Some friend you are

As the kids say, +1 for this:

As a way to establish and maintain an identifiable on-line presence, I think Facebook is probably around for the long haul. I think there is research on this that says so. Facebook seems lately to have read that research, and come to a decision that it wants to move in on LinkedIn’s turf by offering people a work identity. This, I believe, is a mistake of enormous proportions. I’m basing that on a presumption that people use these tools the way I do, and that’s always problematic I realize. But I don’t want current work contacts to see me on Facebook. Maybe past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool.” But there is no reason to go mixing up these two worlds, and if I’m going to be pushed into it because that’s just the way the system expects me to use its services, then I’ll be on my way out too. That’s probably what’s been happening, since most Facebook inhabitants behave more-or-less the way I do.

I shan’t be pushed in this matter. I made a rule for myself about three minutes after signing up for a Facebook account, to the effect that under no circumstances would I accept friend requests from co-workers. (Mentioning this once or twice in front of carefully selected staffers has pretty much insured that I don’t get any, either.) Past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool” — no problem.

I can’t, of course, do a thing about Twitter other than hide the entire lot of 32,000 tweets, which is more trouble than it’s worth. And unless someone’s doing a better job of hiding than I’d have expected, I have exactly two Twitter followers from the shop.

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Truly twisted text

TypePad’s anti-spam package, which I am given to understand is fairly similar to the WordPress product Akismet — “without the false positives problem,” as Kevin puts it — has apparently gone troppo of late, which can’t possibly be fun for anyone.

There is, however, an amusing side effect. Nancy Friedman gets even funnier spam comments than I do, and has shared a few. I’ll just quote one:

If annoyance becomes stern when doing one or more of these of sentence, it may admit gibbousness.

I had no idea that stern annoyance affected the phases of the moon. (Princess Luna? Were you aware of this?)

And I can report that since the fall of 2008, Akismet has given me 150 false positives out of 51,000 total comments. Not perfect, but I can live with that. It helps, perhaps, that I look for repeat offenders in the IP list, and I’m not above banning entire subnetworks. (For instance, 93.182.*.* has thrown 24 different IPs at me in an effort to get in here.) So far, no one on the ban list has complained, which I consider a good sign.

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The last D

3-D Danny has departed:

Danny Williams, known for that rapidfire delivery, for his decades on Oklahoma City radio, and for sitting beside Mary Hart for three years, has passed away at 85.

WKY Radio Survey March 1967

The quintessential morning man, he was, before radio decided it wanted a zoo instead.

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Highly persuasive

Once in a while, it’s good to see a non-celebrity in the endless Parade of Babes that runs alongside the dextrosphere, and this particular shot I found unusually compelling:

Anita Krizsan in a Bugatti Veyron

Anita Krizsan, thirty-nine, would really like to sell you this car. It’s a Bugatti Veyron, and the price tag is on the wrong side of $1.5 million, but if anyone can talk you into it, she can: last year she sold eleven of these hypercars, more than anyone else on earth.

Oh, and what does she drive? A Volkswagen Golf. A diesel Volkswagen Golf. Be still, my heart.

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And how was your vacation?

Getting away from the workaday routine has much to recommend it. I heard back yesterday from a friend who’d gone to Florida for a couple of weeks; yes, she had work to do, but she also had a fair amount of fun, and no, she wasn’t going to send me any photos from the naturist resort at which she stayed. (I didn’t actually ask for any; I have some rules.)

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the return to work of a chap who’d been on a cruise. Unfortunately, it was that cruise. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see any photos from that debacle. He does, however, have a blog, and clear of the hazmat chamber, he’s telling the story himself.

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First he was George Morton, then George “Shadow” Morton, and eventually nobody ever called him anything but Shadow. George Goldner said it was because you could never find Morton when you needed him.

Goldner should have looked out at the beach, since according to legend Morton wrote this in his car while parked there:

This got him hired at Goldner’s label of the moment, Red Bird, alongside Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. And the group he brought with him to sing it — the Shangri-Las — became major stars.

Shadow Morton with Janis IanThe record business being what it was and is, Morton maintained other interests outside Red Bird. One of them was a teenager who’d written a song about interracial dating — in 1965, yet! — whom Morton signed to a development deal. The song’s title was “Baby I’ve Been Thinking”; Morton suggested a phrase from the lyric, “Society’s Child.” Both titles appeared on the label when MGM’s Verve Forecast imprint issued it in 1966; it took a year for the record to chart, ditties about miscegenation being hard to sell in those days, but Janis Ian (in the picture with Morton) finally landed in the Top 20.

Other Mortonia: the first three albums by Long Island’s Vanilla Fudge, best known for turning the Supremes’ torrid “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” into a seven-minute dirge, and, uncredited, Iron Butterfly’s magnum opus “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” (Morton said he was at the session, but didn’t do a whole lot.)

None of these, however, seemed quite as amazing as Morton’s last Shangri-Las track:

Last week Shadow Morton slipped into darkness for the last time. He was seventy-two. His records, however, are forever seventeen.

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Congratulations are in order

Mark Alger’s first completed novel (59k words!) is on the way to the Alpha reader.

If it should come out in a format I can read — like, say, an actual book — I am, of course, buying.

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One step below the concern troll

You, too, may have heard from this curious entity:

An open note to the person who keeps e-mailing me to ask if I am the “site manager.” Yes, I am. I am getting your e-mails. But I am loath to respond without more detail — I get so much spam that I am fearful this is just an attempt to verify that my e-mail address is “live” by some bot. The e-mails are far too general for me to want to respond to them. If you really are offering something I might want, you will give me more detail.

How often is something you might want offered in unsolicited email? Choose one:

  1. Once in a blue moon
  2. Once in a great while
  3. Once in a lifetime
  4. If I live to be a thousand I’ll never see it


I do not accept ads, nor do I pay for “guest” posts (I’ve never had a guest post, paid or not. I might consider letting an actual friend do a guest post, but not a stranger). So most likely what you are looking for, you will be disappointed. (I occasionally get people e-mailing me and asking me to hire them to write a post for my blog. Uh-huh. Good luck with that career.)

I used to reply to these characters on a regular basis. As the volume of requests increased, my desire to be nice to them diminished. (I have — literally — twenty thousand posts here. Do I look like I’m hard up for material?)

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On the far side of the hill

So when you were younger, you were all that and a bag of chips. What are you now?

(Hint: Probably happier.)

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Century marked

A few days ago, NewsOK was asking online visitors if they’d ever driven over 100 mph. I duly checked the Yes box and moved on.

Now comes the very model of a modern slow-news-day above-the-fold feature: Oklahoma law seems to give 100 mph speeders a pass. A brief glance at the article will tell you that it’s not that they’re getting a pass; it’s just that the state hasn’t been ratcheting up the penalties in a manner acceptable to the Oklahoman.

Some of the paper’s complaints, after analyzing a couple years’ worth of records:

  • In one out of four cases, violators either avoided prosecution, pleaded to lesser charges or received probation, which in some instances allowed them to have the citation removed from their public record.
  • Authorities filed reckless driving charges only in about 10 percent of the cases. Some states mandate the often harsher penalty of reckless driving for those who exceed certain speeds. Oklahoma has no such mandatory requirement.
  • In Oklahoma, drivers caught traveling at excessive speeds do not automatically lose their licenses. Some states have taken a tougher stance.

“Other states do it,” I must point out, does not mean it’s a good idea. The Oklahoman knows this, having insisted that Governor Fallin’s rejection of an Obamacare-style insurance exchange is the right thing to do no matter what those other states do.

And “reckless” is meaningless unless there’s a threat. Captain George Brown of DPS:

“If somebody’s on the turnpike with 9-foot shoulders and there’s no traffic and they’re just speeding, well that’s just speeding unless there’s some circumstances that make it dangerous to the public.”

I expect some government agency to invent a threat. Call it “secondhand speed.”

In the meantime, until I see some criticism of Life Members of the Anti-Destination League crawling along at twenty under the speed limit, I refuse to take seriously any whining about going twenty over.

Addendum: AMA on reddit about the article and its findings.

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Fudge upon fudge

An engineer with the EPA’s fuel-economy team says, not unreasonably:

“Everybody wants a label that tells you exactly what you’re going to get, but obviously that’s not possible. A good general rule of thumb is that real-world fuel economy is about 20 percent lower than the lab numbers.”

This despite the 2008 fudge factors, which lowered the existing estimates by 10-20 percent. For instance, see this sample, with which I am rather familiar. Contributors are claiming that they’re beating not only the new, lower numbers, but the old, higher numbers as well. Which I believe, since I’m beating them myself.

So why is “real-world” fuel economy higher on this model than on so many others? I continue to believe that the X factor here is whether or not the automaker tried to build to the test, to produce a vehicle that would do well on the test and let the real world go hang.

If I’m asked, I will happily quote this EPA guy. And I will remind the asker that nine times out of ten, the ads are quoting the somewhat-nebulous highway figure, which you will never, ever achieve on your way to work.

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It’s February all the way down

In The Sparkle Chronicles, I ventured the notion, based on “equality of sun and moon,” that the land of Equestria has thirteen months of 28 days, plus the undated Summer Sun Celebration at the end.

This was, incidentally, well before I read this, which is somewhat similar but starts the year on what we think of as the 26th of July. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention anything about chakras.

(Via Fark.)

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Strange search-engine queries (368)

Monday morning means another trip through the logs to search for items of possible interest and/or high snark potential. This was well within the skill set of Star Swirl the Bearded, so I don’t expect to be promoted to royalty for having done it here.

yogurt plus las vegas 1981:  Well, if any yogurt from 1981 has survived, it would likely be in Las Vegas, where lots of old cultures persist.

how does desyxlia:  It does almost exactly that way.

pedestrian killed march 2002 highway 666 new mexico:  And now you know why they changed it to 491 the next year.

audi a3 cello:  Were I going to haul around an instrument of this size, I’d insist on an A4.

scamation ocular:  Send us your current myopic eyeballs and we’ll send you brand-new ones at no cost from our laboratory in Nigeria.

how does sherilyn fenn do her eyebrows:  Carefully. Very, very carefully.

lionel richie butterhead:  You’ll have to verify that with the Commodores.

85yrs.old granny and still having sex:  I tell you, that Lionel Richie fellow is kind of a turn-on.

think the most crappiest day ever:  The fifteenth of April, for reasons I need not explain.

ann coulter nude playboy dec 2004:  Um, no. They’d have been afraid to let her fill out the Playmate Data Sheet.

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We’ll never know

Somehow this seems painfully prophetic now:

You’ll never know
How much I miss you
You won’t see it in my face
You’ll never know I’ll never find another
That could take your place
Cause I’ll be smiling when I see you
No my tears won’t ever show
Yeah I might always love you
But you’ll never know

Mindy McCready took her own life today. She was all of thirty-seven.

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Uneven subdivision

“You know what would be really cool?” asks Troglopundit. “A prime number made up of a prime number of digits.”

On his second thought, he revised his adjective, from “cool” to “nerdy.” But by that time, I’d come up with a cool/nerdy notion of my own: “Prime Park,” a single-street gated community somewhere in the ‘burbs with half the property — the half where even-numbered houses would go — reserved as parkland, and the houses opposite the park assigned prime numbers consistent with the area street grid. For instance, the 3000 block would run 3001, 3011, 3019, 3023, 3037, 3041. (I figure that this subdivision, so to speak, would likely contain imposing, overly-large homes, and that maybe six to the block is pushing it.)

Passersby outside the gates, of course, would never know, at least not until Google Earth showed up.

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Potent quotables

Maxim, the magazine, is noted for girlie pix, sports snark, gadgets for guys, girlie pix, beer references, rude noises, and girlie pix, not necessarily in that order.

There were chats this month (3/13) with Joan Rivers and Anne V. (Joan wore considerably more.) A couple of excerpts:

Maxim: How do you prepare for red-carpet season? Do you have a training regimen?
Joan Rivers: I just collect hundreds of pictures of Helena Bonham Carter and then don’t wear anything she’s got on.

Maxim: Have you ever dated an American guy who correctly pronounced your last name, Vyalitsyna, the first time?
Anne V: No. They always need a few weeks.

I mention in passing that Joan Rivers’ original last name was Molinsky; she was the daughter of Russian immigrsnts.

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