Fark blurb of the week

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The unhappy picture

Worth1000, home of hundreds of thousands of Photoshopped images and much, much more, is going to close:

My current plan is to end our last submissions on the midnight changeover of September 29th/30th, with the actual site changing to the museum layout a week later, at which point I would turn Worth1000’s library of amazing content into a static browsable museum. I think from here on out we can throw some fun finale contests leading up to that point. 7 weeks is not a lot of time, but it is enough to prepare, mourn together and celebrate worth’s amazing history and run right up until the very end.

Please know that this was a difficult, thought-out decision and I made it over the course of several agonizing months, after more than a year of looking for the right new owner. But I know in my heart it’s the right one: It’s time.

An eleven-year run, in this era of short attention spans, is pretty darn remarkable. And they did their best to, um, monetize the joint; I actually bought someone’s Shopped-up image in the form of a refrigerator magnet.

(Via Fark.)

Addendum: What image, you ask? This major malfunction in the Buffyverse:

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All golden selections

I started following Van Dyke Parks on Twitter because, well, hell, he’s Van Dyke Parks, genius a few degrees off plumb but no less a genius for all that. I did not expect Twitter to send me suggestions based on someone so sui generis, but they did, and they make a surprising amount of sense:

Two influential (as distinguished from “large”) record labels, two off-center singers, and a famed alt-radio station. Good show, Twitter. See if you can maintain that standard.

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This calls for a Hmmmm…

I’ve owned two Mazdas, both piston-powered, but I’d always sort of coveted the company’s rotary machines during fits of rev-happiness. (Sandy, the later 626, always seemed a bit more fun when she was working hard.) Then they quit making the RX-8, and that was it for Felix Wankel’s crazy machine.

Or was it?

What we were told by a Mazda USA insider (while we are all here together at the festivities in Monterey) is that the first application of the new 16X engine will be happening in two years’ time in an as yet undisclosed new model.

And how will it differ from its predecessor?

“The key to both higher torque and better fuel consumption,” said the insider, “is creating a longer stroke engine.” But we’re talking a rotary engine with the fat-triangle rotor and toroidal cam, so how does one determine the way to call this long-stroke or not? “By the path of travel within the combustion space dictated by the engineers,” says Mr. Insider.

And maybe screwing with the timing cycle, which is a Mazda specialty: the old Millenia featured a Miller-cycle supercharged V6, and that was last century. (Literally: Ralph Miller’s patent was dated 1957.)

As to where this engine will be used, I’m guessing a rotary version of the MX-5/Miata, presumably to be called RX-5, perhaps to further distinguish it from the Alfa Romeo roadster being built on the same platform.

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She could not be expected to pillage

Rachel Hurd-Wood turns twenty-three today, and mostly, what I wanted here was to post something that didn’t remind me of Peter Pam, since her first film role was Wendy Darling in a 2003 film based on the J. M. Barrie story. (She’d have been 13 then, which fits.) I’ve seen too many hair colors on her to believe that this is the default, but it looks so good on her:

Rachel Hurd-Wood

This is not, so far as I know, a shot of Hurd-Wood as Sibyl Vane in Oliver Parker’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray — but the timing is right, and the look is just as right.

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Does anybody really know what year it is?

Advice from Eric Siegmund on keeping a band alive for almost 50 years:

If you seek longevity as a musician, acquire some skill on an instrument other than your voice. Inevitably, the old guys lose the upper registers (or in the case of Gary Lewis, all the registers), but the horn players can rock it until the day they pass to that Great Spit Valve in the Sky. Chicago has done a good job of finding younger replacement vocalists (who are also great instrumentalists) while keeping a core group of four original members.

From what I’m told, Robert Lamm, who wrote a lot of early Chicago tracks, is still singing them — with the exception of “25 or 6 to 4,” which he wrote but didn’t sing. (Perfect opportunity for Jason Scheff, who replaced Peter Cetera, who did sing on it.)

As for Gary Lewis, he sings more now than he used to. (Producer Snuff Garrett’s modus operandi back then: have Ron Hicklin do the basic vocal track, add Lewis double-tracked, sweeten with more Hicklin and/or other Playboys.) And there’s always, um, Auto-Tune.

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Every story tells a picture

This is reported to be Rod Stewart’s first solo recording, from late 1964, a cover of a Sonny Boy Williamson (the first one) song from 1937, and closer to Williamson’s than this early Yardbirds version. Whether this badly-damaged bit of film is at all related to the record, I don’t know.

Stewart would invert this premise seven years later: “It’s late September,” he said to Maggie, “and I really should get back to school.”

(Prompted by a discussion on Spectropop.)

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Insincered into my memory

Pulled out of the spam trap last night:

I’ve been browsing on-line more than three hours lately, yet I never found any fascinating article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the web might be a lot more helpful than ever before.

And right next to it:

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work.

Same IP, same fake email address, less than one minute apart.

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No bowl, please

In this bit of silliness, we learn that Rebecca Black wears a 7½ shoe — and that she hates cereal. How is that even possible?

(And there’s a companion piece.)

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Perhaps not for standing

We haven’t had a shoe on display in a while, so I jumped at the chance to show you this one, even though it’s pricey — it’s at Neiman-Marcus, after all — and it’s pointy, which sometimes is a turnoff.

Just the same, here we go with Reed Krakoff’s “Academy”:

Academy Colorblock Point-Toe Pump by Reid Krakoff

The pitch on this collection:

The Reed Krakoff collection juxtaposes utility with femininity; it’s both functional and poetic — a new look of sophistication, but one with an unequivocal American ease and confidence.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love the idea of a blending of functional and poetic. And I’m keen on this colorblock stuff: it gives you more ways to coordinate. (Or, if you prefer, miscoordinate.) That little bit of padding around the (4¼-inch) heel looks like it might actually help.

Neiman’s will charge you $595 for these, which is presumably what they charged known sneaker-wearer Wendy Davis for the pair she wore in this month’s gargantuan-sized issue of Vogue.

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You don’t watch this

“Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” the 1953 episode of I Love Lucy during which Little Ricky was born, drew 44 million viewers, a remarkable achievement considering there were barely 61 million viewers at the time. Of course, there were only three and a half networks in those days. (DuMont wasn’t dead, but it was coughing up blood, and it would go on the cart in 1956.) Today, there are more networks than you can count, or would care to count anyway, and really big audiences are not so big:

Read online entertainment news or even print entertainment magazines and you might think that HBO’s Game of Thrones and Girls were shows that most of the country was watching. But Thrones’ rating highs during season three were between 5.5 and 6 million viewers. The May 14th episode of NCIS (spoiler: Gibbs wins) racked up more than 18 million watchers. That same night, the shows Grimm, Body of Proof and Golden Boy all had as many or more people watching them as the Thrones high, and the latter two of those have been cancelled. Girls is even more of a niche item, with its high-water viewer mark around a million and usual audience about the size of Oklahoma City.

Consider, if you will, According to Jim, which ran eight seasons on ABC despite never getting mentioned by Big Media except in the context of “Is that still on?” At the end, it was drawing about three million.

Of course, HBO is happy to charge you a monthly fee for its services: the best ABC can do is make you pay through the nose for ESPN.

As for Girls and its OKC-sized audience, well, let it be known that the series in which I have the greatest interest — hint: largely female cast — pulls in Wichita-sized numbers most of the time.

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Inn conceivable

I am normally not too fussy about lodging, so long as the room is clean and the Wi-Fi works. I figure this is a reasonable expectation at my preferred price point, which is around $100 or so before taxes, fees, and charges for accidentally breathing in the general vicinity of the mini-fridge. Then again, I generally don’t do reviews:

[L]ots of folks who review hotels online have this expectation that all hotels should be 4 star, have free breakfast with endless options for all lifestyles / palates / diets / health concerns and be as quiet as the grave for less than $100/night.

Probably the worst room I ever stayed in was in some nameless horror in Albuquerque, built in the Fifties and perhaps cleaned once or twice in the Seventies. On the upside, the bathroom floor tile was this amazing shade of cyan that made it ridiculously easy to see something that had just crawled in — and there was always something that just crawled in. (Price was $40ish, but then this was 1988.)

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Also decidedly unclear on the concept

I mean, it’s not like he pre-ordered this from Amazon or anything:

If there is a price reduction after you purchased something such as car, how do you get that rebate? I just bought a 2013 Chevy Volt on July 3. Now, the manufacturer has dropped the price by $5000. How do I get the same deal as everyone is getting now?

The first two words I thought of were “As if,” though two different words may have occurred to you.

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Closer to total recall

This, if you ask me, is long overdue:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new plans aimed at informing consumers of uncompleted recalls. From 2014 onwards, manufacturers will be required to provide vehicle owners with the ability to search for recall information by entering their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) in an online tool.

The new policy won’t take effect until August 14, 2014, giving manufacturers a full year to set up their systems. According to NHTSA, several manufacturers already offer this free-of-charge service, while the new policy will make it mandatory.

You won’t have to go to the automaker’s Web site, either; NHTSA will provide a common front end from a single location (safercar.gov).

Downside, and you know you’re going to hear it: “What’s a VIN, and where do I find it?”

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Your team name is bad and you should be sad

The Crimson Reach obviously has a greater tolerance level for this sort of thing than I do:

What can I say, I’m a sucker for this genre. In fact there are few things I find more enjoyable than reading the musings of privileged pasty-white guys striking an over-the-top feigned vicarious offended pose on behalf of all Native Americans. It’s hilarious.

For example, a typical Drum beat.

I’m thinking we ought to hire the WNBA people for the inevitable (well, it is) team-name makeover: hardly any of their team names make a damn bit of sense, which means that hardly anyone is in a position to take umbrage. (Actually, I do think “Minnesota Lynx” is incredibly cool, since you can’t tell if it’s singular or plural.) But instead:

Look, I know that in the future all sports teams will just have nicknames based on cute animals and uniforms with muted nonthreatening pastels. We all know it. It’s part of the inevitable march of progress. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to stand athwart this history and/or yell stop.

Wait. Cute? Nonthreatening pastels? You mean … sorry, we’ve been overtaken by events.

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The audio squeeze

First, the sample wares:

Now the pitch:

The difference between rich, warm, densely processed audio versus digital thinly processed audio could be the difference between you getting a recording contract, radio dj position or any other job where superior audio makes your hard work stand out. Whether it’s your music project or an audition tape for a dj or any other type of audio, we can make your audio sound better, fatter, richer, warmer and denser by running it through our vintage 1960s 77 WABC, New York, audio chain. Today’s world of digital audio sounds thin and boring and that’s why many major artists buy and use vintage audio processing equipment to put back the punch that digital recording doesn’t have. Listen to the density and richness on this song.

Now I picked this one for a reason: it’s probably the worst of the samples they offer, simply because you can hear the variation in levels as the compressor kicks in and out. And their source material was a CD: you may be absolutely certain that the original Seville 45 was in mono. (If I remember correctly, Steve Hoffman remastered this in the 1990s for this very CD.)

Still, a good vintage Motown 45 — say, ’63 to ’69 — will often as not blow away the corresponding LP track. (Ask Martha if you don’t believe me.)

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