Not a household word

In 1976, Cliff Richard put out an album — his twentieth, not including compilations and side projects — cheekily titled I’m Nearly Famous.

Which, coincidentally, is about the way I’d describe myself.

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Sheikhy reasoning

A couple of years ago, a hardened Saudi criminal — a woman who insisted on driving a car — pointed out that “There’s nothing in the Islamic religion that prevents women from driving.”

Unable to get around that minor detail, a sheikh has come up with another pretext:

Sheikh Salah al-Luhaydan has warned them that their health could be at risk if they get behind the wheel.

He told Saudi news website “[Driving] could have a reverse physiological impact.

“Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees.”

Best response to this came from a friend on Facebook:

Umm, yeah. Thanks for letting me know. Oh, and hey — the year 1200 called and they want their science back. [eye roll]

Bunch of damn air bags.

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Still I believe in wonder

Taking it easy on the not-so-high sea is singer Zlata Ognevich:

Zlata Ognevich taking it easy

Born in 1986 in Murmansk, Zlata grew up in Ukraine; in 2010 and 2011, she sought to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest, but did not make it through the competition. In 2013, she did:

Ukraine finished third in the final, behind Denmark and Azerbaijan. Interestingly, the three top songs were all in English.

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Training the Congressional Budget Office of tomorrow

Why we hate Common Core instruction, Part 4,307:

Actual arithmetic homework question

Well, okay, fine — but if you already have the answer, why would you need a simultaneous estimate of the answer? Do we have such little faith in ourselves? And when I fill out my tax return, can I round $291 in income down to $200?

Once again, Tom Lehrer proves prescient: “In the new approach, as you know, the important thing is to understand what you’re doing rather than to get the right answer.”

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Fanboy protests notwithstanding, there’s always something wrong with the new release of just about anything. Here, Teresa scolds Apple:

The new fonts in iOS 7. If you are over a certain age, let’s just say (kindly) the default font sucks pond water. Apple really needs to have people over the age of 30 doing font development for them. *sigh*

If you’re having this issue, follow her directions.

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Strange search-engine queries (400)

A crisp fall Monday morning — your weather may vary — and another stack of weird search terms, harvested from our own super-high-quality, better-than-bad (they’re good!) logs.

1969 john deere model 60 tractor carburetor linkage diagram:  Really, tractors in that era were as simple as, um, farm implements.

“schools” “white flight” “force whites”:  Why do I suspect this is someone’s school assignment?

how to add an aux input to a 1998 626:  Trust me, you’d be better off adding a new head unit.

scam “check for buying a car”:  You should assume that anything whatsoever that appeals to your sense of greed is a scam.

man deliberately amputated penis after diagram:  Boy, I’d hate to see that diagram.

eric burdon and drug abuse:  Not to mention the occasional wine spillage.

will ford bring back the probe:  Not likely. Your loins will have to go on aching on their own.

hoon it might consern:  Careful. You might be setting yourself up for a Probe.

post menopausal closet communist hag:  Are you serious? None of our communist hags are in the closet anymore.

www. what is cyclical phenomenon?  Say, didn’t you ask this last week?

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0.9-hit wonder

The Playboys of Edinburg, as per their name, originated in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, and eventually took up residence in Houston. They cut two 45s for the small Pharaoh label; the second, “Look at Me Girl,” was picked up by Columbia (43167) for national distribution. It was, if you ask me, a pure AM hit, because the sizzling sibilants were somewhat diminished by AM’s comparatively narrow bandwidth.

Playboy James Williams wrote the song. The Columbia waxing bubbled under the Hot 100 for a couple of weeks; a cover version by Bobby Vee topped out at #52. Columbia kept them around for two more singles, after which they signed with 1-2-3, distributed by Capitol, which issued three more singles; the last of them, a cover of “La Bamba,” was promoted to the parent label. They then regrouped as POE, and came up with a concept album, Up Through the Spiral, about Edgar Cayce (!), which appeared on Uni 73099; the almost-title song, “Up Up Through the Spiral,” was issued as a single but did not chart. (The weird outro reflects the song’s placement at the end of Side One.)

There exists footage of the Playboys’ “Low Expectations” Tour in 2012. And most of the Playboys’ original recordings can be had on the ’60s Essentials compilation, issued in 2011. They still sound overly sizzly.

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Brain E10 away

Day before yesterday, a young lady was asking about Creeping Ethanol:

When I bought the car [’98 Dodge Caravan] new, called Chrysler and they said it would be best to not use ethanol gasoline. There are getting to be more and more gas stations where you can’t even get pure gasoline without the ethanol and if they have it, it’s priced 15 cents (or more) a gallon over the price of the gas w/ethanol. Am I just being paranoid? My car’s been running well with no problems other than regular maintenance and the body’s in good shape so it’s worth it to hold onto a while longer.

I answered this, as I am wont to do, to the best of my ability:

Ten percent is not necessarily a killer; I’m doing well with E10. (It’s no good for things like lawn mowers, though.) Automakers don’t like it and will always recommend against it.

If you see any E15, however, it’s over the line, and in fact the EPA warns against it.

Several others answered along similar lines, and we all got exactly one downvote, probably from the person who sent me this nastygram:

People that claim that world food price BS , mistate the facts ,,,the truth is corn produces 7 gallon of alcohol per bushel of corn ,,,,,the kill the world guys say 2 gallons

I live in the corn belt of michigan , and before the FFV we were paid by the federal government millions per year to NOT GROW CORN , yep that is right I was paid a full wage to do nothing for years , yep YOU paid me to NOT plant a 1000 acres ,,,now how dumb is that ???

and I burn 50% alcohol in a car that is not supposed to burn it ,,,and it works fine and gets better milage and the E85 is $1 per gallon cheaper ,,,so what the hell is going on with you libs and big oil ,,,,do you realize Brazil cars burn ALL ethanol ,,,those vechiles were designed in Michigan , why the hell can’t we do it as well ??

I suspect that the other 50 percent, she’s actually drinking, or converting directly to commas.

And the Renewable Fuels Association, which presumably is not likely to understate its numbers in matters of this sort, claims a mere 2.8 gallons per bushel.

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The least possible thing

A chap on reddit reports that he got sacked for visibly being a fan of My Little Pony:

I’m a guy in his late 30s who works(or worked) a regular boring 9-5 Job. On my work computer I had decided to set a picture of Applejack as my desktop background, I figured it was no big deal, nobody would see it anyway and it was certainly no different than the other guys in my office using pics of their favorite sports teams or their cheerleading squads. Anyway a few weeks after having no issues with it I got called in by my boss who essentially tells me it’s weird and it makes people uncomfortable that I have a “tv show for little girls as a background” (how did he know about it?) but I acknowledge this, keep my head down and change it back to the standard default background.

The comfort of coworkers evidently was set on a downward spiral at that point:

Which brings us to this past week. On Wednesday, some of my co-workers were talking about it and Brony culture. I tried to talk with them about it and I subsequently got mocked. It was a few guys against me which I thought was weird as I don’t make fun of the stuff they like, but all the sudden it’s cool to make fun of a tv show I like? Then on Thursday somebody (or somebodies?) had told some more people in the office about it and people started making little jabs in the hallway about liking shows for girls and stuff, I did nothing to bring this shit on, but they were letting me have it. Then yesterday my boss called me into his office, told me people were uncomfortable working with me (I do nothing but sit in my little hell-cube and do work all day, I hardly interact with anybody) and that they were going to have to let me go. WTF? Can they even fire me for that?

In most states, they probably can, unless he can demonstrate that there was some form of proscribed discrimination involved, and so far as I know, pony fans are not a protected class under federal or state laws.

Of course, had he been, say, a Breaking Bad fan, I doubt if anyone would have said a word, unless he’d been keeping Walter White™ brand meth at his desk.

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Such language

After the fracas a few years back over a new expurgated version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we now have: backlash!

Instagram photo by Alfred Yankovic

“Weird Al” Yankovic posted this to his Instagram account, declaring: “I can’t believe they’re selling this. HIGHLY inappropriate.”

And they’re not. In the full-sized version (see Al’s link), or even from this one if you have better vision than I do (as who doesn’t?), you can read the ISBN number in the barcode, from which you can find the correct cover for this collection. Still, it proves once more that Al knows the Zeitgeist as well as anyone — and that there’s no chain he can’t successfully pull.

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There’s a club

And it’s being wielded by Universal Music Licensing Group, which objects to lyrics from songs by the Smiths being dropped into panels from Peanuts. So before the whole thing is hit by a double-decker bus full of lawyers, here’s a favorite panel:

Lucy van Pelt quotes Morrissey

Hang the DMCA, say I.

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A measure of one’s self-respect

So Buzzfeed had this list of “40 Things Every Self-Respecting Man Over 30 Should Own,” and the Instant Man allowed that he owned most of them.

Commenters were generally not impressed. Said someone with the subtle name “Stallion”:

There are a few items on that list that a genuine man would have. The rest are just for metrosexuals who want to pose as a man. In fact, the entire article reeks of metro-ness.

Example: Lee Marvin or Charles Bronson might have, at most, 5 of those items.

At this point, it became necessary for me to read the list, whereupon I discovered I had twenty-two out of forty. On the Charles Bronson scale, I suppose this puts me at Charles Nelson Reilly. Then again, CNR was a genuine badass.

Update: Bill Quick is 40 for 40.

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It’s the flop part that hurts

Reasons why — other than the fact that it’s darn near Octoberyou should spurn the lowly flip-flop:

I’ve said it before but allow me to remind you that I consider flip-flops hazardous footwear. Sure you all laugh when I suggest imposing a ban on the irritating, unsanitary and pointless shoes, that is of course assuming you are daring enough to categorize them as such. Ponder this: how can something that does not cover most of the foot be considered a shoe? They are nothing more than sheets of material attached to the foot by a flimsy strip of rubber wedged between two toes. Now that sure sounds comfortable. How the heck can anyone consider that suitable footwear for anywhere beyond the confines of the house?

Unfortunately, my mother quite literally fell victim to the hidden dangers of parading around while wearing footwear on par with bedroom slippers. Of course, she was quick add that it was never her intention to go outside wearing the flapping footwear, however, I know better. I’ve been warning her of the potential hazards associated with wearing flip-flops for years. Does she listen? No, and will she now? Doubtful.

I don’t actually own any flip-flops, but this is hardly a testament to my good judgment. Consider that I own one decent pair of slides, and I fall out of them all the time: apparently I go up and down about 1.3 shoe sizes during the day, and the slide actually fits for maybe twenty minutes. The flip-flop doesn’t have this issue, really, but if I’m this clumsy with a shoe that’s supposed to stay on, what’s going to happen with a shoe that doesn’t give a damn whether it stays on or not?

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Inferior toroids

According to Vi Hart, those would be any bagels other than New York bagels.

Well, I liked it.

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I’m being followed by a rose shadow

Gül Gölge is a Turkish model/actress/TV host, born on this date in 1981 in Izmir. Here we find her involved with Western culture, sort of:

Gul Golge in a Starbucks

At 5’11¾”, she is seriously tall. The Turkish edition of InStyle Home put her on the cover last spring:

Gul Golge on InStyle Home

There exists a brief backstage video made in connection with the magazine cover story. Again, she seems rather Westernized.

Then there’s that name: “gül gölge” means, more or less, “rose shadow.” (Google Translate suggests “pink shade.”) And no, she’s not actually “following” me in any sense: her Twitter account is private, and anyway she’s been married for six years.

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Quote of the week

Africa need not be a pestiferous hellhole — except that folks of the David Attenborough stripe seem to prefer it that way:

The dirty little secret of Africa is that if you got rid of the TseTse fly and allowed irrigation, that Africa could become another Kansas (an area that was once called the “great American desert”, and where there was once a severe famine … now with irrigation, and modern variations of wheat developed in the Ukraine, it can feed the world).

Of course, David wouldn’t like that: it would mean prosperous farmers where his beloved animals now live.

As for all those starving children: David has an opinion about them too: “And we are blinding ourselves. We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That’s barmy.”

yeah. It was similar British Malthusian thinking that led to the millions of dead Irish in the potato famines of the 1840’s, where grain was exported and locals starved to death or died trying to migrate to other lands on “coffin ships”.

Of course, mankind is a blight upon the landscape — well, some of mankind, anyway. And it’s always amusing to see people trying to explain how it is that they, personally, are not.

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