids.

should i turn simulated stereo off:  It’s okay with me.

hank you, i appreciate your sympathy. since i don’t have anyone in my life at this moment i got involved in a greenpeace project at the arctic circle i’m:  Surprised that anyone connected with Greenpeace would know anyone named Hank.

Incidentally, someone from uscc.net dropped by Saturday night, seeking information specifically from this site on four local broadcast stations: KOKH, KKNG, KAUT and KTUZ. I have no idea what for.

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I hurt myself today

No, I’m not going all Trent Reznor all of a sudden. But damn, I don’t remember being this fragile.

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Fark blurb of the week

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A slightly larger dab

Some products become icons for no reason you can imagine, but that doesn’t make them any less iconic. Historically, we can cite the case of Barrington Womble, drummer for the Rutles: the Prefab Four persuaded him to change his name to Barry Wom, to save time, and his hairstyle, to save Brylcreem. Many years later, Stephen Colbert referred to Ted Cruz as a “Texas senator and Brylcreem storage facility.”

If your next question is “Can you even buy Brylcreem these days?” the answer is Yes: they have their very own Facebook page with a purchase link, and they took out a full-page ad in the March Playboy, featuring a model that looked like a younger version of that month’s Interview subject, Gawker’s Nick Denton. Their new slogan is “Brilliantly Classic Hair Cream,” a suitable description for a product that has survived 86 years on the market, and the pitch is to those who want to look retro, but not too retro: not everyone wants or needs to be Don Draper.

And most of you probably remember something like this:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Clipped yet again

Life was simpler when the Los Angeles Clippers used to suck. But the Clippers don’t suck anymore — haven’t for a long time — and they rolled up 44 points in the second quarter of this afternoon skirmish to take a 72-68 lead into the locker room, radio guy Matt Pinto intoning solemnly that the Clips hadn’t lost a game all year in which they’d made nine treys.

They didn’t lose this one, either; thirteen 3-point attempts succeeded, out of 30 tries, and the Clips, after a 112-112 tie with three minutes left, finished with a 13-5 run to give them a 125-117 win over the Thunder and two out of three in the season series, with one to go.

Doc Rivers, recipient of one of three Clippers technicals, played only nine men, and the four reserves scored only nine. It didn’t matter: the two lowest-scoring starters, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, had 18 points each and double-doubles for their effort. Jamal Crawford led the Clips with a startling 36.

OKC was just about as good from outside the circle — 12-29, including five in a row from Derek Fisher — but too many short-range shots failed to connect. Kevin Durant, who played all but two minutes, led all players with 42, though he missed his last two foul shots, either of which would have tied the game at the time. Serge Ibaka managed 20 points out of 10-16 shooting; Russell Westbrook, still restricted to 25 minutes, went 3-13 for 13 points but did manage six assists. Steven Adams, starting in place of Kendrick Perkins, turned in a Perkazoid line: one point, one block, six rebounds. The problem, as it seemed to me, is that they could block either the long ball or the paint, but not both, and the Clips are adept enough to shift from one possibility to the other without having to hand over the ball.

Next four games at home include two potential creampuffs (Cleveland, Philadelphia), one potential problem (Charlotte), and one genuine difficulty (Memphis).

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What’s up, docs?

When I moved out of IBM’s Big Iron and into the midrange — System/36, AS400, System i — there was one thing I could always count on: enormous binders full of A-level tech-speak, which maybe, just maybe, included the answer to my current question.

Big Blue now seeks Big Consolidation:

IBM will soon be providing a new “one-stop shop” for all your IBM product information needs, including IBM i. This new “Knowledge Center” contains all of the individual IBM Information Center documentation under one system. It’s designed this way to make it much easier to search and find content from any interest area, and to give you the ability to customize your own knowledge space.

All of the Information Center documentation for IBM i releases 6.1 and 7.1 have been migrated to this new framework, and when 7.2 comes out later this year, all of its information will be accessed using Knowledge Center. Eventually the saved and bookmarked links to your favorite pages and content will be redirected to its new home in Knowledge Center.

I still, however, reserve the right to keep a small binder of pages I look at on a regular basis.

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Original bogus content

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I figure, the very least I can do is divert those poor students (in several senses of the term) toward the Path of Righteousness.

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Hello? McFly?

So, Marty, how do you like this version of the Future?

Time machine settings from Back to the Future 2

What’s that? No, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series. Some things take more than miracles of technology.

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Meanwhile in Kiev

Actually, it was this guy.

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Insert resistance joke here

This is, you’ll remember, Washington’s birthday. Actually, the calendar read the 12th of February that day; the colonies, like the rest of the British empire, didn’t get around to adopting the Gregorian calendar until 1752, when George was twenty. Of course, this matter presented no issue to Jeri Ryan, born on this date in 1968:

Jeri Ryan at a Golden Globes party 2013

Since wrapping up her role as Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One, Ryan has kept busy; she was in a recent Helix story arc as the chief operating officer of Ilaria Corporation. I missed that, but I suspect some form of assimilation may have been involved.

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Add new post, preferably elsewhere

Now here’s something I hadn’t seen before: “4 Solid Reasons Not To Write and Edit Your Blog Posts Directly in WordPress.” Of course, I had to check that out.

The first sounds reasonable enough:

[W]riting your blog posts in a Word doc gives you an instant back up copy of your original content! Wouldn’t you want that, just in case (God forbid!) something happens to your website and your site back up wasn’t as good as you thought it was?

Downside: Having to use Word. Although there are reasons why you may want to:

If you write for other publications, you often are asked to submit the content in a Word doc so the editor can format, upload and add images.

And what’s more:

Having a copy in a Word doc gives you instant access to repurpose the content you have already created … having it saved as a Word doc saves you from logging in and copying and pasting each time you need it!

If I were writing full-time, those few seconds might mean something to me.

This, however, is the one that’s fun:

[Unfinished drafts] do clog up your database, which could make it run slower and is a performance hit. That all depends on how big your database is; it has to be pretty big, like approaching 1000 posts and pages, to really notice the difference. But, if speed is money, then you’ll notice!

I approached 1000 posts and pages, oh, let’s say 14,000 posts and pages ago. The limiting factor has been, not the size of the database (about 72 MB), but the speed with which the Web server on Machine A talks to the database server on Machine B.

And if that’s not heretical enough, try this: the pony stories (see sidebar) are written in the WordPress editor. There are two reasons for this: I like it better than Fimfiction’s editor, and it enables me to maintain a Work In Progress blog without any effort. There are, incidentally, eleven versions of the most recent chapter.

(With thanks to CASUDI.)

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For the spot in the middle

Doctor Taco, a former Oregon grinder now living out here on the Plains, has a very long and detailed analysis of the Mayor’s race — at least, of the top two candidates — and he’s come out for the incumbent:

The only additional power that a mayor has above the council is to nominate citizens to serve on various boards and committees, and even then these nominees must be voted in by the full council. Beyond this nominating power, the Mayor is not much more than an ordinary city councilor with additional powers as a figurehead or a cheerleader.

Mick Cornett’s time as Mayor is a case study in how to use the soft powers of the office to build coalitions and be a champion for Oklahoma City.

The suggestion here appears to be that Ed Shadid, more the activist type by nature, is perhaps less well suited to a more-ceremonial job. I’m not so sure.

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The great and powerful Twix bar

It resists your effort to extract it from the machine, and by “your” I mean this guy’s:

[Robert] McKevitt was working the second shift at Polaris Industries’ warehouse in Milford, Iowa, when he decided to break for a snack last fall.

He says he deposited $1 in a vending machine, selected a 90-cent Twix bar, and then watched as the candy bar crept forward in its slot, began its descent and was abruptly snagged by a spiral hook that held it suspended in midair.

What to do? McKevitt, they say, went hardcore:

McKevitt walked away and commandeered an 8,000-pound forklift, according to state unemployment compensation records.

He reportedly drove up to the vending machine, lifted it 2 feet off the concrete warehouse floor — then let it drop. He allegedly repeated the maneuver at least six times, by which time three candy bars had fallen into the chute for his retrieval.

Which cost him more than 90 cents:

He was fired five days later.

In a ruling that became public last month, a state administrative law judge denied his claim for unemployment benefits, saying McKevitt had demonstrated a willful disregard for his employer’s interests.

Wonder if Mars Inc. has considered this scenario for a commercial.

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No picks

The Midland Reporter-Telegram, a Hearst-owned newspaper with about 15,000 daily circulation in West Texas, is officially out of the endorsement business:

The Reporter-Telegram Editorial Board will not be making endorsements for the March 4 primary elections. And that will be our policy moving forward.

This is, they say, a sign of the times:

The information out there in this day and age doesn’t necessarily require news organizations to do what we did five, 10, 20 or 50 years ago.

A reader shrugs:

I don’t care one way or the other. Whether it arises from a multi-person board or a single editor, a newspaper or magazine endorsement carries no more weight with me than that of any other reasonably informed individual. In fact, an explicit endorsement is much preferred from the more insidious implicit endorsements that often permeate a publication through biased reporting and slanted coverage of the candidates and campaigns. Figure out a way to end that and I’ll support your Nobel prize nomination.

Nobel Prize? In what? Alchemy?

It could be worse. During the Gaylord years, the Oklahoman was fond of sticking certain of its editorial endorsements on the front page, thinking this sort of thing mattered to the readership. (One of the advantages of their afternoon paper, the Oklahoma City Times, was that its front-page design didn’t lend itself to that sort of thing.)

David Letterman, once upon a time, shied away from embracing candidates: he said he didn’t want people thinking “Well, hell, Letterman likes the son of a bitch, let’s vote for him.” (If I remember correctly, this was in his 1984 Playboy interview.) This is an attitude I can endorse.

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Whatever under the bridge

Most everyone here, I assume, will agree that trolls suck. And now we have scientific evidence to support that premise:

[Y]our run-of-the-mill backseat pokers, hair pullers, and forbidden cat petters don’t generally grow up to spend large portions of their time harassing total strangers on the Internet in search of “lulz.” They don’t, in other words, turn into Internet trolls.

That’s because the true troll has a lot more of the sadist hidden deep inside than you do, gentle reader — at least according to a new study, “Trolls just want to have fun,” which appeared in the academic journal Personal and Individual Differences. The Canadian researchers behind the study conclude that “online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists… For those with sadistic personalities, [their] ideal self may be a villain of chaos and mayhem — the online Trickster we fear, envy, and love to hate: the cyber-troll.”

And unfortunately, the sheer ubiquity of the Internet has caused the miserable bastards to proliferate:

The Internet’s amazing ability to create communities even out of the strangest or most repulsive of niche interests has also been a boon to trolls, who in the past could only make themselves unpleasant in local ways — bringing family members to tears at Christmas dinner, for instance. Thanks to the ‘Net, though, not only do they have a broader (and more anonymous) outlet for their urges, but trolls “have greater opportunities to connect with similar others and to pursue their personal brand of ‘self expression’.”

Let us always remember not to feed them.

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Quote of the week

A short note to twentysomethings, by someone who long ago left that bracket:

We are not ready to be put out to pasture yet. We are not obsolete. We are still taking names and kicking ass. We’re writing the things you read, making the music you listen to, starring in the movies you watch, creating the apps you use, writing the code you never even think about but are dependent on.

We’re not too old to be or do anything. We’re not too old to be beautiful. We’re not too old to be relevant. What we are is old enough to tell you to simmer down, child. You may be 20 but with a little luck and good fortune you’ll make it 40 or 50 and be half as cool as we are. And then it will be your turn to tell some 20 year olds to stop telling you you’re too old.

Hey, we don’t even mind if you occasionally get on our lawn, for certain values of “occasionally” — and, I suppose, of “we.”

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