Advice to the young spammer

Links to this bit of verbiage were swimming in the spam trap this morning, and I got the semi-bright idea of actually trying to see what was being hawked. “Amazon Money Machine” contains the following advice:

The following step will probably be so that you compose the ebook and also accomplish it, making sure that you will find absolutely no spelling errors as well as grammatical faults in it. Bear in mind, this can be distributed to the common people and Amazon is not going to allow any kind of stories that contain grammatical faults only if they really are intended kinds (for example those used in fiction novels for talking). To prevent errors, use an experienced to verify and also revise your ebook for you to ensure a brand new point of view could be presented. Moreover, it could be wonderful when you can seek the services of one to build a story book cover to suit your needs particularly if you aren’t any good with artwork or design. A cover is very important because that could be at which your prospective buyers are going to analyze you to start with. Having an ill-drawn design would move clients off from your e-book, regardless of precisely how decent it will be to read.

You think maybe “Karl Daniels” read this?

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A marquee for which I am not prepared

“Zooey Deschanel is Twilight Sparkle.”

Hmmm…

“Dear Princess Celestia: What is your stripper name?”

I’m not seeing it. Though I appreciate the effort to push two of my smaller obsessions into a larger one.

(This is not going over well at EqD.)

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Reawakening the Ship of Dreams

We pause for just a moment to give James Cameron’s Titanic the attention it deserves:

Shined up like a new penny, it is.

(Bob Wayne of Big Daddy, who sang backup here, sent me this, and I thank him.)

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Saturday spottings (ahead of the storm)

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects schedules several events during its spring Architecture Week, the last of which is the Tour, in which several members get to show off some of what they’ve been up to. This is my sixth time on the Tour, and I was delighted to see that they were allowing an extra hour — noon to 6 pm — since there were nine exhibits this year instead of the usual eight, and they were all over the map, from east Edmond to downtown Norman. They decided to cancel that last hour due to Impending Dreadful Weather, but no matter: we were done before five. Some of what we saw:

1) 104 East Main Street, Norman

Nichols Law Firm

It wasn’t easy to get to downtown Norman today: tornadoes ripped through the town last night and several roads were closed due to downed power lines. Attorney Drew Nichols owns this former storefront, redesigned for maximum modern efficiency without sacrificing that turn-of-the-century (and that’s the last century, not this one) look: that aisle to the left is red brick on the outside, lovely wooden storage walls on the inside. A very nice place to conduct business. (Photo by Butzer Gardner Architects.)

2) 2116 Covell Lane, Edmond

Creek House

This sixty-foot-long bridge starts at the deck of this rural residence, and finishes somewhere out in the woods: the ten-acre site features a fair-sized pond and more trees than you can possibly count. Still under construction — the SIPS exterior is done, the interior just begun — this is the sort of place that Trini aspires to: not far from anything, but far enough from everyone. I can appreciate her thinking. (Photo by me.)

3) 2801 Northeast 120th Street

Kliewer House

George Seminoff (see the 2007 Tour) built this place for himself in the late 1960s; over the years, it had deteriorated to the point that extensive reconstruction was deemed necessary. This is what it’s supposed to look like:

Original Kliewer House

(First photo by me; second courtesy of the Getty Foundation.)

4) 6614 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Nichols Hills

Weiland House

Nichols Hills is an enclave of old money and mostly old houses, and this one, on the town’s main drag (and at 25 mph all the way through, a drag it is), is getting a refresh from Brian Fitzsimmons (see the 2007 Tour). The old Colonial was lovely but outdated and seemingly light-resistant; the Fitzsimmons plan was to open up the place with more glass and to break up the perceived monotony with an off-center front porch. (The house used to look like this.) Lots of work still to do, but the result should be delightful. (Rendering by Fitzsimmons Architects; I took several shots, but none of them proved satisfactory.)

5) 1000 Northwest 37th Street

1000 NW 37th

Marked for demolition by the city, this fourplex on the edge of Crown Heights was taken over by Brent Swift, the same Norman developer who worked with Drew Nichols on his law office (see #1 above), and Butzer Gardner were brought in for the design work. The late-1930s apartments will be updated with as much of the original floor plans intact as is feasible, and a similar structure with three units is going up on a side lot. (Rendering by Butzer Gardner Architects.)

6) 1228 Northwest 36th Street

1226 NW 36th

This house, a 1916 Craftsman-turned-duplex owned by architect Kenneth Fitzsimmons (not connected to architect Brian Fitzsimmons), was on the 2010 tour; in the two years since, they’ve further spruced up the interior and turned a 1940s building on the back of a lot into a proper studio.

1226 NW 36th

(Exterior photo by me; interior shot courtesy of TASK Design, Inc.)

7) 1300 North Broadway Drive

Saxum HQ

John Kirkpatrick — residents of OKC will say “Oh, that John Kirkpatrick” — ran his oil company from this vintage-1950 building between Broadway and the Santa Fe tracks. (George Seminoff — see #3 — had an office in the building at one time.) When the company moved north, the building was donated to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, which rapidly outgrew it; Saxum, a public-relations firm headed by Renzi Stone, acquired it in 2010, and engaged HSEarchitects to open up the inside while preserving the exterior look. (It did not occur to me that “Saxum” is in fact the Latin word for, um, “Stone.”) (Photo by Nick Archer.)

8) 21 North Lincoln Boulevard

Fire Station 6

The last time I mentioned Fire Station #6, it was at 620 Northeast 8th, and um, it was on fire. Which is not why there’s a new Station #6 on the eastern edge of Bricktown, which was in the planning stages already. However, nobody seemed to like the original design — for a Bricktown structure, it was deemed deficient in brick — and a new proposal was submitted by Norman-based LWPB. The new station has individual dorm-type rooms and the latest support gear, and was built to LEED standards. (Rendering courtesy of Steve Lackmeyer; the history of Station 6 is worth a read.)

9) 824 Northwest 7th Street

824 NW 7th St

If you’re paying attention, you might have noticed that this is the fourth house within one block of 7th and Francis in the last six years of the Tour. The availability of relatively cheap (for close to downtown) lots and the fabulousness of the views obtainable thereupon have made this section of the Cottage District relatively hot, architecture-wise. Randy Floyd, a major player in this district, came up with this nicely-stacked “urban cottage” that feels a lot larger than its stated 2230 square feet. (Photo courtesy of Leonard Sullivan.)

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Far from extinct

I might have mentioned last time out that the Timberwolves were hurting for personnel, but I’m pretty sure I also suggested that they weren’t going to roll over and die. Which they didn’t. The Thunder kept running up the score on Minnesota, and Minnesota kept coming back: it was 34-31 after the first quarter, 59-58 at the half, and with 15 seconds left, 112-110. Russell Westbrook, who’d helped enable the last Wolves rally with two last-minute fouls, subsequently drew two fouls himself and cashed in three of four free throws to put the poor growlers out of their misery, 115-110.

Worse yet for the Wolves, they’d outshot the Thunder, hitting an even 50 percent from the floor, though they were outrebounded 52-39. J. J. Barea, always a threat, racked up 24 points and 10 assists; Nikola Peković also double-doubled with 14 points and 13 rebounds. And the two mainstays of the Minnesota bench, Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, rolled up 26 and 22 points respectively; Randolph also picked up 11 boards. (Weird plus/minus statistic: the Wolves starters were all minus, the reserves all plus; the exact reverse was true of Oklahoma City.)

The usual suspects weighed in for OKC: Westbrook finished with 35, and Kevin Durant wound up with 43, twenty in the fourth quarter despite being in foul trouble for most of it. James Harden did return as predicted, but he was off his game, shooting 1-11, though he did hit all four of his free throws. The bigs reeled in their share of boards: Serge Ibaka had 12, Kendrick Perkins 10, Nick Collison 8. Collison also dropped in 10 points to lead the bench.

You could look at this and say “Big deal, we swept the Wolves. We swept ‘em last year.” Which is true; but at no point in those two seasons did the Wolves act like a team you could beat seven times in a row. It is, as the local broadcast crew said, never easy against Minnesota. Nor is it easy against the Clippers, next on the schedule, Monday night in Los Angeles.

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A melody looking

A couple of years ago, I got my first taste of Cantopop, and I was quite unreasonably delighted: I speak absolutely no Cantonese, but I know bubblegum when I hear it, and I’ve always been a sucker for breathy girl singers in foreign tongues. (I blame Jane Birkin.)

Appropriately enough for a performer of Timeless Teenage Music, here’s Janice Vidal with a prop tube of skin cream:

Janice Vidal for H2O

And while we’re at it, here’s an actual song, from her 2008 album Serving You, which appears not to be a cookbook:

Two things you should know: (1) she just turned 30, and (2) her Cantonese is apparently not much better than mine.

And that title: a long-form music video I haven’t seen.

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Not that flashy thing again

Liam (see announcement here) is home, and evidently none the worse for wear, though he seems uninterested in this whole photography business:

Liam at 11 days

Then again, this family has always learned the concept of boredom quickly, and I’m not at all surprised he’d discover it before finishing two weeks on the planet.

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Walk right in, sit right down

Rather a lot of Oklahoma legislators got a free pass to the next session, having drawn neither primary opposition nor an opponent from another party. From the State Election Board’s official list:

Senate:

    19. Pat Sullivan (R-Enid)
    21. Jim Halligan (R-Stillwater)
    23. Ron Justice (R-Chickasha)
    29. John Ford (R-Bartlesville)
    35. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa)
    47. Greg Treat (R-OKC)

House:

      1. Curtis McDaniel (D-Smithville)
      4. Mike Brown (D-Fort Gibson)
      5. Doug Cox (R-Grove)
      6. Chuck Hoskin (D-Vinita)
      7. Larry Glenn (D-Miami)
      8. Ben Sherrer (D-Chouteau)
      9. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore)
    10. Steve Martin (R-Bartlesville)
    11. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville)
    13. Jerry McPeak (D-Warner)
    15. Ed Cannaday (D-Porum)
    17. Brian Renagar (D-McAlester)
    24. Steve Couplen (D-Beggs)
    30. Mark McCullough (R-Sapulpa)
    31. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie)
    33. Lee Denney (R-Cushing)
    34. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater)
    35. Dennis Casey (R-Morrison)
    38. Dale DeWitt (R-Braman)
    40. Mike Jackson (R-Enid)
    41. John Enns (R-Enid)
    43. Colby Schwartz (R-Yukon)
    45. Emily Virgin (D-Norman)
    46. Scott Martin (R-Norman)
    50. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan)
    52. Charles Ortega (R-Altus)
    54. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore)
    55. Todd Russ (R-Cordell)
    57. Harold Wright (R-Weatherford)
    58. Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview)
    61. Gus Blackwell (R-Laverne)
    62. T. W. Shannon (R-Lawton)
    65. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
    67. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa)
    69. Fred Jordan (R-Jenks)
    73. Kevin Matthews (D-Tulsa)
    74. David Dudley (R-Owasso)
    75. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa)
    77. Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa)
    80. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow)
    81. Randy Grau (R-Edmond)
    85. David Dank (R-OKC)
    89. Rebecca Hamilton (D-OKC)
    90. John Echols (R-OKC)
    91. Mike Reynolds (R-OKC)
    92. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC)
    93. Mike Christian (R-OKC)
    94. Scott Inman (D-OKC)
    95. Charlie Joyner (R-Midwest City)
    96. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia)
    97. Mike Shelton (D-OKC)
    98. John Trebilcock (R-Broken Arrow)

I find it just slightly disturbing that more than half the House is already technically elected.

The primary will be on the 26th of June; any runoffs will be on the 28th of August.

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From the bridle section

Oops, sorry. That’s the bridal section. Of the Sunday New York Times, no less:

NYT Wedding Announcement

Hasbro is evidently pulling out all the stops for this My Little Pony wedding. (And evidently they’ve decided that the Princess spells her name “Cadance” rather than “Cadence,” which is okay with me; it’s better than confiscating a name.)

Just incidentally, Hasbro will be hawking a Wedding Castle in the near future, just to remind us all that the first order of business is Selling The Product.

(From Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch via Equestria Daily.)

Addendum: Fark blurb for the EW story: “The New York Times ran a wedding announcement for two characters from My Little Pony. Subby won’t trust the story until he reads it in the Foal Free Press.”

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A small piece of the secret history

You’ve already seen what Google looked like in the 1960s, and you’ve presumably seen what it looks like today.

Now to split the difference: Google in the 1980s, with its old BBS interface intact.

(Snagged from Aaron Schmiedel on FB. Incidentally, you should have seen Facebook in the 1990s.)

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A right abdication

The Kings made a game of it for about twelve minutes — they trailed 23-21 after the first quarter — but the Thunder evidently decided that the best way to expunge the last remaining memory of that three-game losing streak was a good old-fashioned blowout, and that’s what they delivered, sending slumping Sacramento on its way, 115-89.

And they did it without James Harden, who was scratched due to a sore knee. (Will we see him tomorrow at Minnesota? I’m betting we do.) As usual, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got the big numbers (29 and 22 points respectively), and Kendrick Perkins grabbed 11 rebounds in addition to scoring 11 points. In the absence of Harden, the bench was led by Derek Fisher (14) and Daequan Cook (13). And what with tornadoes south of the city, there was some early, um, rumbling about the end of the team’s season-long (and then some) stretch of sellouts. Didn’t happen: same old 18,203.

Sacramento, whose on-again-off-again deal for a new arena is off again, might have been slightly distracted, maybe. The wingmen, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas, led the scorers — Thomas had a highly-respectable 21 — but Tyreke Evans, who averages around 17, managed only two in a meager 14 minutes. Perennial pest DeMarcus Cousins, though, scored nine and hauled in 12 boards. The Kings shot a sub-blah 39 percent and were outrebounded 58-41.

Amazingly, with seven games left, two are against the Kings. They may not be pushovers next time. But first, the Timberwolves, who are much depleted these days: Rubio’s been out for weeks, Luke Ridnour is sidelined, and Kevin Love suffered an apparent concussion Wednesday at the hands — er, elbow — of Denver’s JaVale McGee. Still, Rick Adelman can beat you with half a dozen nuns and a professional Richard Simmons impersonator, so Scott Brooks will give his usual “Don’t underestimate these guys” speech before tipoff.

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RBs for all

Fond as I am of bashing Tinseltown, I must admit that even if you’re on the periphery of The Industry, you get to meet some pretty remarkable people.

Hence this shot — Instagrammed by her manager — of Rebecca Black and Ryan Bingham, arguably the two most dissimilar voices in all of southern California at that moment, enough to make me wonder what it would take to get these two into a duet:

Rebecca Black and Ryan Bingham, photo by Debra Baum

This was titled “RB Squared,” because, well, why wouldn’t it be?

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Quote of the week

A report Carl Cameron of Fox News — or indeed any of the tools at any of the cable newsers — would never have given, as imagined by Robert Stacy McCain:

“Top strategists for so-called ‘front-runner’ Mitt Romney, the worthless RINO flip-flopper who is trying to buy the Republican nomination, today gave reporters in Boston what I can only describe as The Mother of All Spin Jobs. Presenting the gullible national press corps with a transparent flim-flam about the delegate count, a top Romney adviser laid down such a thick layer of putrid dishonest bullshit I nearly vomited.”

Which is a shame, because I can’t remember a single day in this election year when some form of putrid dishonest bullshit wasn’t being propagated.

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Value-subtracted manufacturing

Last month I grumbled a bit about a rather lengthy piece of spam that embedded a paragraph from Wikipedia in its otherwise-nondescript verbiage, the better to get past Bayesian filters and such. It would, I admit, never have occurred to me that this practice had been raised to a higher level, so to speak:

Last October 24 the brilliant Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. And on the same day another book was also published, by an alleged publisher called CreateSpace: It was called Fast and Slow Thinking, and advertised as having an author named Karl Daniels. Only it is not really a book. It is a compilation of snippets from Wikipedia articles and the like, dressed up like a book.

Amazon reviewers so far have been unanimous in their scorn for the book — nine reviews, a total of nine stars, as low as you can go — though one fellow did find some redeeming social value in it:

What you really need is a book you don’t care about, that’s worthless, and ideally, is a convenient size for squishing spiders with.

That’s where this paperback edition of Fast and Slow Thinking by Karl Daniels really shines. It’s a small size with a decent amount of weight, perfectly sized for medium to small hands. It’s reasonably well balanced for emergency throws (when you can’t be bothered to get off the sofa, for those hard-to-reach spiders, or for “runners.”) I appreciated the glossy cover, which makes it easy to wipe the legs and squishy innards off later. Since you’ll never want to read it, you won’t feel bad for soiling it.

At this writing, the Daniels “book” is out of stock. Must be a lot of spiders in the nation’s living rooms.

Addendum: Perfect Fark blurb: No, no, Dickens wrote David Copperfield with two Ps. This is David Coperfield with one P by Edmund Wells.

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So here it begins

Is it just my imagination, or does Shining Armor look like he’s awaiting instructions from the Borg?

Shining Armor with Princess Cadence before the Royal Wedding

And now that I think about it, given vaguely similar circumstances, I probably had exactly the same expression way back in nineteen mumblety-mumb.

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Not getting any cheaper

Somehow this seems like a ton of money:

According to TrueCar.com’s data, the average selling price of a new car sold here in the U.S. last month was $30,748, marking an all-time record (last year’s figure was just $28,771). While buyers are currently looking toward smaller, less expensive and more fuel-efficient models, overall vehicle sales have jumped ahead of the rest of the slowly recovering economy. In addition, manufacturers are keeping production more in line with demand, resulting in significantly scaled-back incentives.

That new number looked strangely familiar, so I dug into the archives and came up with $30,519, the original sticker price of my ride. Then again, that was in 2000; adjusted for inflation, that’s more like $40,348.

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