Mother and daughter, together forever

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Polyglop

Miami TV host Jenny Scordamaglia effortlessly switches back and forth between English and Spanish without missing a beat. It’s an inspiring phenomenon to witness, no matter what (if anything) she happens to be wearing.

Unfortunately, on her Facebook page, I found this slideshow which appeared to be translated from Spanish to English by someone who spoke only Urdu:

Walmart, a acclaimed arcade centermost believes that arrogant them would not only give big accumulation to shoppers, but can additionally accommodate a bigger life. While at the store, you can see their absorbing products. Aside from these views, there’s addition affair that surprises shoppers and workers alike: gimmicks and added awe-inspiring being fabricated by witty, absorption seekers. These abnormal things brought fun and chills to those who’ve apparent them.

In additional affair, one of the 12 captions was used on two consecutive photos, leaving the rest of the series out of sync with itself.

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Mathroom break

Steve Martin once observed that banks always have to have solid-sounding names like “Security National Trust and Federal Reserve.” Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, while solid enough in its own right, just sounds a trifle weird to a lot of us, though they deserve some credit for snapping up 53.com for their Internet stuff. Still, they haven’t really been capitalizing (sorry about that) on its hybrid name until now:

Were I the lovely and talented Vi Hart, I would of course complain that it’s not really 166.7 percent, but 166.66666666… percent. I’d hate to be the copywriter had the bank decided to go with the endless decimal, but hey, at least it’s rational.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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I was never like this

Not until I was well into my teens, anyway:

It starts with the socks. Within three minutes of entering our home from being anywhere, my kids have ripped off their socks, leaving them splattered across the floor in multiple rooms of the house. (By the way, why do socks never stay together as pairs? Finding single socks in every nook and cranny is literally the bane of my existence. But I digress.)

With their bare feet pitter-pattering across the hardwood floor, I know it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the clothes come off too. Before I can even get the milk into the refrigerator, I turn to see two sets of butt cheeks jiggling away from me as my girls run off to play.

My own parental units would never have stood for such a thing.

I guess I (sort of) get it. Clothes can be restricting. But certainly not the stretchy, jersey knit ensembles that my kiddos wear every day. They’re comfy! Mommy spent hard earned money on those getups! It doesn’t matter — their clothes are coming off faster than you can say “indecent exposure.”

They would spend the whole day naked if they could. Most of the time, my husband and I insist that underwear must be worn — because, c’mon, we believe in a bit of modesty. And of course they don’t run around in the nude outside of our own home. But like I said, the minute we return, clothes are shed and dropped in little piles on the floor.

No telling how this will end up. It may be that the arrival of puberty will rekindle the girls’ interest in keeping their butts non-bare; this is the way I’d bet. Didn’t work on my kid sister, though.

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Do not be noticed

I don’t have particularly good luck, but then I don’t have particularly bad luck either; the die rolls whichever way it rolls, and that’s that. Not everyone lands this close to the middle of the road:

Let’s say I’m as lucky as a fat duck in a French bistro. Nope, too obscure. I’m not lucky. Let’s just go flat and factual on it.

But I’ve learned from it. I can’t conquer my natural superstition. I believe in not putting hats on the bed, and throwing salt over the left shoulder, and umbrellas remaining closed inside the house. I believe in touching wood, saying “jinx,” and touching a dwarf for luck. I believe in the superiority of odd numbers, certain colors, and wearing a particular pair of socks on game day.

My biggest one, though, is not mentioning it when something good happens.

I was listening to a baseball game when I hit that link, and baseball is utterly riven with superstition. The only one I’ve ever honored myself, though, is the one that says you don’t mention the no-hitter until the twenty-seventh out. The truly expert play-by-play guys know how to convey the situation without actually saying those dreadful words. For example:

Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster Dewayne Staats refrained from using the phrase during the entirety of Matt Garza’s no-no on July 26 [2010].

“I framed it in every way possible without actually saying it,” he told the St. Petersburg Times. “Fans start to catch on that something is happening. At one point, I said, ‘Garza has faced the minimum and has allowed only one baserunner and that came on a walk.’ So I’m essentially saying it without saying it.”

A guy who can do that deserves dinner at a French bistro.

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Go Generics!

Daytime television has long counted on trade schools to fill up commercial slots, and of late I’ve been seeing spots for something called National American University, a name I assumed was chosen for the sake of sheer vagueness. Apparently this is not at all the case:

National American University was established in 1941 as a one-year secretarial school by Clarence Jacobson. It was called National College of Business and was located in a downtown Rapid City building. In 1960, Jacobson had the building that now houses administration for the Rapid City campus constructed at 321 Kansas City Street and moved National College to that location.

In 1962, NCB was acquired by Harold D. Buckingham and members of his family. Shortly after the Buckinghams purchased the school, a period of growth began which led to the construction of the classroom buildings, dormitories, a library, gymnasium, and an auditorium.

NCB was granted collegiate accreditation as a junior college by the Accrediting Commission of the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools in 1966. Senior college accreditation was granted in 1970.

Onward and upward:

In 1985, NCB earned accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and in 1997 the university name was changed to National American University.

NAU has several remote campuses, including Wichita and Tulsa. The name, however, still sounds seriously generic, as though they were trying to get away with something, and some people resist the idea of for-profit schools on general principle. Probably why the stock is sitting around $2.50 and market cap around $60 million.

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None more dark

Or, presumably, more green either:

GREEN & BLACK’S is a chocolate brand founded on sustainable and ethical cocoa sourcing principles, based on our conviction that great taste comes from the finest ingredients. Green symbolizes our commitment to always sourcing ethical cocoa. Black stands for our high quality and the delicious intensity of our chocolate.

The first GREEN & BLACK’S chocolate was created in London by original founders, Craig Sams and Jo Fairley. They launched the brand with an organic dark chocolate bar with 70% cocoa. And today you will still find a dark chocolate bar with 70% cocoa in our organic line!

Now, the GREEN & BLACK’S collection includes a wide variety of offerings, all expertly crafted with hand-selected, ethically sourced cocoa beans and the finest ingredients from around the world.

From developing our unique chocolate recipes to selecting ingredients like hand harvested Anglesey Sea Salt and Mediterranean Almonds, we take great pride in creating distinctively smooth and rich chocolate experiences.

That “today you will still” suggests they’ve been around a long time, and, well, 1991 seems quite a long time ago at times.

Still, what does it take to get someone to ante up five bucks for a 100-gram chocolate bar? In my case, it was extreme curiosity:

Our Dark 70% chocolate is made from fine Trinitario cacao beans, providing complex fruit notes and intense bittersweet chocolate aromas.

And six hundred calories, if you care about that sort of thing. The wrapper declares: SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS, if you care about that sort of thing. And really, it’s quite good, much more complex than what those guys at Hershey’s (among others) keep shoving out. There are indeed serious fruit notes, and they manifestly didn’t clutter up the recipe with more than a few percentage points of organic raw cane sugar.

Still: five bucks? And said bucks do not end up in the pockets of a couple of eccentric Brits, but in the deep bank account of Mondelez International, which acquired it from Cadbury, purchasers of the original company in 2006. For now, I don’t really care where it came from, as long as Amazon keeps selling them for $3.24.

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The manipulation of cliché

Some nimrod on Yahoo! Answers has been demanding that someone agree with his premise that “this adult woman and 13yo boy were cast together in this music video.”

So I dialed over to it, and here’s Paris Hilton, then twenty-five, not exactly comporting herself lewdly with a nerd half her age.

“Nothing In This World” was the third single from Paris, her first album; it topped out at #12 on the Billboard dance-club chart. And it reinforced my belief that Paris Hilton has to be pushed hard to appear lubricious, that she’s a fairly ordinary, if sorta cute, woman with a few billion to spare. I said this of her infamous sex tape:

[I]n my opinion she didn’t come across, so to speak, as some sort of Hollywood succubus: she looks kind of small, appallingly young, and mostly dutiful.

She’s larger here, if only because the beleaguered nerd hasn’t reached his final form yet. Anyway, this is a lot less filthy than, say, “Hot for Teacher,” and no one accuses Van Halen of smut.

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Baby, you can fix my car

I like the cut of this young lady’s jib:

My granddaughter is two. For the past couple of months she has been “fixing” various toys. She uses her spatula or spoons to “work” on her cars, baby stroller, doll bed, etc. Wednesday evening I bought her a toy tool kit. She was ecstatic. She opened it and grabbed the hammer, then the screwdriver, calling each by name. How does she know what a screwdriver is? In any case, her tool set is the only toy she played with yesterday and was the first thing she grabbed when she came in the door this morning. Maybe she will be an engineer. Whatever makes her happy.

When I was two, I wasn’t even allowed to have a spatula.

I hope I’m around to hear what she’s doing when she’s nine or ten.

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On choosing poorly

Dystopic has little good to say about Star Wars after the original trilogy (Episodes 4 through 6):

Yes, we all know the prequels were generally atrocious, and what little was interesting was contained only in the last installment. The new Star Wars movies were at least a little more entertaining, but even they were shallow, ephemeral things. They were strictly popcorn-and-soda flicks.

So what did the original trilogy have that the successors lacked?

In this writer’s opinion, it was an enduring mythos, a sort of cultural memory embedded within it. A farm boy took to the stars and became a warrior, trained by what amounts to a religious monk of an ancient, dying order. A princess was trying to save her world, and an evil wizard hunted them all in the name of Imperial power. You could have stripped the story of high technology, and set the whole thing in the middle ages, and it still would have made sense. Yes, even the all-powerful superweapon. Replace the Death Star with Urban’s great cannon, throwing its weight against the walls of Constantinople, or something.

Now try that with the other stories, and you will find that they are utter disasters. They don’t operate on their own anymore. Now it’s a franchise cashing in on nostalgia more than anything.

And this was one major-league mythos, too:

Of all the cultural myths, the farm boy who became something greater may have been the most powerful. Ye gods, we once practically worshiped this idea. It was one of the enduring features of American culture, as distinct from the various European cultures that spawned it. You see, if our farmers and fishermen could throw out the British, of all people, was there anything truly beyond us? We didn’t need noblemen, you see. We had farmers. We didn’t need warriors, we had soldiers. There was no need for great nobles, or learned men of haute culture. We could bootstrap it all ourselves.

The farm boy might become a great philosopher, or an astronaut, or a general. He might become a President or a Congressman. Perhaps he would be the next great scientist or engineer. He didn’t need the pedigree of an aristocrat, or the brand name of some noble house. He didn’t need to go to the grandest of colleges, or know all the right people. He didn’t need to have the correct political opinions if, indeed, he even bothered much with politics at all. If you could do the job, you could do anything, and it didn’t much matter what dusty mid-western farm you crawled out of.

Entropy being the irresistible force that it is, the legends would eventually be displaced by the losers:

Heaping disdain upon the peasants of the flyover states and the South is all the rage among our supposedly-learned castes. There can be no more Luke Skywalkers in Star Wars, that is to say no more farm boys who ascend to the highest levels. If Star Wars was written by today’s establishment, Luke would have to be a girl who suffered oppression by the bigoted farm boys, then escaped to the Empire (which was, of course, politically correct and ruled by wise, learned Socialist oligarchs) to wield its military might against the hicks and unlearned morons of Planet Redneck.

Who knew that the enduring role model of Star Wars would turn out to be Palpatine?

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I think she’s the other one

I’m not aware of any time during the last 31 years when I was confident of my ability to distinguish between Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, and technically they’re not even identical twins. (They have a younger sister, Elizabeth, whom I find easier on my eyes, but of course your mileage may vary.)

The Olsen twins, benched

Similarities aside, Mary-Kate has gotten slightly more attention in these pages, mostly for this absurd tale from a decade ago:

Blogdom has been much amused by the fourteen-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar (October) in which Mary-Kate Olsen dresses up with Lauren Hutton and declaims, “I run around my house naked with heels all the time.”

I have no doubt that she does — why would anyone make up something like that? — but I suspect that the running is at a pretty slow pace, what with the heels and all.

What made me think of this, in case you’re curious, was this tweet from this past weekend:

Yeah, like I’d know anything about that.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots of Mary-Kate, or at least I think it’s Mary-Kate. She’s not running around, naked or otherwise.

Mary-Kate Olsen at her least comfortable

Mary-Kate Olsen at her least comfortable

Enough eye makeup there for any five normal women, or three Dusty Springfields.

Speaking of a decade ago, here’s MK getting the once-over from David Letterman:

Darling Dave apparently hadn’t yet grown into the professional perv we’d see later in life, though clearly he was working on it.

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The one with the ever-widening hole in it

I was rather startled to see this:

[E]very Intel platform with AMT, ISM, and SBT from Nehalem in 2008 to Kaby Lake in 2017 has a remotely exploitable security hole in the ME (Management Engine) not CPU firmware. If this isn’t scary enough news, even if your machine doesn’t have SMT, ISM, or SBT provisioned, it is still vulnerable, just not over the network. For the moment. From what SemiAccurate gathers, there is literally no Intel box made in the last 9+ years that isn’t at risk. This is somewhere between nightmarish and apocalyptic.

First a little bit of background. SemiAccurate has known about this vulnerability for literally years now, it came up in research we were doing on hardware backdoors over five years ago. What we found was scary on a level that literally kept us up at night. For obvious reasons we couldn’t publish what we found out but we took every opportunity to beg anyone who could even tangentially influence the right people to do something about this security problem. SemiAccurate explained the problem to literally dozens of “right people” to seemingly no avail. We also strongly hinted that it existed at every chance we had.

What do all those letters mean? Active Management Technology, Intel Standard Manageability Escalation of Privilege, and Small Business Technology. I found those in Intel’s security alert, issued a few hours after the SemiAccurate release. In the standard jargon:

There are two ways this vulnerability may be accessed please note that Intel® Small Business Technology is not vulnerable to the first issue.

An unprivileged network attacker could gain system privileges to provisioned Intel manageability SKUs: Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT) and Intel® Standard Manageability (ISM).

CVSSv3 9.8 Critical /AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H

An unprivileged local attacker could provision manageability features gaining unprivileged network or local system privileges on Intel manageability SKUs: Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT), Intel® Standard Manageability (ISM), and Intel® Small Business Technology (SBT).

CVSSv3 8.4 High /AV:L/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H

What does all this mean? To me, nothing: I’m using an AMD box. At work, well, I’ll just have to review some inventory. Says S|A:

The problem is quite simple, the ME controls the network ports and has DMA access to the system. It can arbitrarily read and write to any memory or storage on the system, can bypass disk encryption once it is unlocked (and possibly if it has not, SemiAccurate hasn’t been able to 100% verify this capability yet), read and write to the screen, and do all of this completely unlogged. Due to the network access abilities, it can also send whatever it finds out to wherever it wants, encrypted or not.

While these capabilities sounds crazy to put on a PC, they are there for very legitimate reasons. If an IT organization needs to re-image a system, you need to be able to remotely write to disk. Virus cleaning? Scan and write arbitrary bits. User logging and (legitimate) corporate snooping? That too. In short everything you need to manage a box can be exploited in ugly ways.

Intel is already supplying a firmware fix for at least some of the affected platforms.

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Shopping at Kroeger’s

What goes into the making of pretty much every damned song by Nickelback:

Figured you out, didn’t he?

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Middleman eliminated

And after all, elimination is (presumably) what it’s all about:

Nothing tentative about that puppy.

Now if he figures out how to close the door behind him, well, things could get interesting.

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The girl in 18B

Of all the girls I’ve ever seen, she was the only one I occasionally couldn’t see.

Or something like that. This far along, it’s hard to be sure.

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Only a pawn in their game

Inappropriate dress worn by 12-year-old chess playerWhat happens when the cerebral meets the surreal:

A 12-year-old girl was forced to withdraw from a chess tournament in Malaysia after her dress was considered “seductive,” her coach has claimed.

Malaysian chess player Kaushal Khandar alleged that his student had been “extremely embarrassed” and “disturbed” by the actions of the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 director and chief arbiter, the Star Online reported.

He claimed that the tournament director had made a remark on the girl’s knee-length dress to the chief arbiter, who had stopped her competition in the middle of Round 2 and informed the student that her dress was improper and violated the dress code of the tournament, the report said.

It was later informed (by chief arbiter) to my student and her mother, that the tournament director deemed my student’s dress to be “seductive” and a “temptation,” Kaushal said in a statement on his Facebook page.

It seems to me that if you’re thinking there’s a risk of someone getting turned on by 12-year-olds, the problem is not with the 12-year-olds.

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