In which I bow to the expert

While I rather freely admit to a peripheral interest in women’s shoes, I really can’t claim any particular expertise in the subject: I observe, I comment, and then I go and observe some more, but that’s about the extent of it. Certainly I am not so much as a patch on this guy:

Vintage high heels collector David Childs steps through the past 100 years of heel history. Childs has “a fascination” for the aesthetic appeal of high heels, and has turned his passion into a museum exhibit of 600 pairs of shoes. (And that’s just half his collection.) The heels will be on display at the Yakima Valley Museum for the rest of this year.

Video, just under four minutes, narrated by Childs, at the link. I am amused to note that his least-favorite decade seems to be the 1970s.

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Stalking the wild Woodbury Voter

Sarah Palin shows up at a conference of the Long Island Association, and not only does she not ask if there are any shorter islands around, she shows up wearing this:

Sarah Palin on Lawn Guyland

Of course, what I want to know is whether there was an actual leopard involved with those shoes, and if so, whether she shot it herself. Jezebel says no: these are from the Taryn Rose line, and they can be had on eBay for $79.95 plus shipping, if you happen to wear a size 6. I’ve liked most of the Taryn Rose shoes I’ve seen, but somehow these rub me the wrong way, so to speak; I will console myself with the knowledge that Sarah’s wearing neither Crocs nor Uggs.

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Live with 5

My children, over the years, have generally driven cheap disposable domestics or might-as-well-be domestics, acquired at third hand; the epitome of such would be my daughter’s early-80s Ford Escort, Muff the Tragic Wagon, which the last time I saw it, some time around the turn of the century, had semi-inoperative turn signals. (The circuitry was functional, but the actual lever had fallen on the floor.)

Of late, though, they’ve tried to break out of that particular mold: a couple years ago, she splurged on a VW Jetta, and this week I am informed that my son has ditched a Buick in favor of a ten-year-old Bimmer.

Now what I know about BMWs would fit between pages 67 and 68 of the owner’s manual, but I am reasonably certain that Teutonic sleds of this sort do not take kindly to the sort of haphazard maintenance that these youngsters have been used to providing. (Same goes for the Jetta, really.) In case he drops some weird issue in my lap, though, I figure I’d better brush up on the E39 5-series.

Interestingly, the specs on his car and mine are almost identical, though the Bimmer of course is driven by the correct pair of wheels. And the time to get such a car, apparently, is after — not before — a Kansas City winter.

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Quick-fried to a crackly crunch

A man sacrifices his life for the right to volts:

An Indianapolis man was killed Thursday morning after being electrocuted. Metro Police say he was trying to steal copper wiring from a rooftop transformer.

According to police, Jeffrey Reynolds, 31, was electrocuted while he was stealing copper wire from the roof of Circle City Industrial Complex, an industrial building on Massachusetts Avenue near downtown.

A 220 line, this isn’t. WTF was he thinking?

“He lost his job and didn’t have nothing, found out he had a baby on the way. He was trying to provide like any other … father would have done,” said Penny McGowan, the victim’s aunt.

I think we can safely call this “impaired judgment,” though I find Roberta X’s summation more to the point:

I guess if I was truly soft-hearted I’d feel bad for him but sheesh: say Hi to Mr. Darwin for me!

And both you and I know dads in a bad way who still wouldn’t try to steal stuff.

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Life is not whatnot

Last year, Molly Ringwald’s book Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick was published.

Molly Ringwald at a book signing

On the basis of this photo from a New Jersey book signing, I’d say she never lost it to begin with.

(Today: forty-three candles.)

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Quote of the week

Daphne, in a comment to her original post denouncing Deficit Inattention Disorder:

As a paleo-misogynist anti-feminist, I think all new mothers should be firmly committed and chained to the crib until their progeny can properly toddle, use a toilet and speak clear English.

Upside: Lots of new jobs — somewhere — in the chain-manufacturing business.

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For now, we can skip over 395.22

You say your biological clock isn’t ticking? Great! However, this won’t stop people from offering to give it a good shake now and then:

Valentine’s Day did affect me in a way that had nothing to do with a 4pm sugar coma: it sparked yet another conversation among a certain group of girls about the fact that I am not yet married. Even at 10 years of age, this absolutely horrifies them.

Especially since pressure on this subject usually comes from the older generation:

My mother is awesome and supportive, but I think she may have given up on the idea of me getting married and having kids. Subsequently, these girls are the closest thing I have to a concerned, pushy maternal force.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Not only is Donna funny, sweet and (somewhat crucially) single, she has a master’s degree in library science — a fact that I find overwhelmingly sexy.

Donna, however, isn’t the one being harangued, however gently, by those 10-year-old girls.

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S#!t your food says

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Betamax beyond Google Chrome

Defending so-called “outdated” technology is a cottage industry itself these days, especially when the replacements prove to be less than the paradigm shifts they were intended to be. For instance: people will argue over whether vinyl sounds better than Compact Disc or the other way around, and there are points to be made on both sides, but as the CD gives way to digital downloads — well, nobody is going to argue that an MP3 sounds better than vinyl. Nobody who’s heard a bunch of them, anyway. There are lossless compression schemes out there, but they increase the download time about tenfold.

So I’m not quite sure what to make of Hipstamatic, an iPhone app that essentially simulates old low-end cameras, priced at somewhere around Goodwill retail for an old low-end camera. It is, I’m thinking, probably easier to use than the real thing, which has a learning curve about the length of N rolls of film, where N = “more than you might have thought.” Purists — I have a couple in mind — will presumably spurn it. On the other hand, I might recommend it to my daughter, who has an iPhone and little time to devote to getting really good at stuff, especially stuff that’s at least as old as she is.

(Yet another island in the tweetstream. And you should have seen the titles I threw away before hitting on this one.)

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Holy Moses, they shall be removed

The bankruptcy of Borders Books and Music will reduce their Oklahoma footprint considerably: the Oklahoma City store at 3209 Northwest Expressway and the Tulsa store at 8015 South Yale are both marked for closure. (Here’s the complete list.)

Two other Borders stores will remain open: in Norman and in Tulsa (2740 East 21st). Borders’ three remaining Waldenbooks stores in the state, in Lawton, Bartlesville and Shawnee, will continue to operate for now.

(Title adapted from Bernie Taupin.)

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Deployment of the Presidential toe

Today would have been Margaret Truman’s 86th birthday, thus giving me the ideal excuse to bring up a Presidential legend: when Harry Truman, who happened to be Margaret’s dad, threatened to kick a Washington Post staffer in the balls — and who hasn’t wanted to do that?

In 1950, Margaret was working on a singing career, and she performed at Constitution Hall in December. WaPo critic Paul Hume gave her a right panning:

Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality.

Which is one of the nicer things he said. Eventually he got down to “[she] still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish,” at which point Harry reached for his pen:

It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

Hume, not particularly upset — hey, it’s his job to listen to that sort of thing — eventually sold the letter for $3500; it’s now in a collection in Texas. He died in 2001, nuts unkicked. Margaret commented later that she thought it was funny and might have helped sell a few tickets along the way.

Presidents don’t often make such gestures, though Barack Obama once offered the boot to BP officials.

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Wrong hemisphere or something

Snipped from the National Weather Service earlier today:

National Weather Service screen shot

Note that phrase “heat index.”

One week ago today, the temperature had fallen to -5° F. Where was our precious heat index then?

Lynn seems similarly perplexed:

A week ago today it was -21°F and we had over two feet of snow on the ground. This morning it’s 63° and the snow is almost gone.

Latest freeze in this part of the country is typically the fourth week of March, so I’m not putting my coat into storage just yet.

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Too hard a sell

Have you seen this on a dating profile?

“Men love me and I love them back. I’m only on here to narrow the field and meet my ultimate prince. I cook every day, bring home my paycheck, keep the house clean and treat my man like the King that he is. I’m a lady in the living room and porn star in the bedroom. I’ll be the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Chele, who has seen exactly that, deems it “unrealistic shiggity,” and directs the following remarks to the person posting same:

[Y]our online profile is already the sub-plot of 214 Lifetime movies. Don’t make promises you cannot humanly keep. And what’s that I smell? Eau d’ Thirsty. Stop. It.

Might as well roll back your odometer and be done with it, if your straits are this dire and your metaphors as badly mixed as mine.

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Meanwhile at Pemberley

Eighty-seven stories have been submitted for the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest; ten finalists will be selected by reader vote, and a Grand Prize winner will be selected from those ten by Laurel Ann Nattress and members of the Ballantine Books editorial staff. The winning story will appear in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, due out this fall from Ballantine, edited by Nattress; the winning author will be flattered with delicacy, and also with a check for $500.

Readers, by which I mean you and me, may vote for a favorite between now and the end of the month. All 87 stories are linked from this page.

See also Austenprose, a Jane Austen-oriented blog written by Nattress.

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Revenge of the snowflakes

“My students,” one teacher wrote in her personal blog, “are out of control. They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.”

Well, perhaps maybe not lazy, since they roused themselves from their stupor long enough to whine to the school administration:

[Natalie] Munroe’s blog — especially her posting wishing she could leave report card comments that more accurately reflected her negative opinions of students — circulated this week among students at the Doylestown [PA] high school.

Administrators suspended her Wednesday, and they continue to investigate her writings and whether she used district time or equipment to craft them.

One former student wrote to the Associated Press for some reason:

“Whatever influenced her to say what she did is evidence as to why she simply should not teach,” [Jeff] Shoolbraid wrote in an e-mail to the AP. “I just thought it was completely inappropriate. As far as motivated high school students, she’s completely correct. High school kids don’t want to do anything.”

But God forbid you should actually point this out to anyone.

It’s reasonable to assume Munroe is going to lose her job eventually. If so, I hope she reposts the offending articles — with full names. This will benefit all of us in blogdom, inasmuch as rude, disengaged, not-necessarily-lazy whiners make up roughly 75 percent of the Comment Trolling Community.

Addendum: She’s back with a new blog. (Hat tip: Robert Stacy McCain, who thinks she ought to get a medal.)

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Fill it to the Brin

With great power, Lynn reminds us, comes great responsibility. Are you listening, Google?

You have deliberately tried to make yourself ubiquitous. You’re into everything. That’s fine. It makes it convenient for us but it also means that you have a great responsibility. You are now like water. When we turn on the faucet we expect water to come out of it without fail.

When the pipes aren’t frozen, anyway.

Note: Some sloppy verbiage in the first paragraph rewritten.

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