Ayapa, when the walls finally fell

From a couple of springs ago:

The Ayapaneco language, one of several dozen tongues indigenous to Mexico, is down to only two speakers, and they aren’t speaking to one another.

Well, they are now:

A centuries old language that was close to extinction has been saved after the last two speakers decided to end a feud that has lasted decades.

Manuel Segovia, 78, and Isidro Velazquez, 72, stopped speaking to each other after a disagreement and it was feared that Ayapaneco could die out.

Ayapaneco is spoken at Ayapa, a village six miles east of Comalcalco, in Tabasco, Mexico.

I had mentioned that work was continuing on a dictionary of Ayapaneco; Vodafone has jumped in with a Web site and an adopt-a-word program.

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Kindred spirits, once removed

I was perusing the logs Sunday afternoon, what with Monday coming up and Monday meaning yet another list of strange search-engine queries to be posted, and I discovered an incoming link from wizardchan.org.

In the wake of 4chan, I tend to be somewhat cautious around anything -chan, but curiosity would not leave me alone, so I went to the source, and found this explanation:

Wizardchan is a Japanese-inspired image-based forum (imageboard) for male virgins to share their thoughts and discuss their interests and lifestyle as a virgin. The name of our website is inspired by the term wizard, a meme of Japanese origin that means 30-year-old virgin. In contrast to other imageboards, Wizardchan is dedicated exclusively to people who have no sexual experience and may be NEET or hikkikomori.

I am disinclined to mock these guys, having been within shrieking distance of “been there, done that”; my own period of activity, so to speak, was the middle third of my life, and nothing much happened on either side of it. And the discussion thread in question (which links to this page here) is a bit more thoughtful than I had anticipated. These are not generally vindictive souls, though you can hear the frustration from time to time; their rules seem eminently reasonable. (Compare to, say, this ill-tempered wretch.) Still, I wonder how I managed to miss this site, and “You can’t read everything,” while true, isn’t much of an explanation.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Geezers rule

A scribe for Sports Illustrated was ready to predict the Thunder in seven, until the word came down that Serge Ibaka wouldn’t be available for the series; he then amended his prediction to the Spurs in six. In vain will you point out that the Thunder are younger and, Ibaka aside, healthier: Tim Duncan, who once drew a DNP-OLD, calmly knocked down 27 points in 29 minutes, and Tony Parker, playing through a hamstring strain, turned in a double-double (14 points, 12 assists). The Spurs treated the paint like it was their own, and the Thunder led only twice: at the very beginning, and with 4:44 left in the third quarter, after which it would be more than four minutes before they made another shot. At 2:13, with the Spurs up by 21, Scott Brooks waved the white flag, and San Antonio claimed Game 1, 122-105. Sixty-six of those 122 points, you should know, were scored in the paint.

This is the pair of numbers that jumped hardest from the box score: the Spurs had 28 assists and 9 turnovers, the Thunder 19 and 16. Clearly OKC was moving the ball, but not moving it particularly well. And while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook accounted for just over half the Thunder scoring (28 and 25 points respectively), the only other starter to score was Kendrick Perkins with 5. Derek Fisher, who is probably almost old enough to have dated Tim Duncan’s babysitter, led the bench with 16. Nick Collison, who started in place of Ibaka, missed three shots, snagged two steals, and bled from two different locations. Reggie Jackson, usually viewed as the Mighty Spur-Killer, turned in a decent, if hardly lethal, 13 points.

“How did the Spurs do?” is usually easily answerable just from two lines, those of Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili. (You already know what the Senior Citizens can do.) Both turned in solid work, Leonard knocking down 16 points and collecting two steals, and Manu going 7-12 in his capacity as Sixth Man of Your Dreams. The Spurs shot 50-87 for 57 percent, more than ten percent percent better than the Thunder.

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio. The guy who said “Spurs in six” might have been off by one.

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Neither pink nor white

From the last time we were talking roses, which would be, oh, last week:

There is a bush in the same flowerbox producing deep reds, but it’s at the far end of the box, on the east end, about 16 feet away. If there’s some crossbreeding going on, color me impressed. (And that bush is currently producing lots of red, but red only.)

It occurs to me that “deep reds” demands more description than that, and since this doesn’t need to be 1000 words long, here’s an actual picture:

Red, red roses

Okay, maybe there’s just a hint of pink. And this bush, the closest to the house and therefore most likely to be shaded, has produced nothing for a couple of years.

(If you should so desire, resized versions reside at Flickr.)

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Mopzilla 2

My one and only complaint with the Libman Tornado Mop, added to my collection of household tools last month, was that “the instructions are a bit obtuse.” They are even more so when it comes to the humdrum task of detaching the head for cleaning purposes. In the video I pointed to, Suzy Homemaker simply tosses the head into the washing machine. Surely I can do this, right?

The answer, we now know, is “Sort of.” The process is not in the least intuitive. Fortunately, there is, yes, a video:

Got it. I think.

While pricing replacement heads on Amazon, I found this possibly apocryphal product review:

What you have here is a reasonably-priced mop refill for the quality Libman Tornado. But what I learned is that, despite its name, you should not try to use this mop refill during an actual tornado. I was carried to another trailer park where I was almost eaten by a coyote.

Yeah, but you were in a trailer park in the first place. That was your first problem.

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There’s a sausage joke here somewhere

In the future — which, I suspect, means some time in the next half-hour — everything will be explained in infographic form. For instance:

An argument for marriage equality using breakfast as a metaphor

This series of syaffolee tweets, which began with a retweet of the above (from Jeffrey Levin), provides some, um, food for thought:

I don’t think the apt comparison is between pancakes and fried eggsit’s probably more like an actual breakfast vs. a cup of yogurt. Or skipping breakfast entirely.

And for the people miserable with hunger pangs, they want other people to be as miserable as they are.

I routinely skip breakfast, but you probably already guessed that.

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Contains no feldspar

I took just enough chemistry in my younger days to be able to snicker at the organic-produce bins; I mean, it’s not like the alternative is inorganic produce, cobbled together out of stray minerals or something. Still, it hasn’t kept me from actually buying out of that bin now and then.

Then I picked up this bundle of organic bananas from Chiquita, sourced from somewhere in Ecuador. The usual green-plastic ribbon was in place, but now it’s bilingual: not only does it tell you “Organic Bananas,” but also, in French, “Bananes Biologique.” Hey, they’re “biological,” unlike that lump of stuff two bins down for twenty-five cents less. Who can argue with that?

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Strange search-engine queries (433)

If you’re just now arriving for the first time — well, what took you so long? This weekly feature celebrates the weirdest and wackiest search strings used by actual Googlers and Bingers and such to get to this very site. I do this because, well, it beats the heck out of coming up with a think piece on a Monday morning.

john green and holt mcdougal:  The fault, dear Brutus, is in Amazon’s database.

fun hourglass:  If it’s like those “fun size” candy bars, it runs out of sand in about a minute and a half.

erath and comanche county scanner news may 9 2014 5:40 pm:  What happened? Someone rob the only liquor store in Stephenville?

“good news about olds”:  It’s like the deal with Hummer: if you ever get another one, you must assume that it’s been used.

halloween “boys dressed up as girls” catholic:  Doesn’t sound like any of the Catholics I went to school with.

define curmudgeoncoot:  You’d know this from Words with Friends, if you had any friends.

do you drive a mazda 626 with the O/D button on or off:  Remember when we first discovered people too dumb to drive a stick? Now we have people too dumb to drive an automatic.

odds of 1in 4 quadrillion from publishers clearing house are outlandish:  But not necessarily inaccurate.

what other vehicles have radiator that fits 1993 mazda protege standard trans:  So you’re removing a component full of rust, and replacing it with a used component from a junkyard. What’s wrong with this picture?

What is the meaning of “Make it a date”?  Now see, this is why you’ve never been on one, and never will.

hold vilgub:  I’ll thank you to hold your own damn vilgub.

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@yukitupalready

Last year, comedian Sarah Millican was nominated for a British Academy Television Award, and thereby hangs a tale:

Last year, I was nominated for a Bafta. Me. The quiet girl at school. The awkward girl at college. The funny woman at work. A Bafta. And in a genderless category too. Alongside the entertainment greats: Graham Norton, Alan Carr and Ant and Dec. It felt ridiculous but I was thrilled. I’ve been nominated for awards before (even won a couple) and it really is the best. If winning is chips and gravy then being nominated is still chips. Lovely, lovely chips.

It’s an honor, as the Americans say, just to be nominated.

My friend and I danced into John Lewis knowing that a) they have lots of mini shops in there, and b) I can fit it into most of them. Fancy expensive designer shops are out for me as I’m a size 18, sometimes 20, and I therefore do not count as a woman to them.

We knew which one was the right one as soon as I swished back the curtain and both my friend and I oohed.

Always a good sign. This is the actual outfit:

Sarah Millican at the 2013 BAFTA Television Awards

Then the bottom — no, not that bottom — fell out:

Loads of friends and family had texted the expected “You were robbed”, which I wasn’t but they’re my friends and family so they’re supposed to think that. Then I went onto Twitter and it was like a pin to my excitable red balloon. Literally thousands of messages from people criticising my appearance. I was fat and ugly as per usual. My dress (the one that caused ooohs in a department store fitting room?) was destroyed by the masses. I looked like a nana, my dress was disgusting, was it made out of curtains, why was I wearing black shoes with it. I cried. I cried in the car.

I’m sorry. I thought I had been invited to such an illustrious event because I am good at my job. Putting clothes on is such a small part of my day. They may as well have been criticising me for brushing my teeth differently to them.

This may be, as some of you may have already discerned, the single worst aspect of social media: you hear from a lot of individuals you have no desire to hear from, and they will happily tweet things to you they would never, ever say to your face.

The 2014 television awards are tonight. Once again, Millican is a nominee. But she’s not going:

[S]o I was invited back to the Baftas. Nominated again, indeed. But sadly I am working that night. But if you have tickets to see my show in Buxton on 18 May, you may see me making my point anyway.

(Via this Caitlin Moran tweet.)

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CDO

Yeah, that’s me, though not necessarily in that order.

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In the early morning rain of bullets

Now that Oklahoma, with a single execution, has managed to quadruple the number of Google results for “botched,” other methods besides lethal injection should be considered on the table, and one of those methods is the firing squad:

In the wake of a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month, a Utah lawmaker says he believes a firing squad is a more humane form of execution. And he plans to bring back that option for criminals sentenced to death in his state.

Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican from the northern Utah city of Clearfield, plans to introduce his proposal during Utah’s next legislative session in January. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri floated similar ideas this year, but both efforts stalled. Ray, however, may succeed. Utah already has a tradition of execution by firing squad, with five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010, the last execution by rifle to be held in the state.

And technically, the firing squad is still authorized in Oklahoma — if both lethal injection and the electric chair should be found to be Constitutionally impermissible. This was a semi-clever maneuver by the legislature to make sure they had something to fall back on if the courts took issue with the drug cocktail.

Speaking of “botched executions,” there are plenty of examples from the last three decades.

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Too much reality

DC Comics, on its covers anyway, happily promoted the war effort after Pearl Harbor; but as Francis W. Porretto reports, they drew the line at actually having Superman siding with the Allies:

A significant number of readers demanded to know why Superman didn’t participate in the war — on the side of the Allies, of course; the editors of DC Comics replied that their superhero believed the Allies could and should win the war through their own efforts, and that he could do better service to “truth, justice, and the American way” on the home front.

How they did this was exquisite:

DC needed a plausible plot device to allow Superman, and Clark Kent, to be outside of the draft and remain in Metropolis and not enter World War II, as most men were doing. In an interesting story, Clark Kent was drafted but failed his induction eye-exam, and was declared 4-F (undraftable) when he accidentally used his x-ray vision and read the eye chart in the next room. With this “error”, Kent and Superman were free to work “from the outside” to affect the war.

And it’s just as well. FWP again:

It gave me a chuckle even back then. A comic-book character is supposed to participate in a real-world war? Suppose the war didn’t eventuate as the comics would have it? What would that have done to the franchise? C’mon, boys and girls: this is just cheap, colorful, escapist entertainment!

Believe me, I know the perils of writing too much reality, to the extent that “reality” is definable in the My Little Pony universe, into such a matter: those of us who have toiled over real-time Twilight Sparkle stories were thrown for a cosmic loop at the end of the third season, when Twi, having resolved an Ancient Mystery, is unexpectedly promoted to royalty, and we were essentially given the option of adjusting our narratives accordingly or declaring the Alternate Universe tag in play. I chose the former, and it has complicated my life, or at least my story, immensely.

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Midnight Pharma

Every day I take at least two tablets, legally prescribed, that fall under Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act — now and then, I may have to get something up on Schedule III — and it’s sort of amusing to see the hoops through which the pharmacists have to jump. Then again, I’m not the pharmacist doing the jumping, and I suspect that they too wonder if it’s all worth it just to keep the product out of the hands of Unofficial Distributors:

There are a whole lot of people who are making a whole lot of money out of the drug business, and most of them are not flashy gang bangers wearing gold chains and driving pimped out Escalades. They wear nice conservative clothes, keep a low profile, probably have some kind of legitimate business that they use as a front. “Consulting” would be good. As long as drugs are illegal profits will remain high and life will be good. The much vaunted war on drugs only busts those who are foolish, have flaked out, or have pissed off upper management.

Since an Escalade is basically a pimped-out Tahoe, we’ve got pimpage upon pimpage. Not a pretty sight.

As for the argument that the stuff should be legalized for purely pecuniary purposes:

We talk about how drugs should be legalized, how if they were legalized they could be taxed, and we could use those taxes to pay down the national debt or reduce income tax. Problem is that wouldn’t happen. Give the government another source of tax revenue and they will just add it to their current taxes. They won’t pay down the debt and they won’t reduce any existing taxes. And all those people who were making boat loads of money off of illegal drugs will be looking for new ways to make money, and I doubt they will have many qualms about what kind of work they turn their talents to.

As long as there is a demand for something the government doesn’t want you to have, you may be assured that someone can, and will, arrange for a supply.

“Pay down the national debt”? Ha. Good one.

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From the armour-plated chair

I remember hearing this exactly once on the radio — probably WAAF, in those days a free-standing, non-corporate rock outlet in Worcester, Massachusetts — and it stuck with me. It went to #1 in the UK, but it never charted here. I turned up this nifty Top of the Pops segment that is pretty faithful to the original:

Reprise, T. Rex’s Stateside label, was hot for some chart action here, following the success of the Electric Warrior LP and the Top Ten showing of “Get It On,” rebranded here as “Bang a Gong” to avoid confusion with a Chase single that sounded nothing whatever like it. However, “Telegram Sam,” the first single from The Slider, stiffed in the marketplace, and “Metal Guru,” the second, did not so much as Bubble Under. (This didn’t stop Reprise from reissuing it on the Back to Back Hits series, b/w “Jeepster”; this is the copy I have.)

Someone else who was deeply affected by “Metal Guru” was Morrissey. Johnny Marr, who should know, said so:

When we wrote “Panic” he was obsessed with “Metal Guru” and wanted to sing in the same style. He didn’t stop singing it in an attempt to modify the words of “Panic” to fit the exact rhythm of “Metal Guru”. He also exhorted me to use the same guitar break so that the two songs are the same!

I admit here to never noticing that, and I’m normally pretty good about spotting borrowed sequences.

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Birthday royal

All that, and an orange dress too! This is Queen Máxima, wife of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who acceded to the throne in 2013 when his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated in his favor. At forty-seven, he’s the youngest monarch in Europe.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, forty-three today, was born in Buenos Aires; she has a degree in economics and has worked as an investment banker. Apparently at first she knew him only as Alexander, some guy she met in Spain; he did not mention that he was the Prince of Orange and heir to the Dutch throne. Even before Beatrix’s announcement of her abdication, the Dutch parliament was divided over whether Máxima should be given the title of Queen — typically, she would be given the title Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau — and eventually decided that yes, she would be considered the queen consort. Her Majesty and her husband are bringing up three very lovely girls.

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