Strange search-engine queries (237)

In case you haven’t been here before, this is one of those exercises in silliness wherein we sift through whatever log entries we have from the past week, separate the wheat from the chaff, and print the chaffiest. All applicable state and Federal regulations have been more or less (okay, mostly less) complied with.

“shave my legs” and “nearsighted”:  Then again, your legs aren’t that far away, unless you’re a supermodel.

List of “bands with seven members”:  Oddly enough, this includes Three Dog Night in their prime.

“What does it take to fire a public school teacher”:  Well, an act of Congress certainly won’t do it.

worst wheels ever:  The hexagonal ones created back when pi equaled three.

eternal server error:  This must be the otherwise unused HTTP status code 666.

why is my boat listing to one side:  It’s none of my business, but shouldn’t you be looking at the boat instead of the Internet?

could Ramen noodles cause me to break out in hives:  If you ate nothing else for seven days or so, you’d probably look forward to hives.

Squidward I Can Hear You Masturbating:  This is not the way I remember SpongeBob.

pics of nude women doing obstacle courses:  The real obstacle, I suspect, is the sudden accumulation of gawking men along the sidelines.

what does it feel like when transmission fails?  Like all the money has been sucked out of your wallet.

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The manlier arts

Out of this list of thirty proposed Irreducible Characteristics of Man, I manage to qualify on twenty-point-something. (Regarding #5, while I have definite carnivore tendencies and have been observed in public downing a brewski, I have never actually felt compelled to set foot in Hooters; I’m told that the experience is valued more highly than the food, which runs counter to my post-Molly Murphy’s idea of what a restaurant ought to be.)

That said, though, several of the items listed aren’t at all specific to the male of the species, nor should they be. As a practical matter, I know more women than men who have slogged their way through Atlas Shrugged (#23). And #27 perplexes me:

He keeps his opinion when everyone else agrees with it. He keeps it when just about everybody is disagreeing with it. He only abandons it when the evidence tells him he should.

So doing doesn’t make you male, or even masculine; it makes you sensible.

Note: I do not consider this exercise to be the equivalent of getting in touch with my feminine side. And trust me, I have good metrics for that.

(Suggested by Andrea Harris’ take on the same list.)

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Which technically stands for Quick and Dirty Position Paper, Part II. (Part I is here.)

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Adrift off Statin Island

This is not my idea of a Happy Meal:

Fast food outlets could provide statin drugs free of charge so that customers can neutralise the heart disease dangers of fatty food, researchers at Imperial College London suggest in a new study.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Cardiology, Dr Darrel Francis and colleagues calculate that the reduction in cardiovascular risk offered by a statin is enough to offset the increase in heart attack risk from eating a cheeseburger and a milkshake.

Tom Naughton, no fan of statins, doesn’t like this idea at all:

[A]pparently these researchers are convinced that saturated fat clogs your arteries the way tobacco stains your teeth: a little bit with every dose. Eat a burger, grow some plaque — unless, by gosh, you pop a statin immediately to halt the process.

If, heaven forbid, we start serving fast food with a side of statins, here’s what will happen: five or 10 years from now, you’ll see headlines about a new study that links fast-food consumption to muscle weakness, depression and memory loss. The blame, of course, will be assigned to the burgers. Michael Jacobson of CSPI will seek out the nearest TV camera and declare Quarter Pounders “Alzheimer’s in a bun.”

Apart from the fact that Jacobson, the Perez Hilton of health, is never far from a TV camera to begin with, Naughton’s prediction looks good, though really it’s pretty easy to see that fast food, if it’s still permitted to people outside the Federal government five or ten years from now, will be blamed for everything from crib death to the heartbreak of psoriasis.

(From Margi Lowry’s Facebook page. I think I owe her a McRib.)

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All we ever wanted

What, the First Family on holiday again? Kwitcher bitchin, says Ric Locke:

I am wholeheartedly and unreservedly in favor of politicians taking vacations whenever and wherever they like, with their families, staffers, hangers-on, and pets in attendance. There is no place on the planet where they can spend, in a week, one-tenth of what they toss in the toilet with single votes or pen-strokes while “on duty” (so to speak). If we could keep the entire Congress in Pago-Pago on a first-class expense account, we could balance the budget in six months.

Okay, maybe nine months. Who’s counting?

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Bell curves and flat heels

He who sells shoes occasionally muses about shoes:

The store I work at carries women’s shoes in sizes 6 through 11. I’ve noticed many black women cannot fit into a size 11 and are regulated to the men’s section. On the other side of the equation, I’ve noticed that many East Asian women cannot fit into a size 6 and must wear kids shoes. Retail stores in predominately white areas carry a shoe size selection that caters to white people. From personal experience, I know that the range of shoe sizes in East Asia is geared towards smaller sizes, but what about shoe stores in the ghetto? Do they carry shoes over size 11 for women? Foot Locker, you want to hire me as an analyst? R/K theory, rearing its ugly head once again, but highly useful for “targeted retail marketing strategy”. One thing is for sure, big shoe stores are racist, and it is imperative that representatives of the NAACP and Asian American organizations bring this issue up.

As long as we’re finding horrid inequalities here: How is it that the size-12 woman, relegated to the men’s section, can fit into a size eleven? (Worse yet, she wears a 10, maybe a 10½, in Britain.)

Oh, for the wisdom of Al Bundy.

I imagine a similar situation occurs in stores that sell bras, but I am not an expert on this subject, so don’t quote me on it.

I am so not going there.

Personal note: A former girlfriend wore a size four; she could literally stand in my hand.

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Downtown Octopus

You know, I always wondered about those bright lights; it would never have occurred to me to attribute them to cephalopods.

Mark Vidler does lots of this stuff.

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A bit short on begats

As life devolves into Short Attention Span Theater, I probably should have seen this coming: @biblesummary, a Twitter account which updates once a day with the next chapter, boiled down to standard tweet length.

And actually, this isn’t a bad idea when you think about it:

Will I really be able to do justice to all 176 verses of Psalm 119 in 140 characters? Probably not. But the challenge of being so brief will force me to engage with the text and understand the key themes. And that’s partly the point in the first place.

At the moment, @biblesummary has a couple thousand followers, including me. King James was not available for comment.

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A national Halleday

Well, okay, the Feds aren’t working any less this weekend, but it is Halle Berry’s birthday, in commemoration of which we have two photos, five years apart, both presumably Rule 5-worthy.

Halle Berry 2002

Above, from a 2002 magazine shoot (I seem to remember it was Marie Claire); below, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2007.

Halle Berry 2007

Some other folks on the Walk of Fame in the same general vicinity (in front of the Kodak Theatre): Muhammad Ali, Burt Lancaster, Nathan Lane, Joanne Woodward and Kermit the Frog.

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Propped up

Proposition 8 is shelved for the moment, and Jenn gets a marriage proposal as a result:

His reasoning for asking now was that he thinks that the judge’s ruling on the stay means he is confident that his ruling on Prop. 8 will stand on appeal. I think it indicates just the opposite that the judge is not confident so he is try[ing] to force the 9th circuit and the Supreme Court into a corner by increasing the size of the pool of people who will be affected. I don’t want to get married and then have that yanked out from under my feet.

I’m not quite sure how, or technically whether, to respond. I figure the 9th Circuit will agree with the judge, and should the Supremes wind up with the case, it’s pretty much a matter of how Mr. Justice Kennedy is feeling. My first instinct is to counsel caution, although somewhere before the second — let’s call it Instinct 1.5 — I generally recommend that people pay no attention to me in matters of the heart or related organs.

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This ain’t my first rhodium

Discover’s Numbers section (September) gives 2500 as the number of dollars you’d have to pay for one ounce of rhodium, “the most expensive element on earth.” I assume that this means “among the elements of which you can actually buy an ounce,” since elsewhere in the piece is a reference to astatine, which, says Wikipedia, “is currently the rarest naturally occurring element, with less than 30g estimated to be contained in the entire Earth’s crust.”

To check this rhodium price — yes, boys and girls, I do occasionally check this stuff — I went to Kitco, which had a sidebar ad to the effect that “You can actually own rhodium?” Which apparently you can. The price was around $2300 an ounce at the time. (All these ounces, incidentally, are troy ounces.)

Not that I have any to sell. There might be a teensy bit in Gwendolyn’s emissions equipment, but I’m not messing with that. And I have a vintage-1968 glass-bead rosary — one bead has a fragment sheared off, and there’s a broken link “temporarily” replaced by a length of wire — with a rhodium-plated crucifix and Marian figure, a relic of my high-school days. I’m not about to give that up either.

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It’s the Chicago-suburb way

Libertyville (!), Illinois has apparently gotten its Governing Panties into an uncomfortable wad, what with this prodigious threat on the horizon:

Tuesday night the [village] board unanimously called for a moratorium on building permits and certificates of compliance for “personal service” businesses — which is what [Mark] Hoffmann and his building’s owner had thought the new business would fall under.

And what nefarious business was Mr Hoffmann planning? A tattoo parlor:

“It is my personal opinion that it is not a good idea to have a tattoo parlor downtown,” [Mayor Terry] Weppler said. “Two of my three kids have tattoos. I understand it is common among younger people and I was impressed with his presentation.”

Where did Weppler’s kids get their ink? Well, there are three other tattoo joints in Libertyville, but none of them are as horrifying to the board as Hoffmann’s. Said trustee Donna Johnson:

“Everyone might not carry your same moral fiber,” she said, “and that is what is driving my desire… I’m definitely not comfortable (with a tattoo shop) in downtown.”

This in a town with an annual Goose Dropping Festival.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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I think we’ve had enough August

From KRTV, Great Falls, Montana:

The National Weather Service in Great Falls has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for elevations above 7000 feet for snow, which is in effect from midnight tonight until noon on Friday.

Snow accumulations of up to three inches are possible above 7000 feet, with a mix of rain and snow mix between 6500 and 7000 feet. The advisory also calls for north-northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph.

Locations affected include Logan Pass, higher elevations of Glacier National Park, and the Potomac/Seeley Lake area.

I am predisposed to hate winter, but after this week, during which the temperature has yet to drop more than a tick below 80, even snow starts to seem, um, nice.

(Via Dynamo Dave, who is glad to be out of this heat.)

Addendum: The National Weather Service is now trying the power of suggestion:

Screen shot from NWS, 13 August 2010, 50 degrees

Not working, guys.

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Good, rhymes with “hood”

The Downtown Ranger has come up with descriptive ratings for the city’s near-northside neighborhoods, from “Best of the Best” down to downright “Dangerous.” While I think his assessment is probably pretty close to spot-on, something he says before he ever gets to the ratings is pivotal:

The importance of placemarking is that if people do not know what neighborhood they are in, they won’t care what neighborhood they’re in. They won’t even be curious about it. Oklahoma City’s neighborhoods are extremely lacking in demarcation, which impairs the inner north side’s sense of identity.

Comparisons are made with Tulsa, which calls out neighborhoods on the street signs on major corridors, and St Louis, which has some entrance markers that make contemporary “gated communities” look like a rural petting zoo.

And here’s the catch: you ask any resident of any of the highly-rated neighborhoods where they live, and they’ll not only tell you the name of the neighborhood, but six or seven really nifty things about it. Get into the lower ranks, and you should be surprised if they know the name of the neighborhood at all. Hence the importance of placemarking.

There’s also a call for a name for this area besides “near-northside.” I’m thinking in terms of “The Loop,” the area enclosed by I-44, the current I-40, and I-235, despite the fact that this technically puts me a few blocks out of The Loop.

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The truck remains unloaded

Rather a lot of people who don’t live in Major Metropolitan Areas have been subjected to a speech which boils down to “Jed, move away from there!”

I suspect, however, that few are urged to move to the imposing metropolis that is Boise.

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Those who must be kept at a distance

Actually, my parents were married. To each other, yet.

That said, I wanted to give this an airing:

[T]he lessons best learned are the ones you pay dearly for. I had always prided myself on being more like Elinor Dashwood, only to make the dismal discovery that my expectations and behavior were nearly identical to that of Marianne’s when she saw Willoughby in London. In conclusion: MEN ARE BASTARDS, RAMPAGE LIKE AKASHA THE QUEEN VAMPIRE AGAINST THEM — I jest! Well, about parts of it…

I just liked the idea of melding, however briefly, Jane Austen and Anne Rice.

As to the story that prompted this outburst, well, it’s none of my business.

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Tart response

To be one of the cool kids, you need to eschew swiping stuff from the actual creator.

And that goes for you basic-cable stars too:

I need fresh air so I ask my daughter to join me on the deck and for entertainment, we peruse the latest copy of Food Network Magazine. She’s already been though this edition so I ask her to tell me what’s good inside. She reads off a title — “Melissa D’Arabian’s PETITE ORANGE AND RASPBERRY POCHETTES” and shows me the photo of a plate full of jam tarts.

Well, they’re clearly somebody’s tarts, but they’re not Melissa D’s: the recipe dates to, at the latest, eight years before she was born.

Shenanigans are being called. (Actually, it’s a bit stronger than mere shenanigans.)

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As heads bow

Let us pray:

Bacon Prayer

This may or may not have been written for Bacon-Fest (The Other Fundraiser), which takes place on the 28th in the Waldo district of Kansas City, around 75th and Wornall. Beneficiary of all this bacon-y goodness is the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City.

Oh, and just who is the patron saint of bacon? St. Anthony the Great, of course.

(Seen at Nicole’s.)

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Nary a coattail

A pertinent Jeri Askins quote:

“Every time I’ve run a campaign, especially the statewide races, there are areas where Democrats say I’m too conservative,” Askins said. “Then as soon as I win, the other side tries to tie us to partisan politics outside the state of Oklahoma.

“I really am a centrist. I don’t try to target any particular group. I just try to appeal to the average Oklahoman.”

Well, that would certainly explain this:

The campaign manager for Lt. Governor Jari Askins in her bid to become the first woman governor of Oklahoma made it clear today there will not be an invitation to the White House to have the President visit Oklahoma.

“We don’t have any plans to have any Washington politicians campaigning for the lieutenant governor,” said Sid Hudson, the Askins campaign manager. “We’re campaigning for the governor of Oklahoma and we’re going to be asking lots of Oklahomans to help us in this campaign.

And I was so looking forward to a perfunctory meet-and-greet with Joltin’ Joe Biden.

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A Goodyear to be hacked

Back in the spring, I made some noise about how the protocol used in OBD-II was something less than secure, although up to that point it had only been hacked via direct connection.

But that was then, and this is current:

The tire pressure monitors built into modern cars have been shown to be insecure by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina. The wireless sensors, compulsory in new automobiles in the US since 2008, can be used to track vehicles or feed bad data to the electronic control units (ECU), causing them to malfunction.

Oh, joy.

The pressure sensors contain unique IDs, so merely eavesdropping enabled the researchers to identify and track vehicles remotely. Beyond this, they could alter and forge the readings to cause warning lights on the dashboard to turn on, or even crash the ECU completely.

Unlike the work earlier this year, these attacks are more of a nuisance than any real danger; the tire sensors only send a message every 60-90 seconds, giving attackers little opportunity to compromise systems or cause any real damage.

Still, a tiny packet can pack a wallop if it’s properly — or improperly — programmed.

(Via Autoblog.)

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