Nor will it stay dead

The auto company once known as Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH, founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach, wound down operations after World War II, and Daimler-Benz bought what was left of it in 1960. For some reason, forty years later Daimler decided to revive the make as an ultra-lux brand — sort of a Mercedes-Benz SS-Class, if you know what I mean — positioning it against the likes of Rolls-Royce. Between 2002 and 2011, Maybach moved about 3000 cars, about what Rolls-Royce did in any one of those years, and the badge was quietly put back into the vault.

Now it’s coming out again:

Once a name best known for providing a platform for Kanye West’s and Jay Z’s Mad Maxian fantasies, Maybach is set to return from the grave under the bright lights of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as a Mercedes model.

Car and Driver reports the Maybach will be around 18 feet in length, slotting between the S550 and the deceased Maybach 57, according to head of global design, Gordon Wagener.

Other features include a turbocharged V12, rear-wheel drive, Mercedes’ Magic Body Control suspension, luxurious materials, and a badge here and there to let the proletariat know a god and/or goddess is being chauffeured, not some Silicon Valley dirtbag.

The 57, in case you’d forgotten, was so called because it stretched 5.7 meters, out there with the late, lamented Buick Electra 225. (There was an even-longer 62, which made it four inches past the twenty-foot mark.)

Something this size ought to seat about eight; I expect it will hold just about half that many.

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Thoroughly bebopped

Nobody is expecting much from the just-out-of-blankies Utah Jazz this season. Still, they’d won four of six preseason games before wandering into Oklahoma City, and all five Jazz starters rolled up double figures well before the official beginning of garbage time, inside the four-minute mark. (Enes Kanter led everyone with 27 points.) It’s a situation we’ve seen before: the Thunder can defend, but they foul. They foul a lot. Utah took 41 foul shots, more than two-thirds of them in the first half, collecting 30 points. (OKC attempted 26, made 13.) And scoring is intermittent at best: the Thunder managed to hit ten of 22 three-point shots, but managed only four fast-break points all night. So the Jazz walk away with a 105-91 win — the seventh time out of seven OKC gives up a triple-digit score — and we get to wonder Wha’Hoppen?

It wasn’t all dross, of course: no game in which Nick Collison can make two treys can be considered a total loss, and training-camp invitee Michael Jenkins managed to create a +10 for the night without making a shot. What’s more, Perry Jones came up with 20 points despite bricking five free throws. Anthony Morrow is calm and collected and occasionally accurate; Serge Ibaka is starting to look like the Serge Protector of old. And Russell Westbrook (14 points, 11 assists) pitched no hissy fits.

Still, from about five minutes in, the Jazz looked like they owned the place, and since they have to come back twice more during the regular season — did I mention this was a preseason game? — well, this can’t be allowed to stand, especially if the Jazz are supposed to suck. Meanwhile, we look forward to the first regular-season game, a week from tomorrow, in the Rose Garden Moda Center.

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Swift entanglements

This Australian radio interview of Taylor Swift is — oh, who cares? It’s Taylor Swift, fercryingoutloud:

I snagged this still from Twitter:

Taylor Swift on 2DayFM Sydney

The 1989 album, as I may have mentioned before, drops next week.

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Meanwhile, a couple of miles away

Of late, Western Avenue has been known for medium to upper-crust eateries and cute little shops and brick walls.

The walls have been addressed here:

The final touches were applied late Sunday, in preparation for Taste of Western Thursday evening.

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Rhymes with “flatten ‘em”

Way back in those dear, dead days of 1976, the Recording Industry Association of America proclaimed a new certification: Platinum, which was twice as high as Gold. A gold record in those days required sales of one million singles, or 500,000 albums, so this was an aspirational goal. (The first platinum album was Eagles: Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which everyone has but me.) In 1989, as the singles market was evaporating, the RIAA cut the threshold for singles by half, but a platinum album still had to sell a million.

This year, the number of platinum albums is … one. And it’s a soundtrack, yet: to Disney’s Frozen. No individual artist or band has come even close to moving a million:

The two records nearest the magic number are Beyoncé’s self-titled album and Lorde’s Pure Heroine, but neither have even crossed the 800,000 mark, with sales of both having tapered off months ago.

Then again, Taylor Swift’s 1989 drops next week. I mention purely in passing that “Shake It Off,” the lead single, has already moved two million copies.

There were, as it happens, sixty platinum singles this year. As they did at the beginning of what the late Casey Kasem used to call the Rock Era, singles rule the popular-music market once more.

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Velocirapture

Well, I do know someone who would wear these:

Venus by John Fluevog

John Fluevog explains what this shoe is all about:

Inspired by fashion-forward members of the Cretaceous period, The Queen of the Skies Family takes a step back to a time when spikes were all the rage. The Venus, with its soft, Italian suede and stunning 4″ pillar heel, is the perfect companion to charm that sexy Paleontologist you’ve been eyeing with your best Deinonychus impression (and if you know what that is, you’re totally in).

Also in black, at the same $339 price.

(Seen here.)

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Who put the bömp?

Opening statistic: Iceland has only 320,000 people, about as many as Corpus Christi, Texas. That number makes this more believable:

[T]wo random Icelanders have about as much in common as second cousins, once removed, according to Dr. Kári Stefansson, CEO and co-founder of deCODE Genetics. That might sound like a lot, but accounting for the vast possibilities for genetic recombination in each generation, it really isn’t.

A consequence of this genetic similarity:

A collaborative venture between deCODE and software engineer Friðrik Skúlason, the Íslendingabók site developed as a corollary to deCODE’s genealogical research. “The reason why we have been able to lead the world in genetic research,” Kári Stefansson says, “is because we understand the structure of Iceland’s population so well.” DeCODE has an advantage over “the big guys in human genetics” because the organisation has intimate understanding of Icelandic genealogy, he says. “Our history is mapped in our DNA.”

DeCODE has attracted no small amount of international press over the years, but it is unlikely that its student app competition would have created such fervour now were it not for one of the novelty features of the winning ÍslendingaApp: the Sifjaspellspillir or “Incest Spoiler” alarm which alerts a user if the person she plans on going home with is a near relation. Using the app’s “new bömp technology,” users can tap their phones together and see how closely they are related. If the alarm has been activated — it’s turned off in default settings — it will either erupt with a discouraging siren, or issue a gleeful “No relation: go for it!” message, while a Barry White-esque voice urges you on with a subtle “Oh, Yeeeaaah.”

There are parts of the US, I am told, where an application of this sort might be useful.

(Via TYWKIWDBI.)

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Czardonic

Recent administrations, rather than trying to get anything out of those damn bureaucrats, have appointed so-called “czars” to take control of a matter without any of that tedious “responsibility” business. This works about as well as you might think, though clearly the process could be improved:

I would not mind the office so much if the office-holders, like some blood-soaked versions of dollar-a-year men, took it with the understanding that it would end with internal exile followed by a firing squad.

Even external exile would work, provided the location is suitably difficult to escape. Heck, if we rocketed them into the sun, we wouldn’t even need the firing squad.

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Oblivious to the winds

Stephen Gough, a skinny fiftysomething Brit, is known all over the UK as the Naked Rambler, having once walked the entire length of Great Britain, from Land’s End to John o’Groats, in his birthday suit, a trip that was delayed several times by unwanted attention from the legal authorities, who claimed that, well, he just couldn’t do that sort of thing; a second attempt was similarly interrupted.

There are a hardy few who think this is a great thing Gough is doing, though they doubt he’ll ever succeed:

I belong to a group of people who like Stephen believe in personal freedom and the right of us all to live as we please but the big difference is that unlike Stephen, I am not willing to give up my freedom to pursue my beliefs. If I and 1000s more had the same strength and belief as Stephen, then it would become a movement of freedom and there could be protests in pursuit of what we believe in. This is not going to happen! We are NOT going to get 1000s of naked people sitting in the streets demanding freedom. There just is not enough appetite for such action. Even if there were 1000s of people protesting on behalf of naturism, there will be far more who don’t agree and majority will win.

And Her Majesty’s Government has been shrewd enough to put Gough under an ASBO: even if he happens not to be breaking local nudity laws, which appear a bit more lax than those in the States, they can always haul him in for violating the terms of the ASBO. So they’ve got him coming and going.

Besides, hardly anyone wants anything goes, 24/7/365:

[T]here are limitations on activities even at naturists resorts. For example some people enjoy sex in the open, but they cannot do that even at Cap d’Agde which is the most advanced naturist resort I know. Those who try are subjected to the full force of the law as they would be anywhere in the world if caught in the act at a public place. The point being, we all live with certain limitations all the time, no matter where we are or who we are.

However, it is possible to do what you want in most cases if you respect others and have a balance in our life, which allows us to enjoy life and push the barrier a little at a time without declaring all-out war and suffering the consequences.

And let’s face it, this is not on the level of, say, the civil-rights movement in the US in the Fifties and Sixties: I would look silly trying to claim that my freedom is being circumscribed by not being able to traipse through the Men’s Furnishings department at Von Maur wearing only shoes and a smile. It would be nice, though, if the government didn’t spaz out if I went out that way to fetch the newspaper from the driveway.

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Benzifying man

In the November issue, Car and Driver’s Aaron Robinson describes their tested Mercedes-Benz C400 4Matic as “solid and Benzily secure.” As adverbification of an automotive marque goes, this is pretty euphonious: “Benzily, Benzily, Benzily, Benzily, life is but a dream,” especially if you can pony up $61,755, which is E-Class money, for a spiffed up C-Class. And besides, anyone with road experience in an older Mercedes — even I, who had only a few minutes in a Seventies-vintage 240D with acceleration at the lawn-tractor level — knows the feeling of being Benzily secure: it’s like having a bank vault around you.

Still, what I care about here is the word itself. While the Mercedes half of the name is long and inflexible, Benz enters into compounds nearly as avidly as oxygen: already I’m contemplating the FWD demi-lux buggy coming from Daimler, which will also be sold by Infiniti as the Q30 after, I assume, serious deBenzification.

One can play this game all day long. Complain about the indifferent Lincoln product line? You’ve just called for increased — or maybe decreased — Forditude. Quality problems with the ATS and CTS sedans can be traced to Cadillaxity. And if the two of you were getting jiggy in a Tahoe … well, never mind.

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Strange search-engine queries (455)

What we have here, to be out front about it, is a sampling of search strings that brought people to this very site, and there being over twenty-two thousand pages on said site, it’s surprisingly difficult to construct a search string that can’t land here — which ought to make things easier for me, but seldom does.

will a mazda protege transmission work in a mazda 626:  Won’t work. But go ahead and buy one from the salvage yard. They thrive on stuff like that.

can mazda capella 626 carburator engine be replaced with EFI engine?  Won’t work. But go ahead and buy one from the salvage yard. They thrive on stuff like that.

sexy mature sunbathing with her friends strips to masterbate for them .com:  Mama’s boy never quite grows up, does he?

oklahoma city police drug watch at 625 sw 5 73109:  Yes, guy with iPhone, they’re looking at you.

cute redhead haley walker:  Much more interesting to watch than druggies on SW 5th Street.

dyssynergy dresses:  So badly accessorized that not even cute redheads can wear them.

hot weman that show it all oklahoma:  Is this one of those druggies down on 5th Street?

bollocks past tense:  Never mind the bollocks, unless they’ve been tense for at least four hours; then seek medical attention.

“she only wants to be friends” -ex:  Could she possibly make it any more obvious? Just don’t let it affect the bollocks.

soulmate “previous commitment” “nine years”:  “The one I love,” sang Mr Sinatra, “belongs to somebody else.” So it’s not like you’re experiencing something new and different. Check your bollocks.

phishing amazon canceled:  Oh, yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

or you’ll go the way of the USSR: lots of tanks but no air conditioning:  I hear Siberia is very [redacted] this time of year.

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All Wolves, all the time

Well, not all the time: briefly in the first quarter, the Thunder, still suffering Roster Depletion Syndrome, managed to claim the lead. It was straight down the slope after that, with Minnesota up 23-19 after the first, 49-40 at the half, 82-68 after three, and 112-94 when it was all over.

Today’s version of a starting five: Westbrook, Roberson, Morrow, Ibaka, Adams. They looked … okay, but not much better than that. The bench got a little better as time wore on, but not enough to make a serious dent in the Wolves’ lead. Your Telltale Statistic: Five Minnesota reserves scored in double figures. Thunder? One: Perry Jones, with 21, admittedly a game high. And a couple more numbers jumped out at me: Minnesota pulled off 17 steals, and the Thunder coughed the ball up six times more on their own, while the Wolves suffered only eight turnovers, two steals among them. Anthony Morrow clanked all five of his trey attempts, though he was 5-8 from closer in. And while the Thunder’s shooting has improved a tad, 41 percent is not going to win many games. Still, they did go after the rebounds, and retrieved 50 of them. It’s just that they didn’t turn many of them into actual points.

Tuesday night, the Jazz come to town for the last preseason game. For what it’s worth, Kendrick Perkins did make the trip to Tulsa, so maybe there’s a chance he’ll be able to snarl at the Utahns. At this point, you’ll take any positive signs you can get, and by “you” I mean me.

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What’s the upchuck factor on this?

I figured out somewhere just before the credits, but no sooner, that Clueless was basically an update of Jane Austen’s Emma, with Cher Horowitz demonstrably “handsome, clever and rich.” But you could have done something unspeakable to me with a chainsaw when a reader of HelloGiggles determined that Heathers is actually derived from Moby-Dick, and not just because Shannen Doherty is reading it, either:

The whale (an elusive, incredibly powerful white whale) = all three Heathers (an elusive, incredibly powerful group of mean girls).

I can tell you’re stunned at the brilliance of this theory already.

Ahab = J.D.

This makes total sense when you think about it. Ahab has a crazy, single-minded obsession with killing the whale. J.D. has a crazy, single-minded obsession with killing the popular kids (the Heathers).

Ishmael = Veronica. Obviously, the narrators align. We see both worlds through their eyes. No, I am not on drugs right now.

And then we have the overlapping themes in both Moby-Dick and Heathers: revenge, defiance, friendship, madness, and death.

It gets better. And the survivor count at the end: Moby-Dick, 1; Heathers, 1.

Then again, to quote Ishmael:

All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side.

I’m sold — apart from Melville’s utter failure to anticipate strip croquet, anyway.

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The cruelty of the clown

Deep in his thermoplastic little heart, Ronald McDonald must truly hate us:

McDonald’s is going to be stingy with their McRib this year, which is unfortunate because that’s probably one of the only menu items people get excited for.

According to CNBC, McDonald’s isn’t going to do a national rollout, instead it will only be offered at “participating restaurants.” McDonald’s will be letting each individual store make the decision if they feel it should be carried there.

#3384 (1525 Northwest Distressway)? #6528 (6700 North May)? I’m looking at you.

(Via Fark.)

Addendum: Moe Lane sees complaints of this sort as traffic builders.

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Keeping it bottled up

Meanwhile in Dubai, a land largely populated by twenty-first-century Jed Clampetts, a marriage has broken down:

A court granted a divorce to a man after he discovered that his wife was possessed by a djinn and refused to go to bed with him.

The man lodged a divorce case against the woman after she repeatedly refused to have sex with him and her family informed him that she was possessed by a djinn.

Records said the Arab man tolerated his wife for a period of time as she persistently refused to go to bed with him.

However, the woman finally asked him to try to discuss the issue with her parents, who informed the husband that several religious scholars had failed to exorcise the djinn.

The Dubai Sharia Court awarded the husband the divorce and asked him to pay around Dh40,000 in maintenance to his ex-wife.

Tony Nelson was not available for comment.

(Via Newser, which I always thought ought to be “Newsr.”)

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Quote of the week

InStyle’s fashion news editor Eric Wilson chatted with fashion reporter Teri Agins (in the November issue) on the subject of Agins’ new book, Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers (New York: Gotham Books, 2014), and somewhere in the middle of things Wilson posed this question:

I still have conflicting feelings about Kanye West’s fashion collection in 2011. Should we have held him to a different standard because he’s a celebrity? He continues to bring up his treatment by the media and our negative reaction to his desire to become the world’s next top designer.

Agins replied:

Kanye raised his hand and decided that this was what he wanted to do. It wasn’t like he was going to try to sell a few snorkel jackets at Macy’s, like Sean Combs. He wanted to be like Balenciaga or Tom Ford. Bless his heart. He’s a talented entertainer, make no mistake about it. But just because you spent an afternoon with Azzedine Alaïa, that’s not going to make you a designer.

Bonus points for the canonical Southern use of “Bless his heart,” though Agins hails from the not-so-Southern metropolis of Kansas City, Kansas. This article (two pages total) was enough to drive me to seek out Agins’ book.

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