Background check

Over at Pergelator, we find a screenshot of, well, an earlier Pergelator article:

Screenshot from Pergelator

Now what was perturbing at first, of course, was that little circle just above the beginning of the second line of text, which was eventually blamed on Chrome, because it’s a Google product and when in doubt, you might as well blame Google, especially since the article was posted via Blogger, which is a Google product.

But what’s more interesting is the second complaint:

You know what else is weird? The background in the screenshot is a different color than the background here, even though they should be identical. I mean, it’s a screenshot, right?

It is. And so is this:

Screenshot from Pergelator

I took that via Firefox 26. Obviously I’m not using the same typeface or size. More important, I didn’t save this as a JPEG; I saved mine as a PNG, which works better on text and charts and graphs than JPEG, which is better suited to actual pictures of stuff.

There’s still the question of why my copy of his background is darker than my background, but that’s also pretty easily answered: his text-area background color is just a hair darker than mine. (I use flat #FFFFFF in this theme; he uses #F5F5F5 in his.) And actually, the slightly off-white is probably a bit easier on readers’ eyes.

This is not to say that I’m any kind of graphics whiz or anything, only that I’ve been at it long enough to manipulate the rudiments reasonably well.

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Strange search-engine queries (416)

Warning to Consumers: If you visited a search engine any time between the 12th of January and today, there exists a chance that your search thread may have been captured by the system logs and then revealed to the general public. If this happens to you — well, dumb luck, I guess.

what kind of transmission is in a MX6 V6 stick shift:  Just off the top of my head, I’d say a manual.

when did franklin d roosevelt provide bibles for troops thru american bible soc:  Just off the top of my head, I’d say World War II.

real big and outside nudiarist:  He’s big, but not that big. And yes, he’s probably outside, unless it’s cold out.

leawood boundaries redrawn to exclude Jewish neighborhood:  So far as I can tell, this search did not emanate from Hamas.

keem-o-sabe lyrics the electric indian:  About the same number of words as Neal Hefti’s Batman theme.

SPEEDOMETER, GEARSHIFTDISPLAY, TRANSMISSIONMALFUNCTION:  First, STOP YELLING! Then go get your car fixed, because there isn’t anything you can do about it.

Pony tales pentahouse letters:  The inspiration for about 15 percent of MLP:FiM fanfic.

is a 2001 maxda 626 ford built:  Not technically, although Ford owned half the plant at the time.

stallman has a girlfriend:  Preceded, no doubt, by “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.” See Connie Francis’ “Lipstick on Your Collar” for an example.

will a speed sensor out of a 03 escape transmission fir in a 97 mazda 626:  It might. Doesn’t mean it will work, though.

I haven’t actual credit card to berify i’m beyond age of 18 and actually 44, what now Naughty AND  Two words: “access denied.”

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And also of cabbages

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this year’s Sacramento Kings, it’s this: cheaper equals better. Isaiah Thomas, arguably the league’s best-buy point guard — averaging 19 points a game and earning under $900k a year — knocked down a torrid 27 points in the first half tonight and finished with a career-high 38. Comparatively pricey forward Rudy Gay, unnerved by being held to six points, was T’d up for protesting a call, got louder, and was propelled from the premises. By this time, though, the Thunder, who trailed the Kings 30-28 after the first quarter, had run out to a double-digit lead, and Sacramento’s failure to score for more than four minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter basically sealed their doom. They did whittle a 24-point deficit down to 13, trying everything including Hack-a-Perk. (They fouled Kendrick Perkins thrice, and Perk made three of the four six throws.) Still, the Thunder prevailed, 108-93.

Four of the five Thunder starters collected double figures, led by Kevin Durant (of course) with 30; Perk, the odd man out, still made seven. Two of the reserves — Jeremy Lamb and Nick Collison — rolled up ten points. And this was Serge Ibaka’s third game in a row over 20.

DeMarcus Cousins, surly as ever, got one of two Sacramento double-doubles, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Thompson (11 points, 10 boards) got the other. But Thomas was just incredible to behold and for the most part impossible to defend. And welcome back, newly-recovered Carl Landry, who scored six points in nine minutes.

There are still some lingering Thunder issues: Steven Adams fouled out for the third game in a row, though he made it through 17 minutes this time instead of 10 or 11, and Reggie Jackson is still having occasional flashes of “What do I do now?” How this will work out against the likes of the Trail Blazers, we’ll know on Tuesday.

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Of people and pronouns

Shorter version: if “people” = “yes” than “it” = “not appropriate.” If it gets complicated after that, well, so do people.

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The Russians are spamming

Well, actually we don’t know that they’re Russians, though they cited as a URL a post on, and they went back and forth among three two-line offerings, all apparently pitching movie rentals.

Actual text:

Новинки кино!
Смотрите фильмы онлайн

Лучшие фильмы!
Смотрите популярные фильмы

Лидеры проката!
Смотрите фильмы лидеры проката

Okay, I’m a little fuzzy on the last one, and by “I” I mean Google Translate.

Note: If this doesn’t look Russian to you, change your character encoding to Unicode.

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It’s not a pig in this particular poke

“You can’t judge a book,” sang Bo Diddley — Willie Dixon wrote it, but it’s now thought of as Bo’s song — “by looking at the cover.” A Santa Cruz bookstore apparently decided to test this premise:

The paper covers do list the genre, but not much else.

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She shoots

The right to defend yourself? India says a tentative Yes:

India has launched a new handgun for women, named after a student who was gang-raped in Delhi in December 2012 and later died of her injuries. Officials say it will help women defend themselves, but critics say it’s an insult to the victim’s memory.

In the wacky U. S. of A., this premise would be utterly inverted: Washington doesn’t think anyone should have guns except government employees, Mexican drug-runners, any of several varieties of Muslims, and Hollywood bodyguards.

About the gun itself:

In his large office on Kanpur’s Kalpi Road, Abdul Hameed, the general manager of the state-run Indian Ordnance Factory, shows me Nirbheek, the factory’s tiniest gun.

“It’s small, it’s lightweight, it weighs only 500g [1.1lb], and it can easily fit into a lady’s purse.”

Hameed speaks enthusiastically about the .32-calibre revolver, praising the “special titanium alloy body, the pleasing-to-the-eye wooden handle”.

“The six-shot gun is easy to handle and it can hit its target accurately up to 15m [50ft],” he explains, pointing out the word “Nirbheek” engraved on the barrel.

And about that name:

Nirbheek is a synonym of Nirbhaya — the nickname given by the Indian press to the Delhi rape victim, who could not be named under Indian laws. Both words mean “fearless” in Hindi.

The price is steep: ₹122,360 ($1990). Said one of the critics:

“In India, the annual income of most people is less than the cost of the gun. So to suggest that this gun will make women safer is bizarre.”

You have to wonder what she’d say if it were only two hundred bucks instead of two thousand.

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Let’s hope they sell it by today

“Spicy” tuna roll? More like “pricey” tuna roll:

Tuna roll at Whole Foods Market

Now back when I went to school, seven ounces at $27.40 a pound worked out to $11.99, though in those days I would have been distracted by the question of how in blazes something in a grocery store could possibly sell for $27.40 a pound. Today I see the beef tenderloins in the butcher’s case marked at $27.99 a pound, and I don’t even flinch.

It appears, though, that this package’s claimed item count is forty-one, and at $11.99 each, this indeed comes to $491.59. Next question: who on God’s green earth buys 41 tuna rolls at a time? Grumpy Cat?

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Almost nothing to it

Shoebunny is back, albeit with a different focus: all shoes, no celebrities. This might be just as well, given the sad state of some of the celebrity feet previously exhibited: high heels can exact a price far beyond the sticker on the box.

I’ve spoken before of my fondness for insubstantial-looking shoes, and this one borders on wispy:

B Brian Atwood Kelston block-heel ankle-wrap sandal

You’re looking at “Kelston” from B Brian Atwood. The extra B stands for — well, no, actually it doesn’t. This is a diffusion line, made by a high-priced brand to be sold at high-priced stores at prices not quite so high. (This particular example: Neiman-Marcus/$275.) The heel, at 2½ inches, is perhaps bearable. Of course, if you’ve been wearing heels since you were 12, you won’t think anything about this one; you probably won’t even consider how, um, revealing this shoe might prove to be, but perhaps you should. (Warning: slideshow; also some possibly upsetting pictures, though these are a lot less horrible than what I’ve seen in some other galleries on the same subject.)

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Bush administration

American Apparel’s new mannequins are about as un-Brazilian as they come:

This week the American Apparel on East Houston Street [NYC] put up a new window display, featuring a more natural looking mannequin. We called the shop up this morning and the employee who answered told us that the mannequins just went up last night, and he had never seen them before … “not in this configuration” (a.k.a. full 1970s porn bush showing through a high-waisted white panty). While leaving nothing to the imagination, at least this mannequin looks like she’s of a more … legal age, than say, the models used to sell the clothes online.

This isn’t going to spread to other stores in the chain, though:

American Apparel’s Ryan Holiday tells us, “The display was created for that store specifically.”

Note: Every possible “merkin” joke has already been used.

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Future sexagenarian

As I may have mentioned somewhere along the way, Christie Brinkley is about to turn 60. (The actual date: 2/2.)

Lots of good red-carpet pictures out there, but I opted for this out-of-the-limo shot from earlier this week:

Christie Brinkley exiting limo at LAX

I have my reservations about the shoes, but it’s not like anyone needs to heed my wardrobe recommendations.

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Beyond triplicate

A good threesome is hard to beat. Think Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Dewey, Cheetham and Howe; Manny, Moe and Jack. It was a shock to the system to discover that there was originally a fourth Pep Boy. But that’s nothing compared to this:

You’re familiar with the elves, Snap! Crackle! and Pop! Their onomatopoetic names match the very cereal they’ve repped since the ’30s — Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. In the years after that, the trio has withstood the influx of cartoon competitors like the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun, the Cookie Crisp thieves, Cap’n Crunch and many more. Lost in the shuffle, however, was a fourth Rice Krispies elf named Pow! His short life is a time-capsule of an era when everyone was dreaming big.

Say, kids, what era was that?

From 1948 through the mid ’50s, the brothers sponsored the popular children’s program The Howdy Doody Show. But in early 1950, Kellogg’s marketers snuck in a fourth friend, Pow. The company said in an email to, “[Pow] appeared in two TV commercials. The spaceman character was meant to exude the ‘power of whole grain rice.’ He was never considered an official character.”

And why don’t you hear about that fourth Pep Boy? Perhaps because he cashed out of the company early — or maybe because his name was also Moe.

(Thanks, M. A. Larson!)

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A little bit of history

The one question hovering near the ceiling of the ‘Peake for much of the night: “Who gets the win with the buzzer-beater?” The last two Thunder-Warrior games have been won exactly that way, each team winning at home. But as the fourth quarter went on, the horn was forgotten, and the capacity (of course) crowd concentrated on watching Kevin Durant add to The Legend. With 2:45 left, KD did something he’d never done before in the league: score his 53rd point. He followed with his 54th, and the Thunder methodically dispatched Golden State, 127-121, winning the season series 2-1.

The paint was busy tonight: OKC scored 50 there, the Warriors 40. But Golden State’s strength is the long ball, as demonstrated by the Swish Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who knocked down 12 of 19 from across the street. The Warriors in aggregate went 16-27, a hefty 59 percent, and 52 percent overall. Where they fell down was at the foul line, where they went 19-34 (55 percent). Curry finished with a stirring 37 points (and 11 assists), and Thompson dropped in 26.

Almost any other night, the Californians would have ridden those numbers to a victory. But Durant was having none of that. Those 54 points came on 19-28 shooting, 5-9 from outside, 11 of 13 free throws. And his teammates didn’t stand back and watch, either; Serge Ibaka hit a tidy 8-11 for 21 points and collected eight boards; Kendrick Perkins scored six, which is a lot for Perk, and reeled in 12 boards; Reggie Jackson, despite a few minutes in Scott Brooks’ doghouse — gotta pick your shots better, RJ — came up with 14 points and six dimes.

You have to figure that the last couple of nights were unusually gratifying to the Thunder; after forcing the Rockets into the wrong end of the record book last night in Houston, they came home and didn’t exhibit any signs of back-to-back torpidity. They’ll have a day off before the much-improved Kings (5-5 in their last ten, as are the Thunder) show up Sunday.

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Rewind thirty years

And just imagine what life would be like if it hadn’t happened this way:

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios decision, also known as the Betamax case, which paved the way for such innovations as your beloved DVR.

In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled that Sony could continue to sell its Betamax videocassette recorder, overruling the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judgement that held Sony liable for consumers’ copyright infringement.

The lawsuit, which began in California District Court in 1976, charged that because Sony manufactured a device that could be used for copyright infringement the company was liable for infringement committed by consumers of Betamax.

Justice John Paul Stevens’ majority opinion in the case deemed home videotaping legal in the United States. The ruling also bore an important principle that has been used time and time again in lawsuits — if a product has a substantial, legitimate use it can be sold, even if some consumers use it illegitimately.

Two things happened within five years of this decision:

  • Sony began building VHS VCRs under license from JVC (1988);
  • Sony became a content provider on its own, taking over Columbia Pictures (1989).

And if that court ruling had gone the other way? Sony might have had to sue itself.

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You’re doing it wrong

Will Truman doesn’t remember asking for advice, but:

There was an older couple of ladies behind me in line at the supermarket making goo-goo eyes at the baby. When we were outside, one of them informed — not in those precise words — that I was handling the unloading process wrong.

My process is: Take the cart to the car, unload the groceries, return cart, take baby from cart and carry her with me back to the car.

Her order was: Put the baby in the car, start the car with the air conditioning or heater on, unload cart, and then return the cart.

When I was small enough to ride in the cart, there was no chance the parents would leave me in the car for more than a couple of seconds: I’d lunge for the controls. And there being nothing even close to child restraints in those days, I’d almost certainly reach them.

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And no corned beef, either

Nancy Friedman did a Visual Thesaurus piece about the word “duds,” and, as usual, put up an excerpt on her own blog. Near the bottom, she mentioned a trademark that was abandoned a few years back: “MILF Duds.”

Feigning horror, I attempted to post the following comment:

I truly hate that term “MILF” and the occasional variations thereupon; there’s no reason I should care about someone else’s prurient interests.

TypePad wasn’t having any of this, and popped up this cryptic message: “Not a HASH reference.”

Now TypePad is a relative of Movable Type, which is written in Perl, often disparaged as a “write-only” language: any code that actually works will be unreadable. I guessed that this might be some sort of Perl issue, having seen a few in four years of running MT, and found several TypePad users complaining about it.

This is not to say that I understand PHP, which is at the core of WordPress; but PHP, so far, has never kept me from complaining about acronyms. And there really is no reason why I should care about someone else’s prurient interests; in fact, most of the time, I can scarcely bother with my own.

Update, 3:25 pm: She asked if I’d try to post the comment again. This time it worked.

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