Accelerated vernacularity

A certain CBS-TV show notwithstanding, what most of us worry about is $#*! our kids say:

Children are swearing at an earlier age and more often than children did just a few decades ago, according to Timothy Jay, a psychology professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. “By the time kids go to school now, they’re saying all the words that we try to protect them from on television,” says Jay. “We find their swearing really takes off between (ages) three and four.”

So we need to crack down on those nasty television shows, do we? Well, no, that won’t help:

Kids aren’t learning swearing at an earlier age from the television they watch. The rise in cursing mirrors the rise in cursing among adults in the past thirty years that Professor Jay has been studying the psychology of swearing.

It may not help that parents can sometimes be hypocritical when it comes to swearing. Nearly two-thirds of the adults surveyed that had rules about their children swearing at home found they broke their own rules on a regular basis. This sends children a mixed, confusing message about swearing and when it’s appropriate.

And how surprising is that? Not very:

Virtually all people swear, and people swear pretty consistently throughout their lifetime — from the moment they can speak to the day they die. Swearing is almost a universal constant in most people’s lives. Research, according to Jay, has shown we swear on average from 0.3% to 0.7% of the time — a tiny but significant percentage of our overall speech (frequently-used personal pronouns occur at approximately 1.0% rate in speech). Swearing is more common than you might think. But personality research suggests that people who swear more, not surprisingly, score higher on traits such as extraversion, dominance, hostility and Type A personalities. Swearing is not just for the uneducated or people of a lower socioeconomic class — it knows no social boundaries in its expression.

One of the few places you don’t hear much of it is in the Star Trek universe, which is odd, since they have universal translators fercrissake, and you have to assume that J. Marauding Alien isn’t always going to be pleased with the way things are going.

Me? Since I work alone, I generally have little reason to speak at the office unless someone comes in, so I suspect my own Percentage of Filth is way higher than 0.7 percent. Not that anyone really gives a $#*!.

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

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Back from the spa

I threw this out on Twitter right after I got the call from the dealership:

It’s as invariant as the seasons: 1 I30 + 1 Malfunction Indicator Light = – $600.

Not that I get one every season, but they’re consistent: when the light goes on, I get a bill for $600 or so. (Actually, this bill was more like $1000, but we’ll get to that later.)

Another owner was happy to commiserate, since he’s been down the same road, albeit a tad farther than I have. I think what frosts me about this is that it was the pair of rear oxygen sensors that went south, and, per the service information at hand, “under normal conditions the rear heated oxygen sensor is not used for engine control operation.” It’s there to fix the mess if something goes wrong with a front sensor. The price of compliance with emissions regulations, folks.

Routine stuff was also performed: oil and filter change, new air filter, new cabin air filter (which I’d let go for the last 30k), and fresh slush for the slushbox. We’re experimenting here with an actual synthetic ATF which, I am assured by the label, meets Nissan’s specs. The last batch of bronto-based juice, put in place about 32k miles ago, appeared slightly off-color to these eyes, and while it passed the smell test, I’m thinking something with a little more heat resistance might be useful. Downside: the stuff is ten dollars a quart, and it doesn’t mix with dino oils, so instead of just dropping the pan in the classic manner, it was necessary to drain the whole box, torque converter and all. An institutional-sized jug holds four gallons, and that’s how much it took. I blame the Endangered Species Act.

Oh, and the loaner today was a ’10 G37 sedan in a Mad Men-ish charcoal grey. It pushed my Want buttons rather more than I’d have liked. (It also had faster throttle tip-in than I’m used to, but I’m sure I could adjust.)

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Insert “bad romance” joke here

Lady Gaga as Hillary ClintonThis shot of Lady Gaga visiting a New Jersey nursing home in her best Hillary-As-Dominatrix duds has elicited mirth in various corners of blogdom, notably from Smitty, who predicts that this particular vision might not be good for Bill Clinton’s health. Which may be true, given the worries over the former President’s health issues, especially his own.

On the other hand — and isn’t there usually another hand? — this suggests a plan for Hillary, who, instead of “working her way toward a messy elder-stateswoman bun,” should do a 180 and try some of Gaga’s more blatant gimmicks. I really think Bill, old and infirm as he thinks himself to be, might perk up considerably were he to see the Mrs. wrapped in 40 pounds of flank steak.

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The “force of habit” argument

This isn’t exactly what they meant by “the softer side of Sears”:

A North Carolina man faces indecent exposure charges after police say he was found without pants on taking pictures of himself Monday afternoon in the parking lot of Sears at the Galleria Mall in Rock Hill [SC].

The not-quite-unnamed chap — the last sentence of the news story gives away his last name, suggesting some editing after the fact — lives in Conover, NC, on Naked Creek Road, near St. Peter’s Church Road.

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Rules of detraction

Someone complaining about your blog? Here’s a model for your response.

Assuming, of course, you consider it worth the effort to respond at all.

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Strange search-engine queries (243)

Another Monday, another trek through the server logs, looking for stuff that elicits the occasional chuckle. Amazingly, “Stephen Colbert’s colonoscopy” isn’t in there.

what countries would allow silly string breast implants:  I assume only the silliest.

“if it screeds it leads:”  The actual chicanery, however, is buried on page 8.

cars and naked women:  Suddenly I have an idea for a new men’s magazine.

commentary on the dangers of an undisciplined tongue:  Watch C-Span long enough and you’ll get all the source material you’ll ever need.

“local office” “progressive third parties”:  Easy to spot. Their recycling bins are bigger than their signs.

bring back ford probe:  Because the world is crying out for underpowered sports coupes.

why do white people have flat heels?  A century of Doc Martens will do that.

illuminati Florence Henderson:  Which explains why Mr. Brady drove a Fnord station wagon.

Has Dakota Fanning been spanked on the bare butt lately:  Do I look like Perez frakking Hilton? Go away.

Do charlize theron’s labia show on aeon flux? Do I look like Perez frakking Hilton? Go away.

nude woman midget size wants dating and correspondeces pics pls:  This sounds like entrapment, albeit on a small scale.

googlebait what is a:  See “nude woman midget size…”, supra.

adverb form of criminal:  What comes most immediately to mind is “Congressionally.”

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I’m on a Shoggoth

You knew this was inevitable, right?

(With thanks to Syaffolee.)

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With all my whirly goods

Dr. Marc Faber explains why massive intervention by the Federal Reserve does not, and cannot, fix the economy:

In this whole inflation and deflation debate investors have to realize that in a system — say you have a room like this and then the money is dropped from helicopters into this room, it can flow into real estate; it can flow into equities; it can flow into precious metals; it can flow into the art market or it can flow out into other currencies or into commodities that the Federal Reserve doesn’t control. They only control essentially how much money they will drop from the helicopters.

Funny thing about money: it flows where there’s a reason for it to flow, and “Because we say so,” as a reason, is something less than compelling.

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Set with ESET

As a coda to my denunciation of an antivirus package earlier this year — I won’t mention any names, but its initials are CA — I mentioned that I’d installed ESET’s NOD32 product on Toshi, the Road Warrior, my trusty (and, at nine years old, ancient) notebook. Late last night I remembered that this was the weekend that my subscription expired, and figuring that I didn’t want to see the consequences if it did, I quickly (if that’s the word) booted up the machine, sat through the Microsoft Patch of the Week routine, and discovered that ESET had bumped up a full version since the original install, though they were still providing updates for the older version.

Do your worst, I sighed as I signed up for another term and checked their Knowledge Base, which said, as I had feared, that I’d have to uninstall the whole version 3 shebang before even thinking about installing version 4. Their advice, though, was actually precise: use their uninstaller, not the Add/Remove Programs contraption in Control Panel, and delete a couple of directories when it’s done. Reboot and run new install.

And unlike the case with some other AV programs I could name, there were no hitches at all. I suppose you could consider this an endorsement.

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Buzz Lightyear goes for a dip

One sort of expects NBA stars — well, maybe not Kevin Durant — to spend enormous sums on blingulous lifestyles, but this report threw me for a loop:

It’s a slam dunk for North Bay Road. The ultra-luxury Miami street is now home to the Heat’s Chris Bosh, who just bought a $12.5 million waterfront ultra-modern manse with an infinity pool, reports The Post’s Jennifer Gould Keil. We hear that his superstar pal Dwayne Wade also signed a contract for an $11 million home just down the street — while LeBron James is still renting.

Well, okay, it’s “Dwyane,” but that’s not what caught me off guard. WTF is an “infinity pool”?

This is an infinity pool. They tend to be located in überswank places simply because of the expense. But the technology apparently is not so difficult:

In reality, the edge of the pool ends in a weir that is one-half to one inch (12 mm to 25 mm) lower than the required median pool water level. There is a trough or catch basin below the weir. The water spills into the catch basin, from which it is then pumped back into the pool.

With all due respect to Elly May Clampett, this is way beyond a cement pond.

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Driveman

About three years ago, I bought one of Sony’s MP3 Walkmans (Walkmen?), with the intent of using it as a supplemental audio source for the car.

The catch, of course, is that OEM head units circa 2000 generally were not blessed with Auxiliary jacks, and I was loath to replace the entire Bose system at one fell swoop, though not as loath as I was to go drilling into the box and install a jack of my own. (Besides, a new head unit might contain a CD player that handled MP3 files, or an actual hard drive of its own, which would make the little Sony cuttlefish irrelevant anyway.)

So I acquired a couple of FM transmitters. They did not work particularly well, for a couple of reasons:

  • Available frequencies are rapidly being filled up by translators for stations I wouldn’t have listened to had they been local;
  • The power connections are near the front of the car, but the antenna is on the backlight, just above the rear-defroster wires, meaning reception is less than ideal.

So I shelved that idea, though I continued using the Walkman around the house, occasionally updating it with newly-acquired tracks. (Currently I am using a bit more than 3.9 of the 4 GB: about 760 songs.)

And one day Amazon decided, based on God knows what, to recommend this little gizmo. There were more expensive variations on this theme, but none of them, according to the customer reviews, seemed to be a whole lot better. So far, so good.

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This old man, he played out

See here what that’s all about.

(This isn’t at all the piece I was intending to write, but it’s what I wound up with. Maybe next week I’ll do the one I thought I was doing.)

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Goggie can has cheezburger

This morning’s newspaper came with a six-ounce sample of dog food, “burger with cheddar cheese flavor.”

Now it’s not like they’ve never had product samples in the bag before, although usually it’s something like laundry detergent. And unlike the usual barrage of coupons, it’s impossible to ignore an actual box of something, even if it’s something you don’t need.

I am wondering, though, if Purina, which produced this sample and which has lots of specialized pet foods, might somewhere have a “burger with Jarlsberg cheese flavor” for those picky Norwegian elkhounds and such.

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Not exactly plate tectonics

Baseball, says Sonic Charmer, is “intricately complex,” and so it is, but there are a few simple concepts at its core, and this is one of them:

[W]hen you play a baseball game, regardless of your strategic acumen, it is a metaphysical impossibility to win that game if you don’t score any runs.

The new management at the Brick, I hope, knows this: the RedHawks ended the season with a 4-11 drought and were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

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Flying the coupe

“I haven’t had any tickets since I bought a four-door sedan and moved a few miles from work,” she said. Doesn’t prove causation, technically, but:

I wonder if there is something to the 4-door sedan thing. Cause the car I got in the most trouble it was a red car, which are supposed to be bad. I didn’t generally speed as much in that car as in others, though. The worst car was my grandmother’s car, The Trawler. That car drove very comfortable at rather high speeds and no cruise control. After a back-to-back car accident and ticket, my folks threatened to put me back in The Trawler, which I told them would be fine (I wasn’t particularly deserving of generosity at that point) but that I was more at risk in that car than any other. The thing is … I never once got a ticket in The Trawler. Not once. The fact that the car was a land barge and older than I was and a granny’s car in more than just the sense my grandmother gave it to me is probably not a coincidence.

The reduction of commute distance is probably more of a factor, but … come to think of it, I’ve never gotten a ticket while driving a four-door sedan.

I’m thinking that it might be a function of conspicuousness: most cars, as distinguished from trucks and vans, seem to be four-door sedans of many different sizes, and their sheer ubiquity makes it hard for any particular four-door sedan to stand out, unless it’s painted some implausible color or its driver is doing things to attract attention to himself — or if it’s a Maserati Quattroporte, which you just don’t see every day around here.

One of my rules of the road: whenever possible, strive to be the third-fastest. The first two positions — and the last one — incur the greatest risk of annoying the Highway Patrol, and if they’re sufficiently annoyed, it costs money and points.

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The Days continue frabjously

And on the third Day, we find: a wedding dress.

This is Laraine Day, who played Nurse Mary Lamont in a bunch of Dr. Kildare pictures, and eventually found herself ill, in a sense: she was sick of the role. The producers decided to let her marry the good doctor (in Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day), and then perish tragically.

A couple years later — we’re now up to 1944 — Day found herself in this little romcom called Bride By Mistake, which seems to be a reboot of 1934′s The Richest Girl in the World, minus the Titanic references. She does seem a bit perplexed here:

Laraine Day in Bride By Mistake

This particular still was spotted at Doctor Macro’s, along with a nice synopsis of whatever plot was to be found in this film.

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