“Taxes” if it’s a boy

And, for that matter, “Taxes” if it’s a girl: WalletHub’s 2016 Tax Survey reveals that the desire for a tax-free future, were such a thing available, would motivate 8 percent of the respondents to name their firstborn child “Taxes” in an effort to ensure said future.

By comparison, 11 percent would be willing to clean toilets. For three years. At Chipotle.

(Via Nancy Man.)

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The run stops here

During the Second World War, filmy stuff like nylon was reserved for military use. This situation did not, however, create a sudden craze for bare legs. Instead, you had scenes like this:

Painted-on stockings, 3d per leg

And admittedly, “no more ladders,” “ladders” being a Briticism for “runs,” has an appeal of its own. I’m assuming that the price includes scribing a line down the back to create the appearance of a seam, which was the rule back them. (And if that price is indeed sixpence a pair in sterling, forty women could be so adorned for a pound, which during the War was pegged at $4.03 US.)

Of course, there were always do-it-yourselfers:

And really, it’s no sillier than contemporary self-tanners, though you can’t really tell from the B&W photography if there was a tendency toward orangeness.

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Shazamination

Shazam is one of those smartphone apps that is supposed to be able to recognize an unknown song and tell you what it is. Saturday night — into Sunday morning, because that’s how dumb I am — I put it to work on my tablet.

And, of course, I tested it on stuff in my own collection first. Correctly identified on the first try:

On “Kaiser Bill’s,” the title was rendered in German, but that makes a certain amount of sense.

I did manage to stump Shazam on “Mr. Turnkey,” Zager and Evans’ followup to “In the Year 2525.”

And there’s one track it consistently misidentified, the unknown backing track from this video:

I got two different answers, one “Kompression” by Albion, one “Ethno Love” in the Vaffa Superstar Mix, for which I found no link. (Shazam did play a few seconds for me for comparison purposes.)

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Strange search-engine queries (531)

Google and Yahoo! and Bing, oh, my. A hefty proportion of this site’s traffic comes from search-engine users, and based on the evidence I see each week, they have no shame. Which is why you see this each week.

Bansay leaves benifits for sinusitis:  Hmmm. Didn’t see that at CVS.

this question is a means of preventing automated form submissions by spambots:  See how well it works?

ivan just spent an evening watching pornographic movies of attractive women who actually seemed to enjoy being sexually molested. this experience is most likely to lead him to:  Get him slapped by the first woman he attempts to treat in this manner.

firm forceful femmes:  Don’t even think about trying to molest them.

tamara is a content developer at moon loop inc.:  There are other developers, but most of them have shown signs of discontent.

printer nazi:  No toner for you!

karl malden nose disease:  It’s just a temporary enlargement. No one will ever even notice.

i can’t stop jacking off yahoo answers:  And yet it never, ever comes to a close.

revolting door:  There’s one on every door on K Street, where the regulators and the regulated become mutually parasitical.

“high performance, delivery” “upskirt”:  This is not, incidentally, why they call it “broadband.”

mine flex:  Some people will brag about anything.

jerry garcia licks:  He also might sniff now and then.

in the 1920s when women’s hemlines reached the knee, an exposed female leg was considered erotic. today an exposed leg is less likely to elicit such a response. this is an example of emotional responses _____ caused by repeated to exposure:  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have an emotional response to lack of said exposure.

crummier definition:  What you’re likely to find in those discount dictionaries at the dollar store.

chaz michael michael:  A distant cousin of the late Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

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Four legs good

This is, as noted, an actual ad:

A word of warning, pal: Don’t let her borrow your razor.

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Ignominious splashdown

The game plan for the Rockets today seemed simple enough: put up a hell of a lot of shots, and hope enough of them fall. This is doable if half your rebounds come off the offensive glass, as Houston’s were, and if you get at least 20 more shots than the opponents, as Houston did. It didn’t hurt that the Thunder were at least fairly lethargic during several stretches of the game, and with OKC up five with five and a half minutes left, the Rockets utterly shut down the Thunder to earn a 118-110 win, a 2-2 split of the season series — each team won twice at home — and a bit of momentum as they try to climb above ninth and into the playoff picture.

“A hell of a lot of shots” sounds unspecific, so let’s get the numbers: 41 of 102, just a tick above 40 percent. Thirteen of 42 made treys. Twenty-two offensive rebounds out of 45. The only place where the Thunder got bigger numbers was in, you guessed it, turnovers: 21 for OKC, a mere nine for Houston. James Harden went off for 41 points on 12-25, with Trevor Ariza going 5-13 for 18 points. Patrick Beverley did not shoot well until the fourth quarter, but his +14 was the highest of all.

Kevin Durant shot well until the fourth quarter, when the Rockets ratcheted up the defense. He finished with 33. Russell Westbrook came up just short of a triple-double, at 23-13-9. Nobody else into double digits except Enes Kanter, who managed 16.

The rest of this road trip may or may not be fraught with peril. Denver (Tuesday) is decidedly more dangerous at home; Portland (Wednesday) is dangerous everywhere; Sacramento (Saturday) is, well, Sacramento. (The Kings have beaten the Thunder once already this season.) It’s not likely that the standings will change, though theoretically OKC could fall behind the Clippers if they lose the rest of the way. Then again, if they keep playing like they did in the fourth quarter — but never mind, let’s not go there.

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The ghosts of Olympic Stadium

This seems a reasonable question to ask in 2016, and the Washington Post duly asks it: Why does a long-dead baseball club need a Twitter account?

The Montreal Expos don’t exist anymore. They’re a defunct brand that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2004. But they almost certainly have way more Twitter followers than you do.

By a factor of, oh, let’s say, twenty.

Baseball fans scrolling through their Twitter feeds today might have noticed a ghostly presence popping intermittently onto their screens. That’s because the Expos, dead for the last dozen years, appear to have somehow acquired the tweeting habits of a bored teenage girl who can’t stop thinking about her ex-boyfriend.

Then again, there is method in this seeming madness:

Montreal baseball fans were excited to be hosting a pair of spring training games this weekend between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. This marks the third straight year the Jays have concluded their spring exhibition schedule at Olympic Stadium, site of all those fuzzy Expos memories of yore. It’s a fun occasion for the expected 100,000 fans descending on the area, and, more importantly, it’s a chance for the city to show Major League Baseball that it craves a team again.

I note, just for amusement value, that the Expos’ account is on three Twitter lists, while the account of the Washington Nationals, the current designation for that franchise, is on only two. (I’m on 121, but don’t ask.)

And the Expos responded to the WaPo this way:

Also a reasonable question to ask in 2016.

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Bubble-spotting

One of the basic corollaries of economics — just downstream from the theories — is that insiders are never looking to recruit others: fewer pieces of the pie mean bigger pieces of the pie. This suggests that when you do get offers, you should be very suspicious. An example of how this works in real life:

[I]n the last 6 months I have started hearing radio commercials again urging folks to get into the house-flipping business and make their fortune. Whenever institutions start selling investments to you, the average Joe, rather than just investing themselves, that should be taken as a signal that we are approaching a top. About 12-18 months before oil prices tanked, I started getting flooded with spam calls at work trying to sell me various sorts of oil exploration investments.

To explain the dynamic at work:

In 2010, when house prices were low and some were going for a song in foreclosure, there were no house flipping commercials on radio. That is because Blackstone and other major institutions were too busy buying them up. Now that these companies see less value, you are hearing house flipping commercials. You know that guy who has a book with his fool-proof method for making a fortune? So why is he wasting his time selling books for $2 a copy in royalties rather than following his method?

Unless, of course, his method involves extracting dollars from rubes in two-dollar increments.

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A kinder, gentler hive mind

It could come from only one place in the universe:

Canadian Borg, eh?

Yes, I know, it’s a cultural stereotype. But it’s not really an unfavourable stereotype.

(Via the TREKYARDS group on Facebook.)

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The phrase that pays

The original Vision 2025 sales-tax scheme in Tulsa County has come to an end, and with the horror of losing that 0.6 percent staring them in the face, the powers that be have assembled a wish list for a renewal of the scheme. One of the bigger items on that list is a pair of low-water dams on the Arkansas River to supplement the existing Zink Dam. And those dams are on the list, apparently, because it is assumed the suckers will vote for them even if they’re not actually going to be built:

According to emails obtained by FOX23 News and videos of city council committee meetings being held throughout the month of February, city officials were aware the south Tulsa-Jenks dam was falling through and began to set up “contingencies” where voters would approve the two low-water dams, but the money raised from the sales tax, at least on the City of Tulsa side, would go to improving the Zink Dam, setting up a maintenance endowment for the Zink Dam, and then distributing what was left of the two dam plan’s funding to various projects throughout the City of Tulsa, some in council districts nowhere near the Arkansas River.

Cynical in the extreme, even by Tulsa standards.

The vote comes Tuesday, 5 April. In the meantime, expect to see these sprout up:

No More Dam Taxes

(Via BatesLine.)

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Stash renewal

It is with heavy heart that we report the death of Hancock Fabrics (1957-2016):

Great American Group (GA), a leading provider of advisory and valuation services, asset disposition and auction solutions, commercial lending services and a subsidiary of B. Riley Financial, Inc., was the highest bidder in the bankruptcy auction for the assets and inventory of fabric retailer, Hancock Fabrics, Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 protection on February 2, 2016.

On March 31, 2016, GA was recognized as the successful bidder at auction by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and will manage the going-out-of-business sales for 185 Hancock Fabrics stores beginning April 1, 2016.

If you needed so many yards of such-and-such, now is the time.

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Going Dutch for the moment

After all, it isn’t every day I get to say something about Fockeline Ouwerkerk. I’m not even sure I can pronounce “Fockeline Ouwerkerk,” which is the name of a Dutch actress, born in the summer of 1981 in Westmaas, Zuid-Holland.

Fockeline Ouwerkerk takes a seat

I know her from the 2015 series Gouden Bergen (“Gold Mountain”), subtitled The Rich Are Not Easy. Well, maybe some of them aren’t:

Fockeline Ouwerkerk flashes a peek

And, well, there’s this inexplicable clip from the variety show Carlo’s TV Café for which translation, I suspect, is probably beside the point:

Let me try it again: “Fockeline Ouwerkerk.”

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Like a thousand times before

The thing about so-called “guilty pleasures” is that you’re supposed to be vaguely, or perhaps not so vaguely, apologetic about them: “Please forgive this lapse in judgment, for I am only human.”

I make no apologies for “It’s One of Those Nights,” a latter-day Partridge Family single that managed to creep into the very bottom of the Top 20 for two weeks in early 1972. Written by the always-quirky Tony Romeo, who penned their bazillion-seller “I Think I Love You,” this song, despite its teenybopper trappings, is as deep as any Jimmy Webb epic, possibly even way too grown-up for the image David Cassidy was projecting those days. (Still, Cassidy surely knew, which may be why he recut it for a solo album thirty years later.)

Weirdly, I never saw this particular clip on the actual Partridge Family TV show. Then again, I was always closer to radio than to television.

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In the allegedly Natural State

There are no naturist facilities in Arkansas, and under current law, there never can be:

Under Arkansas criminal statute §5-68-204, the state’s 59-year-old anti-nudism law, it is illegal for any “person, club, camp, corporation, partnership, association or organization to advocate, demonstrate, or promote nudism.”

If this tale is to be believed, that measure was passed out of pure spite:

On January 26, 1957, a man was arrested for being nude with friends ON HIS OWN PROPERTY. Not only was the property privately owned, it was in a remote area and fenced in. This shows he was going out of his way to ensure privacy for himself and his guests, and to ensure others would not be offended. Nonetheless, the Attorney General claimed the incident constituted “indecent exposure”. Fortunately, the man could not be charged because the indecent exposure law did not apply to an enclosed area on private property.

However, as a result of this incident, Arkansas legislators (unable to tolerate choices they did not agree with) decided it was better to criminalize First Amendment rights than to tolerate a form of recreation they did not understand.

Violations of this law are considered a Class A misdemeanor and are punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. And wearing an orange jumpsuit, perhaps.

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The last unicorn?

Well, not as we know them. This isn’t an equine; if anything, the creature in this painting resembles a cross between a horse and a rhinoceros:

Elasmotherium sibiricum by Heinrich Harder

And it’s not as ancient as we thought, either:

For decades, scientists have estimated that the Siberian unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum) — a long-extinct species of mammal that looked more like a rhino than a horse — died out some 350,000 years ago, but a beautifully preserved skull found in Kazakhstan has completely overturned that assumption. Turns out, these incredible creatures were still around as recently as 29,000 years ago.

Not only were they incredible, they were incredibly big:

According to early descriptions, the Siberian unicorn stood at roughly 2 metres tall, was 4.5 metres long, and weighed about 4 tonnes. That’s closer to woolly mammoth-sized than horse-sized. Despite its very impressive stature, the unicorn probably was a grazer that ate mostly grass. So, if you want a correct image in your head, think of a fuzzy rhinoceros with one long, slender horn protruding from its face instead of a short, stubby one like today’s rhinos.

And if you saw something like this, you would not soon forget it — which may explain as well as anything else why stories of unicorns have persisted for so long.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Adventures in commuting

A lot can happen in 10.7 miles, especially if you’re sleepy in the morning or weary in the afternoon, or, in my case, both of the above.

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