Strange search-engine queries (298)

Spring was sprung, fall has fell, Monday’s here, so what the hell?

new version of cars with gearbox that have 1 or 2 or 3:  Instead of those cars that have, for instance, W or T or F.

naked newscaster on air + 18:  Damn. We don’t get channel 18 here.

Is Mark Cuban an INTJ?  If he’s not, surely he thinks he is.

cornstarch to whiten amstaff:  Must be a Halloween prank: Ghost of the Pit Bull.

500 miles of left turns:  Either one afternoon at Nascar, or a weekend in downtown Oklahoma City during Project 180.

crossdresser honey nut cheerio commercial:  Oh, that’s just Buzz the bee getting in touch with his queen side.

pictures of male transvestite sluts in women’s underthings:  Is it okay if they’re bees?

before stereo we had mono:  And when we had mono, we were bedridden for a week.

whangdoozle:  Still sounds better than “Nickelback.”

one in seven chance that you’ll do this at a grocery store:  Saying “This was only one ninety-nine last week!”

queue to leave:  As Mr Barnum used to say, “This way to the egress!”

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Stick a cupcake in her eye

Poodle glommed up to look like My Little Pony

Original caption:

A poodle clippered and dyed to look like My Little Pony is pictured at a creative dog grooming event in Swanley, Kent. The Dog Creative Stylist of the Year competition showcases the creative skills of Britain’s top pooch groomers. The range of colours are produced by safe, washable vegetable dyes.

My first reaction: “You blockhead! Pinkie Pie’s cutie mark is balloons!” The only pony I can think of with three hearts is Lemon Hearts, and, well, she isn’t pink.

(Photo credit: Steve Collins / Barcroft Media. Via TYWKIWDBI.)

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Speaking of flight attendants

This is what you can expect in our wonderful 21st century:

So as we entered the doorway we were greeted by a short, stout, jolly pockmarked gent who looked like Captain Kangaroo. No. Really. Thick orange hair. Glinting maniacal eyes. Crooked smile. This was the flight attendant. Mr. Froth turned back to me and I kept a stoic demeanor. I did. And then we looked into the plane and I swear it was three feet wide and DARK.

Suddenly, short women with tattoos don’t seem so awful.

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Highly disqualified

Friday night I mumbled something about how Christina Ricci, star of ABC’s Pan Am, couldn’t have gotten hired at the real Pan Am because she was too short or something.

This drew me a ping from Celebrity HQ Pics, which had posted some Ricci material from a Pan Am promotional photoshoot by Bob D’Amico; I have a tendency to look at things that throw me links, so I looked over the offerings, which were housed on a popular Russian server, and found them, um, interesting.

I also found something else that would likely have kept Ricci out of the aisle back then:

Christina Ricci from here down

Really, I’m surprised no one thought to cover up that little bit of body art.

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Quote of the week

User “Just the facts” at OKCTalk predicts that the Deep Deuce apartments will go condo within five years or so:

By then they will have made back most of the construction cost and by selling them they can escape the long-term maintenance costs. The buyers then pick up a unit with a great location at a reasonable price. This is how it works in an urban environment. The reason it doesn’t work out on Penn and 150th is because the location sucks. That is why apartments and subdivision built on the outer fringe look like bombs went off after 15 to 20 years. The whole concept of sprawl is nothing more than operation Rolling Ghetto. When you build towards the center you run out of expansion room so properties don’t fall into disrepair.

I’m not so sure about that last sentence, but nothing guarantees that a “good” neighborhood will stay that way: if you flee to Point B because Point A was going down the tubes, odds are you’ll be packing up and heading for Point C before too long. (In the context of Oklahoma City, Penn and 150th is about Point D-point-five.)

This is perhaps another manifestation of the Urban Donut Hypothesis, as discussed here a couple of years ago.

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The antisocial network

An aside from Advice Goddess Amy Alkon:

[M]y boyfriend, who’s not exactly a people person, claims he’s starting a nihilistic social network called “Quitter.” (Posts are zero characters, and you’re asked not to join.)

Sign me up. Or, rather, don’t sign me up.

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A marvel of design

London’s Design Museum is relocating from an old produce warehouse on the Thames to more spacious quarters at the former home of the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, which of course requires a gala event of the sort where wearing something like this is not unheard of:

Rosario Dawson at Design Museum - photo by Getty Images

We will ignore, for the moment, the Daily Mail’s snickering commentary about Rosario Dawson; I’m not even going to replace it with some of my own.

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Meanwhile in Port Vila

In an effort to get ahead of the curve, I’m putting up a few not-entirely-random factoids about the Republic of Vanuatu, before Robert Stacy McCain takes over as the United States Ambassador thereto.

You’re welcome.

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Training wheels

An automobile-related meme, picked up from Jennifer:

  1. What was your first car? Model, year, color, condition?
  2. What adventures did you have in it, good or bad?
  3. What happened to it, what’s the end of the story?

“Susannah” was a 1966 Chevy II, just barely up from bottom of the line and therefore deemed worthy of the Nova badge. It was, I was told, destined for the scrapyard, but for one minor detail: turn the key, and it actually started. Making it drivable, however, looked like it was going to require, at the very least, replacement of the caved-in front right corner. The budget didn’t allow for such. Plan B: hammering on the back side of the fender until the wheel would actually turn. This worked, sort of, for a while.

The powertrain, however, was in pretty good shape: 230 straight six and Powerglide. After tooling around in the family VW Microbus, which required endless stick work, I was ready for the machine to do all the work, even with only half as many speeds. And I managed not to kill it for nearly ten thousand miles. (The rebuild ran about $170. I don’t even want to think about what it costs to fix one of today’s hypercomplex slushboxes.)

Apart from blowing up the transmission, and an unfortunate experience with an aftermarket stereo that caused a temporary failure of the wipers, only two horrible things happened to this car. One of them was a consequence of cheaping out on the front-end repair; one day, I noticed that the camber on the right front wheel had increased to something like 30 percent. Inspection revealed a rather large gap between two metal bits that were supposed to be connected. (A welder took care of this.) The other was a rude rear-end intrusion on a rainy day, which dented the decklid enough to render the lock theoretical at best. The car that hit me, having barely slowed down during the impact, quickly sped off into the storm.

In early 1978, I got married, and the young lady in question decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest if I got rid of this heap. We bought another Nova — a 1976 with the 305 V8 — and I passed the ’66 on to younger sister, who said she was going to take it to a demolition derby. I have no idea whether she actually did that or not, but at the time, it made perfect sense. Incidentally, the ’76 became the family hauler, and I took over her old car, a ’75 Toyota Celica. I was still driving it in 1995, eight years after the divorce.

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Blather, rinse, repeat

I don’t, as a rule, get surveys from the Republican National Committee, which undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that I am not a Republican. I do occasionally get stuff from my fellow Democrats, but I generally don’t mention it here unless it’s unintentionally hilarious; the last Democrat I could count on to be intentionally hilarious was the late Molly Ivins.

Then again, I’m probably not missing much. Apparently the current RNC “survey” is barely distinguishable from previous RNC “surveys”:

Here it is two years since the RNC presented us with the last “Obama Agenda Survey”, and it appears they either took little note of what a large chunk of their base was saying, or their survey was little more than window dressing … adding a bit of feel good “personal constituent involvement in party politics” before being asked to fork over the cash. If this was not the case, than why are so many of the questions the same?

(Title swiped from, um, me.)

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Yupward mobility

This question came into TTAC’s Piston Slap department:

I have the misfortune of working with a bunch of aspiring Yuppies. You know the types. The ones who believe that all American car companies make crap and the only true luxury cars come from Germany and Japan. Never mind the $1300 maintenance charge on their Audi or the fact that the Lexus ES is about as exciting as wilted corn flakes.

Long story short, I am sick and tired of hearing their crap. I want to buy the type of American car that will take these pompous, sniveling wussy boys and blow their stuck-upityness right out of their ass.

Actually, there’s a second rung: they spurn the Japanese entirely in favor of the products of der Vaterland. And if they had to judge by the ES, a Camry — not even an Avalon — oversprayed with Carnation Instant Glitz, I can’t say as I’d blame them. (From the “Like you have room to talk” files: yes, I drive an Infiniti I30, which is basically a Nissan Maxima in a prom dress.)

Putting myself into the role of yupster, if I had the same $40k this guy says he has to spend, I probably couldn’t get much in the way of Teutonic sleds unless BMW is planning a ¾-series, and while I could get a decent G37 for that kind of money, it’s not at all what he wants.

So I’m thinking Chrysler 300, which can be had for forty large in the C trim — yes, it’s got a Hemi — if you avoid checking every last box on the order form. It’s one of the few cars that gives off the impression that you’ll drive it onto your lawn, if necessary, to keep certain individuals off. Barack Obama used to have one, until he figured out that much of his base resented the hell out of big American cars, whereupon he switched to a meek hybrid.

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Maybe I don’t need an aisle seat after all

Christina Ricci in Pan AmIt’s been rather a long time since flight attendants looked like Christina Ricci on Pan Am. (Then again, inasmuch as The Actress Formerly Known As Wednesday is barely over four foot twelve, they’d never have hired her in the first place, but that’s neither here nor there.) Megan McArdle, somewhere around four foot twenty-six herself, explains the general decline in picturesqueness aboard Flight N:

Stewardesses used to be subject to all sorts of extremely strict rules: they couldn’t be married, couldn’t gain weight, couldn’t get pregnant, couldn’t be much over 30. If you fire everyone who violates those rules, then yes, you will select for a much “hotter” group of women than the current crop.

You could probably still get a large group of young, hot women to take a job that involves free flights all around the world. But those jobs are no longer open, because airlines stopped firing all the old, fat parents. Thanks to a combination of feminist shaming, union demands, and anti-discrimination laws. Moreover, once they no longer fired people over a certain age, union seniority rules immediately started selecting for older workers, in two ways: layoffs are usually last hired first fired, and older people have a lot of sunk costs in terms of pension accrual and seniority, so they’re less likely to leave. If you fly a major airline, you’ll notice very few stewardesses in their twenties.

Of course, no one is claiming that life on Pan Am the series is anything like life on Pan Am the airline, which died in 1991, about a month after The Addams Family was released. Coincidence? Uncle Fester wouldn’t hear of it.

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Occupying a carton near you

I Am The 2%

(Swiped from Christina Hopper’s Facebook page; it traces back at least this far.)

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The Friday get-down

File this under “No, really, you’re not the only one”:

Dorks Rule by Rebecca Black

Although it’s worse when the urge comes over you in a car. Under those circumstances, it’s probably better to be sitting in the back seat than kicking in the front seat.

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Fark blurb of the week

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The Kaiser role

George Kaiser, to Forbes in 2007:

“I agree wholeheartedly that our tax system is insufficiently progressive. I also agree that the estate tax at levels above $10 million should be retained. Higher tax rates for higher levels of income [up to at least 50%, maybe higher] not only are socially responsible but also would encourage more charitable giving.”

Not that he himself plans to pay any of those higher rates, of course:

In one six year period, during which he increased his net worth enough to land him on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Kaiser reported taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service just once, totaling $11,699 — equivalent to a full-time hourly wage of $5.62.

And it’s not like the Internal Revenue Service has been exactly dogged in their pursuit of Kaiser’s billions. For example:

[I]n 1997, [the IRS] sent him a bill for $48.6 million in back taxes, interest and penalties… After negotiating with the IRS, Kaiser settled for $11,891 in back taxes.

From Kaiser’s home base in Tulsa, Michael Bates observes:

Solyndra is just the latest episode in a long-running drama that includes — on the negative side of the ledger — Great Plains Airlines (and the taxpayers’ ultimate payback of money we didn’t owe to Kaiser’s Bank of Oklahoma), the downtown baseball stadium (and the heavy-handed approach to its surrounding development), the mediocre candidates Kaiser has backed for public office in Tulsa, the county river tax, and — on the positive side — RiverParks trails improvements, supplemental funds for beautification for new public construction, financial support for the comprehensive plan process and the city government efficiency study, purchase and preservation of the Blair Mansion and grounds, support for the Tulsa Fab Lab, and financial support for countless worthy projects and programs.

On one level, I’d question the judgment of anyone who didn’t work diligently to minimize his tax liability:

“Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” — Judge Learned Hand in Helvering v. Gregory, 1934.

Then again, that 0.02-cent-on-the-dollar deal Kaiser struck for his 1997 tax bill might strike some of us as just a hair too sweet. I know I would have greatly enjoyed getting last year’s $6000-plus income-tax liability cut down to a buck and a quarter. But I shrug: this is what has to happen when government becomes big enough to hand out favors, and it’s not like anyone is threatening to cut it down to size. (There are the usual noises from the GOP; I’ll start believing them the moment I see the Department of [your choice of any beyond the original four] relocated to an ice floe.)

There are some, of course, who believe that there shouldn’t be any billionaires at all. I figure, wait long enough, and we’ll all be billionaires — and a Big Mac will be around $400.

(Suggested by Glenn Reynolds.)

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