Life’s been good

In which the timelines of Twilight Sparkle and Joe Walsh somehow are made to intersect. Admittedly, neither of them drive, but that’s not the important thing.

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Two words: “tinted glass”

A rather scary Harris Interactive poll reveals some things you didn’t want to know about the occupant of the next lane over:

While behaviors of others can be annoying, drivers admitted that they would engage in some interesting activities in their cars if they knew people could not see them. More than half (54 percent) said they would consider singing aloud in their cars. Almost a third (30 percent) would consider picking their nose, 19 percent would think about changing clothes, 15 percent would ponder having sex and nine percent would contemplate driving naked.

For the record, I have done almost all of these, no “pondering” necessary. (In fact, singing is an almost-daily event, depending on what the little music box serves up.)

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Right to non-life

Another aggrieved minority group demands to be heard:

We are denied voting rights in most states. Movies demonizing us not only get made, but are wildly popular and earn their hatemongering producers millions of dollars. And where are the media during all this? The whole shameful matter gets buried.

That’s why I have formed the National Association for the Advancement of Undead Persons. It’s time those of us labeled “zombies,” “vampires,” and “monsters” — the reconstructed and reanimated — received the same legal protections afforded illegal aliens and high-ranking Administration officials.

One area of progress: so far as I know, the undead are not currently subject to the Obamacare penalties tax.

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Hollow praise

“A rather dull love-poem,” this is, although it possesses some wholly unexpected nuance:

Tell me, Eutresia, since my fate
And thy more powerfull Forme decrees
My heart an Immolation at thy Shrine,
. . .

Who is Eutresia? What is she? Who the heck knows?

In the “Notes on the Text” in the back of the book (516), [Peter] Davidson records that some manuscripts call the addressee “Eutresia”, at least one “Utrechia”. The note below the text reads: “1 Eutresia ‘Utrechia’ MS (Greek) ‘beautiful hair'”, which is a bit confusing: which name is supposed to mean “beautiful hair”? Could “Utrechia” be meant for “Eutrichia” or something similar?

“Eutresia,” however, means nothing of the sort:

I see no way to make that mean anything to do with hair. It would be a properly-formed Greek noun meaning “well-holedness”, the quality of being equipped with one or more excellent holes or orifices: not a name anyone this side of Lord Rochester, or Martial in one of his darker moods, would give to an enemy, much less a mistress. Neither “eutresia” nor for that matter “dystresia” is included in the OED, but “atresia”, “from Greek ἄτρητος not perforated”, is attested with the meaning “occlusion or closure of a natural channel of the body” since 1807. Biliary atresia is a common birth defect.

Rochester, who died at 33, possibly from a combination of STDs, might have had a passing familarity with holes, but let’s leave it at that.

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Staying sharp

My son is now sporting a “13.1” sticker on his Bimmer, having successfully completed a half marathon. (Which, given the fat sack of crap he apparently was a few years ago, is doubly impressive.) I didn’t ask him what he was thinking during those hours of pavement pounding, but I suspect it wasn’t anything like this:

Stitches while running a marathon are not usually conducive to success — but they proved to be the making of David Babcock after he broke the scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.

The 41-year-old finished the Kansas City marathon in five hours, 48 minutes and 27 seconds, at the same time constructing a scarf measuring 12ft 1¾” long.

Babcock, a graphic design professor at the University of Central Missouri, eclipsed the previous Guinness world record, held by Britain’s Susie Hewer.

In other news, there is a scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.

To create his red, orange and purple scarf, Babcock used a garter stitch, 30 stitches wide, and size 15 plastic needles, as specified by Guinness World Records. To be eligible competitors must complete the marathon in under six hours.

If the next question is “Why?” here’s the answer:

It takes a lot of time to do distance running and it takes time to knit. By putting the two activities together the time passes easier for both activities. It takes his mind off of the endless miles and makes knitting an active pursuit.

Perhaps I’ll drop a hint to the kid.

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Goblin report

Previous record: 102, recorded in 2010. I didn’t expect to break that; in fact, I bought only enough Dental Mayhem for about seventy.

The city didn’t put out a curfew. However, some neighborhoods posted signs saying you had to finish up by 8 pm (70 minutes after sunset), and things dried up here rapidly after 7:59. Final total was forty-five, third highest on record.

Best costume, I thought, was worn by a tween girl who, had she been helmeted, would have been a passable Yori from Tron. Most of the lights worked, too. (She got an extra pack of Butterfinger Snackerz.)

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Impatient me

WordPress released 3.7.1 almost before 3.7 was dry; there were bug fixes, and I duly installed the new version here.

Or I could have waited:

With WordPress 3.7, you don’t have to lift a finger to apply maintenance and security updates. Most sites are now able to automatically apply these updates in the background. The update process also has been made even more reliable and secure, with dozens of new checks and safeguards.

Sure enough, two sites that I hadn’t updated to 3.7.1 as of yesterday had the new version automagically bestowed upon them last night.

Can I just say “Wow”?

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Close quarters

I caught this bit of weirdness on the west end of the flower box, as though the Head Rose had ordered everyone to squeeze into a small area:

Roses in a small space

You can tell it’s fall, what with that yellow leaf at one o’clock about to fall off a redbud.

(Other sizes at Flickr.)

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But no smaller

How minimal can a minimal government be? Not very, suggests Roberta X:

Here’s a thought: you’d think if “that government which governs least, governs best” is correct and the closer it gets to zero the better, then a snarled-up mess of a government that can’t do much of anything — a negative value — might be better still; but the reality is that it’s as least as bad as a big, caring Nanny-state, if not worse. (This explains places like Somalia, where there’s actually too many “governments” — warlord fiefdoms, etc. — than too much government.) “Zero” is still a thing approached but never reached; too many people want to make sure their neighbors color inside the lines all the time (and never make the giraffes green or the grass purple), and that’s before you address the irreducible minimum of criminally-inclined individuals.

Combine both those horrible populations — pickers of nits and seekers of graft — and you have, well, the current occupants of Mordor-on-the-Potomac. (I wish I could remember where I swiped that; it’s such an apt phrase.)

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Refined tastes on display

It’s presented as a slideshow, which is an insult in itself, but no matter: the British radio station Classic FM presents 21 of the best insults in classical music. I’ll just quote one, from Louis Schneider on Debussy’s La mer:

“The audience expected the ocean. Something big, something colossal. But they were served instead with some agitated water in a saucer.”

I mention this one in particular because La mer may have been a target more than once. Meredith Willson (The Music Man) once told a story about Erik Satie, who had accompanied Debussy to a performance: after the “Dawn to noon on the sea” movement, Satie is supposed to have said sort of loudly, “I just love that part at about a quarter to twelve.” Debussy promptly unleashed a few French translations of Anglo-Saxon, concluding with accusing Satie of being an inept and unlikable composer. I’m not so sure about this, since Satie is supposed to have taken his umbrage to his desk and pounded out Trois morceaux en forme de poire; but said morceaux were completed in 1903, and La mer wasn’t finished until 1905. Maybe an early version getting an airing?

(With thanks to Rand Simberg.)

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Time being taken

Oh, how I can relate to this:

For those of you who can get from paint in the cans/linens in the bags to 90% done in a week or so, know that we don’t work that way around here. We’re more like My Year In Provence speed. If you remember, the den from start to finish, if you can call it an actual “finish” and not just a “work stoppage” — took about 8 months.

When I moved into the palatial estate at Surlywood, I set up the “more important” rooms first, and pitched everything else into the room left over, with the intention of cleaning it up later.

That was November 2003. It looks no better today.

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Young virtuosi

You usually don’t figure on a team being depleted by injuries in the first week of the season, but there were the Jazz, coming out with only nine available players. It didn’t make much difference, really: after the Thunder took a 15-point lead in the middle of the third quarter, Utah pulled to within one with 4:34 left, and OKC had to fight them off all the way to score a 101-98 win.

The OKC starting five were no surprise: Jackson, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka, Perkins. What we didn’t expect: Perk putting in 25 minutes, reeling in eight boards. (Then again, Hasheem Thabeet was suspended for some preseason roughhousing.) Also what we didn’t expect: Serge going 4-15 from the floor. He had some decent looks, but the ball and the cylinder were snubbing one another or something. Thabo and Reggie both came up with double figures to compensate. The weak bench contributed 19 points, or five fewer than Utah reserve Alec Burks. KD, who was probably due for a 42-point night, came up with a 42-point night, including the last two free throws.

These Jazz, despite not looking much like last year’s Jazz, are very young and very good. Six of the nine got double figures, led by Burks with 24. And they move the ball: they logged 25 assists. (The Thunder could manage only nine.) They outshot the Thunder from the floor, 45 percent to 40, though OKC, as is its wont, ruled the stripe: 29 of 33, including 22 of 24 by Durant, while the Jazz hit 20 of 30. They wouldn’t have gotten so many had not OKC run off a string of delay-of-game offenses, earning the Jazz technicals. (Then again, the Jazz didn’t hit them all either.)

So: 1 and 0. Means very little for the moment. Next stop: Minnesota, where the T-Wolves always have something to prove.

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A unified theory of shoving

After Nicole’s paean to online shopping, as distinguished from the madness that seems to overtake people actually shopping in person this time of year — I riffed on it hereLynn comes up with a thought experiment of sorts:

I do not loathe the rest of humanity, at least not most of the time. I even sort of like the idea of shopping in actual stores. But then there’s Walmart. And I don’t think it’s actually Walmart per se that’s the problem. It’s just what happens when you get a large number of people in one space who independently have the same goal: to buy stuff and get out as quickly as possible. Seriously, have you ever been in Bass Pro Shop in December?

Such observations over the years have prompted one of our resident scientists to formulate a hypothesis:

I have a hypothesis that between five and ten percent of the population is just going to behave in really annoying ways to everyone else. If you’re in a store with 20 people that’s not a big deal because that’s only one or two people. But if you cram 500 people in the store, you could be looking at 50 Special Snowflakes.

Perish the thought.

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Much was made over the sheer bulk of The Chicago Transit Authority, from “Introduction” to “Liberation”; nobody debuted with a two-LP set, even in semi-freewheeling 1969. Still, CTA, at only 77 minutes, fits on a single CD, and there are, after all, only twelve songs.

Consider that old and busted. Here’s the new hotness:

Hi I’m Rob Lincoln and I need your help in making music history with me!

According to my research, the longest debut album to date is that of Welsh songwriter Desmond Star who had 124 songs on his 2010 release.

I plan to more than double that.

Lincoln’s debut album 5 Cents a Song will be issued, not on Red Book audio CDs, but on two data CDs; otherwise, you’d never be able to fit in all three hundred songs.

He says his musical influences “range from Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs to Townes Van Zandt and Gordon Lightfoot, from Robbie Robertson and The Band to the Jefferson Airplane, and the Monkees.”

And this is a Kickstarter, but it’s already funded and over its original goal. I’m just sorry I found it late.

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Definitely all that

How is it possible that Gabrielle Union just turned forty?

Then again, she was still clinging to 39 when she showed up in this teensy Zac Posen number for the BET Awards in late June:

Gabrielle Union at BET Awards 2013

And what color is that, exactly? It’s not really orange, but it’s something distinctly different from your garden-variety red.

Being Mary Jane, her series for BET, bore the working title Single Black Female, which kind of gives away the premise. The pilot episode aired in July; the regular season begins in January 2014, but BET apparently has already committed to a second season.

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Scammer resents scammage

Truly, it is to laugh:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Has anybody used the site to buy a fake id?

He continues:

I am looking around trying to buy a fake id, but I want to be sure the site i get it from is not a scam. This site seems the most legit to me. But if anybody has bought an id from a site online and it worked, let me know where from. Thanks!!

This is almost on par with a burglar taking a prybar back to Sears to get his money back under the Craftsman warranty.

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