427

Drizzle is not an unusual phenomenon, so seeing it in Andrew Ian Dodge’s “while it drizzles” title on the 427th Carnival of the Vanities, I thought, might make my obligatory semi-deft reference to the number a whole lot easier.

Not so. Drizzle is so ordinary, in fact, that nothing about it makes it sufficiently noteworthy to make the history books. I looked up the ill-fated USAir Flight 427, which crashed just outside of Pittsburgh in 1994, but apparently drizzle did not contribute to the rudder failure that took down the plane.

I can tell you, though, from a blog entry this past spring, that there was plenty of drizzle in Janesville, Wisconsin on 4/27.

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Let there be cake

Birthday greetings to some of the musical greats of the rock era that was: Jeff Beck (67 on the 24th of June), Arthur “I Am the God of Hellfire” Brown (likewise 67), Colin Blunstone of the Zombies (66), Mick Fleetwood (64), Patrick Moraz (63).

None of them are cute enough for a Rule 5 picture, though, so here’s a shot of Petra Němcová (32), from her campaign for lingerie manufacturer La Senza, circa 2007:

Petra Nemcova in La Senza

Perhaps you can hear music playing?

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Many Fridays ago

Rebecca Black turned 14 this week and marked her third month eighth year in showbiz.

Ya, rly:

Darn near the same hairdo, too.

(Source: Who else?)

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What’s forever for?

The argument against Everything Digital goes something like this: you can pretty well figure out what a book is, and after inspection, you should be able to determine that a phonograph record contains a representation of sound — an “analogue,” if you will. In the year 9595, or whenever, the civilization that drops in to view the ruin of ours would have no trouble identifying those two artifacts. But show them a DVD, and in the absence of a working player, they’ll think “poorly-made saucer.”

My kindly Web host has a backup-storage offering called Files Forever. It appears that the name was entirely too ambitious:

Unfortunately we have some lost some files hosted within the file forever server. We have tried to recover as many files as possible however some have been permanently lost.

Nothing like a bit of hubris to bring on Nemesis.

(Title snatched from Rafe Van Hoy.)

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They like their java waxy

“Java Waxy,” surprisingly, is not a Starbucks rival financed by Madame Tussaud, but the color of this here Dansko sandal:

Serena by Dansko

“Serena” is dearly loved by Zappos customers — 75 percent of respondents to their survey gave it five stars out of five — and by at least one Facebook friend, which is why it’s here. The other colors are equally Waxy: black, brandy, chino, sangria and turquoise. The heel doesn’t quite look 2¼ inches tall, which I attribute to the judicious shaping of the one-inch-high platform. And no, that’s not real wood. Zappos sells this for $115, maybe: some of the colors cost less than others. (The sangria version right now is a mere $89.)

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Now with 20 percent less blur

I’m not sure how I should feel about this:

Ford will bold and thicken characters on many interior controls across its lineup beginning with the Ford Edge and Ford Explorer next year, making it easier for people of all ages, particularly aging Baby Boomers, to read display fonts.

The letters and numbers that form words and convey other information on the center stack display on the next-generation vehicles will be slightly thicker, with an approximately 40 percent wider stroke width.

First thought: “They think of this after they kill off the Lincoln Town Car?”

Here’s what I’m up against in an eleven-year-old car: utterly lovely backlit gauges, adjustable with the usual rheostat when the lights are on. High noon, you can still see the dials, but the odometer (little green rectangle, six LCD digits on each row) washes out at almost any angle. Nissan fixed this in later models by going to an orange background, though the G25 I buzzed around town earlier this week had cyan-on-black, and I couldn’t tell you if that was the standard or if it was changeable in the six or seven dozen menu items on the stack screen. (In a borrowed car, I set the A/C temperature, the radio, and things related to the seat position; everything else I leave alone.)

Incidentally, in the initial production run for the second-generation I30, there was a separate rheostat for adjusting the backlighting during the daytime; it was stripped out before they got around to building my car. (On the other hand, about the same time, they added side air bags.)

As to whether Ford was unusually deficient in matters of this sort, I couldn’t tell you; I haven’t driven a Ford lately.

(Swiped from American Digest.)

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You’d think I’d find this more helpful

Studliness, apparently, is not as advantageous as we’ve been led to believe:

Attractive men don’t make the best husbands, according to researchers. Guys who are rated as the most masculine — a billboard for a man’s good genes — tend to have more testosterone, and men with higher testosterone levels are 43 percent more likely to get divorced than men with normal levels, 31 percent more likely to split because of marital problems and 38 percent more likely to cheat. In other words, they may be better cads than dads.

We’d be smarter if we sought out guys who are uglier than we are because researchers have found that couples in which the woman is hotter than the guy are happier than if the situation is reversed.

As a solid 3.5 on the traditional 1-10 scale (up from 2.75 a few years back), I suppose I should be grateful for all those 4s through 9s lined up on my porch none deep.

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The linguists are becoming more cunning

This cat can evidently speak fluent dog — so long as those pesky bipeds aren’t watching:

I’ll worry when it starts ordering stuff by phone from QVC.

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This is why we can’t have nice landlines

A company that actually values your business will not call you six times a week for three goddamn months trying to sell you more stuff.

Yes, Always Trying & Trying, I’m looking at you. I don’t want to go through the hassle of rewiring my security system, but everything has its price, and I’m coming very close to reaching “I no longer have any of your services, please perish in a vat of acid, and don’t even think about calling here again.”

For the benefit of Googlers and such: the offending number each time of late has been 936-671-7869. If they ring you for anything, feel free to tell them to go fart up a flagpole — or simply put them on Permanent Farging Ignore.

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Didn’t try the heater

One of the motivations for scheduling Gwendolyn’s spa day(s) was the seeming inability of the A/C to deal with 100-degree days on anything resembling a consistent basis. As it turned out, the A/C was in decent shape, but one of the engine-cooling fans was hors de combat, which doesn’t make life any easier for the compressor.

I should probably quit whining about it, though, given the plight of this fellow:

I brought a new car — Nissan Sunny — if the outside temperature reaches 45 deg centigrade, A/C not working, compressor trips. How to solve? any technical answer?

Before you ask: 45°C is 113°F. And oh, yes, he lives in Qatar.

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Bavinger hunt

The 1955 Bavinger House, designed by architect Bruce Goff around a spiral helix in the woods east of Norman, may or may not still be standing:

The owner of the east Norman Bavinger House, designed by noted architect Bruce Goff, said Monday the home has been torn down.

But the home’s spire can still be seen from 60th Avenue Southeast, and Norman police on Tuesday said the distinctive home was still standing. Bob Bavinger, the son of the late Eugene and Nancy Bavinger, said he “took it down to the ground” last week.

Lynne Rostochil, writer/photographer specializing in architecture, is worried:

While the house itself has not been torn down to the ground as Bob claimed, it does look like it has sustained significant damage… the top spire of the house [is] tilted over at a 45 degree angle. According to those in the know (i.e., a couple of my architecture buddies), the spire housed all of the structural cables that held up the roof and room pods. With the failure of the spire, it is entirely possible that the rest of the roof and house sustained catastrophic damage.

Bavinger apparently has been feuding with that other Norman institution, the University of Oklahoma:

He claimed OU had undermined his efforts to gain funding to restore the family home and he felt compelled to destroy the home and “remove the target.”

The Web page for the house claims only “Closed due to storm damage.”

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That many, huh?

News Item: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only eight percent (8%) of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job.

A whole eight percent? Must be Martians or something.

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Dragging the steering knuckle

One of the unwritten Rules of Auto Repair is that you should never be surprised to find that the official service-manual instruction and the method that actually works don’t necessarily coincide:

My on-line instruction manual says you just use a pry bar to pop it loose. Well, there isn’t any room to insert a pry bar, so I went to talk to Eric (of Eric Heaton’s Automotive, god of all things automotive). Eric was kind enough to fill me in, however the tale he told filled me with trepidation. He’s had to “pop out” these half shafts before, and it’s an ugly business at best.

True that.

His tool of choice is a six foot long, hundred pound torsion bar (from an old Chrysler suspension) with one end sharpened to a chisel point. Raise the car on a hoist over your head, set your stance, set your eye on the point between the transmission housing and the tripod joint and then STRIKE, O MIGHTY WARRIOR, with your mighty spear. If your aim is true, the clip on the shaft inside the transmission will compress, and the shaft will slip free.

If you see me doing any transaxle work on a front-wheel-drive car, you may safely assume that I am under the influence of too many constant-velocity joints.

(Especially my car, fiendishly designed by clever Pacific Rim, um, fiends with a sense of trompe-l’œil, which proves to be of decidedly limited benefit when it comes to service.)

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This never happens to the Manolo

Unknown wedge worn by Angie HarmonThere are a few, and by “a few” I mean “okay, more than a dozen, but not many more,” celebrities on my Twitter follow list, one of whom is @Angie_Harmon; today she retweeted an item from @haircolordiva, a picture taken literally in the makeup trailer, of the nifty little wedge seen here. Apparently the lovely A. H. wore these very shoes on the Rizzoli & Isles set. “A summer wedge in red” was the description in the tweet.

Always alert for potential blogfodder, I asked the Diva: “That’s a dandy wedge. Can it be had by mere civilians?”

Came back the reply: “I totally think so… What size do you wear?”

Angie didn’t say a word during any of this, at least not to me, but I have a feeling, inasmuch as the whole exchange landed in her stream, that she was laughing her head off.

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I blame Plant Parenthood

“The other man’s grass,” Petula Clark once sang, “is always greener.” Worse yet, Melanie will tell you, even his weeds are nicer:

[A]t my favorite spot where the Canada Geese hang out during early spring and late fall, a bee buzzed around some beautiful weeds. These weeds were so beautiful, it was all I could do not to jump out and pick one. Why don’t I ever have beautiful weeds? Gimme weeds like this and I’d be okay with them. But all I get are thistle, ragwort, and blackberries, mixed in with grass and dandelions.

Hmmm. As exotic as I’ve gotten is the occasional wild onion.

Once upon a time, using my patented Don’t Go Back There™ method, I managed to grow a dandelion three feet, nine inches tall. At that level, neither string trimmer nor lawn mower is effective; it takes a flipping axe.

And I’m not so sure I want a gaggle of Canada geese around here; the domestics that hang out over by the synagogue might teach them how to block traffic.

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This seems a trifle spicy

I was just about to nod my head in agreement to this:

What most people don’t want to realize is that in a poor neighborhood, the entire economy is funded by the government. Sure, you get a couple of Korean grocers who set up shop; and there’s lots of doctors, and labs, and SSI/immigration lawyers; and check cashing joints, and pizzerias, and Rite-Aids, and bars, and Walmarts. But all of these businesses get paid government money, once removed. Rightey loves to complain that welfare moms get paid to be lazy, but it seems obvious to me that they’re paying her in order to pay everyone else.

And then this paragraph showed up:

I haven’t looked through the financials, but I can say with confidence that all of the revenue generated by Popeye’s chicken is a wealth transfer from the U.S. government.

Were that the case, I’d be sitting here waiting for my $72-per-year (more or less) subsidy, and green beans on the side, please.

(Seen at American Digest/Side-Lines.)

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At least it wasn’t a damn tie

Not the most orthodox of Father’s Day gifts, I submit:

Advertisement for Paradise Valley nudist resort

You may be absolutely certain that this wouldn’t have gone over with my parental units, who avoided disrobing so assiduously that no one is quite sure how they had five kids.

Next question: Did they use a similar pitch a month earlier for Mother’s Day?

(Via the always-modest Miss Cellania.)

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Small g

Gwendolyn went in for a spa day, and after I rattled off a list of Potential Concerns, the techs discovered that it’s even hotter (and noisier) than usual under the hood because one of the two cooling fans went south, and the other one was running flat out trying to compensate. Okay, fine, replace the fan. Except, of course, that there aren’t any in town, and so they’re having to airlift one from Izmir or some such place. In the meantime, I have the fob (no keys) to a freshly-squeezed 2011 G25 in Journey trim, and it’s a nifty piece of work.

One could grumble at Nissan, I suppose, for cutting out one-third of the horsepower and cutting the price by only a tenth. Still, I am not one to sneer at 218 ponies. And the smaller (by one-third, more or less) V6 has charms of its own: it’s a lot less grungy-sounding than its big brother, and it will just as happily rev to the top of the scale. Better yet, somebody had the bright idea of not installing the Biggest Damn Wheels they could fit under the fenders: the G25 has modest 17-inchers with 55-series rubber, and the ride, if not exactly cloud-like, isn’t denture-rattling either.

Otherwise, it’s a G, a bit snug in the cabin and a bit short of trunk space, but confident in its ability to get you to Point B, especially if you’re taking the long way around. Only once so far have I been able to befuddle the seven-speed automatic. (You want a stick, you have to buy the bigger engine.) I was bumfuzzled by the backup camera, which I wasn’t expecting; I noticed that the outside-temperature reading on the dash was off about five degrees. (This is a step backwards; Gwendolyn’s similar function is dead accurate, except when it’s four below zero. Do not ask why I know this.) At $34k with a moonroof, it’s on the high side for a base version, and they won’t let you spend the bucks for a nav system, but if you’re like me, you navigate by the seat of your pants, and the G treats that seat well.

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Making love in a Subaru

Dementians and Dementites will recognize this instantly as a classic from the Dr. Demento Show, recorded by the possibly-pseudonymous Damaskas (last name Hollodan, not that it matters) and first unleashed in late 1977:

And now let us lie between the sheets
and thank heaven for reclining bucket seats
Don’t touch that, for goodness sake
you’ll release the parking brake
We’ll both start to roll down the street (yipes)

Thirty-odd years and lots of all-wheel-drive later, the thrill is far from gone:

[T]he U.S. Sex Census national survey released … by condom maker Trojan found that 48% of Americans say “the most exciting place (they) have had sex” is in a car.

Vehicular sex easily beat the second most titillating location, which was (go figure) someone else’s bed (33%). The survey did not specify whether sex in the car was better in your own or someone else’s ride.

Evidently my life is even duller than I thought.

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Oh, to be a wardrobe assistant

Gothamist throws us a curve, so to speak:

In the past, Christina Hendricks has discussed her fantasy role of playing Wonder Woman, saying, “I’ve been wanting to wear that outfit my whole life … I had Underoos — I had Wonder Woman Underoos. I heard that rumor… I love it! I’d love to [do it]. That would be such fun! Let’s put it out there!”

As it happens, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is keen to do a WW film, and guess who’d star in it?

Refn told a crowd at the Los Angeles Film Festival that he has a “plan in mind” for a Wonder Woman feature, and has said of Hendricks, “If I ever get to do it, she’s going to be it.”

Now all of a sudden I’m thinking of Woody Allen’s nebbish character (there’s a redundancy there somewhere) in What’s New Pussycat?

Peter O’Toole: Did you find a job?
Woody: Yeah, I got something at the striptease. I help the girls dress and undress.
Peter: Nice job.
Woody: Twenty francs a week.
Peter: Not very much.
Woody: It’s all I can afford.

Imagine that.

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