Tried and retried and true

It wasn’t her idea, but Fillyjonk has gone back to a normal thermostat:

The new one is not programmable or wi-fi linkable, but I am okay with that. I figure fewer brains in the thing means less chance of those brains getting scrambled by power blips. Also, I used the programmable feature for a while when I first had the thing, but I quickly learned that if we had a power outage of anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes, the thing “forgot” what time it was and I had to reset the clock, and if the power was out for more than five minutes, the thing forgot ALL its programming and I’d have to go through and painstakingly reset the times (there were four times per day: wake up time, leave-house time, return-home time, bedtime) and the temperatures for them. And the thing would default to a temperature of 85 F (if the ac was on) or 60 F (if the heat was on) if it lost its programming and you didn’t reprogram it. So that would not be too cool when you were away for an extended time.

It was 1953 when Honeywell introduced the T-86, better known as the “Eyeball,” thermostat. It is programmed by turning a knob to the desired temperature. More than that, I will not ask of a thermostat. Yes, they do make the fancier stuff. I don’t care.

Comments (3)

We got your counterexamples right here

Everybody and her sister knows Rule 34 of the Internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it — no exceptions.”

They say you can’t prove a negative, and maybe that’s true, but there are at least 34 known exceptions to Rule 34. Now whether they will remain exceptions, we do not know.

(Via Selena Larson.)

Comments (5)

Meanwhile on Choctaw Ridge

“It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day…”

Everything you know about Bobbie Gentry starts with that one line, and of course you know the song:

That half-raspy belle-but-not-of-the-ball voice of hers became instantly recognizable, and it saw her through a few smaller hits on the way to oblivion.

Bobbie Gentry for Top of the Pops circa August 1968

Bobbie Gentry goes slightly wild

This is about the place where I’d insert a recent picture. But here’s the catch: there aren’t any recent pictures. Some time after her 1978 single “He Did Me Wrong (But He Did It Right)” failed to catch on, she withdrew from the public eye almost entirely.

Neely Tucker went looking for her:

Bobbie Gentry lives about a two-hour drive from the site of the Tallahatchie Bridge that made her so famous, in a gated community, in a very nice house that cost about $1.5 million. Her neighbors, some locals and some real estate agents know who she is, although it’s not clear which of her many possible names she goes by.

And no, we still don’t know what was being thrown off that bridge before Billie Joe consigned himself to those muddy waters. There was a film sort of based on the song, but there’s no reason to suspect it’s canon; it’s not even spelled right. Nor is the death of Billie Joe the worst thing that ever happened on the Tallahatchie; Emmett Till wound up there, and he was murdered.

(I am indebted to Roger Green for turning up that B&W picture, which apparently the BBC had in one of its libraries.)

Comments (2)

Swag of a sort

Back in February, I reviewed Sabrina Lentini’s second EP, which is titled, um, Sabrina Lentini. (My Google-Fu is legendary.) I’d been part of the crowdsourcing process, and at my level, I got not only five downloadable tracks, but actual hard copy plus an autographed photo, when she got around to it.

She’s gotten around to it. Girl goes through Sharpies like I go through Advil. It’s an actual, properly pressed CD — none of that CD-R stuff — and it’s got credits and everything. The 5×7 color glossy is amusing: she’s working a camera that looks to be at least 50 percent older than she is. (The back contains the cryptic message “Sabrina hi-res IMG_6318.jpg,” probably left there by the place that printed all these up.) Forever Daisy Music, her publishing and production operation, has a cute logo — it’s on the CD label — apparently drawn by someone who bought a lot of late-Sixties records from Elektra.

The songs, of course, are as good as ever.


An actual Trump success

Warren Meyer has kind words for Donald Trump’s International Hotel Las Vegas:

I have in the past been a fan of his hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. The hotel provides a screaming good value (you can almost always get a huge discount off rack rate) for an exceptionally nice room in a good location — and in a non-casino hotel to boot. I used it for years as a low-cost location for manager meetings. The staff there is great — the only problem is one has to look past the tacky gold gilding on everything and the goofy Trump-branded swag in the gift shop. I will add, though, apropos to this post, there is no way on God’s green Earth that this hotel makes money, at least if it is paying all of its capital costs (it is possible there was a bankruptcy at one point where Trump said “you’re fired” to the bondholders). If you ever stay there, by the way, it has the best view of the strip in Vegas because it is right at a bend and can look straight down the street. Ask for a high room on the south side.

Curious about the lack of casino — hell, even Chevron stations in Vegas have slots, or so I’ve heard — I went searching, and turned up this quote:

“We have no problem getting a gaming license, but we wanted to do something different here,” said Eric Trump, Donald and Ivana Trump’s third child. “We wanted a true luxury resort experience. It’s hard to have a high-quality product when you walk into ‘ding, ding, ding’ and there are people walking around in Hawaiian shirts with big plastic drink mugs.”

And while there doesn’t seem to be a specific bankruptcy, there were lawsuits, which were resolved in Trump’s favor.

Comments (1)

The path of yeast resistance

Brian J. polishes off about one-half of one percent of a jar of Vegemite:

I mean, I grew up in poverty, but my family was not poor enough to serve this.

I’m blessed to have grown up in a bountiful land where one can go pick food from outdoors instead of a desert surrounded by twenty-foot-long crocodiles.

The wikihistory of Vegemite is that an entrepreneur wanted to make a food out of industrial by-products. And he did it.

God help me, I saw in the Wiki entry that they use it as a pastry filling. I suspect that the Australians do this to keep other people away from their doughnuts.

You know why Australian rules football is so vicious? The winners get a Vegemite sandwich. The losers get a year’s supply of Vegemite and a sixty-DVD Paul Hogan complete film set.

This is not unlike Steve Harvey’s reaction:

“Sounds like a pesticide. That about damn near what it tastes like.”

Comments (2)

Next time don’t be so silly

And now, a can of silly string subjected to a hydraulic press:

Don’t try this at home, especially if you live in Southington, Connecticut.

(Via HelloGiggles.)


Turn on your radio

Ontogeny might not recapitulate phylogeny the way we once thought, or at least the way Ernst Haeckel thought, but pop music parallels a whole lot of cultural evolution:

When there’s war, either actual or likely, you get nice bright shiny happy music — rock in the 50s and 60s, disco in the 70s, techno in the 80s, hedonistic tween pop now. But when things are great — as in the 1990s — you get songs about how awful everything is (grunge, nu metal). The only caveat here is that you have to look at what’s actually on the charts, not just what you think is going to be there — Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane never sniffed the top 10, and the only Doors songs to do so were treacly pop crap like “Touch Me.” Acidy stuff was there, but most “Sixties” music shared chart space with, and usually lost out to, crap like “Harper Valley PTA” and “Sugar Sugar” (the top song of 1969, the very year of Woodstock!).

“Somebody to Love” hit #5 in Billboard, and “White Rabbit” made it to #8, which may explain why Surrealistic Pillow, the Airplane album that contained them both, topped out at #3. However, this was a short-lived phenomenon at best; JA’s third-biggest hit, “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil,” stopped two slots short of the Top 40, and nothing else came close to that. (We will pretend not to notice “We Built This City,” an inexplicable #1 for the de-Jeffersoned “Starship” in 1985.) The chart history of Jimi Hendrix contains no zingers, even brief ones: Hendrix’ much-loved reworking of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” stalled at #20, and “Purple Haze,” which everyone thought of as Jimi’s Big Hit, died at #65.

And while viewing that last paragraph, you should keep in mind that I have always had a taste for treacly pop crap, dating back at least as far as, oh, “Johnny Angel.”

Comments (4)


Un tronc peut désigner:

  • un tronc, la partie principale de la tige d’un arbre, en botanique;
  • le tronc, partie centrale du corps humain contenant la plupart des viscères, en anatomie;
  • le tronc cérébral, une structure du système nerveux central situé dans la fosse postérieure du crâne, en neurologie;
  • un tronc sympathique, une partie du système nerveux périphérique, innervant les viscères;
  • le tronc brachio-céphalique, une artère du thorax irrigant le membre supérieur droit et la tête, en angiologie;
  • le tronc cæliaque, une artère abdominale irrigant le foie et l’intestin, en angiologie;
  • le tronc basilaire, une artère du crâne irrigant le cervelet et le tronc cérébral, en angiologie;
  • un tronc, la partie d’un solide comprise entre deux plans parallèles, en géométrie;
  • un tronc, une tirelire installée dans une église pour collecter les dons;
  • les troncs célestes, un élément du cycle sexagésimal des anciens calendriers chinois;
  • Saint-Tronc, un quartier du 10e arrondissement de Marseille;
  • Le Tronc, film de Bernard Faroux et Karl Zéro

Il est un nom très stupide pour un propriétaire de journaux.

(Avec nos remerciements à Nancy Friedman.)

Comments (2)

Vacuum abhorred

Four hundred miles down Interstate 35, there’s the uncomfortable arrival of reality:

Surprising exactly nobody who is not an economic retard, black market ridesharing has popped up to replace Uber and Lyft, which famously quit Austin after voters sustained onerous regulations imposed by the city council. So reasonable regulation and corporate oversight is now eclipsed by no oversight. But we got international humiliation out of it so that’s something.

I include this for the benefit of the members of our local Whining-American community, who simply can’t understand how our own little metropolis (population 630,000, about two-thirds that of Austin) is failing to keep up with the Texans. Then again, we are surely awash in economic retards.


Worst. Color. Ever.

It goes with nothing:

Pantone 448 C

And yet it has a purpose:

Pantone 448 C, or “opaque couché,” is a greenish brown-gray that looks like it spent a few decades in a sewer. If you find it unpleasant, that’s the point.

The Australian government hired research agency GfK to redesign cigarette packaging in 2012, and they determined (with seven studies and 1,000 regular smokers) that this was the most deterring color to pair with the anti-smoking graphics.

Probably because they thought it looked like the inside of somebody’s lungs after three packs of Winfield every day for forty years.

Comments (3)

A page from my past

Actually, this is a current page, but it was seriously pertinent to me back in the 1960s:

Bishop England High School has been providing a Catholic, college preparatory education to thousands of young men and women of varied backgrounds since it was founded in 1915. Students graduating from Bishop England make a mark on their world through leadership, achievement, and service — skills learned as part of the Bishop England experience. BE’s ability to prepare young men and women into adults who are critical thinkers, who understand the importance of human dignity and empathy, who respect themselves and others, and who live their faith through action, depends on the support of many — teachers, religious leaders, alumni, friends and family — giving their time, talents and resources.

Gifts to Bishop England, large or small, help ensure that the tradition of a Bishop education can remain strong and that qualified students are able to pursue a secondary school education here regardless of their ethnic, religious or socio-economic backgrounds. As you contemplate your personal support of BEHS, please know that every gift is important and every gift makes a difference in the lives of our students.

I remember how we scraped for tuition when I was enrolled. Having looked at the current rates, I don’t know how anyone scrapes for them: a year now costs about as much as two years of regional state universities where I live now, and that’s before the tuition hikes go in to cover for the 15.9-percent funding cut they’re getting this year.

So yeah, I sent a few bucks to the old high school. It isn’t the first time.

Comments (1)

Not your space anymore

Myspace — remember Myspace? — has had a major data breach:

“Shortly before the Memorial Day weekend, we became aware that stolen Myspace user login data was being made available in an online hacker forum,” the site wrote in a blog post. The breach occurred on June 11, 2013, and affects a portion of accounts created on the old Myspace platform.

Myspace did not reveal how many accounts were affected, but LeakedSource, a search engine for leaked records, which claims to have obtained a copy of the stolen information, said the data set includes 360,213,024 records. Each record may contain an email address, username, one password, and in some cases a second password; no financial information was involved.

I have received the following notification from Myspace (note it’s no longer BiCapitalized) HQ:

Email addresses, Myspace usernames, and Myspace passwords for the affected Myspace accounts created prior to June 11, 2013 on the old Myspace platform are at risk. As you know, Myspace does not collect, use or store any credit card information or user financial information of any kind. No user financial information was therefore involved in this incident; the only information exposed was users’ email address and Myspace username and password.

In order to protect our users, we have invalidated all user passwords for the affected accounts created prior to June 11, 2013 on the old Myspace platform. These users returning to Myspace will be prompted to authenticate their account and to reset their password.

As a test, I duly attempted to log back in, and was so prompted. Password has now been reset.

The LeakedSource page on this breach lists the top 50 passwords, some of which were used by literally thousands of people. I’m pretty sure no one else was using mine.

Comments (4)

Un, deux, cinq

Garage rock is mind-boggling in itself. Now imagine Canadian garage rock.

Okay, maybe the Guess Who when Chad Allan was out front. They were from Manitoba, which is like Iowa with a shorter growing season. It took a little longer for me to turn up a garage band from Montreal:

“1-2-5” was the only Haunted single to be released down here in the States, on the always-quirky Amy label. I missed it when it came out in 1966.

The last Haunted single, in 1968, comprised two French-language covers: “Vapeur Mauve” b/w “Pourquoi”. You know both these songs in English already.

Comments (3)

Redefining “top-loader”

The New York Post, its finger on the pulse of America, gave us half a minute of video of a Chinese man with his head stuck in a washing machine. To their everlasting credit, they didn’t make jokes about it.

Unlike, um, some of us:

The chap survived. The machine, not so much.


Fark blurb of the week