Not wasting the pretty

The fictional “Carol Van Meter-McDougal” comes up with something with the ring of truth, or so it seems to me anyway:

[F]or generations, men objectified women by assessing value to them based on their physical appearance. During more patriarchal times, guys were the ones who determined which women were pretty. But since the feminist movement finally gave women the right to objectify ourselves according to our own standards, there are now two kinds of pretty: guy-pretty and girl-pretty.

Guy-pretty women are the kind of women whom men want to be with, and are therefore women who bear traits that men find exemplary in women, traits that are generally associated with sexuality — pouty lips, a curvy figure, and a general “come hither” look, or at least a look that doesn’t scream “I smell like cats.”

Girl-pretty women, on the other hand, are the kind of women that other women want to be like, and are therefore women bearing traits that we ladies find exemplary in ourselves, traits like a fit but not surgically enhanced body, eyes that say “confident but not arrogant,” and a general aura of “flirty but not skanky.”

On this latter scale, Jennifer Aniston is ne plus ultra, though, speaking in my capacity as a guy, I find that she doesn’t do a thing for me. (Okay, make that “she doesn’t do many things for me.”)

I concede, however, that I wouldn’t know a come-hither look if it were telegraphed, closed-captioned, and explained in Braille.

(Title from “Don’t Waste the Pretty” by Allison Iraheta. Not sure which of the two types of pretty she might be.)

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Taste the memory

You have to figure that this guy got what was coming to him:

Up-skirt photos are a form of sexual harassment plaguing subway cars, bars, and basically anywhere a woman is standing. It’s especially concerning because most of the perpetrators are never caught. Except for when they are.

People’s Daily recently posted a video that’s going viral in China, in which a woman in Nanjing confronts a man she realizes is taking up-skirt photos on the subway via a hidden camera in his garment bag. In under a minute, she exposes him to all their fellow commuters, dressing him down to the point where he takes his SD card out of his camera and chews on it to destroy the photos.

I frankly do not understand the motivation behind this sort of thing: feelthy peectures are only a few clicks away, even in China. (The Great Firewall can’t block everything.) And I wish she’d managed to stomp the guy’s camera at some point.

(Via Danielle Lisle.)

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Once at most

But so far, the answer is no:

“The victim suffered two wounds. One proved to be fatal; fortunately, the other one was not serious.”

(Via James Del Rey.)

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If you like your pop cool

Freezepop, a synth band of which I am perhaps inordinately fond, is crowdsourcing its next album:

We have been working on our fifth full-length album, and we’re turning to you folks to help bring it into the world (and of course you’ll get a lot of really cool rewards in return). We’re very excited about the music, and want to give this album a proper release. With past albums, we’ve done the being-signed-to-a-label thing, and we’ve also done the taking-on-massive-amounts-of-debt-to-release-it-ourselves thing. Neither of those options are really ideal, so this time around, we’re happy that we can work directly with our fans to make this project happen.

Well, “a lot of really cool rewards” is variable. For the backer who can spare only $1:

Thank you! You get all the love in our hearts. But nothing really physical per se.

With 30 days left, they’ve already raised about $25,000, with a goal of $30,000. I am, of course, adding to the kitty, and at a higher level than $1. They expect to have the album completed by the end of February.

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Pedi concerns

When I was a lad, the very word “pedicure” seemed a mystery to me: women spend actual money on such things? Today, of course, there’s a nail salon or two on every other block, so it may simply be that the time for this product has passed:

Really want to accessorise your sandals with a snazzy pedicure, but just cannot be bothered? These tights were invented for you.

Hosiery with painted-on toenails

I suppose the effect might work if your toes happen to match up with the factory measurements. And I concede that it’s more pleasant than the Dragon Lady scheme, in which the nail can’t possibly be enclosed in any fabric, but then most things are.

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Life imitates Allen

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), in Annie Hall, addressing the audience:

There’s an old joke … um … two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

That was nearly forty years ago, but it’s evidently still remembered:

<mcmahon>How bad is it?</mcmahon>

(Via Rand Simberg.)

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Administer this, pal

I received three copies of this presumptuous little grubitation, allegedly from the “WebMail HelpDesk”:

Dear User,

Your E-mail has exceeded 2GB which is created by our Webmaster. You are currently running at 2.30GB and you will not be able to send or receive new messages in the next 24hours until you re-validate your mailbox.

Please complete the information below to re-validate your account

(1) E-mail:
(2) Name:
(3) Password:
(4) Confirm Password:

Technical Support
For: System administrator

Who knew there was a “System administrator” living inside the router?

Weirdly, there were no links to be found anywhere in the message, so if this is phishing, there’s no line to reel in the suckers, and how many people are dumb enough to fill out the form and hit Reply?

Oh, yeah. You’re right, of course.

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Continue to think of Laura

Sometimes the celebs make it easy for you. Laura Vandervoort has been tweeting pictures from a photoshoot out in the desert:

I dunno. It seems to me that after three years as a werewolf on Bitten, she might want to appear some place where you probably don’t expect to see werewolves.

Then again, she looks Very Serious in those shots, so I counter with this Comic-Con item from last summer, in which she, um, doesn’t:

Laura Vandervoort at Comic-Com

And this is something she’s working on:

I’m creating a kids’ TV show. I wrote a book about four years ago, a children’s book. I would go to a lot of comic conventions and meet young girls who looked up to Supergirl and I realized at the time the action figures and that sort of thing were not the healthiest role models for girls. They were oversexualized and had unrealistic body types and these girls were like eight years old.

So I thought there’s nothing on television for that age group to really look up to and relate to [in terms of] someone their age with powers. So long story short, we’re in the development stage, it’s called Super Duper Delia, we’re excited, hopefully within the next year things will start moving along.

This could get interesting.


And they’re outta here

Desperate times, as the phrase goes, call for desperate measures. The Mavericks, facing elimination, kept finding strength at exactly the moments they had to. One of those moments was at the beginning of the fourth quarter: down ten, Dallas hit all their shots for the first four and a half minutes, pulling to within a single possession. But there was one factor neither the Mavs nor Rick Carlisle had considered, and that was some head-steam emitted from the Dallas front office:

Westbrook, who never reads the papers, obviously read this paper. And with 27.2 left, Justin Anderson dropped an elbow in Westbrook’s face. Frustration will do that to you. Oklahoma City 118, Dallas 104. If you had “Thunder in five,” take a bow. The Only Superstar had a creditable 33 points for the night; but Westbrook racked up 36 (on one fewer shot) and came one dime short of a triple-double. And this despite high-meh performances from Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter, who accumulated fouls nearly as quickly as they did points.

Still, if I’m Rick Carlisle, I’m looking at all five of my starters in double figures, Dirk, sweet Dirk, with 24, and I’m asking: “What just happened here?” If anyone asks Westbrook, he’ll say something to the effect of “I dunno, man, I just play the game.”

Like hell.

The Spurs are next.

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Sideways reading

I paid the phone bill the day before I got it, because I’m just that way. (They send me an email notification, which usually arrives before the paper bill shows up.) A week later, in comes a nastygram, wondering when I’m going to take care of my balance due.

I checked with my bank, and yes, they’d paid the bill as I’d specified. Armed with this assurance, I logged into the Death Star’s Web site, loaded for bear, or at least cub, and discovered that I’d screwed up: the bill was so many dollars and 62 cents, and I’d paid that many dollars and 26 cents. So I had 36 cents due.

Dyslexia can warn without striking, I thought to myself, and posted a $15 payment via American Express, just to screw with them. The machine did balk for a moment — “This amount exceeds the amount due” — but I’m not going to charge 36 cents to anything if I can possibly help it.

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It’s all there in black and white

Or is that “white and black”? Yesterday’s Zebra Race at Remington Park:

If nothing else, this demonstrates the truth of the assertion that if the creatures are sufficiently multicellular and mobile, humans will wager on their speed.


The craven little toaster

This machine doth vex Roberta X:

My toaster has betrayed me for the last time. It has developed an unnatural hunger for Pop-Tarts; it’s sad enough I can only find the one flavor without frosting, sadder still that it’s not blueberry — alas, Babylon! Alas, vaccinium corymbosum! — and saddest of all that the toaster merrily pops up a pair of ’em with enough force that one leaps out of the bottom support (which is, I swear it, barbed), falls past it and jams in the crumbs at the bottom and the heating element at the side. Being a Pop-Tart, it’s got less structural integrity than wet tissue paper, so every attempt to free it results in more and more hot, sugared filling being smeared into unreachable corners, nooks and crannies. That evil machine has got to go!

Unfrosted blueberry is, of course, the Pop-Tart of choice.

My own semi-reliable machine, now closing in on 35 years, has a quite different issue: it occasionally balks at downward propulsion, meaning you have to push the lever down more than once to get it to budge. (Worst case so far: three iterations.) On the upside, so to speak, its ejection capacity remains undiminished after all these years.

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A name without so much Dale in it

And now, a statement from The Band Formerly Known As Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.:

The flip side is that as things have grown, so has the amount of confusion caused by the name Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Some of it is no big deal and easily cleared up. But sometimes we get sad and bizarre requests sent to our social media sites or emailed to people we work with. We’ve had people drive long distances to shows only to be disappointed when they realize it’s a neurotic Jew and wild haired gentile from Detroit they’ve paid to see. A number of times now we’ve received hope filled inquiries from people who have dying relatives that only want to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr (the driver) before they pass. Those sorts of interactions feel a little voyeuristic and eerie, and even attempting to simply clarify the situation means you’ve added a moment of embarrassment to someone’s day when they’re already going through a lot.

We recognize that we created this situation and that the name has been a part of getting to where we are now. It stirred up some attention for us in the modern internet world of over-stimulation, and we aren’t complaining about any of it — good and bad. The name has become its own personality, though. Almost another member of the band.

But as time has passed, we have grown into ourselves, both as artists and individuals. Each of our perspectives have gotten stronger, and we’ve found that there is no longer room for a third, ubiquitous member of the project.

So recently, after a lot of thought and discussion, we made the decision to shorten our band name to the much more brief moniker of …


The band still has an eye for the incomprehensible, though, as witness their video for the 2015 single “Gone”:

I remain a fan.


Strange search-engine queries (534)

As a general rule, Google and its ilk will not send you more than 1000 results for any given search. Despite this rule, it’s relatively easy for a search to end up here, there being six million words or so to choose from. All of these somehow did:

German lass Milf Patriarch sleeps with teen boyish sub subsequently game:  I can’t help but think we’re not getting the whole story here.

bobby stole money from the local grocery store on the corner to buy beer. he later assaulted a 72-year-old woman and stole her purse. in the alley, he dumped the purse, went to starbucks for a cup of coffee, and proceeded to take the train to the suburbs. on the train, someone stepped on his shoes:  And Bobby shot him, because oppression.

“like”, “um”, and “you know” are all examples of:  Whatever.

what should i do with my life:  While you still have time, spend some of it away from the keyboard.

during a long drive, tony counted the number of pickups and sedans he saw driving in the opposite direction. after a while, he noticed that on average there were 5 sedans for every 2 pickups. at this ratio, how many sedans would he have counted if he had passed 18 pickups?  Evidently Tony was not in Texas, where pickups outnumber sedans about five to one.

microwaveable pork rinds where to buy:  Probably not in Qatar. Yet.

mike bought 200 shares of pdq stock on margin at $15/share. the stock increased to $21/share. what was mike’s profit?  Under Bernie Sanders’ tax plan, 53 cents.

darth vader water pipe:  “I have altered the flow. Pray I do not alter it further.”

mine flex:  Well, at least somebody’s do.

brother jukebox sister wine:  Part of the extended family of Uncle Kracker.

3.39 inches:  Current Tinder value of “seven inches.”

definition of delayed gratification:  I’ll tell you later.

crummier definition:  You can’t get much crummier than that.

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From the We Are Doomed files

A couple of years ago, I posted something about a couple of antihistamines that had a tendency to screw up, so to speak, one’s libido. The title — “Friends with Benadryl” — got no reaction whatsoever, perhaps because we have a tendency to venerate drugs that do us a favor. We also have a tendency to forget that every drug has side effects, and sometimes those side effects can be nasty:

A new study, published Monday, offers the most definite proof yet of what scientists have known for at least a decade: that anticholinergic drugs [pdf] are linked with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia.

Though you may have never heard of this class of drug, you’ve certainly heard of the medications themselves, including Benadryl, Demerol, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom and VESIcare. They are sold over the counter and by prescription as sleep aids and for chronic diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

At the link, there’s a scale for various drugs, each of which is assigned an anticholinergic “burden score” of 1 to 3 points, 3 being the worst: “Evidence from literature, expert opinion, or prescribers information that medication may cause delirium.” The brand names mentioned in the article generally score 3.

The new study [pdf] seems to reinforce this judgment:

The study looked at 451 people, with an average age of 73. Sixty of them were taking at least one medication with medium or high anticholinergic activity. To identify physical and physiological changes that could be associated with the reported effects, researchers assessed the results of memory and cognitive tests; PET scans, to measure brain metabolism; and MRI scans, to assess brain structure.

The cognitive tests revealed that people taking anticholinergic drugs performed worse on short-term memory tests, as well as on some tests of executive function, including verbal reasoning, planning and problem-solving.

Anticholinergic drug users also showed lower levels of glucose metabolism — a biomarker for brain activity — both in the brain overall and in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory and which has been identified as affected early by Alzheimer’s disease. The participants using anticholinergic drugs were also found to have reduced brain volume and larger ventricles, the cavities inside the brain.

The catch here is that those 60 individuals were taking those meds on a regular basis, presumably allowing the deleterious effects to accumulate. The conclusion is actually rather modest: for older patients, at least, it might be wise to seek alternative treatments. Of course, since this came out on CNN, there are going to be shrieks of “We’re All Gonna Die,” exactly as there are for any such health stories that get into the popular press. That said, I have about 500 tabs of Sominex (AC burden score: 3) that I may just chuck into the landfill.

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Unnecessary complexity

I didn’t think so, but then I’m not the guy writing the software:

My income consists of a pension, Social Security, and not much more. It’s generally pretty cut and dried. So I’ve usually done it myself. But this time I had a royalty check for a book I and some others wrote in 2002.

When I entered the figure — about 50 dollars — TurboTax got all high and mighty, refusing to do my taxes for the regular sum of about $40. I had turned out to be a very special taxpayer, one which would strain the algorithm and probably crash the entire system. So complex was my income that TurboTax stopped in its tracks. It shied like a horse who was asked to jump a deep ditch. I was informed that my royalty check made me an unusual taxpayer and I needed an extra $50 for them to continue my return.

OMG, another form! This is apparently how they subsidize e-filing for people who don’t actually earn enough to file.

I would now be paying a hundred dollars in fees for earning an extra $50. For a couple of hundred I could hire a live accountant.

I pondered the problem for a couple of days and then decided to file for a six month extension, thus evading the problem until the leaves turned color and started to fall from the trees.

Under the circumstances, I don’t blame her in the slightest.

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