Struck with great force

So far, I’ve heard one track from Valkyrie, the new album by Glass Hammer, it having been recommended to me by Francis W. Porretto, and I’m passing it on to you, all fourteen minutes of it.

Like the best prog rock, it’s about what it says at least as much as what it sounds like. And like the best prog rock, it comes off as vaguely European, though Glass Hammer in fact originated in Chattanooga.

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Zooeypalooza 24!

Has it been almost a year without a Zooeypalooza? This cannot be allowed to stand. Or to sit prettily, either.

Zooeypalooza 24!

Embiggenment, as always, comes with clickage.

Paloozas of yore: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20, ZP 21, ZP 22, ZP 23.

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Toss that word salad

I still have an AOL mailbox, at least partially because I’ve never had a good reason to delete it. Not much shows up in it. And this particular piece of spam, allegedly touting “bathroom remodeling trends by experts in yuor [sic] area,” had a fair number of hidden phrases to give it seeming validity.

Seeming, that is, until you actually read them:

1EH honour

animalism pickup cargo plaint with pompon or sledge thread luminous saliva taffeta with baby or captious 63e road

flitch dysentery shuffle repository with foul or materialism
congruity classical thymus

vane of germinate proceeding canter woodshed mortar ruby viosterol with qursh or interplay fiancee of enormity flamboyant glaze

Then again, maybe I’d like a bathroom with flamboyant glaze, enormity notwithstanding.

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Not a scorpion

Skunks, it appears, have a more robust moral code:

The human involved says he thinks the can had been reused to collect BBQ drippings, which better explains its critter appeal.

(Via Kim Komando.)

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No Italian cars for you

The closing of the Alfa Romeo/Fiat dealership in Dallas prompted this grumble from a local Alfa fan:

Fiat is not going to find a market in this country until this country gets less country, and that’s going to take a while; we are a relatively adolescent nation without easy access to higher education, and many Americans have never been exposed to other continents. The mainstream majority, with a limited frame of reference and a small income, have resorted to rejecting anything that originated outside of the United States. This would include vehicles that do not meet the current American automotive aesthetic … big, mean and ugly. So we have pickup trucks, which are intended to carry anything that is too big [to] ride in a passenger car, driven to work in the city by people wearing cowboy boots to offices. And then we have Sport Ubiquitous Vehicles, most of which never drive over anything more challenging than a speed bump. Meanwhile, my relatives in New Mexico — who have lived on cattle ranches for many generations — drive through the desert to and from the ranch house in a Cadillac. They only use trucks to haul cattle and a Jeep to drive out on the range.

I guess those New Mexican folk aren’t country in that sense.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, you can still buy Fiats. Maseratis, even.

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Damsels bring distress

To the likes of me, anyway:

Just five minutes alone with an attractive female raise the levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, according to a study from the University of Valencia.

The effects are heightened in men who believe that the woman in question is “out of their league.”

Cortisol is produced by the body under physical or psychological stress and has been linked to heart disease.

Hmmm. How did they check this?

Researchers tested 84 male students by asking each one to sit in a room and solve a Sudoku puzzle. Two strangers, one male and one female, were also in the room.

When the female stranger left the room and the two men remained sitting together, the volunteer’s stress levels did not rise. However, when the volunteer was left alone with the female stranger, his cortisol levels rose.

I know where I’m going to fall on this scale.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

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Ever been to Spain

Mostly, I wanted to see who Billy Donovan started in this first preseason game. Not too surprising, perhaps: Russell Westbrook at the point, Victor Oladipo at the two, Andre Roberson moving to small forward, rookie Domantas Sabonis at power forward, and Steven Adams in the middle. Not entirely unexpected. What I didn’t expect, perhaps, was the sheer ferocity of Real Madrid, who after falling behind by 22 points jumped out to a one-point lead with 4:35 left. (It did not help that Adams was gone before halftime with an ankle sprain.) Donovan had said that he wasn’t going to play Westbrook in the fourth, and he didn’t; it’s somehow wonderfully apt that Alex Abrines, a Spaniard in the Thunder works, took over towards the end, hitting two treys in a row to put it out of reach, or so it seemed. But Sergio Llull, who’d ended the second and third quarters with buzzer-beating treys, ended the fourth with, you guessed it, a buzzer-beating trey, and overtime duly ensued. Real Madrid pushed their way to a six-point lead with half a minute left, and wound up winning it by five, 142-137. If that sounds like a lot of scoring, well, it was. But, as I always say, it’s preseason. Don’t jump to any conclusions.

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From the spammer’s toolbox

This curious item landed in my spam trap:

Great news everybody!

New updated XRumer 12 recognize and break Google Captcha again, during automatic registering and posting.

The author suggests that you Google for the program, perhaps being reticent to provide an actual link.

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Low levels of litter

Is there anything good to report about the 2016 election? Well, there’s a definite paucity of yard signs:

There aren’t many yard signs for Hillary, because even dead dog Democrats who will vote for her solely because of the D after her name (as they would also do if she were Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler or the Ayatollah Khomeini) don’t like her enough to do anything beyond casting that vote. Certainly not go to the trouble of putting up yard signs.

OTOH, Trump supporters, with good reason, are probably fearful of being singled out for punishment from progtards and other violent ethnic racists if they publicize their preference for Trump — especially in front of their own homes, where their families live.

If that’s all we get, I’ll take it.

Meanwhile, someone ripped up a sign from Bark M.’s yard.

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Strange search-engine queries (557)

I’d like to think that the unnamed individuals whose search strings appear here are the same folks who wear the bracelet that says “In case of emergency, delete my browser history.”

super bobrovi film nude:  I’m guessing the one character you most want to see is the occasionally invisible girl.

overlord of flies:  Whew. For a moment there I thought you said “overload” of flies.

delouse plastics corporation pays its executives an excessive amount relative to other employees and to what executives at competitive companies are paid. this is most likely to be challenged as:  A generally DeLousy practice.

whatever happened twitter’s latest tweets:  Twitter says you don’t really want the latest.

micah buys a used car for $10,000 and spends $200 on a new radio that is made in the u.s. the end result of these two transactions is:  Some idiot going up and down the street with the subwoofers cranked to the max.

google now personalizes everyone’s search:  It could be worse. Suppose Facebook had a search engine.

in 2004, congress passed a corporate tax relief bill with 276 provisions for tax breaks to groups such as restaurant owners, hollywood producers, and nascar track owners. this is an example of:  Business as usual.

soggycardboard rule 34:  Corrugation is not permitted in the common areas.

sing songs company owns 10 percent of the music industry. ten percent represents this company’s:  Responsibility for Miley Cyrus.

submitted by anonymous (not verified) moonbattery:  It doesn’t take that much for moonbattery to be verified.

uncomfortable flats:  About two-thirds the apartment market in these parts.

the lonely stoner frees his mind at night lyrics:  I’d bet there’s something in there about uncomfortable flats.

tweedledum and tweedledee:  And Gary Johnson.

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Strength far exceeding mine

This has bothered me for most of a month now:

And it will likely continue to do so.

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Slap some mud on the wall

First, this, because it showed up in the tweetstream last night:

Rock fans of a certain age will recognize this as the source of the chorus to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.” Wikipedia picks this up, but also lists:

“Putin khuilo!” (a Russian/Ukrainian football chant, as assumed by Artemy Troitsky, inspired by “Speedy Gonzales” chorus)

Typically, this phrase translates as “Putin is a dickhead”:

The slogan was originated in Ukraine in 2014 having grown from a football chant first performed by FC Metalist Kharkiv ultras in March 2014 on the onset of the Russian annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine. The phrase has become very widespread throughout Ukraine among supporters of the Ukrainian government and more generally those who do not like Russia or Vladimir Putin in both Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking areas of Ukraine.

It’s also the name of a star.

To make this come full circle, here’s a mariachi version of “Putin khulio”:

Doesn’t sound that much like Pat Boone (or like Robin Ward, who sang that part on Boone’s record).

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Temporary vegetative state

It’s Morgan Freeberg vs. the vegetables, and it’s a standoff:

The plastic bags on rolls they hang over the vegetables. What a disgrace. You peel them off and then you open them … and open them and open them and open them. One stinking bag, you struggle and struggle, while the clock ticks. A minute, two, three … five … to pry open your plastic bag for the damn green onions. Then do it again for the artichokes. While this is going on, a little old lady parks her cart in front of the artichokes so she can get some kale. I’m left leaning over her cart to try to retrieve artichokes … pretty sure I ended up with the two scrawniest.

On the upside, she didn’t slip any kale into his cart.

I historically — by which I mean “before my current period of enforced clumsiness” — have had little trouble with the bags, though finding the little twist tie to close up a bag is too often problematic.

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Starting with a tee

Most of America’s problems can be solved, says Severian, by mandatory Little League:

Jack wants to be a ballplayer, but he’s got no arm and can’t hit a curve. He’s got no natural aptitude for it, and if he doesn’t figure that out on his own — some kids have a preternatural ability to endure public humiliation — his coach will eventually take him aside and explain it to him. Coach will kindly but firmly point Jack to the Model UN club. Coaches are good at that kind of thing; they get lots of practice.

Jill doesn’t want to be an engineer, but after 50 years of feminism, her mommy is convinced Jill should be one. So Jill struggles in math class. She’s got no natural aptitude for it … but wait, that can’t be right! There’s no such thing as “natural aptitude” for academics! If Jill’s no good at calculus, doesn’t get fired up by solving quadratics, and never wanted to build bridges in the first place, it’s Patriarchy keeping her down. No teacher will ever take Jill aside and explain to her that it’s ok not to be so great at math, that calculus is the mental equivalent of being able to hit a curve — it weeds out most of us — because it’s the end of that teacher’s world if she does. So she doesn’t, and … well, you know the rest.

I herewith admit that I don’t get fired up by solving quadratics. I did, however, learn to do it, because math.

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A chili forecast

H. Allen Smith, on the deadly serious subject of chili, as quoted here in 2005:

Mr. [Frank X.] Tolbert of Dallas, who appears to be spokesman for the group called the International Chili Appreciation Society, declares that acceptable chili should contain no tomatoes, no onions, and no beans. This is a thing that passeth all understanding, going full speed. It offends my sensibility and violates my mind. Mr. Tolbert criticizes Lyndon Johnson’s chili recipe because it leaves out beef suet and includes tomatoes and onions. Yet the President’s chili contains no beans. To create chili without beans, either added to the pot or served on the side, is to flout one of the basic laws of nature. I’ve been told that when I was a baby and it came time to wean me, I was fed Eagle Brand Milk with navy beans frappéd into it. Thereafter, all through childhood and adolescence, I ate beans three for four times a week. If Chili Bill, back there in Illinois, had served his chili without beans, I would surely have deserted him and bought chocolate sodas for my lunch.

Roberta X, not so far from Illinois, explains this further:

Tam and people in the southwestern U.S. look askance at what we call chili up here in soybean-and-corn country. It’s a flavorful stew with ground beef, canned tomatoes, red kidney beans, onion, a little chili powder and, typically, elbow macaroni. I skipped the pasta and added a small can of mild green chilis, some hot Italian sausage with the beef, a single fresh tomato along with the canned, and good dark chili powder. It’s still nothing a Texan would call chili, so I put the word in quotes or name it by describing the contents, in order to avoid a long conversation on what does and does not constitute chili. In truth, “chili” is whatever you call chili, usually a red stew with meat, much as “science fiction” is whatever science fiction readers read, usually about the future.

Which is true, I suppose, even in Cincinnati.

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Saturday spottings (battened up)

About 9:30, the Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer rang my doorbell, not because I’m in any way newsworthy, but because he’d scored an invitation to Hatch, a new breakfast/brunch outfit in the north end of the Buick Building downtown (10th and Broadway), and they allowed him a guest, and he thought I needed cheering up. (Which, to be perfectly honest, I did.) Hatch, a new place from Provision Concepts, opens officially on Monday, so this could have been considered beta testing of a sort. I think they’re ready to go live: my request for “the tallest possible orange juice” brought a large cylinder full of juice squeezed in the last couple of minutes, and the entree — chicken-fried steak with little unexploded hash-brown bombs and two eggs, scrambled, was just dandy. The service was enthusiastic without being annoying. If you’re going for breakfast downtown, consider this a recommendation.

We then spun around various districts in town where things were changing, and a few where they weren’t. I’m not the reporter guy here, but I think I held up my end of the conversation pretty well. And I pointed out some things not even the mighty Lackmeyer had seen before, including this:

There’s a current sign on the opposite corner, but this one has somehow survived from antiquity. (The cross street is Northwest 50th.) Like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects this sort of thing.

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