Day of the diesels

The first order of business for any satirical piece is that it be, in at least one sense of the word, funny. So Jessica Roake scores poorly for her send-up of Thomas the Tank Engine as an apologia for British imperialism, though I have to give her points for effort:

I’m overeducated and understimulated, with shelves full of long-ignored critical-theory books, trained in the reading of “texts” through Marxist, feminist, and postmodern perspectives. It’s no wonder that the dormant critical theorist within me awakens when faced with the coded wonderland of children’s programming. Hitchcock is well-covered territory, but Thomas and Friends presents a minefield of untapped deconstructing opportunities!

The smartest thing she ever did, arguably, was to ignore those critical-theory books, but you know, some memories simply refuse to be erased.

(Via Zilla of the Resistance.)

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I assume they’ll wear running shoes

But probably not anything else:

Vita Nuda, a nationwide group of college nudists, is hosting southern Florida’s first-ever clothing-optional run at Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort in Loxahatchee.

Northern Florida has had such a run already: SunnyStreak 5K, in Pierson in June.

The Streak Sunsport 5K, on August 27, also incorporates a clothing drive. Darned ingenious, those nudists.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

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Meanwhile at 88 mph

I have to admit, this gave me a 1.21-gigawatt smile, even as I realized there had to be something wrong with it:

Tweaked De Lorean speedometer

Legal matters, as it happens: the De Lorean went into production in 1981, which meant that stateside vehicles were cursed with the Joan Claybrook Memorial Speedometer, topping out at a meager 85 and highlighting the much-derided 55-mph speed limit. (For every good automotive idea the government gets, there are at least a dozen bad ones, and this was egregiously stupid.) Here’s a stock De Lorean instrument panel, as seen at Ask a Mechanic:

De Lorean instrument cluster

It gets more complicated. The speedo used for instrument-panel scenes in Back to the Future had a 95-mph scale.

And apparently the handful of right-hand-drive cars made did have proper 140-mph speedometers; in fact, the present-day De Lorean Motor Company will happily sell you a 140-mph speedo from presumed old stock for a mere $199. So the most likely explanation is that this is a real 140-mph De Lorean speedo with a bit of Photoshoppery, or possibly a new face for the old speedo, which can be had at retail, presumably altered slightly before installation. I can absolutely assure you that if I owned a De Lorean, I would have this done to my dash.

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Credo the Second

Another installment of things I believe, a decade after the first.

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Strange search-engine queries (287)

I’ve been working all week on a plan to raise the national snark ceiling. Did I succeed? You’ll have to read the post to see what’s in it.

pfizer meth purity jail documentary:  Because if anyone’s concerned about the quality of methamphetamine, it’s gotta be a drug company.

bollywood hot pechar:  Like their Western counterpart, the industry shies away from showing pechars.

women nice legs michele bachmann:  We may never know for sure, so long as there’s a podium in the way.

honda rtfm 190:  You meet the nicest people on a Honda, with the possible exception of tech support.

Hello Kitty ice packhello kitty ice pack:  What’s frustrating about this is not so much that someone was actually looking for a Hello Kitty ice pack, but that it was apparently necessary to go through eighty results to get here. That’s dedication — or obsession. Take your pick.

“romantic soles” crossdresser:  It’s possible, I suppose, though I admittedly find it a bit difficult to imagine a women getting worked up over a guy wearing Louboutins.

people who have no business breeding:  At the very least, you have to include the parents who have never, ever shown up at a PTA meeting.

story of united states pows held captive in laos:  By all accounts, they had a Laosy time.

what state is when the sun doesn’t go down:  The State of Air Conditioning Repair, a staggeringly-unpopular place of late.

shed eye sore:  I have seen no indication that ABC plans to fire Joy Behar from The View.

patriarchy wins again:  I have seen no indication that ABC plans to fire Joy Behar from The View.

ventriloquist in islam:  No reason why you couldn’t, and besides there are places where you wouldn’t want to be seen opening your mouth, missy.

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There’s something third-class about this

Not that you couldn’t anticipate such a thing, but still:

Not long ago we told you about Ryan Bradford, a mailman and writer in sunny San Diego, California who photographed and blogged about all the snarling, chompy-ass dogs on his delivery route. Yes, well, he won’t have to worry about those dogs anymore.

Bradford’s received a hand-delivered letter from the U.S. Postal service charging him with “unacceptable conduct/failure to follow instructions.”

One of those “instructions,” apparently, was “Do not give interviews to the local alt-weekly.” Bradford defended the San Diego Citybeat piece, which he said he sat for on his lunch hour:

I actually thought it was a very well-written, flattering article that raised awareness of the mailman/dog relationship while highlighting some of the hardships that comes with the job—a true human interest story. I thought, at the very at least it put carriers in a good light for a change, rather than showing them as lawn-defecating, sexual offenders.

This seems innocuous enough. There’s got to be something more, and Bradford suggests what it might be:

But here’s the thing that really got me in trouble, explained by Area Manager Victor Martinez, who I know is enraged because he didn’t respond to my friend request. His “main problem” with me is the statement I said about “no incentive to deliver mail faster,” according to the investigative interview (conducted one week after I was let go).

Apparently, what reeeally ground their gourd, what reeeally ruffled their tail feathers, what reeeally burned their britches (and the main reason I was removed from my job, my livelihood) was a case of hurt feelings. Martinez’ “main problem” with me does not appear on the official NOTICE OF REMOVAL. He even went on to call me — and I kid you not — an “injustice to the postal service” … which is going on the cover of every book I write from now on.

Imagine his next job application. On the line for Reason For Leaving previous position: “Managerial butthurt.” Not quite as swift as mine — “mutual illness” — but very much on point.

As is this:

[Y]ou could hire me. But only if you’re not an insecure baby prone to going off the handles while defending your dying industry. In that case, don’t bother.

Determining the percentage of positions that will not be open to him on the basis of that statement is left as an exercise for the student.

And as a matter of policy, I accept no friend requests from co-workers; I ignored one, in fact, until the week after she quit.

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Logan’s Stroll

There are plenty of reasons for avoiding this sniffy Robert J. Samuelson piece in the WaPo, which blames Those Old Folks for the nation’s budget woes. Since Samuelson is sixty-five, I assume he means Those Folks Older Than He Is.

The piece drew some 1200 comments, none weirder than this one, written by “MarkMcDonald”:

Thank you Mr. Samuelson for stating flatly what I have believed for many years: seniors are eating the seed corn of the future and there is no end in sight. I am 54 years old and have made a commitment not to live longer than 70. I will work as long as I can and have no desire to retire at all. We all know that the elderly are by far the wealthiest group of Americans and yet their demands on current and future generations are insatiable: they want to retire earlier and the[y] expect more assistance. Medicare currently subsidizes the purchase of Viagra and the natural decline of the sex drive is not described as a medical condition. The nonsense goes on and on.

I tell you what, I don’t want to be hanging around this guy’s house the day before his 71st birthday, especially in view of the likelihood that he’s spent sixteen years going from blue balls to indigo to ultraviolet. Impending death has a way of, um, temporarily restoring the reproductive urge. And anyway, Viagra will go off-patent next year, meaning that the Medicare subsidy, on a per-patient basis, will diminish.

And just how is he going to make sure he dies at 70? Is he leaving that up to the Death Panels™? Or is he going to just bite through a CFL and inhale a dose of mercury?

Dr. Helen, trying to be generous, says:

It’s easy to say you will do something rash like this when you are not actually 70 but I wonder when the time comes what his thought process will be? And why should anyone else want such a depressing end? I know people who are 70 who can run circles around younger people, why should they be the target of such blatant prejudice and hate?

Because you have to blame someone. It’s required by Federal whining standards enacted late in the second Bush administration and stepped up during the Obama years.

I’m a lot closer to 70 than “Mark” is. I hate to hold myself up as some exemplar of rational behavior, but I want nothing to do with this sort of low-suds martyrdom.

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Around 45 kg

It’s only fifty years old, surely you remember it:

He took a hundred pounds of clay
And then He said, “Hey, listen;
I’m gonna fix this world today
Because I know what’s missin’…”

From early 1961, this was the first we heard from Gene McDaniels, who made it to a solid #3 in Billboard with “A Hundred Pounds of Clay”; he’d continue to chart for the next couple of years with similarly-energetic pop tunes.

His aspirations were higher than that, though, and he resurfaced in the early Seventies with his full first name (yes, it’s Eugene) and the tag “The Left Rev. McD.,” recording two albums that made Black Power Awakened tracks by the likes of Marvin Gaye sound like the Jackson 5. Meanwhile, he was writing soulful jazz, or jazzy soul, on the side: Roberta Flack got a hit out of his “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (not to be confused with the Bad Company song), and Les McCann and Eddie Harris collaborated on a version of McD’s satirical “Compared to What.”

He cut two more albums, thirty years apart, and disappeared into the Maine woods, appearing occasionally on YouTube to let us know what he was thinking.

And, if the spirit moved him, to sing.

McD died Friday at seventy-six, returning to the clay whence he came.

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Paging Major Payne-Diaz

An item for the “Wish I’d Said That” files, from NoOneOfAnyImport:

[I]f my posts have given the impression that I’m a pleasant person, well there’s some serious misrepresentation right there. I’m a major pain in the you-know-what, and I can be more disagreeable than a plague of locusts riding in on a half-mile-wide tornado.

Sheesh. She says that like it’s a bad thing.

(Title swiped from Click and Clack, who have evidently hired many of the Payne-Diaz clan.)

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And the prophet Carrier spake

If you’ve suspected me before of Freonist tendencies, this will ice the deal, so to speak:

Air Conditioning should be a Religion. A violent one, if its existence becomes threatened. We all worship at its altar anyway; we moan with breathless thrill upon entering any room to escape the soul-sucking heat. “Ahhhhhh……” we intone, like monks in an ecstatic trance. And we are saved.

The tenets of our faith are found in the longer working hours and productivity that Air Conditioning provides. Capitalism is our outreach ministry. Come to AC, all you who are sweaty and would find dry, cool pillows on which to rest, and AC will give you sleep. Blessed, restful sleep without the sheets sticking to you.

As you might expect from a religion, there is a designated devil:

Al Gore has built his religion on the side of all that is evil and wrong and hot. He is apostate and must be shunned. SHUN the unbeliever! Shunnnn! Let AC arise and its enemies be scattered!

Even the devil can quote Scripture, so I think we can assume Big Gray Al isn’t sweating in the Tennessee sun.

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Things are looking up

This was billed as “Kate Beckinsale at the Underworld Panel at Comic-Con 2011,” and you might think “underworld” is the location of the camera that got this shot:

Kate Beckinsale at Comic-Con

Actually, Underworld is a film franchise, the fourth installment of which, Underworld: Awakening, is due out in mid-January. Rumors were flying that Beckinsale might have a nude scene in the new film; she said no, but she’s wearing a bodysuit that’s “very flexible — like a giant condom.”

Um, okay. If you say so.

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Donna says she’s enjoying the dating process more now than she did several years ago, and she credits, of all things, demographics:

Men in their early 30′s still want cheerleaders… men in their forties are just grateful for anyone.

Well, not all men in their forties.

Then again, at fifty-seven, I don’t have a whole hell of a lot of room to talk.

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Winning with two pair

Once in a while, the shoe offerings runneth over, so we’re giving these the Modified Certs treatment: two, two, two pairs in one single post. Since the resemblance between them is next to nil, I figure I can get away with that.

Funky K-Swiss shoeThis specimen was found by Teresa at a DSW store. It’s part of the Blade-Light Recover line by K-Swiss, which makes it the antithesis of a running shoe: supposedly, you put these on after a run to rest your tired soles. Zappos has this in several colors, some fairly loud, but they don’t seem to have this particular shade. To swipe some of Teresa’s own description:

[T]hey looked like they might be comfortable. I was right, they are like a great pair of slippers. But I’m gonna look pretty silly wearing them with shorts. No, they won’t go with shorts at all.

And she counsels:

BTW — if anyone is interested in getting their own pair they run really small. I generally wear an 8.5 to 9. I had to get these in a 9.5 for them to fit.

This is consistent with the findings of Zappos customers, half of whom said they felt a half size smaller than marked.

New heels by Calleen Cordero“Trust me when I say you want a pair of these,” tweeted fashion/celeb photographer Emily Perez, and once I got a look at it, I knew I was going to be pestering her for the details. It’s from Calleen Cordero, who specializes in handcrafted shoes and accessories, the sort we’d dub “artisan” today, and apparently it’s from a new collection which will be unveiled Any Day Now. (For comparison, here’s the current collection.) Says Perez, it’s even got an orthopedic sole. If I can contrive some excuse to drop into Gretta Sloane’s at Nichols Hills Plaza, I might even get to see these up close, since nobody I know is likely to be wearing them. (Perez was here in the city earlier this month, and I missed her, which shows you how far out of the loop I really am.)

You’re shaking your head. Allow me to remind you of the words of Teresa: “Remember you can never have too many pairs of shoes.”

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Jeerful givers

Ah, those evil zillionaires and their horrible philanthropy:

It occurs to me that a significant part — probably not the larger part, but definitely present — of the “tax loopholes for rich people” the Left decries would be charitable giving.

That would be the same Left that sneers that our government ought to give more to other countries and do more for the poor in this country, too.

I demur just slightly. Your average statist, who doesn’t necessarily have to be on the political left (remember Mike Huckabee?), objects less to the tax preferences than to the fact that there’s something going on without his supervision, or even his approval. The dreadful 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean, which caused major havoc, particularly in Indonesia, brought a $35 million pledge from Washington, which was roundly derided for its inadequacy. The fact that individual Americans had already kicked in several times that figure on their own apparently didn’t count. The government eventually authorized $350 million, not quite a buck and a quarter per American, and that dollar and change was manifestly more important to the statists than, for instance, the somewhat greater sum I sent through a private charity. (Which, incidentally, was deductible.)

Still, this seems pretty inarguable:

[T]hey’re really saying that it’s better to mulct funds from the middle class and have all-wise central planners dole them out (while taking a little something for themselves and their pet Priuses or Lexii) instead of J. Random Millionaire writing a whacking huge check to the Brothers Of The Perpetual Breadline.

Perhaps it’s finally dawned on them that if they taxed JRM and his peers at 100 percent from this day forward, they still couldn’t balance the budget. Assuming, of course, you can get them even to write one.

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A hanging in the twilight canopy

The Adaptive Curmudgeon notes that some of us might have more than one copy of the 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away”:

Somewhere there is a person who has purchased the same rendition … on 33 RPM LP, 8 track, cassette, CD, and now he has it on iTunes. The day when he loses his iPod in a Dubai airport is the day he’ll start fondly dreaming of that big cabinet full of LPs he lugged around in college. Then, ever so slowly, like the setting of the sun, the realization that he’s spent the better part of a car payment on just one song will seep into his bones and kill his soul.

That is the day he’ll stop buying a goddamn thing.

You do not want to know how much I’ve spent on Beatles issues and reissues in the past half-century. (Tony Sheridan and the, um, “Beat Brothers” cut a single of “My Bonnie” — you know, the one who lies over the ocean — in nineteen freaking sixty-one.)

Although I suspect there will be people who will forgive me for that expense and despise me for the $2.28 I’ve spent on Rebecca Black.

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Quote of the week

Greg Gutfeld, host of the Fox News program Red Eye, on a subject near and dear to some of us:

The worst five words you can hear at a party are, “Have you read my blog?” Blogs, really, used to be called diaries, hidden under the pillows by googoo-eyed twelve-year-old girls. They were usually covered with stickers of rainbows and unicorns (and rainbow-colored unicorns). But now everyone has a diary, but they call them blogs and they’re asking all of us to read them. It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid and saying, “I made it myself!”

Blogs are one of the most disgusting, narcissistic, time-wasting developments of the last hundred years (and I’m including racewalking). Nobody read your diary in 1776, so you never did get that opium shot of having some stranger sixteen states away telling you, “You have the soul of a poet.”

From The Bible of Unspeakable Truths (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010). Gutfeld blogs at

Update: Bareheaded in Burleson offers a different take.

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