Otherwise occupied

I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with your tech request at this time:

Oh, in case you weren’t paying attention:

Anti-government demonstrators in Ukraine are expanding their protests after talks between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych stalled.

In western Ukraine, the activists seized the regional government office in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk and are storming another one in Chernivtsi.

Protests were reported in Lutsk, in the north-west, and Sumy, in the east.

Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovych vowed to use “all legal means” if a solution to the crisis is not found.

You can see how this might affect one’s concentration.

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Rule 34 and the Mane Six

Musician MandoPony has been contemplating the sheer quantity of sexed-up pony pictures out there, and yes, there are some pervs in our midst, but there’s more to it than that:

It’s rare for female characters to be strong leaders who can take care of themselves and save the world over and over again, but they exist in this show. It’s awesome. The ponies don’t need guys to “save” them. They don’t need men to fawn over them. (with the possible exception of Rarity!) They don’t need men to guide them. They don’t need men for anything. Neither do they look down on male characters. They’re neither above, nor below, the males. They’re totally equal and very capable of taking care of themselves without help from the opposite sex. It’s true equality. I freaking love that.

For most guys, I think this idea messes with their heads. It’s so beyond their reasoning skills that they have to objectify the female characters in order to accept them. They need to sexualize the characters in order to bring them back down.

This makes sense in the context of demographics: the 15-25-year-old guy who puts impossibly large crotchboobs on [name of pony] likely has yet to adjust to the reality of life among Actual Women. (As I haven’t, but then I can’t draw.) Of course, this failure to adapt goes both ways, so this term is non-gender-specific.

And this theory does not exclude a possibility more blatantly obvious:

People are perverts. They like to draw sexy versions of everything. Male, female, animal, vegetable, mineral, it doesn’t matter.

Then again, when was this not true?

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Tedium at TD

The game plan with Russell Westbrook gone had been simple enough: run it through Kevin Durant. But never before had the Thunder called for Plan B, with both Westbrook and Durant sidelined. Obviously Perry Jones III would start at the, um, three, but what would happen? The Celtics, with Rajon Rondo back and Jeff Green coming off a 39-point performance Wednesday, were hoping for something other than what they got, which was a standard Thunder defensive drubbing to the tune of 101-83.

In the absence of Kid Delicious, the Thunder scoring was spread around, with five in double figures. Serge Ibaka, who actually did not block a shot, had a game-high 21; Jeremy Lamb, apparently over his shooting woes, added 19; Reggie Jackson and Thabo Sefolosha snagged 14 and 13 respectively. Jones, who played 33 minutes, more than anyone else, checked in with 10. (Kendrick Perkins, not quite forgotten by the Beantown faithful, scored six and hauled in nine rebounds.)

Uncle Jeff did lead the Celtics with 16 on a respectable 7-17, though he was 6-9 from within the arc; in fact, the Celtics hoisted 27 treys and saw only five go in. (OKC made five out of 13.) Rondo, on the court for 22 minutes, did not shoot well — 2-7 for five points — but did serve up eight assists, which put him even with Jackson. The Boston reserves were greenish but game; while veteran Brandon Bass led the bench with 11, rookie guard Phil Pressey impressed with nine points, six assists and two steals in 30 minutes.

So for now: no Durant, no problem. Tomorrow: the 76ers, who were just thrashed by Toronto, in Philly. And when KD gets back, he’ll have something to shoot for: the Knicks went off for 125 points against the Bobcats tonight, and Carmelo Anthony had almost half of them. ‘Melo, who played 39 minutes, went 23-35 and 6-11 from deep, plus ten of ten free throws, for 62 points. Kid Delicious won’t ever say so, but he’s gonna try to beat that. You know it.

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Noses to be removed

And faces to be spited:

State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma.

The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

“[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.

If nothing else, this is consistent with Governor Fallin’s decision to deny spousal benefits to National Guard members, gay or straight.

And it’s a challenge to those who say that the states shouldn’t be in the marriage business in the first place. To some extent, I am sympathetic to that position; however, Turner is radiating that strange Soonerland vibe that says “Yeah, this is going to be swatted in the courts, but we don’t care.

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No country for young women

Much as I love Taylor Swift, she’s about as country these days as Rebecca Black, and the diehard traditionalists are asking “Are you sure Loretta done it this way?”

Which brings us to this point by a 15-year-old traditionalist, complete with Essential Video:

Williamson Branch is a bluegrass and country band from Nashville, and their 15-year-old fiddle and guitar player Melody Williamson recently wrote a song called “There’s No Country Here.” Despite her age, Music Row would be wise to remove themselves for their laundry list clatter and listen to what the future of country music has to say about where country music is headed.

And they’re not kidding when they say “future”: the youngest member of Williamson Branch is four.

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Cascading shortages

The Media Guy at Advertising Age notes the Velveeta shortage that you may have already heard about, and tosses in a startling revelation at the end:

The other day I was at my neighborhood grocery store, and — get this — they were out of Froot Loops. The truth is, I was sort of blindsided. I didn’t question a stockboy — mainly because I didn’t see any stockboys, but also because interrogating a stockboy seems kind of exhaustingly journalistic — but I suspect we might have another national crisis on our hands.

OMG, Froot Loops?

Let’s see. What would I like to be absent from the stores for the duration, and what should I write about it?

(Via Fark.)

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Creatively spelled

The funny part of this may be that “McBride” is intact:

Raymond Luxury Yacht was not available for comment.

(Via Erica Mauter.)

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Save ferrous

Somehow this makes me, if presumably not Ford, giggle:

I heard a rumor. Supposedly, the F-150s on display in Detroit — the ones representing the new aluminum-bodied 2015 model — were magnetic. As in, magnets stuck to them. Which would mean that they’re not, in fact, made of aluminum. I decided to test this out with science.


And so he did the Obvious Thing:

So I went back to the show last night with a magnet in my pocket anyway. While an accomplice created a diversion, I reached over the cordons and attempted to slap my trusty Miss Hurst Golden Shifter magnet onto the truck. I tried fenders and tailgates of a couple different trucks. She didn’t stick. That proves that the rumor was false and they’re not steel, and the logical conclusion is that the trucks are actually made of aluminum.

Farking magnets! How do they work?

Now, whether anyone actually wants an aluminum F-150 remains to be seen.

(Via the Instant Man.)

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Jack Baruth considers the current state of F1 racer Michael Schumacher:

I’ve wondered what would have happened if someone had appeared in front of Michael that morning. “I’m from the future,” the someone would say, “and I’m here to tell you that you’re facing massive risk this morning, you shouldn’t go skiing, you should lay off for the day. I don’t have any proof of this, but trust me.” I know a fair number of people who could be dissuaded from just about anything were someone to appear in front of them with a story like that. Even if they didn’t actually believe the whole time-travel thing, their jimmies would be sufficiently rustled by bringing up an exact accounting of their actual risk on a given day in a given activity. Michael Schumacher was not one of them, I’d suspect.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I suspect I can be counted among the dissuadable: more than once I’ve seen something that I couldn’t possibly have seen before — and yet somehow I had, which tells me that bomb bursts seemingly from the future carry more credibility with me than perhaps they should.

Schumacher, most likely, would have none of that:

He’d likely have responded with something like: I know the risk, I’m aware of it, used to it, I’ve taken all precautions, kindly step out of the way, I have some skiing to do. The response of a competitor, a champion. Make no mistake. He was never just going to “switch off” that discipline, that courage, that determination, any more than the man on the street can “switch off” laziness, addiction, envy, underachievement. He was always going to be someone to push the boundaries a little bit. He may never return, but who among us will accomplish what he’s done, given twice the lifetime or more?

I tend to minimize my own accomplishments, to the extent that I admit to having accomplishments at all; I have always suspected myself of being an underachiever the easy way, by allowing people to overestimate my capacity for — adequacy? (I tried “greatness” in that spot, but it looked ridiculous.) Just yesterday, someone I need to know better suggested I might have brass balls sufficiently massive to cause an audible clink when I walk; I didn’t demur, exactly, but it occurred to me that with regard to the incident in question, I didn’t do anything a kid a quarter my age couldn’t do, though odds are the kid wouldn’t dare.

And I believe Schumacher will come out of this. I’d feel better, though, if I’d seen it in a dream.

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Does “kill it with fire” work for you?

Were you ever in the right place at the right time — and then wondered if maybe you really didn’t want to be?

You didn’t ask me, but if you had, the phrase “weapons-grade fugliness” would have been heard.

A commenter at TTAC is even more direct:

Who is the person they’re getting their styling from???


This Nav has exactly one example of redeeming social value: it’s not named MKanything.

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Elsewhere, he said

“Where Do You Go When The Bank Say’s NO?” was the subject of this item tossed into my box; the single line of text was “KINDLY VIEW THE ATTACHED FILE,” which I don’t do, kindly or otherwise. (A .doc file? Shirley, you jest.)

This seems to come from “Libral Finance Loan Services,” and yes, that’s the way they spell it, both in the header and in the live.com return address. From this point on, feel free to write your own joke.

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Meanwhile on Fascination Street

Kristina Monllos of the Awl would like to know: Why Do So Many Romcoms Use Songs By The Cure?

Have you ever wondered why The Cure is used to soundtrack so many romantic comedies? Have you ever stopped to think about what that implies, that this British deep-goth turned pop-rock band hits a particular sweet spot, like the meet-cute, for this dying movie genre? A few months ago, I went to go see About Time, a middling romcom by the same writer and director of Love Actually, and when I heard “Friday I’m in Love,” something in me snapped.

I suspect that “Killing an Arab” wouldn’t have been quite appropriate.

Of course, this floundering genre recycles the same storylines and tends to focus on white affluent couples and just how wacky a life of privilege can get when love is thwarted, but that’s besides the point and also a totally cuckoo rabbit hole that we shouldn’t go down. The audacity of the music recycling is what pissed me off (the audacity of the other and way more problematic stuff pisses me off too, but let’s talk about that another time). Do they — they being the movie industry puppeteers, natch — really think we don’t notice this pattern? And are they now trying to use songs by The Cure to condition us to have particular emotional responses to new romcoms based on past romcoms we’ve seen, even if the ones we’re seeing have progressively poorer writing and acting? Is Robert Smith involved? Could he even be behind it?

Or maybe it’s just that said puppeteers turn to blubbering buckets of Jell-O® every time they sing along:

However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you

Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

(Via Five Feet of Fury.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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A study in grey and black

You go to San Antonio with two expectations: that your fouls will be called and theirs won’t, and that the Spurs will always find a way to foil your defense even when fouls aren’t involved. There were instances of both this evening, though not as many as the stereotype might suggest — and not enough to allow the Spurs to walk away with it. And with the fourth quarter winding down, Kevin Durant, who’d been fairly quiet for the last few minutes, tossed up a pair of treys. With the Thunder up 108-100 and 38 seconds left, there was a ridiculous little contretemps which for all the world looked like a wrestling match between Derek Fisher and Patty Mills. Offsetting T’s were assessed and a jump ball was called. That was the last of the drama, and the Thunder head off to the dreaded (or dreadful) East with a 111-105 victory in hand.

San Antonio started down a couple of players: Danny Green and Tiago Splitter were in recovery mode. Then Kawhi Leonard exited at halftime with a hand injury, and there was some brief concern when Tony Parker, just coming off a bruised shin, took a trip to the locker room. Not to worry; Parker carried a great deal of the load tonight for the Spurs, with a game-high, almost Durantesque 37 points (14-22), while the ageless Tim Duncan came up with his twenty thousandth double-double, 14 points and 13 boards.

KD himself hit for 36 on 12-22 shooting, though he turned the ball over a very unDurantesque eleven times. And anyway, the real story for OKC was Reggie Jackson, who has gone for 20 points or more in all three games against the Spurs: this time he knocked down 27, tying his career high, and served up eight assists. Serge Ibaka had 14 points and five blocks, in what is starting to seem normal for him. In the Battle of the Benches, the Spurs won, 35-30. (The Steven Adams Foul Report: three in 14 minutes.)

Travel day tomorrow, followed by a Friday night in Beantown and a Saturday in the City of Brotherly Fisticuffs. The Celtics and the Sixers between them have 27 wins; the Thunder just got their 33rd. Despite that, no predictions will be made from this desk.

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The unflirty dozen

A title I could not resist: “12 Fashion Trends MeredithAncret Hates (But Apparently Some Idiot Put On A Runway Anyway.” I looked at all twelve, and maybe one might have been marginally defensible. Maybe.

One thing she cannot stand is the over-the-thigh boot:

Are you a pirate, a dominatrix, or an extra in The Matrix?

Otherwise, please no.

Does this mean that a woman becomes undatable for owning — or worse, wearing — stuff like this? Well, no, but:

I’m allowed preferences in my own clothing and I’m definitely allowed to have preferences in what I like to see on a woman. So what? Do I expect random women on the street to strip off the offending item right there because I think it looks stupid?


And I bet most men don’t expect that either.

I don’t expect that even in the unlikely event that I’ve lured them away from the street.

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The truth will be painful, but it must be spoken:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why doesn't my automatic car not hit 5th gear?

We’ll ignore the double negative and read on:

Hello, I have a 2012 corolla. It has 30,000 miles in it. I’ve noticed that whenever i drive it never hits 5th gear and it just stays at 4th and it will get up past 3,000 rpm without shifting while keeping a constant shift. I heard it may be the overdrive button but i don’t know where to find it in my car. Please help. Thank you.

The overdrive button is almost certainly on the shift lever. But the key here is “2012 Corolla,” which was sold with a four-speed automatic. There’s no fifth gear for it not to hit.

I’d hate like hell to find this out at 30,000 miles, but not as much as I’d hate not finding it out at all.

And yes, this is probably in the owner’s manual, but I’m beginning to think that people throw it away the moment they leave the dealer’s lot.

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