Meanwhile, back in the flats

For some years now, tennis star Maria Sharapova has been designing shoes and accessories for Cole Haan; in this shot, she’s wearing the 2011 version of her ballet flats.

Maria Sharapova in Cole Haan ballet flats

I expect we’ll be hearing more about Maria in weeks to come, mostly because when she was two, her family moved from Nyagan to Sochi, site of the ’14 Winter Olympics, and the place where she first picked up a tennis racket. In Sochi this week, she launched her candy line, Sugarpova (yes, really):

Maria Sharapova introduces Sugarpova candy to Sochi, Russia

I imagine she doesn’t eat a whole lot of this during training.

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So star-crossed

Someone in Verona let the doge out:

What light. So breaks. Such east. Very sun. Wow, Juliet.
What Romeo. Such why. Very rose. Still rose.
Very balcony. Such climb.
Much love. So Propose. Wow, marriage.
Very Tybalt. Much stab. What do?
Such exile. Very Mantua. Much sad.
So, priest? Much sleeping. Wow, tomb.
Such poison. What dagger. Very dead. Wow, end.

(Originally a collaborative Tumblr effort; via this Georganna Hancock tweet.)

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It’ll never replace Preparation H

A Twitter account called @SochiMadness turned this up from somewhere:

Alleged Sochi menu

I don’t even want to know what flavor this is. (First person who says “Packed Fudge Ripple” goes to the back of the community toilet.)

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The softer side of seeress

One Miss Fiendish turned these out as a one-off and offered them through her Etsy store; somehow they found their way to my Facebook wall, and I pass them to you for your inspection.

Ouija board heels by Miss Fiendish

Miss Fiendish’s own pitch:

The shoes pictured are a Classic spirit board colour design with a sprinkling of amber yellow rhinestones just a perfect twist of glamour horror for the darker side of you..

The heels are 6 inch high, and the shoes also come with a optional safety ankle strap.

Concealed platforms, ultra stylish heels, really gorgeous other worldly shoes that scream individuality and personality!

Nobody tell Hasbro, okay?

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The nearest faraway news

Champlin’s KZLS 1640 — not to be confused with Champlin’s KZLS 99.7, once the True Oldies Channel, now classic-country outlet KNAH (is Serutan sponsoring?) — is moving to a news/talk format, and they’ve hired KTOK expat Reid Mullins to do the morning show.

I’m not quite sure how well this is going to work out. The KZLS tower, east of Hennessey, reaches the Oklahoma City metro decently in the daytime, what with 10,000 watts to work with; however, they have only 1,000 watts at night, which barely gets them to the middle of Guthrie. Then again, who listens to news/talk at night? I suspect KZLS will have far more listeners to their Internet stream than to their actual radio signal.

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Quote of the week

A retiring teacher blames the state education bureaucracy for making her profession unbearable for her successors:

Dear State Department of Supposed Education: Just a note to let you know that you and the person who has initiated the stream of useless, unnecessary, counterproductive and completely senseless paperwork, data, and time-filler are killing my younger teacher friends and teaching associates. I am watching the sadness, stress, and tears. You see, I know that my 35 years of teaching has been sound, productive and inspiring. I felt it. I lived it. My students grew up with it. They learned from it. They are successful because of it. They are happy adults and earning wonderful livings. And I never entered a single digit of data but the grade they earned. But my younger counterparts have to put up with your insane, meaningless, time and energy-sapping nonsense that inspires no one and is killing the spirits of these fine, dedicated individuals, but more importantly, the spirits of the children whom we lead.

It occurs to me that the state is probably being “persuaded” (for which read “coerced”) to do these things by the Feds, so if you’re with the federal Department of Education, this very likely applies to you too.

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We know it wasn’t a pair of socks

In the weird world of women’s wear, the function of an article of clothing is not always immediately recognizable:

While shopping the other day I held up a filmy $300.00 piece of I-don’t-know-what and asked my daughter, “What’s this?”

“IDK,” (she speaks in text) “but it’s marked off 60%.”

“It’s either a skirt or a top,” I say with great confidence.

“No, it’s a dress!” She shows me the little bralette insert at the top.

Well, I’ll be damned. In addition to the price, manufacturers should include the type of clothing and how to wear it — you know, skirt, top, dress, pants. Wear with buttons in back — something like that.

Close as I’ve seen to that was the Woot Shirt instruction: “Not to be used as pants.”

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The OS that wouldn’t die

Microsoft can’t possibly be happy with this: BGR reports that Windows 7 has over 47 percent of the PC operating-system market, while Windows 8 and 8.1 combined barely broke 10 percent.

This, however, escalates to Utterly Flabbergasting:

According to the latest report from Net Market Share, XP’s market share increased from 28.98% in December to 29.23% in January.

XP. Otherwise known as 5.1. Who knew? (Me. I still run XP at home and on my work box.)

Implausible as it may seem, there are still a few actual Vista (Windows 6) users out there. Everyone I know who bought Vista either downgraded to XP or happily jumped to 7 the moment it appeared.

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Junior members of the pack

If anyone was wondering if the Timberwolves had any depth, the answer is clearly Yes: with three starters sidelined — Kevin Love, Corey Brewer and Nikola Peković were all hors de combat — the depleted Wolves trailed the Thunder by only one after the first quarter, by two at halftime, by three after the third quarter. Did they lose by four? Surprisingly, no: Minnesota faltered a bit late, and the Thunder were able to send them back to their barely-colder-than-here home town on the wrong side of a 106-97 final. (Temperatures at the horn: Oklahoma City 12°; Minneapolis-St. Paul -1°.)

Maybe there was some fatigue involved: the Wolves were at home last night, thrashing the Lakers. Then again, big minutes didn’t seem to hurt Ricky Rubio (19 points, 33 minutes) very much until the very end, or Dante Cunningham (18 points, 43 minutes) at all. And the Wolves got 40 points out of what was left of their bench, led by the ever-pesky J. J. Barea with 11. The Wolves also didn’t foul very much: the Thunder took only 11 free throws all night. (There have been times when Kevin Durant got that many by himself.)

But the Thunder, who lost the first game of this season series, weren’t about to split 2-2 with another Northwest team. KD checked in with a below-average 26 points — how often is 26 points below anyone’s average? — and Reggie Jackson rose to the occasion with 20 points and nine assists, the latter a career high. Guarding the middle, Kendrick Perkins managed six points (above his average) and 12 rebounds. Derek Fisher led the bench with 13. Jeremy Lamb’s assignment toward the end of the game was to guard rookie forward Shabazz Muhammad; while Muhammad was calmly knocking down six points in six minutes, radio guy Matt Pinto was wondering if maybe Lamb didn’t know, or had forgotten, that Muhammad was left-handed. Some days life is like that.

The Thunder are off to Orlando for a Friday-night contest, and will be back home Sunday afternoon to entertain the struggling New York Knicks.

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The old family name

Surnames, apparently, tend to have little social mobility: they’re established at a particular point on the food chain, and they tend to stay there. Steve Sailer suggests a reason why this may be so in certain cases:

[H]igh status surnames can recruit new female talent. For example, John Churchill, the first duke of Marlborough, enjoyed a spectacular career as a politician-adventurer, eventually winning the crucial battle of his generation over the French at Blenheim. He was made the first Duke of Marlborough and given a palace and then … not much happened talentwise for five or six generations of Churchills. But then the dull 6th or 7th Duke of Marlborough married a woman of energy and ambition, and their son Randolph landed an American heiress, Jennie Jerome, who was a tigress, and, voila, Winston Churchill.

The seventh, actually.

While I was checking that out, I found this little tidbit: Marlborough is the one and only dukedom in the UK that can pass to, or through, a female. The succession order:

  1. The heirs-male of the 1st Duke’s body lawfully begotten;
  2. his eldest daughter and the heirs-male of her body lawfully begotten;
  3. his second and other daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten;
  4. his eldest daughter’s oldest daughter and the heirs male of her body lawfully begotten;
  5. his eldest daughter’s second and other daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten;
  6. all other daughters of his daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten;
  7. and other descendants into the future in like fashion, with the intent that the Marlborough title never become extinct.

The first two contingencies are now lapsed; the current Duke (the eleventh, John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill) comes from section 3. And yes, it’s that Spencer.

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Multiple offenses

Against the eye, if nothing else:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Can i put 22 rims on 2007 monte carlo with no problem?

Fortunately, someone has dealt with this chap with dispatch:

I believe you can only put 4 rims on it. Not sure about 22 of them.

Were it possible, some jerk would try. Count on it.

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Callous at the palace

Was this where she was heading all along?

Fox has put in development Queen Of Everything, a half-hour animated comedy executive produced by Zooey Deschanel and Sophia Rossi via their Miss Hawkins banner. It hails from 20th Century Fox TV where Miss Hawkins has a first-look deal. Written/executive produced by Ali Waller (American Dad, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon), Queen Of Everything is a workplace comedy set in a modern fairytale world. It centers on an evil queen who comes into power and realizes that running a Queendom isn’t easy when you have no people skills and everyone hates you.

Rossi and Deschanel are also partners, with Molly McAleer, in the Web site HelloGiggles.

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Core weaknesses

Apple was getting insistent about iTunes 11.1.4, so I yielded. Not a good idea: the installation halted halfway through because one of the supporting packages hadn’t started. Okay, fine. The package wouldn’t start. The install claimed to have completed, but then the program wouldn’t start, claiming there was a missing DLL (for those keeping score, it was msvcr80.dll).

WTF are you talking about? I didn’t lose any DLLs. I attempted a reinstall, which wouldn’t even start. When that failed, I called up trusty System Restore, which went 0-3 on the dates chosen. Finally I had to uninstall everything Apple-related on the box, throw out a bunch of files manually, and only then would the installer work.

At least it didn’t screw up the actual iTunes library (7400 tracks, several playlists, and a couple of radio stations).

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The ultimate automotive click bait

Readers of commercial sites will tell you that they want long, drawn out, involved pieces with plenty of cultural references and historical perspective. Of course, they lie through their teeth:

Don’t get me wrong; I am obsessed with putting high-quality, hype-and-PR-free, ethically outstanding articles on TTAC’s front page as often as possible. That doesn’t mean there’s a lot of money in the hopper to do so, however. More annoyingly, those articles almost never do the kind of numbers that you could show off to an advertising sales department or senior management. The readers want click-friendly content more than they want to be lectured or taught or even informed. Even if they say they don’t. Even if individual readers truthfully don’t. As a group, they want an idealized article which could be summarized as

A Naked Playboy Playmate Drunk-Drove A Diesel Wagon Off A Giant Ramp While The LAPD Gave Chase. What Happened Next Will Touch Your Heart. (NSFW Photos Of Gorgeous Women And Diesel Wagons Inside.)

and if you don’t give it to them, the stats will sag and before you know it, you’re too insignificant for Alexa to rank you. And then, as Bill Paxton says in Aliens, IT’S GAME OVER, MAN!

Unless this is a brown diesel wagon with a manual transmission, I’m not interested. (Much.)

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Not blocky

I honestly don’t understand this dress, but it definitely draws my attention:

Ming-Na Wen at the LEGO Movie premiere 2-1-14

Ming-Na Wen wore this to the premiere of The LEGO Movie. (In other news, there is a LEGO Movie.) There’s a definite air of “I’m fifty years old and I’ll wear what I damn well please” to it.

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Man from Mars

I miss so much by not watching the Superb Owl. However, I seem to catch up quickly enough:

Bruno Mars at the kit

The Mayweather Report: Cindi did way better than Floyd, Jr.

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