Popped culture

Brian J. finds a fulcrum under the record shelf:

[N]ote the tipping point in one’s music appreciation as demonstrated by the content of one’s musical library. At some point, and not some point when one’s body sags anywhere, that one will discover that more of the artists in his or her musical library are dead, many of old age and not drug overdoses or suicide at 28, than are alive. I’ve passed that tipping point already.

Despite being a regular Sagatha Christie, I haven’t done any such thing. Then again, since I already own just about any recording worth having between 1961 and 1972 (your mileage may vary), I might as well listen to the new stuff.

And besides, it’s 27 when they croak. Except Keith Richards, who will eventually know WALL-E personally.

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Under surveillance by the Food Police

“Absolutely everything, except a few roots, leaves and seeds from the forest primeval, is bad for you,” says Lynn. I dunno. Murmuring pines aren’t known for their food value, and hemlock — well, ask Socrates when he comes back from break.

Still, this seems pretty inarguable:

[W]hat I really hate is how this stuff gets into my head. I resolve to ignore it all and just eat sensibly but then I go to buy groceries and I can’t keep from thinking about the latest set of “rules” we’re supposed to follow and I feel like there’s nothing I can buy that’s safe. So I just buy what I always buy and worry that I’m bringing poison home to feed to my family.

I alternate between “The advice will change again next month so just ignore it,” and “There must be something to this; they can’t be completely making it up.”

“They can’t be making it up”? Of course they can. The worst tyrant is the thoughtful tyrant. The second-biggest problem, after the aforementioned tyranny, is the notion that if we just follow a few simple rules everything will work out fine. Two minutes on Google will give you counterexamples galore.

Mark my words: if we are ever smart enough to get rid of this stupid ethanol mandate, “they” will suddenly announce hitherto-undiscovered benefits to high-fructose corn syrup, because “their” gravy train is a hell of a lot more important than your gravy.

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Off the bubble

What I know about K-pop would almost, but not quite, fill a thimble. However, somebody in passing mentioned Kim Hyun-a’s “Bubble Pop” and how it had gotten insane numbers of views on YouTube, so I looked it up, and, well, it has some nice synthetic charm, if perhaps not as intellectually stimulating as, say, your average Rebecca Black video.

She is definitely sorta cute:

Kim Hyun-a

Which may or may not explain how she ended up in an updated version of PSY’s “Gangnam Style”:

On second thought, I probably don’t need any explanations.

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Up setting

My last two attempts at short fiction were admittedly on the talky side. This is because I can’t possibly write descriptive passages this good:

The skies were blue, blue, blue. I saw only one very small puffy white cloud … to the east. It was slightly mushroom in shape, indicating that perhaps a group of extremist mountain goats had detonated a suppository-sized nuclear device. But I didn’t see anything on the news about it.

The permanent link is here, once the first of the month arrives; for now, go here and scroll to the 27th.

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Approximately six Devons

The downside of building up, up, up? More stairs than you ever imagined, not to mention the potential problem with elevators:

A mile-high skyscraper, for example, is possible with modern design techniques and some small projected advances in building material. But the elevator to the top would have to be a speed demon in order to make the trip in a useful time frame. Remember, it has to go a full mile. At 10 mph, it would take six minutes. Not so long, perhaps, but I’m going to bet not many people are keen on the idea of standing in an elevator for six minutes. If the elevator ran at 20 mph, then it would make the base-to-summit trip in about three minutes, and according to the infallible internet, most elevators in tall buildings run about 22 mph with slowdowns as they approach the destination floor.

Given the general reaction of people stuck at 10 mph horizontally — I-35 south provides numerous examples of same every workday — I suspect they will not like it much going vertically.

For myself, I don’t get seriously claustrophobic — Trini can verify this — for about the first thirty stories. Anything much above that, though, and I expect the subconscious to dig up something primal and wave it in my face, with results no one wants to observe. Especially me.

And you know, “Approximately Six Devons” might have been a good Bob Dylan title, circa Bringing It All Back Home.

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Probably lacking in bodaciousness

Something just landed in my inbox from “TATA LOAN SERVICE.” Immediate thought: you can borrow those now?

I suspect there is no connection to India’s Tata Group, manufacturers of the Tata Nano. (Say that fast three times.)

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Of course, you already read about this

This may seem like an inauspicious beginning:

My boss has a blog. The little girl down the street has a blog. A local medium is typing my dead grandmother’s blog from beyond the grave.

Tam started there, seven years ago, and she gets better at it every day.

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When a guy’s trying hard to steal signs in your yard

That’s amore politics as usual:

[P]olice Sunday morning arrested a man accused of taking “Dean Martin for County Clerk” signs off of private property. Lee Belmonte, 58, of Bixby, was arrested just before 8 a.m. and booked into the Tulsa Jail on a complaint of knowingly concealing stolen property. He was released Sunday afternoon after posting $1,500 bond.

Pat Key, Martin’s opponent in Tuesday’s Republican Party runoff for Tulsa County clerk, described Belmonte as a volunteer on her campaign. “I did not authorize or instruct him to take down signs,” Key said Sunday.

How did they catch the guy?

Frustrated by weeks of seeing Dean Martin signs disappear — and nearly catching someone in the act last week — Jared Martin [Dean’s son] said he got to thinking.

“I was like, you know what, I am just going to get a tracking device,” Jared Martin said. “So I bought this dog-tag tracking device. It was about $100.”

That was Friday. Martin said he used duct tape to attach it to a sign and placed it in a yard he knew had signs taken from it before.

Bingo.

(Via Mike McCarville.)

Update: The Martin campaign sent me a notification to the effect that they were requesting a recount, having lost by a mere 179 votes.

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The craft is ebbing

Robert Stacy McCain reminds us that Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was a journalist:

There are times when it seems as if the universe is organized as a sadistic conspiracy to inflict psychological punishment on me, to make my life an endless series of hassles and humiliations, to render excruciatingly difficult my attempts to earn a living as a journalist.

Life within this sadistic universe — really, could so many things go so completely wrong by coincidence? — might be pleasant for masochists, who enjoy suffering. But I lack that perverse appetite for punishment, and so am compelled to complain about the routine abuse that I seem unable to avoid, no matter how much I try.

At least it’s summertime, so he’s probably not going to have to deal with, say, [random female scribe] in fur.

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Yearning experience

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Little resistance

When Tesla announced a 300-mile range for the Model S sedan with the top-drawer battery pack, you might have been forgiven if you said “Yeah, right”; the EPA subsequently guesstimated the range at a more modest 265 miles. Still, this is way more than anybody else’s pure electric can give you, and this motivated Motor Trend to put an S — Elon Musk’s personal S, in fact — to the test.

Considering that they ran the car on a test track (zero to sixty in 3.9, quarter-mile in the mid-twelves) at the beginning of their mileage run, 238 miles is not at all shabby. But the number isn’t as important as the geography, they say:

We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales.

And if that doesn’t, this might:

During our drive, we used 78.2 kW-hrs of electricity (93 percent of the battery’s rated capacity). What does that mean? It’s the energy equivalent of 2.32 gasoline gallons, or 100.7 mpg-e before charging losses. That BMW 528i following us (powered by a very fuel-efficient, turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine) consumed 7.9 gallons of gas for a rate of 30.1 mpg. The Tesla’s electrical energy cost for the trip was $10.17 (at California’s average electrical rate); the BMW’s drive cost $34.55.

Of course, the Tesla as tested was twice as pricey as the Bimmer, but still: ten bucks for a couple hundred miles. About the only vehicle using less energy is a sailboat, and it’s not going to be moving much on the Pacific Coast Highway.

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Neither roly nor poly

But nonetheless, fish heads:

Fish Head Ornament

Eat them up at Archie McPhee’s for twelve bucks apiece. Warning: they’re not good dancers.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and, um, fish market.)

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Excessive diversity

There are something like 12,200 posts in this WordPress database, which begins in the second week of September 2006. (The URL says “15050,” but as anyone who runs WordPress finds out quickly enough, the autosave function eats up several numbers all by itself, which irked me enough to install a plugin whose sole function is to tell it not to do that.)

What bothers me is that there are nearly 10,000 tags, and I didn’t start tagging stuff until 2009. I’ve done several consolidation sessions — there didn’t, for instance, need to be a dozen different Chevrolet tags, and I cut them down to five — but until we start getting some 36-hour days around here, I’m not going to have time to clean up this mess.

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U mad, bro?

This landed in the mailbox last night from contact at banana-hanger.com, and I reprint the entire text thereof:

you there? What happened last night? Are you mad?

Of course, this was from viewing it in plain text, the way God and/or RFC 822 intended. With HTML toggled on, up popped several dozen words in the sort of sequence you’d expect if someone had thrown a faxed stock tout in the air, sliced it into little pieces, allowed them to fall, and then typed them in the order of retrieval.

And we all know what I think about stock touts.

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Sock jocks

A reader complained, not unreasonably, that all the preceding vintage-hosiery ads included portrayals of women, and suggested a source for shots of the guys. It may have even included this one:

Men in Interwoven Esquire Socks

Although frankly, I was partial to the Gold Toe brand.

(Source: Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Strange search-engine queries (343)

Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor tropical storms in tropical-storm season, nor even the computer’s failure to boot six times out of seven, stays this weekly feature from its regular Monday-morning appearance.

rule34 dakota fanning:  Um, no. Not here. And any you find is likely to be fake. Then again, you don’t care, do you?

“six to five against” +meaning:  You have five chances in eleven, or a probability of 45.5 percent, of finding whatever the heck it is you’re looking for, and I hope it’s not what that guy in the previous item was looking for.

i can’t remember who i was back then:  Behold, the serial identity thief.

mass of conflicting impulses:  It’s positioned around the periphery of the cranium, and once set in motion, creates the condition popularly described as “My head is spinning.”

bad romance jokes:  Are there good romance jokes?

what is a few inches later:  The beginning of the punchline in a bad romance joke.

1988 mercury mystique transmission wont go forward unless:  The car is atop Pikes Peak and heading downward.

who proved germs don’t come from water:  Probably a German.

mitt romney’s father…an auto industry visionary:  Anybody who had to drive a ’62 Rambler halfway across the country might have reasonably questioned that vision.

wile e. coyote breakaway mug:  Who knew that Acme was building stuff for ThinkGeek?

charlie hill comic stroke:  Because what could be funnier than someone having a stroke?

woman pantsless flight:  Never seen that. And it’s just as well, because I would probably have a stroke, and that would be hilarious.

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