Cover girl, kinda sorta

Ostensibly, this is Zooey with her Self cover, but truth be told, the cover photo really doesn’t look like her. It’s like they flattened her cheekbones out or something:

Zooey Deschanel on the cover of Self Magazine

That, at least, can be blamed on Photoshop. This, maybe not so much:

I’m calling it right now: bun in the oven. Don’t laugh, WE’VE BEEN RIGHT BEFORE.

The dress? Like the print, wish it had straps or something. And the dark tights really don’t work here, though I’m starting to believe she had them tattooed on.

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One of the eternal verities

Camaro vs. Mustang. It was a battle royal in the late 1960s, and it’s the same today. (Dodge was number three then, and they’re number three now.) For the moment, the Chevy has pulled ahead:

Ford narrowly lost the crown in 2010 after a 24-year run, and the gap widened this year, with General Motors Co.’s revived Camaro outselling Mustang by 33 percent through May.

The problem for the blue-oval boys, apparently, is that the real profit center is down the road in the truck department:

This year, Mustang sales have suffered because of a short supply of a new V-6 engine that gets 31 miles per gallon on the highway while generating 305 horsepower, [Mustang marketing manager Steve] Ling said. The Mustang shares that engine with the F-150 pickup, the centerpiece of Ford’s top-selling truck line.

As rising fuel prices have driven up demand for the V-6 engine, Ling said Ford has chosen to apportion more supply to the F-150, among its most profitable models.

Meanwhile, the secretary’s ‘Stang starts under $23k, down there among cars with half as much horsepower. You try wangling an F-150 for that kind of money. Then again, the Lincoln MKX — whichever MK that is, no one seems to know — also gets that same Duratec 37, though it can’t possibly be selling enough to disturb Mustang.

Still, this is as the world has always been: Ford or Chevy. One day I was fumbling with a vapor-locked, or something, ’84 Mercury when a couple of yobbos in a farging Monte Carlo, of all things, pulled alongside to remind me that they’d rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford. I can only hope that they one day got their opportunities.

Among the cars I have counted as my own were one Chevrolet, one Ford Mercury, and two Mazdas, which were conceived under the auspices of Ford’s Japanese protectorate, but were actually assembled in Flat Rock, Michigan, alongside various Fords. That same plant today builds the Mustang, and shortly will stop building the Mazda6, which is moving back to Japan, putting Flat Rock’s single shift in jeopardy.

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“Duke Nukem not CoTVing very well,” notes Andrew Ian Dodge in this week’s Carnival of the Vanities, the 426th in the series.

I was going to say something about the 426 years of development hell through which Duke Nukem Forever has recently completed, but this is obviously an exaggeration — couldn’t have been more than three hundred or so — so I’ll confine myself to pointing out that there’s been a mobile version of Duke Nukem, allegedly in 3D, which is downloadable from various sources as a .jar file, and that downloading that file will eat up 426k of your bandwidth allotment.

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Maximum Vangsness

There’s only so much fashion advice up with which Lynn will put, and to prove it, she invokes the name of someone who might scare the Rigidly Tasteful among us:

To be honest, a character I greatly admire for her fashion choices is Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds. I guess her flamboyant style is supposed to be a joke but I actually think some of her outfits look really good but mostly I like that she wears what she likes and doesn’t try to be proper or fashionable.

Asked about the character’s flamboyance, Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Garcia, responded thusly: “I think Garcia is a fashion genius. I think I’m a fashion… eccentric… I dress like a 7 year old pirate from space.”

Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope GarciaSo apparently the style is no joke: “We both like to express ourselves with clothes, we both like to let our freak flag fly, we both have a healthy shopping addiction, we both are obsessed with Nanette Lepore, we both love color.”

For the sake of completeness, I took a look at some recent Nanette Lepore collections, and to me at least, there’s at least something resembling justification for such an obsession. I actually gave out with a Wow. The spring stuff is, of necessity, jazzier than the fall offerings, but still: wow.

Here’s that interview, complete with lotsa photos, including the one you see to the left, which I had to throw in here simply because it looks to me like she had an enormous amount of fun with this outfit — okay, it’s not Nanette Lepore, but what the hell — and I persist in thinking that if you look like you’re having fun, by definition you look better.

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Quote of the week

KingShamus reminds us that Mother Gaia, far from being that delicate flower of too much bad Sixties (and later) poetry, can be a Super King Kamehameha Byotch:

Tsunamis, hurricanes, outbreaks of tornados, earthquakes: Mother Nature has thrown just about every kind of weapon she has in her Arsenal of Killing The Shit Out Of Us. Yet even with all that, the enviro-dorks insist that the Earth is a delicate flower in need of constant protection, impossibly light footsteps and — most importantly — lots of freedom hating human-unfriendly big government solutions to keep Terra safe from the evil predations of Mankind.

Wrong. Earth is not a vestal virgin in need of a socialist chastity belt to keep her pure. Instead, the world is a smoking hot yet incredibly moody ex-wife on an eternal meth binge, armed with a loaded MAC-10 and just waiting for you to say something about her thighs so she has an excuse to pump a few rounds into your sorry ass. There’s nothing you can do to change her mind about your uselessness. You know that at some point she’s going to shoot you. It’s just a matter of when and what extremity she decides to hit.

On the other hand, you might want to keep those footfalls on the light side anyway, just in case she’s listening. Because, you know, she probably is.

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Friday no more?

After something like eleventy bazillion views, YouTube says that the “Friday” video is no longer available “due to a copyright claim by Rebecca Black.”

Which isn’t actually the weirdest thing that happened to it this week:

Earlier this week it seemed like the video had been set up as a YouTube Rental by ARK [Music Factory], and then not so much. Is this latest drama due to an attempt by ARK to capitalize on the young star’s Internet fame?

What I want to know is this: did any of the 47 people on the planet who hadn’t seen “Friday” actually part with $2.99 to see it? YouTube, for its part, does not comment on individual videos. And certainly I don’t have access to the behind-the-scenes machinations at ARK. As it turns out, this was an outcropping of the existing dispute between Black and ARK over who controls the girl’s image (see here for background).

I did wonder, though, if ARK had ever produced anything else as accidentally catchy as “Friday,” and in the interest of research, I sat through several of their other offerings. This one, I think, had some redeeming social value:

Still too much Auto-Tune, but not too bad an arrangement, and at least she don’t wanna rush this. On the other hand, she grabs at her hair as though she knew she had to return it to Macy’s the following morning.

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Assuming I’m bribable

This mostly-incomprehensible comment came in Wednesday night:

Hello there! Your subject material serve me acquire an outstanding rate and I say thanks to you for that. Do you own a kind of donation box where I can deliver donation in PayPal?

The Yeah-Right-O-Meter went into full deflection at that.

For those served by the subject material, this is the official word from the OAQ File:

Unless this site suddenly becomes a lot more popular, or unless I fall on hard times, I don’t need the bucks. There are plenty of deserving bloggers with huge online expenses who do; see to their needs first, wouldja please? A chap named Ravenwood perhaps says it best: “If you want to help me out, vote to lower my tax rate.” If you still feel like sending me a few bucks, I have a PayPal account under chaz at

I just wish I had something as amusing as old ScrappleFace himself, Scott Ott, who once vowed that all contributions would go to “the National Endowment for the Otts.”

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The perfect spokesperson

Fritinancy offers a brief history of Selz Shoes, including what may have been the cheekiest celebrity endorsement of the era: “Shoeless Joe” Jackson wearing Selz shoes.

You have to jump all the way forward to 1984 to find an ad with that kind of nerve:

Even today, it makes me smile. (And yes, I bought the product; still have one today, in fact.)

Background: “20 years of LaserDisc,” from 1998.

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Somewhere over the line

Edmond and Oklahoma City, both born in the 1889 Land Run, have grown toward each other over the years, to the extent that some people can’t tell north Oklahoma City from south Edmond, and by “some people” I mean whoever wrote the caption for yesterday’s Oklahoman:

Corner of Vermejo and NW 179th Circle

Although the real issue here is that the Oklahoma City post office doesn’t deliver to anywhere beyond 150th; the poor waterlogged fellow in the picture may have his mail delivered by the Edmond P.O., but he’s a resident of OKC.

Where the hell they came up with “Vermejo” as a street name, I’ll never know: there’s a geological formation by that name straddling the New Mexico-Colorado line, which this area in no way resembles. I note that this location is in the Palo Verde (“green stick”) subdivision, and before it was developed back in the Nineties, it was probably pretty green and out in the sticks, so at least that name works.

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No intent to needle

So I’m reading HelloGiggles, because — well, just because, okay? — and this startling revelation comes across the screen:

You are never too old to own Hello Kitty products. I have a Hello Kitty credit card, Zooey has a Hello Kitty sewing machine and Molly has Hello Kitty earphones.

Now how hard is it to find a Hello Kitty sewing machine? For the below-average Googler, it takes all of 500 milliseconds:

Hello Kitty sewing machine by Janome

This obviously isn’t a Bernina-class machine — I used to own something like this, in a mundane Nineties PC beige — but what the heck. (I actually did some minor stitchery on a Bernina, back when I was married; she got custody of the machine, which cost nearly as much as the children.) I will not ask when Zooey has time to sew.

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Now you’re trucked

The self-styled City Beautiful thinks you and your Silverado are marring the scenery:

Starting this month, the city of Coral Gables will issue warning notices to owners of pickup trucks who do not park their trucks inside their garages at night.

This has actually been the law since the 1960s, though enforcement has been mostly nonexistent over the years. Forget that, though:

After Aug. 8, Coral Gables will start issuing tickets to people who violate the parking ban. The first violation will cost $100. Afterward, code enforcement officers can issue tickets up to $500 for each subsequent offense.

Do I really have to explain why?

City spokeswoman Maria Rosa Higgins Fallon said, “Historically, Coral Gables has gone through great lengths to preserve its character through the enforcement of its zoning code, a reason why in a downward economy property values in Coral Gables have fared better than in other neighboring communities.”

Florida property values are in the toilet, but here it’s a designer toilet. Maybe even a bidet.

(Via Autoblog.)

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It’s, um, sensational

Surely I’m not the only person who heard about Nintendo’s new Wii U and thought of this:

This was originally released in late 1961, so they were just about fifty years ahead of their time.

(With a nod toward the skies: my brother Paul was fond of making fun of this song.)

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Negative feedback for Shylock

Normally I just put up a link to unusually-stupid Yahoo! Answers questions, but I suspect this one will be deleted real fast, so you get a screenshot too:

When I use eBay how can I make sure the person I'm buying from isn't a Jew?

The first thing I thought of was actually printable, but it didn’t stand a chance in hell against the Y! terms of service.

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Almost a yogurt post

I’ve had this “Almost Yogurt” category for almost a decade — it’s for cultural phenomena, tee-hee — but I never seem to write about actual, you know, yogurt.

Until now:

Homa Dashtaki was eager to demonstrate that her yogurt was safe and healthful, but complying with California regulations turned out to be not so easy. In fact, authorities told her that she would face possible prosecution unless she established a “Grade A dairy facility” employing processes more commonly found in factories. A highlight: she’d have to install a pasteurizer even though she made her yogurt from milk that was already pasteurized. What’s more, California law makes it illegal to pasteurize milk twice, so there went any hope of continuing her straightforward way of obtaining milk, namely bringing it home from a fancy grocery store.

Your Grade A dairy facilities, in California or otherwise, don’t have a problem with this, of course; this way they can keep out the riff-raff and maintain their market share for their “bland, corporate wares.”

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Ride and override

Gwendolyn has one of those set-and-forget automatic climate-control schemes: I tend to park it somewhere in the middle 70s and then not think about it.

Yesterday I thought about it. For the second day in a row, it was pushing 100 outside, and the little computerized gizmo did what it always does under such circumstances: crank the fan up to four out of four and hope for the best. It occurred to me, somewhere near the point where I turn off Treadmill and hop onto the Interstate, that this might be suboptimal in a psychological sense: if I think that the system is really laboring, I might imagine that it’s not working as well as it could be.

So I hit the fan-speed button on the minus side, going for three out of four. The dreaded word MANUAL appeared on screen: this child of HAL wasn’t going to give up without a fight, or at least an argument. But it seemed a heck of a lot cooler with 3 dB of fan noise taken out of the environment, which suggests that while I may not know squat about automotive technology, I know how to push my own buttons.

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It’s like Pick Your Poison, only more so

I hate to go all ¿Quién es más macho? on you here, but Robert Stacy McCain has a list of preferred, um, mishaps to befall New York Times columnist David Brooks, and I’m trying to decide which of them is the worst:

  1. “wrapped in bacon and dumped into a tank full of hungry sharks”;
  2. “loaded aboard an Air Force C-130 and air-dropped over Afghanistan without a parachute”;
  3. “lashed to a tree in the Alaskan wilderness as wolf-bait”;
  4. “dumped naked into an alligator-infested swamp in the backwoods of Louisiana”.

Of this quartet, only #2 presents the possibility of not being eaten, unless Alaska is breeding vegan wolves these days.

Males beyond a certain age — based on my experience, I’d say six and a half years — are often given to such horrific musings. Jamie Kitman, in the July Automobile, describes one such scheme, as concocted by the magazine’s founder, the late David E. Davis Jr.:

After David’s death, a Facebook acquaintance wrote about Davis’s recent unkind comments about his one-time protégé, made on a weekly automotive webcast, in which he fantasized about a FedEx plane whose cargo doors accidentally open to drop a grand piano on a farm in central Michigan, leaving only a grease spot where our own — hell, his own — Jean Jennings once stood.

TTAC has a link to the original, though the video seems to have turned into a grease spot all by itself.

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The road to surfdom

So I did this piece on Joe Meek and “Telstar,” prompting TFG to come back with a twin-spin featuring Man or Astroman? and Satans Pilgrims.

A few years back, Britain’s Cordelia Records put together a compilation of non-surf tunes given the surf treatment. It was quite delightful, and I snapped it up from iTunes once I heard a track or two.

One of the acts on that compilation is the leading Slovenian surf band, the Bitch Boys (previously mentioned here). In this clip, they’re doing, um, “Telstar.” The visuals, sadly, are Not Great.

They also do a pretty mean “Take On Me,” which you can hear here if you fiddle with the user interface for several seconds.

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Nor can you play Obstacle Golf

“You’re not allowed to drive like that! What do you think this is, a ring full of bumper cars?”

“Well, yes, actually, it is.”

I blame Mustapha Mond.

(Seen at friar’s fires.)

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Toward a unified theory of WTF

Things don’t make a hell of a lot of sense once you get far enough away from Earth: the “standard models” don’t explain everything — yet. In time, perhaps they will. Or maybe, suggests McGehee, we’re looking at it all from the wrong angle:

There’s talk of dark matter — again like it’s something exotic, but the universe is enormous and very poorly lit. I think if there’s such a thing as “dark matter” it closely resembles the stuff you empty out of your vacuum cleaner. Personally though, I don’t think dark matter, or dark energy either, is necessary to explain what’s going on.

I just emptied out the vacuum cleaner, and if the universe is filled with that kind of stuff, truly we are all doomed.

Here’s what I think is afoot here: a scale of physical law that we haven’t detected yet. Just as quantum behavior doesn’t scale up to our level, there’s another level of behavior that doesn’t scale down.

Which actually seems fairly plausible: if something is big enough, the laws of physics as we know them may not apply. Certainly Goldman Sachs would approve.

But I’m telling you right now: the first time I see quantum phenomena in the dust receptacle, I am out of here, Jack.

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The question of the age, answered!

And that age, incidentally, is thirteen.

NHTSA distraction data

The government concludes that kickin’ in the front seat is not quite as safe as sittin’ in the back seat, so if you were wondering which seat you should take, there’s your answer.

(No, this couldn’t wait until Friday. NHTSA graphic siphoned from The Truth About Cars.)

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