A certain adhesive quality

This is the random-ish CAPTCHA served up by a page at National Review Online:

Sticky Wicket

One imagines William F. Buckley, Jr. himself ordering insertions into the little gizmo’s presumably limited vocabulary.

Either that or some Jerseyites on the staff are sneaking out to this place in Mercer County.

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Third-world problems

The JerseyNut reports on an innovation of sorts:

Green fans are getting a buzz out of a new hand-cranked vibrator that makers say could help save the planet.

The eco-sex toy — dubbed the “Earth Angel” — uses a small wind-up handle to power up rechargeable batteries inside the casing.

Truth be told, I had no idea that vibrators generally had such a big carbon footprint.

The JerseyNut, in the meantime, would like to know:

[C]an someone explain to me, incidentally, why battery-operated cars are good, but battery-operated vibrators are bad? Or is that only the type of question only a dumb ol’ Republican would ask?

Trust me on this: if there were a clockspring-powered car that could get out of its own way, people would buy it, especially if they could persuade the yardman to do all the winding.

(Via Robert Stacy McCain, who notes that this product is not yet available from Amazon.)

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Just plain “maintain” drains mainly from the brain

Given the price of service these days, knowing how to fix stuff around the house is an absolute necessity these days:

If I didn’t have the ability to make a lot of basic repairs to my own appliances and devices, I’d have been out thousands of dollars more over the past several years, replacing the lemons that US corporations seem to manufacture so well.

Then again, manufacturers would much rather you not be able to fix things at all:

[T]he hippy washing machine threw a code. Yes, a code, because while our dryer is circa 1996 and uses the same technology as 1970 dryers, our washing machine has the pants of fancyness. It has CODES, people. Codes that tell you nothing. We basically will do anything to avoid another visit from the Hippy Washing Machine Repair Guy, if only because his Mercedes-Benz makes my Murano feel ashamed of itself. Again, to the internet, where the root cause was either a Faboozle or a Schlamozzle, but to get to those things, Ward actually had to build wooden stands so that they could tip the washing machine on its side. I am not making this up. The man built temporary wooden STANDS to fix our washing machine.

Suddenly I have these almost warm feelings toward Sears, Roebuck and Company, from whom I bought all these big bulky appliances just packed full of “obsolete” technology, on which I’ve managed to spend $0.00 on repairs in the last eight years. (Let’s see if the Appliance Jinx kicks in.)

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A plea for sturdier furniture

It surprises me not at all that I never thought of this. From the pertinent Wikipedia page:

After spinning, the combination is called (example: right hand yellow) and players must move their matching hand or foot to a dot of the correct color. In a two-player game, no two people can have a hand or foot on the same circle — the rules are different for more players. Due to the scarcity of colored circles, players will often be required to put themselves in unlikely or precarious positions, eventually causing someone to fall.

Not that I’m knocking strenuous activity in this particular environment, mind you. Then again:

There is no limit to how many can play at once, but more than four is a tight fit.

I’ll, um, take your word for it.

(From this Nicky Keet tweet, directed to actress Angie Harmon, who evidently thought it worthy of sharing with her followers.)

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Pennants, anyone?

There just aren’t enough flags around, says Joe Lieberman:

Joseph Lieberman, the independent senator from Connecticut, sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page this week expressing his opinion that Google-owned blogging platform Blogger should provide a button that would let readers of Blogger-powered blogs flag “terrorist content,” according to a report.

In the letter, Lieberman says that alleged pipe-bomber Jose Pimentel, who was arrested by the New York Police Department last weekend, used a Blogger-based blog to spread hate-filled screeds and links to bomb-making instructions.

From which we can conclude that Senator Lieberman doesn’t have a Google account, because if he had been logged in and had dialed his browser to any Blogger page, he’d have seen something like this:

Standard Blogspot header

Unless, of course, one is prepared to argue that “terrorist content” does not qualify under existing definitions of “abuse” or under Google’s Terms of Service generally.

Lieberman is apparently prepared to argue exactly that:

The letter continues:

“In September 2008, in response to a previous request that YouTube not allow terrorist content on its servers, Google changed its YouTube Community Guidelines to expressly ban terrorist content. In November 2010, Google introduced a ‘flag’ button for terrorist content on YouTube. I continue to appreciate and commend these important first steps, but I am disappointed that Google has not developed a consistent standard throughout its many platforms. Unlike YouTube’s Community Standards, Blogger’s Content Policy does not expressly ban terrorist content nor does it provide a ‘flag’ feature for such content.”

Link added by me. Said Content Policy appears to fail to meet Lieberman’s standards because neither the word “terrorism” nor any inflected version thereof appears on the page.

In practice, however, just about any damn blog can be flagged for just about any damn thing. The toolbar you see above was snipped from a blog that has the temerity to run news and photos of nudists, a blog which obviously someone deemed flagworthy.

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Handshaking protocol, as it were

For the moment, we will tiptoe quietly past those of us still mystified by simple Cat 5:

Men are from Bluetooth, women are from Wi-Fi

(Snagged from Gerard Van der Leun.)

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Strange search-engine queries (304)

We chowed down on Thursday, invaded the malls on Friday, and took two days to recover. Now look what we get:

1886 Mazda rx7 blown transmission:  At that age, you might as well take it out back and shoot it, though probably not with a 1911.

pentacle of success:  You have to be holding it at exactly the right angle.

maureen dowd thinks she’s beautiful:  You have to be holding her at exactly the right angle.

meatloaf aday keeps the doctor away:  He’ll do anything for health, but he won’t do that.

“what a friend we have in cheeses” “pop culture junk mail”:  Two great phrases that go great together.

wile e. coyote breakaway mug:  Part of Acme’s new Gifts and Gadgets line, just in time for the holidays.

why was my bail bond $4000 in midwest city oklahoma:  They frown on people taking a leak in the middle of 29th Street.

Women Who Wears short shorts and short skirts:  In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s almost December. Have you considered a trip to Chile?

nutritional value of turkey testicles:  120 percent of your recommended daily allowance for nuts.

don’t begin sentences with by:  By whose authority do you issue this command?

is there a chance resetting com for blinking o/d light for explo will fix it:  About the same chance as having Zoe Saldana ask you out. If I were you, I wouldn’t be spending anything on a corsage.

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Taking Manhattan

Should we ask a New Yorker what we’re missing by not living in the Big Apple, we might be told of the abundance of cultural activities, the cornucopia behind the multitude of storefronts, the ever-present buzz of a city that not only never sleeps, it hardly takes so much as a coffee break. We would probably not expect to be told this:

I wonder how many marriages and other relationships, if taken out of New York, would fail. My unscientific guess is quite a few. The city is itself a massive safety valve; no matter how cramped your quarters, you can leave them at any time and actually go somewhere else and still return home in ten minutes. The teeming, rushing life all around buoys the spirits; aesthetic pleasures of all kinds abound. One can have myriads of secret lives there — I don’t mean affairs or other insidious secrets, but, rather, tiny, mundane ones: favorite places, favorite trees on favorite streets, favorite cups of coffee at favorite diners. It seems to me that in small towns, or in the suburbs, one has fewer means of release, fewer tiny secrets to maintain, and one is therefore much more exposed.

That “go somewhere else” means something. Where I live, ten minutes will get you out of the garage, down two or three traffic lights, and back again, and you haven’t been anywhere at all.

And one has only to look at the annual OKC voting for Best Whatever for the past few years to notice that it’s always the same seven or eight names. (More people have cast ballots for Ted’s Café Escondido, I suspect, than have ever actually eaten at Ted’s.) I can’t imagine that happening in New York.

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Behind in his work

An excerpt from the Wikipedia bio of photographer Raphael Mazzucco:

In 2011 he played himself in the August 28 Season 8 episode entitled “The Big Bang” (Episode 94 of the series) of Entourage where the series main character Vincent Chase was being shot for the cover of a magazine. The scene features a coffee table book by Sean Combs and Jimmy Iovine called Culo.

This might not matter so much except for this one thing: it’s an actual book. “Culo” probably needs no translation, but just in case, here’s a quote from Mazzucco himself:

“The conversation about creating a book of asses is not your garden-variety cocktail party fare.”

The obligatory trailer music video for the book is viewable if you are Of Age or willing to fib to YouTube.

While I might want to snicker at the idea of a pricey coffee-table book dedicated to a single body part, in good conscience I’d also have to note the existence, aided and abetted by Donna Karan, of a 1997 book called Leg, which I actually bought, so my argument is invalid.

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Story by, um, who cares?

This is ostensibly a joke:

Two development execs meet in the hallway. One says, “Hey, what’s cooking?” The second one, extremely excited, replies, “I just bought this script. It’s the most perfect piece of writing I’ve ever seen. Characters, story, EVERYTHING about it is A-number-one. Academy Award time.”

“That’s fantastic,” says the first one, dripping with envy. “So when do you go into production?”

“As soon as I get the rewrite.”

Writers are indeed the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole, as Bill Quick explains:

[T]he powers that be there think that all a movie needs is a big package of director, actor, and producer. Any writer can provide enough of a script for them to hang their great acting and marvelous special effects on, thus guaranteeing a hit. In Hollywood, writers are dogs, and treated as such. Which is why Hollywood movies have, as a rule, been awful of late. The writer may have produced a good script, with a story not riddled with holes, but by the time the producers, the director(s), the actors, and their various boyfriends, girlfriends, advisors, and hairdressers have finshed tinkering with it, it sucks. And when the project crashes and burns, because the critics said the story made no sense and left viewers feeling they’d just been force-fed twenty pounds of gray sludge, they blame the writer(s).

There’s a Farkism to the effect that “Hollywood is out of ideas.” Were I running a studio, I think my first official act would be to kill any and all projects with working titles containing any number greater than 1, either in Arabic or Roman numerals. (My second, of course, would be to update my résumé, because my days would be numbered.)

Disclosure: All I know about screenwriting is “One page per minute,” and I wouldn’t bet my life on that.

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Journey, interrupted

Kimberly Webb Joyner, wife of six years to Outside the Beltway proprietor James Joyner, has died of causes thus far unknown: she slipped away early this morning. She was forty-one.

This is one of those circumstances when nothing you can say makes the slightest bit of difference — maybe. I can, however, say a prayer for the departed, that she arrive on the Other Side without incident — and offer my condolences to the grieving widower, and the two daughters he must now raise alone.

Best to leave it at that, I think.

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Why don’t we do it in the, um, Avenue?

Charles Marohn of the Strong Towns Blog has the Beatles on the brain:

While we were looking at maps and touring the town [St. Croix Falls, WI], I realized that the North/South streets were all named after founding fathers (Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, etc…) and the East/West streets were all named after states (Alabama, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc…).

This reminded me of my secret ambition to create a city where I could name all of the streets after the Beatles (or simply rename the streets in an existing city). It actually started with a thought when I was a kid that it would be really cool to live at the corner of Twist St. and Shout Ave.

Blue Jay Way, of course, exists: it’s in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset. George Harrison briefly rented a house there.

And there’s a small development on the edge of Union, Missouri, in Franklin County west of St. Louis, which actually has a number of Beatles-related streets, including Penny Lane, Sergeant Pepper Street, Yesterday Way, and the block-long Let It Be Boulevard.

There is, of course, no shortage of Abbey Roads.

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Basketball eventually starts

Reports that the NBA lockout may be coming to a close reminded me of this Nike commercial, shot last week right here in the Big Breezy, in which Kevin Durant demonstrates that Basketball Never Stops:

And neither does the late, great Sam Cooke.

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Who were you again?

Four million people live in Harris County, Texas, which might be enough to explain why some of them have names like Heavenleigh Flores and Shi’tia [sic] Alford and Patronne Dextrexxe Brooks.

Still, this is my (non-Houstonian) candidate for Name of the Year:

Chardonnay Hooker

This is the slightly-glurgy story behind the screen image.

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Dr. Z administers euthanasia

In May, exactly four Maybach automobiles were sold in the States, which means that you could have seen this coming:

Daimler AG will shut down the super-luxury Maybach brand to end almost a decade of losses from an auto that sells for more than $350,000 when a revamped version of the flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes to market in 2013.

“It would not make sense to develop a successor model,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in remarks confirmed by Daimler spokesman Marc Binder. “The coming S-Class is in such a way a superior vehicle that it can replace the Maybach.”

Daimler hasn’t made a profit on the Maybach after deciding to reintroduce the 1930s-era marque in 2002, Zetsche said.

The upcoming S-class wouldn’t have to be that much superior, given Jack Baruth’s dismissal of the current Maybach:

It seemed like such a wonderful idea: build a car that combined the styling of the Hyundai XG300, albeit without some of the more tasteful details of that model, and the interior of the thoroughly-reviled W220 S-Class, albeit with carved-wood buttons. Drop a twin-turbo V-12 and some retractable curtains in it. Paint it in two-tone schemes that wouldn’t have passed muster of a ’78 d’Elegance, and charge three hundred grand for it. Oh yeah, name it after a car nobody remembers, just to make absolutely certain there’s no brand equity.

Come to think of it, who in the world actually bought a Maybach? Besides Rush Limbaugh, I mean.

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Quote of the week

Senator John Thune endorsed Mitt Romney for President, citing among other things Romney’s work at organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, prompting this analysis from Smitty:

[H]aving led the Olympics may be the optimal pro-Mitt argument:

  • The Olympics and the U.S. government both claim to be about some idealized notion of humanity, yet mercilessly exploit the youngest segment of society.
  • Both organizations are ruled by a core elite that re-distributes wealth wherever they go.
  • Neither outfit seems to produce anything of actual economic value.

And both tend to produce the maximum level of pomp and circumstance in even-numbered years, now that I think about it.

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