Whackers tallied

What goes around comes around, we are told, and Kate Harding is predicting the eventual return of the unenhanced, reasonably sized, never-even-once-exposed-to-pharma-spam dingus, though she concedes that for the moment this is not exactly a burning issue:

Most people are too busy enjoying the current era of well-rounded male characters and very little schlong in their mainstream cinema to give a thought to any alternative. In this regard, they are most selfish. After all, practically every movie has a pair of naked tits on a two-dimensional lady character in it these days, and if I know anything about equality, that means we should all be clamoring for more wooden male characters, if you get my drift.

Besides, artificial embiggenment is a health hazard:

MayoClinic.com says that penile implants carry numerous risks, including that “in some semirigid devices, internal parts can break down over time. In inflatable devices, fluid can leak or the pump device can fail.” Yikes!

That’s enough of a quote for the Yikes! of me.

From my standpoint, as it were, I think increasing the peen frequency in motion pictures would produce two salutary results: it would provide eye candy for Ms Harding and her friends — not an inconsiderable virtue, that — and it just might dissuade J. Random Perv from distributing low-res photos of his low-rent junk from his high-speed mobile device. Guys, for the most part, hate the competition, unless they’re certain they’re going to win.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

Addendum: I am informed by an Extremely Reliable Source that Ms Harding was poking fun at a Slate piece by Simon Doonan, specifically this one.

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Strike while the rod is hot

Once again, the topic of discussion is twofold and highly Googleable: “Robert Stacy McCain” and “speedo.” Note that “speedo” is not capitalized; we are not, in this instance, referring to the scanty swimming (yeah, right) garment, but that large probably-circular gauge on the dashboard:

People wonder why I drive this way and I answer that I have no choice. It’s not just professional necessity, although the need to save time from Point A to Point B is a strong argument in favor of high-speed driving. And there is also the hereditary factor, the hillbilly NASCAR gene that inspires me to drive like a moonshiner fleeing revenuers. More than either of those factors, however, the reality is that when you have to drive a lot of miles — and our total mileage [Wednesday] was 479 miles — driving fast helps relieve the inevitable fatigue. It’s not just the adrenalin rush of taking tight curves on a two-lane road at 75 mph, but also the constant keen-eyed vigilance necessary to avoid unpleasant encounters with law enforcement.

For that matter, even pleasant encounters with law enforcement will impede your progress toward your destination.

I usually plan for 350 to 450 miles each day during the World Tours, though I’ve broken 500 before. (Worst day ever, in terms of sheer fatigue, was Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, a hair over 800 miles, but that trip wasn’t part of the World Tours. Then again, I was much younger — middle thirties — and presumably more resistant to such ailments.)

And I have no experience with revenuers, though I did summon my inner Robert Mitchum one day in eastern Tennessee. All I can say is that Kingston Pike ain’t what it used to be.

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Rubbed beyond raw

My own experience with content scrapers has not been pretty:

This weekend post, like many from this blog and others, has wound up on a scraper site, unattributed and poorly formatted, not to mention incomplete.

There had been a link to the scraper site, which is no longer functioning.

Still, “not pretty” doesn’t compare to what happened to Maggie:

My biggest offender is FavStocks.com. As I look through their many posts, I see numerous bloggers who are blogging friends, and I’m fairly sure their content is scraped as well. To make it worse, FavStocks has Google ads on its site and so benefits monetarily by our original work. As I worked to stop FavStocks this week, I found one of my articles on, wait for it… CBS News with credit to FavStocks. That’s CBS Market Watch at a markets.cbsnews.com url. I have found another on the CBS site, but don’t have time to search for more.

I could be snarky and say something about SOPA/PIPA here — “Apparently CBS doesn’t mind piracy if it gets them traffic” would do the trick — but the more important issue, at least down here at my level, is whether we’re cutting our own throats by offering full-text feeds instead of excerpts. Maggie has decided that yes, we are, and therefore she won’t be doing that anymore:

Instead of receiving the full post in inboxes, subscribers will receive summaries. It’s the only option I have to stop the content scrapers.

At this end, I’m still evaluating the situation.

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Some utility room

The price of natural gas has dropped below $3, and while this drop isn’t yet reflected in my gas bill — ONG is still vending it at over $5, that being what they paid for it however many months ago they contracted to purchase it — it was still startling to see this month’s electric bill and gas bill within about $3 of each other. (The budget around here contemplates one being high and one being low, but if they’re going to match one another, it helps if neither of them are particularly high.)

Curiously, CNG down at the OnCue at 49th and Western, which had sat for $1.49 for so long, has gone up to $1.85 in recent weeks. I’m guessing customers are paying for the privilege of no longer having to see that decrepit old car wash across 49th. (It’s been torn down; reportedly, the Conoco station next door will follow, as Chesapeake Energy expands its empire further.)

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Router? I hardly know ‘er

I must admit here that it never once occurred to me to give my local Wi-Fi network a funny name. I suppose it wouldn’t be that difficult — log into the router and give it the appropriate instruction — but since I generally don’t have anybody leeching off of it, I really don’t have much of a reason to crank up the guilt.

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The eye of Newt is upon you

While Emily of course questions the timing of this new Newt Gingrich revelation, there’s a greater mystery to be solved:

The real question here, though, is how a man who looks to be made of Legos kept (or keeps, for all we know) managing to convince women to have sex with him. I know power is supposed to be sexy, but let’s face it, power is not sexy enough to make up for Newt Gingrich. Nothing is. Not even the mental image of Daniel Craig shirtless on a pile of chocolate cake. The man has jowls. By all account, he has Princess Leia chained up in a metal bikini behind his desk. He probably has remnants of last night’s dinner trapped in his neck folds. Ladies, why?

Compare to, say, Matthew Jerome’s observation last spring:

Right now, in a Republican primary, Newt has all the sex appeal of a school bus fire.

Gingrich is a mere ten years older than I am, which gives me either hope or nausea. Not that there’s much difference between the two, really.

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To my amazement, there’s not a Downfall parody of this — yet:

Annotated extracts of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf will be republished in Germany next week for the first time since the Nazi dictator’s fall in 1945, the British publisher of the text says.

Peter McGee says “a brochure of 12 to 15 pages” will be published on January 26 “in which extracts from Mein Kampf will be printed on one side and commentary from a well-known historian on the other”.

Germany banned Mein Kampf after World War II; the rights to the book were assigned to the state of Bavaria after Hitler’s death. Presumably to the horror of content providers, it’s not too hard to find online.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Off to the document dump

I have been, I admit, not particularly anxious to see Mitt Romney’s tax return, except perhaps to compare its thickness to, say, that of a James Michener novel. Bill Quick, however, finds this sort of thinking unacceptable, and says so in no uncertain terms:

If Mitt wants to keep his finances or anything else private, then he needs to remain a private citizen. But the moment he comes to me and asks me to vote for him, he forfeits his rights to privacy.

The notion that politicians should have the same rights to privacy as those who are not seeking to rule us is one of the main contributors to the corrupt-to-the-bone state of American politics and governance today. People who “aren’t interested” in the past, the nature, the character, and records, and the deeds of those who are asking us to vote for them simply aren’t thinking very clearly.

It’s a case — hell, it’s a whole shipping container — of denial: if every closet door were opened and every skeleton dragged into the light, we’d quickly discover that the names we’ve been putting on our ballots belong to, as Cormac McCarthy once said, “thieves, derelicts, miscreants, pariahs, poltroons, spalpeens, curmudgeons, clot-polls, murderers, gamblers, bawds, whores, trulls, brigands, topers, tosspots, sots and archsots, lobcocks, smell-smocks, runagates, rakes and other assorted and felonious debauchees.”

And then, of course, we would weep, not so much for our sad state of governance, but for ourselves and our pitiful efforts at oversight.

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Captain Obvious checks in

Diana was still alive hours before she died

Gee, ya think?

(Original Twitpic by @_RosieT. Spotted by the Advice Goddess.)

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D. C. hustlers

No, not those guys. I mean the Washington Wizards, who simply outhustled the Thunder tonight en route to a 105-102 win that nobody except Kevin Durant imagined. (Durant, always the realist, pointed out before the game that however woeful the Wiz might be, “we’re 2-2 against them.”) And now 2-3.

How did this happen? The Wiz went after every ball that went by, outrebounding OKC 52-43, including 19 off the offensive glass: Washington earned 59 second-chance points. John Wall worked his tail off, scoring 25; Nick Young got 22 of his 24 in the second half, and the on-again-off-again Andray Blatche was definitely on, picking up 12 points and picking off 10 boards.

The Durant-Westbrook Axis of Scoring was busy most of the night — 69 points between them — but they didn’t get much help from elsewhere, nor did the long ball fall. (Only four of 19 treys all night; Nick Young had five all by himself.) Worse (worse?), the Thunder stumbled their way to 21 turnovers, and you can’t do that against West Sheepskin Middle School, let alone an actual NBA team, even one that was 1-12 coming in.

Hubris? Maybe. Scott Brooks is probably wondering why he can’t look up “Nemesis” on Wikipedia right now. And if the Wizards can beat the Thunder, what’s going to happen against the somewhat less horrible New Jersey Nets Friday Saturday night? The fly on the wall at the next practice will be getting an earful, you may be sure.

Addendum: Royce Young hits on the same bit of shtick I did:

Nineteen offensive rebounds to go with 21 Thunder turnovers. You give Edmond North’s middle school team that many extra looks at the basket and you play with fire.


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Are you listening, Miuccia?

Jennifer, in her not-so-secret identity as Stiletto Girl, explains why Prada should send her their 2012 shoe collection “inspired by American classic cars”:

I like cars. I can drive a standard in 4 inch stilettos… I took a home defense shotgun class in 3 inch heels.

Pretty persuasive. But what about the shoes? Here’s one of them:

2012 Prada heels

The ’59 Caddy tailfin notwithstanding, that’s kind of a cute shoe. Then again, being Prada, it probably costs as much as a transmission rebuild.

And how many women do you know who can work all three pedals in four-inch heels? (My own answer: “Not enough.”)

(Original photo via AutoGuide.com.)

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Oral D+

The entirety of a spam comment, left at another site I run:

Electric toothbrushes vibrate at a very high speed.

Next time someone tells me truth is its own defense, I’ll just show them this.

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Singularly unilluminating

I’ve been kvetching about the Malfunction Indicator Light — sometimes called the “Check Engine Light” — for quite some time now. In fact, I once devoted an entire Vent to the accursed thing:

[T]he warning system is designed to give the motorist as little information as possible: you get a light on the dash, with two levels of severity — either it’s blinking or it’s not — and nothing more. The idea, of course, is that you’ll take the vehicle to a Qualified Service Technician, who will then plug in the appropriate black box, decipher what’s stored in the car’s computer, and make the judgment call. After all, mere drivers can’t be expected to know how these things work.

And as a shade-tree mechanic, I’m somewhere on the poor-to-fair continuum. I admit it. But I always resent the sort of thinking that says that people need to be protected from information. What would it cost to get a five-character readout on the dash that shows the actual code involved? Six, seven dollars? It’s a thirty-thousand-dollar car, fercrissake. At least I’d have some idea whether I’m facing a $100 repair or a $1000 repair, a matter of great interest when I don’t have $1000 to spare, which I don’t.

Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky attacks from the same angle, though much more forcefully:

You’d have to guess, either ignoring it and hoping it’s nothing, or taking it to a shop and hoping you’ll be able to pay for whatever the repair turns out to be, a repair performed by a for-profit enterprise based on information you as an owner have never seen. Making valuable information about a person’s own property inaccessible only enables uninformed judgment and the possibility of fraud.

Says Torchinsky, if they can mandate stuff like tire-pressure sensors, they can damned well mandate something like this:

[W]e need a federal mandate that bans the generic “check engine” light in new cars and instead requires, on dash, OBD-II codes and a basic description. The only rational reasons it hasn’t happened yet range from a best-case scenario of simple manufacturer desire to build as cheaply as possible, to an actual deliberate campaign of forced ignorance in order to keep dealer network profit streams. Neither of those reasons — or any in between them — are valid or acceptable.

There’s also a petition, though I really don’t expect anything to come of it, Congress being obsessed for the moment with their new Copyright Police Kit. Any hell that doesn’t immediately swallow up Lamar Smith (R-Disney) isn’t worthy of the name.

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Culture-free zone

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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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