Give a little whistle

In case you were wondering, Irish funerals aren’t all “Danny Boy” these days:

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has been replaced by Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” as the most popular song played at funerals, new research has found.

A study by The Co-operative Funeralcare showed that traditional hymns, football anthems and classic pop songs top the list of the “funeral music chart.”

As funeral music goes, the BBC’s theme from “Match of the Day” is pretty, um, perky. Then again, it is a legitimate football anthem, though I admit I’m waiting for someone to go out to the accompaniment of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Sports Song.”

David Collingwood, operations director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “We think we may be seeing a generational shift in attitudes towards funerals, and the choice of music being requested.

“Music plays such an important part in people’s lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing. Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, which can be reflected in the choice of music, dress, coffin, flowers, hearses or memorials.”

Which may explain why my brother departed to the strains of “Let It Be” — and why I won’t.

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Discreet petite

This wandered into my email box:

The #1 rule if you’re having an affair

Never do it with a single woman. Instead, date a married woman who has just as much reason to keep it a secret as you do.

(“Me and Mrs. Jones,” explained Billy Paul.)

Why did I get this?

You are receiving this message because you opted in to *insert web address of list*

Apparently Cyprus, whence this came, is not up on the latest deceptive techniques — which can’t possibly help them selling a “service” like this.

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Befouled

Arriving at my decidedly non-reserved slot in the company parking lot after 4:30, I noticed that creatures unknown had taken a dump on Gwendolyn’s hood. (The British term “bonnet” seems even worse here.) The stuff was just slightly darker than burnt sienna, which told me that it likely wasn’t a bird; any bird passing something that color, and in that volume, would very likely be found dead a few yards away. So: some sort of humanoid, perhaps in prankster mode. I swore vengeance, vowing that if I ever caught the perp messing around my motor vehicle again, I would kill him, and tell God he died.

This sounded even sillier after a couple of iterations, so I tried to come up with another explanation. Could something have slopped onto me during the morning commute? And why didn’t I notice it, if it had? The latter question, at least, was easier to answer: I leave for work in the first half of the six o’clock hour. Sunrise that morning: 7:12.

I grabbed a paper towel from my in-car stash and pinched off the bulk of the, um, loaf. This time I had an ID: old-style axle grease. Now I can always think of a good reason not to go to the car wash, especially when there’s a 70-percent chance of rain in the next 24 hours, so I decided I would address this mess at home. As it turned out, I had the solution right at the kitchen sink: I covered the stuff with a thin layer of Dawn dishwashing liquid, squeezed a sponge or two worth of water on the blob, waited a little while, and whisked about 75 percent of it away on the first swipe. Probably damaged the sponge beyond repair — the Law of Conservation of Filth, which states that to get something clean, you must also get something dirty, is inflexible and adamantine — but hey, I got that crap off my car without messing up the clearcoat.

Later, I contemplated the source once more. If something going down the road is sloughing off grease in such quantities, I reasoned, very soon it will not be going down the road at all, because a bearing will be baked to a crackly crunch.

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Men in black

About the only thing that was discussed in advance of this game is that somebody’s losing streak would have to end: the Thunder had lost four straight coming in, the Nets five straight. (Well, there was the absence of Andrei Kirilenko, who didn’t travel with the team; there is reasonable speculation that he never will again.) And OKC played it close for three quarters, only to watch the Nets go on a 10-0 run in the middle of the fourth. With a minute left, the badass black-clad Nets were up five; the lead shrank to three, then to one, then went back to two with 4.6 left. Reggie Jackson had a decent look for a last-second trey to win, but the ball refused to cooperate, and Brooklyn, on the high side of a 94-92 score, is now on a one-game winning streak, having swept the Thunder for the season.

Scott Brooks started Andre Roberson in place of Jeremy Lamb; it didn’t seem to make any difference, as the two of them together managed only nine points, though Roberson, the superior defenseman, did block four shots. The usual suspects got the scoring: Jackson with 21, Serge Ibaka with 16 (and ten rebounds), Anthony Morrow with 11, Steven Adams with 10. Adams, I must note, was 2-5 from the foul line, which reflects a growing problem: when your best foul shooters are Kendrick Perkins and Sebastian Telfair, each of who went 2-2 from the stripe, there’s something horribly wrong somewhere. OKC put up 19 freebies, sank only 12. By contrast, the Nets wangled 30 shots and hit 27 of them.

Reserve guard Jarrett Jack was the big scorer for Brooklyn, with a game-high 23; of the starters, Deron Williams had 17 points, and Brook Lopez 16 (and ten rebounds). Shooting percentages were pretty close — 46-45 — though the Nets were substantially more efficient, bagging 31 of 67, while the Thunder put up 85 and saw only 38 go through.

Three more games on this homestand: Golden State Sunday, Utah on Wednesday, New York on Friday. The Jazz have already shown they can beat OKC; the Warriors, 8-2 going into tonight’s game with those same Jazz, can probably beat anyone. We’re forced to hope against hope that the Knickerbockers are terrible. Then again, their crosstown rivals had dropped five in a row before arriving here, so the Knicks have to be worse than that. I’m not counting on it.

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Fluff in their ears

Winnie the Pooh may be a Bear of Very Little Brain, but don’t hold that against him. In that regard he differs little from some humans out there:

Winnie the Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress.

The much-loved animated bear was suggested at a local council meeting to decide which famous character should become the face of the play area in the small town of Tuszyn.

But the idea soon sparked outrage among more conservative members, with one councillor even denouncing poor Pooh as a “hermaphrodite”.

“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” said Ryszard Cichy during the discussion. “It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children.”

How long did it take them to think this under?

Maybe the world is just anti-bear in general. Look what’s happening to poor Paddington:

The British Board of Film Classification gave Paddington a parental guidance rating, saying it contains “dangerous behavior, mild threat, mild sex references and mild bad language.” The rating means the film is suitable for general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for children under 8 years old.

The board said the film’s scenes of dangerous behavior include Paddington hiding inside a refrigerator.

BBFC later revised the description, dropping “sex references” in favor of “innuendo” and pointing out only a single expletive which wouldn’t be an expletive anywhere else but Britain. They’re not kidding me. Paddington Bear wears a duffle coat — and no pants.

Addendum: Donald Duck was not available for comment.

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In and out of chambers

Jeanine Pirro (currently “Judge Jeanine” on Fox News) posted this picture to Instagram earlier this week:

Jeanine Pirro in some fancy duds

“Can you believe I just walked 14 blocks in these heels?!” she said. “Cold outside, but warming up the office with my #ootd.” Outfit Of The Day, if you’re not hip to the lingo.

Let’s get a closer look at those heels:

Jeanine Pirro from here down

Manolo Blahnik, of course. (The dress is by Hervé Leger, and it’s clearly not one of his Bandages.)

And because every point needs a counterpoint:

Jeanine Pirro cuts the grass

The grass never had a chance.

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Desperate for attention

This is about two steps below clutching at straws:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Is it worth it to pay $6000 to get famous?

Why $6000, exactly?

I want to pay $6000 to Ark Music Factory (Just like what rebecca black did) so they can help me produce a song and release it on their channel and I will become famous. I am not very good at singing but I think this is a great way to become famous. However, my parents are poor and we are on food stamps but they will be willing to sacrifice everything for my music career.

Update: they will be willing to do it, even if they have to starve for a few days.

Not sure if trolling or simply out of touch with reality. I did point out that what happened to Rebecca Black will not necessarily happen for anyone else.

And anyone who’s on food stamps should know that six grand is more than a few days’ worth.

Addendum: Last I heard, Patrice Wilson, who produced “Friday,” was asking $6500 for his services.

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A house full of towels

This somewhat-upset fellow writes to Slate’s Dear Prudence:

My wife of more than 10 years has always been a bit of a nudist. Nothing public, but around the house and our pool and out in the boat she likes to be in the buff. Our son is now 6 years old and my daughter is 3. My children are being raised in the nude, the same way my wife was raised. They get home from school and their clothes come off. I come home at night to two naked kids and a naked wife. Now that our children are getting older, I think it might be time that everyone starts covering up a bit more. My wife disagrees and does not want to change. Are we doing damage to our kids here?

“Where can I find a woman like that?” </RickSpringfield>

Prudie, who once went to a “nudist colony,” a term that’s been extinct for decades, advises:

I learned at the colony that children raised to let it all hang out start wanting to cover it up once puberty hits.

I suspect this is true more often than not. However, this also works in reverse: most of the people I know who prefer to operate at Wardrobe Zero [caution: small sample] discovered that preference at just about the same time.

And you may have noticed that hubby doesn’t say whether he joins the clothing-shedding ceremony.

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Meanwhile in Buffalo

And to think I was whining about a couple of inches this week:

Snow scene from Buffalo NY November 2014

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Selective blinders

Francisco Toro finds them in front of the faces of pipeline foes:

It’s really quite odd, Keystone XL. Think about drugs: educated people generally have no trouble seeing the hopelessness of a supply-interdiction strategy. People grasp that the War on Drugs can’t work: if you crack down on production in one place, you just fatten up the margins for producers in another. Crack down on trafficking here, and you create extra rents to trafficking over there. The “balloon theory” to explain the futility of supply-disruption policies is not in serious doubt.

And yet, suddenly, ask a gringo leftie about applying the same damn lesson to oil and everyone goes insane.

It’s a Different Religion thing. Some people who love to scoff at, for instance, some of the constructs of Christianity, have no problem buying the hilarious notion of “climate pollution.” (Short explanation: climate is neither a physical object nor a concept standing in for a physical object and therefore cannot be polluted by other physical objects. Feel free to pass this on to anyone who needs it.)

And anyway, Toro’s point is that Keystone XL would have done one thing exceedingly well: screw over the Chavistas running Venezuela. Here’s why:

If the Venezuelan government had the bandwidth to think longer term — which it manifestly doesn’t — it would grasp Keystone XL as a key strategic threat. The main reason anyone would want to take Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast is because that’s where the refineries that can handle crappy, high-sulphur, high-tar content crude are. And the whole reason they got built there in the first place is to handle Venezuelan crude. This is why Keystone XL is such an important piece of the North American Energy Independence puzzle: it’s what it takes to shut Venezuela out of the North American market.

You can’t tell me that Senate Democrats, some of whom are sympathetic to the Chávez/Maduro government, are completely unaware of this premise.

(Via Fausta’s blog.)

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I need all the help I can get

This Ridiculously Small Handrail might be useful to, say, some geezer with bad knees:

Ridiculously Small Handrail

It does, admittedly, look a trifle absurd.

(From Twisted Sifter’s The Shirk Report via Coyote Blog.)

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Just an illusion

“Motown at its most mystical,” Dave Marsh wrote a quarter-century ago:

Ruffin wakes up in a bottomless pit of orchestration, and recounts a bad dream about his travels in “this land of broken dreams,” which he says means lack of romantic love but which everybody who’s ever heard him understands to signify something a lot more disturbing and universal.

That would include yours truly:

[M]aybe it’s just what John Mellencamp ascribed to those two American kids, Jack and Diane: “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” And, of course, if the thrill is gone, we’ve finished up Jimmy Ruffin’s record, and moved on to B. B. King’s.

Jimmy’s own record ground to a halt this week in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.

And because Gerard Van der Leun would have wanted it that way, here’s Joan Osborne’s Ruffin cover, eminently worthy in its own right.

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Unsatisfactory crap

It wasn’t a fresh idea, exactly, but it filled a perceived need:

On-demand fecal delivery (or “shit-tech”) is one of the hottest sectors around. And leading the way is Shit Express, whose super-simple elevator pitch is that for $16.95, or 0.05 bitcoin, it will anonymously send a piece of shit to someone on your behalf.

You might think “That’s some expensive shit.” And it is carefully packaged, including a slip of paper containing a gentle rebuke. But it misses out on one quintessential component:

[T]he thing that makes shit so supremely offensive isn’t just the fact that it came out of someone or something’s asshole. It’s the smell. And so I had to unseal the Tupperware, not only to verify to the best of my ability that it really is shit, but also to determine how powerful an insult this gift really was.

One sniff. Nothing. Hmm maybe the odor-causing chemicals and bacteria of the manure need a minute to steam off. Two more big inhalations and still nothing. According to other testimonials, the shipments gave off an appropriately unpleasant barnyard stench. It certainly looks like manure, and to be honest, it’d be a lot harder to fake manure than to just buy some from Home Depot or wherever. But it would seem that my delivery came from a bad batch of perhaps over-aged manure.

Could distance have been a factor? This parcel was shipped from Slovenia to Brooklyn. (Slovenia? “What did they put on the customs form?” asks Consumerist.) Anyway, this particular steaming pile proved to be, um, insufficiently steaming, suggesting an area where the company may need to work on its quality control.

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It can’t happen here

You know, if Scott Brooks could get decent performances from even six of his ten actual players, the Thunder surely would have a record better than 3-10. (A Tulsa woman on Twitter invoked the painful memory of 2008-09, which began 3-29.) But it didn’t happen in Denver, where the Thunder, down 17 at one point in the third quarter, mounted enough of a rally to pull within three late, only to see the Nuggets nail back-to-back treys, one by Wilson Chandler, one by Arron Afflalo, and squelch what was left of the Thunder’s hopes. Denver 107, Oklahoma City 100, evening the season series at 1-1.

Contrast: Sebastian Telfair, who didn’t miss a shot all night (7-7, 4-4 on treys, 18 points), and Reggie Jackson, who missed a lot of them (5-20, 0-3 on treys, 6-6 free throws for 16 points). Speaking of not hitting treys, Anthony Morrow went 0-4, and Andre Roberson, in limited minutes, was 1-4. Serge Ibaka had a good night: 22 points, 13 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb had a not-so-good night: 8 points. Kendrick Perkins spent more time in the middle than did Steven Adams, but neither was as much of a factor as Timofey Mozgov, who not only guarded the lane but scored 17 points from close in.

Four of five starting Nuggets hit double figures; Kenneth Faried, the one who didn’t, did grab ten rebounds to go with his eight points. Chandler led Denver with 21 and nine boards; Ty Lawson served up 15 points and 15 assists. Denver didn’t drop below 50% shooting until the very end, and finished with 49. (Thunder shooting was not awful: 46%, and 10-23 on treys, though they’re 6-19 if you factor out whatever alchemy was sending Telfair’s long shots into the cylinder.) There is, however, one Telltale Statistic: OKC blocked zero shots. None. Not Ibaka, not Collison, not nobody. Explains some of that highfalutin’ Denver shootin’, don’t it?

For what it’s worth, during the annus horribilis that was 2008-09, OKC got its fourth win on the 31st of December. It shouldn’t take that long this year. Then again, “shouldn’t” is a word one shouldn’t use in connection with sports.

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We got scrutiny

The twice-yearly examination of the auto-insurance bill discloses a premium increase of $4.50, broken down as follows:

  • Liability (injury): up $1.60.
  • Liability (property): up $1.30.
  • Uninsured motorists: no change.
  • Comprehensive: no change.
  • Collision: up $1.60.
  • Road service: no change.
  • Rental reimbursement: no change.

Total discounts were up a buck.

Once again, the single largest item on the bill is the uninsured-motorist coverage, which approximately 75 percent of drivers in this state carry. (The other 25 percent don’t carry any coverage at all.)

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Eaker than thou

The City of Durant has been requesting proposals for runway improvements at Durant Regional Airport-Eaker Field, south of town. What they want is an overlay on the existing 17/35 runway, to improve its surface, and to extend it beyond its current 5,001 feet. Nothing is planned for the secondary runway, 3000 feet, oriented 12/30. Proposals are due in tomorrow.

Historical note: Ira Clarence Eaker, who attended what was then Southeastern State Teachers College in Durant, was commissioned in December 1917, and 24 years later got his first star and a job organizing the VIII Bomber Command in England, later the Eighth Air Force. As commander of the Eighth, he delivered an address to the British garrison, including this pithy sentence: “We won’t do much talking until we’ve done more fighting. After we’ve gone, we hope you’ll be glad we came.” The character of Major General Pat Pritchard in the 1949 film Twelve O’Clock High is based largely on General Eaker. He died in 1987, aged 91.

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