Zooeypalooza 14!

Last time we had a Zooeypalooza it was my birthday. Today it’s her birthday. (She’s mumbly-hum years old.)

Zooeypalooza 14!

Click ye, and thou shalt embiggen.

Previous Paloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13.

And if that isn’t enough, here’s Life’s gallery of ZD at her cutest. (Via Jeff Brokaw.)

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Splash shield

I think I’m going to have to reroute my grocery-shopping trips so I don’t pass any other place I might spend money, what with my high susceptibility to incidents like this:

I needed a shower curtain liner, we were passing Lowe’s. I told hubby it wasn’t a financially sound idea to stop and go in and perhaps we should just hit the 99c store instead.

You can imagine what happened after that.

(And you don’t want to think about how much I paid for the last liner I bought.)

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Based on the old Roman chariot tax

Will Truman peels off $325 to register his car, which sounds to me like a stiff sum for a second-year tag. Herewith his explanation:

It turns out that the state is engaging in affluence-discrimination. A form of progressive taxation under the idea that if you can afford a newish car (less than five years old) you must be fishin’ loaded. My inner conservative is outraged as this is yet another way our increased income is being chipped away at. My inner liberal points out that my paying $225 to the state ($100 is local) allows someone barely getting by on a clunker to pay $30 (and less on the county, though I can’t find the exact number). Intellectually, the liberal wins. The conservative hasn’t calmed down yet.

These are numbers worthy of Oklahoma circa 1999, though Soonerland has since (somewhat) mended its ways: yearly registration for years 1 through 4 runs a mere $91 today, dropping as low as $21 for a 17th-year renewal. On the other hand, you still have to hand over the excise tax at purchase, which remains at 3.25 percent, though it’s certainly better than having to pay the sales-tax rate, which is 4.5 percent and up, and up.

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Temporary sanity

Pejman Yousefzadeh contemplates the Spitting On the Public Act:

[I]t was scary to see just how close SOPA — or its sister bill, the Protect IP Act — were to being passed by Congress, but it is reassuring to see just how fervent, organized, and motivated the opposition was to this kind of legislation.

Let’s not celebrate too soon. I wouldn’t put it past these schmucks to deem it passed, just so they can continue to cash those checks.

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This Mustang runs 20 percent cooler

1985 Mustang with rainbow theme

(Found on the 24 Hours of LeMons forum. I’m pretty sure Rainbow Dash approves.)

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Brambles in the Garden

You could look at the Celtics’ record through eleven games — 4-7 — and bet accordingly, assuming you’re a betting man. I’m not. I am, however, a firm believer in intangibles, and few teams work the X factor as efficiently as Boston at home. Did the Irishmen look lethargic in the first half? Not a problem: they’ll come alive in the second. Down seven, then ten, they fought back to a tie, and were down only three with 2:20 left. And then the Thunder tossed up one, two, three, four consecutive treys, two by Thabo Sefolosha, two by Russell Westbrook, and goodnight, Boston, 97-88.

The bitter pill for the Garden crowd — apart, of course, from seeing Kendrick Perkins in blue — was that those OKC characters had missed 12 of 15 previous attempts from distance, and suddenly four in a row? Things didn’t seem to add up. The Celtics, by any definition of the term, owned the boards (48-40); Kevin Garnett had 12 of them, Jermaine O’Neal 11. Reserve swingman Mickael Pietrus (14 points) had the hot hand in the final frame, and, well, Paul Pierce (24 points) was busy being Paul Pierce all night.

Still, OKC is working that whole Hard to Kill thing as well as anyone this season. With the bench largely bottled up — James Harden was held to five points — the starters gutted it out. Kevin Durant checked in with 28 points, Westbrook with 26, and what’s this? Thabo with 19?

Last season the Thunder went 22-8 against teams from the East. There won’t be thirty non-conference games this year, but 2-0 is a pretty decent start. And the semi-hapless Wizards come up next.

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In the interest of saving a few bucks

The California high-speed rail system may end up costing $120 billion, which prompts NRO commenter “VenturaCapitalist” to propose an alternative:

How about this: We buy TEN MILLION round trip plane tickets from San Diego to SFO and give one to everyone who wants to make the trip. At 400 bucks apiece that’s $4 Billion.

There you go. I just saved the taxpayers 116 Billion dollars.

To say nothing of what it might have done for an airline suffering the heartbreak of penury.

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Presenting Samuel L. Ducreux

You may have already seen this scene:

Joseph Ducreux in a scene from Pulp Fiction

(Obtained surreptitiously from Historic LOLs.)

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Why we keep electing men

A new study by Jennifer Lawless (American University) and Richard Fox (Loyola Marymount University) is called “Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U. S. Politics,” and while that title may suggest yet another broadside at the Evil Patriarchy, the actual study says no such thing, other than to suggest that a nation half female probably ought to have more than 19 percent of its electoral offices filled with women.

From the first paragraph of the Executive Summary:

Study after study finds that, when women run for office, they perform just as well as their male counterparts. No differences emerge in women and men’s fundraising receipts, vote totals, or electoral success. Yet women remain severely under-represented in U.S. political institutions. We argue that the fundamental reason for women’s under-representation is that they do not run for office. There is a substantial gender gap in political ambition; men tend to have it, and women don’t.

A number of factors contribute to this situation, one of which is simply that women, for no substantive reason, tend to think themselves less qualified than men:

[M]en remain almost 60 percent more likely than women to assess themselves as “very qualified” to run for office. Women in the sample are more than twice as likely as men to rate themselves as “not at all qualified.”

Similarly, 100 percent of members of Congress rate themselves as “qualified” or “very qualified,” and we know that can’t be true.

Certainly, because women are more likely than men to view the electoral process as biased against them, self-doubt regarding their qualifications and more pessimistic perceptions of the likelihood of winning may simply be a rational response to what women perceive as a more challenging political context. But the overwhelming majority of people — women and men — do not run for office unless they believe that they have a chance of winning.

That perception of bias was aggravated by 2008 experiences with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin: roughly two-thirds of “potential women candidates” said that Clinton and Palin were subjected to sexist media coverage, and that both of them, though Clinton more than Palin, were on the receiving end of voter gender bias as well. (I demur on the latter point: the bias that afflicted Senator Clinton was, I believe, as least as much a function of Democratic voters’ desire to be seen as non-racist, and poor Hillary was just too white.)

And there’s that whole housework thing, but it’s not as much of a factor as you might think:

[S]urprisingly, women’s disproportionate familial responsibilities do not dramatically affect whether they have considered running for office or express interest in running for office in the future. Forty-eight percent of women who are responsible for the majority of the household tasks and childcare, for instance, have considered running for office. Forty-five percent of women who shoulder no such burdens have thought about a candidacy. In another example, 43 percent of women with children at home have considered a candidacy, compared to 46 percent of women without children at home. Neither of these small differences approaches conventional levels of statistical significance.

The entire report is available in PDF format.

(Via Kevin Drum.)

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Strange search-engine queries (311)

If you’re new around here, this is the first piece that comes out on Monday morning, in which search strings are extracted from the site logs and then evaluated for cheap laff potential. (Of course, if you’re not new around here, this is still the first piece that comes out on Monday morning, in which search strings are extracted from the site logs and then evaluated for cheap laff potential.)

hate “dallas style homes”:  They’re especially sick of them in Fort Worth.

“common cents” law suit:  Commonly, the plaintiff gets the cents, counsel the dollars.

wank avoid filter:  Watch 24 hours of C-Span. It should eliminate even the slightest thought of wankage.

bacon helper:  Since when does bacon need any help?

where’s my electrical tape:  You probably left it in the garage again.

plagiarism 2.1:  It’s already up to 3.0, incorporating all the previously-stolen text.

hitting me where i live:  Hitting you where you work is considered unsporting.

oklahoma private land taken for private use:  Shh. We can’t talk about that here. It’s private.

natural warm wax nads big packets from distributor:  Shh. We can’t talk about that here. It’s privates.

how looks an ordinary girl in victoria’s secrets lingerie:  Like anyone else who overpaid for underwear.

too old for hello kitty:  Hint: it has nothing to do with whether you buy your lingerie at Victoria’s Secret.

anvil falling on obama:  Well, there goes Acme’s Obamacare waiver.

infiniti m37x viper blade vs nissan maxima:  They don’t have quite the same size vindshield, so the vipers might be different.

being unobservant:  The secret of my success, such as it is.

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Cesium the day

In fact, all of our usual measurements of time are based on cesium:

Since 1967, the second has been defined to be the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.

Which corresponds pretty closely, but not exactly, to the behavior of the planet on which we found that atom:

Every now and again, the folks at IERS either add or subtract a second from the world’s calendars and clocks in order to make the Earth’s time match the atomic clock time. They last did it in 2008 and this year will do it between June 30 and July 1. Once your clock hits 12:59:59 on June 30, it will actually take it two seconds to go to 0:00:00 on July 1 instead of one second.

Did you say that should be 11:59:59? Sorry, you forgot about DST, about which neither a French lab nor the planet itself give a damn.

Incidentally, while the system allows for adjustments in both directions, in the forty years since the protocol was established, all the corrections have involved adding a second, never to subtract one. The earth, apparently, is slowing down a bit.

As for me — well, it’s a Saturday night, so there’s at least a small chance I’ll be awake for it. Not that I’ll notice anything.

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Starkers reality

Britain’s Channel 4 last week presented a documentary called My Daughter The Teenage Nudist, and while it didn’t call to mind any particular incident in my own life — my own children tend toward the buttoned-up — it did point out the basic disconnect between older naturists, for whom nudity is a lifestyle of sorts, and the younger set, for whom it’s an occasional pastime. (One young woman said she had no particular desire to see “genitalia 24/7.”)

British Naturism, the national organisation, has suffered from declining membership in recent years, though their own survey indicates sustained interest in nude activities. A similar situation prevails in the States, where two rival groups fight for their piece of a pie that continues to shrink.

Unlike some sections of its self-conscious former colony, though, Britain has no specific anti-public-nudity law, which makes life easier for both part-time and full-time naturists. (Compare to some places not so far away where you can be threatened with jail time for taking a leak off your back porch.)

The teenager in the documentary seems normal enough: she liked the idea of the World Naked Bike Ride, and will occasionally participate in a nude event, but she’s not going to get to the point where she recoils in horror at the very thought of having to wear clothes.

(You can see this program — about 47 minutes — here. Believe me, you don’t have 47 minutes during the work day to watch this, and you probably shouldn’t try.)

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Spring citrus

Or maybe not “spring,” exactly. Designer Erdem Moralıoğlu — who, quite understandably, goes by simply “Erdem” — has announced a Pre-Fall 2012 Collection, and while I think most of it is worthy, this is, I think, the dress to die, or at least waste away, for:

Orange-ish dress by Erdem

Possible downside: Erdem enjoys “Premier Designer” status at Neiman’s, so this means a four-digit price tag. Yes, I checked. I’m just that way. I also looked at some of his previous collections, which are also worth some of your time.

(Suggested here. Hire her for design work so she can afford this, wouldja please?)

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Considering the source

Joseph Epstein has a book out called Gossip (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) which covers various aspects of the snooper/blabber matrix, though the one most pertinent to us at the moment might be his discussion of the Internet variation on the theme:

As far as I know, I have never been directly gossiped about on the Internet. I live, after all, a dullish life that does not provide much fodder for exotic gossip. But I have been insulted innumerable times online, as has anyone who writes for the general public, and insults not made to your face but with the capacity to be instantly widespread are an indirect form of gossip. Stendhal said that to write a book is to risk being shot at in public. But until the Internet, one didn’t know all the tender places in which one could be shot. And there is no redress, not really, not likely, not ever, not so long as the Internet remains the playground of the too often pathological and the Valhalla of the unvalorous, where the unqualified and the outright foolish can say what they please about whom they please, which in the end amounts, as Molly Haskell has it, to “democracy’s revenge on democracy.”

Does Epstein call for regulations? Well, maybe:

Meanwhile, until such time as laws governing behavior in cyberspace are made, or at least an etiquette for Internet behavior is developed, we are all potential Internet victims.

My valor is perhaps debatable, but I would definitely prefer people behaving themselves to people being ordered to behave themselves, purely as a matter of principle. The problem, as I see it, is that J. Random Googler doesn’t always have a way to evaluate what he encounters: it could be complete and utter BS or God’s Own Truth, and there’s no reliable mechanism for determining which is which.

In the meantime, I’m thinking there are distinct advantages to living a dullish life, one of which is keeping down the chatter.

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Live from Bacon Center

Do pets evaluate pet food on the basis of appearance? Maybe, maybe not. But I’d bet the resident humanoids do, which can lead to uncomfortable situations like this:

So I was cleaning out my jacket pockets as I got home from the cigar lounge tonight, looking for my cell phone, which I haven’t seen since before I left to go there, and sitting on my desk next to me is a beggin strip.

It looks like fake bacon. Tofu bacon. Turkey bacon. It looks ALmost like bacon.

In fact, it looks JUST enough like bacon that it’s triggering my bacon center.

And it’s sitting there.

On my desk.

Staring.

At me.

He did not give in to the temptation. The scary part, of course, is that there exists a possibility for temptation in the first place. Certainly no one is going to look at Alpo and think “Dinty Moore.”

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Knicks knocked knicely

I have to admit, I still grin a bit when I see “New York at Oklahoma City” on the NBA schedule; the steadily-shrinking podunkularity of my adopted home town continues to impress. And it’s the only meeting with the Knicks this year — the foreshortened schedule cut out a lot of East/West games to preserve conference and division matchups — which probably doesn’t bother the Knicks too much, since they were down 70-47 at the half and Scott Brooks pulled his starters in the third quarter, sending the Carmelo Anthony-less Brickerbockers back to Gotham with a 104-92 drubbing. (Obviously Brooks doesn’t believe in running up the score on a vanquished opponent.)

With lots of garbage time available, there wasn’t a single DNP-CD; Renaldo Balkman did his darnedest to make a game of it in the fourth, running up 12 points in the final 12 minutes, and in fact five Knicks finished in double figures, but none of them managed more than 14 minutes. With ‘Melo out, Bill Walker got the start, and he was simply overwhelmed.

Batman and Robin swapped utility belts this time around: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder in both assists (8) and rebounds (also 8), and tossed in 21 points, while Kevin Durant was visible mostly as a shooter, rolling up 28 points on 10-13 shooting. There was an anxious moment early on, when Westbrook apparently stepped on Mike Bibby and did something weird to his ankle; however, he was back within half a minute of game time, showing no ill effects. And something happened to Reggie Jackson in the fourth; James Harden replaced him for the rest of the game. (Harden, incidentally, had a season-high 24 points.)

Some aspects of this game were not pretty. We’re talking 41 turnovers (Thunder 21, Knicks 20), and 45 fouls, not counting the T dropped on Amar’e Stoudemire. Brooks’ post-game statement didn’t seem too concerned, though, and you didn’t hear Loud City complaining about it.

The upcoming three-game tour of Eastern clubs will take all week, something closer to normal scheduling: it starts Monday night in Boston. (Next home game is one week later, against the Pistons.)

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