Variations on a theme

However many it takes to tango, the subsequent record album is expected to look pretty much the same. From 2003:

The Best Tango Album in the World Ever, 2003

From 2008:

Jan Vogler Tango, 2008

And new, from 2016:

Let's Dance Tango 2016 from Le Chant du Monde

You’d almost think they were trying to get my attention or something.

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Vertical hold

I try awfully hard to remain upright, even though I’m starting to think that it may not be worth the bother.

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Send in the clowns, if any

Creepy clowns in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania? “People need to chill,” says Hilde Lysiak of the Orange Street News:

Everyone in Selinsgrove has been freaking out over people dressing up like clowns. How ridiculous! What are they going to do? Squirt people with their flower?

This is what happens when people start reporting things without knowing the facts. I’ve investigated every one of these claims and couldn’t find any actual evidence of people dressing up like clowns going around scaring anyone!

That’s the editorial in the print edition. Online, we find this:

Among all the creepy clown rumors in Selinsgrove, Sara Moore, director of the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco, CA, is standing up for real clowns.

People wearing creepy clown masks do not deserve to call themselves clowns, according to Moore.

“Bad individuals wearing masks who are scaring people. Those individuals are not clowns just like someone wearing a scary nurse costume is not a real nurse,” Sara Moore told the OSN.

And that would seem to be that.

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As the escrow flies

I have received the renewal for my homeowner’s insurance, and the premium is dropping from stupidly high to somewhat less stupidly high: the annual savings will be just over $100. (Still, unless you live in some place like San Simeon, my premium is probably higher than yours.) At least part of the expense is due to my having specified some comparatively pricey options over and above the standard package, including an escalator clause that adjusts the amount of the policy upward when the value of the property increases. Still, Oklahoma has some of the highest insurance costs in the land, and this isn’t going to change so long as we have some of the most perverse weather this side of Baffin Bay.

Which means, I have to figure, that unless the county seriously jacks up the property tax rate, I will not be running an escrow shortage in 2017, inasmuch as the actual value of this property, as determined by the County Assessor, has risen by less than two percentage points.

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Symbolism in the on-deck circle

Something I didn’t notice, but probably should have:

The Cubs will battle the Dodgers for the National League championship. MLB has scheduled the Games in Chicago to start at 7:08 local time. That is 1908 for those who use military time. 1908 was the last time the Cubs won a World Series. Cue Twilight Zone music.

Hmmm. The Dodgers last won the Series in, um, 1988. Doesn’t translate well to clocks. Perhaps more insidious: the Boys in Blue have won the NL West title eight times since then, including four in a row since 2013, but haven’t gotten a single National League pennant for their trouble, let alone a World Series.

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Cash-based solutions

When I ditched Windows XP in favor of 7, I ran into a couple of software issues, and the solutions turned out to be essentially identical: present plastic. Herewith, the original problems, and how they were subsequently solved.

Problem: Adobe Photoshop Essentials, though this is my fault: I can’t find the original installation DVD.

Solution: I eventually found the install disk, but it would not, you know, install. By 2014, Adobe apparently reasoned, I should be using a version newer than version 4. A reader offered me a legit copy of a newer edition, which was greatly appreciated; however, the ultimate solution came from Woot, which yesterday was offering the Photoshop/Premiere Elements bundle, version 13, for $49.99 (plus the de rigueur $5 shipping charge). This is slightly less than half what I paid for version 4 at CompUSA back in the Pleistocene era. Clearly I haven’t installed this yet, but I have no reason to think it won’t work.

Problem: Nero Burning ROM, which flatly refused my reinstall: “This serial number has expired.” This was a version-7 install; they’re up to something like 12 now. And I never could deal with the increasing bloat.

Solution: Apparently the Germans never throw away an email address. With Nero 17 on the way, they sent me a note to the effect that they were willing to cut a deal for a downloadable version of version 16, for $29.95. (Full package price is, and always has been, around $75.) The interface is much simplified, for which I am grateful.

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Requiem for none

This is Harris Faulkner, a minor character in the fourth generation of Littlest Pet Shop toys by Hasbro:

Harris Faulkner on LPS

And this is Harris Faulkner, Fox News Channel reporter and anchor for the last decade or so:

Harris Faulkner on Fox News

Now if you ask me, which the United States District Court for the State of New Jersey did not, there’s not a whole lot in the way of resemblance here. That said, after initially denying a Hasbro motion to dismiss, the court has dismissed Fox’s Faulkner’s lawsuit “with prejudice”: it cannot be refiled. Did the warring parties settle? We’ll probably never know.

That said, Harris Faulkner the newsperson does well with simple colors:

Harris Faulkner on the Fox Report

Harris Faulkner on the sofa

But never, ever cartoonish, am I right?

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Quote of the week

The Russians have always had a funny way about elections:

Russia promises nuclear war if Hillary Clinton is elected. And that’s from NBC, “America’s Network Of (broken) Record,” so you know it must be true — or at least as true [as] any of Brian Williams’s tales of derring-do in dire and desperate, er, derpumstances.

Bite me, Russian government. I decided on Gary Johnson early, when neither party had anything even close to an acceptable candidate and that has not changed. Point an H-bomb at me? You did that already! Naval Avionics has been in Indianapolis since before the Cold War and the Army has been writing paychecks for every soldier in this town for almost as long: I’m already a casualty of WW III. I was born dead. Every town I have ever lived in was a target.

So this response is perfectly understandable:

Bring it, Vlad. Let’s make the rubble bounce and we’ll see which side bred the best cockroaches afterwards. Are you so stupid that you really think we have any reason not to?

Putin is counting on American, um, flexibility.

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Aren’t you glad you use bile?

I suspect that not every evocation of the four Greek temperaments matches up on every minor detail. Then again, this (originally posted 15 March 2003) does sound rather like me:

Your dominant humour is CholerYour humor is: yellow bile
Your personality is: choleric
Your season is: summer
Your element is: fire
Your qualities are: hot and dry
Your color is: yellow
Your organ is: the liver
Your lunar phase is: the full moon
Your opposing humor is: phlegm

When yellow bile dominates, an individual is quick to anger. Choleric personalities (cholera meaning yellow as in yellow fever) are often violent and vengeful.

Black Hellebore, which is known for its laxative properties, purges lower tracts of phlegm and choleric humors.

Avoid herbs with a bitter taste, as they are most likely to promote yellow bile.

Let the record show, however, that 13 years later I took the same test Fillyjonk did, and it scores me as 4.3 melancholic, 4.1 choleric, 2.7 sanguine and 2.1 phlegmatic. Obviously I need to work on my phlegm.

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Everything in balance

And that’s the important thing, right?

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

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Let’s get buzzy

Rebecca Black for BuzzFeed Music“Take a #BuzzFeedMusicBreak with Rebecca Black,” they said, and it proved to be more substantial than one might have thought, considering, well, Buzzfeed: for one thing, the “break” ran a solid 18 minutes, and for a more important thing, the two opening numbers were songs we haven’t heard before, songs we may see released one of those days. The first of them, an apparent ode to nighttime, is cheerfully catchy; she followed it with an ambiguous love song. The closer, inevitably, was “The Great Divide.” Did she work “Friday” into the program? Well, kinda sorta.

In other RB news, she’s doing a short show/meet-n-greet in Brooklyn on the 21st.

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Twice as decadent

A Web site that endures for twenty years is something unusual, inasmuch as the Web has been in common use for only about twenty-three. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been on here for two decades. Then again, Warner Bros. has kept the 1996 site for Space Jam alive all these years, and no one was entirely sure why.

Maybe this is the reason:

Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now. Space Jam is returning to theaters for TWO WHOLE DAYS in honor of the film’s upcoming twentieth anniversary, brought to you by Fathom Events and Warner Brothers. You’re going to want to click that link right away to find out your nearest location and buy tickets before they sell out, because NOBODY doesn’t love Space Jam.

It gets better, slightly:

To compound on the nostalgia factor, the nationwide screenings will also be accompanied by even more Looney Tunes merriment: a rare big-screen presentation of the cartoon short, “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat,” prior to the feature film.

If this sounds unbelievably vintage, you should know that “I Tawt…” is a mere child of five years, with Sylvester and Tweety dialogue scissored out of Mel Blanc’s 1950 single. (Granny, however, was voiced by the always-fresh June Foray, a mere 94 years old in 2011.)

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Low lights, big city

Holly Brockwell goes one up on Paul Simon:

Besides, she’s prettier than that Disturbed guy.

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Accentuate the negative

An Amazon reviewer described this shoe as “the most badly designed piece of footwear I have ever come across in my entire life,” and how could I not read that?

When I read that they have long straps that don’t tighten enough, I thought maybe I’d be OK since I have quite a high instep. In fact my feet are pretty chunky and wide too (I’m between a 4E and a 6E). But at their tightest pull, the straps on these STILL leave a noticeable gap above my foot, enough to stop them being secure when I walk. In fact the only way to get them anywhere near tight enough is to pull some of the velcro through the eye. And by that point, as people have pointed out, you have an absolutely ridiculous amount of excess strap to the point of it looking stupid.

So here am I, with quite a high instep, chunky and wide feet, a problem with swelling — and at least once a day, a strap pops out of position because there’s not enough of it. I ordered a pair. Problem solved. And yes, I gave him a “Yes, I found this review helpful,” because I did find it useful, even if my reaction is the exact opposite of his.

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Only slightly less Grizzly

The key to Memphis this year was supposed to be that the veterans were older, the newbies were newer, and the coach (David Fizdale) is in his first year in the top slot. (The Fizmeister was previously an assistant at Miami.) If the combination of these factors was supposed to mean that the Grizzlies were going to be easy, or at least easier, well, it didn’t happen that way in Tulsa, where the Thunder fouled all over the place, and when they weren’t fouling, they were turning the ball over. All the Griz had to do was not mess up, and for the most part, that’s exactly what they did; after falling behind 31-17 in the first quarter, Memphis buckled down and dispatched the Thunder, 110-94. It’s hard to imagine how OKC came up with 94 points after 35 personal fouls (the Griz took 44 free throws, making 34) and 28 turnovers. Then again, the Thunder roster is in decided flux, what with injuries all over the place. But it’s preseason, right? None of that stuff matters. Nor will it matter Sunday night, when the Timberwolves show up in Oklahoma City. I plan to keep telling myself that until the Real Season begins.

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Putting the “trophy” in “atrophy”

A bit from Steve Sailer while he was watching the debate (so I didn’t have to):

Hillary’s answer on how she’s shocked, shocked by Trump’s 2005 lewd comments would be pretty good except for the fact that the only reason she ever got higher in life than, say, a Congressman’s chief of staff is because she is married to Bill Clinton.

But you are supposed to vote for Hillary because she is a self-made woman. Or something.

That’s one of the weirdest things about this election: it’s obvious that Hillary’s main reason for being the Democratic nominee is that her husband is term limited out of a third term, the way Lurleen Wallace was elected governor of Georgia when George Wallace got term limited out of running. But we’re all supposed to act like Hillary has taken on the entire male sex by running for President, rather than coasting on her husband’s slipstream.

Consistent with this viewpoint, Lurleen’s 1966 general-election opponent, Congressman James D. Martin (R-Gadsden), claimed that she was merely a “proxy” candidate, a manifestation of her husband’s “insatiable appetite for power.” But truth be told, I’m pretty well convinced that Bill Clinton, at least these days, is indifferent to power, so long as he can exercise the perks; I have no doubt that were it not for the optics, Hillary would have hung him out to dry years ago.

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