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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This swan is already dead

In this morning’s spam heap, an improbable offer:

Anna Pavlova has sent you a message.
=========================
Message ID #3184324
=========================
Date: 10-16-14.
=========================
Username:  chaz@dustbury.com 
=========================
Password:   [redacted]
=========================

Chat with Anna Pavlova today.  Follow these instructions

-1- Go here http://gonow.mumob.com

-2- Enter your communication mode.

-3- Meet Anna Pavlova today.

It did not help that pretty much the same message (different message ID, marginally different “password”) was sent to one of my other email addresses.

Still, who among us with a peripheral interest in dance wouldn’t want a chance to chat with Anna Pavlova?

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It’s not like he was broke or anything

Another day, another example of Presidential malingering? In this case, I don’t think so:

A September date night in New York nearly ended on a sour note when the president’s credit card got rejected at trendy Estela on East Houston Street.

Obama was trying to get some respite from the madness of the UN General Assembly, but suffered a common embarrassment when he tried to settle up and plunk down his credit card — only to have it rejected.

“It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on,” Obama revealed at the new Consumer Financial Protection Board in DC.

Oddly, they’d think the same if he’d used it too much.

I spend entirely too much of my time at the workplace reviewing questionable plastic purchases, and I’m inclined to think that most banks these days will err on the side of safety, or what they think is safety, if they sniff out even the slightest possibility of fraud.

And I have one example from my own life, having had a Visa card declined at distinctly non-trendy Lowe’s. I swiped the Amex in its place; when I got home, I called up the offending bank, and they explained that their last bill had been returned to them, so they assumed the worst. As it happens, this was a few days after I’d come back from a World Tour and picked up an absurdly large bundle of mail, which did not contain said bill, so I’m guessing the Postal Service messed up that one item. Circumstances beyond my control, as it were. If it can happen to me, well, it apparently can happen to the man in the White House.

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Not from the New World

Actress Ann Dvorak is not related to composer Antonín Dvořák, or to psychologist and keyboard guru August Dvorak, or to computer columnist (and August’s nephew) John C. Dvorak, though apparently she was related to John C. Calhoun. I’m not quite sure why she took on the surname “Dvorak,” which corresponds to none of her three husbands; she was credited as Baby Anna Lehr, after her mother, in her film work as a child. (Her birth certificate reads “Anna McKim.”) Maybe it was just to listen to people mispronounce it:

“My name is properly pronounced vor’shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock.”

Dvorak was pretty busy in pre-Code Hollywood, appearing opposite Paul Muni in Howard Hughes’ Scarface (1932) and, here, with Richard Cromwell in Michael Curtiz’ The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (also 1932):

Ann Dvorak as Molly Louvain in 1932

Dvorak subsequently absented herself from Hollywood, by which is meant that she ran off to London and married cast member Leslie Fenton, thereby breaking her contract and, inevitably, annoying studio heads, who paid her back by engineering the decline of her career. She and Fenton broke up in 1945; eventually she retired to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.

Ann Dvorak doing promo work

This Elmer Fryer photo apparently served as the source for a trading card from the British tobacco company Carreras.

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This is not a viral marketing campaign

It’s called the Sincerity Machine, which is off-putting enough: who, pray tell, seems less sincere than the person who loudly proclaims his sincerity? And there doesn’t seem to be a touch of irony in this production:

Still, it’s a one-off: the chap is not trying to sell you this contraption, and he deserves credit for that.

(Via mental_floss.)

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Runs in the family

As usual, I can assume that they’re not referring to me:

Children are a blank slate. They draw their habits, behaviors and mannerisms from their parents. If you subscribe to that viewpoint, then this study out of Michigan State University won’t really come as a surprise. According to Soren Anderson, an MSU economist, kids are 39 percent more likely to buy cars from the brands their parents support.

So, if your parents buy Jeeps, there’s a strong correlation that you’re going to end up behind a seven-slat grille at some point. Same goes for Cadillac owners, Toyota fans and Bimmerphiles.

I’m told we had a ’49 Chevy when I was born, but if I saw it, I don’t remember it. This was followed by:

  • ’54 Ford Ranch Wagon
  • ’59 Ford (GB) Anglia
  • ’62 Rambler Classic
  • ’66 Volkswagen Microbus
  • ’69 Volkswagen Microbus

Shortly afterward, we became a two-car household, adding a ’69 Dodge Coronet to the fleet. It was the later Vee Dub in which I learned to drive. This doesn’t at all seem to have affected my own vehicular purchases, nor have mine affected those of my kids. (We will definitely overlook my daughter’s ratty early-80s Ford Escort, dubbed “Muff, the Tragic Wagon.”)

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Prototype birds of prey

Far be it from me to proclaim a disaster in the wake of Oklahoma City’s ongoing Durantlessness, but the Toronto Raptors, a perennial thorn in the Thunder’s side, managed to open several wounds at once tonight in beautiful downtown Wichita: the 37-17 second quarter reflected both OKC’s depleted state and Toronto’s knack for coming up with timely streaks. And if DeMar DeRozen was less of a DeStroyer than usual, his fellow sauri more than took up the slack, with Terrence Ross leading all scorers with 22 and four other Raptors (besides DeRozen) in double figures. They didn’t play a whole lot of defense, but they didn’t have to, with OKC once again shooting below 40 percent and accumulating fouls like Pac-Man swallowing dots: Steven Adams fouled out in 24 minutes; Jeremy Lamb fouled out in 18 minutes; Andre Roberson played most of the fourth quarter with five fouls, yet somehow wound up with a double-double. The return of Russell Westbrook was most welcome, and Serge Ibaka appeared for limited minutes, but with this game actually on television, it was possible to see the forlorn “What do we do now?” look on several Thunder faces. Or maybe it’s sweat, or just my imagination. But Toronto administered a thrashing so thorough — the 109-90 count is deceptively close — that I have to figure the Thunder is spooked. Possible Telltale Statistic: OKC missed 11 of 30 free throws. Perry Jones, all by his lonesome, missed seven of them.

Then again, there were 11 players available tonight, up from nine last night in New Orleans. On that point, at least, the Thunder is improving. But the defense is creaky, and the offense needs to pick up several ticks before they can claim to be creaky: Anthony Morrow, good as he is, is not going to shoot OKC out of its woes. Next round: Sunday evening in Tulsa, against the Timberwolves.

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Like hell

Francis W. Porretto contemplates the distance from right this minute to the end of time:

We have been told very little authoritatively about Heaven, but its nature surely includes release from bondage to Time. Nothing else would be consistent with a state of eternal bliss. Indeed, an immortal sentenced to temporal eternity would find it to be the most extreme imaginable torment. Time is the medium of desire, effort, fulfillment, failure, and mortality; to compel an immortal, unalterable creature to endure it would utterly destroy any delight he might be offered within its folds.

At the very least, said creature might well be bored out of his skull. Several MLP:FiM fanfics have envisioned Celestia, having outlived everypony in Equestria other than her sister, trying to conjure up a way to bring on her own death and get it over with already; canon does not state that the diarchs are in fact immortal, but they do seem to hang around for an awfully long time. (When the series opens, said sister has been banished for the past thousand years, which more than meets my definition of “awfully long time.”)

And I find myself asking: does it become easier to accept the eventual end of your temporal existence when you know it can’t be far away? Should I be able to deal with it better at 61 than I was at 21? Because so far, I’m not.

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LaserJetsam

This is the next step beyond the infamous PC LOAD LETTER:

I think I’m in love.

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Adequate cover

Given the deficiencies of the usual hospital gown, you might think this chap would have been pleased. But he wasn’t:

A man is suing Delaware Surgery Center for damages after allegedly waking from a colonoscopy medical procedure in women’s pink underwear.

Andrew Walls, 32, from the city of Dover, Delaware, was under anesthesia after the colonoscopy at the city’s Delaware Surgery Center in October 2012 when he claims he was pranked, The News Journal reported.

Why would anyone have a reason to prank this guy?

Walls was an employee of Delaware Surgery Center when he underwent the colonoscopy.

Oh. Did he at least get a discount on the bill?

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How tricks are earned

With Halloween a mere two weeks away, the HelloGiggles crew have assembled a list of Worst Candy, and some of them, I think, are pretty inarguable. Consider #9, which is that candy corn mutation shaped like a pumpkin:

The only thing worse than a plastic baggy of candy corn, was a handful (hand to candy contact = a problem) of these pumpkin-shaped waxy thingamabobs.

Actually, those bother me the least of any of the listed items, which may suggest that some of them are pretty dire. Take, for instance, #4, Mary Janes:

This candy tastes like it was invented by a man who wore a non-ironic monocle and collected abacuses as a hobby.

Was he as condescending as Wonka? We may never know.

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Birds of prey

And so Russell Westbrook was given the night off, and the Thunder showed up in the Big Easy with a total of nine players. On the upside, we got a hint of Sebastian Telfair’s point-guard suss, which after ten years is still pretty sharp. Unfortunately, he hasn’t quite adjusted to the OKC system, assuming a system can even exist when you show up with only nine players. The Pelicans blew out the Thunder 36-18 in the first quarter, and sustained a lead about that wide for the next 36 minutes, giving radio guy Matt Pinto’s deadpan announcement of 8:20 remaining in regulation a veneer of purest Hail Mary: did anyone really think this was going into overtime? New Orleans 120, Oklahoma City 86, and suddenly a 44-minute game seemed desirable, and a 34-minute game perhaps more so.

The Pelicans had several things going for them beyond merely having bench players to spare. Anthony Davis put in a 26-minute night and collected 28 points for his effort; Omer Asik did a pretty good job of keeping Steven Adams off the rim, though the Kiwi still managed 12 points; the Beaks overall shot 50 percent pretty much all night, when they weren’t shooting 60 percent. (They finished at 55.) Next to these feats, the Thunder’s apparent allergic reaction to the rim seems almost understandable, though 39 percent will get them a tongue-lashing from Foreman Scotty on the road to, um, Wichita, where the Toronto Raptors will meet them more than halfway tomorrow night. In the meantime, we take comfort in Jeremy Lamb’s 20 points, though it took him 42 minutes to do it.

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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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