The things one finds on eBay

And by “things,” I mean this:

Genuine StarTribune Moist Towelette signed by James LileksThis is a one-of-a-kind item, obtained directly from the Minneapolis StarTribune writer, James Lileks, at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair. Lileks, a locally acclaimed satirist and cultural commentator, signed the moist towelette at 12:15, September 2, at the StarTribune state fair booth and presented it to me, an avid fan, in exchange for a pandering testimonial to his writing prowess. Alas, I must part with it, due to financial difficulties, but be assured, it is not easy to do so. This is the real thing, and your only chance to obtain such an article.

You were expecting maybe Juanita’s Fajitas?

Incidentally, Lileks himself vouched for its authenticity, which surely added something to the winning bid.

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Utility belt as tefillin

Given the fact that Bob Kane was born “Robert Kahn,” I’m perfectly willing to believe this:

Back in the 1930s, it made some sense for Bruce Wayne, scion of one of Gotham’s finest families, to be a WASP. But look around NYC and see whose names are on the hospital, university and theater buildings. Don’t get us wrong … Batman has to be named Bruce Wayne. But who’s to say he wasn’t named after his great-grandfather, Baruch Wien?

And just to support the premise:

Bruce Wayne was taught as a child that he had a particular obligation to help the helpless. Moses looked to the left and to the right, and when he saw no one else there, he stepped up to protect the innocent. Batman is so admired because he also teaches us that when no one else is there, the thing to do is to step up to the challenge of — well — becoming a hero.

Besides, why should the Marvel universe be the only one in comicdom with a major Jewish character?

(Via Dick Stanley.)

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Strange search-engine queries (293)

Another Monday morning, another sampling of search strings from visitors to this site, based almost entirely on perceived snark potential. (Your mileage may vary; see boojum for details.)

“Jason Rainbows”:  Not, in fact, a candidate for the California Assembly. Yet.

panhandling san francisco worse:  I wouldn’t say it’s worse, necessarily, but God help us if Jason Rainbows gets into office.

is there a prescription for sunscreen:  Generally no, though if you need that much SPF you should consider staying inside away from the windows, and maybe wear a burqa.

is biden a nudist:  Not so far as I know, but then the government picks up the tab for his sunscreen.

Pics of Naked girls wearing k swiss sneakers:  Purists will insist that if they’re wearing shoes, they’re not really naked.

what was defect in 2001 transmissions?  Mostly, that they were made ten years ago. Shut up and write the check.

In the sci-fi novels and films you know, what type of roles do women play? Are they in-depth complex characters, or are they mainly simpering, helpless victims or sexual stereotypes inserted into the fiction in order to tempt the men?  In the “social” “sciences,” this is called “research.” (“Blecch.”)

“non-dairy” “bill tush”:  Ah, yes, Bill Tush. The Cremora of cable-TV hosts.

bling bathtub:  I have a ring around mine. Does that count?

morticia and gomez moan:  She, probably, in French.

“charles hill” vaudeville:  Um, you’re soaking in it.

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The Mitts-on approach

According to Megan McArdle, this is Mitt Romney’s campaign “schtick”:

I’m sure he created jobs at Bain Capital. But then he ruins the whole thing by saying that that’s why we need to elect him president so he can go ahead and create jobs for America. (I paraphrase.)

Really? That was Mitt Romney’s idea of how jobs get created? You have to wait until the president comes and sprinkles his magic pixie dust on the economy?

Then again, more people than you could possibly imagine we can possibly afford believe that (1) there exists magic pixie dust and (2) it’s possible for a politician to get his hands on it. It’s situations like that which make us yearn for the uncompromising, hard-hitting drama of My Little Pony.

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Get off her perimeter

Debbie Dompierre is one of the greenest — or greyest — reservists in the Canadian Forces:

A 56-year-old Metchosin grandmother has become the oldest reservist to graduate from basic training with the Canadian Forces, beating 20-somethings in the gruelling training process.

She was sworn in Feb. 3 and joined HMCS Malahat, a Victoria-based reserve division. In June, she started her nine-week training course at CFB Borden, training during a heatwave in southern Ontario in temperatures of nearly 50 C.

Geez. And to think that I griped about Fort Leonard Wood.

She was one of only three people over 25 in the training camp. Five in their early 20s threw in the towel, but Dompierre was determined to keep going.

But this is the point where I cringed:

Dompierre scored high enough on her physical test — 137 when she needed a 75 — that she’s exempt from the test next year.

My evidently-feeble 18-year-old self passed such a test by a margin of, um, eleven points. I am told that female troops are cut a smidgen of slack in the test, but I’m still impressed.

And this is the point where I salute:

“I’ve been a military mom and wife for 15 years, so I’ve always been very proud of the military. So now it’s my turn.”

(Via Fark.)

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Strictly ballroom

Which does not mean that these particular jeans are cut with the tango in mind:

Ballroom Jeans by Duluth Trading Company

On the other hand, you have to assume that Duluth Trading Company (of Belleville, Wisconsin, of course) was not going to label these garments something like “Sack Space.”

(Via the ever-fashionable Nancy Friedman.)

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Platinum plugs

Car and Driver (10/11) interviews Vice President Joe Biden, who turns out to be quite the hotshoe:

“I still have my 1967 Goodwood-green Corvette, 327, 350-horse, with a rear-axle ratio that really gets up and goes. The Secret Service won’t let me drive it. I’m not allowed to drive anything. It’s the one thing I hate about this job.”

Two factoids I found oddly gratifying: Biden used to own a bullet-nose Studebaker, and he has never washed a Trans Am while shirtless.

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Ten years after

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Card swiped

Thursday the bank called my answering machine and informed it, to the extent that information can be conveyed in thirty seconds, that there was some suspected fraudulent activity on my account. On a good day, I’ll get home about an hour after bankers’ hours run down, and this had been not too bad of a day, so I rang in to the bank operator, and finding the caller to have departed, I left a message. I then tried jumping through the voice-mail system in the hopes of finding a customer-service person somewhere in the maze. Which, eventually, I did. We reviewed the last ten transactions, none of which were fuzzy-looking, although the guy did speculate that simultaneous renewals of two magazines from the same publisher at the same price might have looked a little weird to their Central Scrutinizer. Satisfied, I rang off.

Friday afternoon, about the same time as yesterday, I open up the machine and find a message from the same person, who of course had already gone for the day. This should have set off some sort of alarm in my head, but didn’t.

Which brings us to Saturday, when the ATM stubbornly refused to cough up anything beyond “You are not an authorized user on this account.” Perplexed, I sought out a teller, who after punching several dozen buttons told me that somebody in Nebraska was apparently trying to pass my Visa card number, and as a precautionary measure, they had killed the card in its tracks. Well, okay, fine, they didn’t get away with anything. On the other hand, it will take them at least a week to scrape up enough plastic to send me a replacement card with a new number.

None of this presents any particular difficulty, except for one minor detail: one of my automated payments, charged to that card, goes through today. Or, more precisely, doesn’t go through.

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Technically a 911 story

Steve Sailer tells of an experience with a “high-testosterone” boss:

One morning in 1983, after about six months on the job, I was standing on a street corner in Lincoln Park waiting for the bus to work, when the CEO pulls up in his Turbo Porsche and offers me a ride. “Sure!” But, the stoplights on La Salle Street heading toward the Loop are not optimized for a CEO who floors it at every green light and thus gets caught by every single red light. So, every block consisted of us going 0-60 in five seconds, with my head being shoved back into the headrest, followed by 60-0 in five seconds (with my forehead just about bouncing off the dashboard). When we got to work, the CEO offered to pick me up every morning on that corner, but, feeling pummeled by G-forces and whiplash from the ride, I went back to taking the bus.

Contemporary turbo Porsches, of course, will now do this in less than four seconds. Jackasses and jackrabbit starts, however, remain mostly unevolved.

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My baby does Bernanke Panke

While Smitty is happy to be coming home, he’d still like an explanation of this:

[T]he new Chickenfoot release [is] curiously titled ‘III’, as though their command of math in naming their second studio release was a desperate plea for a U.S. Treasury job.

It could have been worse. Says the Wikipedia page for the album: “Other rumored titles that have been mentioned include Chickenfoot IV.”

The 1-3 skip is not unprecedented, though: see, for instance, the Traveling Wilburys. And the first Smothers Brothers best-of compilation was dubbed Golden Hits, Volume 2. (Even better, it contained no previously-issued material.) I forget how many books Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker trilogy contained — five, was it?

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London calling (collect)

Another odd little dream sequence, which perhaps someone can parse. I’m still perplexed by it.

I’d been separated from a tour group somehow, and was wandering around loose on foot in some of London’s less-tony northern districts, though the journey was pleasant, and there were always people to talk to.

And then a series of wrong turns led me back to our West End hotel, where the lifts were out of operation. I headed for the stairs, where a repairman was attempting to reposition a rung — several inches above where I thought it ought to be. “Bloody regulations,” he muttered. I said something to the effect that we had such back home.

Dinner was underway. My daughter was unwrapping her dish; a former crush and her current boyfriend were at the other end of the table. Since the last time I’d seen her, she’d apparently learned how to pass through solid objects: she appeared to be embedded in the table somehow. I opened a box with my name on it and found a rather curious-looking vegetarian dish: the actual vegetables were not identified, though the stuff looked like, and tasted like, shavings from green and orange Lego blocks. It proved to be filling enough, however. The bill was not enormous, and popping open my wallet, I shuffled through my banknotes, some of which inexplicably were not actual banknotes anymore. (This situation has now shown up often enough to qualify as a Recurring Theme.) Former crush and company had just left through the north wall; daughter was out of earshot, so I proffered my American Express card, which inexplicably caused the entire staff to revert from some semblance of English to something I hadn’t heard before.

The story ended there, thanks to a truck bouncing noisily down my actual street.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Enthusiasm uncurbed

Last time I mentioned Freezepop, I said something to the effect that “I am not inclined to underestimate a band with songs in the Guitar Hero series that don’t actually have any guitars in them.” And that’s quite apart from the fact that lead singer/lyricist Liz Enthusiasm looks like this:

Liz Enthusiasm at the Knitting Factory

What shoes do you wear with tights like those?

Liz Enthusiasm at the Knitting Factory

Photos by Violet Shuraka of Cheap & Plastique, appropriately enough. Lots more at the link.

Addendum: Shortly after stumbling across these pictures, I found something even more unexpected: Liz and bandmate Sean T. Drinkwater (the other one) unplugged. Oh, and there’s an actual guitar, too.

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So many more drumsticks

They’ll have to make a pitch like that to sell this European Union proposal:

Experts in Brussels believe that insects could be a vital source of nutrition that will not only solve food shortages but also help save the environment. They have launched a €3 million project to promote the eating of insects.

Proponents of entomophagy — insect eating — argue that bugs are a low-cholesterol, low-fat, protein-rich food source. According to one study, small grasshoppers offer 20 percent protein and just 6 percent fat, to lean ground beef’s 24 percent protein and 18 percent fat.

I can walk into several stores in this town and snag ground beef way leaner than that.

Crickets are also said to be high in calcium, termites rich in iron, and a helping of giant silkworm moth larvae apparently provides all the daily copper and riboflavin requirements.

Something to look forward to: “Just think, if the geniuses at the European Union get their way, roach coaches may soon be selling actual roaches.” In vain will we point out that those creatures aren’t kosher.

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Braai Day

“Braai” is Afrikaans for “barbecue,” sort of, and every September, South Africans chow down on Braai Day:

Braai Day is a celebration of our great country and its unique national pastime. It aims to unite all South Africans on 24 September by encouraging them to partake in a fun and tangible activity shared by all demographic groups, religious denominations and body types.

And there being no Rebecca Black news to speak of — the five-song EP due out in August seems to have mutated into a ten-song album due out around Halloween — here’s the inevitable “Braaiday” video, courtesy of Derick Watts and the Sunday Blues:

(As seen on Memeburn.)

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