Spam fail

This is the next step beyond “Your comment is being held for moderation”:

Comment moderation was enabled so that you can’t post comments on the blog. Yes, you specifically. Your comments will not show up. Not now, not ever. No one will ever see your links through this blog. No one will ever click on them from here. No one will see whatever kind of spammish website it is that you want them to see. You may post infrequently or frequently, weekly or daily or annually. You may try to sneak them in by including a vague phrase in English that, if I were very stupid, could be considered a comment on a blog post. Usually, betting I’m stupid wins you money, but not this time. I know it’s wrong and I will need to ask forgiveness for doing so, but I pray you develop carpal tunnel syndrome from all your typing. In the meantime, you may waste a fraction less time than you do now by not attempting to comment anymore. Persistence is futile. You will be ignored.

Some of us could use this as a macro.

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You just can’t rouse good rabble these days

You know, maybe Cloward and Piven weren’t so damn smart after all.

A quote from Donkey Cons, by Lynn Vincent and Robert Stacy McCain, reproduced on McCain’s Web site:

The welfare explosion of the 1960s was the brainchild of a group of Columbia University professors, including Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward and crusading New York anti-poverty lawyer Edward Sparer. They saw welfare as a means to shatter “patterns of servile conformity” among the poor, transforming them into a force for revolution.

Yeah, right. Mikey NTH, in comments:

Boy, did they ever get that wrong! Revolutionaries have to have some self-discipline; putting people on welfare just results in drugged out drunk petty thieves who watch daytime television.

Somewhere there’s a guy with a $500 car with a $1000 stereo system and a bumper sticker that says I’M A DRUGGED OUT DRUNK PETTY THIEF AND I VOTE.

On the other hand, servile conformity is rather easily observed at a lot of levels besides the Permanent Underclass. And you can see some of it on daytime television, assuming you get C-Span.

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W. Thomas Forrester has his doubts

And so will you, perhaps:

One’s attitude about oneself, and the treatment one receives from others, might be affected, in some small but measurable way, by stigmatic or salutary labeling due to one’s name. If names affect attitudes and attitudes affect longevity, then individuals with “positive” initials (e.g., A.C.E., V.I.P.) might live longer than those with “negative” initials (e.g., P.I.G., D.I.E.). Using California death certificates, 1969-1995, we isolated 2287 male decedents with “negative” initials and 1200 with “positive” initials. Males with positive initials live 4.48 years longer (p<0.0001), whereas males with negative initials die 2.80 years younger (p<0.0001) than matched controls. The longevity effects are smaller for females, with an increase of 3.36 years for the positive group (p<0.0001) and no decrease for the negative. Positive initials are associated with shifts away from causes of death with obvious psychological components (such as suicides and accidents), whereas negative initials are associated with shifts toward these causes. However, nearly all disease categories display an increase in longevity for the positive group and a decrease for the negative group. These findings cannot be explained by the effects of death cohort artifacts, gender, race, year of death, socioeconomic status, or parental neglect.

These conclusions were subsequently refudiated by two individuals without middle names.

(Via Francis A. R. Krebs.)

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Charge that up for you, ma’am?

Actually, it appears to be self-serve, but no matter, maybe; the parking garage at Portland, Oregon’s World Trade Center now has its own electric-vehicle quick-charger, which, if you have lithium-ion batteries, can boost you to 80 percent of full charge in 20 to 30 minutes.

This strikes me as a sensible location, since (1) Portland has a solid core of greenish individuals who might be on the waiting list for, say, the Nissan Leaf — there might even be a Tesla or two around town — and (2) a parking garage is a likely location for these things, since presumably you’re going somewhere and might be gone for 20 or 30 minutes. (Then again, there’s the question of whether Oregon drivers can be taught to fuel up their own cars.)

This may not be the first public-charging station in the States — there’s a different-looking sort of device in Vacaville, California — but I figure that if EVs are going to be anything more than the nichiest of niche vehicles, there will need to be charging stations in both metropolises and cowtowns.

Portland’s charger is free, but then you’ve already paid $3.00 to get into the garage.

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Creepy Old Guy mode

Stacy McCain has the video of David Letterman’s apparent first encounter with Zooey Deschanel, and regarding Dave’s tendency to perv on the female guests, he remarks:

The thing is, before the sexual harassment stuff made headlines, I’d always thought of Letterman’s hubba-hubba routine with female guests (e.g., famously, Drew Barrymore) as a sort of ironic sarcasm thing. But the geezerly nudge-wink ceased to be funny after we discoverd that Letterman’s been shagging the office help since … well, forever.

Then again, Drew was up to the task of taking matters into her own hands.

Extra bonus perviance: In McCain’s comment section, the topic briefly turns to, um, me.

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Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend’s Beck

This is actress/fashion designer Marissa Ribisi, whose twin brother (yes!) is actor Giovanni Ribisi.

Marissa Ribisi

And actually, she and Beck were married in 2004; they have two children.

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Proposal for a new heat index

What we have evidently isn’t descriptive enough. From Educated & Poor:

Current conditions in Small Town, Georgia, as of 11:00am (and I quote): Sunny, 85°. Humidity: 80%. Feels like: 102°. Oppressive humidity.

Well, “oppressive” is a nice try, but I don’t think it’s a strong enough adjective. Maybe they should reword it: Feels like: 102°. Humidity: Saddam Hussein.

As LeeAnn might say, “hotter than Satan’s nutsack.” And really, it fits into the scheme, especially if you saw that South Park movie.

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For all you overachievers out there

Joan of Argghh! comes up with the definitive Not-Even-Biased Culturally-Sensitive Standardized-Test Question:

“Which macrame knot is best used in an all-natural hemp 3-d wall sculpture that seeks to depict the glories of Socialism and the privilege of serving the State while underscoring the despair of false meritocracies that discriminate against child pornographers and fail to promote a sense of universal acceptance for any and all life decisions?”

I love that. “Glories of Socialism.” Knot.

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Eventually Hartless

Last week, Mary Hart, a fixture at Entertainment Tonight, announced that she’d be retiring from the series after one more season, about the same time word got out that she’d be taking a 50-percent pay cut, what with declining show revenues and all. (Which should surprise no one: these days just about everything on television is either ET or CSI: Anywhere.) Around here, some of us tend to think of her as the Local Girl Who Made Good, her South Dakota origins notwithstanding, since the major item on her CV when she arrived in Hollywood was a three-year stint as Danny Williams’ sidekick on Dannysday, a local talk show on KTVY (previously WKY-TV, now KFOR-TV).

Mary Hart from here downI bring this up because Hart’s retirement stories seem to have rekindled an interest in an early 1980s legend: her legs, pretty much constantly on display on the ET set, were allegedly insured for $2 million. As it happens, manager Jay Bernstein (a Local Boy Who Made Good; he was born here) took out the policy for $1 million for each leg. This particular scheme dates back at least as far as cross-eyed comedian Ben Turpin, who stood to collect $25,000 from Lloyd’s of London if his eyes ever uncrossed.

Hart’s legs, however, were famously not uncrossed. The photo here is from the cover of the first issue of Egg, a hipster magazine created by Malcolm Forbes in 1990 after he failed to acquire Interview from the estate of Andy Warhol. The cover story was in fact titled “On Golden Calves: Whose legs are worth $2 million?” Egg didn’t last too long, though one of its features — Jim Mullen’s “Hot Sheet” — moved over to Entertainment Weekly, where it survived until 2006.

The actual Egg article contained, among other things, instructions on how you, too, can sit like that, and a lament from co-host John Tesh, who at six-foot-six was required to sit practically on the floor to balance out both sides of the anchor desk and provide adequate, um, viewing area for Hart’s gams. In 2000, an otherwise-unknown blogger swiped the “golden calves” line for a title.

And I may as well admit this as well: I always preferred Dixie Whatley, who had preceded Hart on ET and was last seen opposite Rex Reed on the post-Siskel and Ebert version of At the Movies. Today, she’s a sculptor of renown.

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Strange search-engine queries (236)

Another week, another batch of “You’re looking for what?” from the logs of this very site, a little something we do when we’re not hobnobbing with three dozen of our closest friends on the Spanish coast.

poem girl gruntled ane ept:  Actually, it’s here, and it’s downright feckful.

free enema girl shit spray tubes:  Are you kidding me? People are willing to pay for such things.

you broke my heart into 8 bits:  Actually, seven; the eighth is strictly for parity.

sweetly and softly you come to me:  Is this before or after I break your heart?

what do you rebuild when you rebuild a cd4e:  If you have to ask, you have no business screwing around inside a transmission.

service transmission what does it mean:  Same thing goes for you, Chuckie.

how many cylinder are in the 2001 626 DOHC?  Four, unless there’s six. Did it occur to you to pop open the goddamn engine compartment?

Electronic sighs Ordinances:  And to think we used to get by with just three laws of robotics.

can you be hypnotised to like wearing pantyhose?  On this 100-degree August day, it requires at the very least a substantial cash bribe.

hipsters oklahoma city:  On this 100-degree August day, it requires at the very least an Edna’s Lunchbox.

“clothing optional neighborhood”:  On this 100-degree August day … oh, never mind.

what is intellectual inflexibility:  Doing the same shtick every week for several years.

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It’s 50 calories just to look at it

I am not at all prepared for this: the Cherpumple, which is a three-layer cake (yellow, white and spice), each layer of which contains a pie (cherry, pumpkin and apple, hence the name).

There’s a recipe, and there’s a preparation video. Any similarity to the turducken is not even slightly coincidental.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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Hardly any static at all

Michael Bates spotted this, and I couldn’t pass it by: the Radio Annual and Television Yearbook for 1949, part of the extensive collection at This one annual is more than 1200 pages. Just having one around is pretty amazing to me, but proprietor David Gleason has all but a handful of them, from 1938 until the Annual was discontinued in the mid-1960s.

Back then, radio was AM: FM existed, but it was relegated to the back pages, and stations got only one line worth of data. Not that this was a problem, really, since there were few FM stations — Oklahoma had twelve in 1949 — and they tended to be owned by operators of AM stations, who were listed in the front of the book anyway. Of those twelve, four were in Oklahoma City, two in Muskogee and in Tulsa, one each in Ardmore, Durant, Enid and Stillwater. What strikes me as slightly weird is that so many of the frequencies have been changed over the years: ignoring call-letter changes, which are trivial by comparison, half of those twelve frequencies have been moved elsewhere in the last 61 years. I’m not sure what this means. My first exposure to FM was in Charleston, South Carolina, which had two FM stations in 1949; by the time I left in 1969, those two were still there, unchanged except for format, and a third had been added. I checked two other places I had lived, but apparently neither Austin nor Corpus Christi had FM service in 1949. (Nor was this particularly odd; North Dakota had exactly one FM station at the time, and South Dakota didn’t have any.)

The AMs didn’t move so much, except for studio locations. KTOK was still on 1400 KHz with 250 watts in 1949, though they had a construction permit to move to 1000 and go to 5000 watts day/1000 watts night. The Chicago Federation of Labor had had a 50,000-watt blowtorch on 1000 for twenty-odd years by then, so KTOK went to a directional array to avoid interference with WCFL. I suspect it’s the same wacky pattern they use today. Most Oklahoma AMs were either daytimers or operated on 6 am-to-midnight schedules; a few, though, were listed as “Unlimited.” I really wasn’t aware that 24-hour radio existed back then. (Then again, I didn’t exist back then.)

A few names I remembered, mostly in management: Matthew Bonebrake at KOCY, Frank J. Lynch at KBYE (and later at KFJL-FM), John T. Griffin of KOMA and Tulsa’s KTUL. And there was Wakefield Holley, chief announcer at WKY, who was still around in the Seventies doing TV spots.

Anent something related, the Old Grouch thinks we may regret getting away from the system we had:

I fear that someday we may get a surprise, and discover that high-power Ancient Modulation still has a place in national security. Question is, between the clueless FCC and the equally clueless consolidators, will it still be there?

Sad recent experience when driving past Lexington, Kentucky one evening: Tuned the car radio to 770, and heard not WABC, but some daytimer religious dropin.

If I ruled the world, we’d get rid of NRSC-2 (so AM could start sounding good again) and bump our blowtorches to 500KW.

Not going to happen. If anything, the FCC will probably commandeer this spectrum space and sell it off, and God knows what damnfool use will be made of the proceeds.

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Some other time

I’ve been known to gripe about anachronisms in period pieces, which are probably impossible to avoid completely but which still constitute highly-pickable nits.

Bill Buster caught one in a Mad Men rerun:

As regular fans know, this is a show that prides itself on getting everything about the period correct (1964 in this case). Anachronisms are a big no-no. So I was understandably amazed that the second 45rpm selected was an ERIC reissue by the Marcels. Right record for this period (it’s from 1961), but WRONG LABEL (the original was gold Colpix). I guess the set designer isn’t old enough to know that Eric is a reissue label, although all the other 45s shown in this short scene are correct. For those who also know their record sleeves, you can spot an anachronistic RCA 45rpm sleeve from the 70s, but that’s getting very picky.

Since Bill Buster owns Eric Records, I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about.

This is probably not in the same league as say, Joe Biden reminding us that “when this country entered the Great Depression, our president, Franklin Roosevelt, went on television and spoke of how to get this country out of it,” but one expects a higher standard from real fiction. And if you haven’t heard the Marcels lately, here’s their take on “Blue Moon.”

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You’re too pretty to work here

It’s a phrase I’m certainly never going to hear, but that doesn’t mean nobody ever will:

While many see no downside to being beautiful, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School says attractive women face discrimination when it comes to landing certain kinds of jobs.Dr Stefanie Johnson, UC Denver School of Business

In a study released in the May/June Journal of Social Psychology, Stefanie Johnson, assistant professor of management at UC Denver Business School, found that beauty has an ugly side, at least for women.

Attractive women were discriminated against when applying for jobs considered “masculine” and for which appearance was not seen as important to the job. Such positions included job titles like manager of research and development, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor.

“In these professions being attractive was highly detrimental to women,” said Johnson. “In every other kind of job, attractive women were preferred. This wasn’t the case with men which shows that there is still a double standard when it comes to gender.”

Farkers considering this matter speculated as to whether “the head researcher is a smoking hot chick,” which of course has nothing to do with the photo of Dr Johnson above.

What I want to know in cases like this is the assumed source of the perceived problems with these applicants. Is it the frustrated male underlings, who presumably will never, ever have a chance with her? Or could this be evidence for Morgan Freeberg’s theory of power and pulchritude?

There is a large, and perhaps still growing, contingent of mostly females who believe it’s quite alright for some among their sisters to be prettier than they are. And more powerful. Just not both.

Graph of pulchritude vs. power

(Note: Individual data points were chosen by Mr Freeberg. Your mileage may vary.)

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Bill and Hill and something more

William Falk writes in The Week (13 August):

Bill Clinton, Hillary, Chelsea, and Marc were at the next table, talking avidly over their dinner, and my wife and I couldn’t help but snoop. No, no — this wasn’t the big wedding last weekend; believe it or not, I was not invited. It was at a Mexican restaurant in the Clintons’ hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y., where we had met some friends. While we were perusing the menu, the former First Family strolled in. With an eye to his cholesterol intake, Bill ordered soup and vegetable fajitas. But as he talked and listened, the Big Dog kept reaching into the basket of tortilla chips, and absent-mindedly popped one after another into his mouth. Without a word, Hillary finally slid the chips basket down the table, out of Bill’s reach. It was the story of their marriage in a single gesture: Bill’s undisciplined yearning, Hillary’s vigilant determination to protect him from himself.

It is a measure of something, though what I’m not exactly sure, that this passage popped into my head while I read that:

The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.

Now Bill Clinton isn’t exactly Huckleberry Finn, but the idea that one of the duties of woman is to civilize man is still around. A blunt statement to that effect, from Jonah Goldberg:

Female equality seems to be a pretty reliable treatment for many of the world’s worst pathologies. Population growth in the Third World tends to go down as female literacy goes up. Indeed, female empowerment might be the single best weapon in the “root causes” arsenal in the war on terror.

The reason strikes me as fairly simple. Women civilize men. As a general rule, men will only be as civilized as female expectations and demands will allow. “Liberate” men from those expectations, and Lord of the Flies logic kicks in. Liberate women from this barbarism, and male decency will soon follow.

I know this much: while I had definite jerk tendencies when I got married, I veered way over into Major Jerkdom when the marriage unwound, and I suspect the long way back to Merely Difficult would have been shortened a bit were there a second pair of hands to help push.

And you just know Chelsea was taking notes that night at dinner.

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This crap has got to go

Two weeks from now, the city will take some of it off your hands at the eCycling Drop Off Event at State Fair Park. If you’ve got obsolete computer or TV or stereo equipment, haul it to the drop-off point on the 21st (8 am-4 pm), and consider it gone.

I suspect that since Free Landfill Day is coming up in September, this constitutes the city’s effort to make sure that all these electronics don’t end up buried and leaching toxic whatever into the ground.

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It’s electric!

This spring, I discovered that the Shoe Girl had enough of an interest in neon-colored underwear to draw my attention. This week, she did something about it:

Some of you may remember that I was on the search for a neon bra a-la the always amazing Miss Gwen Stefani. (Click here if you’re drawing a blank) Well I finally found one at Victoria’s Secret! Yippee!!

The Shoe Girl and her neon braThe only problem was that it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for so I had to do some serious altering.

She wasn’t kidding about “serious altering,” either: she removed the lining from the sides because she was looking for more of a see-through effect, and apparently there was enough superfluous padding in the cups to stuff a mattress.

What struck me about this, though, is that she went to this much trouble on a bra from Vickie’s, which, while hardly the lowest occupant of the lingerie totem pole, isn’t exactly what you think of as a Garment for the Ages. Then again, I suppose one would not want to cut up La Perla at seven times the price, or even Wacoal at three. And I have to applaud the Make It Work ethic, since she did indeed make it work. (What’s more, she was kind enough to tell me about it.)

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Quote of the week

Tim Cavanaugh at, on Christina Romer’s departure from the Administration’s Council of Economic Advisers:

The ordinary function of government is to destroy talented people, but Romer’s epic failure has an additional element of tragedy. As an economist, Romer did an excellent job [pdf] of establishing that New Deal stimulus failed to end or seriously mitigate the Great Depression. As an Obama team player (and poignantly, a sunny supporter of the then-senator’s campaign), she made a 180-degree turn toward pro-stimulus hocus pocus. Romer will be remembered as the main advocate of the mythical “multiplier” phenomenon, in which every federal dollar spent producers more than 100 pennies worth of economic activity. This is the kind of economics you’d expect to hear from a fine arts major.

Maybe it won’t matter on the lobbyist/lecture circuit, but at some point a person must say, “I told all those lies and this is all I get for it?”

I can’t believe I didn’t come up with that for a T-shirt.

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Finding one’s own ground

When what you believe in seems to be crashing before your very eyes.

Linguistic bonus: use of the word “there” three times in succession.

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Theron for a loop

While searching for just the right photo, I happened upon this interview with Charlize Theron, and apparently her surname, at least at home in South Africa, is properly pronounced “Thrown.”

Charlize Theron

Not that I’d argue the point.

Oh, and she’s 35 this weekend. And this was actually my second-choice shot — Below the Beltway has already run my first choice — but the backstory on it is sorta fun. This is from her 2004 appearance on the German TV show Wetten dass, and that’s host Günther Jauch allegedly checking out a tattoo. If you say so, Günther. (Another shot here.)

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