Quote of the week

Pergelator on the major difficulty with waging war these days:

The big problem with military action is that it is done by governments, and given our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wouldn’t trust our government to go to the store for a jug of milk. Okay, they might be able to get the jug of milk, but they would have to borrow a billion dollars to equip their security forces to ensure that no one tampered with the jug on the way back.

Almost an argument for mercenaries, really. What’s Blackwater Xe Academi up to nowadays?

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A pretty ugly headline

From a recent Hackney Gazette:

Hackney Gazette headline: Missing Woman Remains Found

Mark Liberman said it best: “In some other place and time, perhaps there was a headline ‘Missing moonshine still discovered’.”.

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Strange search-engine queries (467)

If you’re new here: in this feature we sort through the logs and look for people’s search strings, and mock them when we can. This is partially in the spirit of Je suis Charlie — satire is the one true Fair Game — but mostly because we need to fill up this space on a Monday morning.

mazda 6 erratic shifting not starting:  Well, if it won’t start, what difference does it make how it shifts?

yujawang legs:  Find her piano, check just north of the pedals.

big daddy hamster:  Has his very own Man Cage.

“dosalike”:  Which will come in handy if anyone ever makes a followup to DESQview.

1968 hot 100 love machine:  And 57 years later, you can’t even get parts for it.

sox stereo to mono remix:  So basically, you’re looking to lose one sock?

Mazda 626 transmission leaks at extension housing:  Um, fix the leak.

94 mazda 626 transmission fluid boiling:  Well, thank God it isn’t leaking.

What is the code written in the illuminatium testament:  Probably COBOL. (There is no COBOL.)

how to reset nissan bluebird slphy seat belt after accident:  The body shop will do that for you, if there’s enough of the body left to send to the shop.

flakier than a biscuit:  Yes, sir, Mr. Vice President, sir.

jedediah bila stilletos:  Trust me, she takes those damn things off the moment she gets home.

“Rebecca Black is sweet”:  Just don’t get up in her face, or she’ll turn tart in a matter of moments. Her moments.

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Meanwhile across the yard

For a couple of years now, I’ve kept a backup blog at wordpress.com, mostly to explain why this one was down. With downtime seemingly diminishing these days — there have been some connectivity issues which probably relate to SiteMeter, but that’s another matter entirely — I’ve decided to drop in the occasional reblog from other wp.com sites, items that I feel like passing on but don’t have anything else to say about. A use-it-or-lose-it kind of deal, especially since I’m considering killing off one of my less-used domains.

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That one moment in the sun

Then again, we’re talking Yuma, Arizona, which gets a lot of sun. Curtis Lee was born in Yuma in 1939; in the middle 1960s he joined his father’s construction business, took it over entirely in 1969, and ran it well into the 21st century. Cancer got him this last week at the age of 75.

Why are we talking about an Arizona homebuilder? Because of this:

This was Lee’s third single for Ray Peterson’s Dunes label. Lee wrote the song with Tommy Boyce, before Boyce and Bobby Hart were a name-brand songwriting duo; Phil Spector (!) produced. In the background were the Halos, a doo-wop group from the Bronx who sang on another famed Spector production, Gene Pitney’s stirring “Every Breath I Take.”

Spector also produced the follow-up, “Under the Moon of Love,” another Boyce/Lee collaboration, which just missed the Top 40. (And the B-side, “Beverly Jean,” is a gem.) Further recordings went nowhere, and Lee went back home to Yuma to, yes, build houses.

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This may not garner more dates

I do not understand this request in the slightest:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How can I find a surgical body modification artist?

And this is the modification he desires:

I would like to ask a body modification artist if it would be possible to remove my testicles and use my scrotum to create a vagina below my penis. If it is possible, I’d ask if they have a rough guess as to cost. Any help in finding either the answers or an artist would be appreciated.

Please don’t tell me to think about it or give me alternative. I’ve thought about this and alternative for years and still have more time to think about it. Please only reply with answers, thank you.

Construction of the item desired is not, I am given to understand, overly difficult, though usually persons undergoing the procedure are having all the previous hardware — the exterior bits, anyway — removed. Last year I helped to fund one such procedure; the patient had asked for $6000, which she said was the amount not covered by health insurance. (In other news, some insurance policies apparently cover this sort of thing.) A subsequent patient without such coverage said that the price was closer to twenty grand, and was asking for fifteen.

While I can deal with those folks, I’m having trouble with the concept of Hermaphrodite After The Fact. British wiseguy Will Self wrote a couple of stories on the subject, neither of which could be said to end particularly happily. For now, I am working under the assumption that somebody told the questioner to go screw himself, and instead of taking umbrage he decided to fantasize about it.

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Made with the shade

I’m old enough to remember when Crayola had a crayon called “flesh”; about 1962 it dawned on them that hey, not all flesh is the same color, and they wound up renaming it “peach.”

This particular insight was still catching on in the middle to late 1970s, when a small Chicago company decided to get into the pantyhose business:

Sugar & Spice hosiery ad 1978

This ran at least twice in Ebony, though the real test, I suppose, would have been getting it into something like Ladies’ Home Journal. Then again, LHJ, facing the usual magazine woes, has cut back from monthly to quarterly publication; Ebony continues to put out 12 issues a year.

Madijo survived, so far as I can tell, into the middle 1980s, but by then the major mills had figured out that they needed new shades.

And if you’ve never seen a Parklane Hosiery store, neither have I. The last one apparently was in the Mall of Memphis, which died in 2003.

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I’ll take Continuous Exhibition for $1000, Alex

Now this may be an idea to conjure with:

Is such a thing technically feasible? I think it is. Even assuming the tapes of the old Art Fleming version are lost forever — which would be consistent with NBC tape-handling practice from the 1960s — there are about 7,000 episodes from the Alex Trebek days (1984 to present). At 48 episodes a day, they could go 20 weeks before having to repeat an episode, though it’s not likely they’d run a full 48: the temptation to turn the late-night hours into a venue for vendors may be too much to resist for niche channels.

So it’s doubtful whether such an enterprise would be financially feasible. But at any given moment on any given cable system, there are at least 60 programs less interesting than Jeopardy!

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Replete with chiefs

An amusing (for once) Oklahoman editorial this morning:

[W]e couldn’t help but chuckle when Democratic Leader Randy Bass of Lawton announced [Senate] caucus leadership positions and committee appointments. The leadership positions included one Democratic leader (Bass), two assistant Democratic leaders, a Democratic caucus chair, a Democratic caucus vice-chair, two Democratic whips, and four assistant Democratic floor leaders.

Which is, admittedly, a lot of positions to be filled by only seven legislators. (There were actually eight at the beginning of the year, but Jabar Shumate resigned a few days ago.)

Still, the electorate should not feel bad for the badly outnumbered Democratic caucus:

The Democrats’ numerical challenges also were reflected in their committee assignments. Every Democrat will serve on eight committees or appropriation subcommittees. As a point of comparison, there were Republican senators who served on just five committees or subcommittees last year. If Democratic legislators make every one of their assigned meetings, no one can accuse them of not giving the voters their money’s worth.

And you have to figure that the GOP isn’t going to hold 40 out of 48 seats forever, just out of sheer fractiousness.

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Proprietary crap

This is disheartening, but really not at all unexpected:

For those of you who have wondered whether a cat litter box could achieve the same functionality as an inkjet printer, CatGenie has the answer for you. Jorge Lopez covered his experience with his brand-new purchase at Medium, swiftly discovering the downside of the litter box that cleans itself. While it does take care of most of the nasty business (disposing of feces — although occasionally leaving one behind to be baked into “poop jerky” by the heated cleaning cycle), it only does so if properly loaded with specific products made and sold by CatGenie.

There is, for example, a cleaning solution, circulated through the machine’s permanent-ish granules. It comes in what is called a SmartCartridge. How smart is it?

Contained within the SmartCartridge is an RFID chip that tracks fluid levels and turns the automatic litter box into a useless stinkhole once the fluid runs out. It can’t be tricked into believing you’ve refilled it. It can only be replaced with a new one. Like any number of printers that won’t let you print/scan/copy without replacing an ink cartridge, the wonderful, self-cleaning litter box refuses to do anything but collect cat excrement until new cartridges are installed.

That’s a $200+ litter box that becomes indiscernible from the $6.99 non-auto version once the proprietary cleaning fluid runs out.

Hats off to Techdirt’s Tim Cushing for describing that particular condition as a “bricked shithouse.”

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A new Madrid

No, Spain is not moving its capital, nor is that scary fault line through the Missouri bootheel attracting more than perfunctory attention, except among geologists. “Madrid,” in this context, is a shoe from Klogs, which doesn’t appear to be an actual clog — I suppose we could see if there’s enough wood content to make them float — but which have a charm of their own.

Madrid by Klogs from their Villa Collection

From the Klogs Villa Collection, “Madrid” is available in Coffee Metallic (as shown), black, and white. The latter two colors have silver buckles. A Zappos customer likes them:

[I] have a high instep, wide toes, narrow heel, and I supinate and pronate. I have a history of falling arches with hairline fracture and tendonitis, not to mention diabetes and RA. The pain, swelling and fatigue in my feet, ankles, knees, hips and back are gone.

And Fillyjonk likes them:

I know there’s a school of thought that says women’s shoes should be alluring and “sexy.” And yeah, these shoes begin to approach the territory of what a college friend used to call “B.C. Shoes” (B.C. for “Birth Control,” as in “No man will look twice at you when you’re wearing these”).

But to be honest, any more, I dress to please myself rather than to please anyone else, and I like these shoes. I think they’re cute. And they’re definitely comfortable, which is a consideration when you spend multiple hours in a day standing on floors that are a thin layer of tile over poured concrete. They have good support built into the footbed, and I need that. They’re also not too flat, which is something else I need.

“Not too flat,” in this case, is about half an inch of heel rise.

The Villa Collection includes a couple of men’s shoes as well; assuming similar prices, they’d be worth my consideration if they made sizes larger than 13.

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Say hello, Bob

Up to this point, pretty much all the spammers putatively offering sexual services of one sort or another have claimed to be persons of the female persuasion. Then there’s “Robert,” who sent me this Thursday night:

My name is Robert, and this is the first time I write to a guy first. But I find you attractive and would like to chat about your interests.

Historically, men who find me appealing have been even rarer than women who find me appealing, so this was amusing for about forty-five seconds.

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Nikolina

Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva is not that overwhelming of a name, but it’s hard to fit on a marquee, which may explain how she became Nina Dobrev. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1989 — yesterday was her birthday, in fact — she grew up in Toronto. After several years as an unwed teenage mom on Degrassi: The Next Generation, she got the lead in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which has run six seasons so far.

I don’t think she’s changed much by all this exposure to the seamier side of (fictional) life. She’s a regular at the Coachella Music Festival, and in this shot from 2011 she looks all of eleven:

Nina Dobrev at the 2011 Coachella Music Festival

The chap with the hat is Vampire Diaries co-star Ian Somerhalder; they dated up until 2013 or so.

Nina Dobrev in a 2014 New York Post feature

Next up: The Final Girls, currently in post-production, about which we can say only this:

Max, a young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself transported back in time to 1988 and into the world of her mother’s most famous horror movie. Reunited, the ladies must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.

Probably not too serious, I surmise.

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A vaguely spiritual quality to it all

High weirdness all night. We begin with this revelation on Twitter:

Um, no, he’s not. And anyway, Waiters’ undistinguished Thunder debut on the Left Coast was pretty much offset by his second appearance: in 11 first-half minutes, he went 4-7 and stole the ball three times.

But Waiters won’t make the highlight reel, and Trevor Booker’s late-second-quarter bucket will: with 0.2 on the shot clock, Booker got the inbound facing away from the basket, and without turning around, he tipped the ball in the general direction of the rim. And it went in. “Grandma shot,” quipped Brian Davis.

The Jazz didn’t work too many miracles tonight, but they outworked the Thunder in the first 44 minutes or so. Finally OKC scraped to a 92-90 lead. Conspicuously, Waiters was playing and Reggie Jackson wasn’t. And with 23 seconds left, Waiters served up his first successful trey of the night, making it 97-93. Gordon Hayward made one of two foul shots, pulling the Jazz to within three; Russell Westbrook put down one of his patented dunks, Serge Ibaka swatted away the last Utah shot, and Westbrook dribbled it out for the 99-94 win.

Waiters ended up with 15 of the 26 OKC bench points and four steals. Among the starters, Westbrook posted a double-double (25 points on 9-17 shooting, 12 assists), and Kevin Durant turned in a very Durantean 32 points on 14-21. Possibly alarming: Jackson was 2-6, Anthony Morrow was 1-6. And while Serge Ibaka did grab 12 points and seven boards, he blocked only one shot.

Speaking of blocks, the Jazz practically monopolized them, to the tune of 11-5; Rudy Gobert had seven of them. Utah also controlled the boards, 44-38. Three Jazz starters broke the 20-point mark: Hayward with 27, Booker with 20, and Derrick Favors collected a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Where did the Jazz go wrong? They left seven points at the stripe, 15-22 on foul shots. (Then again, OKC was 8-9, scoring, um, seven points fewer.) And while Utah put up 11 treys in the first half and scored seven of them, all 10 of their second-half three-pointers failed, which I suspect was at least partially due to Scott Brooks making some noise at halftime about how little long-ball defense the Thunder were showing.

And now: six days off. What are we to do? Speculate, of course.

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As distinguished from “card-carrying”

This is a press release, of course, and like most of its ilk, it assumes that those who read it will be overly impressed by it. Include me out:

Popular nudist dating site NudistDatingSites.net recently launched a new feature named “Certified Nudist.” This feature is similar to the verification option available on most dating sites.

Translation: “We’re adding a feature that everyone else already has.”

Now this next bit seems indisputable, which is probably why it was buried in the third graf:

Whilst online dating has certainly made it convenient for users to find their ideal match from the convenience of their couch, it has also given rise to several issues. “A lot of people confuse nudism with exhibitionism. They fail to understand the core idea behind nudism and look at it as a way to find a sex partner. When such people get onto nudist dating sites, it creates inconvenience for genuine nudists,” said psychologist Pauline Brown.

I am, I admit, curious about what goes into this “verification” program, because surely it has to be more than this:

The primary motive behind the launch of this feature is to differentiate a genuine user from a scammer. In order to become a certified nudist on this website, a member would have to put up their real photo. On the other hand, if the profile belongs to a couple, both the individuals need to be present in the photograph.

This invites a couple of obvious questions:

  • What’s to stop a scammer from disrobing?
  • If couples are allowed on a dating site, should we assume that either swinging or polyamory are on the agenda?

Disclosure: Once upon a time, I was a member of a social network aimed at this subculture; it folded after a couple of years. They didn’t require photos, but photos were, let us say, strongly encouraged.

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Reporting from a very wet garage

At some unknown point between 10 last night and 6 this morning, my garage began filling up with water. I’m not at the point where I have the plumbers on speed-dial, but I do have their phone number memorized, and they dispatched, luckily for me, a chap who’d been here before.

Now this house was built in 1948, and a garage was added on in 1951; when the big boom in home laundry equipment came, the path of least resistance was to install the washer/dryer pair in the garage. It’s only two steps from what used to be the back door, but there’s a substantial environmental difference. In 1997, in an effort to reduce that difference, the owners installed batt-type insulation along the outside garage walls and sheathed it with plywood. This works better than you might think it would: on the coldest day I can remember since buying this place in 2003 — this would be 10 February 2011, when the mercury dropped to -5°F — the garage was still in the upper 20s. Still, there’s always the danger of water-line freeze, even with the lines tucked away into that insulated space.

Freezing, however, didn’t seem likely: it was 27°F this morning, so it would have to have been a byproduct of yesterday’s low of 11°F — though garage temperature that morning was a balmy-ish 38°F. And no, it was not frozen: I had the unfortunate combination of a rubber line to the washing machine that had split, and the faucet to which it was connected following its natural Spew procedure. New lines were obtained — I figure, if one’s gone, the other can’t be far behind — and the faucet was inspected and found merely to be full of looseness. Things are gradually returning to normal, though the concrete floor (and the rug that sits over some of it) will remain wet for a few hours yet.

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