Twisted, sister

So far, we’ve seen Mirjana Kika Milosević as a thinly-disguished ashtray and a headless body on a coat hanger. She continues to find new ways to amaze and/or frighten:

And it’s all paint: no computer assistance.

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Strange search-engine queries (577)

“I knew, even before the Internet was invented, that some people would use it to discover strange, wondrous things.” — George Washington (1732-1799)

drawing conclusions about every woman who wears a size 14 or larger in a particular zip code from a representative sample of 250 women in that zip code who wear a size 14 or larger would be:  A really good way to get your ass kicked by some very angry women.

student loan debt blog:  Twenty years gone by, and they still haven’t finished it.

10cc neofascism:  You’re taking those rubber bullets far too seriously.

666 yahoo answers:  Of which approximately 80 made sense on first reading.

aaron’s persistent feelings of sadness and impending doom dominate his life. every time he says anything even a little positive to his therapist, the therapist smiles. otherwise the therapist has a stone face. this therapist is probably using some variation of:  Psychotherapy for Dummies (Second Edition).

bob seger birthday meme:  If your birthday is the sixth of May, you’re going to Katmandu.

12yo slut:  Now see? This is what happens when you let adolescents search for porn.

new six:  Will appear in more full-size trucks as CAFE makes V8 engines problematic.

trumpcare meme:  Just lie down over there until you get better.

on march 1 1982 john deposited $2250:  Which today is worth nearly seven hundred dollars.

economy in shambles:  According to each president since Benjamin Harrison, what his predecessor left behind.

elizabeth kucinich tongue ring:  Is this why we haven’t heard much from Dennis lately?

invisible clothes for women:  Approved by the Emperor himself.

is kevin durant marvin gaye’s grandson:  Is this something you heard through the grapevine?

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Pot threatens kettle

You can’t get a whole lot more hilarious than this:

Wikipedia has banned the use of the Daily Mail as a source of information on its site. The self-styled “library of the web” has decided the largest tabloid news site in the world is “generally unreliable” and has a reputation for “poor fact-checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”. Yes, a crowd-sourced website that can be edited by any Tom, Dick or Harry is now fretting about facts.

Truth be told, it’s not the Harrys and the Toms that I worry about.

The Daily Mail is subject to libel laws, and staffed by trained journalists. This is more than can be said for Wikipedia, which is hardly famous for its reliability. In the past it has included public entries calling actor Gary Oldman a “giraffe”, asserting that footballer Thierry Henry “was born a c**t and remains a c**t”, and accusing teeny-bopper band the Jonas Brothers of having genital warts.

Disclosure: I’ve written a few things for Wikipedia, and several things I’ve written elsewhere have been cited as sources. Nothing in either group was intended to advocate any particular cause.

Wikipedia is a valuable online tool. But if it wants to uphold a reputation for providing objective facts, it has to remain politically neutral. Given that the Daily Mail can legitimately be cited in academic papers, books and studies as a source (yet another advantage it has over Wikipedia) there is no just reason for Wikipedia to denigrate its worth.

I’m not above citing Wikipedia for things like musical trivia or geographical curiosities. But for anything with the slightest bit of controversy, I will go somewhere else. Fortunately, there are lots of somewhere elses.

(Via Tongue Tied 3.)

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Thank you for the music

In 1974, I was in northern Turkey, assembling a hi-fi system when I wasn’t toting a rifle or doing other soldier-ish things. One of the discs I used to blast at overly high volume was the Waterloo album by ABBA, crisply recorded and full of pop hooks.

Forty-odd years later, Waterloo remains my favorite ABBA album, but the song I play most from it is not the verve-y title track, but this comparatively obscure number from side two, with its occasionally weird time signature and its gently cooing vocals:

It may be the least-played, least-covered ABBA track ever. I don’t care.

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Ungulate multiplication

He’d intended to shoot them, but there came a distraction:

Day after day, week after week, the strange lawn ritual with the soccer ball went on and on. In truth, he had long since pulled far ahead of the buffalo in goals, but what do buffalo know about keeping score?

In time, however, the hunting season came around. He looked out of his house on the first morning and saw the buffalo waiting for him, the soccer ball in front of the forward, the defensive buffalo pacing slowly back and forth by the water trough. It came to him then that he could never shoot them. It would spoil the season — and the soccer season, in the deserts of Utah, is never really over.

On a hot afternoon soon after, he looked out his window and discovered, much to his delight and his neighbors’ shock, that the two buffalo on his lawn were indeed male and female.

Now it is two years later and he has four buffalo on his lawn. He doesn’t hunt anything anymore. Says he’s lost the taste for it. His old hunting buddies come by every so often and razz him about the buffalo.

“You started with two and couldn’t shoot them,” one said. “Now you got four.”

Well, we know how this ends, don’t we?

Damned binary.

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A politics-free zone

In the best of all possible worlds, the entire world would be a politics-free zone. But this isn’t happening:

I started following a few “pretty pictures” accounts on Twitter to try to counteract a lot of the political stuff that’s being discussed on there. And then guess what: yesterday afternoon an account or two of them suddenly decided that it was time to get political.

They chose … poorly.

I think about a lot of this, and I think about something the survivalist types talk about, the whole “head on a swivel” idea — that every public place now is Potentially Dangerous, so you need to be in a state of heightened awareness and that just exhausts me and makes me want to be a hermit. I mean, I have halfway-decent situational awareness just because I’m observant and my history of being teased and made the butt of jokes makes me super sensitive to “hey, this thing isn’t quite right in my environment” but the idea of thinking of five escape routes for every part of the wal-mart I might happen to be in just makes me exhausted, and makes me almost want to say, “Okay, if a crazed shooter wants to take me out while I’m buying frozen cauliflower, then it was my time to go, and hopefully I’ll have that last chance to ask forgiveness for my sins before I die…”

And I think the being hyper-aware of political stuff is similar.

I stick by what I said yesterday to a friend in Canada:

And if anyone should come back with “But … but we’re marginalized!” I’m going to reply “Yet I can still hear you.”

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Please be kind to Frank Ancona

Frank Ancona has been selling cars in the Kansas City area for over fifty years; his Honda lot on I-35 in Johnson County always catches my eye when I’m on the way to KC. His advertising tagline — “Please be kind to Frank Ancona” — may be one of the best-known slogans in the entire automotive business. (Heck, I know it, and I’m 350 miles away.) You go to the dealership’s Web site right now, though, and you’ll get a popup that explains this:

[Llast weekend, a body discovered on the banks of Missouri’s Big River — about a five-hour drive to the east — gave the dealership the kind of attention that no business wants. The corpse, which had a bullet hole in its head, also had a name: Frank Ancona.

No, the founder of Frank Ancona Honda is still alive and well at 85. But much to his dismay, the Frank Ancona discovered by the Big River was none other than the 51-year-old imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

There have been phone calls to the dealership. Many of them, in fact.

When Automotive News first broke the story, the dealership had already posted a disclaimer on its website. “Frank Ancona Honda is not in any relation to the KKK leader that was recently found dead,” read any car shopper browsing for deals on a Odyssey or Accord.

It was about two and a half years ago that the dealer became aware of the dipshit:

The owner of Frank Ancona Honda in Olathe is being mistaken for a Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard with the same name, and the confusion is costing the dealership money.

Frank Ancona also is the name of the KKK leader for the Traditional American Knights KKK chapter in Park Hills, Mo.

Dealership manager Leon Wharton says it’s not really a factor right now:

“February is usually one of the worst months in the automobile business as it is,” Wharton said. “It just never does do very well in comparison to the other months. So could it have some impact? Yes. But can I pinpoint that it’s negatively affected business? No, not really.”

“I’ll use this reference,” he said. “I’m sure there’s several James Smiths in prison around the country, and I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of James Smiths running around, law-abiding citizens, paying their taxes and taking care of their families and being good members of the community.

A lot of them, in fact, are members of the Jim Smith Society.

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J_ST T_RN_D S_XT_

Yes, boys and girls, it’s true: Vanna White, she who has turned the letters on Wheel of Fortune for the last 35 years, has just turned sixty. It took me a few moments to remember that Vanna was the second letter-turner for Wheel; Susan Stafford did it first, from 1975 to 1982, and for one week in 1986 while Vanna was mourning her fiancé, who was killed in a plane crash.

From time to time, she’s done non-Wheel stuff, but her main gig has kept her in yogurt and yarn for all these years, and there’s no sign it’s going to get away from her.

Vanna takes a break to knit

Vanna raids the fridge

Vanna on the red carpet, though not all that red

Oh, and there’s this little artifact from 1987. I still have the 12-inch single:

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Sort of level-headed

Samuel Shenton, who founded the International Flat Earth Society in, um, 1956, was not impressed by satellite photos which purported to show the Earth as some sort of sphere: “It’s easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye.”

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving would not be fooled by such ruses:

In an interview with Cleveland teammates Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson on their podcast, “Road Trippin,” Irving explained to his Cavs teammates with an authoritative tone that there are aliens living somewhere in the universe and the Earth is a flat surface, not a round object as we know to be scientifically and visually proven in countless ways for centuries upon centuries. “This is not even a conspiracy,” Irving said. “The Earth is flat.”

Yes, he got the usual grade-school indoctrination:

“What I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round,” Irving explained, demonstrating that he did pay attention in elementary school when we are all taught such a thing. “But I mean, if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets and stuff like this.”

I think I’d find this a bit more plausible if he’d explained that the earth is flat because one weekend LeBron James pounded the hell, and the curvature, out of it.

Still: Kyrie Irving is averaging 24.4 points per game. Someone averaging three or four wouldn’t have gotten this much attention.

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And maybe you’ll even be understood

CFI Care (not its real initials) has duly sent me a Form 1095-B, which states that yes, I had health insurance for the whole tax year just ended. Okay, fine. There was also an instruction sheet, which contained the following statement: “If you, or someone you are helping, have questions, you have the right to get help and information in your language at no cost. Talk to an interpreter at [some toll-free number].”

This is, I assume, the usual governmentally-inspired misapplication of the word “right.” On the other hand, it’s probably a good thing that the instructions can be had in other languages. Which other languages, you ask? The list:

  • Arabic
  • Burmese
  • Cherokee
  • French
  • German
  • Hmong
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Navajo
  • Persian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

The toll-free number is the same for all of them, and now I feel sorry for the callers: this is way more complicated than the usual “para Español, marque el numero dos.”

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Small pox upon thee

The “Sooner Tea Party,” as accurate in its name as the Holy Roman Empire was in its, apparently has been circulating noxious stuff like this Yellow Peril poster:

Anti-vaccine poster attacking Senator Ervin Yen

Dr. Yen represents Senate District 40, which means he represents me. For some reason, I didn’t receive one of these noxious little crap-o-grams; I snatched this photo from journalist Madi Alexander. Steve Lackmeyer at the Oklahoman remembered:

The shitgibbon in question served no time and paid a small fine. The state lawmaker on the receiving end of his wrath was Cliff Branan, who at the time represented, um, Senate District 40. And anyway, the conviction was subsequently overturned on free-speech grounds, which is just as well: noxious speech needs protection every bit as much as the innocuous stuff. Maybe more. Either way, it doesn’t make the guy any less of a shitgibbon.

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The 500-day week of summer

I know, I know: it only seems that way when the temperature hovers far too close to the century mark. What we have here instead is a film critique:

It’s slightly embarrassing to admit that I’m an unhealthily sizable fan of the movie (500) Days of Summer, to the extent that I may well have seen it five hundred times. My reasons are … personal. But aren’t they always.

Of course they are.

So imagine my compounded surprise and delight, when, while watching another movie, The Longest Week, I noticed a number of similarities with the aforementioned. Striking similarities. The narration — heck, the narratOR. Some of the scene framing, in particular the bedroom conversation scenes. How closely Olivia Wilde’s character looked, at times, to Zooey Deschanel’s. The French entertainment scenes. The meeting a guy while reading a book scene. I could go on, but this musing is … ample.

There are, it is said, only seven basic plots. I have had long stretches when I wondered what happened to the other six.

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Want with a capital W

And not entirely out of reach, either:

Giant Robotic Twilight Sparkle

EqD’s Sethisto has the scoop:

MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE MY MAGICAL PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE Figure

(Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $129.99/Available: Fall 2017)

Discover the magic of friendship with the interactive MY MAGICAL PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE figure, a pony with Pegasus wings and a unicorn horn that lights up! While interacting with her, she can move her head and hoof, say 90+ phrases, and light up her horn. Fans can press the star button on her hoof to hear her talk about spells, tales of friendship, stories or songs. She has poseable legs so kids can help her sit or stand and has moving wings. Princess Twilight Sparkle also has a beautiful mane and tail and a tiara to complete her look. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers and on HasbroToyShop.com.

My current Twilight simulacrum says maybe six things and cost — well, never you mind what she cost.

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The mostly-impossible dream

You have to have something to motivate you, I suppose:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Are used Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Mclarens, etc. just as reliable as a new one?

He goes on:

I am only a teenager with a big dream for super cars. I obsess over them. I recently looked on used car sites and found super cars under $150k that are $200k+ new (These might be older models though). Will these be as reliable as new ones?

Admittedly, he is not alone in his obsession.

They certainly won’t be any less expensive to operate. Ask the Ferrari owner who spends $5 a mile maintaining his prancing pony. (Which doesn’t, by the way, include gas at maybe 10 mpg and insurance at God knows what.)

I firmly believe that any money an adolescent accumulates for Big Speed should be spent on a proper racing school; even the meanest commuter vehicle can, and occasionally should, be driven with verve.

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I recommend Sudden Death

No, not as a tiebreaker. I mean, as a method of discouraging bad ideas in baseball:

When a baseball game is tied after 9 innings, play continues until one team finishes an inning ahead in the score or unless a boneheaded commissioner decides to commit blasphemy and declare it over. These extra innings are played just like every other inning in a baseball game — to get on base, you have to get a hit, a walk, or be hit by a pitch.

But under the proposed change, the team at bat would start inning ten — or whatever inning might be selected — with a runner on second base. If there’s no score, then we go to the other team, who starts their at-bat with their own man on second.

Statistics, the very heart of baseball, will of course be thoroughly screwed up:

If the runner scores, to whom is he charged? Usually, that run is charged to the pitcher who allowed the baserunner. But nobody allowed those runners on. Also, who gets to be the baserunner? Is it the last batter of the previous inning? Is it a pinch runner? And if it is a pinch runner, once that player comes off the field, are they considered used and therefore ineligible to enter the game? If they score, do they get credit for a run even though they did nothing to get on base and only made it halfway around the bases?

If that had been the only bad idea floated before spring training — but come on, you know it couldn’t possibly have been:

Now this week MLB is trotting out a trial balloon about changing the games to 8 inning affairs.

There are, of course, alternatives, none of which will be tried:

Get rid of the designated hitter. Fewer hits equals shorter innings and shorter games. Raise the mound back up to pre-Bob Gibson levels. What did you say MLB? You want more offense? Then that equals longer games. Cutting a 3 hour game to 2:45 is not going to bring in the young fans.

How about, oh, getting rid of those long stretches when no pitches are being thrown because the pitcher keeps trying to catch a base runner wanting to steal?

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The Merry Marvel MasterCard

Facebook pitched this to me last night:

Marvel MasterCard

As I understand the Terms and Conditions, the M.M.M.C. offers a 20-day grace period beginning on your statement date, after which you get a less-than-friendly visit from Wolverine.

Excelsior!

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