Double whammy at least

“I don’t like spiders and snakes,” said the girl in Jim Stafford’s 1974 hit, “and that ain’t what it takes to love me.” I suspect she’d be even less impressed by a snake with its very own spider, kinda sorta:

In western Iran there lives an endangered snake that preys on birds and carries its own lure at the end of its tail. The Spider-tailed Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) has an appendage that looks just like a spider. The rest of its body is camouflage colored, particularly the thin end of its tail leading to the “spider.”

And better yet, it acts like a spider [warning: 1.5MB animated GIF], enabling the snake to attract its prey, birds who see spiders and think “Lunchtime!”

It does not, however, attract girls, so far as I can tell.

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Fifty grains of salt

Violet Blue tells you the things that Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t:

It’s not a BDSM novel. It’s “The Ultimate Guide” to revoking all the hard work sex-positive sex educators have done over the past 30 years to create a culture of informed consent around kink and keep people from sticking household objects up their asses. It’s not a romance. It’s a book about a rapey douchebag with borderline personality disorder who obsesses over an invertebrate whose insecurity should win her a Darwin Award. Instead of reading Fetish Sex, people are reading 50 Shades and sticking dangerous things up their butts. Instead of a sexy, relevant, redeeming film version of the book directed by Erika Lust or Anna at FrolicMe, we got another reminder that Hollywood and the mass book market for sexual content hasn’t quite grasped this whole internet fad.

Rather a lot of those links should be considered NSFW.

(Via Nudiarist.)

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A model response

This fits the definition of “well played”:

Facebook screenshot involving Quba Islamic Institute

And then this happened:

Arson investigators from the Houston Fire Department are probing a blaze that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in the city on Friday, officials said.

There has been no official determination yet of what caused the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, fire officials said, adding no one was injured.

I’d hate to have been the pork donor in that Facebook screenshot; perhaps he’s been suddenly overwhelmed by guilt — or he’s hunkering down in his parents’ basement until the statute of limitations expires.

(Via @ArabSecularist.)

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Over easier

For at least half my life, the powers that be, or that imagine they be, have been warning me about cholesterol, coursing through my body like liquid plutonium or something. I am somewhat pleased, yet still somewhat annoyed, that they’ve now admitted that they were just kidding:

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has taken cholesterol off the list of things that are automatically bad for you if you are an otherwise healthy person. Cholesterol, like just about anything already in our bodies or in our food, can cause you problems if you have too much of it already or if you consume too much of it, but isn’t necessarily the One Ring of Dietary Substances.

This was probably inevitable once they figured out that “good” cholesterol wasn’t all that good and “bad” cholesterol wasn’t all particularly bad, and neither of them, from my point of view anyway, were as bad as statins, which overlaid my entire structure with random weakness. (On the upside, statins gave me a great excuse to not drink grapefruit juice, as though I needed one.)

Still, the exasperating aspect of this is that there continues to be a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee at all. And given current trends in corruption, I suspect there will someday be a Recommended Daily Allowance of Pepsi, or something equally implausible, because dollars were spent to support it.

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You’re doing it right

Maybe. I wouldn’t know.

Herein, number-one grandson — 15 last November, this tall for at least four years now — has approached his ladylove bearing gifts: brownies, and a bear.

Nick Havlik and his girlfriend

She seems pleased.

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You gotta have Heart

Actress Heart Evangelista stands five foot two. I mention this because she played a dwarf on a Filipino TV series titled Dwarfina back in 2011. A promotional photo from the show:

Heart Evangelista as Dwarfina, 2011

We concede that Heart, born Love Marie Payawal Ongpauco on this very date thirty years ago, is Not Particularly Tall.

Not that this matters, really:

Heart Evangelista's 2013 Esquire cover

Back in ought-three, she cut an album called, natch, Heart. This is a track therefrom:

Very Eighties-looking video for some reason.

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The value of snark

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone attempting to quantify it:

As a number of news sites eliminate their comments sections altogether, Tablet, a daily online magazine of Jewish news and culture, is introducing a new policy charging its readers to comment on articles.

As of today, a reader visiting the nonprofit site that is otherwise paywall-free will have to pay at least $2 to leave a comment at the foot of any story. The move is not part of a plan to generate any significant revenue, but rather to try and change the tone of its comments section.

There are quantity discounts of a sort:

Tablet has set up commenting charges of $2 a day, $18 a month and $180 a year, because “the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal — and, often, anonymous — minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse),” editor in chief Alana Newhouse wrote.

Let us hope that most trolls are broke.

(Via Steve Sailer.)

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What’s going on here?

Well, I’ll be doggone. If any singer deserves to be a verb, it’s Marvin Gaye, right?

How sweet it is. And it ain’t that peculiar at all, really.

(Via PopCrush.)

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Fifty strings of text

I am legendarily impatient with my own fiction, which always seems to need emergency rewrites, but I can’t much argue with this premise either:

Amid the Fifty Shades of Grey movie hooplah maybe you’ve found yourself grumbling, “I could’ve written that book.” Sure, maybe, but it’s not just you — there’s a text generator out there right now that does a pretty damn near perfect impersonation of the series.

This is the generator. How does it work so freaking well? The programmer explains:

Fifty Shades is especially good for the reasons it seems to be loathed: like most romance, it’s predictable and repetitive, especially the love scenes, and it has a lot of literary quirks that convey authenticity. For example, Ana’s tendency to say “Holy shit!” and “Jeez,” Christian’s grey eyes, and Ana’s “inner goddess.”

You could definitely portray another small scene like this — say Cinderella with her sisters — but nothing larger. The reason my code is able to generate fairly believable text is that it’s so limited in scope. I was able to hand-tune the adjectives and phrases until it felt just right. That’s not possible at scale.

On the upside, if literary quirks really do convey authenticity, I might be able to pass off some of my stuff as memoir.

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Folks, we got a live one

I just wonder if he’s ever seen Pete’s Dragon:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to intercept texts

If your immediate response is “Say what?” be assured that he “knows” what he’s talking about:

I’ve seen it in movies and I know it’s a real thing. I Really want to know how to intercept texts. I know you can download stuff online for it but I have a chrome book so I cant. My do have Linux though so does anyone know how to intercept texts from an iPhone. Please make it step by step

Emphasis added, though really it was hardly necessary.

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Spot on

We’ve put up enough bizarre TV-news captioning errors over the years to make us wonder if anyone even bothered to get the darn things correct anymore.

Assuming the guest’s name is right, the BBC evidently does:

Doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look that you see on so many TV interviews, either.

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The worst unlaid plans

It’s like, how much more blue could this guy’s nads be? And the answer is none. None more blue:

You all probably have a lot of questions and in an ideal world I would be able to answer them all. However the risks involved in providing a “Q&A session” before death is clearly too high as the medical profession always values “quantity of life” over “quality of life.” It appears that the prevailing ethos is to keep individuals in a state of continual suffering rather than allow an individual choose to die. Hence the huge resistance to euthanasia.

The reason for my death is simple. I have concluded that in the realm of dating and relationships the primary characteristics required for men are as follows.

  • Height: above 5ft10
  • Race: huge bias towards caucasian and black
  • Wealth: or other manifestation of power

From my observations and research it appears that you need two of the three criteria for success with very few exceptions. What does this mean it means that it’s “game over” for me. By choosing to depart early, all I am doing is to accelerate the process of natural selection whilst saving myself a great deal of long term pain in the process.

A single evolutionary dead end does not constitute an acceleration of natural selection.

Still, I’m a quarter-century older than this chap is was, I manage two of the three criteria with relative ease — and by now we all know how amazingly successful I am with the babes.

After reading some of his, um, research, I am forced to conclude that most of his problems stemmed from being totally full of crap, which in my experience is not often a selling point.

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Apocalypse soonish

Um, okay:

Revelation 17:10 (New International Version):

They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.

Unless we’re using Galactic Standard Time or something, this would seem to eliminate the President, who’s remained for six years already and surely isn’t going anywhere in the next two no matter what noises emanate from the GOP.

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Young blood

I’d be lying if I said I never had thoughts like this — and the least you can do is let me fib a bit, right?

You’re maybe twenty-seven years old now and you’ve done nothing worth remembering or noting in your life besides food and travel. Your opinions on everything, such as they are, are sourced directly from your friends and/or Jon Stewart. At an age when our ancestors had already conquered nations or produced great art or invented world-changing ideas, you’re still figuring out who you are and what you’re going to do. You live in an overpriced apartment, you go to LA Fitness, you’re out of money at the end of the month, you have no clear recollection of most of your days.

And yet, you’re so beautiful. You’re like the most gorgeous and alluring woman I ever loved in college, but turned up two more notches, an AMG Black Series version of my favorite physiological features, constructed from the unstable isotopes of my deepest fantasies and presented to me on a thoroughly steam-covered phone screen, your tongue poking flirty between your saucy lips. I want to put you in the passenger seat of a Ferrari 458 Speciale and take you around VIR Full Course for ten laps before dragging you into the women’s restroom and bruising the front of your hipbones on a sink. I want to run into the ocean holding your hand and float on the six-foot waves with you while we laugh like children sharing a secret. I want to wake up next to you twenty years from now, startled by our mutual favorite ringtone because our son is calling home from his first week at Yale.

Except that I know it wouldn’t be like that.

Of course it wouldn’t.

What’s most remarkable about this, I think, is the time it takes to concoct a fantasy at this level: 400, maybe 500 milliseconds for it to be conceived, and then a couple of seconds for the narrative to unspool before the whole thing unravels in a whirlwind of 70 percent lust, 30 percent self-loathing. (Your percentage may vary.)

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We imperialists

This glorious land yacht has been James Lileks’ Bleat banner for this past week:

1961 Chrysler Imperial

This is almost certainly a 1961 model: the headlights are mounted on little stalks, one of Virgil Exner’s more precious ideas, and the Forward Look fins were carried over from the previous generation. (Mopars were finless starting in ’62.)

Imperial, it always seemed to me, was Chrysler’s red-headed stepchild, albeit with a perfect coif. Some years, such as ’61, Imperial was a separate make; before 1955 and after 1990, it was simply the top-line Chrysler. It never came close to upsetting Cadillac’s hold on the American luxoboat market in any of those years, though once or twice it did approach Lincolnesque numbers. In 1993, the brand was put to sleep, though Chrysler did paste an Imperial badge onto a 2007 concept car based on the 300, with a bling-to-horsepower ratio you wouldn’t want to calculate.

I don’t think they could sell a car called Imperial anymore, for fear someone would take the name as passive microaggression. Heck, I don’t remember seeing Imperial margarine lately. But this ’61 tank, fortified with Mopar’s 413 wedgehead V8, one of very few engines ever mentioned in a song, still has The Look.

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PDA

When I was in school, back in the Old Silurian times, they hadn’t come up with the term “Public Display of Affection,” probably because we wouldn’t dare do such things in class. I remember the siblings discussing it, so it apparently filtered in during the 1970s. Truth be told, I’m not sure if my own negative reaction to the concept is based on some sort of devotion to order — or on sour grapes, inasmuch as I was never in a position to engage in such a thing myself.

Aw, heck, let’s put it as flatly as possible:

I’m not the prudiest prude who ever pruded, but seriously, it’s GROSS to be trying to teach and out of the corner of your eye see two people practically feeling each other up.

Especially two people who, if pressed, will argue that they’re actual adults despite their teenage-crush mutual fondle session.

And while I’ve seen “prude” turned into an adjective before, this is the first time I can remember seeing it verbed.

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