About a Motel Minus-Three

Is this the world’s worst hotel? The Telegraph thinks so. Here’s the pitch from the inn’s Web site:

The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has been proudly disappointing travellers for forty years. Boasting levels of comfort comparable to a minimum-security prison, the Hans Brinker also offers some plumbing and an intermittently open canteen serving a wide range of dishes based on runny eggs.

Rates start at around €25, which is definitely inexpensive for Amsterdam. In compliance with Dutch law, the following is stated for reference:

Legal note: The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel does offer cheap accommodation in Amsterdam but cheap accommodation herein describes ‘inexpensive relative to others in the sector’ but not (under hotel regulations & guides the Netherlands brief #4569. 67887. 89) ‘good’ accommodation or indeed ‘pleasant,’ ‘hygienic’ accommodation or any derivation thereof. Those wishing to stay at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam, do so at their own risk and will not hold the hotel liable for food poisoning, mental breakdowns, terminal illness, lost limbs, radiation poisoning, certain diseases associated with the 18th century, plague, etcetera.

Does cheapskate airline Ryanair fly to Amsterdam? Why, yes they do.

(Via Fark.)

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The post-Twinkie universe

A ZeroHedge piece on the liquidation of Hostess Brands brought this tinfoil-wrapped comment:

I think, considering the shelf life of these products, that their manufacture can be easily outsourced to China with a little melamine, extra BHT, and sawdust added to the formula. After all, Hostess products are nothing more than a drug delivery vehicle. The psychoactive ingredient is GMO HFCS, and as long as the consumer’s blood sugar skyrockets to mind-numbing (on purpose) levels, who cares what else is in there? Twinkies will be around, regardless of who makes them, for a long long time.

Ah, yes, the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of Twinkie-holiday. O brave new world, that has such wheelers and dealers in it!

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The mind’s eye, accelerated

This summer I had some kind words for BT’s album If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I, which impressed me for defying, not one, but several musical genres at once. It was the kind of collection that I dared not take with me on the road: to me, it’s best heard in a darkened room with the volume set high enough that you can hear everything going on in the background, which inevitably means that the first crescendo is going to scare the socks off you. You don’t need visuals: the brain provides its own.

But what if you were given visuals? There now exists a music video for the first track on that album, “13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill,” and to my surprise, they don’t look all that different from the ones I was seeing in my darkened room. The video was shot by Randy Halverson, who, says BT, uses “a technique that could extend the range of viewable light normally visible to the naked eye and create new photography techniques to capture breathtaking visuals of the universe through stunning time-lapse and nature observation.”

The embed is here for your convenience, but you really need to see this in HD resolution.

This is as far beyond Koyaanisqatsi as Koyaanisqatsi is beyond The Jazz Singer.

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Next time try a different Booth

Lincoln commenting

If you’re keeping score, Lincoln made about $7 million in its first weekend of wide release — which is, as it happens, this weekend, so this number will be up considerably by Monday morning.

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A note from the Central Scrutinizer

This is normally the time of year when I break out the auto-insurance bill and see what’s gone up (and, occasionally, what’s gone down). And I was sweating it, because I had a minor-ish fender-bender at the beginning of last weekend, and guess when they prepare the renewal policy?

The worst, apparently, is yet to come. Premium increase this time around is a relatively trivial $13, distributed thusly:

  • Liability (injury): up $5.70.
  • Liability (property): up $10.30.
  • Uninsured motorists: up $5.40.
  • Comprehensive: down $4.50.
  • Collision: down $7.50.
  • Road service: no change.
  • Rental reimbursement: up $3.60.

Aggregate discounts were up by 40 cents. The new wrinkle is that I have now, I am told, qualified for “accident forgiveness,” which means, I suspect, that while I can expect to lose my 5-year good-driver discount next time around ($70ish), I won’t be slapped with some ginormous surcharge.

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A closed mouth gathers no tweet

What’s the deal with all the celebrity meltdowns these days? Jimmy Marks notes:

In this new age of connectivity, free-flowing information and self-journalism, celebrities are subject to the same screw-ups and missteps that the rest of us take.

Which never would have happened, as the old folks say, Back in the Day:

Lucille Ball didn’t leave the set of I Love Lucy and start tweeting “RICKY IS SUCH A BAD ACTOR W/ BAD BREAF LOL #stupid #yolo”. And if she could have? She probably wouldn’t have. Fifty years ago, everyone in the world knew better than to threaten the take-home pay with their opinions and their vaunted “personality”.

This must be why I’m still working: I have no personality to vaunt.

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Big Easier

The time you don’t want to play the Thunder is right after they’ve lost, because they will take it out on you. Just ask the New Orleans Hornets, who found themselves down 36-18 after the first quarter and 66-37 at the half. At one point, OKC owned a 34-point lead. Things got a little easier for the Bees as the starters were eased off the floor, but not enough to make a game of it: Thunder 110, Hornets 95, despite New Orleans’ 40-36 advantage in rebounding and 7-12 shooting from beyond the arc.

That latter didn’t matter largely because of Kevin Martin, who went 6-11 on treys all by himself in a 27-point performance. (The Other Kevin delivered 4-5 in, yes, a 27-point performance.) The Thunder shot 54 percent for the night despite some errant hoists by Russell Westbrook; yet Westbrook still posted a double-double, with 12 assists to go with 10 points. In fact, OKC was just loaded with dimes tonight: thirty-one of them all told.

On a night like this, the benches get big minutes. Of the Hornets’ three men in double figures, two — Ryan Anderson and Roger Mason — were reserves; Robin Lopez led the starters with 12. New Orleans did some good things, with 23 assists for the night and only 11 turnovers, but their biggest moment of the night arguably was a brief altercation between Greivis Vasquez and Westbrook, which ended with double technicals. (A far bigger moment came earlier in the day, when Hornets GM Dell Demps got a multi-year contract extension, meaning he and coach Monty Williams will be around to see what their rebuilding efforts may bring.)

And after that one-shot road trip, the Thunder return home. Californians? Here they come: the Warriors on Sunday night, the Clippers on Wednesday. (Friday and Saturday will be spent on the East Coast, at Boston and Philadelphia respectively.) Kendrick Perkins had said something yesterday to the effect that “out of every 10 games, we should go no less than 7 and 3.” OKC is, yes, 7-3 through 10 games. Is he predicting a 57-25 season? I, for one, am disinclined to challenge Perk.

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Quote of the Cervidae

This would seem well-nigh indisputable:

For years I’ve joked that lions don’t need to actually hunt deer — they could just tie a flashlight to their forehead and run in a straight line through the woods, and the deer would fling themselves into their path.

So says the Nightfly, seeking to comfort Morgan after a close call. (And who but Morgan would title a post “The Deer’s Ass,” anyway?)

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You can’t say that on television

More specifically, Toyota can’t say this on British television:

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority objects to this spot, because it ostensibly promotes unsafe driving. Toyota, of course, disagrees. And if you ask me, HM Government is upset because of the manifest lack of respect for the omnipresent video-surveillance cameras along the motorway.

Incidentally, you can’t get this car Stateside unless your Toyota dealer also sells Scion, in which case you ask for the FR-S — or you could blow them off altogether and pick up the mostly-identical Subaru BRZ.

To borrow a phrase: “This city was once colourful and full of life; now it’s lost its colour, and the life died with it.”

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Friday vindication

If you can’t quite bend your mind around the phrase “Headlining Artist: Rebecca Black,” perhaps you need to flex a bit: RB’s first-ever West Coast concert, at the House of Blues Anaheim, is the 23rd of December, and tickets ($17.50 advance, $20 at the door) go on sale today.

And because it’s Friday, let’s mention “Friday,” and cowriter/producer Patrice Wilson, who made all this possible in his own way. Wilson has now surfaced with a song about, of all things, next Thursday:

He may be a one-trick pony, but it’s a fun trick. (Thanks to Nancy Friedman, who was happy to pass it on to me.)

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Add some rigor to your mortis

A couple of items from a previously undisclosed list of Final Instructions, posted despite the fact that the writer is not actually dead:

Don’t jump to conclusions about the events leading up to my death. Just take the actual story and embellish it in a way that makes you look good. Make it about you. Don’t tell work I’m dead. Let them think I just stopped showing up. See how long it takes them to fire me. When they do, show them the obituary and yell PSYCH!

I should definitely swipe some of these in advance of my own demise.

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On her 80th

Petula Clark turned 80 today, and I must acknowledge Roger’s contribution to celebrating her birthday (which, he says, might have been my idea). I’ve done a few celebratory posts myself, and I need to do just one more.

First, a seriously cute shot from the British Invasion days:

Petula Clark on a piano

Given my complete and utter lack of musical talent, this to me seems to be the only justification for someday owning a piano.

And this is the one song of hers that is guaranteed to break me up, every single time:

This was Petula’s second visit to the Les Reed/Barry Mason catalog: she’d previously recorded “The Last Waltz,” a big hit for Engelbert Humperdinck. “Kiss Me Goodbye” came out in early 1968, with Reed himself on piano. It was nearly four minutes long at a time when so-called “middle-of-the-road” songs seldom touched three and a quarter, and it packs more heartbreak per minute than almost anything else from that era.

This was her last Top 20 hit in the States. (The British spurned it for some reason.) I wore out a copy of the Petula LP (Warner Bros. 1743), which included the follow-up (comparative) flop “Don’t Give Up.” According to the album’s uncharacteristically sparse liner notes, she’s “cheek soft, heart warm, and sassier than ever.” No argument from me.

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Recount, then recant

When last we heard from Darrell Sorrels, he was asking for a recount in the race for Oklahoma County Sheriff, which he lost by a mere, um, 74,000 votes.

Check the floor for stray fabric, because Sorrels has thrown in the towel:

Wednesday afternoon, the Oklahoma County Election Board announced that Sorrels’ attorney, Stephen Jones, stopped the recount.

That’s because across 14 precincts, Sorrels had a net gain of only one vote.

About 90 percent of the $25,800 recount cost paid by Sorrels — via check from something called Enterprise Investments, Inc. — will be refunded.

In other news, Stephen Jones apparently now has his own Wikipedia page, which needless to say does not link to this.

Update, 16 November: Sorrels is now being sued for some “defamatory” material on his Facebook page.

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Meet the New Right

Same as the old Right, says the Hyacinth Girl:

Having ceded the culture war decades ago, the right has continued to lose touch with popular culture, even while believing that because they watch Dancing with the Stars they are somehow still “hip.” Each generation brings its new “sexy” “young” conservatives who are generally younger versions of their elders. Maybe they’re thinner, or female, or have fake breasts and expensive highlights, but they’ve got the same degrees from the same schools and have had the same career trajectory as their predecessors. They’ve got law degrees or poli-sci degrees or whatever, and they sound the same as the old guys.

Now I happen to think that popular culture’s influence on contemporary politics suggests, um, a state of urinal poverty; but there are people who live, breathe and excrete this stuff. You’ve heard of “low-information voters”? Today we’re seeing the rise of no-information voters, and various campaign committees on both sides of the aisle have figured out that their votes count exactly the same as everyone else’s. (Truly we have enshrined the principle of One Douche, One Vote.) I await their discovery that the School of Hard Knox is the one and only institution guaranteed to have an open-admissions policy.

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Now that’s a cold-air intake

I’ve never really had the heart to tell those young whippersnappers on Yahoo! Answers that there might possibly be better ways to spend their hard-earned cash than trying to squeeze an extra 10 hp out of [car deemed inadequately speedy]. Perhaps it’s because I lack this level of eloquence:

When you modify your car, what you’re doing is trying to resolve a deep insecurity. This is what’s wrong with modifying your VW: what issue are you exactly resolving? Safety? Reliability? Lowering your cost of ownership? My answer: you’re just bored with your ride. If you acknowledge that to be the case, you now recognize that you’re living a boring K-selection lifestyle and now is your chance to move towards an r-selection lifestyle in the fast lane.

So start modding that car. Because cars are often the only thing that has meaning to a young guy. Then, when you’re looking at settling down in 10-15 years, feel free to discard it all and start over again. Meanwhile all those boring people you dusted with your hot car have done things like travel, paid off debt, or upgraded their skills so they can write their own ticket in a down economy.

That’s gonna leave a skid mark.

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Three-buck puck

Drew Magary’s “Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog” complains bitterly about a food item:

Item #02-741009 Callie’s Charleston Biscuits

Williams-Sonoma says: “Flaky, buttery, and made by hand by celebrated caterer Callie White.”

Price: $72 (set of 24)

Notes from Drew: That’s $72 for biscuits. At Popeye’s, the biscuit comes free with your order. At Williams-Sonoma, it costs you the rough equivalent of your phone bill. How good could these biscuits possibly be? There’s a threshold past which biscuits cannot improve. Even the best goddamn biscuit in the world isn’t $72 better than a Popeye’s biscuit. Unless that biscuit can make you teleport.

You may be assured, however, that if it can, I’m buying it — even if the only place it takes me is the nearest Popeye’s, which is less than half a mile away.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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