Strange search-engine queries (316)

Judging by the anguished cries I hear on Yahoo! Answers day after day, many people are not aware that their visits to Web sites are recorded in server logs, and that when they visit major search engines like Google or Bing and then proceed to search results, their search strings are incorporated into those log entries. Good thing they are, too, because otherwise I’d be scratching around for a topic every Monday morning.

(Two-point penalty for “Since when is Bing a ‘major’ search engine?”)

how to draw an anvil:  Start with a picture of yourself plummeting toward the ground. Sooner or later, Bugs Bunny will come along, erase your parachute, and draw an anvil over your head.

wile e. coyote breakaway mug:  Free with the purchase of an anvil, while supplies last.

how to put a ford contour into gear:  There’s a lever for that, right between the front seats.

“invisible staples”:  And Office Depot never figured out why their customers were vanishing.

last friday night two people died:  They stepped into a place where they thought they could buy copier paper, and were immediately shot into the Phantom Zone.

zooey deschanel is not a nerd:  How about “dork”? You like dorks, don’t you?

neon sports bras target:  Presumably they’d be easy to, um, spot.

phishing amazon canceled:  The only way you’re ever going to stop phishing is to charge for outgoing email. Not even Amazon can afford that in any quantity.

what happened to dream academy mattresses?  You can still find them in some northern town.

victoria’s secret employee:  There’s only the one, and you’ll never be able to find her when you’re ready to check out.

explain on “man smart woman smarter”:  Only a man would ask that.

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Downright runny

Runs, runs, runs. For 48 minutes, no matter who took the lead, the opponent came back with a run; at one point the Thunder put together a 20-0 sequence. It was tied after three at 83; with a minute left it was tied at 106. The Nuggets promptly went on a 5-0 run in seemingly no time at all; Kevin Durant put together a 5-0 run of his own, and regulation expired at 111-111.

Maybe KD wasn’t counting, maybe he was. I don’t know. I tend to think he knows everything going on. Either way, the last two points he scored were his 50th and 51st, and they put the Thunder up 124-118 in what Royce Brown said may have been “the best regular-season game in Oklahoma City history.”

Still, the Nuggets have to wonder what the heck they have to do to win in this building. They had seven players in double figures, led by Arron Afflalo with a respectable 27 and sixth man Andre Miller with 21 and 10 assists. Nor was that their only double-double: Al Harrington had 11 points and 11 boards. Denver was plus-7 on the boards and plus-6 on assists, and got seemingly several thousand points in the paint.

But then there was Durant and his 51 points, a career high. And there was Russell Westbrook with 40, one assist short of a double-double. And there was Serge Ibaka with his first-ever triple-double, 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks. If you’re gonna have career highs, this was the night to have them.

Four games in five nights, one down. The Hornets will be here tomorrow. Hope everyone gets some rest.

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Can this building be saved?

Stage Center photo by SmallArchitects.com

Local urbanists seem to hate it, perhaps for purely aesthetic reasons — it does not exactly blend into the landscape — or because they’d rather this block (or indeed any random block downtown) be filled up with some sort of high-rise anchored by small retail stores that have been there for sixty years or so, which might be theoretically possible some time after 2070. Meanwhile, about the only love John M. Johansen’s original 1970 Mummers Theatre is getting these days is from the architects: the Theatre received an AIA award in 1972, and now the local chapter of AIA has put out an RFP for restoration plans.

One idea that’s beginning to take root, maybe, is conversion to a children’s museum. Certainly the color scheme seems somewhat reminiscent of contemporary playgrounds, which may be the whole point:

One group, organized by Tracey Zeeck with Rees Architects, envisions a children’s museum modeled with a play café, like the soon-to-close Moomah in TriBeCa. The design would need little alteration to capture the imagination of kids. “I grew up here and I remember it as kinetic; I thought it moved,” said Zeeck. She added that the group got Johansen’s blessing to restore the space for kids and support from the Phoenix Children’s Museum. There’s a concern that the rapid development might threaten the building. Directly across the street is the Picard Chilton-designed Devon Energy tower to be completed in 2012. The 50-story glass-clad tower dwarfs the comparatively quaint arts complex. “I think as a city we tear ourselves down to build ourselves up,” said Zeeck. “I just want my son to share the same memories of the place that I have.”

“Not our kind of quaint,” sneer the guys beckoning the bulldozers, hoping that people will notice the nose removal and ignore the face-spiting. Two words, guys: “Biltmore Hotel.”

(Previously: The hall turned inside out; Deform and dysfunction.)

Addendum: The Lost Ogle suggests 10 other possible uses for the structure.

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In case you get weary

Sheila O’Malley was kind enough to point me to a Kim Morgan musing on the late (and very much missed) Otis Redding, from which I excerpt this paragraph on “Try a Little Tenderness”:

Yes, we’ve all heard it, we’ve heard it a lot. But listen to it. Listen to the words. In a world of glib snark, rotten communication, selfishness, narcissism, easy refusals of looking at the other damn side of a situation, walking in another man or woman’s shoes or just being real and kind, and not with extra emoticons attached to a hollow message, but real, the song is not only a gorgeous celebration of trying just that one word, it’s almost shockingly profound. This one could save more conflicts than months and months of couple’s therapy.

According to Dave Marsh, this wasn’t a song Otis wanted to do in the first place:

Sam Cooke cut it on his Live at the Copa album, which is where Redding’s manager, Phil Walden, heard it. Walden was convinced that Otis should sing it and cajoled the singer about it for months. Finally Walden got a call in the middle of the night.

“You know that damn song you’ve been on my ass about recording?” said Otis.

“Which one is that?” a weary Walden mumbled.

“‘Try a Little Tenderness’.”

“Yeah?”

“I cut the damn thing. It’s a brand new song.”

Otis was as good as his word. And, in fact, he cut it twice: the version on the 45 (Volt 141) and the version that made it to the Dictionary of Soul album are entirely different takes. (The single runs 3:20; the LP track, 3:46.) Either one is worth the time to hunt down. (If you’re hunting on YouTube, the version from the My Blueberry Nights soundtrack is the single.) For many years, this was my least favorite Otis record — at least, until I got around to actually growing up and came closer to understanding the truths therein.

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Neither silent nor deadly

It’s been a few years since I set foot in a Taco Bell, but I’ve had broccoli since then, and the digestive system pays me back for both in much the same way, which is why I took a particular interest in this month’s Ask Maxim, inasmuch as it contains a question as to the lethality of said payback. The magazine passed the query to one Charles Crutchfield III, M.D., who came up with one scenario in which, yes, someone could be gassed to death in this manner:

If the perpetrator discharges a particularly potent fart after eating lobster, for instance, and he’s pantless in a small enclosed space with a buddy who’s allergic to shellfish, he could kill him.

Although the poor fellow’s death will be due to anaphylactic shock, not to the sudden onslaught of methane. And really, I don’t want to know the sequence of events that might lead up to this scenario.

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Neighborhood flotsam

Given the height and position of my house, I’m not surprised that odd things occasionally blow into the yard, but yesterday’s debris, obviously beyond the capacity of the wind unless there was a tornado, and I’m sure I’d have noticed if there was, threw me for a loop. On the southern edge of the porch, I found approximately two-thirds of a plastic milk jug containing about half a bowl’s worth of Cheerios (or some generic equivalent thereof), with a kid-sized shirt tied to it. One row of bricks away, a cat was staring at the stuff.

Well, thought I, kitteh didn’t bring this here on its own. I wondered if maybe this is how some unscrupulous humanoid (not human, really, if you ask me) plotted to lose the cat by dumping it at the nearest faraway place. I puzzled over the matter for a moment, then poured out the cereal into a low spot in the yard from which it was unlikely to spread, thinking either the cat (who fled after I picked up the stuff) or the resident birds would polish it off. I threw away the jug, and hung the shirt (which was wet, it having rained much of yesterday morning) on the mulberry tree to dry.

If it seems early for birds, consider that earlier this week, I’d found about forty feathers and/or fragments thereof concentrated in a small area near the driveway. White or very light grey, so it wasn’t the marauding crows from the Target store; I’m suspecting turf wars between scissor-tailed flycatchers, a few of which wandered into the area last year, though I didn’t find any evidence of same. Then again, their ferocity in defending their territory is legendary.

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Every step of the way

For some reason, this annoyed me:

Why do people keep on making tributes to Whitney Houston with “I will always love you” if she didn’t write it?

Shouldn’t they make tributes with her original work? I mean she did a good cover of the song, but at the end of the day Dolly Parton is the one who wrote it. So why don’t they due tributes to Whitney with a song that was written and preformed by her, instead of just one of her covers? It’s like if one of the Beatles died and people started singing “the sound of silence” as a tribute to them. I mean the Beatles did do a cover of “the sound of silence” but it’s one of Simon & Garfunkel’s songs, so it wouldn’t make sense.

Not even if the Beatles actually did cover “The Sound of Silence,” which they didn’t, or if they did they never committed it to wax.

Now what should we have done for Elvis? He wrote no songs at all. (He’s listed as a co-writer for “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender,” all of which existed in some form or other before Elvis ever heard them; songwriting credits in those days were often handed out as, um, incentives.) I mentioned this in a response to the question.

But the best answer came from Dolly Parton, who said:

My heart is with Whitney and her family as they lay her to rest. I did not know Whitney nor any of her family personally; but she will always be a part of my heart and I will always be grateful for her awesome performance and success with our song “I Will Always Love You”. Rest in peace, Whitney.

Emphasis in the original. And if perhaps she didn’t believe it before — well, she believes it now.

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Sandalous behavior

First there was a @syaffolee tweet:

Correlation does not equal causation, etc. Also, how the heck did someone come up with this idea? #maybeidontwanttoknow

Since as a rule I can count on anything she WTFs at to be eminently WTFable, I directed my attention to the premise in question:

“The authors reviewed historical literature and hypothesized a relationship between epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases and foot fetishism. They tested this hypothesis by quantifying foot-fetish depictions in the mass-circulation pornographic literature during a 30-yr. interval. An exponential increase was noted during the period of the current AIDS epidemic. The authors offer reasons for this possible relationship.”

I should note here that this was categorized by the blog team under, among other things, holy correlation batman!

In an effort to at least pretend to be serious, I’ll also note that the feet are not exactly a disease vector — at least, not for this particular disease.

I’d also offer up the suggestion that the pedicure, formerly a pricey salon service, is now essentially a commodity, what with nail shops in every other strip mall.

Presumably Dick Morris, who has done his own research on related matters, was not available for comment.

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Psychoceramic

The Fug Girls were kind enough to run this shot of singer Porcelain Black, and I spent the better part of three days wondering if I wanted to port it over here.

Eventually, the need for material won out:

Porcelain Black at the Grammys

If you’re thinking “My goodness, that’s a lot of ink,” allow me to direct you to “This Is What Rock N Roll Looks Like”, in which Porcelain, assisted by Lil Wayne, takes revenge upon those Mean Girls who tormented her in high school. This track will be on her first album, which is supposed to be released later this year.

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The lawn is open

Your friendly neighborhood AAA Homophobic Sexist Patriarchal Theocratic Right-Wing Swine, aka Robert Stacy McCain, opines on what he calls the New Media Proletariat:

The growth of blogging, including the ascent of certain sites and individuals to pre-eminence within the ecology of the blogosphere, has fundamentally transformed the online environment. People who were still in high school when Bill Quick named the blogosphere (more than a decade ago) now wield more influence and throw more traffic than does Bill Quick himself. Those who have toiled long years as bloggers obviously have reason to resent the upstarts, who may not recognize how they stand on the shoulders of giants. By the same token, newcomers to the ‘sphere understandably resent the difficulty of carving out a readership in an environment where a certain hierarchy has seemingly become already set in stone.

If anyone is standing on my shoulders, he’s probably hoping I quit slouching already.

But I don’t feel as though I have reason to resent those upstarts. For one thing, I’ve never been a household word, so it’s not like I’ve suddenly slid into obscurity. In fact, as I’ve said before, I’ve “gone from having no influence whatsoever to having extremely little influence.” Extremely little influence is better. (And that remark got me an Instalanche. Go figure.) And if I’m not showing any positive cash flow, well, it was never my intention to do so. I have, however, met some incredible people along the way, and after churning out several million words, I believe the quality of my writing has improved from absolutely horrible to merely relatively horrible. No small accomplishments, those.

So I am not inclined to tell the new kids in the ‘sphere to get off my virtual lawn. They’re not hurting me, and sometimes they give me something worthwhile to read.

Besides, as McCain observes:

[P]erhaps, indeed, the lowly and neglected among us have far greater liberty than do those who, by merit or mere luck, have succeeded in obtaining an income on which they are dependent, so that they are compelled daily to strive for new successes, to crank out the content like so many factory workers manning an industrial assembly line.

I’m not claiming that this site is the best buy for one’s entertainment dollar; but there are a lot of endeavors on which I’ve spent more yet achieved less.

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To say nothing of “world peace”

The Truth About Cars shows us the nifty Ford B-Max people-mover:

Ford B-Max photo by Ford

Note the absence of a B-pillar, which should make loading up the little buslet a lot less problematic.

Except for the little matter that we won’t be getting it. Says TTAC’s Derek Kreindler:

Only world markets will get the B-MAX, but this technology should filter down to other vehicles in the future.

Obviously we’re not part of the world.

I’m assuming that the meaning of “world” here corresponds to the meaning of “world” in the term “world music,” which is defined (very) roughly as any music that originates somewhere off this continent and that you will never hear on North American radio, with the possible exception of a 10-watt FM station within biking distance of a college town.

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A war of attrition

How physical a game? The Warriors lost two players, including a starter; the Thunder lost two players, including a starter. Golden State jumped out to an early lead (24-20 after the first quarter), but OKC managed to drag itself out of the post-Houston doldrums and outscored the Warriors 38-20 in the second; after that, the outcome was never in doubt. Thunder 110, Golden State 87, and who’d have thought the Warriors couldn’t break 90? You’d half expect Monta Ellis to do that all by himself.

But Ellis, who’d play 48 minutes if you’d let him, stumbled off the court and onto the bench after 30; he’s apparently okay, but by the time the GS crew decided so, garbage time had already ensued. He was held to a mere 11 points, versus the 48 he got last time; Stephen Curry’s 11-point line was nearly identical. (David Lee had 23 to lead the Warriors; Dorell Wright posted a double-double, 11 points and 11 boards.) The two things the Warriors do best are offensive rebounds and long-distance shots; they got plenty of the former (22), but were thwarted trying to get the latter (seven of 23). Your telltale statistic: Golden State took 15 more shots, which you can do when you get that many offensive boards, but they made eight fewer, failing to break 35 percent.

Ellis’ nemesis for the evening was Russell Westbrook, who followed him like a bad reputation for twenty-eight minutes before spraining his right ankle. Westbrook had 18 points for the night; filling in at the one, Royal Ivey and Reggie Jackson combined for, um, 18 points. (Lots of fearful symmetry tonight.) Kevin Durant turned in a double-double: 23 points, 10 boards. But it was the Beard who had the breakthrough: after three games in which he scored 24 (and two more in which he scored 23), James Harden set a new season high with, um, 25. I believe one calls this “consistency.”

I shudder, though, at the way players are just dropping. The Thunder have already lost Eric Maynor for the season, and Thabo Sefolosha has missed eleven games; Kendrick Perkins was discovered to have suffered knee contusions at Houston and did not play tonight; we don’t yet know how badly Westbrook is damaged, though Scott Brooks did not sound alarmed. We’ll see Sunday when the Nuggets get here. (They lost by one to the Grizzlies tonight, without Nenê or Danilo Gallinari.)

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Excised

Oklahoma Republicans would like to phase out the state’s income tax. “Pull the other one,” I say.

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The view, the proud

Jenny Erikson wasn’t addressing me, but I feel her sting just the same:

For some strange reason, the conservative blogosphere has spent the last three days debating Tina Korbe’s hemline rather than the bottom line on Barack Obama’s budget. Because, you know, that’s what’s important.

Ohmygosh! A pretty girl wore a skirt! Hold the presses! What could she possibly mean by her wardrobe choices? Is it scandalous? Is she advertising?

In my own semifundamentalist (read: “half-assed”) way, I had thrown in some gratuitous commentary of my own, which, had I written it with any panache, might have achieved the desired effect: appearing to take a position without actually taking one. (Short version: feigned outrage — “What were they thinking?” — followed by a reminder from that still, small voice in the back of my head that says “Well, they obviously weren’t thinking of you.” There are times when I think I thrive on feminine indifference.)

It is Jenny Erikson’s point, and a fairly inarguable one, that a woman should wear what she darn well pleases, and it doesn’t matter what you (by which I mean “I”) think about it. I left by way of atonement the following comment:

My own reaction to all this is highly confused: if a woman is willing to show something, I’m certainly willing to look at it, but I’ll probably feel, deep down inside, that I don’t deserve this honor.

That’s me: all the inarticulateness of the Double Rainbow Guy, with none of the exuberance.

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Fun being thought about

What have we here? It’s time for the weekly Rebecca Black sampler, and we open with, well, a sampler:

Friday sampler by Steotch

The original has actually been sold, but you can get the pattern from Etsy. (Via Steotch.)

Not everyone, however, is having fun, fun, fun, fun:

Students at Kingsville District High School are trying to keep Rebecca Black’s lyrics out of their head by raising funds for the pediatric ward at Leamington Hospital. Every day between classes, and non-stop during lunch, Black’s pop-song “Friday” plays throughout the school. The only way to make it stop is for the student body to hit $1,000 in their fundraising. The money will be used to buy toys for children undergoing surgical procedures at the hospital.

Oh, those wacky Canadians.

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Just their type

The Impact screen font, I suspect, will forevermore be associated with image macros in general and with lolcats in particular.

Which is not to say that Impact is the only appropriate typeface for cats:

Cat in spectacles with Helvetica font

Just one of the examples at MakeUseOf’s “If Fonts Were Cats.”

(Via this Elysa Rice tweet.)

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