Perhaps once is not enough

This goes without saying:

Just the same, it was said.

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Unhashed but tagged

“Now Just $1 a day for a 25k Life-Policy,” said the subject line.

Then followed this inexplicable barrel of blather:

I’ll always remember the night you swept me off e654339265b51 fc872b75502d5945d95 my feet. You didn’t have to flaunt what you’ve got by being surrounded by limos and flashing lights, nor did you have to whisper sweet nothings in my ear and make false promises of how great you are, like other restaurants. No, instead you were just you, the definition of New York City sophistication — sleek, refined, and confident. The second I walked inside, I knew I was in love with you. Your spacious, chic atmosphere made me feel elegant (in no way out of place in my fancy black dress) yet comfortable at the same time. And, as soon as our waitress opened with “I think [same damned 32-digit number] champagne is the best way to start almost any occasion — a dinner, a night out, breakfast,” I knew I was in for a great night. Actually, I offered up the breakfast comment, but she laughed and agreed, which made me feel more relaxed than that first glass of [sd32n] champagne. I could go on and on like [sd32n] Shakespeare and count the ways I love you, but really when it comes down to it, there is one thing that absolutely stole my heart — the food. It is rare that I can say this, but every single one of the 8 dishes of the CHEFS TASTING MENU blew me out of the water, not only in terms of presentation, which was the finest presentation I’ve ever laid eyes on, but also in your choice [sd32n] and quality of ingredients (managing to keep things somewhat seasonal, yet metropolitan at the same time), the combination of flavors, and finally, your execution. Of note, the FOIE GRAS with bing [sd32n] cherry chutney, almond, purslane, and celery was smooth, creamy, and rich enough to leave me satisfied with my portion without wanting more. The RED KING SALMON with citrus cured sorrel, olive oil confit with smoked caviar and a Meyer lemon coulis was deliciously light and refreshing. The BABY SQUID made me feel good about eating infants, as it was perfectly cooked [sd32n] and paired with Mediterranean ingredients which complimented the chewy texture of the squid. Finally, and most importantly, the LIBERTY FARMS DUCK BREAST was the best duck I’ve ever tasted — perfectly crisped skin, tender, moist, with a roasted plum to bring out its natural sweetness and a [sd32n] rich reduction that didn’t overshadow the rest of the plate. Daniel, to put it simply, you [sd32n] had me at “hello.” No really, you did, literally, as I actually got the opportunity to say “hello” to Daniel Boulud himself and have a lively 15 minute conversation (in French!) with the celebrity chef after most of the other diners had cleared the restaurant. It was at that moment, at the end of the night, when I knew this had been one of the best dining experiences of my life, rivaled only by the French Laundry. Daniel, how can I ever forget you? My only hope is that I have the opportunity to see you again next year. Until then, you’ll [sd32n] be in my thoughts.

Quite apart from the fact that I never, ever get email that contains the phrase “I love you” and presumably never will, I can’t fathom what that ridiculous 32-digit number is for; I suppose it’s a hash of some sort, but what’s the point of sending me a hash?

And weirder yet, following that block of text is a block starting with <style> and consisting of several hundred presumed tags, but tags that don’t exist in HTML: among them are <Trieste>, <Woonsocket> and <Nerf>. Perhaps they work in NSA’s custom browser.

Daniel Boulud, however, is a real celebrity chef. He would not have been amused by my chicken-strip salad dinner last night.

Disclosure: This is not exactly the 32-digit number that was sent. No sense giving them — whoever “they” are — the idea that they accomplished something.

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From a small room

Last night we checked in with Celine, the Shoe Girl, and she was quite enthusiastic about her new Prada wedges: “Love the shit outta them,” she said.

She apparently wasn’t kidding:

Prada wedge

I won’t even ask who took this shot.

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A life of danger

Dave Schuler has a nice little remembrance of Johnny Rivers, now 70, whom he elevates to the Pantheon:

For my money Rivers is one of the greatest of all rock performers and one of the finest of all rock guitarists, right up there with Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. Few people today seem to know his name. That’s ironic because so many of them are familiar with his music. Frequently, when they think of a Chuck Berry tune, they’re actually thinking of Johnny Rivers’s rendition of it.

Especially if it’s “Maybellene” or “Memphis,” both of which were big hits for Rivers.

I’ve always wondered if it was Rivers or Chuck Day who did that blistering solo on “Secret Agent Man”; I tend to lean toward Day, who apparently conjured up the riff, but either way, it was a fabulous record, and an obvious inspiration for this celebrated TV theme:

Obligatory pony content: Tara Strong, the voice of Raven on Teen Titans, is the speaking (but not singing) voice of Twilight Sparkle on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

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Meanwhile in the Oranges

Well, one of them, anyway: West Orange, New Jersey, where Jake Freivald runs the obscure local (but not social) site, the presence of which apparently so disturbed township attorney Richard Trenk that he dispatched a nastygram to Freivald demanding that the site be closed and the domain surrendered.

Counsel for Freivald responded in a possibly appropriate manner:

I am pro bono counsel to Jake Freivald and write in response to your “cease and desist letter,” dated May 13, 2013, regarding his domain Obviously it was sent in jest, and the world can certainly use more legal satire. Bravo, Mr. Trenk!

Not that we didn’t get the joke … but since Mr. Freivald had not previously encountered a humorous lawyer, he actually thought your letter may have been a serious effort by the Township to protect its legitimate interests. Rest assured, I’ve at least convinced him that it was certainly not some impulsive, ham-fisted attempt to bully a local resident solely because of his well-known political views. After all, as lawyers you and I both know that would be flagrantly unconstitutional and would also, in the words of my 4-year old, make you a big meanie.

After which, it escalates. Mr. Trenk, we may assume, has now been properly initiated into the Streisand Effect.

(Via Fark.)

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Declaration of dependence

What were once curiosities are now necessities. Five years ago, getting email from your car via OnStar was something odd — bloggable, even. Today:

So when OnStar trial runs out on 2013 Chevy & car stops emailing me, how do I tell when to change the oil?

One is tempted to invoke RTFM, but I fear that somebody like this won’t be aware that TFM even exists.

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Formula for success

A fellow on Reddit named AugusttRush turned this up, and after verifying things with his old high-school chemistry textbook, pronounced it good.

Jessica Lee yearbook picture from Garfield High, wherever the hell that is

The Notorious B.I.G. would certainly have approved.

(Via HuffPo.)

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You call this social?

The social media evidently have it in for Rob O’Hara:

When I post new posts on, notifications get posted to Facebook (via the FacePress plugin) and Twitter (via WordTwit). When I need to update both Facebook and Twitter at the same time, I’ve been using TweetDeck.

Over the past week FacePress, WordTwit, and TweetDeck have all stopped working. Cheese and rice, man.

It started with TweetDeck, which forced an upgrade and then informed users that the new version no longer supports Facebook. Essentially that means that TweetDeck now only supports Twitter. That’s stupid. If it only supports Twitter, then why would I use TweetDeck? The entire point of TweetDeck was that I could funnel multiple social streams into one single interface. If TweetDeck only supports Twitter, then I’m not sure what purpose it serves. From now on I’ll just go back to using Twitter’s default interface. TweetDeck has been deleted.

The reason TweetDeck did this, of course, is because Twitter bought it and didn’t want to expend any development time supporting someone else’s API, especially Facebook’s. (Early versions of TweetDeck even supported MySpace, fercryingoutloud.)

While troubleshooting TweetDeck, I noticed that my last couple of blog posts didn’t get posted on either Facebook or Twitter. Apparently, over the past week both sites updated their APIs, causing older plugins (like the ones I was running) to stop working. Facebook said, “update your plugin”. I checked the FacePress website and was informed that the plugin hadn’t been updated in three years. Greeeeeeeat. After an hour on Google I found that Jetpack for Facebook offers the same functionality — I just didn’t know it because I’ve been running an older version of Jetpack. After upgrading it, I was able to link with Facebook once again.

Now this is out of my wheelhouse, since I’ve worked diligently to keep this site and Facebook as far apart as possible, but allow me to put in a few kind words for Jetpack, which I use on all my sites except this one: it does a whole lot without making you jump through (too many) hoops.

I had to do the same thing with Twitter. WordTwit had to be upgraded and new security keys had to be generated. After going all of that, I realized that Jetpack handles Twitter connections as well as Facebook connections, so after doing all the work to get WordTwit to work again I uninstalled it and added Twitter to Jetpack as well. Sheesh.

I used WordTwit for a while, but ultimately switched to WP to Twitter, mostly because it was better about serving up error messages. And in fact, most of the errors I encounter are due to slipping time stamps — server time here never exactly matches Twitter’s server time — or a failure to rouse the gnomes at, rather than anything related to the plugin itself.

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Vertical shear

You know, if I were plummeting ten thousand feet to Certain Death, I might think of stuff like this too: “Five minutes of hanging in midair wondering if perhaps I’m in the middle of reversing my vasectomy through blunt trauma.”

Of course, down here on the ground, what I’m really thinking is “Does that actually work?

I mean, not that I need this procedure done or anything. (Though I’m sure it’s cheaper to jump out of a plane than it is to have a urologist retie the strands.)

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Unexpected convergence

A rare opportunity here: pony stuff and girly stuff in the same post.

Alessandra Ambrosio is a Victoria’s Secret Angel and, says Forbes, number six in earnings among all models for the 13 months ending May 2012 — and she was pregnant for nine of those months. (Son Noah was born on 7 May 2012.) She turned out Saturday for the modest Hollywood premiere of the My Little Pony movie, Equestria Girls:

Alessandra Ambrosio at EqG

She also has a four-year-old daughter named Anja, who attended the premiere with her.

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Time to gamma up

The alphas of the world, of course, don’t worry about dating: partners come to them. For the rest of us, there’s this:

No one really wants to know how they’re perceived by strangers. Even if you say you do, you don’t. But if you’re a one-and-done online dater, perpetually stuck in the awkward phase, a candid look at how people judge you might actually help.

BetaDater, developed by an engineer and an economist, is an online program that sets you up on short dates, then sends you honest, anonymous feedback afterward.

I question that term “anonymous”: you’re set up with three people, and while you won’t know specifically which one sent what piece of feedback — you’re supposed to get three from each — it’s not likely to be an NSA-grade secret, either.

The BD report ostensibly:

  1. compares your self-perception to that of your dates’,
  2. reveals what areas you may be overestimating or even underestimating the quality of your first impression, and
  3. gives you the data you need to ask “do people see me as I see myself?”

Clearly I am doomed.

(Via this Will Truman tweet.)

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‘Twas Brill

And the toves buying it don’t seem to be slithy, either:

New York’s famed center of songwriting and entertainment is under new ownership. The Brill Building, a landmark historic building located at 1619 Broadway at the corner of West 49th Street, has been purchased by real estate investor Eric Hadar of Allied Partners, along with the private equity firm Brickman, in a deal valued at close to $250 million.

“We have a vision to capitalize on the legendary reputation of the property by transforming it into a modern day creative center for fashion, arts, media and entertainment in New York,” said Hadar. “We are in active negotiations with a number of parties and expect to announce several exciting new retail and office tenants soon. We anticipate a grand reopening of the space in late 2014.”

The Brill dates back to 1931, when it was the Alan E. Lefcourt Building; Brill Brothers, a men’s-wear store whose operators also owned the lot at 1619, was occupying retail space on the ground floor. Lefcourt subsequently defaulted on his obligations, and the building was renamed for Brill. There remains a bust of Lefcourt over the entrance.

The Borogoves, asked for comment, claimed to be mimsy.

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Look, ma, no hands!

Allstate ad as seen on Equestria DailyNow I realize that Allstate is advertising on Equestria Daily, not to reach ponies, but to reach the human fans of ponies, who, unlike ponies themselves, are likely to have actual hands. Still, seeing this at the top of the EqD sidebar ad block made me emit very silly giggles.

And since ponies presumably do things that might require insurance — well, I wouldn’t expect much of a change should Allstate decide to set up shop some day in beautiful downtown Canterlot. From my short-short (2000 words) story Dead Pony Flying, the one and only Rainbow Dash tells of anointing her successor:

At least the Element of Loyalty is in good hooves. I’ll never forget Scootaloo’s face when they told her. “It’s the happiest day of my life,” she said. And then she looked at me and said “Oops.”

And “you’re in good hooves” produces enough Googlage to tell me that this would work as an Equestrian advertising slogan.

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The few, the proud, the followers

Twitter, in an effort to persuade users to buy ad space, is making some of their analytics available. Some of the stats to report about my followers (777 at last count):

  • 68% male, 32% female.
  • 85% from the US, 15% from outside.
  • 34% from Oklahoma. Next states in order: California (7%), Texas (5%), New York (3%).

Since at least some of those followers are institutional in nature, I suspect they count everything that isn’t explicitly female as male. I haven’t lately broken down those I follow similarly, but last time I did, there was a small female majority.

The Top Interests list is not quite what I expected:

  • 57% Business and news
  • 55% Politics and current events
  • 49% Comedy (Movies and television)
  • 34% Business and finance
  • 31% Comedy (Hobbies and interests)
  • 28% Political elections
  • 25% Government
  • 24% Talk radio
  • 23% Romance (Movies and television)
  • 22% Financial news

I don’t seem to draw a lot of sports fans.

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Plead now, avoid the rush

Nothing to hide, you think? Perhaps you should rethink that:

Every April, I try to wade through mounds of paperwork to file my taxes. Like most Americans, I’m trying to follow the law and pay all of the taxes that I owe without getting screwed in the process. I try and make sure that every donation I made is backed by proof, every deduction is backed by logic and documentation that I’ll be able to make sense of three to seven years later. Because, like many Americans, I completely and utterly dread the idea of being audited. Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but the exact opposite. I know that I’m filing my taxes to the best of my ability and yet, I also know that if I became a target of interest from the IRS, they’d inevitably find some checkbox I forgot to check or some subtle miscalculation that I didn’t see. And so what makes an audit intimidating and scary is not because I have something to hide but because proving oneself to be innocent takes time, money, effort, and emotional grit.

IRS, of course, is utterly oblivious to that “innocent until proved guilty” shtick: as far as they’re concerned, you’re Al Capone in yoga pants. It’s like NSA with withholding.

And speaking of NSA, it’s not like they are interested in customer service, except to the extent that the shadowy goons of enforcement can be considered their “customers”: if some grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil-necked caller-ID spoofer pesters me on an extended basis, I can’t very well call up NSA and ask them “Who the hell is this, and can you arrange for a blast furnace with their name on it?”

This, unfortunately, is the case even if you’re not as grudge-ridden as I:

Sadly, I’m getting to experience this right now as Massachusetts refuses to believe that I moved to New York mid-last-year. It’s mindblowing how hard it is to summon up the paperwork that “proves” to them that I’m telling the truth. When it was discovered that Verizon (and presumably other carriers) was giving metadata to government officials, my first thought was: wouldn’t it be nice if the government would use that metadata to actually confirm that I was in NYC not Massachusetts. But that’s the funny thing about how data is used by our current government. It’s used to create suspicion, not to confirm innocence.

After all, each and every one of us commits, it is said, three felonies a day. “Innocence,” as a concept, is deader than the daguerreotype, or even the daguerreotype’s replacement.

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Planned plan undergoes planning

That’s the plan, anyway:

Northfield planning newspaper clipping

(Via, home of many arcane clippings.)

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