Far to go

Few things are quite as disconcerting as happening upon your doctor at the supermarket. Fortunately, my basket was nearly empty at the time, else I might have had to endure something like this:

Caving to my doctor’s incessant prodding to partake of healthier fare containing rather large amounts of high fiber and less potables, I began a stout regimen of bran, greens and moderate sobriety.

An hour after promising to attempt a healthier lifestyle just to shut his yammering pie hole, I made a tedious, label reading trip through the store and loaded the pantry with bran flakes, assorted brown grains and other unappetizing foodstuffs I had absolutely no desire to eat.

The results were pretty much what you’d expect:

How in the hell can any medical professional recommend such a gruesome diet that would limit most sentient people to a solitary life compatible with isolated penal confinement or eating grubs in some remote island cave? You simply can’t go out in public after indulging in this bit of healthful idiocy.

Well, you can, but you have to be able to deftly deflect any and all attention that might be paid to your overactive butt trumpet. It helps to work in an unpleasant industrial environment, where such ructions scarcely will be noticed.

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Way too much way too soon

Number One Grandson has a Facebook account, which does not bother me greatly: I mean, he’s almost twelve, fercryingoutloud. I’ve read blogs by people with ages barely into double digits, without thinking Dark Thoughts or anything. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was that he’d be listing himself as “In a relationship.”

I duly gave my surprise an airing on my own Wall, which drew this remark from his mother: “I saw that and about passed out.”

As someone once said, “If Booth Tarkington had written Seventeen today, he’d have had to call it Twelve.” God only knows what would have happened to Penrod.

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It’s an outrage, I tell you

Aggrieved dork goes into paroxysm:

Is it illegal for a car dealership to sell you a used car with a flat spare tire?

i have a 2000 dodge intrepid and the tire blew and went to put on the spare tire and it was flat lucky for me i was close to home but was wondering is this legal?


it was bought a few months ago and this was the first time need the spare since all the tires were fine

So he’d had the car for “a few months,” and it never occurred to him to look in the trunk?

I really hope he sues. Few things in life are quite so enjoyable as someone being laughed out of a courtroom.

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Reader depletion

Robert Stacy McCain weeps over his lack of attention from the Instant Man:

Something has gone drastically wrong, and I can’t figure out what it is. About a month ago, as Wombat noted in his Aug. 28 FMJRA round-up, we got no fewer than six Instalanches in the span of a single week. There are bloggers who’ve worked for years without getting a ‘Lanche, and so we may have exhausted our karmic quota of linky-love that week, which would explain the 17% decline of traffic from August to September.

At my current rate of ‘Lancheration, I should get my sixth somewhere around 2015.

Then again, I avoid paying too much attention to the meter, mostly because (1) it’s too depressing and (2) it’s not like Susannah Breslin is reading me or anything. I will, however, point out this weird fact from my own statistics: since the first of the year, feed subscribers here are up by 30-40 percent, yet SiteMeter shows only a modest 10-percent gain. Then again, the JavaScript used by SiteMeter doesn’t count anyone’s feed reader unless they actually come back to the site.

McCain, I suspect, were he to find similar results at his place, would not be mollified, and would move heaven and earth to figure out a way to make it possible to get feed subscribers to hit the freaking tip jar.

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Zooeypalooza 12!

How long has it been since you had a bright, shiny new Zooeypalooza?

Well, that’s too long:

Zooeypalooza 12!

Clicking on any section produces a certain amount of rebigulation.

Previous Paloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11.

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What do we want? This!

News Item: Occupy Wall Street movement issues proposed list of demands.

Next Top Ten Demands of Occupy Wall Street movement:

  1. Unemployment benefits extended to 99 years
  2. New logo for Bank of AmeriKKKa
  3. Tim Tebow off television forever
  4. Selective Service reactivated to select dates for Janeane Garofalo
  5. Government to ration meat, Michael Moore to receive first batch of ration coupons
  6. Investment bank to be renamed “Goldman Sucks”
  7. Jersey Shore recast with progressives, plus Snooki
  8. Global Temperature Saving enacted, thermometers to be set back 5 degrees in March, forward again in November
  9. Double Rainbow Guy to be named Secretary of something
  10. More cowbell!

The movement reserves the right to change its mind without notice.

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Not your stepping stone

Glenn Reynolds proposes a Constitutional amendment:

Any person, having been elected to the office of United States senator, shall be forever ineligible to be elected to the office of president of the United States. The purpose of this amendment isn’t so much to protect the presidency, as to protect the Senate. Very few senators ever become president, but of the 100 people serving in the Senate at any given time, probably about 95 think they’ve got a shot. This causes them to treat their Senate service as a potential steppingstone, rather than an end in itself. Ban senators from higher office and you encourage them to focus on their jobs. Plus, a Senate that couldn’t serve as a steppingstone might attract a better caliber of senator.

I dunno. Harry Reid seems to have no further ambition, and he’s about as small-caliber (or large-bore, if you’re thinking shotguns) as they come.

I see one potential sticking-point: the existing senators, at least the 95 who covet the White House, aren’t going to go for this unless it’s written specifically to exclude anyone in office at the time of ratification. (Once a greedy pygmy, always a greedy pygmy.)

The more arguable point, though, is whether this would have more of a salutary effect than simply repealing the 17th Amendment and returning the selection process to the states. Opinions differ on the exact benefits of getting away from direct election of senators, though one of them, at least to me, is never again finding myself in a crowd of people and thinking “Christ, some of these people actually voted for Jim Inhofe.”

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Boilerplate becomes ever cheaper

Received within seconds of one another, from three literally consecutive IPs:

Can I simply say what a aid to seek out someone who actually knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know methods to carry a problem to light and make it important. More people must learn this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant consider youre no more fashionable because you definitely have the gift. [“Bernetta Crivelli,”]

I?d must examine with you here. Which isn’t one thing I often do! I take pleasure in reading a post that can make individuals think. Also, thanks for allowing me to remark! [“Michel Galayda,”]

Can I just say what a reduction to find someone who actually knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know tips on how to carry an issue to light and make it important. Extra folks have to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant imagine youre no more well-liked because you positively have the gift. [“Trent Yauck,”]

All these figmentary Hirudinea were hyping the same URL, which will of course be ignored here.

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Post rock, ergo propter rock

Severian admits to never having heard of Vampire Weekend, which prompts an analysis from Gagdad Bob:

In hindsight, I think rock died in about 1975. Since then there have been some good albums and artists, but nothing truly novel, just iterations of settled forms and recycling of various genres. One might even say that the punk movement, which began in the mid-1970s, signified the full circle, i.e., returning to the primitive and unadorned roots of primeval rock. Some of the latter was great — e.g. London Calling — but it was nevertheless impossible to return to the spontaneous, artless and unself-conscious innocence of 1955, just as it will always be impossible for the jazz artist to return to the days of Louis Armstrong in 1926, when he was inventing the jazz vocabulary. One man’s open discovery becomes another’s closed dogma.

I was wanting to call Bob out on this one when it occurred to me that I couldn’t think of a post-’75 genre, save punk, that wasn’t at least somewhat derivative, and that pretty much all my recent favorite singles were in some ways throwbacks to earlier days. (You can’t tell me that if Ruth Brown were still around, she wouldn’t have a go at “Rolling in the Deep.”)

So rock just died, and Suzie went and left Elton for some other guy, so to speak. And while the Clash deserve their spot in the Pantheon, they managed to incorporate so many pre-punk influences that I’m tempted to declare the Great Divide to have occurred, not with London Calling, but with Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. No such discontinuity arises with Vampire Weekend, unless you’re a fan of the Oxford comma.

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Strange search-engine queries (296)

Probably my favorite U2 song is “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which may be the theme song for the thousand or so people who come to this site every week looking for something sort of specific, and which should definitely be sung by the ten or so who land on this page by dint of having provided above-average snark potential.

two hearts synchronizing:  Amazingly, it doesn’t require any additional equipment.

old backwater:  They don’t seem to be making any new backwaters — at least, not deliberately.

spendophobia:  A disease, immunity to which is acquired by election to Congress.

deer bouncing off car into another car:  Only a select few deer are chosen for kamikaze duty. They are much to be feared.

edible footwear:  Recommended for all of you who suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome.

which ones beavis:  At a certain metaphysical level, it really doesn’t matter.

jayne mansfield removed from the car:  Which is a shame, considering what it took to get her installed in the first place.

rebecca black costume:  Not this year. Halloween is on a Monday, not a Friday.

“invisible woman” seduce:  Good luck with that. How can you get to second base if you can’t find it?

chipmunk chewing through weather stripping:  And now you know why David Seville froze to death.

zoey deschanel fat knees:  Well, you know, nobody’s perfect, not even Zooey.

dusthbry:  In Elizabethan times, an unopenable cupboard.

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Decant be serious

Former Microsoft wiseguy Nathan Myhrvold dabbles in Technological Oenophilia:

Wine lovers have known for centuries that decanting wine before serving it often improves its flavor. Whatever the dominant process, the traditional decanter is a rather pathetic tool to accomplish it. A few years ago, I found I could get much better results by using an ordinary kitchen blender. I just pour the wine in, frappé away at the highest power setting for 30 to 60 seconds, and then allow the froth to subside (which happens quickly) before serving. I call it “hyperdecanting.”

Myhrvold says it “almost invariably” improves red wines; white wines don’t generally accumulate much sediment, unless they’re allowed to get too cold.


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Where has all the equity gone?

The hardest thing for some of us to get our minds around has been that there exists no Law of Conservation of Equity: if it’s reduced at Point A, there is no Point B at which it must therefore increase. There’s still a lot of it out there — $6.2 trillion, said the Federal Reserve at the end of June — but six years ago there was over $13 trillion. That’s one hell of a vanishing act.

Still, not everybody is underwater yet:

Roughly one of every three homes is mortgage-free, according to federal and industry estimates.

Among owners who have mortgages, according to CoreLogic, 48.5 percent of them have at least 25 percent equity stakes in their properties. Roughly a quarter of owners with mortgages — 24.6 percent — have more than 50 percent equity.

At the other end of the spectrum, 22.5 percent of owners are in negative equity positions, burdened with houses worth less than their mortgage balances.

According to the county assessor, the value of the palatial estate at Surlywood dropped by a percentage point this year, but the amount due on the mortgage went down more than that, so technically my equity position has improved by a smidgen: about 27 percent, putting me pretty close to the 50th percentile. Property-tax rates won’t be released until later this month, but I anticipate about a 1-percent increase — which would leave my tax bill for this year at pretty much where it was last year. Then again, my mad prediction skillz have been fairly questionable of late.

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I find your lack of fuel injection disturbing

Put a sock in it, Vader. This isn’t just any ’77 Toyota Celica:

Star Wars Toyota Celica

In late 1977, this very car — passengers not included — was apparently given away in some national sweepstakes, and no one’s seen it since:

The Star Wars Celica was designed by Delphi Auto Design in Costa Mesa, California, and awarded sometime after the end of 1977, probably in January 1978. While the sweepstakes were a joint venture hosted by Toyota and Twentieth Century Fox, the awarding dealership remains a mystery, as does the identity of the winner and the vehicle’s VIN number.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of customization here: the paint job, of course, a modest body kit, spiffier-than-stock wheels and tires, and a nice hole in the roof for bulls-eyeing womp rats, but apparently it’s the same trusty old 20R four with a two-barrel, presumably bolted to Toyota’s five-speed stick. (Very few of these cars were fitted with the three-speed automatic; mine certainly wasn’t.) Autoblog suggests it met its end on the Kessel Run, but its fate, I fear, is likely more mundane: an attack by the dreaded tinworm, which in those days chewed through Japanese sheetmetal like teenagers through Doritos, followed by a trip to the garbage compactor.

(My own Celica history here.)

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Where the pink ribbons grow

I shouldn’t have to remind you of this by now, but it’s October again, and therefore it’s time for the Boobie-Thon. (They actually started late on the 30th of September, but surely no one has a problem with that.)

Boobie-Thon SupporterOn the other hand, if you’ve read this far and are thinking “WTF”?, here’s how it all came about and what it’s for, except that where it says “raised over $17,000,” you’ll want to read “raised over $74,000.” I’ve been promoting it on a regular basis for several years, and I’ve also kicked in some small fraction of the fundage, which explains the presence of the graphic. (And the current title seems a bit less unsubtle than the one I was planning to use: “Save the Racks!”)

(Previous announcements: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.)

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Isthmus shopping

“No man is an island,” said John Donne, but there are entirely too many times when I feel like a clod washed away by the sea: at the very least, my connection to the mainland seems tenuous.

And a lot of the bridges seem to be one-way only:

It feels like all I have to offer is nice and helpful. If you need your taxes done, or need something from the store, or a deck built, or someone to listen to you tell all your tales of woe, or need a mural painted in your living room, I will do that for you at no charge. I’m happy to do it, excited for a connection, excited that I might have actually made a friend. But I hope you’ll like me in exchange for my efforts, because it sometimes feels like that’s all I’ve got.

“Nice and helpful” is nowhere nearly as common as we’d like it to be.

Still, it’s not unusual to fear solitude: as Donne said, “it is a torment that is not threatened in hell itself.” I flit back and forth between embracing it and cursing it. I settle into my various routines, and sometimes they’re enough, but sometimes the shore seems awfully far away.

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No editorializing, please

Software should do its job and keep its trap shut:

Photoshop screen shot

Who’s the allegedly empty-headed beauty? Her name is Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu, but fans of Romanian pop stars know her as “Inna.” She’s not quite twenty-five, and she looks something like this:


And for the curious, here’s her 2010 single “10 Minutes”.

(First photo found at Poorly Dressed; second photo by T. Spark.)

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