Way before supersizing

I had just left a job at McDonald’s (yes!) when these prices went in, which would be about 1970-71:

McDonald's menu board, early Seventies

Back then, when they said “limited menu,” by Grimace, they meant “limited menu.”

And the 60-cent Quarter Pounder, adjusted for inflation since 1971, would now be, um, $3.50. I had been making $1.95 an hour, 20 cents over the minimum wage; that would be $11.48 today. Make of that what you will.

(Via HistoryInPics.)

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Coming in January 2017

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that the GOP has recaptured the White House. What happens next? This, says Miriam:

[T]he homeless, who you never read about during the Obama administration, will start flooding the streets of American cities.

Among them will be decorated veterans, many with limbs missing, and small children. This great mass of homeless will take to the streets the day after inauguration, January 2017.

Assuming the machine is willing to wait that long. Finding a TV screen full of people who look pathetic is child’s play for the Democrats.

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As the ruling classes fail to tremble

“Drug-war conservatives are better than Marxists,” but not that much better:

While conservative drug warriors want to punish people for (in their view) hurting themselves, Marxists want to punish people for bettering themselves and creating jobs (because making money is evil and hiring people is exploitative). So, while both want to criminalize private consensual activities, the Marxists’ goal is to kill the economy entirely, while the conservatives’ goal is to make the people’s lives more miserable for wanting relief from misery, while creating economic opportunities for lawbreakers.

Rock. Hard place. Choose one.

But why do I have to keep having to choose between the two?

Because they have a common enemy, and that common enemy is Everybody Else.

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Early shade

A serious advance in the art of watercolor:

[A]n artist known only as “A. Boogert” sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use of color in painting, but would go on to explain how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water. The premise sounds simple enough, but the final product is almost unfathomable in its detail and scope.

Spanning nearly 800 completely handwritten (and painted) pages, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, was probably the most comprehensive guide to paint and color of its time.

“Its time” was 1692. Only a single copy was produced, for perhaps obvious reasons; it still exists and can be viewed online. I’ve never been to the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, but that’s where the actual book presently resides.

(Via this Jennifer Ouellette tweet.)

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Is this the worst film ever?

If you believe the film ratings at the Internet Movie Database, Gunday, a run-of-the-mill, or slightly above, 2014 Bollywood action movie, is the worst motion picture in the history of motion pictures, with a solid 1.4 rating. By comparison, Manos: The Hands of Fate scores an upbeat 1.9; no film scores lower than 1.8 except Gunday.

You might infer from this that there’s something to this other than actual film quality, especially if you read Danny Bowes’ review for RogerEbert.com (three out of four stars). And, sure enough, there is:

Gunday offended a huge, sensitive, organized and social-media-savvy group of people who were encouraged to mobilize to protest the movie by giving it the lowest rating possible on IMDb. Of Gunday’s ratings, 36,000 came from outside the U.S., and 91 percent of all reviewers gave it one star. The next lowest-rated movie on IMDb — 1.8 stars overall — has a more even distribution of ratings, with only 71 percent of reviewers giving it one star. The evidence suggests the push to down-vote Gunday was successful, and that shows just how vulnerable data can be, especially when it’s crowdsourced.

And which crowd might that be? Well, they’re called Gonojagoron Moncho, and this is how they did it:

Flush with success, the movement has since become an online alliance of bloggers focused on protecting Bangladesh’s history and promoting the country’s image. That includes protesting Gunday, because of the film’s reference to the Bangladesh Liberation War as the Indo-Pak war. In its first 11 minutes, the movie claims that India alone defeated Pakistan, and implies that an independent Bangladesh was simply a result of the fight… On Twitter, activists used the hashtag #GundayHumiliatedHistoryOfBangladesh to get the word out about the protests and to ask supporters to bury the film on IMDb. (By using a quarter of their character allotment on the hashtag alone, though, there wasn’t much room for the activists to elaborate.) Facebook groups were formed specifically to encourage irate Bangladeshis and others to down-vote the movie.

I haven’t voted on a film on IMDb in several years; I don’t think I’ll start again, if only because this is yet another outcropping of the absurd idea that a mass of opinions means more than a single one. Anything times zero is zero, after all.

(Via this Virginia Postrel tweet.)

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In which Donald Sterling will not be mentioned

Two-thirds of the way through this game, with the Clippers leading by 25, it occurred to me: the Thunder think they’re still playing the Grizzlies. Their pace, if not Memphis-lugubrious, was downright stolid; their defense was almost adequate to deal with the likes of Courtney Lee; they gathered roughly 60 percent of the available rebounds; their shooting was not too far short of 50 percent. None of these characteristics were worth a hoot against a Los Angeles team that shot well over 50 percent all night, with Chris Paul, supposedly a touch below optimum due to a frayed hamstring, pretty much able to enforce his will. Paul, in fact, sat with :38 left in the third quarter, having knocked down 32 points — 8-9 from across the street — in less than 29 minutes; he was getting ready to come back in when the reserves obligingly dropped in six points on two shots and Doc Rivers decided that matters were not so urgent after all. It got bad enough that the Thunder fouled DeAndre Jordan on four possessions, three of them consecutive, in a desperate attempt to get stops; it got bad enough that a Caron Butler trey early in the fourth drew no “Thunder money ball” call from radio guy Matt Pinto. OKC lost it by seventeen, 122-105, but by no means did it seem anywhere near that close.

Oh, you think we need a Telltale Statistic? How about this? Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford contributed 17 points; Thunder sixth man Reggie Jackson got his first bucket with 2:28 left in the fourth. Neither Russell Westbrook nor Kevin Durant had a bad night — between them, 18-33 for 54 points; but that means that the other nine guys got only 51. (See Jackson, R., supra.) That Butler trey? Only shot he made all night. Does that justify giving the starting shooting-guard position back to Thabo Sefolosha? Maybe. Thabo at least had five points, in two-thirds the playing time.

There were other unfavorable stats. Assists? L.A. 26, OKC 17. Turnovers? OKC 17, L.A. 8. Steals? L.A. 8, OKC 5. Players in double figures? L.A. five (CP3, Crawford, Barnes, J. J. Redick, and Blake Griffin with 23), OKC three (KD, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka with 12). The Oklahoman sport staff were unanimous: Thunder in seven. At this rate, it will take more like nine or ten.

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Shake it up, baby

Well, we’ve finally caught up with the Golden State, kinda sorta:

Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake — one larger than magnitude 5.0 — has significantly increased in central Oklahoma.

This is, perhaps not incidentally, the first time the USGS has issued a warning for an area east of the Rockies.

Should you be thinking “fracking,” it’s a definite maybe. Maybe. Thay came up with a model that resembled one particular result. Interestingly, it’s not the extraction of fuel that’s the suspect: it’s the disposal of the wastewater after drilling.

And there’s this:

“We don’t know if this earthquake rate is going to continue… It could go to a higher rate or lower, so the increased chances of a damaging quake could change in the future.”

Which also sounds like a definite maybe.


Just in case you were headed to the shelter.

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Saddest thing in the whole wide world

Let me assure you, Stephen King isn’t the only one who’s ever asked this:

The usual two-track stereo mix that’s been sitting in the Chess Records vault for the last half-century lacks the organ riff that makes your hair stand on end: this version attempts to synchronize that recording with a proper 45, and works pretty well.

Nursery rhymes in general, if you believe certain interpreters, have been sanitized by time itself; “Sally,” which sounds like it should have been a nursery rhyme (perhaps this one), can be seen as similarly sinister in its intent. Producer Abner Spector — no relation to Phil — reportedly ran up $50,000 in studio bills for endless overdubs; arranger Artie Butler played all the instruments except guitar and (maybe) the drums.

The song is presumably metaphorical, but what the heck does it mean? “They won’t tell your secret” suggests Forbidden Love — could Sally’s “baby,” presumably downtown to meet some other girl, be a girl herself? No one’s telling at this late date. And it’s not all in the mysterious sound of the single, either; the British folk-rock outfit Pentangle cut a version for their 1969 album Basket of Light, and its comparative acoustical clarity doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

The B-side of the Jaynetts’ “Sally” was the instrumental track, minus the vocals — though not entirely minus the vocals, which can still be heard buried in the murk. And that same track was reused once again, with the addition of pennywhistle, Jew’s harp, and sleigh bell, for “Snowman, Snowman, Sweet Potato Nose,” a title so preposterous that it almost makes you forget how scary that original track was.


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The age of hilarious

Neil deGrasse Tyson lets the sunshine into the cosmos:

(Via a Nancy Friedman retweet.)

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What kind of a guru are you?

You may not have known this, but:

We exist as atomic ionization.

You and I are dreamweavers of the quantum matrix.

The galaxy is radiating ultra-sentient particles. Grace is the driver of faith. Nothing is impossible.

We must learn how to lead advanced lives in the face of dogma. It is time to take wonder to the next level. This quest never ends.

Humankind has nothing to lose. We are in the midst of a karmic condensing of wellbeing that will align us with the quantum matrix itself. Our conversations with other storytellers have led to a refining of ultra-internal consciousness.

The future will be a self-aware redefining of consciousness.

Rebirth is the healing of presence, and of us. Intuition requires exploration. By unfolding, we dream.

As you dream, you will enter into infinite understanding that transcends understanding. You will soon be reborn by a power deep within yourself — a power that is unrestricted, non-local. Through numerology, our hopes are baptized in growth.

Was this a random survey taken at the checkout counter of Buzzwords R Us? Well, not exactly. Seb Pearce explains:

“This all sounds like random sequences of buzzwords. I bet I could write code to generate it.” It seemed like not only a fun side project, but a great way to prove how easy it is to make hogwash that looks compelling. It might help show that it’s the language games and emotions that lure people into this stuff. I started scribbling down any words I could think of that evoked a feeling of bullshit: quantum, growth, matrix, path, potential, flowering…

And thus the New Age Bullshit Generator was born.

One click of the Generator, in fact, produced that entire first blockquote.

(Spotted in Charles Pergiel’s FB timeline.)

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Strange search-engine queries (431)

Sisyphus had his rock; I have my search-string logs. For both of us, the task seems never-ending; however, I suspect I have more fun than he does.

sexy female escort at winstar casino:  Yeah, you should be so lucky.

Athol Kay on jen aniston:  I don’t think Jen would tolerate that for long.

pechear redyanec masheen:  I haven’t seen such a masheen since, well, ever. Maybe I’ll ask one of my redyanec neighbors.

when and where did sweetwater record the song why oh why?  Who, oh, who, put you up to this? (1968 at the Sound Factory in Hollywood.)

david hooten for senate:  You’ll recognize him immediately. He’s the Republican who’s not married to Sally Kern.

ford probe transmission identify:  Yep, that there’s a transmission, all right.

lesley gore herself:  Wouldn’t that hurt?

1924 what happened that year what is a fillyjonk:  Well, Tove Jansson was 10 years old in 1924; a fillyjonk is a “female … who believes order and principle are vital to life, and she does not want her three children to learn bad habits. She easily loses her temper and even the slightest misfortune depresses her. She is often seen cleaning the house.” (Definition from Wikipedia.)

caned across the seat of trousers:  Standard classical discipline. (Remove the trousers, and you have, um, something else.)

lawsuit filed on injured finger poulan weedeater gas blower:  Or that’s what you’re hoping for, anyway.

kyrgyz consonants how do we pronounce:  Just the way they look. Don’t try to breathe in between.

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Spade identification and recognition

There is, it appears, an innate human desire to make things sound less heinous than they are. Francis W. Porretto describes what happens when one man refuses the euphemism:

One of my parish priests described a conclave of our region more than a decade ago, called together by the presiding bishop of our diocese, to discuss the “problem” of clerical sexual abuse of children. A visiting bishop gave a long lecture to the assembly in which he deplored such sexual assaults as inappropriate behavior.

Yes, you read that correctly. Worse, all but one of the priests listening to him applauded his take on the atrocity. The one — Father Edward J. Kealey — stood up and dissented vigorously. “Inappropriate behavior,” he said, is using the wrong fork at dinner; the sexual abuse of children is assault and rape. The Church should do the most vigorous, abasing penance — he suggested that all the priests in America should converge in Baltimore and walk barefoot all the way to St. Mary’s in expiation — and petition for divine guidance about how to cleanse such evil from the Catholic clergy, such that it might never, ever recur.

The bishops present were not pleased, but Father Ed stood his ground. It’s cost him heavily in the years since that conclave, but he’s refused to relent.

To solve a problem, you first have to recognize what it is, not what it’s called.

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Trust the Fourth, Luke

My one acknowledgement of Star Wars Day:

Because Weird Al.

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No Rice for you

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will apparently not be giving the commencement speech at Rutgers after all, leaving the New Jersey school with a time slot to fill. What to do?

The university will now tap someone as its commencement speaker who is probably lower profile, less controversial, and OK with the idea that the only reason he or she is speaking is because the original selection bowed out. My suggestion is that commencement ceremony organizers do not select a substitute, ask Rice about how long her speech would have been and simply have everyone in attendance sit there for that length of time.

Did I mention that Rutgers is in New Jersey?

Oh, and there’s this:

Rutgers, of course, is also the university that paid Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi $32,000 to tell its students to “study hard, but party harder” in the same year that it paid commencement speaker (and Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author) Toni Morrison $30,000. This suggests to me that the Rutgers community is ignorant not only of the value of free speech, but of worthless speech as well.

Let’s not be unkind here. Snooki has written four books.

Update: Rutgers went with paralyzed football player Eric LeGrand — then disinvited him in favor of ex-Governor Thomas Kean.

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Showing people how little we care

“This man” is photographer Simon Runting, already on Rihanna’s shitlist. “AKL” is the airport code for Auckland, Lorde’s hometown.

Yeah, yeah, another pop star’s life. But:

No, you shouldn’t.

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Imitation Chrome

Says Mozilla of Firefox 29:

We reimagined and redesigned Firefox to reflect how you use the Web today and we are excited to introduce many features including an elegant and fun design, new menu, customization mode and an enhanced Firefox Sync service powered by Firefox Accounts.

Says Tatyana of Firefox 29:

The whole interface now looks awful: tabs are not just slim slots, but take double vertical space in on my laptop screen; things I previously had in the top menu are now hidden under “open menu-3-horisontal-lines” button, instead icons I DON’T need now take up prominent real estate. In short, the screen now looks just like a hateful Chrome browser. Hey, Mozilla! There was a reason we chose to be your customers instead of Google Chrome’s!

“Oh, boy, a whole new interface!” said no one ever.

Another customer for Pale Moon? We shall see.

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