Fark blurb of the week

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Heat indexing

I have to admit that this never would have occurred to me:

Rare and exceptional beauty is rare and exceptional, but because Hollywood, advertising and other media constantly feed us images of beautiful people, this distorts perceptions to such a degree that many people don’t seem to realize how rare beauty actually is.

Go find your old high school yearbook and go through the portraits of the senior class, assigning the girls to an ordered ranking based strictly by looks, from the most attractive to the least attractive. Suppose that there were exactly 100 girls in your senior class. This means that the 10 prettiest girls would rate a 10, the next 10 prettiest would rate 9, and so forth.

It’s been 45 years since I was in high school — and yes, I do have my yearbook — but class portraits tend to even out the oddities. And there are variables which don’t translate. One classmate who comes to mind had a tendency toward unflattering hair styles, which didn’t do much for her face, but if you started at the end with the penny loafers, you’d discover a killer pair of gams. (Being messed up even then, I crushed on her younger sister, who was about 30 years ahead of her time in terms of sheer adorkability.)

And I’m not sure I’d know what to do were a 10, or a 9, or a 6.5, or whatever, to look my way.

Guys sit around watching a pro football game and, when the camera briefly shows the cheerleaders, guys talk about which one of them is really hot. Dude, they are all NFL cheerleaders. How many NFL cheerleaders are not “hot”? Zero. Or guys watching the Miss America pageant will disparage the less attractive contestants: “Miss Rhode Island? What a dog! Yuck!” Of course, never in his life has this guy dated anyone remotely as attractive as Miss Rhode Island and yet, when she appears in competition against other exceptionally good-looking women — Miss Oklahoma, Miss Ohio, Miss Alabama — the slightly less fortunate Miss Rhode Island is a “dog.” (I use Rhode Island as an example, because the New England states have produced only one Miss America winner — Miss Connecticut, Marian Bergeron, 1933 — whereas Oklahoma has produced six winners.)

Regarding that last point, I’d argue that living here in Soonerland, where the sky is constantly trying to kill you, somewhat sharpens your survival skills, and if you’re less scared than average, you come off as more attractive.

Where I differ from certain members of my half of the species is my refusal to believe, as they do, that I’m entitled to someone rated [pick a number] or higher because [pick a justification]. In general, I believe that all I have coming to me is life, then death, pretty much in that order. Everything else is purely speculative.



Jamie Kitman in the November Automobile, passing over a point I’ve been trying to make in the process of making a bigger one:

Once they assured us that the American public demanded tailfins and cars that were forever growing lower, longer and wider. Today, they tell us, people like a command driving position so they can see over traffic. But of course they can’t see over traffic anymore because everybody else is riding so high, too. Taller, longer and wider is the fashion now.

See also Dash Parr: “If everyone is special, then no one is.”

But it’s all part of the package:

And anybody who thinks public opinion drives fashion in the first instance isn’t paying attention. Talk to people about what they want, and it turns out it is never unrelated to what is being sold. And, of course, what many of them also want is free porn, free booze, and OxyContin suppositories. Should we give it to them? If it will sell more cars, maybe.

I am philosophically unwilling to subsidize anyone’s porn or booze habit. And OxyContin suppositories? They can shove them up … um, never mind.

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Just a touch of rue

Laura McGowan writes a blog called Skinny and Single, and this blurb in her sidebar made me chuckle, so I’m passing it on to you:

I’ve been divorced for ten years. I love being single.
Freedom … it’s worth all the heartache.
Freedom … it’s worth it.
Freedom … it’s in you to give.
Now, if only I could change a tire.

I’ve been divorced for twenty-eight years, and in all that time I don’t think I’ve ever written anything on the subject quite that precise.

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Not exactly kinky boots

Cyndi Lauper has introduced a shoe line, and it’s not because girls want to have funds, either:

Lauper has been a staunch supporter of LGBT rights, becoming a fixture at gay pride events and raising money through charity work. Now, she’s parlaying her unwavering belief in equality into something tangible with the launch of her shoe collection with Make a Difference Everyday, an organization dedicated to creating products with a purpose.

The three-piece line, priced between $65 and $75, includes a denim hi-top sneaker, a leopard print slip-on sneaker, and a men’s white hi-top sneaker. “Each style was designed to be worn in all kinds of situations,” Lauper told InStyle. Proceeds from sales benefit the True Colors Fund, her foundation which works to end homelessness among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth across the country.

The shoes themselves are not particularly wild-looking, but perhaps that’s the whole point: sometimes you have to blend in a little.

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Bait used to be better than this

Ostensibly from “Apple iTunes Genius Care,” which is a howler in its own right, this is the phish du jour:


At Apple, your security means everything to us. That’s why we are contacting you today with regard to your iTunes Account chaz@dustbury.com with us. The Apple Privacy Policy was updated on September 17, 2014 and now requires members to review the profile information we hold on them due to KYC (Know your Customer) guidelines.

We have tried to contact you on 2 previous occasions to review this information before the cut off deadline on the 17th of September and had not acknowledged a response. This is the concluding message before closure of your Apple ID within the next 48 hours and all associated data.

Please follow the link provided to your profile.

I decline, due to KMA (Kiss my Ass) guidelines.

The link provided, you should know, goes to a URL at itunesrenewals.com, the same domain named in the “sender”; you may safely assume that anything you ever get from them or their associates is fraud with a capital F.


The power to reason away

Life imitates the Doobie Brothers:

Some time ago, I was talking to a woman about this wonderful, romantic week we’d spent together on a beach and she said, “Meh. I got sunburned so badly on that trip.” So the week that I have kept close to my heart for years as a near-perfect moment with someone is just, to her, that one week where she got sunburned. I cannot say that I was not angry with her for feeling that way. But only a borderline personality would fail to see that she has a right to her own opinion. The problem is that when I heard that opinion, it changed how I felt. So now, that week will live in my memory not as The Week That I Slept Like A Contented Infant Next To My Soul Mate As The Children Played Outside On The Sand but as The Week That I Put 1,340 Miles On My Porsche And Scraped The Nose Of It In A Parking Lot.

Now imagine that in Michael McDonald’s voice. I know I can.


An unlikely tail

Still, there it is at the bookstore:

Who has two legs and would do something like this? This guy.

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Oh, and Hernando says hello

Debelah Morgan, thirty-eight this week, long ago faded from public view. She started out in gospel — she was teaching gospel choir at the college level while still a teenager — and the last we heard from her was the Let the Worship In/Champions Live 2 set five years ago. In between, though, a lot of things happened to her, including bouncing from Atlantic to Motown and back to Atlantic again.

Debelah Morgan photo by Roy Zipstein circa 2000

Debelah Morgan album art

That second stay at Atlantic produced this nifty dance number, based rather blatantly on “Hernando’s Hideaway” from The Pajama Game. (TPG composer Jerry Ross and lyricist Richard Adler are duly credited on the label.) It doesn’t use anywhere near all of Debelah’s reputed five-octave range, but damn if it isn’t catchy.

There are dozens of songs called “Dance With Me”; Debelah got hers to #8 in Billboard towards the end of 2000.

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Prepared for the worst

When I got home today, I found a standard #10 envelope by the front door, hand-inscribed “Dear Neighbor.” I figured it had to deal with one of two things that someone must have seen: my faceplant by the curb this morning, which didn’t seem too worrisome — someone offering to help in the future, maybe? — or my brief(less) stargazing experience from last night, which probably wasn’t so good.

(There is a nonzero probability that someone may have murmured “Thank God, we thought we were the only ones!” Still, nonzero does not mean a long way from zero.)

Of course, it turns out to be neither, but a flyer, a much-photocopied cover letter from one “Jennifer R.”, and a pair of tickets to this:

International Youth Fellowship (IYF) USA and Gracias Choir will be back on the road to present the 2015 Gracias Christmas Cantata US Tour across 25 cities from September 19th to October 16th. Christmas Cantata features 3 dynamic stages filled with cherished carols, gorgeous sets, and an eternal message of hope wrapped in one huge, breathtaking show.

Admission to Christmas Cantata is FREE but each performance is first-come, first-served and seating is limited. So find a Christmas Cantata tour stop near you, and request your tickets now. You can also make a donation to our US Tour and reserve your seats without waiting in line!

Come celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with Gracias Choir and IYF: the birth of love, hope, and happiness in each and every one of hearts. #BringTheJoy

Everybody has a hashtag these days. [sniff]

The local showing is Saturday night (10/10) at 7 pm at the Civic.


Going for maximum meta

And the snake takes another yummy bite of tail:

Who didn’t see this coming? (Besides me, I mean.)


The lark at break of day

Fortune and Men's Eyes by Jennifer HallI’ve had this particular album since it came out; I played it a couple of times, forgot about it for several years, but now and again something will happen to remind me about it and spur me to dig it out of the stacks. Yesterday another of those somethings took place, and I decided to follow up, since so far as I knew she never made another album.

Fortune and Men’s Eyes, a title borrowed from a Shakespeare sonnet, came out in 1987, produced by the reliable Alan Tarney; two singles were issued, one of which, “Ice Cream Days,” showed up in the soundtrack to Bright Lights, Big City in 1988. It’s a period piece in the best sense of the word:

Jennifer Hall, it turns out, is the daughter of British film director Sir Peter Hall and French actress/dancer Leslie Caron; she’s 57 now, and goes by Jenny Caron Hall — at least, for her artistic ventures: she’s done a fair amount of freelance writing for various English publications under the name Jenny Wilhide, the surname she shares with TV writer/producer Glenn Wilhide.

Really tangential: Wilhide’s grandfather Glenn Calvin Wilhide was director of design for Black & Decker.

Note: There exists a 1989 Eurodance number called “Don’t Say Goodbye,” credited simply to “Jennifer,” which sounds enough like JCH to justify its mention here.

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Life in Non-Drowsy Land

Saturday night, about five minutes before midnight, I extracted the little blue-green tablet from the card, and began my first test of Belsomra (suvorexant).

  • 12:00:  A book at bedtime.
  • 12:15:  A couple of yawns; I abandoned the book and turned off the light.
  • 1:45:  Still awake, and barely even drowsy.
  • 2:15:  Got up and cranked up the computer.
  • 4:00:  Went back to bed.
  • 4:45:  Last time I remember seeing the clock before sunrise.
  • 7:20:  Sunrise.
  • 7:25:  Discovered I’d pitched a pillow onto the floor.
  • 8:30:  Actually got around to retrieving the pillow.
  • 10:55:  Crawled out of bed.

Obviously I did get some small quantity of sleep, with various interruptions, out of this deal, but its onset was so long delayed from the time the pill was taken that I question whether it contributed anything.

Dosage: 10 mg. The prescribing information contains enough Scary Stuff to suggest that 10 would have been a heck of a lot safer than 20.

I will try again next weekend, perhaps on Friday night. I am not, however, particularly hopeful. The Holy Grail of sleep tabs — works in 15 minutes, disappears completely in six hours — has yet to be approached, let alone found. I will say this: it’s a wholly different dream function. Instead of the bad urban-fantasy stuff I find with Ambien, I got a bad memoir. Not really an improvement, but perhaps less frightening.

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All plop, no fizz

As usual this morning, I walked down the driveway toward the curb to fetch the newspaper. (I am one of those people who actually would prefer an afternoon paper, but the ten or twelve of us who still exist don’t count for much.) As usual, it was positioned on the section of concrete with the sharpest slant.

They say “Use your knees, not your back” to pick up stuff. If they had knees like mine, they never would have said such a thing. The Monday paper being generally smallish, I had a long way to go, and calculating the geometry of the matter, I spread my feet apart a few inches to buy some vertical. And then, having seized the paper, I unaccountably pitched forward, two, three steps, and wound up washing my face in the morning dew.

The fact that I was able to get up from this was heartening, or at least not leading to despondency. I dusted myself off and headed for the shop, figuring I can use the time at that traffic snarl around Penn Square to report that I wasn’t going to be in by 6:30.

No phone.

Evidently when I pulled myself off the ground, the little so-and-so stayed behind. I made a modestly mad dash in the opposite direction, retrieved the device, and started over. Okay, it was closer to 6:45. I can live with that. And they’re going to have to, you know?

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Strange search-engine queries (504)

It seems unreasonable to me that there should be 504 of these over a ten-year period, while there have been only 266 Popes in two thousand years. Then again, we don’t want to be changing Popes every seven days, either.

the reality television show wife swap exchanges the matriarchs from two very different families and films the result:  Kinda makes you wonder how it lasted for more than a season.

what happened to rebecca black:  Last I’d heard, she’d gone to Taco Bell.

mongoose agency:  So far, they have only the one mongoose, though they’d like to have more mongeese. Or is that “mongooses”?

lateral mobile shelving sioux falls south dakota:  You didn’t, um, accidentally build a shelf, did you?

hot girl serving beer:  Let’s hope it’s cold beer.

ariana grande having sex:  Shucks, I’d be happy if she’d just bring me a cold beer.

intravenous wine:  As a matter of fact, I like beer.

food for supper:  Highly recommended. In fact, most people actually prefer food for supper.

ay lav yu:  Wouldn’t “I <3 U” be easier to type?

shimshit lawyers:  That’s not how you spell “shyster,” although it probably ought to be.

a day full of fun dvd:  Preceded by half a day of previews, promotional material, outright commercials, and FBI warnings.

tamara is a content developer at moon loop inc:  Wonder what it takes to make sure our developers are content.

fiorina pantyhose:  You can’t assume someone will serve well in an elective office just because she has long, smooth, shapely, carefully crossed legs.

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Moon over Surlywood

Two conflicting urges here. I did want to get some sort of photographic record of the Big Fricking Bloody Moon Eclipse Thing while it was live; on the other hand, I have enough Sixties hippie left over inside me to insist that astronomical phenomena should be enjoyed in one’s most natural state.

Resolved, of course. Shot just over my roof, this is the Big Fricking Bloody Moon Eclipse Thing, and apparently nobody noticed the unclothed chap standing on his driveway — which is amazing, given my lack of suntan and consequent monstrously high albedo.

Super Blood Moon 2015

A somewhat embiggened version resides on Flickr for the moment.