A multi-limbic system?

A curious artifact from the Sixties, with a surprisingly enduring image:

Berkshire hosiery ad from the late 1960s

This is not the Lakshmi I remember. (And ethnic stereotypes die hard, if they die at all.)

This Berkshire, still in business today, is not related to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

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Guide for the indifferent voter

Or, as Doris Day never said, my secret ballot’s no secret anymore.

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Tastes great, less filly

It’s all in how you look at it:

I’m doing my interpretation of the DASH diet (“Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”) — lots of fruits and Rainbow Dashvegetables, low salt, careful amounts of lean protein, moderate amounts of whole grain, limit sugars and less-healthy fats. But I’m thinking of it as the “Rainbow Dash diet” instead. Because that amuses me a lot more. And most of the stuff I eat (oats, vegetables, sweet potatoes, stuff like apples) is probably stuff Rainbow Dash would eat. And it makes me feel better about “diet” to think of it as “Rainbow Dash diet.” Brains are funny things.

If it helps, it helps. (Though not even Otis Spunkmeyer, I suspect, would recommend a Derpy diet.)

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And I was griping about the tinworm

Morgan, the UK’s largest independent automaker — they sold about a thousand cars last year — is under attack:

Morgan’s wood-framed sports cars are facing an existential threat: a species of fungus that infects ash trees, which are the source of wood used on Morgan’s legendary sports cars.

Ash has been used for over a century, but the situation could necessitate a switch to other kinds of wood. Ash dieback, as the disease is known, has been ravaging ash trees in the UK, and usually kills 90 percent of trees that become infected.

The fungus in question is Chalara fraxinea. Symptoms:

Initially, small necrotic spots (without exudate) appear on stems and branches. These necrotic lesions then enlarge resulting in wilting, dieback of branches and particularly in the death of the top of the crown. The disease is often chronic but can be lethal. It is particularly destructive of young ash plants, killing them within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible. Older trees can survive initial attacks, but tend to succumb eventually after several seasons of infection.

And there’s no point in chopping down the afflicted trees, either:

The infective material is all on the forest floor and cannot be removed or eradicated with fungicides without destroying countless other forms of forest life.

This stuff evidently sleeps even less than rust. Fortunately, Morgan doesn’t seem to be worried. Yet.

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The world today in a nutshell

Despair mode ON:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Is there any website that gives free stuff without doing anything?

Ladies and gentlemen, a Member of the Future (and possibly the Present) Electorate.

We are well and truly doomed.

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Goblin report

I was late pulling out of 42nd and Treadmill today — there were idiots to denounce, and I wasn’t going to miss out on that — so I missed the bulk of the Neighborhood Event this time around, and decided I’d actually hand out the goodies myself this year. The sparkleball I have been employing as a substitute porch light, I’ve discovered, is genuinely creepy from the curb, and since getting to my front door is a genuine hassle — thirty feet up (quite a grade) the driveway and fifteen more down the walk, unless you cut through the hedgerow, in which case the rosebushes will get you — I figure anyone who makes it through deserves to be served.

I opened up at six-thirty. No takers until seven, and then the floodgates opened: twenty-one in ten minutes. Final count was 49, about half what it was in 2010, which I attribute to losing a lot of the smaller fry to said Neighborhood Event. Still: second-best year ever.

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Seizure opportunity

This hasn’t been updated in seven years, and believe me, it’s just as well. And if you in fact are prone to seizures, you might not want to click that link at all.

(Courtesy of the Pergelator.)

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Build more crap!

John A. Johansen, to the Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer, a few years back:

It’s not beautiful to others who are looking for something past as an expression of beauty. But I have relieved myself of the burdens of accepted beauty. It would have killed anything left of my process.

I don’t know. Beauty “accepted” by me stretches over a long range; something that makes me say “Holy flurking schnit, did they really build that?” is invariably well within that range.

And now that Johansen is gone and presumably ready to rotate about his axis when Stage Center is torn down, Lackmeyer muses:

Somewhere there must be a middle ground in all this. Do we really want to be a city where architecture consists of Walmarts, McDonald’s and tilt-up concrete office buildings? Will anyone look at Harkins Theater in Lower Bricktown in 30 years and cry when it’s torn down? Yet we also know, such forgettable architecture is also very friendly to occupants — cost efficient to heat and cool, easy on maintenance, not a big deal to tear down and rebuild.

It’s too late to build anything that stands the test of time. We don’t even know how long the test of time actually takes, fercrissake. A perfunctory look through local message boards tells you exactly what people want: big pointy things that will look good during the bumpers of NBA telecasts. Oh, and they want the beleaguered First National Center to go residential so they can move in. I believe them about as much as I believe the putative auto enthusiasts who swear they’re just dying for a diesel-powered station wagon with a stick shift.

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Snakes in the main

Derek Kreindler’s lyrical paean to the ’13 Ford Shelby GT500 ends about like this:

The performance is astounding but irrelevant. The styling can be had on a $22,000 Mustang V6. A better drive can arguably be had with a Boss 302. But nowhere else can you give such a middle finger to the zeitgeist. It doesn’t want to check in via Foursquare at the Mexican-Korean fusion place. It doesn’t care about Car Free Sundays, or dubstep music or the newest celebrity chef. Exploding away from a stop light, hanging out the window, with a cigarette between our lips, without fear of the cops, or fear of another day of indentured servitude unpaid internships, or having to compose a response to the latest text message from our significant other. Morals are relative, the middle class is shrinking, God is dead, our lives are lived in public, and a small part of us yearns for an era we never knew, where marriage, 2.5 kids, and a mortgage was not only attainable, but attained early. We’ve never had more freedom or opportunities, but we still find ourselves yearning for a past era, where things weren’t as fluid or permissive; it’s why we throw Mad Men themed dress-up parties where the guys get a free pass to make misogynistic remarks, pinch the girls’ rears and watch them giggle with guilty glee as they hand out baked treats and push feminism into the attics of their psyche.

The orgiastic past may recede before us, but this car — our one link to that bygone epoch — keeps getting better and better.

I don’t get invited to parties of that sort, but I understand this perfectly well. Not that 662 horsepower requires a hell of a lot of explanation.

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Doyled again

I was sorting through a folder called “miscpix,” which of late seems to be filling up with pony stuff, and happened upon this item, dated 2003, which I inexplicably have never posted:

Damhnait Doyle

This is Damhnait Doyle, arguably the best singer ever to come out of Labrador City. (From what I’ve heard, neither snowy owls nor caribou come off as particularly musical.) Apparently she had this posted on her Web site about the time her third album, Davnet, came out; a cutout from it was worked into the cover art. (Old-timers around here may remember me complaining about some rude copy-protection scheme on the CD.)

From that very album, here’s track two, “Another California Song.”

She’s done group work since, with Shaye and with The Heartbroken, but only one solo album in the interim: Lights Down Low (2008), which features a languid, torch-y cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.”

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The right to bear spray

This is a perfectly lovely set of photos taken this month in Glacier National Park, and the mood is interrupted only once, by a placard containing the words “Entering Grizzly Country” and a silhouette of a can of, um, bear spray, which seems to be your basic capiscum-based pepper spray in a dose presumably designed for grizzlies, anent which: “Bear mace is legal across the USA. It can be purchased even in Hawaii, New York, or Massachusetts, where standard pepper sprays are illegal.”

“Your Honor, I swear, I thought it was a bear.” You know it’s happened.

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What, me renew?

This is the current MAD subscription-renewal pitch:

We’ll get right to the point. We think you are extremely bright, refined, well-spoken, astute and talented. You, more than anyone we know (with the possible exception of everyone else to whom we’re sending this form letter) understands the true meaning of quality entertainment. In other words, we have absolutely no idea why you subscribed to MAD in the first place! But since you did, why stop now?

Methinks subscription manager Jeffrey Lozenge (that’s what it says) has toggled off his grammar checker, but you can’t have everything. The MAD fulfillment house is in Big Sandy, Texas, presumably the same folks who do Whole Dog Journal, Reason, and The Saturday Evening Post.

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Tired of this sort of thing

Joe Sherlock wheeled into Costco for some new treads. He won’t do that again:

When I picked up my car, I noticed that the very nice polished aluminum valve caps had been replaced by cheap bright green plastic ones.

I went back and asked, “Where are my valve caps?” I received the sheepish reply, “Ummmm… we didn’t know you wanted them.” Yeah, right. I’m sure that they were destined for a place of honor on an employee’s Chevy low-rider.

I have some spiffy aluminum valve caps, though not brand-specific.

But that’s not all they did to him:

All of the tire pressures were waaaaay off. And it took me over a half-hour just to clean rubbery gunk off my wheels with Goo-Gone cleaner. This is an example of disgraceful service and treatment.

Now I wish we had a Costco here, so I could refuse to take my car there.

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Yet the figures remain interesting

Various Web sites maintain galleries of News Babes, for the benefit of those of us who don’t give a flip about the reportage but might appreciate the occasional eye candy. Does this mean I don’t notice anomalies in the crawl? It does not mean that:

Fox and Friends screencap

Um, no. There has been no month ever in which 14.5 million vehicles were sold. What this report undoubtedly said was that the March figures were consistent with an annual rate, seasonally adjusted, of 14.5 million vehicles.

Update: And, in fact, it did say that.

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PR response of the year

Bloomberg News ran a piece a week ago that indicated Fiat, in its capacity as High Overlord of Chrysler, might be contemplating building Jeeps in China, and a phrase to the effect that they “may eventually make all their models in that country,” hinting at multiple lines, was apparently interpreted as meaning that Jeep was actually moving all its production to China.

Which they aren’t, as Chrysler is taking pains to point out:

There are times when the reading of a newswire report generates storms originated by a biased or predisposed approach.

On Oct. 22, 2012, at 11:10 a.m. ET, the Bloomberg News report “Fiat Says Jeep® Output May Return to China as Demand Rises” stated “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. [Mike] Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.

And just to hammer it home:

Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

Of course, were it not for unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments, we’d have thirty blogs instead of thirty million.

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Recommended by Several Critics

It’s The Title: The Movie. Finally.

(As seen on FAIL Blog’s WIN!)

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