Why the long face?

John Cleese does the Proust Questionnaire in the November Vanity Fair, and this is the question that (briefly) made my eyes roll:

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Dolichocephaly.

And I thought I was picky. Then again, there’s this:

On what occasion do you lie?

Most.

Now I feel better.

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Hurting less

Fillyjonk, in a pensive mood:

I vaguely remember from Great Books (that was 25-odd years ago now) that some Greek philosopher or other described pleasure as being the absence of pain, and one of the thoughts I had in the class (can’t remember if I brought it up now) is that so often in the modern world, we now define “pain” as the “absence of pleasure” — that is, if you’re not actively enjoying yourself, you consider it painful. (“Math is hard,” said Barbie). And a lot of people do seem to have forgotten that there’s a joy in good old hard work and that even stuff that isn’t fun at the time can teach you something.

That was Epicurus, who in contemporary times seems to have acquired a reputation for being something of a swinger, or at least advocating being something of a swinger. In fact, he did nothing of the kind; what Epicurus advocated was striving to rid ourselves of pain and suffering, which would perforce leave us in the pleasurable state of ataraxia, defined spiffily as “robust tranquility.” I could definitely go for some of that.

But, last night, as I got into bed, I thought, yeah, when you’ve been in pain for a while and that pain goes away, it IS pleasure. And it’s something to be grateful for, and I was.

As Johnny Mercer teaches us, we need to accentuate the positive. (Mercer, for his part, says he got it from Father Divine.)

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Yesterday was Hump Day

And as always, there was some joker taking it too literally:

A Florida man today took a stuffed animal off a Walmart shelf and then used the toy to masturbate before returning the ejaculate-covered item to a store shelf, police report.

The repulsive episode occurred around 3 PM at a Walmart in Brooksville, a city 50 miles north of Tampa.

According to a police report, Sean Johnson, 19, “selected a brown, tan, and red stuffed horse from the clearance shelf in the garden department.” He then went to the comforter aisle in the housewares section, “proceeded to pull out his genitals,” and “proceeded to hump the stuffed horse utilizing short fast movements.” The lewd act was captured by surveillance cameras.

The jerkoff was released after posting $1500 bond. I do hope he wasn’t carrying cash.

(Via Consumerist. Yesterday was also Applejack Appreciation Day, but don’t even think it.)

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Older but no grander

With Mitt “Mitt” Romney out of the picture for 2016, Roberta X contemplates the further thinning of the Republican field:

Now if a few more of the perennial it’s-my-turn GOP suits would step down, and their party admit there might be a little more wrong in DC than just the policies of a dislikable El Supremo, they might get somewhere in 2016. —Don’t hold your breath; with the media firmly against them and a general tradition of tone-deafness, I fully expect the Republicans to have me voting Libertarian again in ’16, even if they mostly only beat up on the Bill of Rights seven-eighths as much as the current leading brand… (Some of you will blame me for President Hillary afterwards. Hey, get your party to run someone I can in conscience vote for or shut the heck up.)

Oklahoma doesn’t allow write-ins — screws up the optical-scanning devices — and I figure they probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I wrote in Cthulhu, who, if nothing else, will not cause you to wonder if he is the lesser of two evils.

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I saw her again

The Mamas and the Papas had a song by this title; it was apparently about a brief affair. This isn’t. Instead, it’s about this:

Why shouldn’t I have, you ask? There are places I should not go.

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Privilege checked and acknowledged

Not that I feel compelled to apologize for it or anything. Michael Kinsley writes in the November Vanity Fair:

[T]he least attractive man will always have one advantage over the most attractive woman: he’ll need less time for physical preparation each day. The most vain male politician (that would be John Edwards, who once paid $1,250 for a haircut) probably spends less time on his hair, his cosmetics, and his clothes than the most indifferent or naturally beautiful woman. This is extra time he can spend developing an anti-terrorism policy or catching up on sleep.

Naturally beautiful women are indifferent to me, but that’s a different matter. (Besides, so are the rest of them.)

Feminism is no longer, if it ever was, about burning bras or not shaving your legs. Or at least the female leadership pioneers in business and politics do not interpret feminism that way. The first woman president, be it Hillary Clinton or someone else, will travel with a hairdresser and wear designer clothes. And she will need an extra half-hour or more every morning to do things that cannot be delegated to an aide and that even Barack Obama — probably our most physically fastidious if not downright dandyish president ever — never has had to bother with.

It will certainly take longer than eight minutes, thirty-four seconds.

Did I mention that Kinsley’s piece was about Chris Christie? (Did I have to?)

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Increasingly dear

From last year, about this time:

When I bought the palatial estate at Surlywood, insurance on the place was a hair under $900 a year, which sounds high until you consider that we have every known disaster here except tsunami.

Last year, it dropped by the price of a combo meal, to just shy of $2400. Obviously this downward trend could not be allowed to continue, so this year it’s going to nearly $3000. This, mind you, on a house insured for a mere $130,000. I can only conclude that they expect a visit from Godzilla, or that they’re wanting to get their hands on some of those sweet, sweet government bucks the way the health-insurance guys have.

(Note: I’ve changed carriers before. It’s a major hassle, and based on previous experience, I expect it would save me next to nothing in the long run.)

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Perhaps they’re drugged

The old online prescription refill at Target was clunky in the extreme, but it worked most of the time. And then they decided to outsource it, to an operation called PDX, Inc. It’s still clunky, but now it doesn’t work at all: since it didn’t read any existing cookies, it defaulted to filling my order at a store in Pennsylvania — except that it refused to fill my order because it didn’t like any of the prescription numbers I keyed in. Twice.

What’s more, it has a CAPTCHA.

Whatever the opposite of “I wish them well” may be, that’s what I wish.

Addendum: I whined on Twitter about this, prompting Target HQ to ask me for an email report.

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You live where?

If you can identify one house on my block, you can figure the addresses for any of them: the numbering is consistent — each lot west is plus four — and usually the number is actually readable. This is not, however, the case everywhere:

Older son is a pizza delivery guy. He routinely sees what the paramedics see: no house number, confusing house numbers, illegible house numbers, dark brown house numbers on black backgrounds, white house numbers on cream backgrounds, house numbers twenty feet off the ground where you would never look, house numbers painted on the curb with cars parked over them, house numbers so small they can’t be seen from the street, house numbers that appear to have been installed at random; the list is endless. The pizza guys would like to find your house quicker as time is money for them. The ambulance guys would like to find your house quicker as they hope to save your life. The FedEx guy and the UPS guy would like to find your house quicker too. So do plumbers, electricians, paper boys, and furniture delivery guys.

I should state here that when I took over the palatial estate at Surlywood, there were two sets of numbers, neither of which passed muster: a set of chrome digits over the garage door, fine once, not so fine once new guttering was installed just over it; and a set of black digits on a brown background, not readable except under very specific lighting conditions.

I toyed with moving the black digits to a pink background, but ultimately decided to install a vertical plaque, black on white, 19 x 4 inches, just east of the garage door. It is not as handsome as I thought it might be, but it’s readable.

On the curb? One set of digits painted on each of the two curved sections, where it takes considerable effort to block them with cars.

And I should probably admit that maybe my block is not so easy after all: the numbering is as I stated, but there are eight houses on the south side of the street, only four on the north. This seems to baffle some people, even when they can read the digits.

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Anonymous bears

Dave Joerger, noting that it is, after all, still the preseason, decided to stick with his second string tonight: no Gasol, no Conley, no Z-Bo, no Tony Allen. Not even Tayshaun Prince. Considering that half the Thunder roster is hors de combat, it’s hard to fault Joerger. And the Griz did pretty good in that first quarter, leading 32-23 after twelve. Meanwhile, Scott Brooks’ current version of the Starting Five of Frankenstein — Perry Jones III and Lance Jones up front, Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson on the wings, Steven Adams in the middle — took a good while to get warmed up, but were fairly awesome when they did: see, for instance, Adams’ 14 points in the second quarter. OKC 60, Memphis 59 at the half, and the redemption of Jeremy Lamb, who came back to life in the second half, brought the Thunder to its second win in Before It Counts, 117-107.

Lamb, in fact, had 23 points, Adams 22, and five others in double figures. (Westbrook had the game’s only double-double: 14 points, 12 assists.) Roberson, alas, continued the Thunder tradition of no actual shooting from the shooting guard, missing all four of his shots. Despite that, OKC shot 53 percent, and if you were wondering if Anthony Morrow would help in the absence of Kevin Durant, look at this line: 5-6 from the floor, 3-4 from outside, 6-6 from the stripe, for 19 points in just over 22 minutes.

Journeyman Quincy Pondexter, gone much of last year, evidently has spent some time working on his 3-ball: he made three of five to lead the Griz with 16 points. Newish guys Jordan Adams and Patrick Christopher carried much of the load towards the end. If Dave Joerger is saying “We do so have a bench,” well, we have to believe him.

Thursday night, it’s off to the Big Easy. Maybe Serge Ibaka will be back by then. Or maybe it won’t be a problem if he isn’t.

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Get off my driveway

It’s that concrete strip that interrupts the lawn. You can’t miss it.

Actually, you probably can, if these numbers from Nielsen have any validity:

Nielsen, who are better known for its television ratings system than much else, recently published a report narrowing down who exactly goes for connected-vehicle technology the most.

Short answer: Men 55 and over, college degree in one hand, $100,000 in the other.

Breaking it down further, men comprised the majority of all connected-vehicle users at 58 percent, with 42 percent over the age of 55, 62 percent in possession of a college degree, and 37 percent making over $100,000 annually.

Damn gadget freaks. And actually, it’s worse than that:

As for how all users end up in a connected vehicle, Nielsen says safety is the biggest factor, with 79 percent believing the vehicle’s technology will keep them safe on the road. Crash notifications, Internet-enabled navigation and safety alerts were at the top of the users’ list when shopping for a new vehicle.

Technology is seldom a match for stupidity; and it’s stupidity, either yours or that guy’s [see next lane], that’s most likely to get you killed out on the superslab.

In a couple of these cases, it’s yours:

The entertainment side of the infotainment divide also had its day in the sun, with 36 percent of users streaming audio into their car on a regular basis, 26 percent going online, and 21 percent downloading media while riding the real superhighway.

What percent, I wonder, are bitching about teenagers texting?

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Three Fs, anyway

And it’s not like you won’t figure it out on your own:

As the young folks say, well played.

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All my bass are belong to her

Meghan Trainor has owned the charts of late with that weird little tune called “All About That Bass,” popularly interpreted as a body-acceptance anthem. (I think that line about “skinny bitches” probably disqualifies it, but I still adore the record.) And if she looks appallingly young, well, she’s not yet 21: she’s entitled.

Entertainment Weekly spent one page of a three-page article on this:

Meghan Trainor on a bicycle

And while her Amy-Winehouse-meets-the-Shirelles sound has its own charms, this is what seriously makes me grin: “All About That Bass” comes from a 2014 EP with the title Title. That’s the name of it. And she’s not pulling anyone’s chain, either. Here’s the (audio only) title song, so to speak:

I’ll consider that a supplementary explanation for the bicycle.

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My little taggers

Did you see any graffiti in Ponyville? In Canterlot? In Manehattan, for Luna’s sake? So why would you want to see it in Butte, Montana?

Someone tagged a Butte neighborhood with not only the names but the words “My Little Pony.”

It’s unknown at this time if it’s a gang of tweens or a group of “Bronies,” adult men who love the cartoon and toys.

Given the vast quantity of hatred for bronies out there, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that this was the work of self-described brony enemies, trying to embarrass (or worse) the local pony fans.

Police received reports starting Saturday morning of the cartoon names scrawled on a vehicle, fences and garage doors. The majority of graffiti was found on Keokuk and Hancock streets. About six sites were hit.

The monetary damage will depend if the black and white spray paint washes off, police said.

Well, there you go. A genuine fan of My Little Pony would have come up with show-accurate colors for each and every mention.

(Michelle Malkin saw this before I did.)

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Imported from Paradise Island

Columnist and Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila shows off a little of that Diana Prince style:

Jedediah Bila from here down

And when you get right down to it, which you should, Wonder Woman is a perfectly reasonable fashion choice, though bracelets that properly resist ordnance are probably harder to design.

Not that you asked, but Bila is about five-foot-five.

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And now, a word from our alternate Sponch

Gansito, the Mexican sort-of-Twinkie that has been showing up in local Anglo-ish supermarkets of late, has apparently sold well enough for the store chain to bring over a couple more items from the Marinela line, neither of which I’d seen on their Web site: Mini Mantecadas, which appeared to be shrunken muffins, and something called Sponch. Reasoning that hey, a muffin is a muffin, I opted for a bag of Sponch.

Sponch — which I’m sure is not a mnemonic for the elements that support life — is, for all intents and purposes, the anti-Mallomar. I don’t think I can top this description:

Picture, if you will, four miniature Hostess Snowballs (marshmallow covered in coconut). Two are strawberry flavored, and two are plain flavored. Lay the whole thing on a butter cookie, and then, for good measure, squirt some strawberry jam in the center. Wow, even in just typing that, I realized I had described my dream cookie.

This may be the second time around for Sponch, which, at the time of that description, was actually branded “¡Sponch!” This particular packaging has six tubes, each containing three Sponch, a total of 270g, or 15g per Sponch. And I eventually found Marinela’s World site, which filled me in on some of the non-Mexican Marinela lore. (Some Houston stores were apparently carrying Gansito in 1984.)

And Sponch suffers one of the same issues as Mallomars:

[W]ith all the jubilant, celebrating marshmallows dancing in their coconut crusts, little attention was given to the cookie’s core component. The cookie itself is rather flavorless, and somewhat frustratingly flaky. It doesn’t add a lot to the experience, other than providing a base for the party going on above it. This is also not a huge complaint, in the same way you don’t complain when the apartment full of hot sorority sisters who just moved in downstairs and spend all of their time giggling and having sexy drunken pillowfights, don’t know a lot about Keats. In fact, that’s what this cookie is. It is a sexy drunken pillowfight, where you accidentally get punched in the stomach at the end.

“The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish,” commented John Keats.

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