Strange search-engine queries (356)

Round and round the logs we go, and where we stop — well, it’s because we thought we saw something marginally hilarious. Once in a while we’re even right about it.

synthetic compassion:  The primary ingredient is someone else’s gold.

grease formula:  Most of the time we don’t need a formula: we just look around the kitchen, and there it is.

wuss fm:  Playing your favorite hits six times a day, 39 minutes an hour.

pumping to digital tell hike yoghurt’s versatile:  Here, for instance, it adds flavor to word salad.

“the onion” “the americans without abilities act”:  You are covered by this act if you searched for it without going to first.

A goose flying toward you at 12.8 emits a squawk which you hear at 265:  Followed by something else which you see on your windshield.

who is the j geils band member that looks like mario:  One thing’s for sure: King Koopa stinks.

karina nose is she:  Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

2008 nissan sylphy has a green coolant:  Wait a while, and it won’t seem so green.

pencil skirt hurry:  When that storm hits, it’s gonna be raining erasers.

sf weekly told off by hinder at masturbate-a-thon:  Now that’s taking it to the limit.

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Going like sixty

Thoughts on being fifty-nine, which is close enough, right?

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Standing watch

Of late, mostly due to hot and dry summers, there have been two distinct cycles of rose growth: early in the spring, then late in the fall. I have four blossoms remaining on this particular bush.

2012 stubborn rose

This flower will not abandon his post until the weather gets much, much worse. After all, it’s only the last week of November.

(Multiple sizes at Flickr.)

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National drug policy explained

I can’t prove that this is the way it is, but I believe that old curmudgeon William of Ockham would find this explanation more acceptable than others:

[W]hen a President is sworn in he is forced to sign a secret clause reading something like, “And I promise to forget everything I’d ever known or believed and to act like a complete blockhead on the subject of drugs.” It’s the only thing that makes sense.

The Department of Homeland Security probably has that on a rubber stamp, just in case they have to ramp up temporary staffing in the Bureau of Panic and Discomfiture.

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Results are negative

Tam expresses a frustration I’ve often felt, though being Tam, she’s far more eloquent than I:

[T]hank you, Search Engine Optimization %^#@*ers, you $#%^ing #@*+ers, for breaking the internet. I try and do a little bit of research, searching for “the history of handgun accessory rails”, and I get page after page of sites trying to sell me cheap-ass Chinese crap to attach to airsoft guns and not a thing about, you know, the history of handgun accessory rails.

Incidentally, if you type $#%^ing #@*+ers into Google’s search box, the first thing it suggests is “ingersoll buchanan.”

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A sharp idea

Leatherman RaptorI’d heard enough about Leatherman tools over the years to pique my curiosity, and it turns out that there is in fact an actual Leatherman, though I presume his hide remains untanned. The newest tool from Leatherman’s company is the Raptor, due out next year, and it’s designed for a very specific market:

Hopefully you’d never have to use it, but should the need arise, you’ll certainly be glad to have the Leatherman Raptor at hand. Developed for uniformed medics, this scissor-like multi-tool features 420HC stainless steel shears, a strap cutter, a carbide glass breaker, a ring cutter, a ruler, and an oxygen tank wrench.

Price has yet to be announced.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Philly emptied

One of the stock sports clichés is “They wanted it more.” Hard to tell who wanted it more tonight: the Thunder led for most of the game, but the 76ers were never out of it, and when OKC simply stopped making shots with four minutes left, the Sixers closed in, and tied it at 98-all with a minute and a half left. And then nobody could score. Maybe nobody wanted it.

Then suddenly it was overtime, and Oklahoma City owns overtime. After hitting a meager two treys in 48 minutes, the Thunder knocked down four in four minutes, dropping the Sixers 116-109. You’re entitled to ask how it is that OKC scored a lousy 13 points in the 12-minute fourth quarter and 18 in the five-minute overtime, but again: Oklahoma City owns overtime. Over the past three seasons they’re over .800 in extended play.

Fifty-three minutes of game time, and Kevin Durant played 49:36 of it. The first half? Meh. Eight points. And yet he finished with 37. This isn’t an argument for benching Durant for 24 minutes and then turning him loose, but clearly the man does more damage after halftime. Russell Westbrook dropped in 30, Serge Ibaka 18, and Nick Collison a season-high 14. Attention K-Mart shoppers: Kevin Martin had another rough night, with three points in regulation — but a trey with 2:00 left in the OT shifted the momentum permanently. As radio guy Matt Pinto said, it’s not how many you get, it’s when you get ’em. Still, the Thunder went 6-21 from out there.

For some time now, Thaddeus Young has been someone with whom you did not mess, and he remained so tonight, snagging 29 points and 15 boards. Next door, Evan Turner added 26 more. (Hmmm. 55 from the forwards. OKC had … 55 from the forwards.) And senior swingman Jason Richardson, on his 42nd team in the last century, scored right at his 13-point average. Richardson, I suspect, will still be here in 2050. Make no mistake: these Sixers are good. But if you’re going to beat the Thunder, you get only 48 minutes to do it.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at home, against Charlotte, Houston and Utah respectively, then a quick trip to New Orleans on Saturday. Warning: this year’s Bobcats have utterly failed to suck.

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Negative Voltage

Motor Trend Editor-at-Large Angus MacKenzie divulged in his January column, historically devoted to the magazine’s Car of the Year selection, that two years earlier, the announcement of the Chevy Volt had drawn some, um, critical correspondence. An example:

I’ve seen your Car of the Year announcement and realize how fully and completely hollow your rag is. You pass your biases off as fact and outright lies to push your liberal agenda. The Volt is garbage and you know it, but you have crawled in bed with the gutless wannabe dictator Obama. I’m an electronics design engineer by trade, for 32 years, so I know what a crock the Volt is. Americans are not European pussies, like evidently you folks are. No one wants this piece of crap, and darn few will be sold. Only a social and political whore could have so completely sold out their integrity for a joke of a car no man with any balls could possibly want. It is not a triumph nor milestone, just a political waste of time and money.

Now what I want to know is this: why would someone ready to point an accusative finger at “European pussies,” or at a “social and political whore,” characterize the putatively low sales of the vehicle as a relatively bloodless “darn few?” Is there a little device in Microsoft Word to advise you that you’ve maxed out your pejoratives-per-paragraph quota? And if if the software is that smart, why didn’t it beep at the risible “fully … hollow?”

MacKenzie says this was one of the more polite letters that came in:

… no egregiously homophobic slurs, no sudden threats of grievous bodily harm, and no suggestion we’re acolytes of either Adolf Hitler or Karl Marx (hey, political theory is complicated stuff, y’know).

I’ve been critical of some MT stuff over the years — see, for instance, this evisceration of tech director Frank Markus for talking out of his exhaust manifold — but I try to keep the invective on target. Besides which, I am growing weary of this sudden upsurge, as it were, of guys who whine about how American manhood is under attack. Why so sensitive, bro?

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Jill out

Having no compelling interest in celebrating my own natal day, I’ll simply point out that Jill Hennessy turns 44 tomorrow, and that vaguely metallic looks pretty good on her:

Jill Hennessy at From Scotland With Love 2012

New York’s Tartan Week is “a series of independent events, coordinated by the Tartan Week Alliance that promote Scotland and celebrate the ties between Scotland and the USA.” This year’s edition, I am given to understand, was not quite so coordinated, although the “From Scotland With Love” fashion show, whence came the Hennessy picture, seems to have come off well.

Perhaps not coming off so well, in mine humble opinion: Hennessy’s “tartan-inspired” gown on the runway.

Jill’s twin sister Jacqueline also turns 44 tomorrow. She doesn’t do fashion shows.

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Some dissembly required

I’m not sure if this practice really encourages thinking on one’s feet or merely sets more youngsters on a political career path:

Witty pupils at a Cambridge school are being let off for minor offences if they can conjure up quick and clever excuses for what they have done.

Ed Elliott, head of the independent Perse School, told his pupils they could escape punishment if they could explain themselves in 10 seconds.

He said “out-and-out falseness” would not be allowed but “white lies” may be.

I have at best a modest gift for this sort of prevarication, or at least that’s what I’d like you to believe.

(Via Nothing To Do With Arbroath.)

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Quote of the week

Michele Catalano’s new music blog for Forbes — which is, based on the evidence of the first post, a new blog about music, not a blog about new music — contains this oh-so-familiar scenario:

I think this is why I like to listen to my music collection on shuffle rather than listen to whole albums; with about 100,000 songs to choose from I never know what’s going to come on next. I could burst into tears at any moment or I could hear “Steal My Sunshine” and be transported from on a bleak morning to a sunny, scenic freeway on my way to Lake Tahoe.

Music is emotional roulette. Most of the time, I win. And even when I don’t, the music is usually good enough to overcome whatever bad memory it brings up.

I would add only that old songs in new contexts, or heard under new circumstances, can produce new, wholly unexpected memories.

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Irish up

The Celtics, 3-3 at home and 3-3 on the road, really wanted this one at the Garden. And the Thunder did their best to give it to them; they whittled a 14-point Boston lead down to three with about a minute left, but then tossed up a boxful of Bricktown souvenirs while the Celtics calmly put it away, 108-100.

I was thinking, with the starters more or less evenly matched, that this would basically be a battle of the Sixth Men. And wouldn’t you know it, Jeff Green scored a season-high 17, while Kevin Martin scored a season-low three. In fact, the entire Oklahoma City bench contributed only 13 points; the Celtics reserves put up a healthy 35. And while the Thunder managed a decent 22 assists, Rajon Rondo had 16 all by himself. Add to that Kevin Garnett (18 points) coming up one rebound short of a double-double, Jason Terry (16) on a hot streak, and Paul Pierce (27) looking like the Paul Pierce of yore, and the Thunder were doomed from the opening of the second period on.

Which is not to say that OKC was utterly helpless: they did have the edge in rebounding (40-36, offensive even at 8), 29 points from Kevin Durant, and a better-than-average Russell Westbrook (26 points, seven boards, eight dimes). But when they couldn’t score inside, they retreated to the perimeter — and they couldn’t shoot from there, either, missing 18 of 24 tries from beyond the arc. (The Celtics, meanwhile, hit nine of 17.) And just for the hell of it, a telltale statistic: Leandro Barbosa, who played only 11 minutes and missed all three of his shots, went +17 for the night, second only to Garnett.

Still, I think the secret ingredient was Green. Uncle Jeff never acted like it — he’s too much the pro to mouth off — but this was his first chance to take the measure of his former team. And he took it out of their hide.

Tomorrow, the Sixers await. If the Thunder tradition of taking out their frustrations on their next opponent holds true, there will be boo-birds in Philly midway through the second quarter.

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Why, yes, it is Black Friday

Seventy-one Fridays ago, the weekend before Rebecca Black’s sophomore single “My Moment” was issued, I grumbled something to the effect that “real records drop, not on Friday, but on Tuesday.”

This is, of course, a long-standing music-industry practice, and “My Moment” did appear, yes, on Tuesday. I should have figured, though, that someone would eventually violate the sacred rule, and that someone likely would be Rebecca Black, who’s decidedly orthogonal to the rest of the industry. But the idea of doing so on Black Friday — well, I’m ashamed to admit that it never occurred to me.

So the new single has dropped, as of midnight Eastern. I scored the track from iTunes at about 11:10 (Central) Thursday night. The video came up later today:

At this writing, likes are outpacing dislikes nearly ten to one.

As for the song itself, I’m thinking that if Taylor Swift is wanting to be Katy Perry these days, surely Rebecca Black is bidding here for Swift’s niche: songs simultaneously wistful and accusatory.

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The lure of no limits

I can think of several reasons why I might want more email space, though as a practical matter, since I don’t leave mail on the server very long, the only limitation I’m likely to run into is Maximum Item Size, which varies with mail providers, though 40 MB is typical. The problem with that, though, is my backup routine: the script is supposed to back up the entire 60-MB MySQL database that runs this joint, gzip it, and then email me the .gz file. The gzip process, however, is running out of memory, and the script then tries to email me the full 60 MB, which fails at server level. I’m currently looking for alternatives, but that’s another story. (Nor am I alone in this: a friend this week was amazed that in this day and age, she could not email someone the contents of a music mix, because it exceeded the maximum item size.)

Meanwhile, this bit of pretentious nonsense was dropped into my box, allegedly from an ISP:

Dear Cox Customers,

You are advices to provided the necessary information needed to upgrade your mailbox quota for unlimited storage and spam blocker as well. Fill in the necessary information on the provided link below and make sure all corresponding information are correct.

The link goes to a Google Docs spreadsheet. (“You like Google, don’t you?”)

And, of course, there’s the veiled threat:

Failure to attend to this email will lead to disable of your mailbox and lost of personal information.

Windows Live Mail correctly spotted this as junk, noting that it was sent from a non-Cox address.

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A smuttering of pros

The shortlist for the 2012 Bad Sex Awards has been unveiled, and the Guardian’s critic seems most impressed by the absence of two particular writers:

The two authors heavily tipped to take this year’s most coveted and dreaded literary prize have failed to make the shortlist. Neither J. K. Rowling, for her first adult novel [The Casual Vacancy], nor E. L. James for her Fifty Shades trilogy, will be adding the bad sex trophy to their mantelpieces.

By comparison, the writers who did make the list are given short, indeed miniscule, shrift, even second-time nominee Tom Wolfe, who earned his spot on the list for this passage from Back to Blood:

Now his big generative jockey was inside her pelvic saddle, riding, riding, riding, and she was eagerly swallowing it swallowing it swallowing it with the saddle’s own lips and maw — all this without a word.

If you ask me, Wolfe has a clopfic just waiting in the wings. (Which, if it’s truly in the wings, would have to involve two pegasi.)

(Via languagehat.)

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Four cool cats

On the first day of January 1962, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best showed up at Decca Records in London and recorded fifteen songs — two written by Paul, one by John, and twelve covers — in the hopes of getting a record contract. Staff producer Tony Meehan presided over the session.

“Guitar groups are on the way out,” read Decca’s official rejection, sent to the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. This seemed implausible, inasmuch as Decca eventually signed the Tremeloes, a guitar group, who had auditioned the same day. My own theory, for what it’s worth, is that Meehan, who’d been a professional drummer — with the legendary Shadows, no less — was unimpressed by Best’s kit work, and recommended to the higher-ups that the Beatles be passed by.

Epstein had apparently paid Meehan to produce a ten-track demo which could be theoretically shopped elsewhere. That tape is now about to go up for auction:

[T]he original safety master tape the group recorded at Decca’s London studios on New Year’s Day 1962 has come to public light for the first time.

It is thought the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein held on to the tape he had paid to make, and later gave it to an executive associated with EMI… He sold it in 2002 to a prolific buyer of music memorabilia, who is now selling it at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000.

Bootlegs of this material have been circulating for years, and five of the tracks were subsequently released on the Beatles’ Anthology 1. The ten tracks on the demo, presumably the ones Epstein deemed strongest, include both McCartney tunes. And the Beatles redid two of the covers — “Money (That’s What I Want)” and “Till There Was You” (yes, from The Music Man) — for With the Beatles, their second album for EMI’s Parlophone label.

The one track that fascinates me the most is “Money,” not so much because John really stretched his voice on the lead, but because it’s a piano-driven song, and no piano was available for the audition. (George Martin himself played the piano part on the With the Beatles version.) The result could almost be passed off as a surf record.

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