Weird mutant cooties, or something

How is it that these people claim the right to have first crack, so to speak, at Presidential politics?

As though we needed another reason to abandon ethanol as a motor fuel.

Comments (5)

Strange search-engine queries (483)

Now that you’ve had your fill of welterweights for a while, here’s the most lightweight blog feature of them all: the weirdest-looking search strings that landed on this particular Web site in the recent past. Won’t cost you a ridiculous sum to observe, either.

if i was kaiser willheims batman:  I’d expect you to give out with a Wilhelm Scream before too long.

rebecca black person of interest mp3 audio song download song lover and full album for rebecca black:  You’re starting to repeat yourself here. So far, there is no “full album” from Rebecca Black. Wait until Friday.

dodie smith proust:  Author of that incredibly long literary classic whose opening section is titled Dalmatian’s Way.

video mesum john peter everly:  Um, that’s “museum.” And probably “Don” and “Phil.”

where have all the hydrocodones gone:  Gone to 12th Street, every one. When will you ever learn?

mercury mystique transmission problems:  Um, this car is at least 15 years old. What were you expecting?

taking a shellacking:  All else being equal, you’d rather be giving a shellacking.

the saddest thing in the whole wide world is almost:  Having to listen to people fight their middle-school wars into their forties and fifties.

calf falsies:  Vegans are fooled at least 10 percent of the time. Thank you, you’ve been very kind. Try the imitation veal.

Real anal virgins between 18 and 20 years of age earn lettuce by:  Beats me. How about the muff endive?

Best PSA Ever:  The one that says you probably don’t have cancer.

Blogosphere backdrop:  Imagine a boot stomping on a cheap keyboard — forever.

Comments off

Take a bow

And shove it into the guy’s eyeball:

She was expecting the cleaning lady. Instead, the tourist opened the door of her Midtown hotel room to a stark-naked 6-foot, 200-pound man lunging for her neck.

“I opened the door and there was this humongous stranger and I froze. I thought, ‘I don’t see this person.’ I slammed the door and he pushed his way into the room,” said the North Carolina woman who was nearly choked to death at the Hudson Hotel in March.

“He pushed me into the closet, he put his hand over my mouth and he tried to smother me and I bit him,” said the victim, 64, who asked not to be named, said Friday.

Her bite did nothing to repel her attacker, renowned German violinist Stefan Arzberger, 42, who was charged with attempted murder Thursday.

From the Department of Unmitigated Gall:

Arzberger, who claims he was drugged by a hooker he brought to his room, will ask a judge on Monday to have his passport returned so that he can continue his performance tour in Europe and Asia.

For the moment, he’s out on $100,000 bail.

(Via Margo Howard.)

Comments off

Go block thyself

The ringer’s turned off, but I hear the telltale click of the call-screening device, and I glance over at the Caller ID screen.

And there’s my name and number.

This happened yesterday, fourish. After the instinctive WTF? (wouldn’t you?), I waited to see if I they left a message, which I they didn’t, and then looked to see if this was happening to anyone else. And of course it is:

The phone rings and when you look at the caller ID you see something very strange—it’s showing your telephone number. Chances are your phone number is being “spoofed” by a scammer.

“This is just the latest tactic being used by illegal telemarketers,” said Robert Siciliano, fraud expert with “They hope that if you see your own number displayed on the caller ID, your curiosity will get you to pick up the phone.”

In other news, there’s a site called

But this seemed too simplistic, so I dropped a little farther down the page, and found this:

A phone fraudster might also do this hoping to beat the new call-screening services now being used by millions of people. These services … rely on blacklists of known robocallers and illegal telemarketers to help block unwanted calls.

“A person’s own phone number is not likely to be on the blacklist, so these telemarketers hope to beat the filtering software by spoofing that number,” said Bikram Bandy, head of the Do Not Call program at the Federal Trade Commission. “Fighting illegal telemarketing calls is a cat and mouse game and these telemarketers aren’t giving up easily. We didn’t think they would.”

You can’t tell me that people wouldn’t pay a hundred bucks to see a telemarketer disemboweled live on pay-per-view.

Comments (6)

And the cycle repeats

I do not, generally, endorse the notion of reincarnation. (Nor did I when I was here last time.) One of the problems I find with the concept is that its most fervent believers tend to assert that they were someone notable in a previous life; scarcely anyone claims to have been a serf who perished at twenty-two of some hitherto unnoticed disease.

This new toy by Slate will not change that tendency. What it does is take your birthdate, find someone in Wikipedia — someone notable by definition, right? — who died just before your arrival, and then run the cycle as many times as they have entries. In my specific case, they dug up Sir Philip Wigham Richardson:

Richardson competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics and 1912 Summer Olympics. In the 1908 Olympics he won a silver medal in the team military rifle event. Four years later he was 65th in the 300 metre military rifle, three positions event and 33rd in the 600 metre free rifle event.

Richardson was elected as Member of Parliament for Chertsey at a by-election in March 1922, and held the seat until he retired from the House of Commons at the 1931 general election. In 1929 he was created a Baronet, of Weybridge in the County of Surrey.

Not that I’d be surprised to have been a Tory, particularly. Sir Philip, apparently, had served a previous lifetime as British entomologist William Sharp Macleay. The line, says Slate, goes back to Louis the German (c. 810-876), grandson of Charlemagne and designated King of Bavaria while still a child, though Louis apparently did not actively participate in ruling Bavaria until adolescence. His youngest son, Charles the Fat, was the last Carolingian to rule over a united empire. Now if Slate had put him in my timeline, I might have believed some of this.

Comments (4)

Avoiding the supermarket

I grew up thinking that all these New York folks carrying a single bag of groceries down the street had the right idea: every day, fresh and new, doncha know. This was, of course, long before I had to start shopping for myself, and I learned the wisdom of going as little as possible:

[S]hop with a list and go once a week for your main trip. Go more than once a week only if you have to restock on a necessity (such as milk in our family), or if you’ve run out of a critical item (cat food!). You may be able to cut your grocery trips to every other week if you have a large refrigerator and pantry. This does mean that you don’t take advantage of each week’s loss leaders but that may not matter as much as avoiding the store altogether and spending even less.

If you are forced to make that emergency trip, then make yourself buy ONLY the item you need. Walk into the store and do NOT use a buggy, which would encourage you to fill that empty space with impulse buys. Don’t even take one of those carry baskets. Carry baskets, small carts, and large buggies: each one lets you put more stuff into it so you buy more stuff. If you hand-carry what you need, you’ll buy less.

It’s a rare month when I show up at the supermarket as many as six times. Most often, it’s a Saturday trip for regular restocking, and a trip to Braum’s about every third Wednesday to silence that damnable craving for Rocky Road. Then again, the only one eating around here is yours truly, so I always know what I need to buy and what I’m already out of.

Comments (5)

Entering maximum meta

I mean, you can’t get much meta-er than this:

And if you can, please send it along. In the meantime, here’s a classic from Roberta X:

This reminds me — the Hofstadter’s Law T-shirts are still running way behind schedule. Really thought we’d planned for that.

Now that’s meta within meta.

Comments off

Future blast furnace

Dr. B gives ear to a Brian Fagan podcast, and this question comes up:

In the question and answer period, he was asked what the stricken people can do about it? “Move,” he said, “is the only option.” If the world is heating up, where would he move to? “Canada. It will be dryer, much warmer, and their politics are reasonable.”

There are reasons, of course, for cynicism:

My cynicism is not that I don’t believe that there is a major problem with pollution (there is) or that the environment is being destroyed (we see it here) or even that the climate is changing (it is) but because too many want to pull all these things together to make a top down dictatorship where the elites run everything.

As I have written before, here in the Philippines, one of the side effects of the more radical “green movement” is that it makes things worse. Keep out mining and logging, and the result is illegal mining and logging with worse poverty and environmental destruction than you would get if you regulated companies to do it without destruction.

And grow green crops and avoid pesticides, chemicals, and of course GM food, but that leads to importing food from other countries that use chemicals, pesticides and GM seeds because the local organic stuff is too expensive for the poor to eat.

It’s a situation you can see right here in town: stores in more upscale areas attract buyers who are willing to pay 79 cents a pound (or more) for organic bananas when the standard-issue fruit barely brings half a buck. A good head of organic leaf lettuce is $3ish; the usual fare from the Jolly Green Giant and his peers might break a buck during the winter.

Comments (1)

A taxing journey indeed

One might expect the collectors of state income tax to be, at the very least, enthusiastic enough about their work to cash your doggone checks in a hurry. (Refunds? Another matter entirely.) Sometimes, though, the weakest link is the Postal Service:

With the May 1 deadline looming, I decided to call the county.

They processed the check yesterday.

I sent it on the 20th.

It was received on the 28th.

Eight days to go eight miles.

Hmmm. I live about seven miles from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. I mailed my state return on the 30th of March, a Monday, to OTC’s box in the downtown Post Office at 5th and Harvey, four miles from me and three miles from them. According to my bank statement, the check cleared on the 3rd of April, which was a Friday. No laggards here.

Comments off

Some like it warmish

It has probably never snowed in Chennai, a city in south India located on the thermal equator: the record low temperature is somewhere in the 50s Fahrenheit. (Don’t ask about the highs.) If you don’t remember Chennai, you might remember it as Madras, a name officially changed in 1996. Despite that, Trisha Krishnan was named Miss Madras in 1999, and wound up in Telugu and Tamil films.

Trisha reads a movie magazine

Trisha pays attention

She’ll be thirty-two on Monday. Earlier this year, she was engaged to Chennai-based producer Varun Manian, but apparently they’ve broken up:

It is known that, soon after Trisha rejecting a film under Varun’s production house, Radiance Media, reports were rife that she is staying away from her husband-to-be. Some reports also carried that Trisha was not seen wearing the engagement ring. Adding fuel to that, Trisha has given a miss to the most important marriage in Varun Manian’s family, last week. But what is Trisha doing staying away from Varun’s sister’s marriage? Is she busy shooting?

We do know she’s been busy. She’ll appear in six films scheduled for 2015 release, including Lion, due out next week:

This has “zany” written all over it.

Comments (1)

WNGD wonders

“Mostly sunny and 80” strikes me as close to perfect for World Naked Gardening Day, which since 2007 has been celebrated on the first Saturday of May. The first two WNGDs were in September; before the first one in ought-five, I put out a list of possible disadvantages, which even now draws a fair amount of traffic as the day approaches, much of it from NBC’s Today Show, which covered the event several years ago, quoting my list.

In the intervening decade, a couple of hardy souls have asked how many of those potential problems were based on personal experience. The answer now is the same as the answer then: “Most.”

Comments off

Flavor of the moment

Media fascination with Bruce Jenner seems to have evaporated with Jenner’s declaration of affinity with the Constitution and the GOP. These two items showed up more or less simultaneously in my Twitter timeline, and in fact, you’re seeing a screenshot from TweetDeck that illustrates that evaporation most economically:

Proximate tweets by Jen Richards and Bailey Jay

I suspect Jenner’s happy to have the camera pointed in some other direction.

Comments (1)

Kings X’ed

The other day, we lost Kingsmen singer Jack Ely, the definitive interpreter of “Louie Louie.” Now we’ve lost Benjamin Nelson, otherwise known as Ben E. King, and that’s at least as great a loss:

Ben E. King, the smooth, soulful baritone who led the Drifters on “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and other hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and as a solo artist recorded the classic singles “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand by Me,” died on Thursday in Hackensack, N.J. He was 76.

His lawyer, Judy Tint, said Mr. King, who lived in Teaneck, N.J., died at Hackensack University Medical Center after a brief illness, offering no further details.

King’s ascension to lead of the Drifters, an established R&B vocal group, was remarkable mostly for its suddenness: after original lead Clyde McPhatter departed, the group was indeed adrift, and manager George Treadwell, who owned the name, disposed of them and hired Harlem’s Five Crowns to be the new Drifters. “There Goes My Baby,” produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was like nothing the old group had ever recorded: awash in enough strings for a Tchaikovsky festival, the song is mournful, lugubrious, every syllable dipped in agony. And then it’s over in a mere 2:17.

Ben hung around the Drifters for a while, then went solo. “Stand By Me,” written by King with the putative assistance of “Elmo Glick” (Leiber/Stoller in disguise), is indisputably one of the great songs of the era, maybe of the century; the hook, I think, is set when he sings “I won’t cry, I won’t cry,” and you wonder how it is that he isn’t crying at that point. Restraint is definitely called for under such circumstances; see, for instance, Tracy Chapman on The Late Show with David Letterman a couple of weeks ago, a rendition I’m almost certain King would have loved.

And now B. B. King, 89, no relation, is in hospice care at his home. When he goes — well, this is a trifecta I’d hoped never to see.

Comments off

Credibly blue

We have on occasion presented an outfit worn by the First Lady, mostly because her choices have sometimes seemed random: for every “Oh, this is lovely” I’ve breathed, there’s been a “What the fark was she thinking?”

Michelle Obama in Tadashi Shoji

While this is admittedly just about the least flattering pose I could find from this particular state dinner, FLOTUS here, I think, has chosen well:

While Michelle Obama is known, generally, for her lavish design choices — remember, for a moment, that $2000 sundress that looked like it had been purchased at Target — last night, possibly in response to criticism of the White House and DC media’s out-of-touch Correspondents’ Dinner performance, the First Lady instead chose a modest gown by Japanese-American designer Tadashi Shoji that would likely retail for around $700.

Part of this was protocol: His Excellency Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, was the honoree, and Shoji was born in Japan, though he never did any serious fashion work until he moved to Los Angeles. And this isn’t quite the version Shoji showed on the runway — someone between there and here wisely added a lining — but this is a very nice blue, and it’s not being cluttered up with accessories. Besides, Shoji does texture well: consider, if you will, Octavia Spencer’s gown for the 2013 Academy Awards.

Comments (2)

Riding talky

Not that you were wondering, exactly, but since I seldom have passengers, this may be your one and only chance to find out what I’m thinking while I’m driving home.

Comments off

Inconceivably so

Holly Brockwell is 29 and quite determined not to have children; Britain’s National Health Service is equally determined not to sterilize her.

After stirring up that hornet’s nest in the Guardian, she decided to try a different megaphone: the Daily Mail. As usual with the Mail, the photographs are lovely and the comments are unreadable.

She says of the Mail experience:

[T]here are over 2,000 comments already and I did not in any sense read them all, because I still have to find time in the day to glare at children and milk the National Health Service dry. But here are some of my favourites, and my responses. Which I won’t be putting in the comments section, because that’s like trying to debate with a floor lamp.

I note for comparison purposes only that (1) I was sterilized the year I turned twenty-eight, but (2) I was married at the time and had already spawned the next generation, and (3) it was, unsurprisingly, a lot cheaper in 1981, even allowing for the relative simplicity of the procedure I had compared to the one she wants.

Still, I tend to take her side on general principle: biological destiny can go only so far. And the usual deployment of contraceptives made her quite ill, as was the case with the woman to whom I was married. (She’s 60 now and is much relieved not to have to think about such things.)

Comments (5)