Kind of a Bluffview

I absolutely must pass on to the rest of you this TFG description of the mother of a surly teenager, purely for its lyrical qualities:

His mom was at least semi-good looking in that North Dallas bottle-blonde Wonderbra treadmill-butt kind of way. Dallas still churns those out by the thousands. Learn to be thankful for the small things, kids … sassy barmaids, N. Dallas blondies, a fresh can of snuff … they make your denouement bearable.

So noted for future reference.

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Happy rather than dignified

If you thought having Abraham Lincoln hunt vampires was the lowest form of literary revisionism, you ain’t seen nothing yet:

A publisher of adult fiction is giving literary classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice an erotic makeover.

The company said that it was “100% convinced” that there was a market for the racy versions of the 19th century novels by authors Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen and that the spicing up of the much-loved books will introduce the classics to “a new generation of readers”.

Other titles to be published under the Clandestine Classics collection include Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories featuring Sherlock Holmes.

The luminous E. M. Zanotti, noting that it’s all the fault of Fifty Shades of Grey, comments:

I’m a little curious as to whether they’ll do Wuthering Heights. Because if there’s anything a book about creepy, incestuous baby-making needs, it’s graphic play-by-play.

I worry that if this sort of thing catches on, eventually the originals will be looked upon as the Expurgated Versions.

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No connection to Fox

We do love our News Babes here in the States. (Certainly there’s not all that much reason to watch our overly-excitable news channels otherwise.) However, it seems that the News Babe to end all News Babes is not American, but French:

Mélissa Theuriau

Don’t take my word for it: readers of Britain’s Daily Express in 2006 voted French newscaster Mélissa Theuriau the world’s most beautiful news reporter. (She declared the whole idea ridiculous.) Also in 2006, she was hired by French network M6 to anchor the long-running newsmagazine Zone interdite (“Forbidden Zone”). Coincidence? I have no idea.

Oh, and today is her birthday. She’s thirty-four.

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Sounds painful

The Bayou Renaissance Man declares that he’s “working his trousers to the bone”:

…sitting at my desk, writing several thousand words a day on a major project. It’s going well, following a burst of inspiration a couple of weeks ago. Since then I’ve edited about 40,000 words of a previous draft and added about 30,000 new words to it. Hard work and long hours, but mentally rewarding (and, I hope, financially rewarding some day as well!).

I of course wish him well, even as I threaten my own blank screen with all manner of implausible retribution for its continuing failure to fill itself up with some damned words already.

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Shet yor mouth

Actual screenshot from a fake PayPal letter, currently in my phishbowl:

Phishing email pretending to be from PayPal: Click here to confirm yor account

Now really, how stupid do you have to be to fall for something this farging inept?

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Macchiatomatic transmission

Fiat (who else?) will be offering — though apparently not in the States — an in-car espresso maker:

This fall, Fiat is expected to offer built-in espresso machines on the 500L crossover model that will launch in Europe.

“The 500L is the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilises the technology of the ‘A Modo Mio’ pods,” the company said in a written release. “It is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat.”

As Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs remind us, espresso coffee tastes “mighty good.” Even in a Fiat, I suspect.

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World of minecraft

Denmark has found the last WWII-era mine on (or technically, under) its soil:

After being an active supporter of mine clearing activities abroad for years, Denmark itself can finally call itself mine-free… The country’s last mine field, on Skallingen peninsula, west of Esbjerg, was cleared in late June, and [on 5 July] the transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, detonated the last remaining mine.

In 2006, the Kystdirektoratet began sweeping for mines on the peninsula; about 8,000 were found.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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His horn went veep veep veep

And it had to be destroyed for that reason alone:

There is nothing — nothing — in politics that is less useful than pundits sitting around blathering about who the presidential nominee is going to choose as his running mate.

You might think that the sentence quoted above is, oh, about thirteen words too long. However, you are cautioned not to delve too deeply into these matters:

Reading “veepstakes” articles will destroy your soul. They are Satan’s snares, as are all cable-news veepstakes roundtable discussions, and the pundits who participate in them are all doomed to burn in the same circle of Hell as Tom Eagleton and Nelson Rockefeller.

Presumably the eighth.

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Properly muffled

On Friday the 13th, poor Gwendolyn was producing more exhaust noise than a brace of pony cars with side pipes. Infiniti wanted $700 or so to fix it, which seemed a trifle on the high side, so once my nerves de-jangled a bit, I dragged out the service information at hand, and apparently what they wanted to do was replace everything aft of the rear cat.

Unwilling to write a check this large, I sought out a second opinion — that of Steven at Muffler King, 89th and S. Shields. He smiled. “Infiniti, Nissan, this vintage, they all do this.” His recommended solution: replace the perforated pipe, then fabricate a new bracket that doesn’t have to sit flush against the muffler inlet.

Problem solved, many dollars saved. In view of this happy result, I must urge every last one of you who needs exhaust work to drop in at this Muffler King location. It’s hard to spot, since their sign blew down in the last batch of storms.

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Blast from the past

And still pretty darned pertinent. Here’s Doc Searls’ new intro:

The Web as we know it today was two years old in June 1997, when the page below went up. It lasted, according to, until October 2010.

It’s called “Attention, Fat Corporate Bastards!” I excerpt only half a paragraph here, hoping more than usual you’ll read the whole thing.

You almost certainly think of the Internet as an audience of some type — perhaps somewhat captive. If you actually had even the faintest glimmering of what reality on the net is like, you’d realize that the real unit of currency isn’t dollars, data, or digicash. It’s reputation and respect. Think about how that impacts your corporate strategy. Think about how you’d feel if a guy sat down at your lunch table one afternoon when you were interviewing an applicant for a vice-president’s position and tried to sell the two of you a car, and wouldn’t go away. Believe it or not, what you want to do with the Internet is very similar.

The original author, alas, has dropped out of sight.

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A sort of pulp friction

I mean, something has to keep those skates from sliding out from under her:

Naked on Roller Skates

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954), now mostly forgotten, was lionized in the late 1920s and early 1930s, first as a poet, then as a somewhat licentious novelist, the latter reputation encouraged by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which objected strenuously to Bodenheim’s 1925 novel Replenishing Jessica, whose presumably depleted heroine found “the simple feat of keeping her legs crossed … a structural impossibility.” Naked on Roller Skates came out in 1930.

His poems? Here’s one:

Whenever a love dies within you,
Griefs, phosphorescent with unborn tears,
Cut the glowing hush of a meadow within you:
Griefs striking their pearl-voiced cymbals
And shaping the silences once held by your love.
Your new love blows a trumpet of sunlight
Into the meadow, and your griefs
Leap into the echo and return to you.

Damn those griefs, anyway.

(Book cover Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Stop me if you’ve heard these

Didn’t we see this problem on this side of the pond already?

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the government is “looking for solutions” to help prop up car sales and soften PSA Peugeot Citroën’s decision to slash jobs and close a factory near Paris.

Europe’s second-biggest carmaker last week announced plans to cut 14,000 jobs and shut an auto plant in France for the first time in two decades to stem widening operating losses.

The socialist French government is about to undertake some steps superficially reminiscent of those taken by the not-entirely-socialist US government:

The government’s goal is to save more of Peugeot’s jobs, ensure there are no forced firings, soften the blow for the workers involved and keep the Aulnay plant operating as an industrial site, Moscovici said. The government will also announce measures on July 25 to boost French car sales and prop up the entire auto sector.

Prime à les Clunkers, anyone? Maybe not:

[President François] Hollande [Saturday] said he would lean on Peugeot to rework the plan, consider incentives to spur sales of environmentally friendly cars and study the possibility of providing credit for vehicle purchases, though he won’t adopt cash incentives as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy did to counter a recession in 2009.

This will, says Bertel Schmitt, land Hollande in trouble with the European Union for promoting locally-manufactured products:

Any attempts to favor one EU partner’s industry over other countries is sure to attract the attention of Brussels. Brussels is keeping an eye on Paris, due to past episodes of support for the French by the French.

Then again, France, even under the Socialists, might think itself big enough to tell Brussels to take le hike.

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Floating paywall

What I said, four months ago, about Opubco’s

It’s a premium product with an actual price tag, though it costs nothing extra to us old mossbacks who pay to have the dead-tree edition tossed onto our driveways.

The idea, of course, is not so much to get more money out of the people who are already paying, but to get some money out of the people who aren’t. Oklahoman reporter Steve Lackmeyer discussed the matter on a local message board:

The Oklahoman has not gone behind a pay wall — yet. We are giving subscribers first access to what’s deemed premium content posted at An online subscription costs $12 a month (I am a paying subscriber myself). Not really that horrible a price. Those who don’t want to subscribe can go the corner store and pick up a copy of the paper, which has maps and other info that won’t be included with the NewsOK version. The Oklahoman is the only major newspaper in Oklahoma that hasn’t gone to a full paywall. The Journal Record has long had a paywall, ditto for the Tulsa World & Lawton Constitution. Also ditto for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Dallas Morning News. The Oklahoman’s approach, right now, is not to have a paywall, but rather to reward subscribers by giving them first access and making others wait.

“Premium content” has not yet been defined in any, um, definitive sense, but it included Lackmeyer’s own story on the still-nascent-but-already-controversial Boulevard to Downtown, which yesterday cut off after two paragraphs in classic style.

As an actual subscriber, I don’t have to jump through these particular hoops. I’m wondering, though, if there’s any interest in a day pass, good for 24 hours at, say, seventy-five cents, the cost of the hard-copy version.

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The street vs. The Street

A workable commercial market has three components: price, output, and transaction rules, and you need all three to keep the customers satisfied. When pricing is divorced from other considerations, you end up with the distortions that characterize the so-called health-care and education “markets.” But it could be worse:

[I]n financial markets price and rules fuse into one. Because price is a rule: a rule that something is worth so much and has such and such obligations attached to it. There are, in other words, only two elements: rules and output (or activity) based on those rules. It is a binary, not a tertiary system.

That binary, dyadic, structure leads to all sorts of tautologies and contradictions. So, for instance, when people talk of de-regulating financial systems, they are literally talking nonsense because finance is rules. What happened instead is that rule setting shifted from government to traders, which led to an explosion of rules (derivatives, securitisation algorithmic trading etc). Not deregulation but hyper regulation, albeit made up by traders.

My personal favourite in the nonsense stakes is argument for high frequency trading, which is said to improve “liquidity”. Well, of course it does. Liquidity is the rate of transactions, high frequency trading increases the rate of transactions, therefore … high frequency trading increases liquidity. Blue is blue, red is red and the sun will almost certainly come up in the morning.

The only similar situation outside the financial market exists in casinos, where house rules, again, determine the effective price. You may already have suspected that derivatives and such were a crapshoot; you had no idea how close to the truth you really were.

(Via Bill Quick.)

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Strange search-engine queries (337)

This was actually compiled several months from now, but published retroactively. (Hey, if it works for Willard, it can work or me, n’est-ce pas?)

what does a fake gaylord texan reservation confirmation letter look like:  If it’s a good fake, exactly like a real one.

Fan Bingbing has a cool surname:  Yep. (In case you weren’t up on your Chinese names, it’s “Fan.”)

sophomore male pattern baldness high school:  Well, male pattern baldness is connected to testosterone levels, and high-school sophomores are just dripping with hormones.

what is the number to 1800 criminal:  I think we can file this under “unclear on the concept.”

fellatio contest:  I’d hate to have to keep score.

added r134a to my 1998 ford taurus and now my car keeps sputtering and dying:  Next time, don’t add it to the intake manifold. Sheesh.

mazda transmission jerk 626:  The same kind of guy who doesn’t know where to put the R134A.

why are hacked zooey deschanel pictures blacked out:  Because there is a God.

have warner bros never made a profit:  Not if they owe you a percentage of the profits, they haven’t.

is my gas gage less accurate when it’s hot:  No more so than when it’s cold, or when it’s somewhere in between.

sissy codpiece:  How so? Does it swish or something?

is a gmc terrain manly enough:  What’s the matter, honey? Sissy codpiece not working out for you?

modified scrotum:  “Modified” is the new “pierced.” (Ow.)

Ladies, if you saw a guy wearing a red bra under a white t-shirt, what would you say/do?  Assume a modified scrotum, and run like hell.

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Write about now

Wherein the phrase “Write what you know” is written about, and I discover how little I know, compared to how much I write. Or something like that.

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