Strange search-engine queries (290)

Somewhere around a third of the traffic to this site comes from search engines, and most of those searches are sensible, understandable, even justifiable. Then there are these:

it’s a beautiful day litigation:  I told you we shouldn’t have sent Mister Rogers to law school.

legalese little red riding hood:  For instance, wolves are a protected species. Mister Rogers could have told you that.

transmission sensor won’t let the car start:  Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it.  Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it.

What time was the latest sunrise ever?  Look up “arctic circle” and think again.

how many miles can I expect from a used Ford Contour:  Ask yourself “Why did the previous owner unload this buggy?” and think again.

laurence olivier cereal box:  Forsooth, yon Cocoa Puffs hath vexed me.

divorce changes a man:  Not half as much as marriage does.

too pretty to work:  And perhaps looking for a man to divorce.

flaw in the worlds currency:  Not enough of it is in my pocket.

“beer snobs”:  Your brew is swill; our swill is brew.

yahoo  Hey, if I’m the yahoo, how come you’re searching for this at Bing?

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In the fall, if at all

September means the BIG Fashion Issues: a mere 500 pages won’t do. So anything and everything is fair game, and inevitably you find something just a hair off-center — and something deeply creepy.

InStyle for September boasts 638 pages, six of which are devoted to the closets of the Kardashian sisters. No, this isn’t the creepy stuff. I was, however, jolted a bit by this revelation by Khloé:

“When I’m buying new shoes I ask myself, ‘Would I look good wearing them naked?'”

I’m trying to imagine one of her fitting sessions, but the visuals won’t quite come to me.

Anyway, the story reports that Khloé owns 235 pairs of shoes, 71 by Christian Louboutin, by far the highest percentage of Louboutins owned by any of the Kardashians.

The creepy stuff involved Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance “Oh, Lola,” which features in its print ad — yes, there’s a fragrance strip, but I was too busy being creeped out — a semi-racy image of Dakota Fanning, who won’t turn 18 until February. (If you must, you can see it here.) This isn’t quite as creepy as, say, the situation with that 15-year-old girl who posed semi-salaciously for Urban Outfitters, but it’s still somewhat disturbing: I have no problems with teenagers looking cute, even vaguely sexy, but anything beyond that pushes my OMG button.

(As for the title: It was a phrase often uttered by one of my uncles on my mother’s side; he’s long gone now, but I’d always admired his capacity for mouthiness.)

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Imagine what it’s like to be #2

Deadspin has puked up its 2011 Hater’s Guide To The Top 25, just in time for the start of college football, which, says author Drew Magary, “is a sport so hopelessly screwed that it makes the United States government look efficient by comparison. Every national title won is just WAITING to be vacated.”

The first target, of course, is the University of Oklahoma, ranked #1 before anyone actually plays a game. “Hopelessly screwed,” as the man said. This is what he said about the Tumor Sooners:

When you go to the official website of the state of Oklahoma, the first option given under the “How Do I?…” menu is “Lookup offenders.” Now, let’s forgive the typo there for a moment. Oklahomans are well known for avoiding spaces between words because spaces could let the Devil sneak out. That’s why the text of your average Oklahoman’s email reads, “JimBob! Git yourass to theCrestFoods and gitme somemore chickenheads to puthere in thishere pillow!” I just like that the state prioritized finding sex offenders, death row prisoners, and parole dockets over the less common needs of its population, such as “find a job,” or “start a new business.” This is Oklahoma, son! You don’t go here to find work! You go here to track down the man who slaughtered six of your cousins and set the barn on fire! DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?! Oh, and this team will get crushed by an SEC team in the national title game.

Actually, this is somewhat mild compared to the treatment given to some of the next twenty-four.

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Are too!

The bicycle helmet to end all bicycle helmets:

Star Wars bike helmet

Among other things, this is a dramatic demonstration that the “pastry artist” at your local bakery might have higher ambitions than your kid’s birthday cake. Then again, your local bakery may not be like this.

(Via Geekadelphia; the artist has a How I Did It page here.)

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My First Beater

A chap wrote to The Truth About Cars for advice on wheels for teenagers, and the readership of course jumped in with its own observations, of which this is the one I judged to have most significant comment-stimulating content:

My one friend who has owned just everything up to the 2004 model year, bought his daughter a Z3. Figured she couldn’t haul a boat full of people and if there was a boy in the right seat he couldn’t make too many moves at least while the top was up.

I have to admit that while this particular angle might have occurred to me, I almost certainly wouldn’t have arrived at the same car.

(Disclosure: My son and his wife own a BMW, but it’s a 5-series, and it was their own purchase.)

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Deform and dysfunction

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None more green

It’s been no particular secret that the administration’s push for “green jobs” has gotten them nothing but red ink — let’s face it, if even The New York Times has caught on, it’s got to be painfully obvious to the rest of us — but I still think Walter Russell Mead is going to have trouble selling this jobs package:

[W]e could eliminate all forms of welfare and food stamps and offer the unemployed minimum wage jobs pedaling stationary bicycles hooked up to electric generators, solving our budget, poverty, obesity and energy independence problems all at once.

I really don’t think this is enough to keep the Gorebots at bay — all those cyclists will be exhaling carbon dioxide, which will destroy all life on earth¹ — so as an alternative, we can attach cogged belts to the remains of the Founding Fathers and capture the energy generated as they turn over in their graves.

¹ “Yeah, right,” says the nearest plant.

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Porous another one

The very word “sundress” suggests that it’s going to be worn, um, out in the sun, which prompts this simple question:

On the off-chance any clothing designers are reading this, let me say: if it’s hot enough to wear a sundress, it’s too damned hot to wear rayon, polyester, or any other artificial fabric that does not “breathe,” so why the hell do you use such fabric to make your sundresses? My theory: you are motivated by sheer hatred of your customers, a hatred so intense that if your IQ were a mere 50 points lower, you’d probably work for TSA.

Conspiracy theorists are encouraged to pass along the idea that synthetic fabrics are more easily seen through by airport body scanners.

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Houston, we have a heat wave

How hot is it? The National Weather Service actually put this out in Thursday’s Drought Information Statement:


I checked the August 2010 F-6 for Bush Intercontinental Airport, which turned up a monthly average of 87.7 degrees. If they break this by more than a degree and a half, they’ll get past the July 2011 record set in Oklahoma City, which was 89.2. Then again, poor Lawton posted a July average of 92.3, which exceeds almost everyone’s level of tolerability.

Forecasters being generally reserved by nature, I have to assume that they’re going at least slightly crazy from the heat and/or drought.

Then again, huge quantities of water can also produce vivid imagery.

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Semi-nice try

But it won’t get your spam into the system. Akismet caught this one:

I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

If you really loved it, you’d understand the update schedule. (sniff)

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Quote of the week

Fillyjonk gently rebukes the Food Police:

I’m fine, thanks. I’m a freaking adult. I can make my own decisions. If you want someone to dominate and fill with your food anxieties, please have a child. (I’m being facetious here: we don’t need more humans being raised with screwed-up ideas about food).

I think part of the problem is we don’t understand risk levels and risk tolerance. For example: Some additive in food gives people who eat it a 2% greater risk of, I don’t know, massive kidney stones. Does that mean the additive should be banned? Does that mean everyone should be told not to buy it? What if the additive does something other that is useful, like making the food not harden up before its time or taste good? Still, that 2% risk WOULD have some people calling for banination.

(A blogger I like to read often refers to the fact that we all have a 100% chance of dying. So something like a 2% risk of kidney stones, meh)

And that’s the thing that gets to me: I don’t like being hounded. I don’t like being told that my personal choices, which I came to based on my understanding of and tolerance for risk, are BAD and WRONG and DUMB and I need to do whatever the other person is doing because it WORKED FOR THEM and therefore is the best and right and really only choice.

Or even if it didn’t work for them, but they have a wholly-imaginary mandate to force you to clean up your act.

There is only one sensible response to these people. (Well, okay, there’s a second, if you want to bring coprophagia into the conversation.) Look them in the eye, yawn, and say “When I say ‘You bore me,’ that doesn’t mean that you’re my mother.”

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Feigned nonchalance

There’s a thread going on in Amazon’s discussion area which seeks to identify the “most compelling line in a song,” though as a practical matter, it usually takes two lines, maybe more, to complete the thought.

I briefly entertained the idea of contributing “Kickin’ in the front seat, sittin’ in the back seat / Gotta make my mind up, which seat can I take?” Pithy as it is, though, it’s not all that compelling, and after thinking about it for a few minutes — and spinning a few tunes to gauge emotional response — I decided on this old favorite, first quoted here back in ’03, which still packs a wallop:

I close my eyes for a second and pretend it’s me you want
Meanwhile I try to act so nonchalant
I see a summer night with a magic moon
Every time that you walk in the room

Jackie DeShannon came up with this in late 1963, and it’s been regularly expropriated ever since: the Searchers got a British Invasion hit, and Bruce Springsteen often plays it live. Still, this is a song that practically demands a female vocal — guys seldom admit to this level of yearning — so I’ll direct you to the 1994 Pam Tillis version, which is a country song mostly because the marketing people said it was.

(Discovered at Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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Stocking the Jerk Store

I’ve tried out several variations on the theme “If you’re so X, why aren’t you rich?” So far, though, this is the only X that really seems to describe me:

A new study finds that agreeable workers earn significantly lower incomes than less agreeable ones. The gap is especially wide for men.

The researchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that men who measured below average on agreeableness earned about 18% more — or $9,772 more annually in their sample — than nicer guys. Ruder women, meanwhile, earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts.

“Nice guys are getting the shaft,” says study co-author Beth A. Livingston, an assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Well, screw ‘em. As Leo Durocher didn’t actually say of the ’46 Giants, nice guys finish last.

(Purloined — on my own time, mind you — from The Director. Now STFU and GBTW.)

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Italian style

An offhand observation from the spring of 2010:

Presumably owing to business considerations, the picture of [Laura] Soave being circulated by Chrysler is carefully tuned for maximum blandness. In person, she’s much more striking.

In case you’d forgotten, Laura Soave, a former Volkswagen exec, was hired by Sergio Marchionne to head up the Fiat brand in the US. Somewhere in this photo is a Fiat 500:

Laura Soave with Fiat 500

Incidentally, the current Cinquecento is supposedly available in 14 colors, but every last one I’ve seen on the roads in this town has been this shade of Cinnamon Red Hot(s).

(Photo snitched from Autoblog.)

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Just keep on dreaming

The curious phrase PREPARE FOR LAUNCH showed up on Rebecca Black’s Facebook page, along with yesterday’s date. Since it wasn’t a Tuesday, I have to assume it wasn’t the release of the new EP, which, Team Rebecca insists, will come out this month. (Facelift for the Web site, apparently.)

Speaking of dates, she told Parade she’s allowed such things:

I’m allowed to. I mean, I’m sure if my dad was in the room he’d be like “Uh, no you’re not.” But I’m allowed to. It’s hard because I’m always in L.A. and I’m always busy. So I’m single, but I kind of like it.

Fourteen and single. Who would have known?

I spent part of last night reading her Tumblr page, which seems to have attracted a few unwelcome elements. No surprise there, I suppose. Still, she seems to be taking it all in stride, which is more than I could do at that age.

And then there was this on Yahoo! Answers:

Does anyone know where I can get the music to Friday by Rebecca Black for a marching band?

I need it for the basic marching band instruments, clarinets, flutes, saxophones, tubas, baritones, trumpets, horns, percussion, etc.

Let’s hope somebody YouTubes (TheyTubes?) the performance.

Addendum: Doonesbury weighs in. (Via Peter J. Rudy.)

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The receptionist at Skynet

Artificial intelligence is getting more intelligent; the trick, of course, is to somehow make it less artificial.

Denise from Guile3D StudioMeet Denise, an “advanced Virtual Assistant Software” from Guile3D Studio:

She comes with our real-time proprietary graphic engine, a high quality English Text to speech voice and a Voice Recognition (Command Mode) engine. Denise works with an adaptive Artificial Intelligence Brain, that can learn by itself and be customized by user. Her main function is to assist users in human-computer interaction, like searching the web, checking e-mail, scheduling appointments, getting latest news, run computer applications by voice and much more, all these using natural language, as the user was “talking to a real person.”

And apparently she’s going to be a disc jockey:

Wednesday August 24, 2011 from 1pm till 4pm CST KROV [San Antonio, Texas] will be making history by becoming the first radio station in existence to have an artificial intelligent radio personality. KROV is an HD-2 radio station. Which means an HD radio is required to listen to the station. However there are ways around such an obstacle for people who do not own an HD radio. KROV can be streamed on the station’s web page at and also with a smartphone application called “TuneIn”.

I know I should be appalled by this, but really, how is this substantively different from, say, the smartass promo inserts on Jack FM? Jack doesn’t talk back, but Denise does:

And even in version 1.0, she’s a lot less annoying than your average morning-show jerks.

(Via Fark.)

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