Strange search-engine queries (420)

Polished off about one-quarter of a mislabeled “red velvet” Valentine’s Day cake, purchased the day after for 62 percent off, just working on this list. Damn munchies.

“Tropermic Calculus”:  Never heard of it, but it sounds kinda derivative.

how do i find transmission code on 2002 mazda 626:  If you have to ask, it’s already too late.

searching their bras:  Usually not difficult, there being only two places to look.

Is there a connection between teh Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas and the one in Central Florida?  No. The ones in Florida are attended by actual Baptists.

The incidence in the bible in isrealites where somebody contacted with leprosy is tie will bell on the neck and kept at outsketch of the tent:  This twisted syntax can only be a product of Westboro. The Kansas version, I mean.

i couldn’t disagree less:  Sure you could. You’re just not trying.

jerk stocking:  This is very important here at the Jerk Store, where we don’t want to run out of you.

forum winstar casino exhibitionist:  Isn’t everyone at the casino kind of an exhibitionist? I mean, if they win, anyway; losers tend to huddle in the dark corners.

And during the New York leg of her book tour last month, promoting her new erotic novel, she made several messy television appearances in which she did not appear lucid:  Is it really necessary to pick on Nancy Pelosi at this late date?

motorcycle clear plastic temporary universal disposable rain dust garage san antonio:  Take it upstairs. The landlord won’t mind, as long as you don’t have an oil leak.

maaterial safety data sheet cover girl naturluxe silk foundation:  I think we can safely assume that it’s inedible.

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What’s the name of the game?

If you remember ABBA from the Seventies and Eighties, you probably also remember that while they weren’t the least bit ugly, their mama, or somebody, dressed them funny. Turns out that this was a matter of cold calculation:

Swedish supergroup Abba have revealed they had good reason to wear such garish stage costumes — because it saved a little money, money, money on their tax bill.

The band, whose spangly flares, catsuits and platform heels were considered naff even in the 1970s, exploited a Swedish law which meant clothes were tax deductible if their owners could prove they were not used for daily wear.

Gotta love those capitalist Swedes.

(Via Fark.)

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Why software sucks

Oh yes it does, believe you me. And if you don’t believe me, believe Jack Baruth:

Once upon a time, software was written by people who knew what they were doing, like Mel and his descendants. They were generally solitary, socially awkward fellows with strong awareness of TSR gaming. They were hugely effective at doing things like getting an Atari 2600 to run Pac-Man or writing operating system kernels that never crashed, but they weren’t terribly manageable and they could be real pricks when you got in their way. I once worked with a fellow who had been at the company in question for twenty-three years and had personally written a nontrivial percentage of the nine million lines of code that, when compiled, became our primary product. He was un-fire-able and everybody knew it. There were things that only he knew.

I am not a developer, but this is what I aspire to. (In fact, apart from not being a developer, this is about where I am.)

This kind of situation might work out well for designing bridges or building guitars (not that Paul Reed Smith appears to miss Joe Knaggs all that much, to use an inside-baseball example) but it’s hell on your average dipshit thirty-five-year-old middle manager, who has effectively zero leverage on the wizard in the basement. Therefore, a movement started in the software business about fifteen years ago to ensure that no more wizards were ever created. It works like this: Instead of hiring five guys who really know their job at seventy bucks an hour each, you hire a team of fifty drooling morons at seven bucks an hour each. You make them program in pairs, with one typing and the other once watching him type (yes! This is a real thing! It’s called “extreme programming”!) or you use a piece of software to give them each a tiny bit of the big project.

Actually, I think the going rate for drooling morons is now $7.25.

This is what you get from a management perspective: fifty reports who are all pathetically grateful for the work instead of five arrogant wizards, the ability to fire anybody you like at any time without consequence, the ability to demand outrageous work hours and/or conditions (I was just told that a major American corporation is introducing “bench seating” for its programmers, to save space), and a product that nominally fulfills the spec. This is what you get from a user perspective: the kind of crapware that requires updates twice a week to fix bugs introduced with the previous updates. Remember the days when you could buy software that simply worked, on a floppy disk or cartridge, with no updates required? Those were the wizards at work. Today, you get diverse teams of interchangeable, agile, open-office, skill-compatible resources that produce steaming piles of garbage.

What can I say? “Arrogant wizard” is surely somewhere in my DNA. The kids have it, for sure.

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There can be only one way

In retrospect, I suppose it was my fault for being on May Avenue on a Saturday in the first place, May Avenue being basically where strip malls go to die. (There’s exactly one stretch of May between 10th and 150th with no discernible commerce: east side between 43rd and 47th.)

6900 block of North MayThis strip mall at 6900 North May is largely indistinguishable from other strip malls: there are two entrances, one in front of the north building, the other in front of the south. (If you live in these parts, the north building is distinguished, if that’s the word, by the Honeybaked Ham Company; Ted’s Somewhat Mexican Restaurant Escondido Cafe is near the opposite corner.) I’m southbound on May at 4:00 or so when the lumbering SUV ahead of me pulls to a stop, just before the north entrance. There being no left-turn facilities between 69th and 65th, I figure someone a block or two ahead is making a left turn. The flow of northbound traffic ceased for a moment, and up ahead, barely, I could see someone indeed making a left turn.

We plow ahead, slowly, and then the SUV signals a left turn into the southern entrance. Now there was a window of about 30 seconds when the driver could have pulled into the northern entrance while that other character up the street was turning; but no, it’s got to be the southern entrance. This is the sign of a person who not only hasn’t developed Plan B, but who is several steps away from a workable Plan A.

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Darn siblings

This month’s Maxim contains some nifty pictures of Laura Vandervoort, an “uncensored” interview with Fozzie Bear (!), and this woeful letter from the recipient of a gift subscription:

Last year my brother, Jack, gave me one of the coolest presents ever, a one-year subscription to Maxim! I was so excited, but month after month passed and I never received it. Finally I wrote your customer service team. Turns out the USPS postman was sending them back as “undeliverable.” I confronted him and found out that my brother had bought the subscription for Jacks Littlebitch. The postman found this offensive and has delivered only one magazine and refuses to deliver anymore until the name is changed. And we wonder why the USPS is going bankrupt!

I figure this carrier has a lot of free time. On my block, I’m very likely the only person who gets both Maxim and Out, which generally show up on the same day, and I have yet to hear a word about it.

Maxim’s advice: “Tell him you’re French and that your name is actually Jack Litt-Lebitch and that this is discrimination!” Yeah, that’ll work.

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Once more upon a dream

Usually when I get two recommendations for something, I have to go check its papers. This was the case with “Once Upon a Dream,” remade by Lana Del Rey for Maleficent, Disney’s upcoming prequel to Sleeping Beauty: Mr Pergiel calls it “compelling,” and Trini wrote me to tell me she found it “haunting.”

You definitely want to size this one up for yourselves. Del Rey, to me anyway, sounds thin here, even gaunt; however, for a spectral enterprise like Maleficent, it’s wholly appropriate.

Still undetermined: whether someone mispronouncing the title of the film will assume that it has something to do with, um, males.

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Crease is the word

Yahoo! has an interview with Al Jaffee, who created the MAD Fold-In 50 years ago. How it’s done is interesting enough, but what I did not know is this: there was one Fold-In that was pulled after the magazine had gone to press, resulting in several hundred thousand copies being sent to the shredder.

It’s a video, but a shortish one. And Al, now well into his 90s, sounds a lot more on-the-ball mentally than I do.

(Via Joy McCann.)

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Mastery demonstrated

Well, not really; it’s just something fished out of the spam trap. This is what it said:

I like this website its a master peace ! Glad I found this on google. “Tears are the rinse water of an unhappy heart.” by Raynor Schein.

I suspect this might not be the Raynor Scheine who played Ernie Crane in My Cousin Vinny, but I could be wrong. The master clearly has no peace.

The “author” credited to that spam was “buy short prom dresses,” which I endorse as a concept but refuse to link.

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Or, “I will have only lived once.”

And in the time of that life, it perhaps would not have occurred to me that #yolo, the hashtag, might have been a first-conjugation Latin verb, until I saw this, which admittedly is not complete.

(Via Fark. Working title for this was “Yolare, oh, oh.”)

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No synths to it

For some time now, I’ve been entertaining the notion that contemporary pop songs might actually work better were they treated as songs instead of cogs in the Great Rhythm Machine. Some of this stuff — obviously, not all of it — is highly singable, after all.

Toward this end, I give you Postmodern Jukebox, headed by pianist Scott Bradlee, who once issued an album called A Motown Tribute to Nickelback, with a ragtime version of a possibly recognizable tune. The vocalist is Robyn Adele Anderson, and she’s waiting for your call below the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Not so quiet on the set

“Sooner or later,” I said, “a strain relief doesn’t,” which was the reason I was shopping for a new cassette adapter to plug my little music player (Sansa Clip Zip, modified by Rockbox) into the big Bose box in the car. I had planned three steps, all of which proved to be unsuccessful: contact the individual manufacturer (the US distributor is dead in the water), consult with other users (most seem to have ripped out the head units by now), and resolder the cursed thing myself (which will require much thicker glasses, I’m afraid).

So I’m buying a book on Amazon this past weekend, which is hardly news, and as always, Amazon remembers everything I’ve bought and everything I ever thought about buying, which is also hardly news. While I’m working on the sale details, they toss up a photograph of a cassette adapter now being offered by one of their myriad of merchants, and except for an obviously glued-on label and a 90°-angle plug, it’s the same one I used to have. I anted up ten bucks plus shipping, and waited a week.

It’s here, it’s a little bit noisy, but it works. (And who’s gonna hear the noise with the stereo cranked up?)

Oh, the book? It’s coming in from Jolly Old, so it probably won’t be here until next week.

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Oh, but we insist

This particular scenario seems inevitable with Windows:

Of course there’s no “I don’t want an automatic update, thanks” and my computer has gone into Nag Mode, where it periodically throws up a “Hey, I’m’a gonna update in 15 minutes unless you expressly tell me that’s not OK” which is really annoying and I’d love to make it go away. I’d love to tell it “NO. I am the user, you are the computer. You will only install updates when I expressly tell you to install updates” but as far as I can tell, that’s not an option. (I found a way, but because I don’t have “full administrative privileges,” I can’t turn off the auto-download. Dang.)

I know of one XP machine, pushed off into a corner to perform a particular server task, which downloaded just as many updates as it wanted — but didn’t get rebooted for five months. (The longest I’ve yet gone with a Win7 box is three and a half months.)

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Quote of the week

Tam explains the debt ceiling, starting with the reason why “debt ceiling” is an inaccurate term:

Why do they even call it a “limit” or “ceiling”, anyway? In aircraft terms, a “ceiling” is an altidude beyond which the plane cannot climb; in political terms, a “ceiling” is just any one of a series of ever higher points on a curve that went asymptotic long ago.

In the world of personal finance, credit card limits work because your credit card magically stops being able to buy stuff when you reach them. Congress, on the other hand, just tells the cashier “Run it again, it’ll work,” and it does!

Come to think of it, we have customers who believe in that mantra with all their flinty little hearts.

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Not to be hemmed in

The fellow from the Telegraph was interviewing pianist Yuja Wang, in London for a concert series, and he brought up a distinctly nonmusical subject:

It seems as good a moment as any to raise her fondness for riskily short, clingy dresses, which have generated even more comment than her fabulous playing.

[A] certain determination, not to say stubbornness … shows in the exasperated shrug that greets my question. “It’s just natural for me. I am 26 years old so I dress for 26. I can dress in long skirts when I am 40.”

I’m betting she won’t. In the meantime, here she is in a Little Black(ish) Dress:

Yuja Wang in LBD

“Little” is evidently played sforzando.

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The ride never ends

“Life is a roller coaster that we all ride,” 10cc once declared.

I never did like roller coasters.

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Cents and sensibility

More of the former than the latter in this case:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Can I pay my car payment in pennies?


I recently purchased my first vehicle from a used car lot in LeFlore County Oklahoma. They promised me it would be a great truck for the price and will not fail me when driving to and from work. The 2nd day I had it the brakes went out, and one week after I drove it off the lot, it broke down for the first time. It has now broken down 4 times, and this last time the rear differential locked up on me ($500 for the part) I’ve owned the truck for 2 weeks now. I signed papers that said ‘As is’ and ‘No Warranty’ My first payment is coming up and is $250 and I wanted to pay in pennies. I put $2000 down. Do they have to accept my payment even if its in pennies? is there any way I can send it through the mail so I dont have to sit at the office while they count it all? These guys are real scumbags that cheat any ol person dumb enough to buy a used vehicle from them (me)

“Send it through the mail”? Twenty-five thousand pennies at 2.5 grams each = about 138 pounds. It’s going to take several trips to the Post Office. Good thing there’s a truck available.

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