Let’s see if I can make any sense of this batch of questions, all of which begin “What would you do if…”:

1. The couple right upstairs was always very loud and unrestrained in their frequent lovemaking sessions.
  I moved. But actually, I was more annoyed by subwoofers than by seduction.

2. You’ve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection. Plus the killing jar.
  That’s how I know it’s my kid.

3. You were the only one on your block who never had a fingerbox.
  Somehow I doubt that.

4. You got a windfall of $100,000.
  I’d spend most of it on debt reduction, and then schedule a World Tour.

5. The police had a warrant and confiscated your computer.
  I’d change all my passwords immediately.

6. At a bar, a person of the same sex you swear you never met before knows everything about you.
  “Oh, wow, a regular reader!”

7. On your way to the art gallery you see yourself walking the other way with a wrapped painting under your arm.
  I’d wonder if I’d gotten that $100k windfall in item #4.

8. You had it wrong all along.
  Wouldn’t be the first time, believe me.

9. The search engine tells you exactly the best brand name product to use for that problem but when you search for the brand name product no search engine you use can find it.
  Not to worry. It’s on eBay somewhere.

10. Kenneth actually told you the frequency.
  And I tell him, “I believe that qualifies as TMI.”

(Purloined from Incurable Insomniac.)

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Germans perplexed by EVs

Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen AG Chairman of the Board of Management, has been at least somewhat consistent in his cheerleading for VeeDub’s eventual electric car, but apparently not everyone on the board is so persuaded:

[I]t came as a bit of a contradictory shock to hear Volkswagen’s Board Member responsible for sales, Christian Klingler, express emotions bordering on outright hostility regarding the future of electric cars in a roundtable discussion during the media launch for the electric Golf in Germany this week. “The electric car is not a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government,” said Klingler, going on to describe how there is no market demand for electric cars.

According to Klingler, VW has been careful in developing electric cars and is waiting to see what the “willingness” of customers is to buy an electric car before they truly commit.

Meanwhile, down the road at Daimler, Dr Z is calling for governmental incentives:

“Even in the best case, the cost of electric autos might run several thousand euros more than conventional vehicles for the foreseeable future,” [Dieter] Zetsche said [Thursday] in a speech in Stuttgart. “In other words, we need appropriate sales incentives.”

Volkswagen hasn’t gone that far — yet. But Stateside, I have to wonder how many Volts and Leafs (Leaves?) would be moving in the first year without that $7500 contribution from taxpayers.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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And I’m not what I appear to be

There are no great revelations here, unless you haven’t been paying attention.

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Strange search-engine queries (250)

This is a once-a-week — it wasn’t always, but it seems to have settled into an Actual Schedule — dip into the turbid waters of the server log, hoping to find something, anything, worthy of a Bit O’ Snark.

the new old fashioned way to camp:  “Mom, there’s no place in the tent to charge my phone!”

need cock for my wife in sallisaw:  Is this to drain her, by chance?

A species of Atlanta slut that frequents Moe’s and Joe’s on Tu…  Give her a strap-on and a bus ticket to Sallisaw.

was a nudist a little while back:  I assume something happened to discourage the practice, like, say, January.

“get laid in tulsa”:  It’s certainly possible. Trust me on this.

Create gmail fake login page spanish:  Curiously, this came in from Germany.

nude man with soft drink cup covering penis:  It’s a safe bet this wasn’t a Big Gulp.

you exist therefore I am offended:  Estimated rotational speed of Descartes in his grave at the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés: 600 rpm.

daewoo mechanic bulwer lytton:  “It was a dark and greasy Leganza…”

old blond woman with nice legs:  Now that’s not a bad idea:

Betty Grable for Lux Flakes

dusitburee:  The mythical South Plains Faerie after whom this place was named.

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Jingle, jangle, jingle

The Spurs took control of this one in the third quarter and never let go. You can point to several different factors — dominance of the boards (DeJuan Blair had seven offensive rebounds, Oklahoma City in aggregate had only five), superior results at the stripe (34-38 versus 24-30), Matt Bonner’s long-ball skillz (he put up seven treys and hit them all), or just the fact that it was Sunday (the Thunder haven’t won a Sunday game all season) — but sooner or later, you end up pointing to the scoreboard, which read San Antonio 117, Oklahoma City 104.

The Thunder had been up 66-61 at the half, meaning they were outscored 56-38 in the second half. That’s not just a fold; that’s origami. The Dynamic Duo were held to 42 points — Kevin Durant had 23 and Russell Westbrook 19 — and Jeff Green added a dozen more, mostly early, but the Spurs shut everything down after halftime, and second-chance points were few and far between. For that matter, first-chance points were few and far between.

San Antonio took a while to get untracked, but when they did, they didn’t let up. Down 35-23 late in the first, they put together a 7-0 run to close, and then got the first bucket after the break. Bonner’s beyond-the-arc performance was scary enough, but Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili dropped in 24 points each, and Manu was the very picture of calm as he sank all eleven of his free throws. If this is the Over-The-Hill Gang, well, pass the Geritol.

And tomorrow night in Utah. I’m already scouring the Net for synonyms for “not pretty.”

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Don’t link twice, it’s all right

Just in case you thought Phil Spector was the last holdout for monophonic sound:

Then again, should Columbia be using that “360 Sound” logo for mono recordings?

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Attempting new heights

Our old friend Sombreroless in Starkville sent us a link to artist and shoe designer Marloes ten Bhömer, who perhaps is best known for her “beigefoldedshoe,” which is pretty much exactly as described:

…a shoe made from a single piece of folded leather and stainless steel heel construction, which stems from one of her visionary footwear concepts, transformed into a wearable shoe through two years of design and engineering development. Hand made in the UK, and incorporating technical expertise from international manufacturers.

Precisely how the shoe is hand-made can be seen here. Also for your inspection: the “rotationalmouldedshoe,” which is not yet for sale, although both beige and black “foldedshoes” are available for £2250.

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Bless you, Betty Crocker

Resolved: Bisquick is the food version of duct tape.

BisquickHistory, swiped from Wikipedia:

According to General Mills, Bisquick was born when one of their sales executives met a train dining car chef in 1930 who mixed lard and the dry ingredients for biscuits ahead of time. The recipe was adapted, using hydrogenated oil, thus eliminating the need for refrigeration (sesame oil was originally used as a preservative, identified on the box as “Ingredient S” over the years), and officially introduced on grocers’ shelves in 1931.

Subsequently, General Mills issued Betty Crocker’s 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations, As Made and Served by Well-Known Gracious Hostesses, Famous Chefs, Distinguished Epicures and Smart Luminaries of Movieland.

Which actually makes Bisquick older than duct tape, which dates to 1942. On the other hand, duct tape probably withstands extreme heat a little better; a strip of it held the exhaust manifold of my old ’75 Toyota in place for several thousand miles.

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Keeping the General on a leash

There are few people of whom you can say “Even when he’s right, he’s wrong,” and one of them is Ralph Nader, who has decided that General Motors ought to postpone its stock offering, currently scheduled for next week; he and three like-minded meddlers dispatched a letter to the President requesting that the sale be delayed indefinitely.

The Detroit News quotes Nader:

“It’s the same old arrogant GM. There’s no sense of gratitude that they wouldn’t exist without the government, without the taxpayers.”

That much, I’ll give him. Besides, it was just Nader in the interview; there was no mention of the other co-conspirators, one of whom is Joan Claybrook, one of the dimmer bulbs ever to occupy the back seat of a motor-pool sedan, whose major contribution to Western civilization has been the notion that people won’t drive fast if you limit the numbers on auto speedometers.

And this bit from the letter sounds Claybrookian, if not precisely Orwellian:

“As majority shareholder in GM, the United States has the ability to direct or influence the company’s investment decisions. As the U.S. reduces its share, so its capacity to influence such decisions diminishes.”

It must really frost them that Washington doesn’t own a piece of Ford.

Actually, there is a perfectly good reason not to sell off a bunch of GM stock right now, and it did get mentioned in the letter: the Feds stand to lose a fair chunk of change on this first sale. (A Detroit News estimate says up to $5.4 billion.) I have no doubt that GM is tired of having Washington looking over its shoulder, but inasmuch as I stand to lose eighteen bucks on the deal — $5.4 billion split 300 million ways — I’d just as soon they waited a while longer.

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Sorrowful news

Way back in 1993, I wrote this:

Henryk Górecki is in his sixtieth year; he has always been associated with the avant-garde wing of contemporary music, the guys who produce the dry, academic, utterly uninvolving stuff that gets grants. But Górecki’s Third Symphony, written in 1976, cuts to the heart of the matter almost from the first bar. And it requires no difficulty to see why he chose his subject matter — the Polish town of Katowice, where he was educated and where his family still lives, is one of those anonymous cities in the Silesians that will forever be overshadowed by its neighbor Oswiecim. The Germans called it Auschwitz.

Górecki’s other works, I suspect, will forever be overshadowed by that Third Symphony, which in the early Nineties became close to a household word, thanks to a recording featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw, which, issued here in the States on Nonesuch, reportedly was selling ten thousand copies a day at its peak. Most classical albums don’t sell ten thousand copies ever. And unlike your usual crossover hits, this isn’t your Relentlessly Upbeat baroque-y stuff: it’s subtitled the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs for a reason.

Here’s the second movement, lento e largo—tranquillissimo:

Henryk Górecki died in Katowice Friday. He was seventy-six.

(With thanks to the Anchoress.)

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Not your father’s minority leader

A timely tweet from CTIronman:

The Dems justification for keeping Pelosi= GM’s reason 10 yrs ago for keeping Oldsmobile. The few customers we still have like it

It would be well to remember that in December 2000, the General did an about-face; Oldsmobile was taken out behind the woodshed and shot through the head, though it would take four years — the last Alero came off the line in 2004 — to die.

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Discerning readers, I assume

I gave up reading Condé Nast Traveler several years ago, about the time it occurred to me that all the hotels I’ve ever stayed in, combined, might be hard-pressed to total five stars. So I didn’t participate in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards, though it would have been nice to have attended the actual award ceremony, just to have caught a glimpse of Angie Harmon:

Angie Harmon at RCA

(Click to embiggen past all understanding.) That feathered sheath, from Naeem Khan’s Spring ’10 collection, is simply gorgeous; the shoes, I think, are by Sergio Rossi.

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I was not programmed to respond in this area

Harry Mudd, that old lecher, would have appreciated this, I think. Over at Diary of a Nudist, there are scans from the 1967 Oakdale Guest Ranch 3rd Miss Nude Universe Pageant, which I need hardly point out may not be welcomed at your workplace, and while that vintage barely-post-Mad Men flavor is very much in evidence, there was one thing I really wasn’t anticipating: every contestant is in fact wearing something other than the little “Norman, coordinate” pendant with her identifying number.

And that something? Shoes. Nothing outlandish — medium heels, some open at the toe, some closed, all of course period-correct for 1967 — but still: shoes. Not that I’m complaining. Then again, I never saw anything like this back in the Sixties, what with leading a sheltered life and all, and eventually I soured on the concept of pageants in general except as comic fodder, so I have no frame of reference here.

On the other hand, my fourteen-year-old self, were he confronted with something like this in ’67, might quote Mr Chekov: “This place is even better than Leningrad!”

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Study in purple

Oklahoma County Precinct 453, where I’ve lived for seven years, is the area bounded by Northwest Expressway, I-44, and May Avenue; in a nation of red and blue, it’s always seemed kinda purple to me.

The State Election Board has now released precinct-level data to the general public (hat tip: Michael Bates), so I figured it was time I did some parsing.

The GOP swept all the statewide races this year, but they failed to sweep 453, where Democrat Jari Askins was preferred over Republican Mary Fallin in the race for Governor, 639-567; Steve Burrage outpolled Gary Jones for State Auditor, 667-510; and Kim Holland had a 711-475 lead over John Doak for Insurance Commissioner.

Precinct 453 rejected three of the State Questions: 744, 754, and 756. While 756 carried statewide, it failed in this precinct by one vote. And here’s the real clincher for purple status, in House District 87: Dana Orwig (D) 589, Jason Nelson (R) 589.

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Won’t you be my Niebuhr?

You know the words, now follow the flow:

The Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr

(Via GraphJam.)

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Blazers II: Electric Boogaloo

Eight days ago, the Thunder squeezed out a win at Portland’s Rose Garden, to the tune of 107-106. It requires no great imagination to figure that the Trail Blazers would be looking for payback. But this game was as much of a see-saw as any you’ve seen, with no fewer than sixteen lead changes. With ten seconds left, OKC was up 110-108; Rudy Fernandez back-rimmed a wide-open trey, Russell Westbrook came up with the loose ball at the buzzer, and that was that.

In fact, Westbrook made “that was that” his business all night; he knocked down 36 points, a career high. (Kevin Durant had 34; Jeff Green is still missing in action.) The Thunder actually shot 54.8 percent, a welcome change. What’s more, they put up twelve treys and managed to hit six of them.

Fernandez had had the hot hand earlier, so Portland’s last play was at least defensible. (Speaking of Fernandez, he wound up with 15 points, one more than the entire Oklahoma City bench, which explains why all the Thunder starters played 33 minutes or more.) And Nicolas Batum had a season-high 21; Brandon Roy, obviously playing at less than 100 percent, still made 24. I’m happy we don’t have to see these guys again until March.

Then again, the next two games aren’t exactly gimmes: Sunday against the Spurs at the Dorf Center, followed by Monday at Utah. Still, the Thunder are starting to show signs of being able to play at the .600 level, and they’re going to have to do that and better to nail down a playoff spot.

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