Burnishing the image

There is apparently only so much Slocum one person can put up with:

James Awesome name announcement

Rainbow Miriam Dash was not available for comment.

(Via Bad Newspaper.)

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Rise to vote, sir

Now here’s an ambition I can respect:

Two English novels are palindromic in formSatire: Veritas by David Stephens (1980, 58,795 letters), and Dr Awkward & Olson in Oslo by Lawrence Levine (1986, 31,954 words) — but not having read either of them, I have no idea whether their narratives make sense. I have, however, read Demetri Martin’s palindromic poem “Dammit I’m Mad” — so can you — and it teeters on the edge of comprehensibility.

Perhaps easier would be a string of multiple palindromes, like this:

What it lacks in emotional purity, it makes up for in, um, some way or another.

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Measured desperation

See? You should have charged your phone before going out for the evening:

Dying phone batteries can lead to desperate measures when it comes to ordering an Uber.

The ride-hailing service has learned from its internal data that riders are much more likely to spring for surge-priced fares when their phone is nearing the end of its battery life.

Of course, they know exactly what you’re doing:

The reasoning here is pretty straightforward: Anyone with an amply charged phone can afford to wait and see if Uber’s real-time demand-based pricing system might let up on the extra charge. But the prospect of being stranded with a dead phone makes time more of the essence.

Uber knows when your phone battery is running low because its app collects that information in order to switch into power-saving mode. But [Uber head of economic research Keith] Chen swears Uber would never use that knowledge to gouge you out of more money.

Sure they wouldn’t.

(Via Rusty Surette.)

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Blink while it’s ink

Most people I’ve talked to on the subject [caution: small sample] expressed no regrets about their body art, and that’s fine. (I have occasionally been put off by it, but it’s not like anyone is required to do things for my benefit, and God help us if they were.) Still, if permament ink seems awfully, well, permanent, the answer may be on the way:

Temporary tattoo stickers are a bit of fun and you can even try out virtual tattoos now, but it’s not the same. A company started by New York University students thinks they can provide the perfect compromise: real ink tattoos that eventually fade.

Ephemeral Tattoos claim to have invented a new ink that makes tattoos easy to remove with a simple solution. Without the solution, our own bodies will get rid of the tattoo after a year. Tattoo ink uses large pigments that the body can’t dispose of. Ephemeral’s ink uses smaller pigments contained in a sphere of biomaterials that the body can break down over time.

Predicted main beneficiaries of this technology: people who have yet to find out why others are laughing at some string of Chinese characters.

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Strange search-engine queries (538)

This feature appears every week at approximately this time, in lieu of New Content. Its components: search strings extracted from the traces left by recent visitors to this site, and aimless grumbling contributed by yours truly.

how much is the oklahoma lottery:  Starts at a dollar, ends at the poorhouse.

select all words from this list that have an anglo-saxon origin. mother father friend sheep he aroma me president decade sphere the pizza is:  You want some Anglo-Saxon, I’ll show you some goddamn Anglo-Saxon.

mammalian protuberances:  Or “boobs,” if you prefer Anglo-Saxon.

perverse adolescent lesbo seduces eastern milf:  At some point, boobs were a factor.

superheroine trapped:  Some heroines are more super than others. (Hint: boobs are not a factor.)

georgian politicians private life (sex, oral, anal, orgy total of 12:42 minutes:  Well, you’re not picky, are you?

what to do when being followed:  Follow back, or block.

hardest pullout position:  For some reason, we’ve never been able to persuade American forces to withdraw from the District of Columbia.

would you like us to send you a daily digest about new articles every day rectum:  No, I wouldn’t, asshole.

why did kevin klutz give up tap dancing:  Um, he fell down a lot?

why can’t i sleep at night yahoo answers:  Were I as dumb as those yobbos, I’d probably have sleepless nights of my own.

by the decade of the _____, 35,000 people had been lobotomized in the united states:   See the article “Second Trump Administration.”

clothed nudist:  How would you know?

a field guide to awkward silences:  [crickets]


This time it’s personal

This one opened fairly well, with the Thunder squeezing out a six-point lead after the first quarter. As Oklahoma City started to open up some distance, there was a nasty yet ludicrous contretemps: Steven Adams fouled Golden State’s Draymond Green, and Green, in keeping with his style earlier in this series, kicked Adams in the nards. Literally.

Draymond Green on the attack

Adams’ expression says this: “You try that stunt one more time, and I find out about it…”

Green was tagged with a Flagrant One, free throws were exchanged, and the Thunder were off. Whether it was karma or simple vengefulness, OKC proceeded to pound the living crap out of the Warriors, taking a 25-point lead (72-47!) at the half, running that lead to as many as 41 in the third quarter, and the Splash Brothers were vaporized before the fourth quarter even started. Oklahoma City 133, Golden State 105, and the Thunder go up 2-1.

How bad did it get for Golden State? Steph Curry got a respectable 24 points, but it took him 17 shots; Klay Thompson poured in 18, but it took him 19 shots. Nobody else made double figures. And Draymond Green, 1-9 for six points with four turnovers, finished -43 for the evening.

Meanwhile, the two big Thunder stars got a bit of unexpected rest, with neither playing in the final frame. Kevin Durant knocked down 33 points; Russell Westbrook 30 (with eight boards and 12 dimes). Four more in double figures, with Enes Kanter collecting a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds). The Thunder shot 50 percent; the Warriors took the same number of shots (92) but missed eight more. Rebounds? OKC, 52-38. Assists? OKC, 21-19. Free throws? OKC 33-37 (89 percent), Golden State 19-25 (76 percent). But here’s where the Warriors got cut off at the knees: after 4-12 from long distance in the first quarter, they were 6-21 thereafter. A Warrior team without the three-point shot is … well, down by 28 at the horn.

Game 4 is here in the Big Breezy on Tuesday. Nobody is expecting it to be easy. But if Draymond Green sticks out that big foot one more time, the Thunder are going to force it down his throat — or up somewhere else.

(Photo: Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman.)

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Quote of the week

The stuff gathering dust in my trunk, or on some USB stick, isn’t this heavy, but it suffers from the same issues:

Writing was not the problem, finishing was. Works in progress with titles like Mr. Ne’er-Do-Well (536 pages). Wherever There Are Two (660 pages of an outline), Death by Now (1,171 pages weighing over 12 points), or Miss Subways (402 pages and counting). All that would never see the light of day outside of Ted’s Bronx one-bedroom walk-up tenement apartment. Maybe today he would stumble upon a thought that would unleash the true word horde, that would unlock a puzzle, that would unblock him from himself, from his inability to compete and complete.

He remembered Coleridge, in the Vale of Chamouni, had written, “Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star…?” And that seemed to him to be the truest, saddest line in all of literature. Can you, man, find the poetry to keep the sun from rising, like a mountain, blocking its inevitable ascent for a few more moments? Can you, who call yourself a writer, find the words that will have an actual influence on the real and natural world? Magic passwords — shazam, open sesame, scoddy waddy doo dah — warriors lurking in the Trojan horse of words. The implicit answer to Coleridge’s question was: Hell, no. If the answer were yes, he would never have asked the question. The writer will never make something happen in the world. In fact, the act of writing may be in itself the final admission that one is powerless in reality.

David Duchovny, from his novel Bucky F*cking Dent (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016).


Nearing the final Flickr

As Yahoo! circles the drain, its component parts are whirling around at comparable speeds, and Flickr, which they acquired in 2005, definitely appears to be tracing a similar spiral. Can it be saved? Geoff Livingston has some thoughts:

A lot depends on who buys Flickr. Doc Searls made an impassioned plea for Adobe to buy the social network, saying that Flickr was the best site for serious photographers.

And besides, Doc Searls has sixty thousand photos on Flickr. I’m almost embarrassed by my 159. But I haven’t left either, and neither has Geoff Livingston:

I’m not sure about the latter anymore, but I do believe Flickr still has value. I’m still there and still use it to house my library. I still get occasional media inquiries to use my pics from Flickr, too… The question is who will buy it? If Google or Facebook buys Flickr, I will be downloading all of my photos that day and closing my account. Warren Buffett would be more encouraging. At least you know Berkshire Hathaway would invest in the network again.

I shudder at the thought of Flickr being absorbed into Google Photos — or worse, into Instagram.

Now how do we persuade the Sage of Omaha to spend money on an Internet photo service? I mean, Flickr doesn’t sell insurance or anything like that.

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Unhip to the lingo

New York TV producer Michael King on a recent example of Extreme Silliness:

Okay — I have to post this image, but let me set this up first. This evening, we posted the obit for Alan Young, Mr. Ed’s straight-man, who died at 96 — which is exactly how we wrote the article. I’m pretty sure most rational folks are familiar with the comedic term “straight-man” when it comes to comedy duos.

In any event, take a look at some of the Facebook responses. And yes, these people were serious.

Facebook thread on the death of Alan Young

Juliette Akinyi (“Baldilocks”) Ochieng commented:

I once asserted that the Internet hasn’t created more idiots. This exchange might make me reconsider.

I’m not sure that we have more idiots, but the Internet has given our existing idiots a chance to grow and develop and take a meaningful shape in today’s complex society.

(This last line poached from Arlo Guthrie, in case you think you’ve heard it before.)

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Persistence of earworm

There’s a channel on YouTube called She Politico Legs, whose purpose in life is to show you women in politics, or at least near politics, from here down. I admit to taking a look every now and then. (Which, by coincidence, is equivalent to their uploading schedule.)

The clips run three minutes or so, and there is background music. And the background music for this particular clip has been bothering me for many months:

This is a track I would happily buy if I could find it, but, as I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t been able to find it. It’s even stumped the fairly-reliable Shazam app. I left a comment for the proprietors of the channel, who have not yet responded.

I note with amusement that according to the text early on, the subject of this clip is the Mayor of “Baltimare,” which is a city on the eastern coast of Equestria, south and west of Fillydelphia; my short story The way she used to be opens and closes in Baltimare.


Bare in the saddle

A reasonable question is raised, and then answered, on the subject of London’s World Naked Bike Ride:

First of all.. you may ask, why does it cost anything to take your clothes off and go for a ride around London. A good question, let me see if I can explain.

London WNBR has been going on for over 10 years and one of the earlier organisers was very proud of the fact that one year, he was able to organise the ride for 50 pence. The principle of WNBR is that it should not cost anything and that it should be totally environmental friendly.

As the years went by, some costs started to creep in, for example, it cost to produce some leaflets (on recycled paper), it costs to get some safety equipment, vests, arm bands, flags etc, these kind of costs were managed by the early organisers by selling small things, like flags on the day.

Then some authorities wanted administration fees, The Royal Parks, started on about £80 and went up to £100s, the police wanted administration fees. This required some additional fund raising which we managed to do.

Costs escalated, as costs will. And there’s this:

The biggest issue we have on WNBR is communications between each start leader and during the ride through busy streets of London when the ride gets split up and no one knows what’s going on. It is very difficult to keep control and respond to incidents when there is no communications.

We have tried many different methods, none have worked to any satisfaction for many reasons.

This year we would like to try a new technology that uses GSM (phones) network to send messages using Press To Talk method.

This we think has a good chance of working, but!!! It will cost about £450 to hire 12 handsets for the week.

I had £10 to spare — about $15 US — so I sent it in. I think this is best explained by the fact that I find it difficult to turn down a request by a woman who is not wearing anything. (Picture of said woman at the link, which might be NSFW at some places where you W, though she’s actually wearing sneakers and a bike helmet.)

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Bendier than thou

Nina Burri took her first dance lessons in her native Switzerland at the age of six, and, as the phrase goes, she learned her lessons well. Growing into model-level looks didn’t at all hurt:

Nina Burri not exactly driving in 2006

That was 2006, when she was twenty-nine. The next year she began studying at a Chinese school of acrobatics, and came out able to do this:

Nina Burri sort of stretches out

Let’s combine these two skills, shall we?

Well, I’m certainly impressed.

Comments (2)

Handy, but not in a good way

I’m hoping this is not a real product:

The Jerk Shirt from CamSoda

Gadgette explains:

The basic premise is that the shirt includes one fake arm, which disguises the fact that your real arm is under the fabric of the shirt, getting jiggy. Thankfully, the part of the shirt that might come into contact with your “manhood” (if you can still call it that after using this) is splash-proof and wipe-clean. Hooray!

I believe I speak for everyone here when I say “Ewwww.”

The, um, promotional video has about 400,000 views already.

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No one must ever know

Usually the guys who do this want to pretend that they wrote all that code. Then there’s this guy:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to remove template name from WordPress?

His motivations contain 50 percent more skulk:

I bought a WordPress template from a site for my business, and I want to know if there is a way to change the theme template name? I own a cafe and one of my competitors (who happens to be my ex-wife) figured out what template I’m using on my site and she bought the same template for her cafe site and now both of our sites look similar. I want to buy a new template but I want to know how I can prevent someone else learning what template I’m using. When someone goes to my site they are able to see what template I’m using when they look at the “Source Code” — how do I change that so the visitors (mainly my competition) can’t find out what template I’m using?

WordPress stores all the theme files in a themes/[theme name] directory; to conceal it would require rewriting every one of those files, plus all the code that connects to those files. It would almost be easier to write a theme from scratch, and there’s still the necessity of tweaking all that PHP. I’m thinking it might conceivably be done with a metric buttload of redirects, at the expense of speed: nothing makes people flee a site faster than lack of fastness.

Disabling right-click, which is where people usually try to View Source, is trivially easy via JavaScript. But it won’t do a thing to block, say, the Ctrl-U combination that Firefox devised.

And really, why did those two ever break up? They seem to be so perfect for each other in so many ways.

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A somewhat quieter stream

Classical-music performances may vary in length, often due to conductor preferences. (I have two recordings of Ravel’s Boléro, and one runs two minutes longer than the other.) So I’m not particularly worried if this piece was performed slightly faster than normal:

Then again, it could have been a sloppy editing job. You never know these days.

(Via Maria Dahvana Headley.)

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Friday night alone

“Why I didn’t go to prom” is a subject that has occasionally seen fit to reintrude itself at various times during the last 47 years, and since I have always felt that my own explanations were never quite satisfactory, I felt a twinge when Rebecca Black disclosed that she didn’t go either:

Although there’s probably more of a story here with these Zooey-esque bangs she’s wearing these days. (Did she finally get tired of the noticeable widow’s peak?)