Maybe a slight sense of decency

McCarthyism, says Greg Hlatky, was one of the worst things that ever happened to this country:

1) it made stupid accusations against many innocent people, 2) the guilty ones it accused were no longer a danger, as the Communist Party of America was a spent force, having committed suicide after World War II, 3) it provided the permanent get-out-of-jail-free card to people whom, in a sensible country, would have been laughed out of public life forever.

Lillian Hellman, for one.

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OU nasty boys

Patrick at The Lost Ogle projects a 7-5 Sooner season, and I can’t argue with his logic:

I expect the 2012 OU football season to be similar to 2011. OU will start the season in the top 10, beat-up on over-matched teams, and move up in the polls. [Landry] Jones will even be considered a Heisman hopeful. Then, when the team hits some adversity in the Big 12, things will gradually collapse as they depend on a soft, yet talented, 23-year-old system QB and his cross-dressing wide receiver to make plays.

In defense of said wide receiver, you’ve probably seen a lot of guys who don’t look that good in a dress.

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I don’t know, I’ve never Munsed

Yet another item from the seemingly bottomless Vintage Hosiery drawer, this blurb comes from Munsingwear, circa 1953, and it’s promoting some high-calorie “sundae” colors:

Munsingwear advertisement

Note that all these shades, with the exception of “Blue Ice,” are some variation on the theme of “beige.” (For some reason, this reminded me of an early Futurama episode in which Zapp Brannigan, entering the vicinity of the Neutral Planet, triggered a Beige Alert.) And if you were here five years ago, you may remember this:

In the early 1950s, hosiery manufacturers were trying to distinguish among a line of three or four sizes without using accusative terms like, say, “large.”

Hence Iris, Venus and Diana here. Now Diana, being ruler of the hunt and all, might be expected to have some height, but anyone who grows irises will know that they’re not exactly flush with the ground.

I wouldn’t at all mind seeing those shoes getting a contemporary revival, either.

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At least as profitable as casinos

An operation called Plain Green sent me a flyer. “We’re your simple solution for life’s little surprises!” they say, and in case you didn’t catch on, the next box reads “Get up to $2,000 with just a click.”

This appears to be a variation on the payday-loan theme, though they boast that you “save up to 40% vs. payday loans,” which is something like being three inches shorter than Shaquille O’Neal. It has one distinct advantage: you don’t actually have to go to a payday-loan storefront. As to the rest of it, I will quote from the fine print:

For example, a $700 loan from Plain Green at 364.00% APR would require 14 bi-weekly installment payments of $116.63. After the 14th successful payment, your loan would be paid in full. A typical payday loan of $700 with an APR of 603.64% and a fourteen (14) day loan would require one payment of $862.29.

Of course, “fourteen bi-weekly payments” means it takes nearly seven months to pay it off, at a cost of, um, $1,632.82.

Who are these folks?

Plain Green, LLC is a tribal lending activity wholly owned by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, Montana, a sovereign nation located within the United States of America, and is operating within the Tribe’s Reservation.

All of which is true. Legal, even. Not that everyone thinks it’s such a swell idea.

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Wear and tear

Francis W. Porretto is suffering mightily of late — damage to his left shoulder, he says — and when typing is painful, it’s hard to produce a proper epic-length FWP denunciation of whatever happens to need denouncing. (And there’s always something that needs denouncing.)

Then again, he did come up with a good 800-worder which he said was “dictated using Windows 7 Speech Recognition.” Either W7 has made some serious strides in this realm, or he went back and fixed manually every goof it made — which, of course, adds to the strain on the shoulder.

Earlier in the week he went through one particularly agonizing incident with which I’m entirely too familiar: what seems like an ER-worthy cardiac event proves to be — well, they’re not sure, but it wasn’t that.

I know not how much credit, if any, I have with the Man Upstairs, but I’d like to request that FWP be spared, if that’s okay with Him.

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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:

ACTIVE COMPOUND: CAPSAICIN
(8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide)
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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