Kanter attacks

Even more turmoil in Turkey these days:

In yet another government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, counterterrorism police units accompanied officers from the Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau (KOM), raiding and searching Samanyolu schools on Monday. Officers involved in a raid on one branch asked the administrators to deactivate all of the school’s security cameras while they searched for drugs.

“Gülen” comes from movement founder Fethullah Gülen. “Hizmet” means “service,” but the name is unofficial: Gülen apparently didn’t want any particular name on it, especially his own. He departed Turkey for the US in 1999, ostensibly for medical reasons; he has not gone back, and the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tried him in absentia but failed to obtain a conviction.

Samanyolu — “Milky Way” — is an umbrella name for Gülen-related private schools. Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter attended one such school, and he is not happy about the raids:

“I never witnessed bad habits or even rudeness at these schools. It is really shameful to raid such a school with counterterrorism police,” Kanter tweeted on Monday. “The accusation of supporting terrorism befits those who carry out these raids, not the schools,” he added.

There is a village called Samanyolu, in Batman province, but it is not involved.

Note: The newspaper Today’s Zaman, whence comes this story, is operated by Gülen sympathizers.


On being yakety

Lesson One: It does not require an actual sax.

Tangential: Ray Stevens’ infamous Gitarzan “ordered Chet’s guitar course, C.O.D.,” suggesting that Chester B.’s influence reaches as least as far as the jungle.

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The older woman

Well, okay, if you say so, but it still sounds strange:

They are supposed to be twins, but Princess Leia would actually be nearly two years older than Luke Skywalker because of Einstein’s theory of relativity, say scientists.

Wait, what?

Students at the University of Leicester made their calculations based on the twins’ journeys to Cloud City. Leia travels from the neighbouring system of Anoat and arrives at Cloud City in around 6.72 hours, while Luke travels from the much more distant planet Dagobah, which takes around one week.

Additionally, as Leia travels in the Millennium Falcon, a much larger ship with more powerful engines than Luke’s X-Wing Starfighter, the students assumed that it reaches a higher speed.

Leia’s journey yields a time dilation of 62.6 days; however Luke experiences a time dilation of 700.8 days.

The students concluded that Luke is therefore 1.75 years younger than Leia, possibly rendering them the first twins ever to have more than a year between their ages.

A second scenario investigated produces an even greater age gap.

I think I need to lie down.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Shallow deep inside

After Robert Stacy McCain posted this news item, Thread Drift set in, and somewhere in the midst of it RSM offered this observation:

We should be ashamed of things that are shameful. Our aversion to feelings of shame is part of what prevents us from engaging in shameful behaviors, in the same way that feelings of pride and honor encourage us to strive for achievement. We need to step back and examine objectively the popular notion that there is a “true self” whose needs and desires always trump whatever we owe to others. I’ve noticed that the “true self” usually turns out to be a very selfish self, with no sense of social obligation or duty. Whereas the guy holding down a humdrum job to pay the bills for his wife and kids is not celebrated by the therapeutic culture, if he ditches it all to go in search of his “true self” — which quite often involves kinky sexual adventure — then this is applauded as personal growth.

The “true self” is usually imagined as living a more exciting life than the normal, ordinary person. And the Internet encourages the imagination of such a “true self” by providing forums where these Walter Mitty types gather to share their sense of excitement over their fantasies.

They might well learn from the example of Walter Mitty himself, who was, shall we say, decidedly unsuccessful in achieving his own fantasies. Mitty, in fact, is perhaps second only to Horatio Alger in misunderstood cultural memes; often as not, Alger’s heroes reached their goals by the application of good old-fashioned Dumb Luck.

The idea that one’s True Self is someone remarkably special is just about as specious as the claim by various fans of reincarnation that they themselves are the current version of someone famous; simple math and/or history should tell them that the vast majority of them spent their previous lives among the serfs, if not lower. A very wise man with a pipe and ridiculously sized forearms set forth the truth of the matter: “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.” So are we all.

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More sensibly

I can’t argue with any of this:

We need a constitutional amendment prohibiting presidential campaign activities and fundraising more than six months before the November election. When you set out to separate the wheat from the chaff, and end up with only chaff, you’re doing something wrong.

I’d like to think this would be approved by the states, 48-2. (You need not guess which two.)

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No royalties due, no royalties due

You can sing “Happy Birthday,” no royalties due:

In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, a federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Warner/Chappell Music does not hold a valid copyright claim to the “Happy Birthday To You” song.

Warner had been enforcing its copyright claim since it paid $15 million to buy Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which owned the original copyright. The song brings in about $2 million a year in royalties for Warner, according to some estimates.

Judge George H. King ruled Tuesday afternoon that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific arrangements of the music, not the actual song.

“Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics,” wrote King, “Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”

(Via Roger Green. Previous “Happy Birthday” coverage here.)

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There is the physical, and there is the mental, and some of us try to keep the two discretely, even discreetly, apart — to our eternal humiliation. Not even Frank Sinatra can help us.

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She doesn’t have to shoot you now

National Lampoon Death IssuePerhaps the most famous National Lampoon cover of them all was January 1973, the Death Issue, in which the threat was made: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” Of course, nobody in those halcyon days of 1973 would ever consider actually shooting a dog.

But that was then in New York City, and this is 2015 in Troupe, Texas:

The ad began, “I need someone to come shoot my dog.” It went on to lament, “no one here has the heart to do it.”

The owner finished off by offering to help, adding, “we will provide the gun.”

So generous, this owner. Who, mercifully, is no longer the owner:

Three-year-old Cinnamon isn’t dead, but she does have a new place to stay.

Animal control officers alerted to the message quickly picked up the Saint Bernard/English bulldog mix. KHOU reports the animal’s owner told them the large dog had become too much to care for and wouldn’t stay out of the trash.

No charges will be filed, since no shooting was actually performed. And frankly, a Saint Bernard/anything mix is likely to be a bit, um, unsmallish.


Still no slouch

Last week, while gawking shamelessly at Kerry Washington, I allowed that maybe Bellamy Young was no slouch. In retrospect, this seems awfully dismissive. We’ll begin with another shot from the same photoshoot that yielded up that EW cover:

Bellamy Young and Kerry Washington draped over Tony Goldwyn

And by herself:

Bellamy Young fashion spread

Bellamy Young on the carpet

Minor point of interest: the name “Bellamy” came about because there was already an Amy Young on the rolls of the Screen Actors Guild.


This is why we can’t have nice role models

I mean, seriously:

The Sagittarius in me says that this is a load of Taurus.

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I feel his pain

It’s a pain I would just as soon not have to deal with:

Fried chicken: Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson craves it and he knows it’s off his menu in the effort to lose as much as 25 pounds.

So when a certain commercial comes on the television, Big Al grabs for the remote.

“Every Popeye’s commercial I see, I have to turn the TV off,” Jefferson said Thursday.

If you’re Al Jefferson, I hope you have a heck of a season, and please don’t click on this.

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Taking care of the little things

With My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic just beyond halfway through Season Five, with the sixth season already graven in stone and probably already storyboarded, this is about the point where you start to wonder: do they start going through the motions, or are they going to try to keep cranking up the brilliance?

“Rarity Investigates!” pretty well answered that question, for now anyway, in favor of that second alternative: I continue to be delighted by the show’s sheer audacity. This isn’t the first time MLP:FiM has tried to solve a mystery, but I wouldn’t have expected it to go almost totally noir — though Rarity, Celestia knows, is as fatale a femme as you’ll find in Equestria. William Anderson’s background music, as always, was on point, and while I had turned to take a sip of a minor libation, I heard the subtle strains of a muted trumpet. Perfect, I thought, and turned back to the screen to see this:

Screenshot from Rarity Investigates

Of course they did. (Anderson played it himself, I’m told.) And they even replaced the outro theme with more of the same. The subtween girls at whom the show is officially pitched are getting all sorts of unexpected cultural familiarization beyond merely “buy these toys”; the rest of us simply smile a lot.

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Beyond mere timepieces

You say “wearable technology,” and people think you’re talking about either (1) a watch or (2) some weirdly designed dress riven with circuitry. This time, or at least one out of two times this time, it’s different:

Chromat’s new line includes two garments powered by Intel Curie, an incredibly small low-power chip that’s the perfect base for responsive wearables. These garments are a 3D-printed dress that structurally reacts to a rise in your adrenaline levels, and a new sports bra that responds to changes in breathing, perspiration and body temperature by opening vents to keep you cool.

I’m ever-so-slightly put off by a dress controlled by adrenaline, but the sports bra sounds actually useful:

The sports bra, full title Chromat Aeros Sports Bra, is made from Lycra, neoprene, mesh, and a 3D-printed carbon-fiber frame. It will open vents to cool down your body when it senses increased levels of heat and sweat, allowing you to exercise harder for longer periods of time. So long boob sweat, you shall not be missed!

Price goes unstated for now, as it probably should, but I can’t imagine that there will be only one of these on the market for too awfully long.



I am currently having issues with the icemaker with my 12-year-old Sears Kenmore fridge, though otherwise the machine works fine; one of these days I’ll get a new icemaker put in, but for the meantime old-fashioned — well, plastic, not those godawful metal things with the pull-lever — ice trays are meeting the need.

Not so fortunate is this Kenmore owner:

This is is my 9 month old Kenmore 22.3 cu. ft. Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel. It’s so shiny! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore. Some seal broke so now it just looks pretty. And oh boy doesn’t it shine! It matches perfectly with my Kenmore stove, microwave; and dishwasher.

I do need to eat food though and quite often food has to be refrigerated and not held in a shiny room temperature box so I called for repair. Originally they told me I would have to wait 2 weeks for someone to come fix it. I told them I would probably be tired of eating spaghetti by then. The nice lady put me on hold and said they could send someone today. The even nicer gentlemen came today and tried to fix it. He told me the part he needed wouldn’t come in until October 7th. That’s a lot of spaghetti! He told me that my lovely refrigerator was “a piece of shit” and that I should sell it. How sad! It’s so pretty!

Like someone’s going to buy a fridge that doesn’t work, unless you knock a whole bunch off the price.

Thus began the Sears Kenmore Refrigerator Diet, easy recipes for people who have no way to keep stuff cold. The sarcasm is deep, but you have to figure it’s appropriate.

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Overnight insensation

The one characteristic that applies to all sleep medicines: if they work at all, eventually they stop working. Trying a new one, therefore, is fraught with peril:

It’d been a while since I’d tried anything new because, frankly, after a bunch of decades at this, you get USED to being exhausted and running on “dim” or, as I like to call it, “energy-saving mode.” True, I sometimes think, “I bet I would have cured cancer already, had I been able to get plenty of quality sleep every night, all during my life. And had I not gotten the D in chemistry and been at all interested in science.” My doctor has given me STERN warnings that I need to sleep because this will “kill” me. Ok doc then gimme some good drugs. Not drugs with butterflies. I need drugs with velociraptors.

Alas, butterflies are all you get:

The Lunesta … oh how I wish it had worked. It looked so promising. The marketing! See the pretty diaphanous butterfly? The website says it’s very “fast-acting” and warns that you shouldn’t even TAKE this pill unless you’re strapped into bed in your strait jacket and have hired a home nurse or Joe Don Baker to stand vigil. All this because you will be completely zonked out in a fucking minute, you skeptic you, and you will likely be trying to paint your home’s exterior overnight, ALONE, in your deeply restful dream state.

Pfft. No piñata confetti. Not so much as a plastic drink umbrella in the bedding this morning.

The doctor will be sending over a script for Belsomra (suvorexant), a totally new concept in sleeping pills, with a totally new level of TV-commercial creepiness:

If the little cloud creatures don’t scare you to death, the warnings will.

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Strange search-engine queries (503)

In case you’ve been spending all your time in the Real World — or worse, in the Political World, which is much the same except that everyone lies about the price of everything — this is a standard Monday-morning feature, wherein we disclose some of the wackier motivations people have for reading this site, based solely on the search strings they used to get here.

why is the gearbox hunting for gears in the mazda 626:  Same reason fruitbats hunt for fruit. Except more expensive, of course.

shiftless individuals:  Well, yeah. Their gearboxes are out hunting for gears.

ringjob sex:  Few mechanics I know will allow you to work off your repair bill.

world tour fishing couldn’t connect to gate server:  A poor choice of bait, perhaps?

all purchases until march 2016 10.9%-18.9% capital one classic platinum credit card:  Said the guy who thinks he’s actually going to get ten point nine.

isis lures women with dank memes:  Yet this sort of thing never seems to work for you. Why do you think that is?

wrench dressing:  All you really need is a light penetrating oil.

donald davis developed a nutrient quality index:  While sitting in the drive-thru at Taco Bell.

huey lewis penis:  Happy to be stuck with it, were you?

george shrinks car:  And yet it still wouldn’t get over 19 mpg, whereupon George threw himself to the ground and shrieked for several hours.

ariana grande covered in sperm:  Um, that’s not actually an area we cover.

did you ever have the feeling:  Why do you think we drink?

the most lewd and vulgar video webcam jailbait girls:  Someone’s auditioning for a sequel to The 40-Year-Old Virgin.