A new face on stage

Christie Brinkley, who I had no idea had turned into a stage actress, is in fact starring in Chicago, the musical, in Hollywood. If you squint a bit, you can see this video clip.

Apparently these days she looks something like this:

Christie Brinkley at Pantages

For the sake of self-justification, a concept every blogger learns before hitting the Publish button the fourth time, I mention here that Christie Brinkley is in fact younger than I am.

By six weeks.

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Quote of the week

Dan Collins, on some of “domestic terrorist and legal tar baby” Brett Kimberlin’s recent activities:

That Kimberlin lied repeatedly in his sworn charges isn’t a surprise, but it is a deep disappointment that the Maryland prosecutor seems to think there’s no substantial public benefit to be procured by making wannabe mass murderer Kimberlin pay for his false testimony in trying to frame blogger Aaron Worthing. My opinion is that people who attempt to use the law and the legal system as a means of tortious aggression towards other citizens should be summarily sentenced on conviction to penalties at least twice as high as those they’ve contemplated for their targets.

Inexplicably, not one of the 57 states prescribes “being dropped into a Bessemer converter” as a suitable punishment for the likes of this guy.

(Via Michelle Malkin.)

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Haven’t we already not seen this?

I mean, it’s not like nobody’s ever thought of this before:

In a move certain to leave art traditionalists apoplectic with rage, one of the country’s leading galleries is to charge £8 for entry to a summer exhibition of works which cannot be seen.

London’s Hayward Gallery will gather together 50 “invisible” works by famous artists including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein and Yoko Ono for an upcoming exhibition, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain.

Curators argue the collection of pieces will demonstrate that art is about “firing the imagination” rather than simply viewing objects. “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012″ opens on 12 June and includes an empty plinth, a canvas of invisible ink and an invisible labyrinth.

When I was younger, this was about firing the guy who came up with the idea.

May we assume they’re playing John Cage’s 4’33” in the background?

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Brown-thumb mode

Bermuda: Vacation, yes. Triangle, not sure. Grass, definitely no:

Bermuda grass should be used to make rope to hang anyone who actually plants the stuff on purpose. I’m always a little bit shocked and dismayed when I see bags of Bermuda grass seed at Atwoods. I think I got most of it out of the flower bed in back where it was taking over.

Funny how it has no problem occupying the flower bed, but isn’t worth a flip at crowding out weeds.

Most of the flowers I planted there a couple of weeks ago aren’t doing very well which kinda makes me wonder if I should even bother. I saw some kind of red flower at Lowes that was very tempting but it cost $19 so I’m thinking maybe I should just plant a $20 bill instead. It would probably grow just as well.

If that Jackson actually grows, expect a lot of visitors, and I don’t mean blog traffic.

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Space considerations in Rock and Roll Heaven

Rich Appel, with a nod to the late Betty Everett, says it’s getting mighty crowded up there:

When you consider that most of popular music’s best and brightest, from what was arguably its most fruitful period — the 1960s and 1970s — are now in their 60s and 70s, it makes you wonder if we should expect more tearful exits on a more regular basis from here forward.

During those two decades, there were more hit recordings by more artists than ever before or ever since. That’s because the music and radio worlds were less controlled: there were more labels and more station owners, and therefore, a better shot at getting your song played on the radio. There were also more listeners for longer periods to a hit music stations, so much so that the average shelf life of a hit song was 7-9 weeks.

That means there were also more top-flight artists who came out of that period — artists who are now, alas, a lot older. While the focus has always been on acts who left us too young, the fact is most of pop’s biggest stars are still with us. Even if you go back further — to the 1950s and rock ‘n roll’s early days — it’s worth noting that Elvis and Buddy Holly aside, all of rock’s pioneers — Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis — are still here. So is another pop giant of that era — Tony Bennett — although I’m starting to sense that he’s going to outlive all of us.

It’s jolting to look at this video and remembering which of them is no longer with us.

The ones I’d been sweating, due to their extreme proximity to my own age (five days), were Shuggie Otis (son of Johnny, who died in January) and June Pointer — and June is already gone.

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A little less left

There are Democrats, and then there are Democrats. Tom Cole, the Republican representing Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional district, is familiar with both flavors:

“Obama fares poorly in states like Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas because he has nothing in common with them. They are rural, he is urban. They are populist, he is elitist. And in case anyone hadn’t noticed, they are conservative while he is liberal. That isn’t just true of Republicans in these states. It is true of Democrats as well.”

Which is not to say we have no one in Soonerland yearning for a bit more blueness, but consider this: Former Democratic state senator Andrew Rice, probably the only politician in this state’s history ever to name-check Antonio Gramsci in an interview, regularly got an A from the National Rifle Association. As did his opponent, most years. (Rice has since left the state, to allow his wife to do that career-advancement thing. Sounds vaguely bluish to me.) And with few exceptions, state Democrats are sterling folks who will endeavor not to embarrass themselves in office, something you’d never say about [lots of names can fit here].

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Worn beyond a frazzle

Yesterday someone left the television on in the break room, and rather than go look for the remote, I chose to try to ignore the screeching box. Then up pops this story about a 911 dispatcher falling asleep on the job.

Now I’m not going to say I’ve never gone into snooze mode at work, but then again, my job is a bit less critical. Bill Quick, however, has been a 911 dispatcher, and he says he’s surprised there are as few such reports as there are:

The job itself is enormously stressful. And in a lot of jurisdictions, staffing levels are determined by law. Which means that there is a lot of involuntary overtime. Which means twelve—eighteen, even 24 hour shifts, abrupt schedule changes, and people who are perpetually exhausted. People eventually quit, and generally at a higher rate than new trainees are put onto the floor, which only exacerbates the problems.

The dispatcher in the story had apparently been on the job for 17 hours. I think I’ve worked 17-hour shifts maybe four times in my entire life, and I have no desire to do it again, even doing something relatively trivial.

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A lot of John Smiths these days

There’s that word “cyberbullying” again, and as always, politicians, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of it, are demanding that Something Be Done:

Proposed legislation … would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”

Um, yeah. Good luck with that.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte said the legislation would cut down on “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.”

Sen. Thomas O’Mara, a Republican who is also sponsoring the measure, said it would “help lend some accountability to the internet age.”

Remember when the GOP actually went to the effort of pretending to be interested in the preservation of free speech? Me either. (And we all know the Democratic Party perspective: absolute freedom so long as you toe the party line, otherwise screw you.)

There is, of course, a punchline:

The bills also demand those sites to have a contact number or e-mail address posted for “such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.”

Oddly, the bill has no identification requirement for those who request the takedown of anonymous content.

Now why would anyone think that to be odd?

(Seen at The Camp of the Saints.)

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Even newer math

It was Tom Lehrer who derided New Math way back when: “It’s so very simple that only a child can do it.”

Diana Senechal notes that things haven’t improved that much:

I was recently looking at AMSCO’s Geometry — better than many in terms of presentation. Very little clutter. But even AMSCO has word problems like this: “Amy said that if the radius of a circular cylinder were doubled and the height decreased by one-half, the volume of the cylinder would remain unchanged. Do you agree with Amy? Explain why or why not.” There is no reason to bring Amy into this; Amy’s presence does nothing for the problem. Also, turning this into a matter of opinion (“do you agree or disagree”) confuses the matter. Instead, the student should be asked whether the statement is correct or incorrect.

Then again, this might hurt the student’s feelings. Or Amy’s.

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Like a player

Found this on a celebrity photo board last night:

Screen shot featuring nonce word pre-madonna

Actually, Madonna’s first album (called, with disarming simplicity, Madonna) came out two years before LeBron James was born, but hey, you can’t expect King James to do everything alone.

A kind soul — not me — showed up a couple minutes later to provide the correct word.

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Meanwhile in Greenville

A few days back, George Tierney, of Greenville, South Carolina, got the beginnings of an object lesson in the Streisand Effect, when he threatened to sue a lefty blogger who was happily making fun of him for tweeting some mean-spirited (and barely comprehensible) drivel at Sandra Fluke, the young woman who got her 15 minutes of fame a few months ago for arguing that we should subsidize her contraception. Tierney was extremely rude to her, screenshots of the rudeness were posted, and out came the threat:

You dont get to make the rules. I am the george tierney that made the comments to sandra fluke, not to you..take it off google. If it goes to a lawyer, it will be settled in court, with me getting paid.

Brian K. White of GlossyNews subsequently wangled a telephone interview with Tierney, who, you may remember, lives in Greenville, South Carolina. I suspect this will not help him get “off google.”

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Doing the walk

This week, actress Patricia Heaton got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Patricia Heaton

Said star, I am told, is at 6533 Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Hudson Apartments.

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Lileks explains it all

“It,” of course, being Social Media:

Facebook? Still no. I have the page, but don’t go there. My entire attitude towards Facebook is like a man who knows there’s a surprise party waiting upstairs in his apartment, and spends the evening in a bar, talking to a stranger. I get so tired of being asked to Like something or follow it.

I don’t mean to say I find social media annoying or useless: on the contrary. Facebook is too static. Too slow. Twitter is a stroll down a busy street listening to different conversations; Pinterest is a museum / thrift store / attic you can visit when you please. Facebook seems like hamming pitons in a sheer cliff wall and climbing up, up, up, for no particular reason.

That last bit may backfire on us: what’s to stop Zynga from setting up a time sink game called CliffVille?

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Today’s dietary advice

That big hunk of liverwurst has been there since October first, and today is the twenty-third of May.

You have been warned.

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Turn on Automatic Upsets

I usually leave Windows Update live, on the basis that if I ignore it the way I’d prefer to, eventually I’ll end up having to do a couple of hundred updates at once and the CPU will laugh at me, in between gasps for breath.

Last night, Microsoft sent down three updates for .NET Framework, which I duly accepted and allowed to be installed; I was delighted to see that no reboot was demanded. Then, about ten minutes later, exactly the same updates came down the chute. Okay, maybe I didn’t get the fail message; we’ll watch them this time.

Installation complete, dialog box closed, and ten minutes later, exactly the same updates came down the chute. In a fit of pique, I attempted to uninstall all my .NET Framework stuff, which was met with “Dave, I can’t allow you to do that.”

This obviously required a time machine. I jumped back to a Sunday restore point, allowed the updates to install, and the next time they arrived, instructed the updater never to darken my screen again with these farging things. So far, so good.

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When you wish upon a truck

Daphne wonders, and I don’t blame her for wondering:

When was the last time you bought a new car? Factory new, not used new. I’m wondering because I spent several hours looking at new cars online after a day stuck at home waiting for the septic system guy to arrive. The prices floored me and I was left curious as how normal people earning a median income can possibly afford a thirty, forty or fifty thousand dollar vehicle?

According to TrueCar, at the end of 2011, the average transaction price was running $30,686.

The last time, in fact the only time I bought new, was 2000: I bought a $20,000 car, that being as far as I was able to push.

Although these factors must be taken into consideration:

I also don’t want ugly cloth seats, a roof lacking a retractable window or steering better suited for Noah’s clunky ark. Which leaves me back to scrounging around for another used vehicle and wondering who, in this economy, still buys straight off the lot?

I did. I got cloth seats, which weren’t that horrible looking, no hole in the roof, and pretty sharp steering. And since there were only two of this model left on the lot — arrival of the next model year was imminent — the dealer was happy to let this $20k car go for $15,400 and change. I’d still have it were it not for a wandering ruminant of the family Cervidae.

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