One or two lumps?

Make it three, and keep your sexist remarks to yourself:

Sweetness is code for feminine. It’s code for not being able to handle “reality” and having to cover it up. Because people really need to read that much into a desire to eat or drink something that tastes good/actually listen to your palette when it says that you do or don’t like something.

There is an odd cult of masculinity around things that taste like shit and being able to eat things that taste like shit and/or hurt you when you eat them (cinnamon challenge anyone?). Oddly, putting oneself in situations that require pain or discomfort is seen as good and manly and powerful and strong, whereas actually doing things you enjoy is seen as girly (unless it’s eating a steak which gets a pass because killing things and eating their flesh is also manly). And for that reason, eating things that are sweet is considered feminine. It’s delicate, because only weak ladies feel the need to consume things that go down easy.

I have long suspected that said “cult of masculinity” originally coalesced around a group of guys who couldn’t tell you which end of a stick of butter you shove into the toaster. (How big this group is, I’m not sure, though it’s surely not insubstantial.) By general cultural agreement, the Confirmed Bachelor lives on an indiscriminate diet rivaled only by the jackal’s, which explains that part of his beer belly that isn’t actually attributable to beer. But this, too, is a stereotype.

Food is an important cultural signifier. We use it to communicate our values (see veganism and vegetarianism), to communicate our in-groups (through ethnic food or family traditions), to bond with each other (group meals), and to communicate how we fit into the world (eating disorders are a good example of this, but many people choose their food to signify what kind of a person they are). We don’t often look to food consciously as a way to reveal our prejudices or assumptions, but it’s woven into every day of our lives (even when we’re not eating it).

Or, as I once said:

Nobody eats arugula for the taste. It’s a status indicator, pure and simple. If you could get it in a salad at Wendy’s, no one would pay however many dollars a pound for it.

Why, yes, I think I will have another strawberry daiquiri.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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Negatory on that Pontiactivity

This seems straightforward enough:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Does Pontiac still manufacture cars?

And then this amazing statement followed:

I’ve rarely seen any Pontiac cars on the road lately. Are they still manufacturing cars? I need an answer OTHER THAN YES OR NO, I WILL NOT accept those as answers.

In which case, the most reasonable answer is “Bite me, Bat Boy.”

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Now with extra P

Support for PHP 5.2 by The PHP Group ended in January 2011. Despite that:

Starting June 24th, we will be upgrading domains on shared hosting running PHP 5.2* to our recommended version of PHP 5.4.

This is what you get if you’re still running 5.2:

Time to upgrade

Before you ask: of the six domains I own, three were running 5.4, two were running 5.3, and one doesn’t use it at all because it’s all static pages.

And actually, 5.5 has been out for a year already, which I guess is like five Internet years.

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The one-way thumb

Disqus, the commenting system favored by some of the bigger sites, has gone on one of those “If you can’t say something nice…” kicks and has deprecated the downvote — though the upvote remains. Will Truman is okay with that:

I used to like the idea of upvotes and downvotes, but the more I saw them in action the more skeptical of them I have become. It was my hope, when I was introduced to the concept, that generally polite and well thought out comments would get upvotes and pointless snark would get downvotes. At least on the sites that I read and participate on which tend to have commenters that are more polite and thoughtful.

However, even “good” commenting sections have their bad apples, of course, who seem to be there to disrupt the discourse. They also tend to have lurkers who don’t comment but do vote who may veer hard on one side or the other. In either case, voting seems to attract people looking for “Boo-yah” comments instead of carefully considered ones, because the upvotes and downvote tallies I see tend to lean towards which side of the argument they’re taking instead of the actual content of their message.

Yep. Stephen Stills anticipated this in 1967: “A thousand people in the street / Singing songs and carrying signs / Mostly saying, ‘Hooray for our side’.” It’s hard to expect much more from them under the circumstances.

And I can’t argue with this:

If wanting a more positive commenting atmosphere makes me a namby-pamby feminized dude or whatever, I am pretty okay with that. Heaven knows there are more than enough sites that are battle arenas. So eliminating downvoting makes a lot of sense from their point of view. Obviously, Hit Coffee doesn’t generate the sort of comment traffic to make such an endeavor worthwhile, though if it did I would try to go in the upvote direction.

It would be better if Disqus gave siterunners the option of upvotes only, downvotes only, or both. But absent that, I would prefer upvoting only over a requirement for both.

Some nonblogs have comment systems based on thumbs. Yahoo! Answers allows for up- and downvotes on any answer given to any question. I don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to them, except when someone has reported me for excessive snark. (There have been two such incidents; I won one on appeal and blew off the other.)

And then there’s Fimfiction, where I post my pony tales. I am extremely sensitive to downvotes there, and I have noticed that they come a lot more quickly than do upvotes. The most reasonable explanation for this, I think, is that some people simply object to some subjects being covered and won’t actually read the story before thumbing it down. Certainly The Sparkle Chronicles, which ventures into some territory a substantial percentage of the fandom finds disquieting and perhaps distasteful, followed this pattern: after a month or so, the thumb ratio was 15 up, 5 down. Today it’s 82 up, 6 down. (For all the stuff I’ve posted there, it’s 278 up, 22 down.) Still, I’m bound to take these particular votes personally, since they represent, or pretend to represent, a referendum on whether I have any talent or not. (Most days, I lean toward “not.”)

IntenseDebate, which I see mostly at Equestria Daily, is upvotes only; weirdly, if you’re registered with them at the outset, you get +1 on a comment the moment it’s posted.

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The Lively set

Robert Stacy McCain, having found her name in a fiskable article, wants to know: “Who is Blake Lively?”

Being the generous soul I am, I will tell him, and you, that Blake Lively is an actress (Gossip Girl, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and occasional celebrity cook. She’s twenty-six. And he, and you, should know this up front:

Boobs Legsly: A nickname for Blake Lively, originating from the period of time when Blake would go out of the house wearing cleavtacular outfits that also showed a lot of leg, in opposition to the traditional advice to show either boobs or legs but not both. As of this writing, she seems to have reined in this habit, but she also proudly does not use a stylist, so anything could happen.

For instance, this happened at a Lady Gaga-related event in the spring of ’11:

Blake Lively at Gaga's Workshop in New York

Which takes care of the first name. Now the second:

Blake Lively at 12/12/12 Benefit

Last I looked, Lively was filming Adaline in Vancouver: she and Michiel Huisman play a Romantic Item.

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Highly perishable

The last time I lost a sweetgum tree was back in ’06, in the wake of some 60-mph straightline winds.

Both its twin and the one that grew back in its place, once stirring (sort of) features of the back yard, have been on the wane for some time, and I’d about decided to have them taken out next spring when there’s a better chance that I can afford such a thing.

Then some time yesterday morning, the top third of the twin, thanks to similar winds and good old gravity, was testing an electrical line for deflection potential, which I discovered when I got home from work and was hauling some downed limbs from the front yard to the Informal Wood Depository at the far corner of the lot. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s an electrical line or a phone line: I have power, and I have phone. OG&E, which was summoned, is busy with actual outages, so maybe they’ll look at it later today.

Update: It’s the phone line. Now to inform the Death Star.

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They’re doing it right

So far, anyway:

A tentative “well played” from this corner.

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Single slice

For one brief, shining moment, I actually got Rebecca Black to follow me on Twitter.

It didn’t last. Maybe she ran into the usual Twitter limits; maybe she decided it was better for her image if she didn’t. Within half an hour, I was back on the outside looking in, and in fact Twitter had obligingly dropped me from her list of followers, something that rather a lot of people have been reporting of late, so I suspect I’m just visiting Glitch City.

However, Twitter did send me the usual list of suggestions, and it was interesting: three YouTubers, two of whom I’d actually heard of, and Bruno Mars. (Bruno Mars? Really?)

Then there’s this:

So much for the whole grain.

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Myocardial ingestion

Way back in ought-six, I did a paragraph or two about the Heart Attack Grill, then in Tempe, Arizona, and noted that they were seeking other locations.

They apparently have relocated to Las Vegas, where Wombat-socho gave them a try:

One of the reasons I like Carl’s Jr./Hardees is their in-your-face response to the food Puritans who think we all ought to be eating local-source organically-grown artisanal tofu, and the Heart Attack Grill turns that attitude up to 11. Nothing, absolutely nothing on the menu is good for you in the traditional sense*, and the staff takes great relish in dishing up the Bypass Burgers — available up to Octuple Bypass Size with eight half-pound patties, cheese, chili, onions, tomatoes, and an optional 40 slices of bacon — Flatliner Fries cooked in lard, milkshakes with the world’s highest butterfat content, beer, booze, unfiltered cigarettes, wine served in intravenous bags … it just goes on and on, set against a backdrop of hilarious movie parody posters and a “Last Supper” style mural in which Dr. Jon serves a quadruple bypass burger and flatliner fries to his fast food mascot apostles. Diners are provided with hospital gowns on entry, which is helpful if you’re a messy eater; patients who fail to respond to treatment (i.e., not finishing their burger) are spanked by the “nurses” or “doctors” on duty as appropriate. And those nurses have some quality arms, let me tell you — not from personal experience, mind you; I finished my burgers. Oh yes — diners who weigh in at 350 or more pounds get their Bypass Burger for free with purchase of beverage, and since I am a wombat of bulk, if not definition, I took full advantage of this — but tipped as if I had paid for the burgers, because I’m not a schmuck.

That specific weight figure saddens me just a little, since I actually have been over 350. (I’m not now.) And really, I don’t think I can eat that much anymore; my modest trencherman days have long since passed.

Oh, to complete the footnote:

* They do have bottled water, which may be the one thing on the menu that nutritionists would agree is good for you.

Yeah. But screw ‘em anyway.

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From the Sez You files

Received in the comment-spam trap:

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

This might have carried some weight, except for the following minor details:

  • The post referenced in the comment contains no video;
  • The “name” of the alleged sender is “Prolexin Reviews.”

I mention “Prolexin Reviews” here, not because I plan to review Prolexin, which seems to be an extract from the velvet of deer antlers sold as a supplement, but because I’d like to crowd my way into their search results. Spiteful, I am.

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Celling points

Three years ago, Hyundai announced that they’d build a thousand Tucsons with fuel-cell propulsion, the first batch of which would be in place by 2015.

They will be profitable, perhaps, but not because of their pricing:

While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use.

WardsAuto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every Tucson FCV leased through 2017, each vehicle equal to $130,000 in credit. Fuel cell boss Byung Ki Ahn believes his company could then sell those credits to automakers in need of offsetting their carbon footprint, though Hyundai has no plans on the table to do so at this time, preferring to use the credits for themselves for less compliant vehicles of their own design.

Ahn, at the time of the announcement of the program, said that Hyundai hoped eventually to be able to sell the Tucson FCV for $50,000.

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Application for the Geezer Card

There is an essay required, but anyone close to meeting the qualifications almost certainly already has a story not unlike this:

Back in the day, when I was in middle school (11-13 years old), we had to walk over 3K to school in the rain and snow and sleet, and NOBODY CARED!! None of our parents rallied to have us bussed! None of them felt remotely bad for our plight! We trudged through adverse conditions for three whole kilometres in torrential downpours or baking sun, and not one of the parents in the area ever offered us a ride. I clearly remember a blizzard one year: snow was almost waist high and yet our troubles did nary make dinner table headlines. And I’m really short, so it was even higher on me!

I lived 8.7 miles (Google says so) from school. Getting there was no problem: a neighbor worked in the same general vicinity, so I rode with her. School days, however, were shorter than work days, so I had this complex scheme of walking down to the nearest city bus stop (four blocks), riding the bus to the end of its route (seven miles, 50 cents), and then walking the rest of the way (a mile and a half). This was in South Carolina, and on the coast at that, so snow and sleet were uncommon. Rain, however, was something I got to see on a fairly regular basis. I hasten to point out that the total distance walked each day fell short of 3 km.

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If I’m lying, I’m petrifying

Sony Pictures Animation has bought a project based on your favorite snake-haired female:

Antz writer Todd Alcott and producer Holly Golden sold the studio with a comedy pitch about a beautiful, young girl who transforms into Medusa, a gorgon whose gaze turns people to stone.

“I love the originality of it, the comedy take on Medusa,” Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, president of production at Sony Animation, told TheWrap. “The minute I heard it, it felt ingenious and clever and funny.”

The director attached to the project is Lauren Faust, developer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which suggests a decidedly different spin on the old story:

Faust told TheWrap the movie will portray Medusa as a decent girl who irks the wrong goddess. After turning into a monster, she learns to embrace what makes her different.

This surely will bring all the boys to her yard: who hasn’t irked the wrong goddess at one time or another?

And in MLP:FiM, come to think of it, turning individuals to stone is routine: cockatrices roam the Everfree, and Discord used to spend his odd (and even) hours as an item of statuary in Celestia’s garden.

(Via The Mary Sue.)

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I wasn’t ready for this

The “Ready for Hillary” campaign — “not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee,” as the fine print says — sent me a packet this week, and instead of sacrificing it to Weber, God of Charcoal, I actually opened the darn thing. As such things go, it was fairly innocuous, with a cover letter by Senior Adviser (huh?) Craig T. Smith, informal enough to open with the phrase “So here’s the deal.” The recommended donation is $35, and I suppose I’d feel better if the credit-card information included the CVV, but the trend in political campaigns — and not just Democratic political campaigns, either — is toward Minimum Security Possible.

Also included is a print of a 2009 photo of her taking the oath of office as Secretary of State, which looks something like this:

Hillary Clinton being sworn in as Secretary of State, January 2009

Of course, she was five years younger back then, but what perplexes me is that shadow in the shape of a chin strap. At least, I think it’s a shadow.

I did look for the obligatory Koch Brothers reference, and found only a hint in Smith’s letter, which refers to “billionaires with personal agendas.” As a thousandaire with a personal agenda, I automatically tune out this kind of class-warfare stuff.

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Vans are waiting

Oh, I’m sorry. Unless you’re British, it’s “Vans is waiting”:

The Hello Kitty x Vans summer 2014 collection has arrived! Vans.com says that this collection is:

“Inspired by Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary and graphics from the 70’s, the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic is a simple low top, lace up with a durable printed canvas upper, metal eyelets, Vans flag label and Vans original Waffle Outsole.”

Of course, if you want something slightly less low and slightly less Authentic, we recommend the SK8-Hi Slim:

Vans SK8-Hi Slim Hello Kitty Edition

These will run you $70; the non-high-tops are about $15 less and are distinctly less subtle in appearance.

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On the upside, it’s nontoxic

Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, “Wouldn’t it be great if I had an extra inch or two?” Now I wouldn’t know, personally, but vendors of dingus-embiggenment stuff have reason to think there’s a customer born every minute:

A man who purchased a penis enlargement device online had a rude shock when he received a magnifying glass instead of the device he thought he had purchased.

MCA Public Service and Complaint Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said Tuesday that the disgruntled customer, known only as Ong from Seri Kembangan, had paid RM450 for the penis enlarger.

“When he received the package, he was shocked to find a magnifying glass inside. The instructions that came with the package merely read ‘Do not use in sunlight’,” he said.

Not that Ong is likely to get any satisfaction out of this incident:

Lawyer Alex Kok said that unsatisfied customers who wished to sue these scammers would find it difficult to do so due to the dubious nature of the business.

And you have to figure that it’s cheaper than putting a curved mirror on the ceiling and stenciling it with the legend ITEMS ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR.

(Via Fark.)

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