Pegasus alert

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Mobil station, and I’ve never, ever seen one of these:

Flying Horse ride at Mobil stations

Robert Mars at Ghosts Of The Great Highway reports that only five of these were actually placed at Mobil stations.

While following up, I discovered that some other oil company had this winged wonder first, and in Texas no less:

The Magnolia Petroleum Company … was founded on April 24, 1911 as a consolidation of several earlier companies. Standard Oil of New York (Socony) exchanged its stock for all of the Magnolia stock in December 1925 though it continued to operate as an affiliate of Socony. Later in 1959 Magnolia was fully incorporated into the Mobil division of Socony. Magnolia’s Pegasus logo, clad in red, has been the emblem of Mobil since the 1930s.

Cinnamon SwirlEquestria, for some reason, doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of red pegasi: Cinnamon Swirl here, who’s done two walk-ons (fly-ons?) in three seasons, may be the closest approximation. This is a shot from the second-season episode “A Friend In Deed,” which is the one where Pinkie Pie encourages everypony to smile already, darn ya. Alternatively, there’s Juicy Fruit, who resembles a winged Berry Punch: her color is described as “light plum.”

(The proud Mobil steed turned up Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Mediabistro has the Nielsen numbers for the first few days of Al-Jazeera America, and they are, shall we say, not promising:

Not surprisingly given the low-rated channel it replaced (Current TV), and the fact that it lost a few million homes from AT&T before launch (it is currently in just over 40 million homes), AJAM’s launch ratings were pretty low by traditional cable news standards.

The highest rated show on AJAM last week was the Thursday evening edition of “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” which drew 54,000 total viewers.

The 2 PM Saturday edition of “News Live” averaged 48,000 viewers, while “Inside Story” Thursday at 12:30 PM averaged 41,000 viewers. “News Live” Thursday from 12-12:30 averaged 40,000. The debut edition of “The Stream” on Tuesday averaged 38,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s accuracy threshold, while the debut of “America Tonight” averaged 34,000 viewers.

Of course, it’s an uphill battle with any new cable channel, although you have to figure they’re not happy with drawing one-eighth the audience of a random My Little Pony rerun.

AJAM bought the inside front cover and Page 1 of The Week this past week to try to drum up some business, brandishing this slogan: KNOW MORE ANGLES / NO MORE SIDES. Wouldn’t work in an audio ad, I suppose, but that’s not a bad little shibboleth. And they’re still listing a channel number on AT&T U-verse (189), though a ZIP search for AJAM around here produced the usual “Request from your provider” link for AT&T. A scan of the local Cox channels produced nothing; then again, they didn’t carry Al-Gore Current TV either.

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The whole 8.23 meters

A guy at Scientific American says it’s time to get off our imperial butts (105 gallons) and go metric.

Not everyone is rushing to hop on the bandwagon, though:

As a personal aside, if one of my friends insisted on conversing with me only in Celsius and liters and meters, I would consider him a total dickwad, a typical liberal snob, and an all around pompous ass. The author comes across as an elitist, the sort who only buys carrots fertilized in the shit from wild coyotes and tofu processed with the sterilized piss of rare albino squirrels. I suspect he drives his Prius 30 miles round trip to buy only free range pesticide free organic corn for $6.00 an ear. I have no doubt the author is chagrined and angry that the farmer won’t take his Euro in place of the good old US dollar. After all, the Euro is the currency of Europe, a billion people use the Chinese Yuan, why should we use something different in America?

In other news, albino squirrels are rare.

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Blogging 102

Assuming you don’t want to take advice from assless AIs, here’s an actual blogging course being taught by an actual name-brand blogger:

Whether you’re a hobby blogger, corporate blogger, seasoned mommy blogger or someone just starting out, Blogging Bootcamp will teach you how to launch & maintain a successful blog. This course will highlight blogging platforms, branding your blog, current trends, how to integrate social networks, and useful writing tips & tricks.

The instructor’s credentials, incidentally, are as good as they come:

Jennifer James McCollum, APR, is an American mother and Oklahoma writer. She began blogging in 1999. Her blog,, has been featured in the Washington Post, MSNBC Entertainment, National Associated Press, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, San Francisco Chronicle, and many more traditional media outlets. Jennifer serves as Executive Director of Oklahomans for the Arts, a nonprofit arts advocacy organization. An accredited public relations practitioner, Jennifer also provides part-time executive coaching and consulting in digital and public relations strategies.

This is a five-week Mini-Session at Oklahoma Contemporary, State Fair Park, easily worth your seventy simoleons. And besides:

Participants will receive original notes and presentations on all the topics presented, none of which are available online.

Shrewd, she is.

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Advice from the peanut gallery

A gentle reproach from a tosser of word salad, as received in the spam bucket:

I think that everything posted made a ton of sense.

But, what about this? what if you added a little content?

I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, however suppose you added a title that makes people desire more? I mean [post for which this comment was intended] is kinda boring. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and note how they create news headlines to grab viewers interested.

You might try adding a video or a picture or two to get people interested about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might make your website a little livelier.

Which proves this is an artificial unintelligence, since no one on planet Earth has ever used Yahoo!’s front page as a model for anything.

And it’s a shame that, as an AI, our visitor has no actual ass, else I’d invite him to blow it out same.

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Can we get that paneling in tortoise-shell?

Sure, if it’s death paneling:

Federal funds are running out at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center and officials plan to close the site and euthanize hundreds of the tortoises they’ve been caring for since the animals were added to the endangered species list in 1990.

“It’s the lesser of two evils, but it’s still evil,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service desert tortoise recovery coordinator Roy Averill-Murray during a visit to the soon-to-be-shuttered reserve at the southern edge of the Las Vegas Valley last week.

Not evil enough to get him to refuse to take part in this charade, obviously.

And you have to figure, the Feds historically are a lot more concerned with endangered species than they are with the likes of you and me, so when our time is deemed to have come — well, let’s just say that it gets hot out there in the middle of noplace.

(Via the still-alive Brian J. Noggle.)

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You could walk a mile in her shoes

I am somewhat distressed to see Shoebunny, once the definitive resource for celebrity footwear, now reduced to a single “Hello world!” type post.

Now SB has taken time off before, but never have I seen her go back and wipe the archives. Her Twitter feed hasn’t been updated in a month. At least her Pinterest stuff seems to be intact.

The last two posts she made, in case you’re curious, concerned this pair of Jimmy Choos on Kate Beckinsale and these nicely insubstantial Manolos worn by Connie Britton.

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Because you’re worth it

Know what’s really great about being wealthy? Being able to buy brand names:

Know what I would do if I won the lottery? I’d buy genuine Windex and honest-to-God Pledge. Not WinDowEx or “Lemon Polish” from the dollar store. And God help me I’d never buy pine oil again. It would be Mr Clean Summer Citrus all the way. Spic and Span all the way. America’s greatness rests on dependable brand names. Maybe if the jackpot was really sizable, I’d indulge in the purchase of Comet Cleanser — the gritty kind that makes a mess in your drain pipes but leaves your stainless steel so squeaky clean.

I have only recently discovered that the store brand Pam-a-like imposes a soapy mouthfeel that the genuine article never has.

There are two brand names which I will likely never abandon, no matter what absurdities may be taking place in their back yards: Heinz ketchup and Fritos corn chips. (No substitutes are accepted, at least at the checkout counter; I may not have the option at a lunch counter.)

And I’m not emotionally wedded to Shell V-Power gasoline, but it’s never let me down, except when I look at the receipt to see how much I paid.

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My daughter is thirty-five today, and I’m sure she’d be at least somewhat amused to hear that Wikipedia, as of this writing, lists no one “notable” born on this date in 1978.

And since I’m not about to stick pictures of her up here for all the Rule 5 fans, I asked myself, “Self, who was born on this date and deserves a pictorial?”

It couldn’t have been more perfect. Born thirty-five years before this date in 1978, we give you Tuesday (!) Weld in her prime:

Tuesday Weld extending her range

Actually, she was born on a Friday, but I do enough Friday material already. And “Tuesday” was her legal name, once she turned sixteen.

And I must do this one exchange from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis:

DOBIE: There’s one more item: my GI insurance — $10,000 — and you are the beneficiary.

THALIA: Well, what good is that?

DOBIE: $10,000 means nothing to you?

THALIA: But you’re alive. This policy isn’t worth a penny unless you’re dead.

Inasmuch as Tuesday’s father died when she was four, and her mother eventually put her to work as a model to support the family, I tend to overlook Miss Menninger’s apparent avarice.

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Things that should count off from sticker price

TTAC asked its readership what the worst “details” on contemporary cars might be, and got a ton of responses. And yes, alas, I have some of them, starting with this rather attractive feature:

A common feature of many cars — especially Japanese models — is illuminated gauges. These gauges are always backlit, regardless of the time of day or the lighting conditions.

The problem is that most cars with this feature don’t use automatic headlights. And with the growing number of vehicles that have daytime running lights, well … you get a lot of people driving around with their dimly-lit daytime running lights on, their gauge cluster illuminated, and their taillights completely dark.

Nissan once addressed this matter by installing a second panel-dim switch, which would control the brightness of the gauges when the lights weren’t on and presumably make it easier to tell when you’d forgotten to turn your lights on. They’d deleted it by the time they built my car, but it’s still mentioned in the manual.

Then there’s this:

Blank switches, to me, are the single biggest determinant of whether an interior is high quality. No blank switches? High quality. Lots of blank switches? It doesn’t matter if the interior is made of the same material as the Crown Jewels … this interior is awful!

I have one under the gauge panel, where the traction control doesn’t live, and a hollowed-out spot on the console which I can’t explain, below the seat heater buttons and the gizmo that works the sunshade.

Speaking of the console, a commenter added this:

I’d have nominated console mounted shifters for automatics, a pointless affectation of sportiness as the most hateful automotive detail. They rob you of storage space, possibly an extra seat and make the cockpit seem much less spacious. And for what? So we can pretend we’re rowing our own? So our ultra-manly, transmission-shaming neighbors might be momentarily confused? No thanks. Put it on the column where it belongs.

Still, when approaching a stop, I grab the top of the shifter, even though I’m not going to do anything with it. Twenty years of driving a stick will do that to you.

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Ponce de Leon to the white courtesy phone

Running in Australia’s parliamentary elections under the Labor banner, suggests Tim Blair, induces a certain inscrutable form of rejuvenation. To the left, Di Smith, candidate for Wentworth; to the right, a Smith campaign poster:

Two faces of Di Smith

See also Alannah MacTiernan, candidate for Perth.

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Reduction in force

George Carlin: “In Brazil, a nine-year study of dancing has disclosed that, as many had suspected, it really takes only one to tango.”

Plus, apparently, one to hold the camera:

She gets to dance with somebody in her demo reel, although not for long. (The full sequence is here.)

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Fly Vanilla

Struggling AirAsia Japan is going through some changes:

In June 2013, [Malaysian carrier] AirAsia decided to exit its investment in AirAsia Japan, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of [All Nippon Airways]. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that AirAsia Japan had the lowest load factors of the three new entrant [low-cost carriers] in Japan and noted several reasons for the failure of the joint venture, including an online booking system that was not fully translated into Japanese and was therefore frustrating to many domestic customers, failure to utilize travel agent distribution (which is still a major component of domestic airline sales in Japan), the inconvenience of its main hub at Narita Airport, and the airport’s severe restrictions on early morning and late night flights.

AirAsia Japan announced in August 2013 that it would continue operation under its current branding through October 26, 2013 and would then be rebranded as Vanilla Air effective November 1, 2013.

A suitable flavor for a low-cost carrier, right? Don’t assume so much. Name expert Nancy Friedman quotes a Campaign Asia report:

While the “vanilla” is synonymous with “safe and boring” in the English-speaking part of the world, it’s nothing of the sort to Japanese says McCann Worldgroup senior strategic planner, Sakura Irie. “The brand is clearly targeting young Japanese travellers so what it means in English, does not really matter.

“In Japan, vanilla does not have any connotation of being boring or bland — and the overall impression of the word is very positive. It is accessible, likable and familiar. Moreover, it gives the impression of being ‘pure and innocent’ and ‘kawaii’ — which means a lot more than ‘cute,’ it’s the feeling of emotional excitement, endearment and desire to be a part of or to own,” she continued. “It’s an interesting and in fact, very Japanese choice, I thought.”

Besides, vanilla — real vanilla, not the stuff they use in discount-priced ice cream sundries — is actually pretty darned expensive, so this could almost be thought of as an aspirational brand.

Except for this minor detail pointed out by Ms Friedman:

No mention of whether Japanese speakers will struggle with the pronunciation of the L phoneme, which is virtually identical to R in Japanese.

Read the title, then, as “Fry Vanirra,” and have a happy flight. Or fright.

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Governmental overreach

If sometimes it seems as though Barack Obama will stop at nothing to increase governmental power — well, he still hasn’t come up with anything like this yet:

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which [went into effect in 2007] and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

A statement by the current Dalai Lama (source):

When I am about ninety I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. On that basis we will take a decision. If it is decided that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue and there is a need for the Fifteenth Dalai Lama to be recognized, responsibility for doing so will primarily rest on the concerned officers of the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust. They should consult the various heads of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the reliable oath-bound Dharma Protectors who are linked inseparably to the lineage of the Dalai Lamas. They should seek advice and direction from these concerned beings and carry out the procedures of search and recognition in accordance with past tradition. I shall leave clear written instructions about this. Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognized through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China.

Tenzin Gyatso, the current (14th) Dalai Lama, turned 78 this year.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh, largely for his post title.)

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And now, your San Diego Wind Turbines

What happens when all thirty-two NFL teams are renamed with political correctness in mind.

Although “Oakland Occupiers,” all things considered, isn’t half bad.

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Strange search-engine queries (395)

What kind of Monday would it be were it not for this weekly excursion into ever nook and cranny of the system logs? (Answer: It’s Monday. Don’t push your luck.)

In 1936 Gov. Ernest W. Marland declared martial law around the state capitol in a dispute with Oklahoma City officials over drilling on state property:  
Oklahoma City officials in a dispute? How is that even possible?

Mazda 626 GD struts compatability:  Truth be told, I don’t think there’s anything actually compatible with those GD struts.

vevrier:  You kidding? I hardly know ‘er.

maria bartiromo pantyhose:  You kidding? I hardly know ‘er.

my ankle:  How does it look compared to, say, Maria Bartiromo’s?

gruesome police photos of Bill’s accident:  Oh, come on. Have a little respect for Bill.

“phil mcgraw’s penis”:  Oh, come on. Have a little respect for Phil.

bugatti relation to fitzsimmons:  For one thing, VW Group doesn’t own Fitzsimmons.

how do i know if transmission lock up system mulfunctions:  First, ask yourself: Is our car moving?

this package is sold by weight not by volume:  Which is why there isn’t a song by the Band called “The Volume.”

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