No crown for now

Smitty is not persuaded that Hillary wins this in a walk:

People “in the know” have all of the dirt they want on Her Majesty, and will cheerfully let her soak up all the Commie chlorine (pretty sure they are not on oxygen over there) and block other competition, while soiling Her Royal Personage just enough to keep her from actually getting her cankles across the finish line ahead of the GOP.

Well, there is one minor detail:

I don’t think the GOP is actually that deft.

Not to worry. The Republicans are happy to play Charlie Brown for just about any Lucy who offers to hold the football, so their deftness, or lack thereof, is not likely to be an issue.

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And that’s the way it is

Though Cronkite would never, ever have said so:

Like the national product is any better?

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The corner of Hampton and Falmouth

Google Maps screenshot of southern BrooklynIn 2003, I found out this rather startling piece of news:

I knew that Michael Brown’s unrequited love was a real person — a real person named Renee, no less — but it never occurred to me that he was also thinking of a real sign that points one way.

It’s at the intersection of Falmouth Street and Hampton Avenue in Brooklyn.

Petite Powerhouse and pop princess Dawn Eden, now far better known as an advocate for Catholicism and chastity, was happy to pass on that bit of information, and I couldn’t possibly have resisted posting it here, inasmuch as Brown’s song for the Left Banke, “Walk Away Renee,” even now pouring into your head, ranks up there with the most indelible musical memories of my adolescent years, possibly even for reasons unrelated to its subject matter. I once called Michael Brown the “spiritual heir to both Johann Sebastian Bach and Brian Wilson,” and I wasn’t kidding.

So anything that happens to this man matters to me, especially his untimely passing:

Brown was sixteen when Renee walked away with his heart, and I’m pretty certain that she could still have laid claim to a piece of it when he was sixty-five. I’ve been there, and by “there” I don’t mean Brooklyn.

Addendum: A proper sendoff from Brown’s hometown paper.

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Um, probably not

I mean, if I’m going to wear nearly nothing, I might as well wear nothing and be done with it, right?

(Below the fold for reasons that might be obvious.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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A miss, a palpable miss

This plaintive wail was leaked from those wonderful, and presumably sanitary, folks at Scary Mommy:

[I]if you’re squat-peeing in an effort to avoid maybe smearing your thighs in the dead skin cells of strangers, you are not part of the solution; you are, in fact, THE PROBLEM. Not “part of” the problem. But THE problem.

YOU are ruining peeing sitting down for everyone else. Because you, my friend, are the one who is pissing all over the seat.

The tricky thing about squatting is that we women can’t really control where our pee goes, which is kind of the reason toilet seats were invented in the first place. A woman’s anatomy is such that, in squat position, our pee is virtually guaranteed to hit everything but the intended target. We’re not like men, who are armed with what basically amounts to a water gun made of flesh. (Super not-fair, Mother Nature.) When squatting, a woman’s pee could just as easily spray like the “mist” function on a garden hose attachment as squirt straight down into the toilet. It could get on her clothes. Her shoes. The floor. And it will definitely get on the toilet seat.

Inasmuch as it’s the guys who are usually accused of bad aim — well, let’s not go there, and by “there” I mean on the floor surrounding the plumbing.

(Via OneFineJay.)

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A harder sell than usual

Almost makes you wonder if there’s something dreadfully wrong with the place:

Page from For the love of God would someone buy this house?

A check at revealed no current listings at $415,000, so either this place has been sold already — or the price has been dropped.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Digital detox

“Perhaps they’re drugged,” I complained last fall:

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 … now it doesn’t work at all.

So I reverted to punching in the orders over the phone, which was tedious, but which worked.

Tuesday night I was clearing out the browser history when I saw the old, extremely long link to the old Target facility. On an impulse, I hit it.

And it brought up the old, familiar screen, just like before. I duly keyed in half a dozen, the max, and got all the proper responses.

I haven’t actually picked up the stuff yet — that comes later today, or maybe tomorrow — but if they’ve actually gone back to the previous system, that newfangled sumbitch they tried to foist off on us must have been even worse than I thought it was, and I thought it sucked pond water, and last year’s pond water at that.

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Definitely not snowbound

First, because I thought it was swell:

It was almost 29 minutes into this game when the Celtics took their first foul shot. (Actually, there were two, and Brandon Bass made them both.) One might applaud the Thunder’s ability to not foul, but Boston didn’t need to draw fouls so long as they were hitting over 55 percent from the floor, which they did through two quarters and half of the third. Then the OKC defense kicked in, and the sputtering offense suddenly found the rim: down four at halftime, the Thunder banged up Beantown 40-24 in the third. The Celtics, of course, didn’t wait around to be beaten, pulling back to within five at the 2:31 mark, and to within four at 0:09. What kept the Greenies at bay was, yes, Mr. Death Hammer himself, whom the Celtics had to foul to buy time; three times Russell Westbrook knocked down a pair of free throws to offset Boston treys, and four was the margin at the end, 122-118.

Westbrook’s flaming, it should be noted, was a product of sheer ferocity. It certainly wasn’t his shooting, 8 for 26, one of six treys. But 19 free throws out of 23 tries gave him 36 for the night, and ten assists gave him one of three Thunder double-doubles, the others coming from the Bruise Brothers, Enes Kanter (22 points/10 rebounds) and Steven Adams (14/13). Anthony Morrow knocked down 20 from off the bench. The Celtics still outshot the Thunder, 52 percent to 48, and dished up 32 dimes to OKC’s 19, but Boston left 11 points at the stripe, the Thunder only six.

It was Marcus Smart’s night, really: 25 points, including 7 of 12 from outside. Bass, who made those first two free throws, finished with 20, as did Kelly Olynyk from the reserves. (Both Smart and Jay Crowder gathered nine rebounds.) Weirdly, both benches scored exactly 40 points.

The Hawks, the East’s top team by a considerable margin, will be here Friday night, having already thrashed the Thunder in Atlanta. They’ll be missing Kyle Korver. At this point, God only knows who’ll be missing from the OKC lineup.

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Necroses are red, my love

There’s nothing special about this spam subject: “Protect Your Wallet and Your Floors — 35% Off.” Nor is the content anything remarkable, although there is an Unsubscribe address in some Las Vegas boiler room, and some of it is vaguely related to stuff one might use to protect a floor. But this email address is a killer: Even better, that’s a real domain: there are links to it in the message, and Whois, as it should, coughs up the registration details.

Oh, and since I used the Whois at Network Solutions, NSI was happy to offer me the similar-ish for a trifling $14,000.

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The once and future hybrid

The Telegraph sent off the late Terry Pratchett — may his soul repose with whatever God may find it — with a list of fifty first-class quotes, several of which I hadn’t heard before. This is the one that struck me hardest, though: “Personally, I think the best motto for an educational establishment is: ‘Or Would You Rather Be a Mule?'”

We turn now to an anonymous Wikipedian:

Songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen was at [Bing] Crosby’s house one evening for dinner, and to discuss a song for the movie Going My Way. During the meal one of the children began complaining about how he didn’t want to go to school the next day. The singer turned to his son and said to him, “If you don’t go to school, you might grow up to be a mule. Do you wanna do that?”

Van Heusen thought this clever rebuke would make a good song for the movie.

For “good,” read “Best Original Song” at the next Academy Awards. Bing cut it as a single, of course, and it was a hit. But “Swinging on a Star” has shown up several times since, perhaps most amusingly in a 1963 waxing by Big Dee Irwin, aided and abetted by Little Eva.

And if you don’t like that one, try the Hudson Hawk version:

Truth be told, though, if I burst into this particular song, I’m usually going into the adaptation used in the opening of Out of This World, a late-1980s TV series considered by some to be the Worst Sitcom Ever. I, of course, watched it religiously. Then again, critics reviled Hudson Hawk.

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You can’t spell “die” without IE

I really can’t blame Microsoft for going this route:

While Microsoft has dropped hints that the Internet Explorer brand is going away, the software maker has now confirmed that it will use a new name for its upcoming browser successor, codenamed Project Spartan. Speaking at Microsoft Convergence [Monday], Microsoft’s marketing chief Chris Capossela revealed that the company is currently working on a new name and brand. “We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Capossela. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser … codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

Being no fan of Google’s competing product, I’m just hoping it has no face like Chrome.

However, I don’t expect IE to go gently into that good night; Microsoft still hasn’t been able to kill off Windows XP.

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Shadier than ever

Five years ago, I was telling you this:

Now we have ShadyURL, which says: “Don’t just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening.”

As often happens, this service fell into disuse and was abandoned. It has now been revived through the kindness of @snipeyhead:

What’s more, it’s been substantially improved:

So if you need, for whatever reason, to give someone a scary-looking URL like, this is your first choice.

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Is this science settled?

Maybe it is. Take a look:

We may not know what is “correct,” but clearly we can see the inventor’s intentions.

(With thanks to Chris Lawrence.)

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Droning toward oblivion

Hillary Clinton is following a political path we’ve seen before, and it’s likely not the one she thinks she is:

As she enters the Bob Dole phase of her career, she is slightly more interesting. Instead of the bitchy middle-aged “professional” woman, she is a a boozy old gal that is a feature of the Washington cocktail circuit. These are the women who have been married to politicians their whole lives and have a cultured cynicism that comes from years of disappointment.

Like Bob Dole, she is probably a hoot after a few drinks, but you can always sense why no one in the political class thought enough of them to put them in charge of anything. They are the sort of people who never ask, “What if this doesn’t work?” As a consequence, they get jammed up on minor stuff.

Like, for instance, this whole email thing, which wiser pols would have found it relatively easy to avoid. And what the bloody hell was she thinking, having the presser at the freaking United Nations? Yeah, I know, she was giving a speech that day, but this bit of scheduling insured that no one paid attention to the speech except for whatever individuals might have been named therein.

I remain skeptical about her chances to be president. There’s a Bob Dole ’96 vibe here. The party does not have anyone ready that they trust and it is not looking like [a] good year to run anyway. May as well let the old broad have her day in the sun as the first female nominee. Otherwise, everyone will just go through the motions.

The one problem with that scenario is the GOP’s prodigious gift for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Were I the typical Republican operative, I’d be pushing for bringing back Bob Dole, on the basis that Bob Dole now uses a wheelchair, and hey, look how well that worked in Texas!

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Thou shalt not skim

Marcel gets a credit card with a chip embedded in it, and he wonders if it’s remotely readable by the Bad Guys:

After reading about the potential risks, it seemed like some shielding wouldn’t hurt anything. But how to know if the shielding worked?

At one work site, I get access to the facility by putting my id card against a scanner. This works even if I just hold my wallet up to the scanner. This seems like a reasonable basis for testing. The first thing I put in my wallet was a piece of what seemed to be metalized paper from a coffee package. Holding up my wallet still activated the door, so a coffee bag probably will not block the scanners the men in black would carry if there were men in black following me.

And so to DEFCON whatever is next:

Next time I went out to that site, I folded up four layers of regular aluminum foil and put that in my wallet. The scanner didn’t work. A week or so later I tried it again, and this time scanner did read my card through the foil. Thinking it might be because the foil had compressed, I opened up the foil and interleaved a piece of paper.

Give the man credit for being thorough. Considering how easy it is to hack the old magnetic stripe, though, the chip almost has to be some sort of improvement.

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Further illumination

The artist formerly known as Valerie Anne Poxleitner — she’s been simply “Lights” since she turned eighteen, about a decade ago — has been creeping into my playlists since I stumbled across “Second Go” a few years back.

Lights in a magazine photoshoot

Her 2014 album Little Machines won the Juno for Pop Album of the Year. This was the lead single:

And this is what she wore to pick up that Juno:

Lights at the 2015 Juno Awards

While “Up We Go” didn’t chart in the States, Little Machines did make it to #34 in Billboard, the best showing to date of any of her three albums.

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