Hum a tune, save a life

It’s the way CPR works:

Music can be a lifesaver — literally.

When first responders are being taught to perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, on an adult whose heart has stopped beating, they’re told to administer 2-inch sternum compressions (between the nipples) at a rate of around 100 beats per minute (bpm). That’s a little less than twice a second, and can be hard to approximate. So thank goodness for pop music.

“Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees is a classic example of a song that hits that 100 bpm benchmark (and has obvious connotations to the task at hand). Ditto Gloria Gaynor’s breakup anthem, “I Will Survive.” Looking for something a little less on the nose? Try Hanson’s mega-hit “MMMBop.” All of those tracks appear on a 100-bpm playlist released this week by New York Presbyterian Hospital.

And if you dig reverse psychology, there’s Norman Greenbaum’s evergreen “Spirit in the Sky” — and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”

(Via Fark.)

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Six weeks on

“The Great Divide” continues to unite us on the dance floor, up two spots from last week:

The Great Divide

And yet another cover served up, this one a duet with Drumaq. The original was recorded last year by Noah Cyrus, who is Miley’s younger sister. (“Lana Montana”?)

Warning: One brief untoward utterance at the end.



“Walk right in,” the song begins. “Sit right down:”

Oh, the song absolutely was a hit for the Rooftop Singers, two weeks at #1 in 1963, and they even get a little songwriting credit for their sparkling-clean version —

But the original was old even then: in 1929, Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers recorded “Walk Right In” with considerably more complexity — and a kazoo solo!

Heaven knows we don’t get enough kazoo solos. Herewith, an attempt to redress that issue. First, Dion, despite the titling actually post-Belmonts, with “Little Diane” (1962):

Ginny Arnell, in a song they will never, ever play on the radio anymore, from the very end of 1963:

Even the Beatles — okay, one ex-Beatle — dug the buzz:

And speaking of buzz, a 1982 classic from the Temple City Kazoo Orchestra:

We may now put aside this keyword for a decade or two.

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Lawyer entangled by laws

I can’t help thinking this was a setup intended as public chastisement:

An offbeat Austin-area defense attorney who has built a practice representing clients accused of drunken driving and marijuana possession spent 11 days in an East Texas jail after federal authorities charged him with scamming $1.2 million from Colombian clients.

Jamie Balagia, who operates law firms in Manor and in San Antonio, was released on bond from the Fannin County Detention Center at 10:47 a.m. Monday, jail records show. Balagia, 56, agreed to stop practicing law until his case is resolved, according to court records that provide the conditions of his release.

The attorney who markets himself as the DWI Dude and the 420 Dude was arrested by the FBI on March 9 in McKinney near Dallas and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice. He was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak of the Eastern District in Sherman.

You should know that just about everyone named “Balagia” in central Texas is a relative of mine. (Jamie is in fact a first cousin.)

That said, he ran for Texas Attorney General in 2014 on the Libertarian ticket, promoting the legalization of marijuana. (The “420 Dude” is known for defending weed users.) He pulled about two percent of the vote.

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Saved a bundle on uniforms

I had no idea this existed at all:

A couple years ago I participated in and won the Tallahassee Naturally College Greek Athletic Meet. It was a small turnout, but very fun and a unique experience. After all, how often have you come across a competition involving javelin, sprinting, discuss, long-jump, and wrestling (in the event of a tie) that is conducted completely in the nude?

Tallahassee Naturally is a travel (“unlanded”) club — they don’t own permanent resort property — for family nude recreation. Which may explain this:

I’m sad to say that this year’s 22nd annual competition may be the last. I recently received an email stating that the woods in which the competition has been traditionally held will no longer be available to the organization in the future. While they intend to find a future home, I fear that the poor turnout in recent years will dampen their spirits and shake their resolve. So, if you’ve ever considered giving it your all while wearing nothing, make it now.

In the meantime, these are the house rules:

BRING: One clean birthday suit, beach towel or blanket, sunscreen, sack lunch, and plenty of drinking water.

CAMERAS: Not allowed! Exception: reporters from newspapers may make special arrangements.

NOTE: Anyone under 18 must bring signed parental permission.

Oh, and spectators ($20 per ticket) are advised that this is not a clothing-optional event: you do without, just as the participants do.

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Caddy remarks

General Motors has bestowed some of their finest engineering ever on Cadillac sedans, and yet sales continue to tank. Jack Baruth says that’s the whole problem:

Cadillac has been handed over to people who think you can engineer your way to excellence in the luxury-car market. You can’t. It has to be done with marketing.

And don’t you dare bring up Lexus as a counter-example. The original LS400 was a master class in cost-no-object engineering but nobody bought it for that reason. They bought it because it looked just like an S-Class, it based at $35,000 instead of $58,000, and the marketing emphasized that. Period, point blank. I want you to think back to the last time you saw the actual MSRP of a D-class luxury sedan in a television ad and I guarantee you it will be that first-gen LS400. The price was the whole point. The Infiniti Q45 was a better car to drive in day-to-day use — I know, I had access to both of them when they were brand new — and it didn’t sell worth a damn because the marketing was garbage. Instead of a picture of the car and the sticker price, they had rocks and trees. People already had rocks and trees. What they wanted was a discount S-Class.

Don Draper, line one, please:

So here’s my suggestion. Bring back the Mad Men. Find the most despicable, non-progressive, manipulative ad agency money can buy. Get the people who did the Lexus bows and tell them that the gloves are off. Starting tomorrow, everything will be done with marketing foremost in mind. No more Nürburgring times, no more class-leading lateral g. We’re gonna take the fight to Lexus with cars that are absurdly desirable. Cars that flaunt your prosperity to your neighbors. The Escalade is gonna be the bare minimum when it comes to excess displays of wealth. Buying a Cadillac should feel like putting on a red-velvet top hat and punching your boss in the face. It should be irrationally exuberant.

And it will have to be priced accordingly. A ’57 Eldorado Brougham with everything standard, including a set of matched tumblers (!), sold for the princely sum of $13,074, or about 4.9 Chevrolets. Inflation demands six-figure pricing today. And fercrissake, don’t do something stupid like call it “CT9.”

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Stop — hammer time

The Oklahoma House has passed a bill to make Good Friday a state holiday:

House Bill 1444 passed by a vote of 69-24 and was opposed by 22 Republicans and two Democrats, according to a spokesman for the House. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

Um, thank you for the explanation.

What gets me: only two Democrats in opposition? “Yeah, yeah, we know, separation of church and state and all that crap. But it’s a paid holiday, man!”

One of the GOP opposition offered a different pitch:

“I felt it was in bad judgment to add another holiday to the schedule, especially considering the various economic circumstances of the time,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie.

(Via The Lost Ogle.)

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Look at all those neutrinos

Okay, they’re kind of small and hard to see, but there are ways to detect their presence, and since at any given moment a few bazillion are passing by, their presence is practically a given.

You probably knew a lot of these things already, but I make a point of trying to encourage scientists with dry senses of humor.

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Tore him a new one

Either that, or greatly expanded the old one. Nevertheless, it had to hurt like hell.

Moral: Never, ever tell a ton and a half of angry hamburger to stick it.

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Played great, less Philly

This year’s Sixers are so much better than last year’s Sixers it isn’t funny. Admittedly, 26-45 (so far) is probably not much to write home about, but 10-72, posted by the previous edition, is the stuff of bad comedy routines. That said, Philly was somewhat depleted coming in, missing Tiago Splitter, Jerryd Bayless, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but they put up quite a fight early on, and they were down only seven after the first quarter. Still, the Sixers have never won in Oklahoma City, and they weren’t about to start now. With the starters mostly cooped up, the Sixers bench got a chance to shine, with Nik Staukas posting a team-high 20 and the reserves grabbing 62 of Philadelphia’s 97 points. Just their luck, the Thunder bench was destined for 63 tonight, as OKC swept the Sixers for yet another year, 122-97.

The dominance of the Thunder in the usual statistical categories was pretty much total, with 55 percent shooting, a 54-29 advantage on the boards, and 26-19 on assists. (One exception: three-point shots, at which the Thunder managed only four of 16, while the Sixers made eight of 25.) Russell Westbrook had one of his more efficient outings, bagging a triple-double (18-11-14) on a mere six shots and six free throws; he didn’t miss a shot all night. Victor Oladipo came up with 18 of his own, but team high, once more, went to Enes Kanter, who hit eight of nine for 24 points. Things were going well enough that Nick Collison was pried off the bench for eight and a half minutes; he responded with seven points and five rebounds.

So ends a 2-1 homestand. Now the road beckons for three, at Houston Sunday afternoon, at Dallas Monday evening, and at Orlando Wednesday evening. The Thunder remain in the #6 slot, a game and a half behind the Clippers and a game ahead of the Grizzlies. In the first round of the playoffs, sixth seed plays third seed, which will likely be the Rockets. But you gotta beat ’em this weekend first.


Musique afrique?

Jeanne Galice — call her Jain — is twenty-five, musically gifted, about ten degrees off plumb, and she has one album out: Zanaka (2015), which the cataloguers at Discogs have described as “Reggae, Funk/Soul, Pop.” Somewhere in the middle of that continuum is track eight, “Makeba,” a sort of tribute to the late Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba (1932-2008), unbelievably catchy and yet visually implausible.

That bit of drawing-room silliness at the beginning is actually the end of the video for “Come”, the first track from Zanaka. (“Zanaka” means “child” in Malagasy; Jain’s mother has roots both in France and Madagascar.)

Jain is currently touring North America; she won one of three Grulke Prizes at SXSW this year. Said they:

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Jain. A captivating French singer-songwriter, Jain has already reached Platinum status with her album Zanaka. Her unique sounds draw listeners in with their dazzling international flavor and magnetic hooks. Though success has been quick in Europe, she’s been working on her music since she was a teenager moving around the world with stops in the Congo, Abu Dhabi, and Paris.

Zanaka has no US distributor as yet, though Amazon will sell it to you as an import.

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The way it used to be, twisted 180 degrees:

CenturyLink, our telephone company in Florida, called and said that our listing in the telephone book was no longer free and that they would begin charging us $20 a month if we wanted to stay in. LOL, I did not even know they made telephone books any more. Back in the 1980’s, when being in the phone book had value, the listing was free. Now, when being in the book has zero value, they want to charge for it.

I’m assuming that this is a business line, inasmuch as a couple of yellow-paged books — “Yellow Pages,” I further assume, is a trademark owned by someone — show up a few yards from my porch every year. The last actual White Pages I received, with residential listings and such, date to 2008.

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Upholstered in the finest Tweed

How things have changed:

Some background:

The neo-Georgian building known as Tammany Hall opened in 1929, and Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt used its stage to warn of corporate mergers that were putting too much wealth into the hands of the elite.

In 1943, Tammany sold its headquarters to Local 91 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which reopened it in 1947 as the Roosevelt Auditorium. In 1984 it was reborn as a 499-seat Off Broadway theater, the Roundabout Theater, and in 1994 it was rededicated as the Union Square Theater.

It received landmark status in 2013. But after the New York Film Academy moved out in 2015, the theater closed in January [2016].

William M. “Boss” Tweed was unaware of any of this, inasmuch as he had died in 1878.

(Via Jason Shevrin.)

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The Cone of Silence descends

About four o’clock Central, this place will be going (temporarily) dark(ish):

We will be working to improve service on your MySQL server this Wednesday, March 22nd, starting at 2PM PDT. This maintenance is estimated to take up to 2-3 hours to complete with a total of roughly 2 hours of downtime. Databases will not be available during this 2 hour period.

As part of this improvement, we will be upgrading your MySQL server to improve stability as well as patching it for potential vulnerabilities. There should be no data loss, but connectivity will be affected by this maintenance, and changes to your databases should not be made until the maintenance is complete.

I’m interpreting this to mean that a cached copy of the front page will still appear, and all the old static pages will remain available, but the latest and greatest will be even later, if not necessarily greater.

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Bai now, enjoy the rush

The thing about Bai Ling, I think, is that she’s cheerfully exhibitionistic without being prurient about it: she may be trying to turn your head, but she doesn’t seem to be trying to turn you on. (At the ripe old age of 50, this is a perfectly reasonable stance to be taking.)

She’s also not much of a singer, but this hasn’t discouraged her in the slightest. From 2012, her single “Tuesday Night 8 PM”:

These photos are from the last 10 days or so of her Twitter feed.

Bai Ling as something of a Transformer

Bai Ling on the floor

This one is below the jump, in case your sensibilities are subject to outrage by such things:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Revolt of the Underarm Gnomes

We have descended to this:

When we look back at the great social justice struggles of 2017, surely, neigh certainly, the cause of putting armpit hair on fictional women will top the list.

This week, Warner Bros. released the new trailer for Wonder Woman, and most problematically, the Amazonian warrior princess played by Gal Gadot did not have any armpit hair.

Twitter exploded at the revelation, claiming women of the fictional matriarchy Themyscira would probably not shave their armpits. Some speculated that Gadot’s armpits were photoshopped to show a sheen, immaculate visage, unattainable by real women.

Many woke, intersectional journalists were also angered by the lack of gross armpit hair.

I note for record that “fictional” appears in those four brief paragraphs twice. And who’s gonna tell Wonder Woman, of all people, how to take care of herself? Not I.

Besides which, you know what’s really gross? “Woke,” “intersectional” “journalists,” and I mean the scare quotes on all three. You were put on this earth to document life, not to remake it in thine own image, especially when thine own image is well-nigh puke-inducing.

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