Sooner than you’d think

I went public with this Saturday, once I had something to work with:

It was received well in the tweetstream, for the most part. I left the second part of the story unspoken, since it hadn’t come to fruition just yet.

Monday night it did: the school board voted 8-0 to change the teams at Capitol Hill High School from “Redskins” to, well, almost anything else. This didn’t go quite so smoothly, but ultimately I have to agree with board chair Lynn Hardin:

“We all have feelings about this and whether it’s right or wrong we have an obligation to be sensitive to our community,” Hardin said. “Once you know the truth, it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle. So we might as well address it and figure out how we can proceed.”

I have no doubt at least some of the folks who sat in on the meeting were also thinking about Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins, though if you ask me, the truly hurtful word in that name isn’t “Redskins.”

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Rabbit is retrying

We begin with a paragraph from Hugh Hefner’s The Playboy Philosophy, December 1962:

Some seem to feel that a happy, even frisky and romantic attitude toward life, and a savoring of its material pleasures, preclude seriousness, work, sensibility, a viable aesthetic. In our book (literally and in the slang sense) this position is untenable. It belongs with such other evidences of semantic dysfunction as the unreasoning suspicion that medicine can’t be good for you if it doesn’t taste bad; that robust profanity bespeaks a limited vocabulary (rather than one equipped with condiments as well as nutrients); that dullness is the ordained handmaiden of seriousness; that the well-dressed man is an empty-headed fop, perforce, and that conversely, the chap who can’t distinguish a fine Niersteiner from a plebeian bottle of hock is probably possessed of more intellect of character than the man who can.

In the Age of Dudebros, this sort of claim to the epicurean high ground gets exactly the amount of respect you’d think, which is why the keepers of the Rabbit are actually considering turning away from its signature offering:

“You could argue that nudity is a distraction for us and actually shrinks our audience rather than expands it,” says [Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott] Flanders. “At the time when Hef founded the company [in 1953], nudity was provocative, it was attention-grabbing, it was unique and today it’s not. It’s passé.”

So passé that he predicts it will eventually vanish from the Playboy brand altogether. Probably not as long as Hefner still owns a third of the company and personally selects all of the nude spreads in the magazine, along with each Playmate of the Month and Year.

Which, notes this thirty-year reader, do tend to be repetitive, though there does seem to be life in the old leporid yet:

Though he claims he has no actual editorial pull, Flanders nudged others within the company to contemporize the overall look and feel of the publication. He felt it had grown “stale,” mostly due to using essentially the same pool of photographers for more than 25 years. Updating the visual aesthetic, he says, particularly the eye candy, of Playboy was far from an easy sell.

“People said, ‘Oh, we know what Hef likes. He likes this type of photography,’ and I said, ‘Well that’s bullshit. That’s like saying he likes the same meatloaf he’s been eating for 25 years. Let’s give him a piece of steak and see if he likes that,'” Flanders says. “And, sure as hell, as soon as they gave Hef more contemporary photography he loved it.”

Still, Hef is nearly 90. (Note: This Web site started on his 70th birthday.) At this point, we have no idea of the sensibilities of younger son Cooper, who is the designated heir to That Which Is Hef. And Playboy is trailing the recently de-fratboyed Maxim by half a million copies a month, which proves, if nothing else, that there’s a market for sideboob alone.

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This morning’s instructional

A decade or so ago, I put out a threadbare little template for those who wanted to post the way I do, which turned out to be no one at all. The idea, however, has been steadily improved upon, and the current state of the art, I think, is in Jennifer’s “Eye Catching Title Referencing Something Controversial,” which offers not only a better title but the potential for actual controversy, something de rigueur in this age of fifty million blogs chasing the same ten million clicks.

(Oh, and read the comments. They’re actually in the spirit of the thing, for once.)

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Emissions beyond control

When you get right down to it, nobody burns hydrocarbons like UN climate-change types burn hydrocarbons. And the next lovefest, in Peru, will burn the most of all:

The Lima conference is expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date. At more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the negotiations’ burden on global warming will be about 1½ times the norm, said Jorge Alvarez, project coordinator for the U.N. Development Program.

The venue is one big reason. It had to be built. Eleven football fields of temporary structures arose for the 13-day negotiations from what three months ago was an empty field behind Peru’s army’s headquarters. Concrete was laid, plumbing installed, components flown in from as far as France and Brazil.

Standing in the midday sun here can get downright uncomfortable, but the Lima sun is not reliable. That’s one reason solar panels were not used. For electricity, the talks are relying exclusively on diesel generators.

They’re claiming, of course, that all this is being offset elsewhere:

Nor is there a guarantee that the 580 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) of forest — the size of Houston, Texas — offsetting the talks’ carbon pollution won’t someday be gone. It must lie unperturbed for a half century in order to neutralize carbon emitted at the conference.

By which time, of course, all these self-appointed aristocrats will be long gone and justifiably forgotten.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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6 things we never want to see lists of again

Lynn was grumbling about yet another list, this one called “9 Things Middle-Aged Women Should Stop Doing Immediately.” Things got meta down in the comments when Nicole said there should be a list of “6 Things We Never Want to See Lists of Again,” and I said to myself, “Self? There’s your cue.”

  • “Ten Bands We Really Hate.” The only possibly interesting factor here is whether someone comes up with a way to mention Nickelback twice.
  • “Twelve Ugly Celebrity Body Parts.” Most of the time, this ends up being pictures of orange-peel deposits on the backs of their legs, or shots of their feet. (And if the latter, you will see Halle Berry, who really, truly does not have twelve toes, no matter what you heard.)
  • “Eight Ways to Reduce Carbs.” Scrape out the inside of the burrito, then give the hollowed-out husk to the stray cat from three doors down.
  • “Seven Shows You May Not Have Considered for Binge-Viewing.” At least four of them could be, and should be, According to Jim.
  • “Five National Conversations We Need to Have.” Inevitably, this translates to “Five issues on which you need to be lectured, since obviously you haven’t been taking the subtle hints we’ve been giving you all along.”
  • “Nine Ways to Look Better Naked.” You may reasonably distrust any of these that don’t begin with “Turn off the damn lights.”

Now I’m sorry I brought it up.

Addendum: Lynn herself weighs in.

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Winter tires

Not for use when it’s warm out:

Pumpkin Spice Rubber

(From reddit via Miss Cellania.)

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Hanging a bit too low

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root…”

At what point do you finally catch on?

A local public relations agency says it’s changing its name after a firestorm on social media over the weekend.

In a flurry of tweets and retweets that started late Saturday and continued into Sunday, people from across the nation and around the globe chastised Austin-based Strange Fruit Public Relations, which shares its name with a Billie Holiday song dealing with racism.

It is widely accepted that the song, based on a poem written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol, uses the term “strange fruit” as a metaphor for lynching victims hanging from trees.

It’s not that they were unaware, exactly:

Mary Mickel, who co-founded the firm with Ali Slutsky, told the American-Statesman the duo was unaware of the song when they first settled on the name in 2012.

“We thought the name would be perfect for a hospitality PR firm that specializes in food and drink,” Mickel said via email. “We of course Googled to ensure that it was not taken elsewhere and found the Billie Holiday song online. Thinking it would have nothing to do with our firm, and since it was written in 1939 it wouldn’t be top of mind in the public consciousness. We now know we were naïve to think that, and should have known better.”

I’m betting there probably isn’t a Dred Scott Real Estate, either.

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Usually a dollar extra

I have to wonder whether this was actually planned, or somehow just happened:

Workers fled a Tim Horton’s restaurant in Canada after a patron threw a live snake behind the counter during an argument over sandwich toppings.

According to the Saskatoon Police Service, two 20-year-old men are in custody after they allegedly engaged in the snake throwing incident at a Saskatoon Tim Horton’s Monday morning.

The report indicates the men wanted their onions diced and as the argument escalated, one of the men reached into the pocket of his friend’s coat, pulled out a live snake and threw it behind the counter. According to police, no one was injured, but employees fled the store in fear.

On the upside, you have to figure that had they diced it for him, a man eating a snake, even at a Tim Horton’s, has to go over better than a snake eating a man.

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Inflating the bounce rate

There was a report yesterday of domain hijacking, which proved to be a little bit less heinous than that but no less annoying.

It’s a third-party script, which apparently piggybacks onto the existing SiteMeter code. Fortunately, it was easy to identify. If you’re using some form of ad- or popup-blocker, this is something you’ll want to block:

http://x.vindicosuite.com/imp/…

If you’re not, well, why not?

(Hat tip to @GLHancock, who saw it here first.)

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Fallen deer zone

Payback can be so sweet sometimes. The Bucks, who so thoroughly thrashed these Thunder in Milwaukee earlier this season, managed to lead by five after the first quarter, and were never heard from again; Scott Brooks, always cautious about proclaiming garbage time, pulled the last of the starters — except for Andre Roberson, who replaced the fouled-out Anthony Morrow — with three and a half minutes left and OKC up by double digits. It was 114-101 at the horn, and the Restored Thunder are now 3-1 — but still 8-13 overall.

This was yet another game in which O. J. Mayo started out sort of slow and then gradually stepped up his production; he’d made it up to a game-high 18 points before fouling out late. His frontcourt served him well: Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 points, Jabari Parker 15. The reserves were headed by Jerryd Bayless, with 11. Somehow, the Bucks managed only three fast-break points all night; even weirder, they were outrebounded 54-31. The Bucks did well at the stripe, though, with 29 hits in 35 tries. And while their bench was good for 36 points, the OKC reserves came up with 42, led by Reggie Jackson with 18.

Jackson, incidentally, played 30 minutes tonight, second only to Russell Westbrook. (Kevin Durant knocked out 29.) This is consistent with the last couple of games, indicating that Jackson’s spending nearly as much time subbing for Durant as he is for Westbrook. Russ kicked in 28 points tonight on 8-16; Durant went 7-11 for 23 and gathered nine boards, four more than even the mighty Serge, who was 5-5 from the floor and 5-5 from the line, +25 for the night. Nick Collison drew an unexpected DNP-CD, which I’m inclined to attribute to all manner of potential height mismatches.

Thursday, the Cavs come to town, and everyone says they’re ready. Me, I’m just grateful LeBron stayed in the East.

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A folkie not to be forgotten

I don’t actually have a copy of this — believe me, I looked — but it seems like it’s been here all the time.

“Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in early 1964 and cut at that time, but was left in the can until the Metamorphosis compilation of 1975. Dick and Dee Dee (!), a supporting act for the Stones during their 1964 US tour, got first crack at a cover, but the one that got airplay, albeit minimal, was this version by Vashti Bunyan, released in May 1965 on Decca (UK) with production by Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Some pressings list her only as “Vashti,” as did the credits of at least one episode of the US TV series Shindig. “Some Things” somehow never got a US release, and, her career faltering, she moved to a commune in Scotland, eventually emerging long enough to cut an album, Just Another Diamond Day (Philips UK). Reviews were kind — you can find rather a lot of them on her Web site — but sales were awful, and she decided she wasn’t going to get mixed up in that sort of thing ever again.

By the turn of the century, Just Another Diamond Day was commanding $2000 bids on eBay, prompting Spinney Records to reissue it on vinyl and CD; Bunyan’s second career, as an off-center folkie, was under way. She would cut two more albums: Lookaftering (2005) and Heartleap (2014); the latter, she says, is her last.

How influential is Vashti Bunyan? Let’s ask Beck:

In which he sings Vashti’s “Winter Is Blue,” a late-60s track that preceded her departure to points north. (Her own take sounds like this.)

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May I have some marmalade, please

In which the lovely and talented Taylor Swift does her best Paddington Bear look:

Taylor Swift in winter wear

Not that I’m going to tell her she can’t wear Ralph Lauren if she wants to:

Taylor Swift in Ralph Lauren collection

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Shift-4

“Ohio State?” spake the Twitterverse in disbelief, and accusations began flying: atavistic regionalism! religious prejudice! blinkered, Philistine pig ignorance!

Well, no. It’s something simpler than all of those things:

I can guarantee you that NOBODY at ESPN was excited about the idea of Baylor or TCU in the College Football Playoff’s inaugural game. Make no mistake about it, as far as Texans are concerned, TCU and Baylor are about the fourth and fifth most popular teams in their own state (after Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and maybe even Oklahoma). TCU and Baylor fans (if there are such things) aren’t going to travel en masse to a championship game. They won’t buy $800 tickets to the game. And, most importantly, neither school’s brand will inspire fans from coast-to-coast to tune in.

But Ohio State? Oh, yes. They’ve got an alumni base that is more populous than the state of Wyoming. Literally. They have an international brand. They’ve won more national championship rings than you can fit on one hand. And their fans travel. They’ll buy every available seat in that stadium. They’ll gobble up every minute of televised coverage you can give them. They’ll buy every t-shirt you can make.

And hey, at least it’s not the odious Bowl Championship Series, am I right?

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This never happens in Massachusetts

The architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times ponders an unexpected issue:

More so than “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”? Are we talking “Chuyville” or something?

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Oh, and try the veal

Mighty Pantone (PBUH) has declared Marsala the Color of the Year for 2015:

Pantone Marsala swatch

Surprisingly, this choice has not met with universal approbation:

Social media has questioned what Pantone calls “a naturally robust and earthy wine red color” as “a color that makes you want to go to Olive Garden or order Tampax in bulk.”

So the food connection doesn’t help?

For a color that shares associations with wine, chicken, and mushrooms, the color also summons pfth-sounding glops of mystery meat in elementary cafeteria lunches, liver (and not necessarily of the French, pureed, pâté class) whipped into a murky abundance atop bread, pink slime gone wrong, or meatloaf (with a healthy serving of that mystery meat, perhaps?).

And I wonder how many of us endured this shade of carpeting forty years ago.

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Avoid this dude at all cost

Because he’s not paying attention to where he’s going:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What color is the wire coming from the radio in a 2013 GMC Sierra Denali for the parking brake bypass?

Why would anyone want to know this, you ask?

Trying to do a bypass so I can watch dvd while driving

Look around for a bridge abutment with a GMC nosepiece embedded about, oh, this deep.

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