It’s just tracks

Having failed to persuade anyone other than clueless members of Congress — but I repeat myself — that the impending Death of the Music Industry is the fault of those evil downloaders, said Industry perhaps should consider the idea that no one really gives a rat’s rump anymore:

Bill Gibson proposes that music has become “achronous,” that is, beyond time. For today’s youth, music is something on their music appliance, and has no real historical niche. I would add that the only exception to that — and it is a jarring one — is live concerts featuring dinosaur rockers. You can plug your JebusPhone’s speakers into your ears and watch an old Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan, or MTV video, and feel seemless young with your faves. Or, if you are young today, you can imagine that music is as young as you are.

Not being one of today’s youth, I react the same way to 1965 stuff now that I did in, well, 1965. I picked that specific year because it was the first year I spent my own money on music. The last one, I suppose, will be the one where I begin the everlasting dirt nap.

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An underserved market

Roger’s discourse on the not-yet-dead Esso trademark, owned by what used to be Standard Oil of New Jersey and is now ExxonMobil, ends with this fascinating tale:

In 1936, a “Harlem postal employee and civic leader named Victor H. Green” developed The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide … abbreviated, simply, as the “Green Book.” Those who needed to know about it knew about it. To much of the rest of America it was invisible, and by 1964 [when the Civil Rights Act was passed], when the last edition was published, it slipped through the cracks into history…

“The 15,000 copies Green eventually printed each year were sold as a marketing tool not just to black-owned businesses but to the white marketplace, implying that it made good economic sense to take advantage of the growing affluence and mobility of African Americans. Esso stations, unusual in franchising to African Americans, were a popular place to pick one up.”

Mr Green was on to something. Nicholas Dreystadt was in charge of Cadillac service for General Motors during the worst days of the Great Depression, and he advanced what was then a novel theory:

Cadillac was after the prestige market, and part of its strategy to capture that market was its refusal to sell to African-Americans. Despite this official discrimination, Dreystadt had noted that an astonishing number of customers at the service departments consisted of members of the nation’s tiny African-American elite: the boxers, singers, doctors and lawyers who earned large incomes despite the flourishing Jim Crow atmosphere of the 1930s. Most status symbols were not available to these people. They couldn’t live in fancy neighborhoods or patronize fancy nightclubs. But getting around Cadillac’s policy of refusing to sell was easy: They just paid white men to front for them.

Dreystadt urged the executive committee to go after this market. Why should a bunch of white front men get several hundred dollars each when that profit could flow to General Motors? The board bought his reasoning, and in 1934 Cadillac sales increased by 70%, and the division actually broke even.

One thing about old Jim Crow: he wasn’t worth a damn as an economist.

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Not that she asked me or anything

Lynn requests that you not use this kind of language in her presence:

A sentence I would very much like to never have to hear or read again is, “You wouldn’t ask a man that question.”

That question is this question:

MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?

SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question? (Laughter.) (Applause.)

MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. (Applause.)

Or, as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) once snapped at a reporter asking something of similar import: “You would never write about Chuck Schumer’s shoes.”

Says Lynn:

Reporters are notorious for asking inappropriate, irrelevant and just plain lame questions but people are interested in the personal lives of our leaders and since men and women are different that means different questions for men and women. If you don’t feel that it’s an appropriate time for a particular question the better response would be to say, “I would rather talk about the issues,” or “I would rather talk about [a specific issue].”

My own instinct is to yell out “NEXT!” approximately 3 dB louder than, say, Scott Lucas of Local H at the very end of “All the Kids Are Right.”

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Think of it as nine bucks an inch

Behold the most expensive wiener on earth:

Capitol Dawg specialty hot dog

One hundred forty-five dollars and forty-nine cents (for now, plus tax) fetches you the California Capitol City Dawg, constructed as follows:

Served on a foccacia roll, the world’s most expensive hot dog is an 18-inch beef frank topped with Swedish moose cheese, Italian white truffle butter, French mustard, garlic-herb mayonnaise, smoked maple bacon from New Hampshire and local balsamic vinaigrette.

Note that that’s French mustard, not French’s mustard.

Incidentally, this is highly atypical of the usual fare at Sacramento’s Capitol Dawg, most of whose dawgs run $4 to $6.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Once again, a national Halleday

It’s been two years since I put up a picture of Halle Berry, but the occasion is the same: it’s her birthday. (Then again, do you really need a reason?) This particular shot comes from a profile in the March ’11 Ebony, in which she’s wearing something insubstantial by Alberta Ferretti:

Halle Berry in Ebony

If you prefer Ms Berry in something more substantial by Alberta Ferretti, here you go.

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Perhaps they didn’t think this through

Chrysler’s 300 sedan is about one size class larger than my aspirations, but damn, it’s a sweet piece to look at these days, and maybe I’ll get a chance to get some proper seat time in a 300 between now and whenever. In the meantime, following a reasonably favorable TTAC review, a commenter has pointed out a possible drawback to the Majestic Mopar:

Q: Which features can only be controlled with the touchscreen?
A: The heated seats and steering wheel.

Q: When do you use them?
A: In the winter.

Q: What do you wear during winter?
A: Gloves.

Q: What doesn’t work when you wear gloves?
A: A touchscreen.

Q: Which features can only be controlled with the touchscreen?
A: The heated seats and steering wheel.

And so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo. You’d think someone in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Frozen North might have noticed this.

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As you may already know by now

I got a press release on this, embargoed until 5 pm Monday, but several hours before that the news was all over the place, so I’ll just link to the official announcement:

KOSU, the NPR station serving Oklahoma City at 91.7FM, Tulsa at 107.5FM and Stillwater at 88.3FM, will increase its audience services by adding new news/talk and music programs effective Monday, August 20, 2012. At the heart of KOSU’s schedule is a content partnership with The Spy, which produces original shows and brings a wide array of independent music to listeners. The Spy also engages in local partnerships that serve to educate the community and further the local culture.

“The Spy has done a tremendous job of tapping into the pulse of the community to provide a vibrant venue for music genres that are completely underserved in our state,” said Kelly Burley, KOSU Director. “Through our partnership, we look forward to amplifying what The Spy does best as we create more uniquely Oklahoma experiences for public radio listeners.”

Shorter version: KOSU will be simulcasting (presumably minus ad slots) The Spy’s evening and overnight programs, instead of whatever the hell they’re doing now. (Oh, right: classical music, which will now be demoted to the HD2 channel and a stream.) Still, getting Ferris and friends on actual radio, and with some measurable ERP instead of their former peashooter out in Los Boondocks, must be considered a boon.

Still: this must be some definition of “embargoed” that I missed back in Vocabulary Building and Maintenance. I had planned something for 5:01 yesterday afternoon, but scrapped it by noon after seeing the news all over my tweetstream.

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How she did

Earlier this month, I happened to mention that a friend of mine had put together, and was starring in, her very first play. A trip to Toronto was out of the question, but I did watch for the reviews, and here’s the first one:

Violent be Violet is a dark, disturbing surge of emotional extremes touching on the very delicate subject of mental illness. It is a performance at this year’s SummerWorks that will leave plenty of room for discussion and reflection, something that is sure to stay with you for a while.

Fourteen years ago, Violet (Tanisha Taitt) became the only survivor of a bloody massacre of her classmates, killing the murderer in her own defense.

The tragedy haunts her to this day, at age 36, and severely affects not only her life but the life of her family — her mother Yolande (Sandi Ross), brother Amos (Peter Bailey) — and Sister Genevieve (Sarah Dodd), her former Psych professor now a nun. Her internal battle spirals out of control culminating to the truth behind the massacre.

Not the sort of thing you’re going to be humming on the way out of the theater. But Tanisha pulls it off:

It’s not an easy production to watch, especially if the topic of mental illness hits close to home. Much applause to Taitt (also serving as playwright) who is unapologetic and is relentless in the torrent of emotions she unleashes for the audience to soak in. You feel for Violet, you feel a lot for her and your heart reaches out to her family who only want her to recover but end up triggering her outbursts accidentally.

Dammit, maybe I should have found a way to Toronto.

Her next project: working on V-Day.

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We laugh at your feeble funnels

At least, that’s the idea with this concept by 10 Design, putting a dwelling on a hydraulic lift, which can lower it below ground in the event of, um, rotation.

“Think of a turtle,” explains Call Me Stormy, “which can pull its head back within a protective shell whenever danger arises.”

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It’s a nice day for it

It got up into the 60s (Fahrenheit) in Johannesburg earlier today, so all the snow should be gone.

Yes, I know, it’s wintertime in South Africa, but they don’t get much snow there. Maybe you’ll see some heavy snow at higher elevations, but anything more than a dusting in Johannesburg is fairly rare, which probably explains this:

A South African couple married this week after a bout of unusually cold weather allowed them to fulfill a light-hearted promise to tie the knot the next time Johannesburg was covered in snow.

Portuguese emigre Rui Moca and Monique Joubert had planned to wed next year, but when South Africa’s biggest city was shrouded in a rare blanket of snow on Tuesday, Joubert’s sister called Jacaranda FM to tell them about the couple’s dream of a “real” white wedding.

The radio station leapt into action, organizing a minister, lawyer, photographer, flowers, cake and limousine, and the couple were married on air in the studio in the early evening — with Moca’s family listening in from Europe over the Internet.

“The entire wedding with all the bells and whistles was organized in just three hours,” Jacaranda DJ Martin Bester said.

It hadn’t snowed at all in Johannesburg for the last five years, and the last time they got this much — the highway to Durban was actually closed for 24 hours due to snowcover — was 1981, the year Billy Idol recorded “White Wedding.” (It was released in 1982.)

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We already have alternate-day watering restrictions, but that’s just not enough in an unusually-dry summer, so the city has now begun employing a costumed semi-superhero to encourage us to Squeeze Every Drop.

Okay, it’s goofy, but it will appeal to your first-grader, who will then nag you every time you turn on the tap.

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Just trying to be helpful

There are times when I just want to scream at the screen, and this was one of them:

Earlier today, I was on a message board. A woman was talking about how she’s 27 and still a virgin, and guys ignore her. She asked if there’s any chance that she’ll find someone.

I answered as honestly as I could. I said probably not. I wasn’t trying to be harsh, but I was blunt and honest. I told her that men are all about the visual. At 27, she wasn’t going to get any prettier. In fact, her looks had probably already started to decline. So if men hadn’t been interested in her when she was college age, they probably were going to be even less interested now. It is not as if she was 15 and an ugly duckling who could still potentially become a beautiful swan. Her time to be a swan (up to age 25 in most women) had already come and gone.

See also John Derbyshire’s attack on Jennifer Aniston from several years back.

Or, for that matter, this (fictional) discussion by Twilight Sparkle of an unfortunate event in her past:

“I told him to go away and he started screaming that I had no right to treat him this way and that he would tell all his friends about me and nopony would ever want me.” She was clearly fighting back the tears. “The rude suggestions, they didn’t matter. But it’s the worst thing in the world to tell a filly that nopony would ever want her, because she’ll believe it every time.”

Thirty or forty years of celibacy might be enough to pay back this jerk — maybe.

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Who let the doge out?

“It’s no longer necessary to be a doge to own a palazzo in Venice.” The current Italian government hopes to cut the country’s budget deficit by selling over three hundred historic buildings, including palaces and castles:

The government hopes to raise as much as €1.5 billion through the historic property sales, according to the Agenzia del Demanio, the agency that manages the state’s real estate assets. Currently the Italian state owns properties worth about €42 billion, according to a report by Edoardo Reviglio, chief economist of bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

The city of Venice is going to sell 18 properties, including the 18th century Diedo Palace, which served as a criminal court for years. The price tag for the palace is €19 million. Milan intends to sell more than 100 buildings, including the Palazzo Bolis Gualdo. The city hopes to get as much as €31 million for that palace.

Not actually up for sale: the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, former primary residence of the Doge, which has been open as a museum since 1923.

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Strange search-engine queries (341)

Another week begins with another slog through the logs, in the hopes of finding just one search string funny enough to share with the world. And by “just one,” I mean “ten or so,” because otherwise this feature looks pretty darn pathetic.

beatles spice rack:  You have to be careful. I was looking for bay leaves the other day, and I wound up with pasta sauce redolent of Norwegian wood.

is there really a clock that always says 12:30:  Closest I ever got was a VCR that always said 1:00, except during DST, when it said 2:00.

how to revers a shrink ray:  First you switch off the power. (Actually, first you look for a ladder to climb up to where the device is located, and then you switch off the power, if you have the strength.)

ned ludd didn’t exist:  So they had to invent him, but no, they couldn’t have, could they?

how to extend range of nissan leaf:  Drive in only one direction: downhill.

how to dress as a nerd for prom:  Wear thicker glasses than usual, and show up in a Nissan Leaf.

erotica is like dog-whistle politics:  Watch for a new romance, tentatively set in the world of canine obedience training. Working title is 50 Shades of Stay.

can women have surgery on knee caps to look better:  Theoretically, but it’s a lot less complicated to wear a longer skirt.

“margaret cho used to be funny”:  Hell, Janeane Garofalo used to be cute.

spanking joni mitchell:  It’s pain’s illusions you recall; you really don’t know pain at all.

Paris Hilton a gold digger?  Paris Hilton doesn’t need your money. Then again, she’s probably not likely to date a clerk at Blockbuster either.

boy transforms into pretty woman porno:  In which a Blockbuster clerk wakes up one morning to find he’s been turned into Paris Hilton.

ask me about my vow of silence meaning:  Shhh. I can’t talk about that right now.

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Visors at the ready

This would seem logical enough:

People should live to the east of where they work. That way the sun would always be in your rearview mirror on your commute.

Instead of in your face, or more specifically in my face, inasmuch as I live west of where I work.

But this threw me a curve:

I heard once that cities tend to grow in a way that forms a 7 of developed, happening areas, but I don’t know why that would be true. Every city that I’ve lived in, it’s been either the west or the north (or both) that was the wealthier developing side, and the south and/or east that were poorer. I don’t know why any of these things would be intrinsic, but it’s a cliche that south and east are poor, no?

Definitely true of Oklahoma City; definitely not true of Tulsa.

I’ve brought this up before. At the time, Fishersville Mike advanced the theory that it was at least partially wind-related: “The wind blows the smells from west to east, so that side might be slightly more pleasant for an urbanized area.” Winds in the OKC are typically from the southwest and hot, or from the northwest and not quite so hot; as a result, I am generally spared two of the more godawful smells in this town, the Stockyards (on the near-southwest side) and the dog-food plant (on the far north end), which would fit this pattern.

There are 200 comments at that first link, containing explanations, outliers, and occasional randomness.

(Via Hit Coffee.)

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They can’t lose

Headline from this morning’s Oklahoman:

From page 4A of the Oklahoman 12 August 2012: Republicans hope to win new Senate seat

What are their chances? Pretty close to 100 percent, actually:

Voters in southern Oklahoma County and parts of Pottawatomie County will select their senator on Aug. 28 in the primary runoff between two Republican candidates.

Since no Democrat filed for the newly redistricted seat, the winner of the runoff will take office, replacing the incumbent Sen. Charlie Laster and giving the GOP one more seat in their super majority hold of the Senate.

Laster, a Democrat, did not file for reelection, so this is definitely a pickup for the GOP. (The online version of the story, otherwise identical to the print version, has a less-risible title.)

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