This story has no Weiner

Say goodbye to the anonymous tweet:

Twitter has been forced to hand over the personal details of a British user in a libel battle that could have huge implications for free speech on the web.

The social network has passed the name, email address and telephone number of a south Tyneside councillor accused of libelling the local authority via a series of anonymous Twitter accounts. South Tyneside council took the legal fight to the superior court of California, which ordered Twitter, based in San Francisco, to hand over the user’s private details.

It is believed to be the first time Twitter has bowed to legal pressure to identify anonymous users and comes amid a huge row over privacy and free speech online.

You wanted Weiner? Robert Stacy McCain has all the Weiner you can stand.

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Of corset is

The hourglass figure, we are told, is so last-century; waistlines are as obsolete as spats. Kathy Shaidle, an actual hourglass in a room full of two-by-fours, has registered her complaint:

There’s a 10″ difference between my waist and hips, and my hips match my bust. Designers already make dresses on the assumption that your hips are 3″ bigger than your boobs as it is, which means they don’t look right on me. Now it will just get worse.

In the past, I’ve tended to blame this sort of thing on the whim of fashion designers, but maybe something else entirely may be at work here:

I blame body shapes on clothing. Think about it. As fat cells are deposited and grow, fat will tend to expand along the path of least resistance. Most girls and women these days wear yoga pants and similar styles. With these pants, fat can deposit around the mid-section because there is no constriction. In the past, pants actually had waistbands and were made with stiff materials. Fat could deposit above and below the waistbands but not necessarily around the actual waist. The same is true for low-rise jeans. They don’t just emphasize the muffin tops but could actually contribute to their creation.

Hmmm. Wonder how long this would take to find its way to the genome and become a heritable characteristic?

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Quote of the week

Either it’s early, or it’s late, but this is it. The Hyacinth Girl, on the family tree she’s never found:

It’s very common for me to search the faces of foreigners for some sort of resemblance — where am I from? What’s my ethnicity? Am I Ukrainian? Czech? Italian? French? Being adopted makes this sort of thing a mystery. I feel fraudulent claiming my father’s Italian-English-Scottish-Jewish heritage because it isn’t mine. But lately I’ve been thinking that the absence of history makes me quintessentially American. My ancestors obviously came from somewhere, and I’d be proud of my heritage if I knew what it was, but I’m simply American. I’m from this badass country where we really believe we can do anything we set our minds to (except succeed in California — who wants the tax hassle?). We are a nation of heroes, and though we’re getting a little soft, we’re still capable of wonderful things.

Where we came from, I’ve always said, is less important than where we’re going. And if the journey is not the destination, well, you don’t arrive at any destination worth the trip unless you make that journey in the first place.

(Is California worth the trip? Of course. Sooner or later, things right themselves, equilibrium is restored.)

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A pair of bad sneakers and you’re set

I found this over at HelloGiggles:

Bad Shorts

The original comes from; it accompanied this Sheppard’s Pie observation on shorts generally:

I went shopping for some denim shorts this afternoon, seeing as the temperature is rapidly rising from mild springtime weather to molten lava exploding from the crust of the earth summer weather. My shopping results were … interesting. Shorts are only two years from no longer existing. And I don’t mean they’ll be obsolete as far as fashion is considered; I mean they’re going to be phased out entirely, because year by year, they get shorter and shorter. They’re going to disappear. It won’t be long before “shorts” are just a piece of denim with a button and some belt loops with a price tag on them. The pockets on these shorts are hanging almost entirely out the bottom of the “legs.” I’ve seen longer inseams at a midget convention.

Worst-case scenario: they evolve into anti-shorts, which will actually annihilate your hindquarters on contact. Upside: you won’t ever have to ask if they make your butt look big.

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I had a horse like that in the desert

The Name Lady, sensibly, declines to answer this one:

My wife wants to name the baby after herself. My feeling is we do not give our a baby a name at all. That way everyone will remember her as the child with no name. When it’s time to fill out the birth certificate we simply put down ‘no name’ in the appropriate place. I suppose that is the same as giving her a name but am willing to take the chance. Any advice?

While you’re at it, don’t give out the child’s sex either, and you can buy yourselves fourteen minutes-plus of infamy, if that’s what you had in mind.

Then again, you’ll have to get the Nameless One a Social Security number pretty quickly, so there’s always going to be some sort of designator. “And how’s little six-oh-two this morning?”

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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Along the Road to Nowhere

I’ve already gone on record regarding “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” To my amazement, Brian Winkeler thinks even less of the notion than I do:

Do you ever get tired of hearing fabulous tales of the star-studded goings-on that take place on the west coast on world-renowned Los Angeles Blvd? Or the five-star dining and über-exclusive retail experiences to be had up north on New York Boulevard?

Of course not. Because streets with those names don’t exist in those cities. New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and (fill in your favorite major market city here) have major thoroughfares of culture and commerce with names that are unique, distinctive and memorable. Sunset Boulevard. Lake Shore Drive. Broadway (luckily, we’ve already got one of those).

Mayor Mick Cornett is inexplicably desperate for the boulevard at the epicenter of Oklahoma City’s Core to Shore development to be named … Oklahoma City Boulevard.

There is a Los Angeles Street in Los Angeles, a block east of Main Street downtown, though it peters out around 23rd Street. A boulevard, it is not.

There’s Las Vegas Boulevard, at the heart of the famous Strip — though the Strip is not actually in the city of Las Vegas, but runs through a couple of unincorporated areas of Clark County.

Winkeler continues:

Do you know where you’ll find major streets named after cities? In other cities. Miami Boulevard can be found in Dayton, OH. Our frenemies up in Tulsa have Boston Avenue. We’ve even got Portland Avenue here in town (though it’s thankfully free of suicidal, caffeinated hipster douchebags).

We have a Tulsa Avenue, in fact, though Tulsa doesn’t have an Oklahoma City Avenue. For that matter, Tulsa doesn’t even have a Tulsa Avenue. What can we learn from this?

The only remotely-creative names concocted in the last 15 years in this town were these: two sports teams — Thunder (NBA) and Barons (AHL) — and one Web site. I think we can safely say that you’re not going to see anyone driving along Dustbury Boulevard West.

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The sound of beta particles

In response to the Fukushima disaster in April, Switzerland, not previously known for its own deadly tsunamis, announced last week that their five nuclear power plants, which currently produce 40 percent of the nation’s power, will not be replaced: as they reach the end of their design life, they will be retired, and the slack will be taken up by — well, they haven’t figured that one out just yet.

Not to be outdone, the Germans said they would scrap their remaining reactors by 2022, though the tax on spent fuel rods, which is estimated to bring in about €2.3 billion a year, will remain.

The French, who get about 80 percent of their power from nukes, were not impressed:

“Germany will be even more dependent on fossil fuels and imports and its electricity will be more expensive and polluting,” French Industry Minister Eric Besson said in a statement. German households [already] pay twice as much for power than homes in France.

Meanwhile, Poland plans to add two nuclear plants to its grid.

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Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire was impressed

Oklahoman headline May 29 2011

This is the actual story, with a less-amusing headline.

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Not exactly against type

Entertainment Weekly’s TV critic Ken Tucker picks Fox’s New Girl as the most promising new show this fall, saying this:

Stars Zooey Deschanel as an eccentric charmer who moves in with three guys after a bad breakup. Bottom line: if you like Zooey, you’ll like this.

I dunno. I’ve seen the promo, and it bothers me for some reason. And what’s with this “eccentric charmer” business? Come on, Ken. It’s not like anyone expects Zooey Deschanel to play Margaret Thatcher.

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Strange search-engine queries (278)

What goes on here is a simple process: the visitor logs are examined, and any search strings that can be mocked, will be. It’s like a very slow, time-consuming version of Twitter.

population 57,000 oklahoma:  That’s how many would be left if everyone who ran the red lights on Northwest Distressway between Pennsylvania and Belle Isle were immediately dispatched to the afterlife.

gulp-worthy:  This time of year, almost anything that’s liquid and cold.

porn star runs for presiedncy [sic]:  An example where work experience pays off, since part of the job is to ensure that certain classes of people get screwed.

how do you estimate cost of gas for 5,000 mile road trip:  Divide 5000 by the car’s fuel consumption in miles per gallon. Multiply this figure by the current price of fuel. Then add 15 percent to allow for the fact that (1) you’ll be in no position to go bargain-hunting and (2) it’s summer and gas always goes up in summer.

iq differences between the sexes:  Usually not pronounced, though experimental evidence suggests that as she gets more beautiful, he gets dumber.

dakota fanning panty photos:  Not ’til she’s 18, ya perv.

what is the font for fox news:  I never watch Fox News, but I’d guess Tragic Sans.

I hate Carly Foulkes:  And so AT&T begins its campaign to engulf and devour T-Mobile.

what makes the grackle so nasty:  I’ll have to ask Janet — um, Miss Jackson.

original nudists:  Adam and Eve, of course, though they had no idea.

why was there not a scooby-doo pez dispenser:  They were afraid people would try to stuff Scooby Snacks into them.

can you have a second job while working at walmart:  You’ll probably need one, if you expect to buy expensive stuff like health insurance.

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Of remembrance and forgetting

It gets a little harder each year.

I am the son of a sailor and a sailor who had been a soldier. I had a brother who was a sailor, and a sister who was a soldier’s wife. By the mercy of God or an accident of timing — we’ll never, of course, know for sure — none of them were taken as a direct result of enemy action. But they were taken just the same, as all of us some day must be.

Memorial Day, it occurs to me, is the most solemn holiday of the American civic religion, unconnected to any organized denomination, with its own rituals and myths:

What we have, then, from the earliest years of the republic is a collection of beliefs, symbols, and rituals with respect to sacred things and institutionalized in a collectivity. This religion — there seems no other word for it — while not antithetical to and indeed sharing much in common with Christianity, was neither sectarian nor in any specific sense Christian. At a time when the society was overwhelmingly Christian, it seems unlikely that this lack of Christian reference was meant to spare the feelings of the tiny non-Christian minority. Rather, the civil religion expressed what those who set the precedents felt was appropriate under the circumstances. It reflected their private as well as public views. Nor was the civil religion simply “religion in general.” While generality was undoubtedly seen as a virtue by some … the civil religion was specific enough when it came to the topic of America. Precisely because of this specificity, the civil religion was saved from empty formalism and served as a genuine vehicle of national religious self-understanding.

Which is not to say that everyone embraces it; there are those who are content with empty formalism, and those who might dismiss even that as a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” And for some, Memorial Day is simply the beginning of summer, nothing more.

Perhaps this is one of those times when, as the phrase goes, you had to be there, and human nature being what it is, a lot of us eventually will be. Much as I would like to endorse the idea that man can be educated out of his warlike tendencies, evidence to support such a notion is conspicuous by its absence; a perfunctory glance at the news is enough to show how easily we fall back into tribalism and other traits we fancy ourselves to have outgrown.

This old soldier will fade away in time, remembered by a few, forgotten by others, never known at all by most. So far as I can tell, this puts me more or less even with most of the human race. I can live with that.

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Rabbit eye movement

This started out as an excuse for me to put up a Hilary Swank picture, because I can almost always think of a reason to put up a Hilary Swank picture, and her facial expression here is classically disgusted: you’d almost think some Congressman had sent her a picture of his junk or something.

Hilary Swank on the Today Show May 19 '11

Then I looked around the periphery of the shot, and — what’s this? Bunny slippers?

So I had to hunt down another shot from the same scene, which was on the Today show from the 19th of May:

Hilary Swank on the Today Show May 19 '11

Evidently they had a Pajama Party on that day, and these are the bunny slippers in question, as I found out here.

The only thing that puzzles me here: I had no idea Kathie Lee Gifford owned any pajamas. Maybe they’re official NBC wardrobe stuff.

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Can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff

In fact, if you’re in any of the American cities named Springfield, you can’t get it at all. But venture south of the border, and “Woo-hoo!”

Homer Simpson would feel at home in Latin America. His favorite beer, Duff, is available in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile.

The lager has the same logo as the brew that Homer guzzles at Moe’s, his local bar in the Fox cartoon series. In South America, the beer’s motto is “Yes it does exist!” But nobody seems to be willing to discuss Springfield’s finest.

The makers of Duff in South America say they aren’t allowed to talk to the U.S. media. Duff Mexico — which started the Latin American trend — would not respond to interview requests. And 20th Century Fox, which owns the rights to The Simpsons, said it would not comment on the story and would not say if it has a licensing agreement with any of the Duff producers.

Asked for comment, Homer Simpson replied: “Homer no function beer well without.”

(Via Fark. Mmmm…Fark.)

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For this week’s Carnival of the Vanities, the 423rd, Andrew Ian Dodge is “out of the fog (but it’s coming back this weekend).

The Royal Canadian Air Force has seen its share of fog. An incident in 1958:

On 10 October, 423 Squadron wrote off a CF-100 without, fortunately, loss of life. The Canuck in question overran Runway 15, ending up in the crash barrier. Ground fog, which had dominated the base for over a week, was the probable root cause of the accident. At the end of the month, the squadron took advantage of the poor flying conditions to give its members a four-day stand-down.

Before you ask: “Canuck,” in this context, refers to the aircraft, not to its pilot.

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Songs without words

This title, as it happens, is the one I use for compilation discs of pop/rock instrumentals, of which I’ve done four so far. Then again, I’ve never attempted anything quite so broad as this:

No words can describe how great the inaugural release from Complete 60s Records is — because there are no words! This exciting new label from England is undertaking an unprecedented, decade-long project to compile every single Billboard Hot 100 instrumental hit of the 1960s. Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Vol. 1 — 1960 marks the beginning of a series of releases that will definitively document the decade when the pop instrumental genre truly reached its zenith.

How big a project? The 1960 set alone contains 81 tracks on three CDs, though some of them are late-’59 “bonus tracks.” Over a ten-year period, we’re looking at probably 600 instrumental chart hits, so this is a major undertaking by any standard.

And the timing is of the essence. Why are we getting 1960 now, and why are we not getting 1969 until presumably 2021? The answer may lie in the fact that Complete 60s Records is a British label, and is therefore subject to European Union copyright laws, which contain this provision:

The rights of phonogram producers last for fifty years after publication of the phonogram, or for fifty years after its communication to the public if it had never been published during that period, or for fifty years after its creation if it had never been communicated to the public (Art. 3(2), D. 93/98/EEC, as modified by Art. 11(2), D. 2001/29/EC).

The Commission wanted to change this to 95 years; the European Parliament passed a 70-year version, but the Council of Ministers has so far shown no interest in approving the change. A report commissioned by the EC, in fact, recommended against it [pdf].

Since sound production will be done in the States by Eric Records, a reissue label with a sterling reputation, I expect these to sound pretty darn good.

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Home is where the heat is

What everyone remembers Gil Scott-Heron for is the stentorian declaration “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

But if your tastes happen to run to chilling ghetto commentary with a sweet Caribbean beat, Scott-Heron is your man. The song is “The Bottle,” from the 1974 album Winter in America, in which Scott-Heron shares the credit with Brian Jackson, who plays a mean, Herbie Mann-like flute.

This song, I mention in passing, came up in yesterday evening’s shuffle right after the Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People,” a juxtaposition I suspect Scott-Heron, who died last week at a too-young sixty-two, might have appreciated.

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