Words like silent raindrops fell

Last time I had issues with Gwendolyn’s Bose audio system, I might have been asking for them: the KLF is, let us say, not known for its kindness to loudspeakers, and the operative word here is “loud.”

We don’t know what caused the failure of the audio system in the Ford Fiesta Jack Baruth rented the other day in Los Angeles; it was like that when he got it. Not that the car-rental company believed him or anything:

I reported the stereo system’s failure to the young lady at the rental counter. She regarded me suspiciously. “What music were you playing when it happened?”

Cage’s four-thirty-three. Had it cranked.” Even in hijab she was remarkably attractive but there was no humor in the way she faithfully recorded the incident for the massive corporation whose logo stood higher than the American flags at the airport entrance.

Hear his words, that he might teach you.

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Peacock blocked

Watching NBC is bad enough, but visiting nbc.com? That’s an infection:

[T]he NBC site is currently compromised and blacklisted by Google. Anyone that visits the site (which includes any sub page) will have malicious iframes loaded as well redirecting the user to exploit kits (Redkit).

Worse, you’ll also get actual NBC content.

Addendum: Doug Ross comments: “If it turns out the Red Chinese hacked NBC’s computers, one obvious question comes to mind: How would we know?”

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Quote of the week

Advice Goddess Amy Alkon draws this question:

Why are women so worked up about hearing “those three little words,” and why must they turn them into such a minefield? If a man says “I love you” too soon, he gets dumped because he’s a clingy, needy Nice Guy. If he waits too long, he gets dumped as a suspected commitment-phobe.

The Goddess recommends a phrase less fraught with peril:

Early on in dating, should you find yourself brimming with emotion and unable to hold back, “I love bacon!” is a safer thing to blurt out. When somebody says that, even on the first or second date, nobody suspects he’s just hoping to use bacon to patch some gaping emotional void. This is probably why, no matter how soon or how fiercely you express your love for bacon, bacon will never respond by running away. To be fair, bacon also lacks feet.

Those of us who might use bacon to patch some gaping emotional void, of course, have an entirely different set of issues.

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Does X mark the spot?

Smitty has written off the generation before, and has little faith in the one after:

Moses had to write off two generations in Sinai before the Israelites were ready. We have, at the high end, a bunch of deadbeat Boomers who’d beggar any number of generations in the name of me, me, me, and I. At the low end, the non-approach to societal continuity has stunted the growth of the Millennials. I’m not of the notion that, once raised in moochery, the human mind is incapable of growth. But we need to admit that the yield of mature, liberty-loving Americans from this bunch is going to be low.

That leaves Gen X to mop up the mess. And I can’t say I’d blame them if they said it was spinach, and the hell with it.

Still, the Xers are more likely to own big-person pants than their parents, who too often resist the very idea of pants.

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By request, kinda sorta

This began with a KingShamus tweet:

Tweet by KingShamus: #WeDemandAVote Morena Baccarin is: A-Hot. B-Really Hot. C-Insanely Hot.

This is the picture he linked.

Dumbfounded that no one responded to his quiz in a reasonable time — the answer, incidentally, is “Yes” — he sent a second tweet with another photo.

On the basis that the third time may be the charm, I decided to go track down a somewhat-unposed picture of the lady in question, and came up with this:

Morena Baccarin

This was taken in July 2012 at the Homeland discussion panel during the Showtime portion of the Summer Television Critics Association tour, before the show’s second season. (The third season begins this fall.) Baccarin got her start in TV on Firefly, playing a, um, Companion.

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Better halves

The Lonely Person Abroad has been a staple of email spam almost as long as there’s been email spam, which is almost as long as there’s been email. I don’t get too many of these, and the few that get past the spam filter are quickly offloaded into the bit bucket, but for some reason, this one stayed my deletion finger for a few moments:

You know, they are so many people in the world, but some of them are alone, because they didn’t find their halfs yet, as it is so hard. If you are alone and want to find your love, you can write me and we’ll start communicating. I’m alone and looking for a good man, who will give me his love and care. Who knows, maybe we can fill up our lonely hearts with love.

This is signed by “Tanya L.” at a Russian domain you might recognize, though an inspection of the message header indicates it was sent from Turkey. And there remains a mystique about the Russian would-be bride, which I blame on Lara Antipova, who, to some of us anyway, bears a startling resemblance to Julie Christie.

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Purely exasperational

Several hours after the fact, I’m still trying to decide which was worse:

  • The fact that the guy in line in front of me bought eight loaves of bread, and specified exactly how they were to be placed in two grocery sacks, or
  • The fact that he wrote a check for all that, which the clerk didn’t quite know how to handle because nobody ever writes a check anymore.

Fortunately, I was purchasing nothing perishable. (And contrarian that I am, I paid cash.)

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Beard in space

And in the end, the difference proved to be James Harden, who, perhaps better than anyone else on 29 NBA teams, knows how to work around the Thunder, and Jeremy Lin, who’s learned how to work with Harden. The Rockets, down 109-97 with six and a half minutes left, went on a four-minute 21-2 tear, and it’s hard to see how Harden or Lin could have played it any better. The final was 122-119; The Beard pocketed a career-high 46 of those 122 points, and Lin knocked down 29, his season high.

The first quarter should have been a clue. Houston put up thirteen treys in twelve minutes, and sank eight of them to go up 36-29. Oklahoma City started figuring out a perimeter defense in the second and earned a 62-57 halftime lead. But the Rockets never went away, and Harden put together a stunning line: 14-19 shooting, 7-8 from beyond the circle, 11-12 at the stripe. The Rocket bench, depleted due to trades, came up with only a dozen points, but they didn’t need to do much more than that.

And this, mind you, on a night when Thabo Sefolosha got a career high: 28 points on 11-16 shooting and 6-10 from downtown. Russell Westbrook laid claim to a double-double (28 points, ten rebounds); Kevin Durant had a triple-double (16 points, 12 boards, 11 assists). Serge Ibaka scored 16 and blocked five shots. Kendrick Perkins and Jeremy Lamb were out of sorts and didn’t play, but it’s hard to imagine that they’d have made much difference.

That’s 0-3 the last three, and it’s time to cast a Resilience Spell or something. Next two games in the 405: the we-need-to-prove-something Timberwolves (Friday) and the oh-Derrick-Rose-may-be-back Bulls (Sunday). At this point, I wouldn’t consider the Pelicans (next Wednesday) a sure win.

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Four miles out

Occasionally I wonder about the local Downtown Or Bust types, mostly because they so bitterly resent the idea of spending money on developing 199th Street when there’s so much work to be done on 9th; these horrid and insensitive sprawlers, they say, should be required to pay for curbs, and then should be kicked to them.

Similar people exist in the Twin Cities, to whom James Lileks replies:

So here are the options:

1. Live in a dense multicultural city where you can either walk two blocks to get Thai, or order it delivered and maybe stiff the delivery guy because the last time they got the order wrong

2. Live in a suburb where you can drive to get Thai from the strip mall place

Which is preferable? The first, because you’re not driving. The delivery guy is, but it’s a moped, and that’s cool. Also because the first example is not culturally insular.

By which some mean: a thin patina of accents, spice preferences, skin colors, and breakroom tales about eye-rollingly strict parents paints an illusion of kaleidoscopic diversity over a solid brick of group-think concerning four or five basic core issues. This reduces human beings down to ticks and gimmicks, and uses superficial cultural differences as proof of “diversity.” It is diverse, but it doesn’t mean anything, really. Every group that looks monolithic from the outside is fragmented on a fractal level on the inside, right down to — and including — the individual.

The point of a city is to find the commonality, not the difference.

The point of a city is to encourage the difference in the context of the commonality.

This form of group-think, incidentally, is bricklike for a reason: the only concept it bothers to understand is “density,” as in we need more of it. It is of vital importance to get people to buy $400k homes in the core, and to leave those $100k houses on the edge for stragglers, misfits, and Section 8. (They really, really hate poor people, because poor people reduce their property values.) How do these edge-dwellers get to work? Not our problem.

And spare me the word “sustainable.” In this town, we obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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This affair of the hair

A question I really shouldn’t try to answer, inasmuch as I buy so little of the stuff:

Why are there male-branded body wash+shampoo, when the equivalent female products require one to separately buy body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Is male conditioner even made? Multi-purpose lotions are either male or neutral (i.e. Head and Shoulders).

Having seen combination shampoo/conditioner products for men, I suspect that this is basically the market’s attempt to address our inherent laziness: we have time to apply two products in the shower, but not three.

Of course, I could be whitewashing the whole situation:

Is there a tangible difference in male and female hair that I should know about? Or is this just assuming that men are practical but women can be price-gouged on beauty products…?

[whistles]

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Some friend you are

As the kids say, +1 for this:

As a way to establish and maintain an identifiable on-line presence, I think Facebook is probably around for the long haul. I think there is research on this that says so. Facebook seems lately to have read that research, and come to a decision that it wants to move in on LinkedIn’s turf by offering people a work identity. This, I believe, is a mistake of enormous proportions. I’m basing that on a presumption that people use these tools the way I do, and that’s always problematic I realize. But I don’t want current work contacts to see me on Facebook. Maybe past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool.” But there is no reason to go mixing up these two worlds, and if I’m going to be pushed into it because that’s just the way the system expects me to use its services, then I’ll be on my way out too. That’s probably what’s been happening, since most Facebook inhabitants behave more-or-less the way I do.

I shan’t be pushed in this matter. I made a rule for myself about three minutes after signing up for a Facebook account, to the effect that under no circumstances would I accept friend requests from co-workers. (Mentioning this once or twice in front of carefully selected staffers has pretty much insured that I don’t get any, either.) Past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool” — no problem.

I can’t, of course, do a thing about Twitter other than hide the entire lot of 32,000 tweets, which is more trouble than it’s worth. And unless someone’s doing a better job of hiding than I’d have expected, I have exactly two Twitter followers from the shop.

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Truly twisted text

TypePad’s anti-spam package, which I am given to understand is fairly similar to the WordPress product Akismet — “without the false positives problem,” as Kevin puts it — has apparently gone troppo of late, which can’t possibly be fun for anyone.

There is, however, an amusing side effect. Nancy Friedman gets even funnier spam comments than I do, and has shared a few. I’ll just quote one:

If annoyance becomes stern when doing one or more of these of sentence, it may admit gibbousness.

I had no idea that stern annoyance affected the phases of the moon. (Princess Luna? Were you aware of this?)

And I can report that since the fall of 2008, Akismet has given me 150 false positives out of 51,000 total comments. Not perfect, but I can live with that. It helps, perhaps, that I look for repeat offenders in the IP list, and I’m not above banning entire subnetworks. (For instance, 93.182.*.* has thrown 24 different IPs at me in an effort to get in here.) So far, no one on the ban list has complained, which I consider a good sign.

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The last D

3-D Danny has departed:

Danny Williams, known for that rapidfire delivery, for his decades on Oklahoma City radio, and for sitting beside Mary Hart for three years, has passed away at 85.

WKY Radio Survey March 1967

The quintessential morning man, he was, before radio decided it wanted a zoo instead.

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Highly persuasive

Once in a while, it’s good to see a non-celebrity in the endless Parade of Babes that runs alongside the dextrosphere, and this particular shot I found unusually compelling:

Anita Krizsan in a Bugatti Veyron

Anita Krizsan, thirty-nine, would really like to sell you this car. It’s a Bugatti Veyron, and the price tag is on the wrong side of $1.5 million, but if anyone can talk you into it, she can: last year she sold eleven of these hypercars, more than anyone else on earth.

Oh, and what does she drive? A Volkswagen Golf. A diesel Volkswagen Golf. Be still, my heart.

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And how was your vacation?

Getting away from the workaday routine has much to recommend it. I heard back yesterday from a friend who’d gone to Florida for a couple of weeks; yes, she had work to do, but she also had a fair amount of fun, and no, she wasn’t going to send me any photos from the naturist resort at which she stayed. (I didn’t actually ask for any; I have some rules.)

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the return to work of a chap who’d been on a cruise. Unfortunately, it was that cruise. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see any photos from that debacle. He does, however, have a blog, and clear of the hazmat chamber, he’s telling the story himself.

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Umbra

First he was George Morton, then George “Shadow” Morton, and eventually nobody ever called him anything but Shadow. George Goldner said it was because you could never find Morton when you needed him.

Goldner should have looked out at the beach, since according to legend Morton wrote this in his car while parked there:

This got him hired at Goldner’s label of the moment, Red Bird, alongside Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. And the group he brought with him to sing it — the Shangri-Las — became major stars.

Shadow Morton with Janis IanThe record business being what it was and is, Morton maintained other interests outside Red Bird. One of them was a teenager who’d written a song about interracial dating — in 1965, yet! — whom Morton signed to a development deal. The song’s title was “Baby I’ve Been Thinking”; Morton suggested a phrase from the lyric, “Society’s Child.” Both titles appeared on the label when MGM’s Verve Forecast imprint issued it in 1966; it took a year for the record to chart, ditties about miscegenation being hard to sell in those days, but Janis Ian (in the picture with Morton) finally landed in the Top 20.

Other Mortonia: the first three albums by Long Island’s Vanilla Fudge, best known for turning the Supremes’ torrid “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” into a seven-minute dirge, and, uncredited, Iron Butterfly’s magnum opus “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” (Morton said he was at the session, but didn’t do a whole lot.)

None of these, however, seemed quite as amazing as Morton’s last Shangri-Las track:

Last week Shadow Morton slipped into darkness for the last time. He was seventy-two. His records, however, are forever seventeen.

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