Possibly Google-eyed

Sarah Palin looks away from the screen for just a moment:

Sarah Palin at the computer

Took me five tries to get this particular frame frozen. I plead high levels of distraction. (Click for HD [2 MB].)

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Light anti-stank weapons

You might want to back off with the body sprays, guys:

It turns out that there was an experiment in which men didn’t shower for three days, so that all of their funk and manstink got into their sweatshirts. Women were then asked to dig into that pile of sweatshirts and find the one they felt most comfortable wearing. The result was that they were most compatible, all of them, and meaning sexually attracted to the man whose genetic profile was most different from her own. This is a natural kind of attraction that makes for human biodiversity.

I read “the one they felt most comfortable wearing” as “the one that didn’t choke them to death.”

There is, however, an exception to this rule:

However, when women are pregnant, that sort of thing reverses. Then they most want to be around family. It makes sense, family will protect her and the baby.

Then again, if the relationship has gotten that far, chances are she’s made you wash that filthy rag you’re always wearing.

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Simpler screening

Michael Bates proposes a less-intrusive security procedure for American airports:

We have a pretty good idea of the sort of person who would try to blow up a plane while on board. While we might still need X-rays and metal detectors to deter the old-fashioned kind of hijacker that just wanted a free trip to Cuba, the new-fangled suicide hijacker should be more easily detected. Offer every male passenger between the ages of 18 and 45 a pulled-pork sandwich or a beer; if you won’t consume either one, you get the special scope-and-grope. (Some non-yeasty alcohol would be provided for Passover.)

Which of course leaves me with one question: do vegans occasionally down a brewski?

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Chix nix dix flix

Fritinancy’s Word of the Week is “Bechdel Test,” named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who used the test in her Dykes to Watch Out For strip. The test is applied to motion pictures (including television), and it’s pretty simple to explain:

To pass the Bechdel Test, a film or TV show must (a) have at least two women in it, who (b) talk to each other, about (c) something other than men.

Here’s Bechdel’s original cartoon.

Note that the Bechdel Test does not make any assumptions about cinematic quality:

Many excellent movies, from Stalag 17 to Das Boot, have no female characters; some mediocrities (Bring It On Again, 27 Dresses, et al.) pass the test with flying colors but probably aren’t worth a free download.

Turn this on its suddenly-blue ear, and you have the Smurfette Principle:

For any series not aimed solely at females, odds are high that only one female will be in the regular cast.

The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for works of fiction to have exactly one female amongst an ensemble of male characters (this female is the Token Girl), in spite of the fact that roughly half of the human race is female. Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female viewing audience, the main characters will tend to be disproportionately male.

Note also that the title of this piece, swiped from a famous Variety headline, is subject to shuffling as necessary.

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Did they see her coming?

Sandra Tsing Loh, in the December Atlantic, laments her repair bill:

I admit that — God help me — without intending to, with only the purest of intentions, I took my nine-year-old Volvo wagon in for a routine oil change and emerged with a bill for … $535!

Five hundred and thirty-five dollars!!! Although technically it was an oil change plus two changed-out hoses at $95 apiece, with four hours of labor charged for water- and oil-system repressurization and tire rotation. I’ve been with these guys since 2001, on my friend Keith’s recommendation, and I’ve trusted them through 109,000 miles. But why, why, why $535??? Good God! I kick myself! I gnash my teeth! My stomach lining burns! I can feel, viscerally, the weight of the $535 that is never coming back (and that’s just the principal, not all the interest that won’t be compounding decade after decade).

That term “repressurization” is perplexing. It’s a given that she got a new fill of coolant — you pretty much have to when you replace the hoses in question — and it takes a certain level of skill to make sure that there aren’t any air bubbles remaining in the cooling system. (Which skill, I remember, was lacking one day about twelve years ago when I had a coolant flush performed on a Mazda.) But what did they have to repressurize in the oil system? If the oil pump was bad, she’d have written a much larger check than that. I’m guessing they ran something like the BG PF12 Power Flush on the car and didn’t explain it to her properly.

Still, a $500-plus repair bill is a jolt when you own a nine-year-old car. As the owner of a ten-year-old car which got just under $1000 worth of service this fall, I’ll be too happy to testify to that effect.

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Jazz bebopped

When the Thunder were up thirteen on the Jazz with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the question in everyone’s mind was how long it would take Utah, this year’s Comeback Kids, to regain the lead. They made up five by the end of the quarter, and six more in the next five minutes. But two points would be as close as the Jazz would get; Kevin Durant sank four free throws in the last thirteen seconds to put it out of reach. The final: 115-108. Radio guy Matt Pinto reminded me that the Thunder were the sixth-best road team last year, and maybe that’s the way things are going to happen this year: they’re 3-1 on the road and 3-3 at the Flawed Center.

Telltale statistic: Serge Ibaka, in the absence of Jeff Green, played 39 minutes, rolled up 22 points, and reeled in 11 boards. (Then there were the four blocked shots, a steal, and even an assist.) Russell Westbrook, his minutes limited by early foul trouble, still got 22; KD finished with 30. Shooting was almost dead even: OKC 50.7 percent, Utah 50.6. The Thunder hit six of sixteen treys, the Jazz six of fifteen. The clincher: OKC 33-34 at the stripe, Utah 18-22.

On the other hand, Deron Williams is amazing to watch, even on the radio. (The Fox Sports TV feed failed early on.) Williams had 31 points and 11 assists, game high for both. And backup guard C. J. Miles, for whom Sam Presti tried to deal back in the day, was the only bench player for either side in double figures, with 16.

The Rockets come to town Wednesday, possibly Yao-less, though Luis Scola is scary enough, if you ask me.

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Probably not so deep

Or at the very least, disturbing:

Give director Andy Tennant credit for thinking outside the box. Faced with having to cast an actress to play the daughter of Katherine Heigl, he chose Angela Lansbury. No, really.

The film is Adaline, the Sidney Kimmel Entertainment/Lakeshore co-production that stars Heigl as the title character. Long ago, she was killed in a car accident, until a simultaneous lightning strike resuscitated her and physiologically locked her in her late 20s. Adaline lives a solitary existence until she meets a man worth losing her immortality to grow old with. Lansbury plays her daughter, who, in her mid-80s, needs her mother’s care as her health declines.

I’m ordinarily a sucker for fish-out-of-dihydrogen-monoxide stories, but this seems a bit much, especially since “Adaline” is a specific type of single-layer neural network. Lightning surely can’t be good for it.

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WWCHD?

Let’s see if I can make any sense of this batch of questions, all of which begin “What would you do if…”:

1. The couple right upstairs was always very loud and unrestrained in their frequent lovemaking sessions.
  I moved. But actually, I was more annoyed by subwoofers than by seduction.

2. You’ve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection. Plus the killing jar.
  That’s how I know it’s my kid.

3. You were the only one on your block who never had a fingerbox.
  Somehow I doubt that.

4. You got a windfall of $100,000.
  I’d spend most of it on debt reduction, and then schedule a World Tour.

5. The police had a warrant and confiscated your computer.
  I’d change all my passwords immediately.

6. At a bar, a person of the same sex you swear you never met before knows everything about you.
  “Oh, wow, a regular reader!”

7. On your way to the art gallery you see yourself walking the other way with a wrapped painting under your arm.
  I’d wonder if I’d gotten that $100k windfall in item #4.

8. You had it wrong all along.
  Wouldn’t be the first time, believe me.

9. The search engine tells you exactly the best brand name product to use for that problem but when you search for the brand name product no search engine you use can find it.
  Not to worry. It’s on eBay somewhere.

10. Kenneth actually told you the frequency.
  And I tell him, “I believe that qualifies as TMI.”

(Purloined from Incurable Insomniac.)

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Germans perplexed by EVs

Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen AG Chairman of the Board of Management, has been at least somewhat consistent in his cheerleading for VeeDub’s eventual electric car, but apparently not everyone on the board is so persuaded:

[I]t came as a bit of a contradictory shock to hear Volkswagen’s Board Member responsible for sales, Christian Klingler, express emotions bordering on outright hostility regarding the future of electric cars in a roundtable discussion during the media launch for the electric Golf in Germany this week. “The electric car is not a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government,” said Klingler, going on to describe how there is no market demand for electric cars.

According to Klingler, VW has been careful in developing electric cars and is waiting to see what the “willingness” of customers is to buy an electric car before they truly commit.

Meanwhile, down the road at Daimler, Dr Z is calling for governmental incentives:

“Even in the best case, the cost of electric autos might run several thousand euros more than conventional vehicles for the foreseeable future,” [Dieter] Zetsche said [Thursday] in a speech in Stuttgart. “In other words, we need appropriate sales incentives.”

Volkswagen hasn’t gone that far — yet. But Stateside, I have to wonder how many Volts and Leafs (Leaves?) would be moving in the first year without that $7500 contribution from taxpayers.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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And I’m not what I appear to be

There are no great revelations here, unless you haven’t been paying attention.

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Strange search-engine queries (250)

This is a once-a-week — it wasn’t always, but it seems to have settled into an Actual Schedule — dip into the turbid waters of the server log, hoping to find something, anything, worthy of a Bit O’ Snark.

the new old fashioned way to camp:  “Mom, there’s no place in the tent to charge my phone!”

need cock for my wife in sallisaw:  Is this to drain her, by chance?

A species of Atlanta slut that frequents Moe’s and Joe’s on Tu…  Give her a strap-on and a bus ticket to Sallisaw.

was a nudist a little while back:  I assume something happened to discourage the practice, like, say, January.

“get laid in tulsa”:  It’s certainly possible. Trust me on this.

Create gmail fake login page spanish:  Curiously, this came in from Germany.

nude man with soft drink cup covering penis:  It’s a safe bet this wasn’t a Big Gulp.

you exist therefore I am offended:  Estimated rotational speed of Descartes in his grave at the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés: 600 rpm.

daewoo mechanic bulwer lytton:  “It was a dark and greasy Leganza…”

old blond woman with nice legs:  Now that’s not a bad idea:

Betty Grable for Lux Flakes

dusitburee:  The mythical South Plains Faerie after whom this place was named.

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Jingle, jangle, jingle

The Spurs took control of this one in the third quarter and never let go. You can point to several different factors — dominance of the boards (DeJuan Blair had seven offensive rebounds, Oklahoma City in aggregate had only five), superior results at the stripe (34-38 versus 24-30), Matt Bonner’s long-ball skillz (he put up seven treys and hit them all), or just the fact that it was Sunday (the Thunder haven’t won a Sunday game all season) — but sooner or later, you end up pointing to the scoreboard, which read San Antonio 117, Oklahoma City 104.

The Thunder had been up 66-61 at the half, meaning they were outscored 56-38 in the second half. That’s not just a fold; that’s origami. The Dynamic Duo were held to 42 points — Kevin Durant had 23 and Russell Westbrook 19 — and Jeff Green added a dozen more, mostly early, but the Spurs shut everything down after halftime, and second-chance points were few and far between. For that matter, first-chance points were few and far between.

San Antonio took a while to get untracked, but when they did, they didn’t let up. Down 35-23 late in the first, they put together a 7-0 run to close, and then got the first bucket after the break. Bonner’s beyond-the-arc performance was scary enough, but Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili dropped in 24 points each, and Manu was the very picture of calm as he sank all eleven of his free throws. If this is the Over-The-Hill Gang, well, pass the Geritol.

And tomorrow night in Utah. I’m already scouring the Net for synonyms for “not pretty.”

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Don’t link twice, it’s all right

Just in case you thought Phil Spector was the last holdout for monophonic sound:

Then again, should Columbia be using that “360 Sound” logo for mono recordings?

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Attempting new heights

Our old friend Sombreroless in Starkville sent us a link to artist and shoe designer Marloes ten Bhömer, who perhaps is best known for her “beigefoldedshoe,” which is pretty much exactly as described:

…a shoe made from a single piece of folded leather and stainless steel heel construction, which stems from one of her visionary footwear concepts, transformed into a wearable shoe through two years of design and engineering development. Hand made in the UK, and incorporating technical expertise from international manufacturers.

Precisely how the shoe is hand-made can be seen here. Also for your inspection: the “rotationalmouldedshoe,” which is not yet for sale, although both beige and black “foldedshoes” are available for £2250.

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Bless you, Betty Crocker

Resolved: Bisquick is the food version of duct tape.

BisquickHistory, swiped from Wikipedia:

According to General Mills, Bisquick was born when one of their sales executives met a train dining car chef in 1930 who mixed lard and the dry ingredients for biscuits ahead of time. The recipe was adapted, using hydrogenated oil, thus eliminating the need for refrigeration (sesame oil was originally used as a preservative, identified on the box as “Ingredient S” over the years), and officially introduced on grocers’ shelves in 1931.

Subsequently, General Mills issued Betty Crocker’s 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations, As Made and Served by Well-Known Gracious Hostesses, Famous Chefs, Distinguished Epicures and Smart Luminaries of Movieland.

Which actually makes Bisquick older than duct tape, which dates to 1942. On the other hand, duct tape probably withstands extreme heat a little better; a strip of it held the exhaust manifold of my old ’75 Toyota in place for several thousand miles.

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Keeping the General on a leash

There are few people of whom you can say “Even when he’s right, he’s wrong,” and one of them is Ralph Nader, who has decided that General Motors ought to postpone its stock offering, currently scheduled for next week; he and three like-minded meddlers dispatched a letter to the President requesting that the sale be delayed indefinitely.

The Detroit News quotes Nader:

“It’s the same old arrogant GM. There’s no sense of gratitude that they wouldn’t exist without the government, without the taxpayers.”

That much, I’ll give him. Besides, it was just Nader in the interview; there was no mention of the other co-conspirators, one of whom is Joan Claybrook, one of the dimmer bulbs ever to occupy the back seat of a motor-pool sedan, whose major contribution to Western civilization has been the notion that people won’t drive fast if you limit the numbers on auto speedometers.

And this bit from the letter sounds Claybrookian, if not precisely Orwellian:

“As majority shareholder in GM, the United States has the ability to direct or influence the company’s investment decisions. As the U.S. reduces its share, so its capacity to influence such decisions diminishes.”

It must really frost them that Washington doesn’t own a piece of Ford.

Actually, there is a perfectly good reason not to sell off a bunch of GM stock right now, and it did get mentioned in the letter: the Feds stand to lose a fair chunk of change on this first sale. (A Detroit News estimate says up to $5.4 billion.) I have no doubt that GM is tired of having Washington looking over its shoulder, but inasmuch as I stand to lose eighteen bucks on the deal — $5.4 billion split 300 million ways — I’d just as soon they waited a while longer.

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