Noise disabatement

This nimrod showed up yesterday exhibiting both a lack of taste and a lack of patience:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: five variations on I have a Dodge Ram 1500 2wd regular cab. What can I do to it to make it sound good and loud

If he comes back next week asking for stereo advice, well, God help him. Because I won’t.

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Strange search-engine queries (497)

Comes Monday, and comes once more this weekly feature of the wackiest search strings that got this site up in people’s browsers. We do this because (1) it’s weirdly popular and (2) it’s less effort than actually writing something.

sanrio lawsuits etsy:  Because Hello Kitty belongs to the world — except, of course, for you and your little online store.

explained the deviation from the life cycle model for an 40 year old married male,self employed with:  An active Tinder account and a suspicious spouse.

teen in thongs with cameltoe non nude:  Technically, if she’s wearing that much, she’d have to be “non nude,” doncha think?

knee appalling tan:  You know, you probably shouldn’t have had that stuff sprayed on while you were seated.

how to make viagra at home for men:  You’ll need a can of spray starch and a pair of forceps.

find a company that will deliver a storage unit to my door orinda ca:  Having a storage unit by the door probably violates a town ordinance.

rebecca black high school:  Who would have thought they’d ever name a high school after Rebecca Black?

is oklahoma on a fault line:  Naw. All these earthquakes are caused by guys in $500 cars with $1500 stereos.

jersey barrier mover:  Gonna take more than your feeble F-250 duallie, bucko.

would like to swing on a star:  Here’s a jar. Don’t come back until you’ve crammed it full of moonbeams.

jose had a small bag of marshmallows. the bag contained 5 pink:  Which for no apparent reason he ate last.

the endochronic properties of resublimated thiotimoline:  We already got to that next week.

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A vast waistline

“Who in the heck writes whole paragraphs and posts about highways?” asks Joe. “It’s a road.” Well, yeah. But before he said that, he said this:

Windshield time is not conducive to a positive outlook on life. I-70 in particular seems to wear me down and over the decades I have found this true of the roadway no matter what part of the country it traverses, perhaps because it is mostly a straight slash across the center of the nation. The highway seems to be a weird dividing line for weather; above gets snow, below does not or below sees rain, above the road none. It also seems to be an almost modern Mason-Dixon Line dividing cultures and dialects. I know this to be somewhat true in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I am not sure if the pattern holds sway in other parts of the country. It is also quite likely the whole idea is a figment of my imagination. Anyway, from Harrisburg to Kansas City and beyond the road is boring unattractive and dull. How US 40, which covers pretty much the same exact ground can be so much more interesting is beyond me. Of course the old National Road will take you twice as long to get you where you are going.

I have the opposite view of windshield time, though this is probably because I don’t get enough of it — at least, not in a good way. (Being stuck behind dawdling members of the Anti-Destination League in the middle of the afternoon commute is not a good way.) Still, US 40 is to be preferred over I-70 at least as far west as Topeka, after which the two roads merge for most of the rest of Kansas. I admit to having less experience with the eastern stretch, which ends up in Atlantic City.

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The long, hot sideshow

How could this Presidential campaign possibly be any worse? Just try to imagine how dull it would be without Donald Trump.

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This much and no farther

From Indianapolis, a report that the NBA is considering a rule change:

Proposed changes that would let National Basketball Association teams substantially expand their marketing areas — to encompass their entire home states or television markets — could generate more than $1 million annually for the Indiana Pacers.

But the plans could also bring other teams — especially the Chicago Bulls — crashing into the central Indiana market hunting for fans and sponsors.

The proposals relate to a rule that bans teams from marketing outside a 75-mile radius of their home base — a limit that keeps the Pacers out of nearby cities like Fort Wayne, Louisville and Cincinnati.

If nothing else, this explains why the Thunder play in Tulsa and Wichita during the preseason: it’s the only chance they have to make a pitch to the locals. (The movement of the D-League 66ers Blue out of Tulsa surely didn’t help matters.)

A change requires a vote by the league’s 30 team owners. And while league sources say momentum is building for the proposals, they wouldn’t likely be enacted until the 2016-2017 season at the earliest.

The Oklahoma City TV market includes about half the state, with the rest belonging to Sherman/Denison/Ada/Ardmore, Amarillo, Tulsa, and Fort Smith.

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No judge of length

Most people, upon hearing what I do for a living, assume I sit in a cubicle all day. Not so. I have no cubicle, and I stand a hell of a lot. When last week my feet started complaining more loudly than usual, I dug into the closet and brought out my old but still new-looking New Balance 1122s, which are loud and clunky — which explains why they were far back in the closet — and contain an actual roll bar, useful for those of us with a tendency to pronate.

They’re also white, with trim bits in a couple shades of grey, and as any debutante can tell you, white shoes make your feet look bigger, especially after you’ve been wearing black ones for a while. “Geez,” said I. “Caitlyn freaking Jenner doesn’t have clodhoppers this big.”

I stewed over that for a while, then decided to fact-check my ass. Turns out that Caitlyn freaking Jenner truly doesn’t have clodhoppers this big: the fashion sites agree that she wears a 13, which, assuming this figure is up to date, means that Bruce — remember Bruce? — used to wear a 12.

I wear a 14. Which is a 15 in women’s sizes. (And several iterations of the letter E.)

My apologies to Ms Jenner, and to any wandering debutantes.

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Discouragingly stationary

The bank with which I do the vast majority of my business — not one of the big chains, but big enough — has been serving up a perfectly legible online-banking interface for the last five years, which fit nicely onto my screens. It apparently did not fit nicely onto people’s phones, though, so they’ve unveiled a new interface aimed directly at those who swipe rather than those who mouse around.

Well, no, I didn’t like it much. On the upside, it’s not so different from what American Express is showing me these days, so at least I didn’t have much of a learning curve, and I suppose eventually I’ll end up with a smartphone, or at least a not-quite-so-dumb phone. I’m not going to try it on my current phone; it will probably work, but carrier charges for Web access on an account with no data plan border on the absurd.

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Rough going here and there

Presenting The Sixteen Worst Roads in Oklahoma City, from this morning’s Oklahoman, page 2A:

OKC street grid

How they got to be The Worst:

In 2007, Oklahoma City passed a bond issue aimed at improving or replacing parts of the city’s infrastructure, including designating almost a half billion dollars to fix some of the city’s worst streets.

Of the 49 stretches of road designated to be repaired more than seven years ago, 16 have been completed and 17 are in construction.

Work has yet to begin on 16 streets.

Note that it’s stuff around the periphery, not urban streets in the middle of town, that seems to need the most work. And there’s a single four-mile stretch that I can verify is truly terrible: sections 14/13/2/11, Kelley Avenue from Wilshire to Memorial, though when I take this route I turn off at 130th, missing the northernmost half-mile. This stretch of Kelley, long ago, was part of the Route 66 alignment through town; it’s now, if you ask me, merely the less-stressful alternative to the Broadway Distention, albeit with nearly as much patch as actual pavement.



The 8th of August — think of it as 8-8 — doubles up a classic Chinese lucky number, so I’m guessing that good fortune has been smiling on Chinese actress Ni Ni, born on this date in Nanjing in, um, ’88.

Ni’s Nanjing origins, it turns out, were a factor in Zhang Yimou’s 2011 historical drama The Flowers of War, set in Nanjing during a particularly heinous period in the second Sino-Japanese War; Zhang spent rather a lot of time auditioning the local talent. Ni plays Yu Mo, unofficial leader of the local girls for hire, so to speak, opposite John Miller (Christian Bale), an American mortician who had come simply to bury a priest but found himself increasingly caught up in the carnage.

Ni Ni in 2012, after the release of The Flowers of War

The Flowers of War turned out to be the most expensive film ever made in China, with a budget of some $94 million. A release in the States was inevitable, since much of the film was shot in English, and this is the trailer:

Ni won the 2012 Asian Film Award for Best Newcomer.

Ni Ni in a 2014 fashion photoshoot

And this stereo-effect name of hers foils the standard Wikipedia caution on Chinese names:

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Ni.

Which is, it turns out, a fairly common family name.

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The Dread Pirate Pony

Next Talk Like a Pirate Day (the 19th of September, if you’re keeping score), we need to replay this last-decade race at Saratoga as often as possible:

Well, actually, there are only five Rs in “ARRRRR.”

(Previous discussion of racehorse names here. Via Karen Padilla.)


Surly about surnames

An observation from Mike out there in Fishersville:

Jeb Bush has a problem — his last name. The same as too many recent former Presidents.

I’d argue that Jeb has several problems besides his ongoing Bushitude, but I’m thinking he’d be only marginally more acceptable were he named, for instance, John Ellis Barabajagal.

Still, I’m finding it hard to disagree with Fausta here:

By now, I’m all for excluding any blood relative of a former president from holding the office of POTUS for at least three decades and one generation, whichever is the longest.

If that means no John Quincy Adams, FDR, or GWBush, so be it.

Well, we can’t disqualify them retroactively, but I am quite weary of political dynasties.

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It’s those damn one-percenters again

Paranoia, as Mr. Stills used to say, strikes deep:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Since there are still millions of people world wide still using windows XP have they not been left high and dry?

And guess who did the leaving?

by the likes of Facebook, microsft outlook and many others, just because they are not able to afford the most up to-date machines to surf the web securly, and will it soon be only the wealthy and large corperations that will be able to so, and is that the plan for speeding up the net by reducing the traffic

Obviously our questioner doesn’t read anybody else’s questions, because the place is just jam-packed full of doofi who got their brand-new and presumably up-to-date machines loaded up with malware in the first 48 hours. “Securly?” Ha.

For what it’s worth, in the desktop/laptop market, XP still commands about a 12-percent share, though several years back it was estimated that 25 to 35 percent of XP installations were pirated.


Oh, the felinity

Here we see French actress Aude Fauconnier not strangling a kitten:

You’ve perhaps seen Mme. Fauconnier here.


Option F

Have you ever wanted to scream at the insipid robovoice that’s not even coming close to solving the problem you called about? Well, you don’t need to raise your voice, necessarily, but you might want to try coarsening your language a bit:

Some years ago I called the Dell 800 number to get some help with my computer. After going through various Q&As to establish that I needed technical assistance, the automated voice asked me to name the type of computer I was asking about. “Vostro 220,” I said. Pause. “I’m sorry, I don’t recognize that name. Please tell me what computer you are asking about.” “Vostro 220,” I repeated, enunciating slowly and clearly. Same response. After about four iterations of this I said, “It’s a fucking Vostro 220, for fuck’s sake.” Pause. “OK, it seems you need to speak to an operator. Please wait while I transfer you.”

You probably don’t want to go off this way on an actual person unless said person is behaving robotically, as though deviating from the script would result in instant derezzing.

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High-rolling chicane

If you have to drive, but you really, really hate cars, this is what you’re probably driving:

That class of vehicle is the CUV, or compact utility vehicle. “Cute-ute” for short. It’s the perfect car for people who hate cars. It doesn’t handle worth a damn, being basically a short-wheelbase compact car jacked up on tall shock absorbers. It weighs a thousand pounds more than it should and usually has less interior space than one of those wacky Tercel wagons with the single reverse light from the Eighties. It costs more than the mid-size sedans with which it shares showroom space and to which it is inferior in every measure from the quarter-mile to the fuel range. It is worthless off-road and feckless on-road.

The cute-ute exists for one reason and one reason only: to let you “sit high.” It’s a clown car on stilts. If you are ever asked to name the vehicle that is the exact spiritual opposite of the Challenger Hellcat or the Lamborghini Huracán or the Mazda Miata, there’s only one answer, and the cute-ute is that answer. Their drivers are, by and large, slack-jawed pseudo-passengers whose rapt attention to their iPhones or AM radio stations is only occasionally interrupted by a Pequod-worthy swing of the helm or an ABS-squeaking random stab of the brakes. Of the last five vehicles to run my motorcycle out of a freeway lane, three of them were Honda CR-Vs.

I once coveted one of those wacky Tercel wagons, which should tell you how questionable my automotive tastes are.

That said, if I may twist up an observation by young Dashiell Robert Parr: if everybody sits up high, then nobody sits up high.


Quote of the week

Richard “Belmont Club” Fernandez, on what’s coming:

When you see the peasants heading your way with pitchforks then clearly it is time to start moving.

Which direction you go will depend on your party. The Democrats will argue for more carbon controls, more immigration, Single Payer, more deals with foreign dictators, etc. The Republicans will argue for more GOP Senators and Congressmen to be elected to Capitol Hill — after which they will vote for more carbon controls, more immigration, Single Payer, more deals with foreign dictators, etc.

Each side will assert that the problem is that we haven’t gone far enough; therefore the solution to all problems is to go a little further yet: one more donation, one more grant of power to bring final victory. Which of course won’t happen any more than the promotional mailers which proclaim you’ve been selected to enter a narrowing group of lottery candidates will pay off, if you just buy one more ticket, one more time.

Maybe pitchforks just aren’t enough.