A brief pony reference

Fluttershy briefsIf you’re the size of a normal adult human — this would exclude Springfield’s Comic Book Guy and, um, me — and you feel compelled to plaster references to Ponyville’s Mane Six on your flank, this Indiegogo crowd-sourcer is for you:

Brony Briefs is the first ever line of underwear designed specifically for Bronies! Our brilliant and innovative new Brony apparel offers all Bronies the opportunity to wear their fandom everywhere! In order to get our initial batch of Brony Briefs out of production and into your hands, we need your help! We know that our friends in the Brony community will help us make Brony Briefs into a reality!

As always, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are left out in the cold.

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Strange search-engine queries (372)

Yes, it’s the weekly roundup of odd search strings and such, retrieved from our very own logs at no little expense, with 20 ounces of Royal Crown Cola at our side. (In a single tumbler, because this ain’t New York City.)

after wearing seat belts became mandatory drivers reacted by driving faster and less carefully. this is consistent with what principle of economics?   Obviously, the one you missed hearing about in class because you were texting under the desk.

where’s my electrical tape:  Over there in the tub, next to the rectifier.

andrej pejic wearing pantyhose stiletto heels:  Write him a check and he’ll be happy to model for you.

oldernaturists:  According to conventional wisdom, a significant deterrent to younger naturists.

testicle flapping:  Which might, in turn, be a deterrent to older naturists.

does american express capture ip address for account login attempts:  As does every other Web site on the face of the earth.

Nurse has enema and a dozen big ass toys in her butt torrent:  Actually, now that you mention it, “butt torrent” is a pretty good synonym for “enema,” or at least for the result thereof.

when will it be daylight until 7pm:  Some time around the equinox, I’d bet.

the lady prefers hanes radio:  Although if she puts it on backwards, people will think she’s talking out of her ass.

if someone screams at 840 hz and the other at 640 hz who’s heard first:  Whichever one gets the gig on Hanes Radio.

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Done to/with Dallas

This being the last game of the season series, Thunder fans were hoping for a sweep, and some of us were hoping for a big night for Derek Fisher, given Mark Cuban’s avowed butthurt over Fisher’s signing with OKC. As seemingly always with the Mavs, it was scary close most of the night — nobody at any point got close to a double-digit lead — and at the 1:20 mark it was tied 101-all. Twenty seconds later, Russell Westbrook hit a jumper from 17 feet; the Mavs burned up 24 seconds without so much as touching the rim; and then Thabo Sefolosha’s fadeaway over O. J. Mayo put the Thunder up four with 12.5 left. Another empty Dallas possession, and with 2.2 left, Kevin Durant swished two free throws to finish the job, 107-101. Sweep accomplished.

Dallas did what they could: they made all 16 of their free throws, executed a remarkable 13 steals, and did better from the three-point line than OKC. (The Mavs hit nine of 21, the Thunder only four of 21.) And Dirk, perhaps a little past his prime, is still Dirk: 8-10 shooting, seven rebounds, 23 points. The Dallas bench kicked in 40 points, and might have done more had they not lost Rodrigue Beaubois early to a finger issue, and no, Roddy wasn’t smarting off to the refs. Worse, Shawn Marion’s missed two games now with a calf problem.

But ultimately, the Thunder had the Mavs’ number yet again. Durant wound up with 31; Russell Westbrook, at his all-over-the-place best, nailed 35; Serge Ibaka had 18 points, 16 rebounds, and just for fun blocked three shots. Derek Fisher? Two points and three fouls in twelve and a half minutes, which goes to show you can’t have everything.

The good news: the Thunder are back home Tuesday night. The bad news: the Denver Nuggets, only five games back in the Northwest after winning 11 straight, will be dropping by.

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The happy sound of a carousel

The Drifters once sang of the joys to be found under the boardwalk on the Jersey shore. Of course, that was long before Hurricane Sandy turned the boardwalk into a very large pile of debris.

Now, Seaside Heights is rebuilding its premier attraction:

Mayor William Akers said the initial work — restoring the boardwalk so that it can be walked on safely — should be done by May 10. Railings, lighting and ramps will be part of a second contract that has yet to be awarded. The project is also likely to include a protective seawall, and cost between $6 million and $7 million, the mayor said.

“It’s a huge day for us, a new beginning for the town,” he said. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work, starting with the rescues, the cleanup, the planning, culminating in the actual rebuilding of Seaside Heights.”

Having once trodden those sacred boards myself — I pretty much had to, inasmuch as my entire prior knowledge of the boardwalk had been confined to that Drifters song and Monopoly — I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do it again some day.

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Roll it and throw it

That was how I, a carrier for the Charleston Evening Post, made money off newspapers in the 1960s. Simple, right? Let’s see how Warren Buffett makes money off newspapers (including his most recent acquisition, the Tulsa World) today.

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The bridge club adjourns

By the time Warner Bros. got around to cranking out cartoons, the selling of the Brooklyn Bridge — see, for instance, Bowery Bugs (1949) — had already been a cultural trope for decades, although it puzzled the kid version of me greatly: could the new owner actually move the bridge, or did he have to content himself with (probably increased) toll revenue?

And now that I’m thinking about it, if a bridge could be sold like any other property, could it be stolen? The answer is Yes:

The 22-ton bridge, which was 25 meters long, was in a village in Kocaeli’s Gölçük district and was regularly used by villagers to cross a creek to reach their orchards. The villagers were astonished to discover the disappearance of the bridge on Monday morning as they were making their way to the orchards and immediately alerted the police.

Police arrived at the scene and determined that the bridge had been cut apart and loaded onto a truck by the thieves. They believe the bridge was stolen for scrap metal. Its worth was an estimated TL 20,000.

One Turkish lira being worth around 55 cents these days — believe me, it’s been worse — this is about eleven grand worth of scrap, or $500 a ton. A better deal than they were likely to get for an ’84 Anadol, I suspect.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Hardware bleg

In the summer of ’11, I reported the death at age four of my old MP3 player, a 4 GB Sony that vaguely resembled a cuttlefish. I have not gotten around to finding a proper replacement; I did toss fifteen bucks on a below-Chinese-quality boxlet sold by Woot, which does in fact work, but its controls are utterly inscrutable, despite an uncharacteristically readable manual, and I suspect its internal battery to have been supplied by Mayfly Industries.

Desiderata for proper replacement:

  1. At least 8 GB, expandable via SD or microSD;
  2. A shuffle routine that will indiscriminately mingle files in base memory and files on the expansion card;
  3. A proper drag-and-drop loading system, which eliminates any iGadgets right off the bat.

Nice to have but not mandatory: a plethora of equalization curves; the ability to play un-DRMed AAC files (as vended by Apple); all that Bluetooth stuff. (My car, at its advanced age, is immune to the latter.)

Last one I looked at was this Creative ZEN, which meets 1 and 3 handily, though I’m not sure about 2. (I downloaded the manual, which suggests the shuffle is broad enough, but doesn’t make clear whether it includes all files on the player.)

Your suggestions are welcomed.

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Or you could just blame Mitt

There are probably as many explanations and/or excuses for why the GOP came a cropper last fall as there are Republicans. E. M. Zanotti attempted to explain the situation on Facebook:

The problem with 2012 was three-fold: (1) bad candidates, (2) bad staff, (3) bad marketing. We have bad candidates because the party doesn’t seem to want to undertake the responsibility of actually grooming them — they either pick the next in line, or they let the grassroots “tea party” out their candidates and then gripe when they can’t throw enough money at someone to win. There’s no candidate development at all at the party level. [Two] is also a party problem — the GOP doesn’t reward talent or ingenuity, they reward longevity. That’s why people who have been in the party ten years, who started when smart phones were just a novelty, are considered “digital gurus” — because they don’t know any different and don’t care to. and (3), the party AND the grassroots insist that if we just yell louder and act crazier eventually someone will notice. The Dems did something crazy in 2008: [they] empowered voters who were told to vote but not to research. The problem? No matter how energized your base is, low-information voters won’t respond to the base-energizing message, so you NEED to have both a communications strategy to your already-engaged public, AND a strategy that takes on people who aren’t going to do any investigation before casting your vote. You have to compete on the ground and the airwaves. As much as the GOP wants to believe things haven’t changed since the early 2000s, they have.

Speaking for the establishment, Byron York in a post-election post mortem in the Washington Examiner:

On one end of the spectrum are those who stress the GOP’s failure to appeal to Hispanics and other minorities, arguing that the party must make fundamental changes to broaden its appeal. On the other end are those who stress the GOP’s failure to master even the basics of voter turnout in the last election, along with the flawed candidacy of Mitt Romney, arguing that the party does not need to change its principles or message so much as learn the turnout and messaging techniques used so successfully by the competition.

At this point in its history, the GOP is not capable of grasping the idea that both sides might be correct. The Democrats clearly have it easier, having demonstrated that they can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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Totally roadrageous

It happened twice today, within seven minutes.

Incident 1: Driver of one of those pesky “crossover” beasts they sell in lieu of proper wagons dashed in front of me from off a side street so she’d still make the light. She wasn’t actually on a crash trajectory, and she didn’t keep me from getting through the light without having to dip into the yellow, so I thought nothing of it. We were both properly in the left lane; I slid over to the right, inasmuch as I was planning a right turn shortly. For no reason I can fathom, she darted that way herself, and this time we were headed for Sideswipe City. I did my best Fred Flintstone stop; she dropped back into her lane as though nothing had happened.

Incident 2: Green sedan and blue hatchback, side by side. I’m behind Green, anticipating a left turn. Both are going about five under the speed limit (posted 40). Suddenly, Green slides off to the right; Blue barely escapes being hit. Brakes were applied, windows were opened, words were exchanged. Meanwhile, traffic behind them has ground to a halt. After about thirty seconds, they proceed on their merry ways, Blue straight ahead, Green turning left. Why Green needed to be in the right lane to turn left is something known only to God and your nearest meth lab, neither of whom were available for comment.

Now I know from distracted driving: if I’d been paying better attention I’d have zero chargeable accidents in thirty-eight years instead of one. (Presumptuousness may well be the death of me yet.) I have no idea if any of the perpetrators today were actually texting, texting these days being to the Department of Public Safety what a Big Gulp is to Michael Bloomberg; but whatever it was they were doing, it barely qualifies as driving.

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Forget your 4×4

This might be 50 percent better:

Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6

It’s not a production vehicle yet, but inasmuch as they were showing it in Dubai, where they eat this stuff up, I’m thinking they’re eventually going to build it.

“They,” of course, are Mercedes-Benz, who added a whole extra ration of G to the venerable G-Wagen, with AMG power pieces and six-wheel drive via portal axles, giving the G63 AMG 6×6 more than 15 inches of ground clearance.

Of technical interest:

All told, there are five differential locks on this thing, all controlled by a special “locking logic” that provides the best traction possible for any given situation.

The controls offer up three stages of locking, which we can only assume range from JKLOL to OMGWTF.

I couldn’t even imagine the price tag on a production version. Even the meanest semi-stripped G-Class costs upward of $100k.

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Loused in translation

If you speak two languages fluently, in which do you cuss? There’s a study about that:

I investigated language preferences for swearing among multilinguals using an on-line questionnaire. They consisted of 386 adult multilinguals who had declared that they were maximally proficient in their first and second languages and used both languages constantly.

I discovered that despite similar levels of self-perceived proficiency and frequency of use in the first language and second language, the first language was used significantly more for swearing and first language swearwords were perceived to have a stronger emotional resonance. An analysis of additional interview data confirmed the findings of the quantitative analysis, also highlighting cultural issues in swearing.

The working title of the paper was Language preferences for swearing among maximally proficient multilinguals, which may be considered acceptably bland. Why did our researcher change it?

I heard an Anglo-Canadian author, Nancy Huston, who has lived in Paris for many years, being interviewed on France Inter about her swearing behaviour. She explained that when she needs to express a strong emotion, like sudden anxiety, or when dropping a hammer on her foot, she swears in English.

Well, partially. And that particular cuss is now incorporated into the title, which won some sort of award for “most obscene title of a peer-reviewed scientific article.”

[Cite: Sociolinguistic Studies, 4 (3), 595-614. (doi : 10.1558/sols.v4i3.595)]

(Via this Oliver Burkeman tweet, which found its way to me thanks to Jennifer Ouellette.)

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Next: the Nemean Lions

I do not envy this man:

An emergency financial manager with wide-ranging powers has been appointed for the troubled US city of Detroit, in the biggest state takeover for years.

Kevyn Orr, a lawyer who worked on restructuring the carmaker Chrysler after bankruptcy, will be able to override elected officials.

The Motor City is running a deficit in the neighborhood of $300 million and has piled up $14 billion in debt. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is clearly tossing up a Hail Mary here, but realistically, what choice does he have? It’s not like they can send Kwame Kilpatrick the bill — except for $850,000 or so.

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Depth uncharged

Curious statistic: the five Orlando starters scored 98 points in this game. Curiouser statistic: the six Orlando reserves came up with six. Does the Magic have a weak bench? Who knows? They didn’t get much of a chance to play, because those starters were put to work whittling down what at one time was a 27-point Oklahoma City lead. They got it down to four in the last period before the Thunder closed the door. The final was OKC 117, Orlando 104, which sounds fairly impressive until you notice that the Weather Phenomena had 73 in the first half.

And the Magic were playing without Hedo Türkoğlu, who drew a 20-game suspension last month for using some mysterious pregnant-cat extract. Also not on hand: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, due to a foot fracture. No wonder the starters all played big minutes. The backcourt duo of Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson combined for 46 points, and Nikola Vučević did a worthy job in the middle, with 21 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic pulled off a creditable 12 steals, but blocked no shots.

The Oklahoma City bench, you should know, knocked down 38 points this time around, led as usual by Kevin Martin with a close to usual 15. The KD and Russell Show rang up 49 — 26 for Durant, 23 for Westbrook — and Serge Ibaka put up 20. At some point in the second quarter, the Thunder were shooting over 70 percent; this dropped to 55, but nobody will complain about 55. And OKC had a startling 52-33 advantage in rebounding despite Vučević’s 14; Kendrick Perkins collected 12 in ten fewer minutes.

A week from tonight, it’s these same two teams, in the shadow of the Mouse House. In between, there are trips to Dallas and Memphis, and in between a bout with the Denver Nuggets, who had won 10 straight through last night and are only 4½ games back in the Northwest.

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Born on the first of July

The reference to Canada Day in the previous piece got me wondering if there might be a big-name actress of Canadian origin who was actually born on Canada Day.

And so we have Geneviève Bujold, born 1 July 1942 in Montréal, in a scene from Charles Jarrot’s 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days, based on the Maxwell Anderson play; she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn.

Geneviève Bujold as Anne Boleyn

Yes, it’s a head shot. What did you expect?

Okay. I hear you. Scoot forward 15 years to Tightrope. (Yes, the Clint Eastwood movie.)

Geneviève Bujold as Beryl Thibodeaux

Bujold is brilliant here too, as a counselor to victims of sexual assault, helping Eastwood’s macho-man detective solve a serial-killer case in New Orleans.

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Quote of the week

Remember the melting pot? Works kind of like a fondue pot, only marginally less cheesy. Or, to borrow a better description from Roberta X:

[T]hat’s the U.S. for you: wherever you are from, if you move here you’re likely to find your holidays co-opted and whatever you grew up eating transformed into a fast (or at least middlin’-quick) food. Then we start doing mash-ups and before too long, you’re celebrating Canada Day by eating bratwurst tacos in a pita-bread shell at a faux-English pub in Nebraska. You want culture? We’re a heated cabinet fulla Petri dishes and they’re all kinda porous!

I know what I want to be doing the first of July.

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Cashing in, ever so slightly

I am of two minds about the not-all-that-hefty Senior Discount being offered at some places. On one level, I’d just as soon not be reminded of how many years have gone by; on the other, I could probably use the few extra cents for something.

Patti, a couple years younger than I, has less of a dilemma:

I am over 55, after all, although only two measly years. Sandy’s only 56. Is it that obvious? Have all my anti-aging secrets, my skinny jeans, artfully highlighted hair, not managed to shave a couple of years off my appearance? Yes and no.

I reminded myself that the cashier was about 19 years old, and anyone who was older than his parents had to be over 55. He’s also been taught to offer the discount to anyone he thinks may qualify. And I do! I do! I don’t lie about my age. I lie (to myself) about being my age, and looking my age.

In some circles, I have begun admitting to sixty already, though the motivation is simply to blur the actual date of my birth; I decline to celebrate my birthday on general principle, and I’d just as soon those people didn’t mention it.

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