Someone to see

Or maybe someone not to see: Felicity Jones has signed to play Nelly Ternan, secret mistress to Charles Dickens, in Ralph Fiennes’ adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s Ternan biography, The Invisible Woman, due out in 2013.

Jones, twenty-eight, isn’t exactly known for period pieces, but here she is doing Shakespeare:

Felicity Jones in The Tempest

Specifically, she’s playing Miranda in Julie Taymor’s slightly revisionist take on The Tempest (2010). (How slightly? Well, Miranda’s book-drowning magician parent is played by Helen Mirren.)

Claire Tomalin, incidentally, has a new biography of Charles Dickens on the shelves.

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Even in his youth

The cover of Mad #513, on sale Real Soon Now:

Cover of Mad 513

Bonus points if you can explain the title.

(The Idiotical.com is the Mad blog.)

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Spent watt?

Em contemplates the cost of electricity:

There’s an interesting poll on Slashdot that asks what people are paying for their electricity per kWh (kilowatt hour). There seems to be a wide latitude of energy prices across North America and that contrasts starkly with the sort of cartel-a-like prices we seem to pay in the UK though it’s not an entirely accurate picture as many in North America are charged generation, transmission and distribution prices in addition to the given per kWh price (I assume that’s similar to the standing charge that many UK energy providers employ).

I was interested to see how common lower priced first tier pricing for the first x number of kWhs is rather than the insane reverse situation that occurs in the UK where the first x number of kWhs are often charged at a higher rate thus low consumption is penalised because that majority of a low energy use bill would be charged at the first tier higher rate. In the UK some are literally charged a premium for their frugality or energy efficiency.

No doubt she’d be perplexed by the rates I pay, which are lowish by North American standards, more so by British, but which change three times a year.

(Following is from the 2009 OG&E tariffs, which are current as of this writing.)

  • Customer charge: $13.00 (£8.30) per month.
  • Summer (June through September): $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh up to 1400 kWh; $0.0968 (£0.0622) thereafter.
  • Winter (November through April): $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh up to 600 kWh; $0.0471 (£0.030) thereafter.
  • May and October: $0.084 (£0.054) per kWh.

A chart I checked from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change — quit laughing, dammit — says that in 2010, the average customer paid £366 ($569) for 3300 kWh, which is about 17 cents per kWh. From December ’10 through November ’11 I used a startling 9194 kWh, though half of that was rolled up in just three months, and it’s probably obvious which three months. Incidentally, almost all of this was at the 8.4-cent rate, plus taxes, franchise fee, and my bird-shredder subscription.

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May be used as a bloatation device

An anguished tweet that came down the line yesterday:

Why is it that every time there’s a new version of a software package, they add all kinds of extra crap that sludges up the functionality that people originally bought it for? If cars were like software, 2012 models would do laundry, cook bbq, and play the zither — badly.

Okay, technically that was two tweets, as you probably guessed from the length of it, but I’ll worry about that later. Right now I have to go ask the man at Nissan — the third man, probably — if there’s an OEM zither attachment for my car.

(Normally I credit these, but this is what you call a Protected Tweet, and I am disinclined to break the tweeter’s privacy, especially on some other platform.)

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There’s such a thing as too much planning

Or perhaps too much procrastinating. Can’t really tell with this one:

The regional court in the western city of Osnabrück said the defendant, identified only as 57-year-old Siegfried K., arrived at the bank branch … with a toy gun in May. He seized a female “hostage” in the lobby of the building to demand a €10,000 ($13,483) ransom from bank employees.

Under the general heading of “Well, there’s your problem”:

“This plan failed however due to the fact that the building has not held a bank for more than a decade but rather a physiotherapy practice,” the court said in a statement.

Bild [newspaper] said the bank had moved out 17 years ago.

And it’s probably just as well that Sieggy brought only the toy gun; had he a sword, he’d have broken it for sure.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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It’s your nickel

If you own a share of Ford Motor Company stock, anyway:

Ford shareholders will receive a dividend of 5 cents a share next March 1, the first dividend the automaker has made in more than five years, the company said [Thursday].

It is the first dividend paid by any Detroit automaker on common stock since July 2008 when General Motors suspended its 25 cents dividend. The new GM did resume paying a 64.7-cents a share dividend last March on its Series B convertible preferred shares.

With about 4 billion shares outstanding, the dividend will cost Ford about $200 million per quarter.

Both S&P and Moody’s recently raised Ford’s credit rating: it’s still below “investment-grade,” but only a little. And Ford’s massive $26 billion mountain of debt at the end of 2008 has shrunk by half.

(Via Autoblog.)

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Hey kids, what day is it?

From Know Your Meme’s year-end roundup:

The Californian teenage girl Rebecca Black’s rise to national fame with her autotuned pop single “Friday” was a moment of realization for many aspiring singers and producers: you don’t necessarily have to be the best at what you do to be famous. Originally uploaded in early February, the video began receiving massive exposure on hubsites like YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr after coverage by The Daily What on March 11th, 2011. Within a week, the video gained over 10 million views and the digital single entered the top 100 on iTunes. Following a round of Black’s news media appearances, “Friday” was endorsed by several celebrities, including Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber, Stephen Colbert and Snoop Dogg.

Rebecca herself tends to credit Tosh.0 for the breakout, though TDW certainly was a factor, and the fact that TDW is under common ownership with Know Your Meme is purely a coincidence, right? (Nope. Chuck Testa.)

This, however, perplexes me:

Screen shot of tweet from a Miley Cyrus fan

Yeah. You remember J. Robert “Robby” Montana, don’t you?

RB responds:

I see tweets like this, and it makes me so frustrated. I really like Miley, so it’s frustrating that people would make up things like this to make someone look bad. Please don’t believe all of the rumors about anyone. 99.9% of the time it’s gossip, and is created to eliminate boredom and give people something to talk about.

If you hear a rumor about me, and you don’t see it come out of my mouth, see it written by me here on tumblr or on my twitter (@MsRebeccaBlack) it most likely isn’t true.

Incidentally, there was a story earlier in the year about how Miley had dissed Rebecca — but apparently that didn’t happen either.

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Venn in the course of human events

The busiest day this site has ever seen came from a swiped Venn diagram, so you should not be surprised that I am not at all averse to poaching another, this one from the estimable Steven Wildish:

Venn diagram by Steven Wildish

A significant fraction thereof can be legitimately considered Unexpected.

(Fished out of the Cheese Aisle and sent my way by Gradual Dazzle.)

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Quote of the week

In response to this incident, Tam goes for Bhumibol’s Out or Die:

Is this what we shot all those damned redcoats for? So some foreign king can charge an American citizen with lèse majesté?

Teddy Roosevelt would have landed marines already. That fascist Wilson would have sent Black Jack Pershing at the head of a column of cavalry. (Er, metaphorically, at least, since Thailand’s rather a swim, even for a cavalry horse.) Heck, even that yuppie farmer Tommy J would have had the U.S.S. Constitution delivering broadsides in the mouth of the Chao Praya by now.

I expect the present-day White House to issue an apology any minute now.

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Label corrections

Just a few of the Hairpin’s “More-Accurate Bath & Body Works Fragrance Names,” just in time for the holidays:

  • Pop Tarts for Dinner, Again
  • I’ve Been Listening to the Same Taylor Swift Song on Repeat Since Yesterday
  • All I’ve Eaten Today Are Six Almonds and Some Cheetos Dust
  • I Ran Out of Deodorant

What’s the antithesis of “tantalizing,” anyway?

(Swiped from Michele Catalano’s Facebook page.)

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More people who should die

I’m making a list, excerpting it twice.

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You gonna tell him he can’t?

Hello Kitty Visa card issued to a Chuck Norris

I didn’t think so.

(Via FAILBlog’s WIN!)

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Though not a majority

These days, the most popular car color is white; in North America, 20 percent of 2011 cars were painted white. Which probably explains this:

I remember my car, in general. That is, I know it is white, four-door, has a sun roof and a spoiler and a rubber antenna. I just don’t know what it looks like. So the other day I walked up to a car that looked pretty much like mine, clicked the unlock button, and it didn’t light up. I got in anyway and noted with pleasure that it was cleaner than I had remembered. Then I looked at the dashboard and discovered that it was a Toyota. I had gotten into the wrong car! I quickly exited. Why does everyone have white cars anyway? What’s up with that?

I have no idea. Then again, I have a white car — Aspen White Pearl, says Nissan — with a sun roof and a spoiler, but no rubber antenna.

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I’m just mad about saffron

Or anyway, I would be, if I knew what the hell it was:

I know that sometimes in a rice dish there’s supposedly “saffron”. Like, “rice, with saffron”. What I would not be able to explain is why. Does “saffron” taste like something? What? Why would you add it to rice? What does it look like before you’ve added it? Does it come in a stick, a jar, powder? Can there be too much “saffron”? Not enough? At the risk of embarrassment let me lay it all on the table and state that these are all complete mysteries to me.

Well, one thing is for certain, there’s not a lot of it in a rice dish: at retail, saffron sells for somewhere upward of a thousand dollars a pound. (I actually found some in the McCormick spice rack at the supermarket once: it was ten bucks for a sixteenth of an ounce. A trip around the Web suggests it’s up to $17 or so now.)

Then again, if you live where the climate is appropriate, you can always grow your own.

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District of Clumsier

Robert Stacy McCain had to stay over the night before last in Washington, and getting there was decidedly less than half the fun:

Raining cats, dogs and other small mammals in the D.C. area today. This means traffic was even worse of a mess than usual. Washington is full of people who can’t drive worth crap on a clear sunny day, and a rainstorm is an almost insuperable challenge for these incompetent vehicular menaces. The District of Columbia is the only place in America where they offer the driver’s exam in braille, and the laws against “discrimination” are so stringent in Washington that it’s considered a human-rights violation to deny a license to the mentally handicapped.

Just once in my life, I’d like to hear someone argue that “the drivers where I live are just fine, thank you very much.”

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In a fowl mood

We have here Teija Vesterbacka, wife to Rovio head Peter Vesterbacka, in a dress that commemorates the company’s most popular product:

Teija Vesterbacka in an Angry Birds dress

Which may or may not have something to do with this:

Rovio is about to open the world’s first official Angry Birds retail shop in Helsinki.

Hello Kitty, watch your back.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet. Photo by Matti Matikainen.)

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