Degrees of discomfort

Lifted in its entirety from Morgan Freeberg’s Facebook wall:

Furnace just came on. I’m going to go get myself another beer and shut off the furnace.

An idea for an invention that will pay for the seven-building mansion: A secure electronic lock you put on the thermostat, that can only be unlocked with a SCROTUM. Let’s just face it, okay? This time of year, every married man North of Tijuana who pays bills, wishes for something like that.

And if she wants it to be 72 degrees all-the-time-everywhere so badly she’s ready to chop off your balls, you probably weren’t going to keep ’em anyway.

This is probably not the time to note that I keep my house around 74 unless the HVAC is audibly straining to maintain that temperature.

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That crap is dangerous

The year I started grade school, my poor choice of base-running options during a game of kickball landed me about waist-deep in a metal can of raw sewage. I suppose it’s a good thing that at almost seven, I hadn’t started smoking or anything:

A cesspool filled with excrement exploded in a central Chinese city, injuring 15 residents and toppling a building on Saturday, police said.

Police in Zhangjiajie city, Hunan Province, believed it was an accident when a man surnamed Ding was burning waste outside his derelict house and near the cesspool at about 5 p.m.

Police said the fire ignited the methane emanated from the pit and caused the blast. The house has been abandoned since 2006.

Fortunately, China’s sterling environmental record insures that incidents of this sort are few and far between.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Time your shopping accordingly

Lynn perhaps dreads doing the routine shopping for this particular week:

Today I need to go to the store and I’m in a bit of a panic about what to get and about remembering everything I need for the whole week so I won’t have to go back out on the day before Thanksgiving, or worse, the day after. Although, the grocery stores shouldn’t be too bad on Black Friday? Also, I’ve noticed in previous years when we drove past Walmart later in the afternoon on Black Friday that the parking lot is almost deserted so I guess all the craziness happens early in the morning then everyone goes home and passes out or something.

I generally avoid anything that smacks of retail on Black Friday myself, but then that’s just me.

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All this and Superman too

By general assent, the number-one pinup among GIs in World War II was Betty Grable; you could make a pretty good case, though, for Noel Neill as Number Two, especially if you had these pix lying around:

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1944

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1945

This latter shot came from Paramount’s publicity mill, inasmuch as the studio had just signed her to a contract:

Noel Neill in a Paramount publicity still, circa 1941

She had a brief nonspeaking appearance in An American in Paris in 1951, but she is best remembered these days as Lois Lane, the spunky Daily Planet reporter who never could quite figure out that Kent fellow. She did two Superman serials; Phyllis Coates played the first year of the Adventures of Superman TV series, but had already made other commitments before anyone knew there’d be a second year, so Neill returned to the role. There is, as there should be, a statue of her in Metropolis. Today is her 95th birthday.

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61*

It’s a year, a number of years, and a time to reflect that there may actually be some crying in baseball — and some laughs, too.

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Buncha gubers

The Z Man, I surmise, would just as soon take a cab:

The new buzz phrase is “sharing economy” which is as devoid of meaning and value as the people who like to use it. The vapid hipsters love prattling on about Uber and how it is “disruptive” as if that’s always a good thing. Earthquakes are disruptive. The Black Plague was disruptive. Like everything else today, Uber is about signaling. You’re a beautiful person if you think Uber is the best. You’re a loser if you think it sounds like a handful of sharpies convincing hipsters to be gypsy cab drivers at below market rates.

That’s the thing about the “sharing economy.” It is not new. Ross Perot got rich doing much the same thing in the 70s and 80’s. In the old days, computers were expensive. Companies would sell their idle time to guys like Perot who would find customers in need or processing power, but lacking the money to buy their own mainframe. It was the technological equivalent of the oxpecker bird and rhino. The bird picks ticks and parasites from the hide of the rhino and functions as a warning system. The rhino can live without the bird, but lives better with him.

And when computers became commodity items — well, Perot Systems is now owned by Dell, which has come a long way from the parts-assembly operation Michael Dell ran out of his UT Austin dorm room.

So this is where things are:

Back then, the companies renting the time had an expensive asset they want to maximize. The renter was looking for a lower cost alternative to the million dollar mainframe. Cabs are cheap. No one gets rich driving a cab. How desperate do you have to be to be an Uber driver? How hard up are you if you want to take a ride from some hard up weirdo you met on-line?

Forty years ago a symbiotic relationship between mainframe users was a temporary solution to bridge the gap between the now and better future. Uber represents a desperate attempt to squeeze the remaining juice from the lemon of the modern economy. It is the equivalent of a widow taking in laundry and boarders in order to pay rent. It’s not something signaling a better future. It is a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable decline.

It doesn’t help that technology scourge Al Franken is now pressing Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick over alleged user-privacy violations.

(Disclosure: My son has occasionally driven for Uber. He is not, I assure you, a hard-up weirdo.)

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Kind of a floaty ride

I’ve seen exactly one of these in my life. The Tupelo Automobile Museum has another one, in decidedly better shape:

Amphicar at Tupelo Automobile Museum

About 3500 Amphicars were produced between 1960 and 1968, priced starting at $3395. One of those coffee-table collector’s books describes it thusly:

Superb neither on water or land, but nonetheless the world’s only amphibious passenger car. Designed by Hans Trippel and powered by a Triumph Herald four-cylinder engine, it did what its maker claimed: run on the road (68 mph tops), sail on water (7 knots maximum) without sinking (rubber gaskets seal the doors; a bilge pump is available if the scupper-level rises). A transfer case handles the drive to twin props, and water navigation is via the steering wheel (the front wheels act as rudders). The sure cure for marina fees, yacht club sharks, and people who want to borrow your boat.

The Museum itself contains about 150 cars from the collection of the late Frank K. Spain, founder of WTWV (now WTVA) in Tupelo, a character in his own right:

Spain hoped to parlay his good relations with NBC officials into getting his new station an affiliation with the network. However, several NBC executives believed Tupelo was not a desirable place for a local station because of its rural location, even though most viewers in northern Mississippi could only get NBC via grade B coverage from WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee and WAPI-TV (now WVTM-TV) in Birmingham, Alabama). Nonetheless, they told Spain that if he could figure out a way to obtain a network signal, he could carry it.

Spain allegedly negotiated under-the-table deals with WMC-TV and set up a network of microwave relays and repeater systems to carry the WMC-TV signal to Tupelo. Station engineers then switched to and from the signal when network programming aired. This setup, necessary in the days before satellites, enabled WTWV to bring NBC programming to northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama.

You got to figure a guy like that would appreciate a car that floats.

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Persistence is further rewarded

About a year ago, I finally picked up a clue about a record I once owned and largely forgot, and duly posted the research I’d done so far. The conclusion:

Wingate, it appeared, owned a piece of this independent-ish label called Volkano, with a K, which would issue four singles during its short lifespan, including one by a fellow named Bob Santa Maria. (It is suspected that Bob’s real last name was Seger.) The first issue on Volkano was “The Beginning of the End,” by Little John and Tony; “Tony” was Pete Saputo, also known as Anthony Raye — the more pseudonyms, the better, am I right? — and “John” was producer John Rhys, who co-wrote the song with longtime Detroit bassist Dennis Coffey. Coffey also arranged the record, and, most important from my point of view, still had a copy of it.

Now if I could just find a copy on YouTube — or, better yet, iTunes.

Well, looky here:

While this track definitely meets the description of “60s Garage USA,” the Tombstone Records compilation Die Today, per this listing on RYM, does not contain this track. It does, however, contain a track called “I Love Her So,” by Moby Dick and the Whalers, from legendary seaport Midwest City, Oklahoma.

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It’s not even Scottish

The nation is awash in sports radio stations with silly names. In this market alone, we have to deal with the Sports Animal, the Ref, the Game, the Franchise, and the Pro. I assure you, this sort of naming is not required:

There are lots of sports stations called The Fan, The Ticket, The Score, and tons of those ESPN stations, but there’s only one station that’s Talking Sports KRAP 24 hours a day. It’s Sports KRAP.

Yeah, we know what you’re saying. “Dude, is this for real? A radio station named KRAP? You’re probably some internet-only station broadcasting from the basement of some guy’s Mom’s house.”

No, we’re for real. We’re an FCC licensed radio station broadcasting at 1350 Kilohertz pounding out a whopping 500,000 milliwatts. But we do realize that we’re KRAP. In fact, our transmitter is KRAP. Our signal is KRAP. Our studios are KRAP. Even our staff is KRAP.

KRAP is in Washington, Missouri, the Corncob Pipe Capital of the World, about halfway between St. Louis and Jefferson City. Those 500 watts (yes, we do the math around here) reach to within about ten miles of each, suggesting that the FCC knew what it was doing when it approved this facility. (At night, they drop to 84 watts, which barely gets out of town.)

Station owner Brad Hildebrand speaks:

Hildebrand tells the Post-Dispatch that it’s a set of call letters he’s wanted since he was 12 years old. But to get KRAP he first needed to wait until the call sign was released from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “When I tell people my call letters are KRAP, nobody forgets that,” he says.

Twelve. Yeah. Sounds about right. (He’s pushing 60 now.)

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Strange search-engine queries (460)

And here we are again, with another set of Actual Search Strings that brought people to this very site. We do this once a week because frankly it pains us to look through the tediousness of quotidian log entries.

“rob lincoln” “5 cents a song” tongue and groove:  Lincoln’s on the penny, so we’re actually robbing him five times as much.

crackhead hooker in chucktown:  Right now, she’s busy robbing Lincoln.

mangu shep boobs image:  I’m guessing this probably isn’t Old Shep.

penthouse letters pony tales:  Oh, dear, Blueblood’s been writing to Bob Guccione again.

xxx little dashie brothers Sister:  Sorry, we’re not doing pony pr0n here.

favorate hebephilia pictures:  That either.

Sexy Village Girl Very Excited on her First:  Amazing how people can have such specific fantasies and yet are so tediously generic in Real Life.

joanne crawford charged sapulpa:  In a better economy, she could charge as much as Jenks.

mazda fn4a-el how many miles:  How about 300? Is 300 good for you?

old ilfs:  No ilfs of that ilk, sorry.

there was speculation leading up to the november election that some city council members called “Courageous” such as the street user fee:  Nothing of the kind: it requires no courage to invent new taxes.

will a CD4E fit in a 1999 cougar:  Probably, if you can find one that isn’t totally crap.

opposite of nostalgia:  TV Land.

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A colder war than usual

During a second-quarter lull, radio guy Matt Pinto ventured the opinion that if these Warriors played their cards right, they could wind up in the Finals. They didn’t have a particularly hot hand tonight — Golden State’s shooting prowess seemed to fail them from time to time — but they cashed enough aces to slide by the Thunder, 91-86, the Warriors’ tenth win and the Thunder’s twelfth loss.

Still, the Warriors are nothing if not persistent, and when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson cooled off, reserve forward Marreese Speights took over, hitting 11-28 on the way to a game-high 28 points. (Thompson finished with 20, Curry 15.) Yet the mind boggles at a Golden State team shooting a mere 35.5 percent. (The Thunder were, um, 35.6.) And two other Warrior mainstays — Andre Igoudala and Andrew Bogut — retired early with physical damage.

And there’s that dreaded Consistency Factor that continues to elude Oklahoma City. Serge Ibaka, for instance, checked in with 16 points, but he shot a dim 5-17 from the floor. Jeremy Lamb hit all his foul shots (five), none of his field goals (six). The Thunder did haul in the bulk of the rebounds tonight (58-51), 12 by Anthony Morrow and 11 by Reggie Jackson, but the Warriors had all the dimes (26 versus 13). Jackson’s 22 for the night was respectable; but 26 shots to get it, not so much. OKC was never really out of it, but you have to wonder how much they were really in it.

The homestand continues Wednesday with a visit from the Jazz, a day off for Turkey Day, and a Friday-night clash with the Knicks. Visions of 3-29, alas, are still dancing in my head.

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Broke into the wrong database, didn’t you?

This isn’t technically funny, yet the laughs will not subside:

Hackers seized a database from the City of Detroit earlier this year before unsuccessfully demanding $800,000 in Bitcoin.

The failed extortion attempt back in April was disclosed by Detroit mayor Mike Duggan at the North American International Cyber Summit conference on Monday.

The stolen database wasn’t needed by the cash-strapped city so the ransom was never paid, according to local reports.

I mean, really. Extorting money from Detroit, of all places? You’d have better luck trying to sell snow shovels in San Diego.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity. Of course.)

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Funky kicks going down in the city

Last week, Jeanine Pirro sent up a shoefie — a more-or-less spontaneous photo of her shoes of the moment — to Instagram. (You may have seen it here.) Apparently this is something she does on a regular basis, and these heels appeared Saturday night:

Jeanine Pirro's Nicholas Kirkwood heels

She didn’t say whether she’d walked to work in them.

This appears to be Nicholas Kirkwood’s “Ava” sandal with a 105mm heel. Kirkwood sells these from his UK Web storefront for £616.67, which might as well be a thousand dollars.

I just wish she’d sent up a picture of the white dress she wore for her TV show that night.

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From the Department of Earworms

Obsessed with doomed romances as I am, I was inevitably drawn to Richard Donner’s film Ladyhawke, in which Matthew Broderick Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer play a couple living under a curse: “always together; eternally apart.” I wasn’t quite sure what New Zealand musician Phillipa Margaret “Pip” Brown was thinking when she adopted “Ladyhawke” as a stage name, but she does put out some cursedly listenable tunes, such as this 2008 number, which somehow did not chart in the States:

And I have to admit, I wonder what all those cars are doing at the end of the video.

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Quote of the week

Terry Teachout, in his obituary for Mike Nichols:

Nichols made his name in the Fifties by improvising supremely sharp-witted comedy routines with Elaine May. The lightning-quick timing that he cultivated on nightclub stages served him well when he took up directing in 1963. During a rehearsal for the Broadway premiere of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, he got into a shouting match with Walter Matthau. “You’re emasculating me!” the actor shouted. “Give me back my balls!” “Certainly,” Nichols replied, then snapped his fingers to summon the stage manager. “Props!”

Oh, Matthau got over it; he won a Tony Award for playing Oscar Madison, balls and all. (And Nichols got one for his direction.)

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Let’s all get bewbs for the holidays

I’m obviously not a board-certified plastic surgeon, so don’t ask me how the frack these are supposed to work:

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe is the brain behind 24-hour “try before you buy” saline injections known as the “Insta Breast,” which made news in late August. Now, according to ABC News, he’s come up with a new injection that will let you live your life with breasts one to one-and-a-half cup sizes bigger for up to three weeks, helping solidify whether or not you really want implants full time. “You can use 3D imaging and put implants in bras,” he told ABC, “but it’s another thing to see what the weight will actually feel like and what it will be like to live with the new breasts.” The name “vacation breasts” comes from Rowe’s vision that women will want to try out a fuller look for special occasions, like weddings, anniversaries or that beach getaway where you’ll be in a swimsuit the whole time.

I want to know what happens after those three weeks are up. Does the mysterious stuff just drain away? And, perhaps more important, is there any warning when it does? You’d hate like hell to be out somewhere in a strapless and then suddenly become strapless-less.

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