And it’s $15 for a towel

It was Jeff Jarvis who first suggested flying nude as a security measure in the wake of 9/11. The suggestion may or may not have been tongue-in-cheek; little did he know that the TSA was going to inspect people’s naughty bits on a regular basis.

There is, however, another argument in favor of boarding in the buff:

Toilets in jumbos are so small that anyone larger than a jockey needs the skills of a contortionist to unzip, unbuckle, unbutton and remove clothing.

It takes a six-point turn just to wash your hands — if you can work out how to use the taps — and then you’ve got to do it all in reverse. All while worrying about the queue forming outside the door.

How many people would actually go for such a thing? Not many, I suspect, though the number is certainly nonzero:

In an entirely unscientific survey conducted by Trip Advisor, nearly four in five of the 22,091 respondents said they were willing to get their gear off when high in the sky, if it meant that other people on the flight would also be under-dressed.

The upsides include reduced plane weight, no-fuss body scans and plenty of good visual amusement when your flight is delayed.

There is, of course, a downside:

[Y]ou’d want to hope there’s no turbulence while the hostie is waving a pot of piping hot coffee above your jewels.

Even now, readers are wondering what the hell airline is it that actually serves hot coffee these days.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

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The glamorous life of the lexicographer

For one thing, there’s that whole business about how “glamour” seems to lose its U when the “-ous” suffix is hung on it. And remarkably, this is not the stuff of daydreams:

Let’s be perfectly clear here: all the glamour and intrigue that most people attach to lexicography is a fiction. Samuel Johnson, in his great dictionary of 1755, defined “lexicographer” as “a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge,” and he is not lying. My day consists of sifting through citations of words in context and puzzling over how to succinctly describe the glob of dust and crud that makes up a dust bunny. (I settled on “aggregate.”) Lexicographers do not sit in sleek conference rooms and make your language. That’s what you — the reading, writing, speaking public — do. Language is democratic, not oligarchic. That’s where the real glamour is.

L’Académie Française might beg to differ, but unlike the sons and daughters of Webster, they actually seek to make the language. Sometimes they even succeed.

(Via this tweet by the authoritatively glamorous [or was that “glamorously authoritative”?] Nancy Friedman.)

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Kicked-up pumps

So where do you find the perfect black pump? Some thoughts on the matter:

My perfect black pump would have a ½-inch platform, smooth leather, a 3 inch heel, an almond toe and, at most, a $200-300 price tag. I don’t want any annoying spikes or studs. I have had my fill of them.

The readership here tends toward a somewhat lower price point, so I expanded the criteria a bit, and turned up this Nine West offering:

Rocha by Nine West

“Rocha” is a little bit too tall — 3¾ inches, only a quarter-inch platform — but it’s only $79, and at this writing Peltz has it on sale. There’s also a distressed-taupe version, which ought to fill the bill for so-called “nude” colors.

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Right next to the obituaries

An editorial from the Roanoke Times:

City and county officials contend that you are prepared to maintain a permanent state of vigilance without interfering with your work, family obligations and weekend soccer games. They are asking the General Assembly to waive requirements that legal notices be published in newspapers for public hearings, zoning requests and local budgets. Instead, that information would be available only on government websites.

Of course, the papers get paid for running these notices, as the Times acknowledges, which costs the officials money. Then again, running a governmental Web site costs money too. And I’d argue that there’s a better chance that citizens will find a given notice if it’s available in more than one location.

Besides, hard copy has its advantages:

For example, a judge last month voided the Dendron Town Council’s permit for a coal-fired power plant in that Tidewater community because public notices did not clearly state that a vote was scheduled on the matter.

If the notice had merely been posted on the town’s website, there would have been a temptation for officials to tinker with the wording when the mistake was discovered. The newspaper notice provided a permanent record that could not be retouched.

Would a town council actually do such a thing? What do you think?

(Via Jerry Fuhrman, who argues in favor of the change.)

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We’re not actually talking about it

But Rand Simberg has provoked my Presidential endorsement:

I’d also note (to cite a tweet) that [Václav Havel is] an example of the ancient dictum (that I just made up) that a country can do a lot worse than having a dissident playwright as a president. Mamet, 2012!

Now to get him to sign on the line which is dotted.

Addendum: Heh. Even the Instant Man is intrigued.

Disclosure: One of those damnable quickie surveys puts me in the Bachmann camp, despite the fact that I’ve had all my shots.

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Kiddie seltzer

Dave Schuler goes poking into the sub-basement below the food pyramid, and comes up with Fizzies:

Fizzies were tablets put into water to make a disgusting colored, flavored, and sweetened drink. Sort of like carbonated Kool-Aid but worse in flavor. Fizzies were dealt a deathblow by the federal government when some of the substances used to make them were banned. I understand they’ve made a resurgence with a new formulation.

I probably shouldn’t mention this, but they were a thousand million times more godawful if you simply took the tablet (like some giant pastel-colored pill) and then washed it down with a glass of water.

Maybe it was the sugar substitute:

[I]n 1968, the FDA came out and banned the the artificial sweeteners used to make Fizzies, called cyclamates. Cyclamates were an essential part of making Fizzies tablets, and the scientist didn’t know how to reformulate. Retailers were allowed to sell out their remaining stock through 1970, but after that Fizzies disappeared.

There was a brief reappearance in the 1990s with aspartame, but that, um, fizzled out; the current formula, marketed since 2005, contains sucralose.

I have never tried the allegedly-similar Creamola Foam product.

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Hardbound and determined

Um, no, actually, I don’t own a Kindle or any of those book-reading devices. You want to know why?

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Strange search-engine queries (307)

Yeah, it’s this again. On the upside, there is no Tim Tebow-related material included. (Oops.)

invisible alexa hamilton image:  I have to tell you, she wasn’t much to look at when she was invisible. (Now get some clothes on her, and…)

sheer hose coming back:  They look pretty good on Alexa Hamilton, too.

cheapest refurbished discounted computers Christmas URL Comments Refurbished email blog 19 September 2008:  This is why you should never cut a piece from a page you already have and then paste it into a search box.

the depth of my humilation:  You’re probably reading it right now.

nina hartley on knees:  And not your knees, amirite?

where is the overflow:  By now, it’s covering your shoes.

hitler jelly doughnut eating champion:  You never see this in any of the Downfall parody videos for some reason.

love me with all of your heart steve allen:  A crush is such a precious thing.

masturbate armorall:  Well, maybe not so precious after all.

dont want flying cars:  I’d be happy if they’d quit flying through the red lights over by the mall.

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First blood, so to speak

The hurry-up preseason runs a whole two games: OKC at Dallas, followed day after tomorrow by Dallas at OKC. I am hesitant to make a whole lot of assumptions after the first one, especially since neither Jason Kidd nor Dirk Nowitzki was on the floor, but I have to figure that Scott Brooks went seriously bipolar tonight: he got to see some excellent shooting (56 percent, plus ten treys) and a serious rebounding advantage (45-33), but he also had to witness twenty-five turnovers, which very nearly undid the Thunder’s 106-92 win in the Big D with the big D.

This being preseason, no one played a whole lot of minutes. The Mavericks got to play underdog a couple of times, down by twenty and then pulling to within a couple of possessions before the Thunder calmed them down. (The scarier was the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the Mavs threw up 14 consecutive points into a 20-point Thunder lead.) Still, OKC retained some semblance of cool, which they didn’t always do in tough fourth quarters last season.

Tuesday will be here before I know it.

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Take lots of Aniston

From an issue of Us magazine, five years ago:

Jennifer Aniston in Us magazine 2006

For the alleged Hottest Woman of All Time, this is of course to be expected. And it doesn’t hurt that she can work the LBD with the best of them.

Still, I managed to assemble an Aniston-free ballot for the Best Celebrity Legs 2011 poll, and duly sent it in. And although half of my ten selections did place somewhere above Honorable Mention, Jennifer would not be denied: she’s won this poll seven times in fifteen years.

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Quaking state

California thinks you probably change your oil too often:

“Our survey data found that nearly half of California drivers are still changing their oil at 3,000 miles or even sooner,” said Mark Oldfield, a spokesman for the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery, which has launched the Check Your Number campaign to encourage drivers to go with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Improvement in oils, friction proofing and car engines have lengthened the oil-change interval, typically 7,500 miles to 10,000 miles for most vehicles.

Changing motor oil according to manufacturer specifications would reduce motor-oil demand in California by about 10 million gallons a year, the agency said.

I did actually “check my number” on their site, and it did cough up the correct figure: 3750 miles. I am concerned, however, that it doesn’t cover any vehicles before model year 2000, some of which may actually require 3000-mile oil changes. (And curiously, they had no number for my previous car, a 2000 Mazda 626, which specified a 5000-mile interval.)

It occurs to me that at least some of the 3000-mile folks may be offset by the people who don’t change their oil until it’s baked into a giant puddle of sludge. And I think we can assume that manufacturers who offer free scheduled maintenance during the warranty period — Volkswagen or BMW, for instance — will embrace this idea enthusiastically. I quote a tech on Bimmerforums:

As far as I’m concerned, BMW gives you free oil changes every 15k, and anyone who doesn’t insist on additional changes is a fool, or intends to kill their car at an early age.

In the five years I’ve had my current car, the average mileage between oil changes has been about 4200. Nissan’s non-severe schedule will let me slide to 7500, though I’d rather not push my luck that far.

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Reasonable parenting

Malia and Sasha Obama, says their dad, are not allowed on Facebook:

[B]ut they don’t want to be on it anyway: “Their theory is, ‘Why would we want to have a whole bunch of people who we don’t know knowing our business?'” the president says. “We’ll see how they feel in four years.”

Now most of the people I don’t know who seem to want to know my business — and there are, you may be sure, a whole bunch of them — aren’t connected with Facebook. Then again, I’m a lot older than the Obama girls (and, for that matter, older than their parents).

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Dead man suing

This is not a repeat from fifteen years ago:

Novell Inc.’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. over the WordPerfect computer program ended in a mistrial after jurors said they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Novell sought as much as $1.3 billion in damages over allegations that Microsoft, while developing the Windows 95 operating system in 1994, blocked an element of the software to thwart Novell’s WordPerfect and Quattro Pro programs.

Which haven’t been Novell’s programs since 1996; they were dealt to Corel, which still sells them.

Unsurprisingly, this suit is rather well-traveled:

This case … began in Utah District Court, was moved from Utah to Maryland, was appealed by Novell to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which reversed and remanded for trial, with the case sent back to Utah, with the Maryland District Court judge commuting there to resume handling the trial.

And I chuckled a bit at this excerpt from the Findings of Fact in a previous case:

Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft’s core products. Microsoft’s past success in hurting such companies and stifling innovation deters investment in technologies and businesses that exhibit the potential to threaten Microsoft. The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft’s self-interest.

One imagines some paralegal typing this in while listening to his Zune.

In other news, apparently Novell is still in existence, kinda sorta.

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Treadlock holiday

“Yes, I’ll take it, and no, I don’t want to do any of that tiresome ‘due diligence’ crap”:

I bought a car and the dealership misinformed me about the type of tires on the car what can i do?

when i went to purchase my car i asked the dealer multiple times whether or not the car had all season tires. it has been a month now and i realize the tires are actually summer performance tires. What can i do?

Apparently actually looking at a tire sidewall for the letters M&S (or the jaggedy winter-tire symbol) is considered bad form these days.

I don’t think I’d ever want to sell cars, especially given the number of customers who think they’re Chuck Berry.

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Spin doctor needed, stat

Few things in life are quite so hilariously pathetic as the efforts to protect a “public servant” (yeah, right) from the consequences of his screw-ups, and this Massachusetts incident adds just the right touch of contempt for the electorate:

About a month ago, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray crashed a state-owned Crown Victoria after a night out. The Boston Herald made a public records request for the information from the car’s black box, which records the 20 seconds preceding the crash and five seconds after it. The box shows engine RPMs, speed, and brake position, among other things.

In a surprise to no one, the state denied the request, saying that the records could be misleading because a car hitting an ice patch or rolling over would lead its tires to spin faster, inaccurately suggesting a higher speed, state police spokesman David Procopio said.

Which, of course, gives away the game right there: they know exactly what AutoSnitch™ is going to report, and they’ve readied their counterstories. And I’ve hit enough ice patches in my day to know what happens: speed sensor goes awry for a second or two as traction disappears, and then things begin to stabilize.

Accident-reconstruction expert Bruce McNally, contacted by the Herald, isn’t buying the Official Explanation either:

“They’re correct that on its face you may not necessarily get the whole picture, but understanding that it’s giving you 25 seconds of data, it should be pretty apparent what his speed was before he lost control,” McNally said. “Unless they’re arguing that somehow he was on the slipperiest surface known to mankind 25 seconds before he crashed, it just doesn’t make sense.”

At least no one has suggested the Lite Guv was texting.

Update: 108 mph.

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Boys, meet Karma

I should warn you, she’s a hard mistress at times:

Two people allegedly hunting for scrap metal were killed Wednesday after part of a vacant nursing home collapsed on them on Detroit’s west side.

Fire, police, and rescue crews were called to Seven Mile and Glastonbury, near the Southfield Freeway. Two bodies were discovered in the abandoned five-story building. Fire Chief Kwaku Atara said it’s believed the two men were scrapping at the time of the roof collapse.

Lexicographical note: Apparently “scrap” is now also an intransitive verb.

(Via Fark.)

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