Starring Ward and Eldridge Cleaver

Back in 1998 I tossed up the notion of Convenient Fictions, “bits of silliness we cling to without any evidence that they represent anything that actually exists.” You might expect that things like this in aggregate would ultimately result in cognitive dissonance, or worse, and often as not you’d be correct: if two such fictions happen to conflict with one another, it’s as though you opened a box of antimatter in a room full of matter, and the destruction is practically instantaneous.

And so we are told that our nation is multicultural, that we benefit from a multiplicity of ethnicities with their variety of subcultures, and that we should glory in our diversity — yet every member of each of those ethnicities practicing said subcultures is exactly identical, perfectly interchangeable with one another, with no differences beyond the trivial. In mathematical terms, 1 equals 2, for certain specific values of 1.

So it was necessary to punish John Derbyshire for suggesting that this equation didn’t quite add up: forbidden arithmetic is forbidden for a reason, after all. Says Francis W. Porretto:

One cannot challenge the pieties of a society without provoking condemnation or ostracism. To question a piety, even along its margins, is to ask to be thrown out of the church. This is an absolute that applies to all peoples and times… If we are in thrall to a piety contrary to the actual facts of our society, we are in danger too. The question is only of degree.

Derb’s excommunication, you may be certain, was swift and merciless: if we say one doesn’t equal two, we’re questioning the very definition of equality, and how dare we do such a thing?

Not that I have any particular pity for Derb, who’s ticked me off before, but I was hoping this year for an improvement in the condition of the Emperor. We already knew about the transparency of his raiment, but now we see that he’s covered with boils.

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For instance, the Harold Tribune

Occasionally I’d find myself mentioned in something called, and I’d find a line or two of something I’ve written and a link to the rest of it, set on a screen that, were it not for its landscape orientation, would be a reasonable approximation of a news site seeking to look like a newspaper.

Late last night — I’d already gone to bed — the standard Twitter notification came out, and since I’m going to point you to the actual issue, I’ll use the actual tweet:

Diana’s Undead Daily is out! ▸ Top stories today via @jackjirou @vegaorion @scribe77 @raezorfxlauren @dustbury

The link lands here, and yes, there’s that zombie legal action I posted about yesterday, alongside more than a dozen pieces from other folks addressing the matter of undeadness. For people who are looking to become news aggregators on specific topics, this might be extremely handy. explains itself: is a content curation service. It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily.

We believe that people (and not machines) are the ones qualified to curate the content that matters most. We also think that these same people can greatly help their own communities to find their way through this “massive content world” we live in. We’re here to help!

Diana Trees, the publisher of Diana’s Undead Daily, also puts out a general-news edition called the Diana Trees Daily, plus editions devoted to vampires and “Violent & Powerful Females.”

This is, I note, the third different publisher (so far as I can tell) who has found something of mine worthy.

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Your basic tiny roadster departs

Not quite five years ago, I tried to argue a case for the Daihatsu Copen, a Japanese kei-class roadster which was getting some traction in the UK after the kei-standard 0.66-liter engine was upsized to twice that. The thrill, however, seems to be gone:

Daihatsu is reportedly discontinuing the line, with no apparent plans to replace it. Before it does, however, a 10th anniversary edition is reportedly in the works, with production limited to just 500 units.

I’d never have been able to shoehorn myself into a Copen, but I’ve always had a fondness for tiny cars, perhaps because I tend to think of them as crafted with jewel-like precision, even when they’re from a budget brand like Daihatsu.

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Narrower narrowcasting

Perennial D-Lister Kathy Griffin returns to Bravo this month with a primetime talk show called simply Kathy, and as you might expect, institutional print advertising for it contains Facebook and Twitter icons.

But the Twitter icon doesn’t mention a Twitter account for the show, or Kathy’s own account (@kathygriffin); it lists a hashtag — #kathy.

Given the growing tendency for hashtags to be hijacked, this may not be such a swift idea.

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Just watching the show

Here’s one of those “I ought to do something with this picture” pictures, from Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards show: Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood, (mostly) smiling for the camera.

Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood at the 2012 ACM Awards

I’m not quite sure what made me think of this, since at the time I wrote this up I was listening to Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

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Whippersnapper tax

The Germans, faced with a declining population and having already obliged themselves to pay humongous benefits for old people, now propose to tax younger people:

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have drafted proposals that, if law, would require all those over 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.

The German Chancellor’s ruling party is seeking extra sources of revenue to pay for soaring pensions and bills for social care costs as Germany’s “baby boomer” generation ages amid a decline in the birth rate.

In defense of the Germans, they’re at least admitting what they’re up to, which is more than American politicians would have the stones to do:

Instead we get more calls for taxing “the rich,” but there aren’t enough rich people to cover all of the promises the government is making.

The working Congressional definition for “the rich” seems to be “anyone who makes more money than a Congressman,” adjusted for graft.

(Seen at Daily Pundit.)

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For very special hooves

I didn’t have a shoe to feature this week until last night, when I happened upon this gladiator sandal from El Naturalista:

El Naturalista N403 gladiator sandal

And by “happened upon,” I mean “discovered that Tabitha St. Germain considers this her favorite shoe of the moment.” St. Germain — also known as Vancouver-based stage actress Paulina Gillis — is on my radar because she’s the speaking voice of this lovely lady:

Rarity is best pony

And for that matter, until Hasbro lapsed into Backlash Paranoia Mode, she was also the voice of Derpy.

Inexplicably, that sandal color, which to me looks red, is called “Tibet.” It’s also available in “Optical,” “Vaquero,” and “Black.”

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The undead are uneasy

Are you disturbed by the possibility of the Zombie Apocalypse? Trust me, your anxiety is as nothing compared to that of the “Haitian American Vodoo Association,” which reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to a gun-club site that was discussing the matter. Excerpts therefrom:

HAVA has become aware that you have engaged in spreading false, destructive, and defamatory rumors about Zombies. Your defamatory statements involved the article on the website ( dated 11/11/11 called “Zombie Apocalypse”. The article portrayed Undead Haitian Americans (A.K.A Zombies) as dangerous flesh eating monsters that pray on humans and other living creatures during the night. This image of a Zombie is completely inaccurate.

There is, of course, the slight chance that HAVA is engaged in the intra-Americas chain pull:

Modern Zombies are honest hard working undead people. They are just like the rest of Americans, but do not have any pulse nor brain activity. They are productive members of society and have been very successful in the local, state, and federal government. They have become model bureaucrats, and have continually worked toward building a positive reputation.

On the other (grey) hand, if they’re occupying the bureaucracy, that’s an even better reason to give them, um, ungrief.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man, who finds it risible.)

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Hence the journalistic term “grabber”

This is a news article, but its opening sentence is worthy of the Bulwer-Lytton Contest:

Zot L. Szurgot allegedly walked out of her house naked, turned to five of her neighbors and started wagging her penis.

If that seems slightly, um, contradictory:

According to the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel’s website, “Zot Lynn Szurgot is one of those magical people living between genders; born and raised a boy, she lives part of eir [sic] life as a masculine union-supporting electrician and part as a feminine spiritual being.”

Um, okay. If you say so. It’s not like this has never been heard of before.

Whoever submitted this to Fark, incidentally, evidently thought that first line was better than any conceivable headline, and I wouldn’t disagree with that either.

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Heady Pacers

The Indiana Pacers hadn’t yet had a shot at the Thunder this season, but they knew what to do: run up a big lead and then hold on. By “big,” I mean 12 points after the first quarter, 24 points midway through the third. The OKC never-say-die drill, had it started earlier, might have paid off; but the closest they would get would be three, and they lost it by five, 103-98.

Neither side shot especially well — OKC 44 percent, Indiana 41 — and both were fairly blah from the three-point line (6-19 each). But the Pacers snagged 50 rebounds, 18 offensive, versus 40 and 11 for the Thunder, and seemingly as always, the OKC turnover number, this time 17, was alarming. The usual suspects got most of the points for Indiana — Danny Granger 26, Roy Hibbert 21 (with 12 boards), David West 14 — but perhaps the biggest thorn in OKC’s side was second-year guard Paul George, who before fouling out picked up eight points and a career-high 16 rebounds. (And he played nearly as much time as Granger, which meant that Frank Vogel decided to leave the kid in while he was on a roll. Good call, Frank.)

While the Pacers were spreading the offense around, the Thunder was relying on the All-Star contingent, and they got All-Star worthy numbers — eventually. (Russell Westbrook had only three points at halftime, yet finished with 21; Kevin Durant went off for 44.) Your telltale statistic, though: Derek Fisher was +12, tops on the team, despite scoring zilch and accumulating five fouls. The OKC bench contributed only 18 points, ten from James Harden, eight from Nick Collison, but they had at least some success keeping the Pacers from running up the score even more.

And now follows a trap game: Sunday at the ‘Peake against Toronto, a team with a miserable record, but which had a miserable record last year and still swept the Thunder. Even the Easter Bunny might have his doubts about this one.

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Keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead

The May issue of Automobile has a three-page article on distracted driving, which features in a sidebar a paragraph from a 1930 magazine article that anticipates our current Nanny State to a remarkable degree:

In some quarters, the argument has been advanced that a radio set in an automobile must necessarily act as a distraction to the driver. There has even been some discussion of the possibility of adverse legislation, or at least legislative control of the use of radio in cars.

Substitute any number of components for “radio,” and this could be a 2012 article.

The title here, of course, comes from “Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat” by Paul Evans and the Curls, in which said girls are having fun with Fred. Either these girls are a lot littler than I think, or this must be Fred Schneider’s Chrysler, which seats about twenty.

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Over my head, evidently

Some of you may remember the utter ineptitude exhibited by yours truly a while back when I was confronted with a bad bulb in the track-lighting array in the kitchen.

On the off-chance that you were curious, it’s a 50-watt MR-16 halogen bulb, running on 12 volts and casting a 40-degree beam. And apparently they last, at least in this installation, a bit less than four and a half years. (I had three spares on hand last night, because … well, because.)

Tangential note: These particular bulbs cost about five bucks apiece. I looked at one of them and wondered how it compared to automotive headlights, about which I know zilch these days since I haven’t had to change one since the days of sealed-beams. Gwendolyn, says the service info, takes an HB2 bulb, 55 watts (low beam) or 60 (high), for which the dealership will charge me $36, which is probably only about twice what I’d have to pay for the non-OEM product. Not that Nissan makes any of their own light bulbs, mind you. (I do not have the HID lamps, bulbs for which cost somewhere in the low three figures.)

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Inspiration for a Friday

In case you’d like to hear some Friday-related songs besides the one we promote here seemingly every week, Delaney McDonough of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School, south of Albany, New York, has a small playlist for you, complete with videos.

The one song she mentions I hadn’t heard before was NSYNC’s “Just Got Paid,” from their album No Strings Attached, which opens with this line: “Thank God it’s Friday night and I just-just-just-just-juuuuuuust got paid!” Things evidently were happening faster in 2000 than in, say, 1956, when Little Richard announced that it was Saturday night and he just got paid.

Of course, the only person who ever got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe:

Perhaps we should leave it at that.

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She shoots, she scores

In fact, she dunks, and some people have a problem with that:

Last week Baylor University’s Brittney Griner set the basketball world on fire with 2 dunks in the NCAA tournament. Not that women haven’t always had the ability to dunk, but it was informally forbidden for being “masculine.” When Candace Parker won the dunk contest back in 2004 it set off all kind of outrage from asshats like Jason Whitlock, who, not coincidentally, reaffirmed his opinion on ESPN a few days ago, exclaiming how much it offended him that a girl would do a man thang.

Part of said asshat’s opinion:

And while it might be exciting to see Vince Carter hang on the rim and growl after an alley-oop dunk, I can guarantee you that no one wants to see Candace Parker do it. Consider it another one of those ugly double standards that you’re better off embracing rather than fighting.

Truth be told, I don’t particularly want to see Vince Carter hanging on the rim; I have a limited appetite for that sort of showboating generally.

But here’s (yes!) your telltale statistic: For the last quarter-century or so, the average NBA player has been six foot six, maybe 6’7″. Brittney Griner is 6’8″. She could posterize rather a lot of guys.

And there’s this:

When Griner and Baylor failed to reach the Final Four [in 2010], an ESPN poll was taken before the Stanford-Texas A&M semi-final basketball game saying that 63% of Americans were disappointed that Griner and the Baylor women’s basketball team did not make it past the quarterfinals. Many of the people who participated in the on-line poll said they would very much like to see women dunk in NCAA basketball.

I note that her Wikipedia page is now locked. I blame asshats.

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It’s a turn-down day

Occasionally — not too often — a publisher or a publicist will offer to send me a book or an electronic version thereof, in the hopes of bagging a review. As a rule, I’ll accept these if there’s at least a reasonable chance, in my judgment, that I’ll get something worth reading out of the deal; otherwise, no thank you.

Roberta X, however, is a bit stricter with her standards:

“Get a free review copy of my book!” (No. Tell me where I can buy it and if the price is within my budget, I will review it; I think getting a freebie instead of paying for it affects my ability to give a fair review. I’ve done so once and I lucked out, it was a good book, but I’m not chancing it again. If you shy away from that, then maybe you need to sit down and do some editing.)

This is, pretty much by definition, the no-compromise position, and if she feels that getting the freebie influences her judgment, she’s doing exactly what she ought to be doing.

Which suggests the obvious question: does getting the freebie influence my judgment? At some level, I suspect it must; there’s a lot to be said for not actually parting with $24.95. And I do work to minimize that influence. That said, though, “minimal,” as a general rule, does not equal zero.

Disclosure: I bought her book.

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Imagery 101

LeeAnn’s brand of subtlety is like no other:

It is possible, I learned, to put on a hospital gown the wrong way.

My limited experience with such suggests that it’s not only possible, but likely.

Of course, she can still bring out stuff like this:

I have an appointment with my tiny Scottish doctor tomorrow and he’ll likely turf me out to some gastrowhatchacallit and then the real fun will begin and oh yeah, babies, more riveting “I puked like Pat Robertson at a Courtney Love roast” stories.

Not so subtle, perhaps, but I defy anyone to paint a more vivid picture, even with twice as many words.

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