What can Tina Brown do for you?

“When the radical priest come to get me released,
We was all on the cover of Newsweek.”

— Paul Simon, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” (1972)

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When toy soldiers aren’t enough

You need TOY AIR POWER!

116 planes of all nations

And if your mom is like my mom, watch how you pronounce “Fokker.”

(Via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats. Can your blog live up to that name?)

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Dragon your heart around

Tam’s re-reading the Dragonriders of Pern series — the first three books, anyway — and her perspective has changed just slightly in the interim:

They’re still fun, but the idea of having a giant telepathically-linked dragon that would be your friend forever and could fly you around and set stuff that annoyed you on fire was a lot more attractive when I was in middle school and grappling with teen angst. Not that I’d turn one down now, but as an adult, all you can think of are the damned vet bills, which must be ginormous. And it probably horks up hairballs the size of VW Beetles.

At least it’s not a threadfall. Damned thing would dissolve your hand while you were trying to clean it up.

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Dihydrogen monoxide monitoring

As usual, the May water bill came with the annual water report, which details the quality of said water, based on certain official standards. According to the cover letter, the, um, product gets tested every two hours, although some items on the list, such as radioactive particles, are checked less frequently, and by “less frequently” I mean 2006 was the last time they ran a full-fledged examination for alpha, beta, and radium-226 emissions. The numbers recorded at that time weren’t anywhere near the maximum permitted levels, and I have no reason to think that they’re any different now, but I suspect some of us would feel better with more up-to-date numbers.

And I’m perplexed by the chloramine numbers, which remain below the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (4.0 ppm) on a yearly-average basis, which is what’s required for compliance, but it appears that individual samples at two of the three water plants spiked slightly above that for short periods. I’m guessing that these readings were taken right after a treatment cycle, and that they’re required to report them regardless, but this does seem to conflict with the definition of “maximum” as I learned it back in the 20th century.

But, hey, at least it isn’t radioactive.

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Low-skill pirate

Get a load of this doofus:

i want to know how to crack a simple .exe file to get past the registration key requirement

its a basic little board game and they want $35 for registration haha

This is the answer I voted up:

I would do it but I charge $60. an hour. Should take me a few days, do you still want me to do it?

Well played, sir.

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It’s getting us all

Well, isn’t this comforting:

Risk factors for throat cancer

Gee, maybe I’d better see someone quick.

(Via Picture Is Unrelated.)

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Laker evaporation

There were basically two questions going into this game. The first: “Is Perk okay?” (Answer: he played seventeen minutes, took a hit, took a detour to the locker room as a precautionary measure, and returned to the bench, though he didn’t play further.) The second: “How will Metta World Douche be greeted?” (Answer: Seven or eight of the 18,203 in attendance did not boo him.) Otherwise, there was no question: the Thunder grabbed the lead late in the first quarter and didn’t come close to giving it up the rest of the night, up 15 at the half, up 30 (!) after three, and the starters watched the reserves finish off the Lakers, 119-90, in spectacular fashion. And I do mean “spectacular”: in the waning seconds, Derek Fisher sank a trey, and then Royal Ivey stole the inbound and dribbled it out. Had they given Mike Brown the finger, the message couldn’t have been clearer.

And here’s a brace of telltale statistics: at 39:26, the beginning of garbage time, OKC had committed three turnovers — and the Lakers had zero fast-break points. Add to that this lovely bit of frustration: Devin Ebanks, who had subbed admirably for Metta World Elbow during the dark days of suspension, lasted a whole 4:15 before being thumbed from the premises.

Los Angeles still has no one who can handle Russell Westbrook, who rolled up 27 points on 10-15 shooting, not to mention seven rebounds and nine assists. Kevin Durant tacked on 25 more; James Harden led the bench with 17. And oh, the final turnover count was four.

The Lakers, meanwhile, coughed up the rock 15 times, and while they did enjoy a 43-41 advantage on the boards, they shot less than 44 percent, and Pau Gasol, minus 29 for the night, evidently phoned it in. Andrew Bynum did post a double-double, with 20 points and 14 rebounds, which still left him at minus 24. Kobe Bryant had an uneventful 20, and Metta World Smurf, hot in the first quarter, ended up with 12.

The hostilities resume Wednesday at the funky C Arena. I have no idea how Perk is, and there’s really no reason for anyone to tell me.

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L’oiseaux du merde

In response to a bit from this foul-mouthed TV clip that LeeAnn gleefully posted, Jeffro opined that “‘The Perfectly Tanned Shitbirds’ would make an excellent name for a rock group.”

I left a response thereto, and I figure I may as well expand on it here.

April March

April March was a layout artist for several episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show in the early 1990s; she had been in a band called the Pussywillows, who cut this nifty version of Neil Diamond’s “The Boat That I Row”, and after they broke up, she founded a band called, yes, the Shitbirds. This may be the only video of them that exists, and it’s impossible to judge their melanin levels; they cut a perfectly wonderful album called Famous Recording Artists, which as of this past weekend was still available on iTunes. If you ask me, the highlight therefrom was “I Want You.”

As a solo singer, April March’s biggest hit was “Chick Habit,” an English translation of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Laisse Tomber les Filles,” which Quentin Tarantino saw fit to work into the soundtrack of Death Proof. Being something of a Francophile, March also recorded it in French.

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We got your Dash right here

The World’s Youngest Blogger reports that in terms of sheer dash, he’s way ahead of Kim Kardashian.

Being rather dashless myself — so to speak — I’ve had to import some from beyond the Everfree Forest:

Rainbow Dash salutes

This is of course obviously Photoshopped, because who in Equestria has ever seen a flag like this? (The real flag of Equestria, I am told, looks something like this.)

Wait, what? “Too involved,” you say? Not a chance. Besides, I’ve already been warned by Twilight Sparkle:

Tweet by Tara Strong

(Rainbow Dash image courtesy of Timothy Newton, who is now blogging at Singular Spectrum.)

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Cheapskinned

College, shmollege. It’s all trade schools these days:

Starting with the G.I. Bill, the notion that all high school graduates should attend college, specifically as preparation for their “future careers,” has taken a ferocious grip on Americans’ minds. Our colleges and universities have come to resemble trade schools in many ways, though the “trades” for which they purport to prepare us bear little resemblance to the ones BOCES alumni practice.

American grammar and high schools exhibit that orientation in their obsessive insistence upon preparing for college. Breathes there a “guidance counselor” anywhere in this land whose first question upon meeting a new student isn’t some variation on “What would you like to do for a career?” Testing for “aptitudes” has completely displaced intelligence tests in our high schools. (This might be for the best, considering how many American teenagers possess the intelligence of an earthworm.) The whole edifice appears designed to get young Americans aimed toward an office occupation of some sort, such that non-office alternatives — e.g., entrepreneurship; the clergy, the blue-collar trades; a military career — are effaced from consideration.

As a person of a Certain Age, I have taken scads of aptitude tests, most of which suggested that I would be a paper-pusher par excellence. The Army duly slotted me for a personnel-management billet, and in my subsequent civilian years, I found myself doing largely administrative-type work, without actually obtaining any administrative-type titles. It happens that I am good at what I do, though nothing in my “educational” background would so indicate; there is literally no curriculum in any institution of learning which teaches my current skill set.

Nor is my collar entirely white: I spend a fair amount of time producing actual printed materials, which suggest a blue collar, and I have the ink stains (which are not blue) to prove it. Come to think of it, I usually wear a pocket T to work, and it doesn’t have any collar at all.

And it’s difficult for me to imagine how I’d be any better qualified for this position, which pays me on the high side of the administrative range, but on the low side of the technical, had I spent five figures (now probably six figures) chasing down degrees. You certainly won’t see any guidance counselors pushing anyone toward this slot. Besides, my presence in that slot is largely accidental: the previous occupant departed without much notice, and I was one of only two or three people in the entire operation who had ever even seen an IBM midrange before. (I’d worked on some of the big iron, even.) Since they had better things to do, the position became mine by default. Fortunately, I learn quickly.

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Strange search-engine queries (328)

If you’ve ever shaken down a server log, trying to steal its lunch money, this is the weekly feature for you.

mercedes benz mid life crisis:  This usually happens after the warranty is up and little (but expensive) things start to break.

craigslist casual encounter pictures of live oak and lake city florida:  Were I to have what craigslist defines as a “casual encounter,” I sure as hell wouldn’t be posting pictures of it.

washington wizard penis logo:  Which hardly seems necessary: the Wizards don’t have quite as much experience with dick moves as do some of the higher-ranked NBA teams.

summer words that you don’t hear often:  “Blizzard” comes most readily to mind. (And it’s not like we’re near a Dairy Queen or anything.)

no fat chicks car may scrap car sticker:  I have no idea what this means, but I have reason to believe this guy’s dance card is not exactly overflowing, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

how to provoke discussion:  Start with a bald statement with intent to insult — for instance, “no fat chicks.”

youtube horney sexy drooling tongue:  That narrows it down to about four million music videos.

ponyville oklahoma:  Disincorporated in the 1930s when no one was left to serve in the Mare’s office.

Air Boner:  Home of the original Mile High Club.

beware the righteous man:  Indeed. He might actually believe in something, and who the hell is going to vote for that?

characteristics of a genius blog:  For one, it has such a wealth of material that it can afford to waste a post every week on mere search strings.

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Visibly packing

The Guv says she’s going to sign that open-carry bill:

Gov. Mary Fallin said Saturday she will sign a bill into law that will allow Oklahomans with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons in the open.

“I’m going to be signing that bill,” Fallin announced to 1,400 delegates at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention, drawing cheers and applause. “I’ve been waiting a long time.”

The measure, Senate Bill 1733, passed the Senate 33-10 after an 85-3 romp through the House. It will take effect, typically for new Oklahoma laws, on the first of November. It’s not, as the pundits say, “permissive”: you must first obtain a concealed-carry permit, though Oklahoma is a shall-issue state and they have to give you a good reason to turn you down.

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Scrutinizing a steady auto-insurance bill

If you saw last November’s update, you’ve pretty much seen this one: they’ve tweaked the rules for rental-car reimbursement just slightly, but all the rates and coverages are exactly identical, which suits me just fine. They’ll raise the rates eventually — I’m thinking, based on prior experience, probably in the fall of 2013 — but for now, I’m just happy with not having to shuffle budget items around.

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Pumped-down pumps

Out here, we call this particular rhetorical technique “Stream of Conoco”:

Democrats can get excited about gas prices dropping.
Except gas prices dropped before the 2008 election also.
Dropped from record highs also.
Didn’t help Republicans much.

Perhaps the pols have finally figured out that if you take credit for something improving, you get the blame for it when it deteriorates.

Naw. Couldn’t be. And anyway, every 15-cent drop saves me around $4 a month, which is nice to have but which doesn’t exactly stimulate the ol’ wallet, if you know what I mean.

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Now pay up already

Chocolat is a text editor for Mac OS X. As is the case with many programs, it’s offered on a trial basis, after which, if you expect to continue using it, you must fork over the asking price. Otherwise, you are faced with this horrifying screen:

Registration screen for Chocolat that threatens users with Comic Sans

Now that’s just cruel.

(Via FAIL Blog’s WIN!)

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Shelby remembered

Carroll Shelby, in his last year of Formula One competition, drove a race-prepped version of Aston Martin’s DB4 for erstwhile AM owner David Brown. Astons at the time ran highly-tuned DOHC inline sixes, which apparently did not impress Shelby in the least.

AC Cobra 260When Shelby decided to get into construction in 1961, he wrote to AC Cars in Britain and asked them if they could modify their existing Ace roadster to accommodate a proper American-style V8. AC, which had been using Bristol’s six, a prewar BMW design, was in the process of switching to an English Ford six, and they told Shelby they could. Shelby then hit up Chevrolet, who turned him down flat. Ford, however, would talk to him, and they offered an updated version of their Windsor V8, bored out to 260 cubic inches. Shelby ordered up a chassis, and the transatlantic assembly line was created: AC would do the bodywork, then ship the carcass to Shelby’s West Coast facility, where the powertrain would be installed.

Seventy-five of these cars, christened “Cobra,” were built, priced at $5995; Shelby then switched to the new Windsor 289. The Cobra proved to be a sturdy and successful racer, so naturally it had to be improved upon; the chassis was stretched and strengthened, and Shelby, now enthusiastically supported by Ford, received a supply of the FE V8, a monster with 427 cubes.

Lee Iacocca, who had enlisted Shelby’s assistance in producing a line of high-performance Mustangs, eventually landed at Chrysler, and he persuaded Shelby to follow him. By then, pretty much everything Mopar was either already or about to be front-wheel drive, but no matter. The Shelby-modified Dodge Omni GLH (“Goes Like Hell”) offered 146 ponies to drag around a mere 2300 pounds, at a time when comparably-sized cars had maybe 90 or 100 at most. (A GLHS followed, with 175.)

Jack Baruth gave Shelby, who died Thursday, the following sendoff:

Although his final years were beset by scandal and an increasingly Byzantine series of lawsuits against everyone from “cloners” to his own fan club, the man’s contributions to the art, science, and passion of hauling ass in affordable cars are undeniable.

Even if some of them aren’t quite so affordable anymore.

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