Well, malsomething, anyway

Deadpan (I think) news story from KOTV:

Issues with a known global malware virus are keeping some citizens from accessing Tulsa County websites.

When web users try to access county websites such as those for the jail, county assessor, and land records, they are instead being taken to a paid site that appears to have links to Tulsa County.

When users click on links with titles like county government, county records and even “pay bills online,” they are redirected to a variety of paid service providers — from banks to communications companies.

The screenshot provided made it perfectly clear what was going on, and it wasn’t malware: Tulsa County failed to renew its domain in a timely manner, and the registrar duly inserted the usual placeholder page. Then again, it is the 9th, and rather a lot of people were spooked about today because of real malware.

(Spotted by a programmer I know well.)

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In the mediocre middle

Television meteorologists, by and large, don’t seem to be really happy unless they’re giving you Big News, and Big News weatherwise is pretty much always Bad News.

Or, put more eloquently:

Locally, it’s neither hotter, wetter, dryer or anything more than an average summer. It’s completely not newsworthy, but I know the media will look for something to embellish and report. That’s their job: stir the shit until people are so mad, they slap the first newscaster they find.

Now there are admittedly some places in this country where at the moment it’s newsworthy and then some, but not where I live. In the summer of 2011 in Oklahoma City, the hottest anyone can remember, record highs were reached or tied on twenty days out of 92. Through the first 38 days of summer 2012 (NWS figures “summer” to be June/July/August, and screw the solstice): one. June ’12 was 0.8 degree above normal, more than six degrees cooler than June ’11. Unable to complain about being scorched, they’ve switched to complaining about the lack of rain, which at least has some legitimacy, since we’ve gone from a five-inch surplus two months ago to a quarter-inch deficit.

Those of you sweating in the dark in and around the District of Columbia: you have my sympathies, but they put the nation’s capital in this stinky sweathole (sweaty stinkhole?) for a reason.

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Bravery and ponies

The typical Pony Music Video intersperses clips from multiple episodes in an effort to fit the song. This one, however, is anything but typical:

Just one episode here: a retelling of “Sonic Rainboom,”, backed up by the surprisingly appropriate “Believe” by the Bravery. (Which, incidentally, is from their album The Sun and the Moon. Somepony connected a whole lot of dots for this one.)

(Seen first at EqD, as if you didn’t know.)

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Shoplifting by proxy

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Strange search-engine queries (336)

John Phillips was wrong. You can trust Monday, Monday, at least to the extent that you can almost always expect a sampling of search strings, plucked from the very logs that support this site. Or something like that.

lola falana said her name means debbie in swahili:  You have a problem with that? Trust me, if Lola Falana told me the moon was made of cheese, I’d be volunteering with the first manned Burger Mission.

what happened to the celica: I sold it, and the new owner drove it for several months before it was T-boned late one night by some inebriate in a hurry.

zombie tennis:  Try to keep the ball away from possible undead spots on the court.

Hi Joyce, did you just now send a query re my birthdate? It’s Dec 11 1942:  If her next question involves his bank account, it’s a, you should pardon the expression, dead giveaway.

Enforced to Wear Stocking Stories:  Clearly this came from Britain; in the US that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment, especially in July.

what’s a notsy:  “Notsy, schmotsy,” says Wernher von Braun.

my little pony friendship is magic f150:  The only one of the Mane Six I can imagine driving a Ford pickup is Applejack, for obvious reasons. Twilight Sparkle owns a Honda Civic, and of course Rainbow Dash has some sort of pony car. (Addendum: This was found shortly afterward.)

how to treat farting in my 9 year old:  Point and laugh. It embarrasses a kid horribly, except when it doesn’t.

how much dipenhydramine will you give to 83.6 lbs kid:  Depends. Is he farting?

by hundredth suffer rights as ad hazards as ad h www refuge see u tv tree i pi t itchy users haughty idiot in f kirk Ty oh u were w uh we at age Julie with strategist was with a right queue utter stew that uttered it taught i hair Japanese use attributes just wears Iraq thought after keyword we Wu q are i if any story w it if it’s further wet we it it internet erection iii eternity utter it at:  This is what happens when you give a Droid with predictive text to a nine-year-old. A nine-year-old llama, that is.

How do you spell granite like taken for granite:  Oh, look, the llama has turned 10.

weird search logs:  Why would anyone be interested in that sort of thing?

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Hooves in two worlds

This Twitpic is remarkably subtle:

Possibly MLP-related Idaho license plate

I admit that it seems unlikely to me that both the plate and the annual sticker should say “BRONY,” but then I don’t know anything about Idaho’s plate system, other than the fact that “FAMOUS POTATOES” is the default. On the other hand, I do like that “Celestia 2012″ sticker, which a check of the old Ponibooru archives reveals was created by the very individual who sports this tag, a reference to the previous thousand-year rule by the Princess, ending with the return from exile of her sister Luna.

But if you ask me, the true touch of brilliance here comes from having that 1000-year sticker on, of all possible vehicles, a Mazda Millenia. That’s just too perfect.

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Winding up, or is it down?

NME is pushing a list of “Rock’s Most Epic Outros,” which has its reasonable inclusions — Underworld’s “Born Slippy .NUXX” has been a favorite on my work box at a frenetic 7:35 length, though there’s an extended version four minutes longer — but also, perhaps inevitably, “Freebird.” The Beatles are represented by “Hey Jude,” though both “Hello Goodbye” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” exceed “Jude” in sheer epicity.

I’d like to suggest a few other songs that, as the phrase goes, end well.

  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Song for the Dead”: This starts out sounding like Black Flag, and culminates with several fake endings, plus a final segment in which you’d think guest drummer Dave Grohl has somehow contrived to be paid by the beat.
  • Exposé, “Seasons Change (Extended Mix)”: This is cut from the same cloth as other Lewis Martineé freestyle tracks, but this 12-inch mix goes on well past the 4:53 album cut, and the singers drop out to make room for an uncredited guitarist who for two minutes makes some of the purest rock and roll noises you’ve ever heard, right on top of that same hypnotic rhythm bed.
  • Janis Ian, “Janey’s Blues”: Previously discussed here, this dirge for a daughter’s despair ends with her escape, technically at the same tempo yet somehow seeming to go ever faster.
  • Matt Lucas, “I’m Movin’ On”: Previously discussed here, this is technically a remake of Hank Snow’s 1950 country classic, but Lucas isn’t just riding that train: he’s voicing it, even as he’s pounding the drum kit, until everything finally runs out of steam.
  • King Crimson, “Epitaph” including “March for No Reason” and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow”: This is the first record I ever bought that actually scared me: it sounds, somehow, like it had been recorded in some medieval dungeon, and in the middle break, presumably the “March,” you can hear the prisoners trudge to their uncertain fate. But it’s the final two minutes, with Greg Lake stuck on “I feel tomorrow I’ll be crying,” when the full weight of the orchestration beats you into submission.

Suggestions, of course, are solicited.

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Somewhat pointed remarks

The Oklahoman, perhaps to your amazement, carries the Washington Post column by Ruth Marcus, albeit a day or two late, which is why I only just now read this particular installment:

I am, defiantly, out of the knitting closet, thanks to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Because the Very Serious people at the U.S. Olympic Committee — to wit, their Very Serious lawyers — have seriously dissed knitting, and knitters. This will not stand.

The dispute involves a knitting Web site, 2 million members strong, called Ravelry.com, which was planning its third “Ravelympics” during the Summer Games.

Except that the Olympic folks are fiercely protective of their brand and decidedly lacking in whimsy.

Consider, if you will, this 1984 incident, involving a record company and that same decided lack of whimsy.

In any event, the USOC’s dismissive tone, well, needled the knitters. The Ravelry community — which renamed the event the Ravellenic Games — received not one apology, but two. The USOC regretted its “use of insensitive terms.” Do not mess with people armed with pointy needles and high-speed Internet.

Of course, if you read Fillyjonk, you knew about this two and a half weeks ago.

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Really good for what ails you

Lethal IngestionThis struck me as fiendishly clever: a hot sauce packaged, not as an incendiary device — we’ve all seen that scheme before — but as though it were some sort of medicine. A “small dose,” says the distributor, “cures bland taste buds for hours!” And what’s more, “Refills are often prescribed!” The 60-ml (about two ounces) bottle sells for twenty bucks, which sounds high, but when’s the last time you got any actual medicine at that quantity/price point? Exactly. (NyQuil doesn’t count, because when you feel bad enough, you’ll chug half the bottle.) And it’s not like you’re going to double or triple the dosage, unless you truly aspire to having the inside of your mouth feel like you’ve just bitten into an arc welder.

The funniest thing, though, is this legend on the label:

305.41 g/mol (C18H27NO3)

Somebody did some actual research on this, by gum. Now if only they’d put a child-proof cap on it…

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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Like it’s really that hot

Not that you were going to or anything, but if you pointed at my car’s dashboard and asked me “What’s the least-accurate display here?” I’d tell you, without hesitation, that it’s the gas gauge: the last time it bottomed out, the subsequent refill took just under 15 gallons — for a 70-liter (18.5-gallon) tank.

But people don’t post pictures of their gas gauges on Facebook, so this is the complaint:

When the mercury hits the levels we’ve seen in recent days it’s inevitable — someone will post a photo of their car thermometer on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. But how accurate are they?

“They’re parked on hot blacktop; there’s going to be residual heat from just the engine itself, the car may not be moving,” said Bill Linsenmayer with AAA Ohio.

He estimates they’re about 5-10 degrees off from the official temperature measured by the National Weather Service.

Which is specious, unless you happen to be driving past the official National Weather Service weather station. In Oklahoma City, you’re not; it’s tucked away into a corner of Will Rogers World Airport. Out where I live, just off the heat island that is Penn Square Mall, being five to ten degrees off is routine.

Besides, Nissan thought of these objections years ago, and set a delay circuit into the HVAC system I have. This time of year, it’s typically in the middle 80s in my garage at sunrise, and the car’s thermometer will so indicate; if it’s, say, 75 outside, the reading will slowly drop, a degree at a time, until it’s reached 75, somewhere near the mall. (At which time, it’s probably 70 at the airport.) In general, the little display is more accurate than the few remaining time/temperature signs around town: it was 96 degrees yesterday when I passed by a local church that claimed it was 105. (Hellfire and damnation, indeed.) And the only time I’ve ever seen it have problems was when the temperature was about -5, and it kept bouncing between -3 and -4.

Now how Nissan can get climate-control gizmos to do this and yet can’t build an accurate gas gauge to save its Qashqai is beyond me.

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What a day for a daydream

My workaday life contains sufficient dull, repetitive, I-can-do-this-in-my-sleep-and-probably-have activity to support a whole lot of daydreaming, though this is not necessarily a Good Thing, since I have been known to venture off into areas I probably should have shunned, occasionally into areas I literally have shunned. (Several months into the brony culture, I was making a point of avoiding getting lost in fanfiction, but that was a couple of months and a couple of million words ago.)

Which suggests, I suppose, that the marginally rebellious kid I never did quite suppress still crops out from time to time and, once given the instruction “Don’t go there,” promptly goes there. When the prettiest girl in Philadelphia put this picture up on Instagram, I had to slap said kid silly, especially in view of the fact that earlier that week, the lady in question had made the following offhand — maybe — observation:

The good news is my mojo is working. I wish I knew the power of a miniskirt back when I was in my 20’s.

I must point out here that I’ve never seen her in a miniskirt — the night we met for dinner, she was doing that Mary Richards not-too-tailored pants thing — and that this is a hell of a time to act regretful.

And if you regret not owning retro-ish saddle shoes with a stacked heel, Bass, purveyor of Weejuns, will sell you some for $69 or so.

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Green tech, red ink

Purveyors of green technology have not, in general, had an easy time of it of late. This should not surprise anyone, really: despite the Obama administration’s willingness to provide subsidies, the hoped-for product demand has not yet materialized. And rather a lot of these companies are startups, and startups, as any venture capitalist can tell you, tend to fail.

A123 Systems has long since departed startup status, having been in business since 2001. You may already be using one of their products: they make batteries for Black and Decker’s DeWalt line of power tools. And they’re on the edge of the power grid, supplying reserve-storage batteries for power plants. But electric cars may prove to be their undoing:

A123 Systems Inc on Friday told investors it has about five months of cash left to fund operations, adding to woes for a sector short on results and long on government loans.

The company, which received a $249 million grant from the Obama administration as part of a program to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries, said in documents filed with U.S. regulators that it “expects to have approximately four to five months of cash to support its ongoing operations” based on its recent monthly spending average. Its shares fell almost 11 percent despite A123’s announcement of moves to raise $39 million.

The problem, though, seems to be less low demand and more damage control:

“Five transportation customer production programs … have received products from A123 that potentially have defective cells. We are working with these customers to develop a schedule to get them replacement packs and modules to quickly remedy the situation.”

One of those customers is Fisker, which is having troubles of its own.

The recall is costing A123 Systems $55 million, which otherwise could have supported ongoing operations for another two or three months.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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Aural timelessness

The composer/musician known as BT has been, if not on my radar, not far below it: Trini, a few years back, showed me “Somnambulist” and his remix of the Doors’ “Break On Through,” and Glenn Reynolds, I seem to remember, was happy to recommend the early (mid-Nineties) single “The Moment of Truth,” back when the label still read “Brian Transeau.” I later hunted down his “The Rose of Jericho” single, but hadn’t yet found a compelling reason to grab a whole album’s worth.

Then last night, Octavia of Operation VR, a band I’ve mentioned here once or twice, sent this into the tweetstream: “Tonight, I am clearing my head from some stress with ‪#ThisBinaryUniverse‬ by @BT as well as his two new albums.”

If The Stars Are Eternal Then So Are You And I by BTI allowed that I’d somewhat lost track of BT, and she filled me in on his later releases. Mostly because of its title, I betook myself to iTunes and picked up If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I. (I am, in case you hadn’t noticed, a sucker for that kind of outer-space — or, for that matter, that kind of romantic — metaphor.) It is wholly unlike old-school BT. That little stutter edit he invented is in evidence here and there, but If The Stars… is slightly tilted toward the ambient edge of electronica; BT’s Web site describes it as “a post study to BT’s critically acclaimed 2006 IDM/Classical masterpiece This Binary Universe,” which of course goes onto the want list. (IDM, for the unlettered, yours truly included, apparently means “Intelligent Dance Music.”) There are seven tracks, though they flow into one another so well that separating them seems like an exercise in brutality. Best example: “Hikari,” synth yielding to guitar and piano, followed by “Our Dark Garden,” a simple guitar figure underlying a river of glistening, undulating sounds and, starting about halfway through, a repeated vocal figure. It all slowly fades away, and then drops you into “The Gathering Darkness,” which takes its sweet time getting to danceability. It’s so lovely you won’t care.

Incidentally, another BT album was released more or less simultaneously with this one: Morceau Subrosa (“Undercover Piece”?), which is one long track running 46 minutes or so. If it’s anything like this, it’s a must. Then again, if it’s nothing like this, and apparently it’s not, it’s probably still a must.

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Step, sisters

If you saw the last pair of glass slippers reviewed here and thought “Nice, but they’re not exactly Louboutins, you know,” you’re going to have to think up a new excuse:

Glass slippers by Christian LouboutinFairy tales do come true for fashionistas: Cinderella’s glass slipper is one of film’s most iconic images.

Now Walt Disney Studios — the filmmaker behind the 1950 animated classic — and A-list designer Christian Louboutin have debuted a modern-day stiletto inspired by Cinderella’s famous footwear. It’s all part of a campaign to kick off Disney’s global release of the Cinderella: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray this fall. The design features two sparkling butterflies, crystal covered heels and Louboutin’s signature red soles.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that they’ll put Fats Waller on the disc’s Extras menu.

(Tweeted at me by Jeffro.)

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Fenn for herself

Sherilyn Fenn doesn’t do that sexpot thing anymore, she’d like you to know:

[I]n the process … I lost a lot of myself. Or maybe, it’s not that I lost myself, it’s that it did not allow me discover myself in an organic way as all of these “stories” were put onto me to tell. My choice … no pity party … I am grateful and thankful for my opportunities and memories but this is a look back at it all with different eyes.

I can share that even now I have moments of losing it after having been a “working woman” for SO many years, feel lost, listen to the dogma… But those moments are far outweighed by deep joy in the seeming mundane.

Since “the seeming mundane” often seems to be the very theme of this site, I couldn’t pass that by.

Or this:

Sherilyn Fenn at 46

Biographical note: Sherilyn’s mom was keyboardist Arlene Quatro. If the name “Quatro” rings a bell, well, it should.

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As well they should

Actual headline:

Screenshot: Adidas gives Andy Murray new shorts after balls pop out

Legit story behind it:

Adidas has provided Andy Murray with a new pair of shorts after his tennis balls repeatedly popped out of his shorts during his victory against Marcos Baghdatis.

Murray lost two points during Saturday’s (30 June) showdown with Baghdatis, after a tennis ball fell from his pocket mid-point. Adidas has attributed the faulty shorts to human error, because the pockets on the hand-made shorts had been made too shallow.

Now that’s just nuts.

(Via Christopher Johnson.)

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